Vogue has released a fawning video showing New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez prepping for the ball last Monday. It shows her walking into the room wearing her now-notorious "Tax the Rich" ball gown, while masked attendants and staff tell her how beautiful she looks.
AOC's big smile is made all the more apparent by the masks that cover the faces of the staff attending to her. Her boyfriend smiles, unmasked, as well. An attendant is seen getting under AOC's dress and making adjustments. Masked stylists and make-up artists flutter around her and prep her for the star-studded bash.
After she's been made-up and properly coiffed, she leaves the room, saying: "Bye, everyone!" As she leaves, the progressive congresswoman is greeted by adoring folks and photographers. Screams and cheers erupt as she steps inside an awaiting car to bring her to the Met.
Her boyfriend narrates the ride in the van, as attendants and staff stay masked while the two smile at each other, bare-faced. "We're in the van on the way there," he says, saying that the designer is there too and that they'd be on the "red carpet in about ten minutes." He tells people on the phone that her dress says "Tax the Rich."
More screaming and cheers erupt as she exits the van and makes her way to the red carpet. The accompanying music has a distinct Latin feel.
Reaction against the fluffy video was swift, with journalist Glenn Greenwald noting that as AOC and her boyfriend revel in the message of her dress, and the preparation that goes into making a stunning red carpet appearance, they appear like royalty flanked by masked servants. AOC touts COVID-inspired restrictions, but for her own sake, chooses not to mask, even indoors, while others cover their faces.
Another person posting the video had similarly harsh words, saying that AOC had "masked slaves" who treated her like she was "Cinderella" on the way to the ball.
AOC has faced consistent criticism since wearing the dress to a $30,000-per-ticket event. She is facing ethics complaints for accepting the lavish gift of tickets to the Met Gala. And many have said that her attendance there was hypocrisy itself.
AOC has issued a defense of her dress, saying that:
"You know, I'm hearing some folks, especially the right-wing having this critique about Monday saying, 'Isn't it ironic that she showed up in a "Tax the Rich" dress' and I think we need to go back to literary class a little bit. This conversation comes up.
"Now, the definition of irony is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think, especially in order to be funny. That's not the opposite of what— we need to tax the rich.
"And we need to confront this establishment and this concentration of wealth that likes to consider or market itself as liberal or progressive, but wants to do absolutely—
"...wealth inequality, and oftentimes lobbies to protect laws, including in the Democratic Party to preserve the establishment of their class interests.
"The thing is this isn't some theoretical or abstract political statement. Right now. We are we are debating the reconciliation of Build Back Better Act, which includes historic expansions in child care, health care, climate action of unionization..."
Whether the term to describe her maskless actions was "ironic" or not, many have called out the apparent inconsistency of AOC being celebrated at an extravagant gala where the "servant class" is made starkly visible through the requirement that they wear face masks, while AOC's smiling face is fully visible as one of those who does not have to adhere to those same dress codes.
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