Met Gala Photos of Celebs Smoking in the Bathroom Irks NYC Health Officials

By Britni de la Cretaz 05/16/17

Marc Jacobs, Courtney Love, and Dakota Johnson were among the smoking celebs.

marc jacobs, courtney love, frances bean cobain smoking at met gala
Courtney Love, Marc Jacobs, and Frances Bean Cobain at Met Gala Photo via Instagram/themarcjacobs

Celebs at the Met Gala earlier this month pulled back the curtain on their well-maintained image of class and sophistication and gave people a peek into what attending a big star-studded event is really like: high school. A plethora of celebs were caught on camera hanging out in the bathroom at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and smoking cigarettes, and city officials are not happy about it.

The result was a sternly-worded letter from New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett to “big wigs” at The Met, according to the New York Daily News. After celebrities like Bella Hadid, Marc Jacobs, Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain, Slick Woods, Dakota Johnson, Rami Malek, and Stella McCartney, among others, were photographed smoking cigs in the bathroom—photos that quickly went viral on social media—the health commissioner felt the need to remind The Met about the city’s anti-smoking laws, which prohibit smoking in public places.

“We were dismayed to read reports that some celebrities chose smoking as their fashion accessory and flagrantly violated New York City’s smoking laws,” Bassett said in her letter. Bassett was also concerned with how the images of celebrities smoking cigarettes might influence young people, writing, “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.”

Studies have shown that teen smoking rates are directly correlated to images they see on screen, and that the reduction in smoking in movies has been linked to a reduction in adolescent smoking rates, according to The Truth Initiative, an organization dedicated to achieving a tobacco-free culture.

Bassett also offered that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene could “send inspectors or provide other assistance to improve compliance, should The Met desire this support” next year.

City officials weren’t the only ones unhappy about the celebs lighting up in the bathroom. Following the event, several major donors and board members complained to Page Six about the “disrespectful” behavior exhibited by the stars. Page Six reports that one board member said, “As a donor to the Met, I was so insulted to see all these ‘celebrities’ smoking and taking selfies of themselves in the bathroom. Mostly, it’s disrespectful to the art collection, which needs to be kept 100% smoke-free. I would honestly like to see these people fined by the city.”

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.