In March, after the beginning of the coronavirus quarantine, O’Dowd, 40, was one of several celebrities to take part in a musical relay race of sorts, featuring stars singing bits of the famous John Lennon song, line by line.
The video was met with sharp criticism, many calling it “out of touch” seeing as to how people were sick and losing their jobs while stars like O’Dowd and Gal Gadot, who kicked off the video, were economically safe.
O’Dowd explained that he participated because he’d “do anything Kristen [Wiig] asks me to do, so of course, we just did it. 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.”
The video begins with a message of encouragement from Gadot, 35, who noted at the time that it was the sixth day of quarantine. O’Dowd said the video came about as part of “that first wave of creative diarrhea” once people were asked to stay home.
“It was just a bunch of people running around thinking that they had to do something when we really didn’t,” he said. “We just needed to chill out and take everything in.”
He added: “I think any backlash was justified.”
O’Dowd called the backlash a “maelstrom” and that being a part of it was “bizarre.”
“I’m glad it’s over and [we] can move on to real things,” the actor said.
“I think in a situation like there — where it’s like how you are interpreted by the rest of the world — has an importance to how your career works out,” O’Dowd explained. “… We’re definitely going through a phase of how the media or people within it are interpreted by people who watch it.”
The actor said he’s unsure if personalities like himself are doing “a bad job,” but that he attempts to “be a mirror to society,” meaning that when something like the “Imagine” video makes its way online, people question “these people who are supposed to be representing us.”