Last month, Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney sparked backlash when she posted a selection of photos from her mom’s 60th birthday celebration to Instagram.
The rodeo-themed party saw Sydney and her mom wear cowboy hats and ride on a mechanical bull, as well as line dance with other guests inside the decorated barn venue.
“No better way to celebrate my momma than a surprise hoedown🤠,” Sydney captioned the post at the time.
But it didn’t take long for her followers to dig a little deeper, and many were disappointed to see some pretty problematic things in the background of the photos.
It was quickly noted that many guests could be seen wearing what appeared to be MAGA-style hats that said: “Make 60 Great Again.”
In another photo, a male relative of Sydney’s is seemingly wearing a “Blue Lives Matter” shirt.
Sydney had also tagged her brother, Trent, in one of the posts, and a look at his Instagram page appeared to expose more of the family’s right wing views.
In addition to a closer look at the “Make 60 Great Again” birthday hats, Trent had previously shared a photo of a baby wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat outside of the White House in 2017.
“Cutest baby ever,” he captioned the post, which appears to have been deleted.
Sydney soon began to trend on Twitter as fans expressed their disappointment at her controversial political affiliation, with one person tweeting at the time: “I said i’d defend sydney sweeney no matter what but i gotta back down this time cause girl…”
Another wrote: “Yes people need to be held accountable for being in community with facists, racists, etc. you’re comfortable enough to be around them and their ideas, meanwhile others would never be. also, if you’re white i honestly don’t want to hear your opinion on sydney sweeney.”
One more said: “Sydney sweeney a bold bitch. like no way you picked them pictures out and decided to post them. it’s 2022.”
And Sydney acknowledged the backlash on her own social media page, where she insisted that people were “making assumptions” and she’d simply attended an “innocent” birthday party.
“You guys this is wild,” she tweeted at the time. “An innocent celebration for my moms milestone 60th birthday has turned into an absurd political statement, which was not the intention. Please stop making assumptions. Much love to everyone and Happy Birthday Mom!”
But this response only added fuel to the fire, with many pointing out that it wasn’t presumptuous to link MAGA hats and support for Blue Lives Matter to right wing political leanings.
“You posted an image celebrating racism and you’re surprised you’re getting pushback?” one person tweeted. “The clothing is literally designed to make a political statement. If you agree with it, just say so but don’t try to weasel your way out of it.”
“Sydney sweeney’s response to people criticizing her klan family is WEAK AS HELLLL posing happily next to ANYONE wearing political attire and POSTING IT PUBLICLY, family or not, looks like a statement to me,” someone else wrote.
“I’m sorry, but if people are wearing MAGA hats to a birthday party, it’s not ‘innocent.’ They may as well be waving Confederate flags. I get it- I have a couple of relatives who joined the MAGA cult, & I don’t talk to them any more. You gotta take a stand,” another replied.
And this was a sentiment echoed by many, with it argued that Sydney must either agree with her family’s political views, or she was using her privilege to remain apolitical.
“As a half white person who cut out all of her conservative family when she reached adulthood, and hasn’t seen them in over a decade, continuing to interact with conservative family members when you are able to cut them out is white privilege,” one person wrote.
“Peak white privilege is not being concerned if you ‘disagree politically’ with someone bc your life isn’t on the line,” another tweeted.
But others argued that it wasn’t that simple, with one writing: “If the politics of sydney sweeney’s parents shock you, you’re gonna be pretty disappointed when you find out the politics of most white people’s parents, but especially the famous ones.”
Someone else echoed: “Not y’all canceling Sydney Sweeney Do you think she will stop talking to her family because they have different opinions at political levels??? Oh god.”
A third user agreed: “Seriously bro Leave Sydney sweeney alone. What do yall want her to do, just cut her family off from her life? So ridiculous.”
But another celebrity has revealed this week that they did exactly that, with Jennifer Lawrence opening up about her decision to distance herself from her Republican family members in a new interview with Vogue.
In the profile, the actor spoke openly about growing up in a conservative home and thinking that she was a Republican until the age of 16. She said that she used to think that being Republican meant “Why should my taxes pay for your haughty lifestyle?” but as she got older she grew a deeper political understanding.
“Nobody likes to see half their paycheck go away, but it made sense to me,” Jennifer said. “Yeah, for the greater good, I guess it makes sense.”
She then revealed that the 2016 election triggered a rift between her and relatives back in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky — including her father.
And despite her best efforts to “get over” their political differences, especially since the birth of her son earlier this year, Jennifer admitted that she believes that the situation in the United States is “too dire” to be able to agree to disagree.
“I just worked so hard in the last five years to forgive my dad and my family and try to understand: It’s different. The information they are getting is different. Their life is different,” she told Vogue.
“I’ve tried to get over it and I really can’t. I can’t,” she went on. “I’m sorry I’m just unleashing, but I can’t fuck with people who aren’t political anymore. You live in the United States of America. You have to be political. It’s too dire. Politics are killing people.”
People immediately highlighted the stark difference between Sydney and Jennifer’s approach to politics, and heaped praise on the latter for taking action.
Responding to the profile on a Reddit thread, one user wrote: “My first thought was definitely, anyone who said Sydney Sweeney can’t be expected to distance herself from her family’s politics needs to read this article.”
“I really like that she stepped into the politics of it all and really discussed the strain it caused with her Republican family members (especially so soon after the sydney sweeney controversy),” one more agreed. Another commented: “Good on her for not trying to hide from or make excuses about her Republican background.”
“Too bad Sydney Sweeney isn’t like Jennifer Lawrence,” someone else tweeted. One more echoed: “Jennifer Lawrence taking a stand against her Republican family. Sydney Sweeney could never.”
And others thought that Sydney’s publicist should take note, writing: “I honestly wonder if Sydney Sweeney’s PR team will model their approach to one similar to this after reading Jennifer’s interview, especially since Sydney’s first swing at correcting the situation failed so miserably.”
“I don’t know if Sydney has that care free and openness to pull off the ‘off the cuff frustration’ that Jennifer seems to genuinely have when discussing her family,” they added.
But it was argued that it isn’t even known if Sydney does, in fact, disagree with her relatives’ political views, with one person pointing out: “We also…to be fair… dont know what Sydney’s views are. There is nothing about her behaviors that suggests she disagrees.”
“Even if Sydney disagrees with her family members, she’s clearly nowhere near as politically engaged as Jennifer is, so there’s no real way to make that approach work for her,” someone else replied. “But it’s not clear she disagrees with her family in the first place–she’s been very quiet about her politics.”
Sydney has not commented on the discourse beyond the one tweet, and has instead been posting photos to her Instagram page from her time at Venice Film Festival.