In a lot of ways, March 2020 feels like a decade ago. The early days of quarantine feel quaint; we were all hoarding toilet paper and washing our groceries, and we had no idea that the COVID-19 pandemic would dominate the next two years of our lives. In retrospect, it’s completely insane that a mere six days into lockdown, Gal Gadot rounded up all of her celebrity friends to sing “Imagine” in an effort to cheer us up — a tone-deaf move that was met with near-universal derision.
Now, two years later, in a new interview with InStyle, Gadot has finally admitted that the video was “in poor taste.”
“With the whole ‘Imagine’ controversy, it’s funny,” she said. “I was calling Kristen [Wiig] and I was like, ‘Listen, I want to do this thing.’ The pandemic was in Europe and Israel before it came here [to the U.S.] in the same way. I was seeing where everything was headed. But [the video] was premature.”
“It wasn’t the right timing, and it wasn’t the right thing,” she added. “It was in poor taste. All pure intentions, but sometimes you don’t hit the bull’s-eye, right?”
Of course, Gadot’s far from the only celebrity in the video who has since admitted that it was a terrible idea. Many of the cringey singalong’s participants have tried to distance themselves from it over past two years. We’ve rounded up some of the most prominent examples below. (Spoiler alert: they all blame Kristen Wiig.)
Dornan was one of the earliest celebs to distance himself from the video, revealing on an April 2020 podcast appearance that he “just got dragged along with it.” “Kristen texted, ‘Gal and I are trying to organize this thing to lift spirits.’ So I was like, ‘Of course I’ll do it,’” he said. “Then she texted days later, saying, ‘Sorry.’”
The Irish actor, who starred with Wiig in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, also offered a theory as to why the video received so much criticism. “I’ll tell you what the problem was. I literally did mine in the toilet of my house … Quite clearly, some people had escaped to their second home,” he explained. “There’s too much acreage in the background, too many beautiful trees swaying in the background, clearly in front of an ocean, that sort of craic. I was quite aware of that whenever I was doing it, to make it normal.”
In June 2020, actor Chris O’Dowd appeared on Louis Theroux’s podcast Grounded, where he admitted the video was “tone-deaf” and claimed he only did it because his Bridesmaids co-star Kristin Wiig asked him to participate.
“I’ll do anything Kristen asks me to do, so of course we just did it,” he said. “It took five minutes, didn’t think about it. I presumed it was for kids. I know that Gal [Gadot] works for UNICEF, so I presumed it was a charity thing.”
O’Dowd added that the video came out of “that first wave of creative diarrhea” in the early days of the pandemic and “was just a bunch of people running around thinking that they had to do something when we really didn’t. We just needed to chill out and take everything in.”
“I think any backlash was justified,” he continued, noting that it was “bizarre to be part of that maelstrom, I’m glad it’s over.”
In October 2020, Silverman was asked about the backlash to the video during an appearance on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM show and basically implied she knew from the get-go it was a bad idea. “You know, I did a movie with Gal, and actually Kristen Wiig was the one who contacted me, which I think Gal asked her to,” she said. “And Kristen Wiig is the shit. So she emailed me and she goes, ‘Well, we’re all gonna sing “Imagine.”‘ And I wrote her back and I go ‘”Imagine”? Really?’ And then I go, ‘Is it for a thing? What’s the call to action?’ And she’s so sweet, you know? I mean, she’s so funny. She’s also so sweet. And she goes, ‘It’s just to, like, cheer people up.’”
“And then I couldn’t say no, because one, it was the beginning of quarantine,” Silverman explained. “Like there’s no saying ‘no’ to anyone because you can’t. There’s no excuse for it.” She also revealed that Wiig sent her an apology for roping her into it: “But, yeah, it’s funny because she emailed me after and she was like, ‘I’m so sorry,’” she said. “It was well-intentioned, but like, yeah, a little tone-deaf, but it really came from a nice place I think.”