Met Gala’s TikTok Deal Questioned Amid App’s Ban; ‘Seven-figure Check’ Might ‘Politicize’ Event

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TikTok app.

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour is facing backlash after sealing a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with TikTok for the upcoming Met Gala 2024 scheduled for May 6, despite recent legislative actions threatening the app’s operations in the United States.

The controversy arose shortly after President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill aimed at either banning the Chinese-owned social media platform or compelling its sale by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. The legislation addresses national security concerns over potential data access and surveillance by China.

The Met Gala, an iconic fashion event hosted by Wintour and celebrities Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny, and Chris Hemsworth, finds itself at the center of a PR dilemma. The event’s choice of Met Gala TikTok sponsor is problematic, especially as it coincides with a recent move by Universal Music Group to ban its artists from the app over licensing disputes. This decision affects several Met Gala 2024 guest list, including co-host Bad Bunny and regular attendee Rihanna, intensifying scrutiny on the sponsorship.

A source from the Met Gala told Page Six that while the deal with TikTok was agreed upon well before the legislative developments, it now poses a significant public relations challenge. “What does Anna do? Does she uninvite TikTok a week before? She can’t. Anna is the total dictator of this event every year; let her talk her way out of this one!” the source commented, leaving us all wondering about the possible outcomes and Anna Wintour’s Met Gala rules.

TikTok’s CEO, Shou Chew, will join Wintour on the Met Gala red carpet 2024, emphasizing the app’s continued push against the legislative challenges. TikTok has argued that it poses no security threat, noting investments of $2 billion in trust and safety measures and assuring that U.S. user data is secured on Oracle-owned servers.

Despite the legislative and public backlash, TikTok remains a significant player in the digital and cultural zeitgeist, with 170 million American users. The company has expressed unwavering confidence in overcoming the legal hurdles, stating it will “keep fighting for your rights in the courts.” This steadfastness reassures us of TikTok’s commitment to its users.

As the Met Gala approaches, the event, a symbol of traditional celebrity culture, is set to reflect the ongoing tension with the disruptive forces of new media, highlighted by its controversial sponsorship choice. The Met Gala, a crucial fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, recently renamed the Anna Wintour Costume Center in recognition of her contributions, carries the weight of this controversy.

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