Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has kicked off a storm after making a political statement with her outfit at the Met Gala – drawing both praise and criticism over “hypocrisy” on social media for a dress bearing the slogan ‘Tax the Rich’.
The Democratic congresswoman from New York attended the star-studded event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Monday. Tickets for the annual charity event reportedly went for at least $35,000 a head – which added to the debate over her choice of wardrobe.
Speaking to the press, Ocasio-Cortez said she wore the dress at an event that is mainly frequented by celebrities and the very wealthy so as to “bring all classes into the conversation” around “supporting working families” and “having a fair tax code”.
In a red carpet conversation with Vogue, she spoke about “what it means to be working class women of color at the Met” and expressed hope that the dress would be a conversation starter.
“We can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall and challenge some of the institutions. While the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it,” Ocasio-Cortez told the fashion magazine.
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) September 14, 2021
The dress did kickstart discussion among social-media users over whether the outfit was out of place at the glitzy event with Republican congressional candidate Tina Ramirez branding it as “obscenely out of touch” and “completely hypocritical”.
.@AOC, who makes well over double the national average salary and who voted to give herself a pay raise, showed up at the #MetGala (an event which costs $30,000 per ticket) wearing a “Tax the Rich” dress.
This is obscenely out of touch and completely hypocritical. pic.twitter.com/rsdBd0Xqr3
— Tina Ramirez (@TinaRamirezVA) September 14, 2021
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. wondered whether she was a “bigger fraud” for wearing the dress “while she’s hanging out with a bunch of wealthy leftwing elites” or for apparently not wearing a facemask “after spending the past 18 months as one of the biggest authoritarian mask Karens in the country”.
What makes @AOC a bigger fraud:
The “tax the rich” dress while she’s hanging out with a bunch of wealthy leftwing elites or the lack of masks after spending the past 18 months as one of the biggest authoritarian mask Karens in the country? https://t.co/pE84Pjquh1
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 14, 2021
Bad look. Tax the rich at a gala for the rich by the rich with food and clothing by and for the rich
— Anthony Cinnerella (@acinnere) September 14, 2021
… 3.4 bil employees, & constitutes 2% of US GDP, with Americans spending $380 bil in 2019 on apparel & footwear. So it’s a message from the industry to the industry about contributing it’s fair share to support the consumers that have made their industry the 4th biggest sector.
— Keith A Kelly (@KeithAKelly8) September 14, 2021
In posts on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, Ocasio-Cortez noted that the “medium is the message” and defended both her attendance at the event and the outfit against the “haters”.
She said that elected officials are “regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public”.
A number of people also criticized the congresswoman for attending the event instead of taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the venue against a recent police shooting. Several people were arrested by the NYPD at the demonstration.
Did @AOC negotiate for the staff of the #MetGala to get a decent wage in exchange for her appearance while protestors were getting their heads cracked by NYPD outside the event? I’m not holding my breath. https://t.co/KRiTAnurvp
— 🍀Michael Raveles🕊🏴🚩🍀🌹🌵🌹🌵🌹🌵 (@ravelesm) September 14, 2021
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