A couple weeks back, at this year’s Met Gala, a group of celebrities—including Dakota Johnson, Rami Malek, Marc Jacobs, Courtney Love, and Bella Hadid—smoked in the bathroom of the Metropolitan Museum of a Art like a bunch of grade-school students, which is technically illegal and subject to a $100 fine, so it should come as no surprise that some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals weren’t deterred in the slightest. The brazen bathroom smokers documented the escapade extensively in photos that appeared on Twitter and Instagram, took one “epic selfie,” then probably forget about the night forever.
But New York City hasn’t, in fact, it remains scandalized by the torrid toilette selfie, and I kind of respect that.
The New York Daily News reported on Friday that the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, addressed a way-harsh letter to the Metropolitical Museum of Art reminding them of the city’s smoking ban, the perils of second hand smoking, and the scourge of attractive, rich people smoking cigarettes while holding an iPhone as far away from their faces as possible.
“There is...no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” writes Bassett. “All visitors to public places deserve protection from secondhand smoke, including people who are visiting places like The Met.”
Bassett goes on to write in the letter, obtained by the NYDN:
“We…are concerned about how images of these celebrities smoking — which were widely shared around the world via social media — will affect youth smoking rates. When young people see glamorous stars smoking and flouting the law, it undermines the progress that has been made in de-normalizing smoking and increasing awareness of smoking’s health risks.”
Bassett even generously offered to send inspectors to next year’s event to ensure that the Met is able to comply with city strictures (the Met told the NYDN they have received no such letter and will not comment).
At this point, I hate mass celebrity selfies so much that I’m almost willing to side with the city’s cigarette-disruption czars. I maintain that the only good reasons to use the Met’s facilities during its gala are to switch outfits with a fellow celebrity, scribble on the mirrors with Dior lipstick, or hide.