Kelly Dodd is one of the stars of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” a show in its 15th season that follows the travails of six women in Southern California.
Ms. Dodd — who now goes by her married name, Leventhal, on social media — has been skeptical about mask wearing on Instagram, and when several of her more than 900,000 followers challenged her, she snapped back: “it’s not a pandemic anymore!! Did you read the CDC numbers!! My platform isn’t to be a sheep [sheep emoji] my platform is to be an independent thinker!”
Ms. Leventhal is not the only reality star to be criticized for her coronavirus hygiene, or lack thereof. Big Ed of “90 Day Fiancé” on TLC was taken to task on social media for cozying up to fans without a mask. Kristin Cavallari, the star of “Very Cavallari,” which recently finished its final season on the E! Network, was slammed for taking a luxury trip to the Bahamas in mid-March, after parts of the United States were put on lockdown.
You may be thinking: Who cares what these people say about coronavirus? But there is research that shows the health-related behaviors of reality stars can affect viewers’ behavior, and now that these personalities have popular social media platforms, their claims have an unmediated reach as we hit another peak in coronavirus cases.