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Celebs spin a web of election controversy on social media

Nov 7th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, Opinion

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IT remains to be seen whether celebrity endorsements will influence the outcome of the US election, but there is no doubt fame-driven political statements have got people talking.

The social media machine plays a vital role in advertising and advocating for potential candidates in the run up to such a major election.

While both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have a star-studded line up of supporters, some recent celebrity-led voting campaigns have created more controversy than positive promotion.

With over 14 million Twitter followers, rapper Nicki Minaj caused a flurry of social media activity after news spread that she was a Romney supporter following a new song release.

In the song Mercy, released September 3, Minaj at one point raps: “I’m a Republican, voting for Mitt Romney/You lazy bi***es is f***in’ up the economy”.

In response to a radio interview in which Obama shrugged off her Romney endorsement, Minaj turned to Twitter and thanked the Democratic candidate for understanding her “creative humour and sarcasm” as well as wishing him all of her love and support.

Another Obama supporter who broadcast her choice in a controversial way was Lena Dunham.

The filmmaker, actress and television producer of Girls fame released a YouTube video titled Your First Time where she compares voting to losing her virginity.

“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy,” she says in the clip. “Somebody who really cares about, and understands women.”

Response to the unique video has been mixed with some calling the move a stroke of genius, while others took to Twitter to criticise Dunham for attempting to sexualise the voting process says CBC News Community Blog:

@Jessie Ross tweeted “Lena Dunham, your endorsing Obama commercial is terrible. I don’t care who you support, but my vote is more than my sex life”.

@John Podhoretz tweeted “This was an unwise political move”.

The news website CBC says the Republican campaign has also been supported in interesting ways by household names.

Perhaps the most famous Romney endorsement came from Clint Eastwood in his speech at the Republican National Convention.

His conversation with an empty chair meant to represent Obama, where he told him he failed to deliver on his promises, now has over two million views on YouTube.

Although the speech has been continuously mocked, Eastwood has garnered the one thing he was surely intending to gain, attention for Romney and his campaign says CBC News.

Meatloaf (right) is another star whose advocacy for Romney has earnt a few laughs.

After pledging to do anything for Romney on stage, his much-derided rendition of America the Beautiful soon became the butt of many jokes when it was made public that the singer hadn’t registered to vote in his home state says Hollywire.com.

Former porn star Jenna Jameson, who has an estimated net worth of $30 million, also threw her support behind Romney earlier in the year in a somewhat misguided fashion says CBC News.

Some were confused by her decision, but the explanation she gave to CBS News was that she was looking forward to a Republican being back in office.

“When you’re rich, you want a Republican in office,” Jameson was quoted saying.

Twitter and other forms of social media have made it easier for celebrities to reach out to vast numbers of people.

There is no doubt that celebrity endorsements can help to make or break a Presidential campaign, and these controversial stars have created more buzz for election 2012 than ever before.

Images: Stuff, Dividedstate

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