To say that the coronavirus pandemic has been a disaster in every single way would be an understatement. It has been a crisis that has killed almost four million people worldwide and has ravaged economies. It has stolen people’s freedoms and changed the ways in which we live indefinitely.

It has also been a horrific time to be online, as celebrities and brands have grappled for ways in which they can use the pandemic to create ghastly ‘content’.

There has been no respite. None at all.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, if you have the stomach for it.

1. When celebrities sang John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to lift our spirits

The day was 18 March 2020. England was yet to enter its first lockdown but people had been advised to refrain from ‘unnecessary’ social contact. All around the world, governments and people were waking up to the realities of the crisis and deciding to act.

Pondering how she could help, actor Gal Gadot scratched her head for a beat then found the answer. And so she enlisted celebrity friends from Sarah Silverman to Natalie Portman to sing a line by line acapella version of ‘Imagine’ then dumped it on Instagram informing her followers that they were “all in this together”.

It was tone deaf in more ways than one and sparked a huge backlash on social media. The New York Times wrote: “The brutality is relentless. It is difficult to measure which section is the most unsettling”. Ricky Gervais said it was “an awful rendition”.

It was, to put it mildly, a crime. They say you will always remember where you were when you first heard the celebrities singing ‘Imagine’. We certainly do. Should the celebrities involved face prison? We couldn’t possibly comment.

2. When Dettol pretended everyone loves the office

By September 2020, cases in England were falling. Although it wouldn’t be long until Keir Starmer called for a two week “circuit breaker”, some offices, lulled into government sponsored national complacency and stuffed from August’s Eat Out To Help Out binge, asked staff to return to work.

People were concerned about contracting the virus but Dettol had the answer and, jumping on the ‘back to work’ trend, they attempted to evoke nostalgia about the office while encouraging people to disinfect the s**t out of everything.

It’s still not totally clear if the campaign was deadly serious or a bit tongue-in-cheek but, safe to say, they overestimated people’s love of the office. (”Hearing buzzwords”, really?)

Undeterred, they later pretended everyone loves the Tube:

3. When Kim Kardashian had a party on a private island

A meme was born in October 2020 when Kim Kardashian turned 40 and threw a party on a private island to celebrate. She tweeted:

And people mocked her relentlessly with their own takes on her cursed words:

Oh, to go to a private island with all our friends. Oh, to swim with whales. Normality, indeed.

4. Vanessa Hudgens: “Like, yeah, people are gonna die”

On 17 March 2020, the High School Musical star took to Instagram Live to play down the coronavirus crisis. Talking about having to go into lockdown she said: “Yeah, ‘til July sounds like a bunch of bulls***, I’m sorry.

“But like, it’s a virus, I get it,” she added. “I respect it, but at the same time, like – even if everybody gets it... Like, yeah, people are gonna die. Which is terrible, but like, inevitable?”

People were annoyed, she apologised, people were still annoyed, and so it goes on.

5. Rita Ora’s big birthday bash

In December 2020, Rita Ora rubbed people up the wrong way by returning from a trip to Egypt, not self-isolating as she was supposed to, and then throwing an illegal birthday party for good measure.

In a statement, she said: “I recently flew to Egypt to perform at a corporate event for a private company, where my travel party followed protocol and presented negative Covid tests upon entry, as required by Egyptian authorities.

“Upon my return to Britain, I should have followed government advice and isolated myself for the required period. As you know, I didn’t follow government advice and for that I apologised earlier this week. I apologise again, unreservedly.”

Whoops.

6. Jameela Jamil speaks for ‘Mother Nature’

With nothing to do, nowhere to go, and lockdown fatigue yet to set in, people spent the early weeks of the pandemic partaking in some armchair philosophy about What It All Meant. Jameela Jamil was no different and decided that: coronavirus? Good for the environment, actually.

In a now-deleted tweet, she said she “couldn’t help but wonder if this virus is the clapback from Mother Nature we were waiting for.”

Look, we said a “now-deleted tweet”, so we don’t really need to go into much more about Jamil’s ‘hot take’, do we?

7. Madonna’s bath time message

Speaking from a bath filled with rose petals last year, as you do, Madonna gave her two cents on the crisis. “That’s the thing about Covid-19,” she lectured. “It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell.

“It’s the great equaliser, and what’s terrible about it is what’s great about it. What’s terrible about it is it’s made us all equal in many ways, and what’s wonderful about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways.”

She ended by saying: “Like I used to say at the end of Human Nature every night, we’re all in the same boat, and if the ship goes down we’re all going down together.”

As one, the world then self-isolated in baths filled with rose petals, only to emerge wrinkled, as lockdown measures drew to an end. Not.

7. Margaret Ferrier coughing her way down the A1

Politicians and political figures have seen their fair share of coronavirus related scandals over the last year. But one scandal that created a lot of online frenzy was when Scottish MSP Margaret Ferrier embarked on coronavirus: the tour. With coronavirus symptoms and awaiting a test results, Ferrier visited a gym, beauty salon and a gift shop, spoke at a church, took a train from Scotland to London, and spoke in a parliamentary debate in one evening. Phew.

When she received a positive test result, she returned to Scotland on the train again and duly got into a lot of trouble. She was suspended by the SNP and was arrested and charged with culpable and reckless conduct. She’s still an MP, though. And her cough has cleared up.

Postscript: some honourable mentions

Like we said, there’s been a lot of exhausting moments. We don’t have the time to go into Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle. We don’t have the willpower to remember when Elon Musk said the pandemic was “dumb”. We certainly can’t begin to think about Ellen DeGeneres comparing quarantine to a prison sentence, but we see you all, famous figures.

And if there is another pandemic? We don’t know about you but our internet will stay firmly off. Firmly.

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