May 23, 2014

Bring back our girls, because, Kellan Lutz!

"To do it on one of the most watched locations and spots where people in the films are just walking up, and it's just such an iconic location ... it impacts so much.”

That’s Twilight vamp candy Kellan Lutz talking up there. The topic: The proliferation of signs stars have proffered on the Cannes red carpet this week, all with the same message: “Bring Back Our Girls.”

The slogan, of course, refers to the 180-and-counting Nigerian students kidnapped by the religi-goons of Boko Haram more than a month ago. The girls have yet to be freed, though a coalition of western nations has lent its military might toward a rescue.

Celebrities ranging from Lutz to Salma Hayek to Mel Gibson to Harrison Ford have posed obediently on the Cannes carpet, holding up the signs as cameras flashed. Of course the gesture wasn’t their idea; in a telling detail, Lutz revealed to the Associated Press that he and the rest of the Expendables 3 cast were handed the signs before they stepped in front of the paparazzi. At least one co-star, Victor Ortiz, had no idea what the signs meant until Lutz briefed him.

But does such a gesture really "impact so much"? Is some wealthy Blade fan out there looking at a photo of Wesley Snipes through his monocle, exclaiming, “Cripes! I just happen to have 30 recon drones sitting in the garage! I shall have Rippington load those onto my pleasure barge and ship them to the Nigerians along with 50 cases of my finest sympathy brandy”?

That isn’t to say that celebrity campaigns don’t work. As I’ve reported in the past, they do get results, but usually in cases where those results require mass action. Viral videos featuring celebrities have moved the youth vote needle during presidential elections, for example. But even then, political strategies have told me, celebrities alone have yet to decisively sway a nation to pick a certain leader of the free world.

The Nigerian kidnap victims, in contrast, stand to benefit little, if at all, from pressure from action movie fans. It’s abundantly clear that Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan could not care less about these promising students, and, as I’ve already said, the United States and other western powers already have their boots on Nigerian soil.

Don’t get me wrong. A star holding up a sign is better than a star not holding up a sign. But the Nigerian situation isn’t like a presidential election. If it were, those girls would have been home weeks ago.

Got a question about what's really going on with your favorite stars, TV shows or movies? Ask me in the handy feedback module to the right. Get answers every week via my Fame Fatale podcast.

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