Vanilla Ice faces backlash for indoor, mask-free New Year's Eve concert at Mar-a-Lago club

Elise Solé
Rapper Vanilla Ice performed at a New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
Rapper Vanilla Ice performed at a New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

Vanilla Ice performed at a Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve party, Donald Trump Jr. revealed in a Facebook video, prompting Twitter backlash for the indoor and mask-free event.

“Ok this is amazing. Vanilla Ice is playing the Mar-a-Lago New Years Eve party,” the first son captioned the Thursday video depicting the rapper, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, performing the 1989 hits “Ice Ice Baby” and Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” to a mask-less crowd. “As a child of the 90s you can’t fathom how awesome that is. Beyond that I got the birthday shoutout so that’s pretty amazing.”

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump did not attend the annual celebration at their Palm Beach, Fla. club, however guests who reportedly paid a four-figure entry ticket mingled with Donald Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, Eric Trump and wife Lara Trump, Tiffany Trump and Rudy Giuliani, among others. Members of the band The Beach Boys were also present, according to the New York Times.

The Trump administration has come under fire for hosting Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, despite more than 20 million U.S. cases of COVID-19 and guidelines from the Center for the Disease Control and Prevention that encourage social distancing and face masks. In Palm Beach County, more than 83,000 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and the mayor has extended a State of Emergency order until Jan. 8. The state of Florida, with more than 1.3 million positive coronavirus cases, does not require face coverings.

Vanilla Ice, depicted in 1990, is facing criticism for performing at an indoor concert at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. (Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Vanilla Ice, depicted in 1990, is facing criticism for performing at an indoor concert at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. (Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

In July, the 53-year-old rapper canceled a concert in Austin, Texas after criticism that he was ignoring the growing health crisis. “I listen to my fans,” he said in an Instagram announcement. “I hear all you people out there. I didn’t know the numbers were so crazy in Austin....”

Representatives of Vanilla Ice did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s requests for comment and the gig is not listed on the rapper’s official website. A spokesperson for Mar-a-Lago declined to comment when asked by Yahoo Entertainment.

Once the footage was posted to Twitter, the musician was criticized by celebrities and health officials. “And 2020 ends not with a bang but with a superspreading Vanilla Ice concert at Mar-a-Lago,” wrote virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen, an associate research scientist at Columbia University in New York.

“Ok, don’t judge but I kinda wish I could watch a 24/7 roving interior camera of mar a lago. With audio, of course. I mean, this sh*t does not disappoint,” tweeted Kathy Griffin.

Colin Hanks, the son of actor Tom Hanks tweeted, “Vanilla Ice didn’t seem to solve any problems last night. Still waiting to hear if the DJ revolved a hook. All signs point to no.” While screenwriter Randi Mayem Singer wrote, “Imagine risking your life to dance badly to Vanilla Ice and one Beach Boy.”

Actress Kristen Johnston posted footage from the evening tweeting, “My vision of what hell looks like.”

And Florida House Representative Omari Hardy claimed that Mar-a-Lago violated Palm Beach County's mask order and revealed plans to report the event to county officials. “If I can wear a mask at my own wedding, partygoers at Mar-a-Lago can wear a mask on New Year's Eve,” he tweeted.

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