Actor Rachel Zegler Condemns AI-Generated ‘All Eyes On Rafah’ Post

The "Hunger Games" star explained why she finds it "disturbing" that so many have shared the massively viral image.

Actor Rachel Zegler condemned the AI-generated “All Eyes on Rafah” post that has been circulating on social media this week, echoing the criticisms of pro-Palestinian activists who have labeled the post performative.

In a message on social media on Wednesday, the “Hunger Games” star criticized those who were sharing the viral graphic, stating that it fails to provide information or context about what is happening to people in Gaza.

The post, which experts say was created by artificial intelligence (AI), depicts artwork of a landscape and mountain with the words “All Eyes on Rafah,” a phrase used to draw attention to Israel’s bombardment Sunday of camps for displaced people in Rafah, killing dozens of Palestinians sheltering in tents. At least 40 million people reshared the post on Instagram as of Wednesday.

“I genuinely find it disturbing that the only way so many people have suddenly felt comfortable sharing their support for palestinian lives is via an Al-generated image that doesn’t even begin to touch upon the actual horrors of what these human beings are experiencing,” Zegler wrote on her Instagram story.

Zegler, a Colombian American performer and Oscar nominee for “West Side Story,” added that there are numerous GoFundMe appeals, infographics or even other pieces of art that would have had been more effective posts to support the Palestinians in Gaza than “what the internet has decided is its ‘trendy’ version of showing up for a population that has been (publicly) massacred.”

Others online echoed her criticisms, pointing to celebrities and influencers who shared the image after being largely quiet about the attacks in Gaza over the past eight months.

“We have had real accounts and images for the past eight months about this genocide very well documented, and you’re choosing AI?” a user named Yeganeh said in an Instagram reel on Tuesday.

On Oct. 7, the militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing an estimated 1,200 people and taking about 240 people hostage. Since then, Israel’s offensive has killed an estimated 35,000 people in Gaza, displaced most of the population and caused what the United Nations has called a “full-blown famine.”

Following the Sunday bombardment, which has drawn international outrage, Israel has continued to strike at tent camps sheltering Palestinians who have been displaced several times to so-called safe zones, and the Israel Defense Forces killed at least 37 Palestinians overnight Monday and on Tuesday. Horrifying videos of the aftermath of the attacks this week, including one of a man carrying the body of a beheaded child, were captured by journalists and witnesses in Rafah.

Humanitarian experts and others online have described the AI post as a sanitized and uncontroversial image that doesn’t depict real-world violence, which may have driven its spread online, according to The Washington Post.

Many have drawn parallels to the black squares that were posted on social media during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. The squares were meant to represent support for the movement, but the images drew criticism because they didn’t provide any context or useful resources on racial inequity and police brutality, and their proliferation pushed those valuable tools out of people’s social media feed. The surge of black squares, as well as the “All Eyes on Rafah” graphic, were criticized as performative activism: done out of a desire to make a person look better rather than to help the cause.

“I think it’s precisely the lack of context that makes this image politically safe for liberals to signal their ‘concern’ for Gaza,” one user wrote in X about the “All Eyes on Rafah” post. “Palestine is not named. Zionism is not named. It conveys urgency and awareness without naming the historical actors that have produced this genocide.”


What's Hot