LOS ANGELES—Bono, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman and “The Walking Dead” actress Danai Gurira are among the celebrities playing the waiting game in a new online campaign calling for a unified response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
In a video posted Wednesday, stars such as Will Ferrell, Thandie Newton and Connie Britton stare silently into a camera to illustrate that they’re still waiting for world leaders to fight Ebola, which has killed more than 5,000 people in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
“The waiting is causing the issue to propel itself,” Gurira said. “I thought it was a very powerful way to get that message across that we do need action. Sitting and waiting can lead to more problems.”
Other stars appearing in the One Campaign’s two-minute video include Vincent Cassel, Akon, Ellie Goulding, German soccer star Per Mertesacker and African musicians Fally Ipupa, Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti and Ice Prince. They’re joined by Liberian health care workers Dr. J. Soka Moses and Louise Gaye.
“We thought there was something extremely powerful in not having them say anything,” said Michael Elliott, CEO of the One Campaign. “We asked them to look into the camera, and we came up with just a few simple lines explaining that we’ve waited too long in the past, and we can’t wait too long in the future.”
Elliott called the initial response to the Ebola outbreak a failure and said thousands have paid with their lives. One Campaign is asking citizens to sign a petition demanding that world leaders strengthen health care systems in developing countries and end the outbreak.
The video is being released alongside the One Campaign’s online Ebola response tracker, which shows how much money countries have pledged to tackle Ebola, how much has been disbursed and how many health workers and other contributions have been sent to affected countries.
Bono, who co-founded the One Campaign, isn’t being as quiet in his other attempt to battle Ebola. The U2 frontman is leading a reworked rendition of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” featuring young artists like Sam Smith, One Direction and Rita Ora. The original Band Aid charity single was released 30 years ago.