Was AOC hypocritical wearing 'Tax the Rich’ dress to Met Gala?


Fact Box

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, serves as New York’s representative for the 14th congressional district. 
  • The Met Gala is an annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City that was founded in 1948. Guests are expected to follow a theme, this year’s was “American fashion” and cost $30,000 per ticket and $275,000 per table. 
  • For the 2021 Met Gala, AOC wore a white dress by Brother Vellies with the slogan “Tax the Rich” in red on the back. Her intention was to create a conversation piece, “We all had a conversation about Taxing the Rich in front of the very people who lobby against it.”
  • The dress gained attention from all sides, some calling it “iconic” to wear amid the richest celebrities in the world, and others saying it was “hypocritical” for AOC to attend the event.

Morgan (No)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an advocate for the little guy, and she is a known proponent of taxing the rich and closing the wealth gap in the United States. It makes sense that she'd promote taxing the extremely wealthy. The Met Gala theme was American Independence, meaning all the attendees were allowed to dress and promote whatever they wanted. Many politicians are invited to attend events like these in which wealth and fame are flaunted, but AOC took her invitation and used it to send a direct message about the theme—American Independence. There's nothing hypocritical about her using that platform, an event put on by the wealthy who aren't taxed, to promote fairness within our country through something as simple as taxing those who can be most taxable.

While some may see her attendance at the Met Gala as hypocritical paired with the dress, many others see it as a sign of her intelligence. Many accused the politician of hypocrisy because the Met Gala is an event full of wealthy people. Still, they failed to see that she had actually chosen the best and one of the most heavily publicized stages for her message. She saw and took an opportunity to promote what she stands for. And she was not the only individual to promote rights and fairness in this country at The Met Gala. New York Representative Carolyn Maloney also sported a political message, sporting a women's rights-inspired gown at the event that read 'equal rights for women.' Maloney and AOC are using their power and positions to influence good change in this country.

Stephanie (Yes)

It was highly hypocritical for New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to wear a dress with the message 'tax the rich' on it to the Met Gala, where tickets reportedly cost $30,000 each. The publicity stunt naturally caused an online stir, with many pointing out the hypocrisy of AOC attending such an exclusive event among other wealthy people. Others also criticized her and fellow event attendees for not wearing masks despite some of them being the very people who have been advocating for mask-wearing. Moreover, AOC's message bears no weight on reality: in 2020, the top 1% 'paid a greater share of individual income taxes (38.5%) than the bottom 90% combined (29.9%).' Likewise, 'the top 1% of taxpayers paid a 26.8% average individual income tax rate, which is more than six times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50% (4.0%).' 

If AOC truly cared about economic equality, she would have donated profits from it to a charitable cause. Instead, she vainly seized the spotlight to address such “problems” as 'childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all.' While she may not be as wealthy as some of the other gala attendees, her salary is $174,000 a year; she is certainly not poor yet refers to herself as a 'working-class woman.' Even worse, AOC recently led a campaign to raise Congressional pay to nearly $179,000, claiming 'It's not even like a raise.' AOC forgets she is a public servant, and pay raises come from American taxpayers. Overall, the stunt was in poor taste and was negatively received, even by some of her democratic socialist supporters. Despite AOC claiming her dress raised awareness about US tax codes, it was simply tacky and did nothing more than merely divide the nation further while looking like a Chick-fil-A bag.

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