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Taylor Swift Donates to Tennessee LGBT Group

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  • Taylor Swift donated $113,000 to an LGBT rights group in Tennessee.
  • The group is specifically fighting several bills that are currently floating in various stages of the state’s government and that will impact the rights of the LGBT community.

Taylor’s Donation

Pop star Taylor Swift donated $113,000 dollars on Monday to an LGBT rights group in Tennesse.

Swift’s donation was given to the Tennessee Equality Project, which fights to stop anti-LGBT legislation from passing within the state, and aims to educate the community on equality.

TEP’s Executive Director, Chris Sanders, posted news of Swift’s charitable contribution to Facebook. He thanked her for being a long-time ally and said, “she sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people.”

With his post, he also shared a hand-written letter Swift addressed to him, where she said she was “inspired” by TEP’s work, specifically noting their stance against the “Slate of Hate.”

Anti-LGBT Bills in Tennessee

The “Slate of Hate” Swift mentions in her letter refers to a series of bills proposed in Tennessee’s General Assembly that could negatively impact the LGBT community. TEP created “The People’s Petition Against the Slate of Hate” to fight against them.

These bills include HB1152 and HB836, which both aim to allow adoption agencies to deny services based on religious beliefs, which TEP called “state-sanctioned discrimination.”

The slate also includes HB1369, which is known as “The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.” This act defines natural marriage as between a man and a woman and allows courts to void the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized gay marriage.

There are also two pieces of legislation that TEP specifically believes will target the transgender community. The first being HB1151, which is an amendment to the state’s indecent exposure rules that expand it to specifically include incidents in restrooms, fitting rooms, and locker rooms. The TEP called this bill a “devious attempt to criminalize transgender and gender nonconforming people” in these settings.

Then there is also HB1274, which some refer to as the “bathroom bill.” This would require the state’s Attorney General to defend schools that mandate that students and faculty use the bathroom of their “biological sex.” This bill also just passed through Tennesee’s House on Monday.

TEP released a statement on these bills, that was also backed by over 100 religious leaders in the state, ranging from pastors to rabbis.

“As residents of Tennessee, we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly,” the statement reads. “They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state.  We call on people of good will to join us in speaking out for basic fairness.”

Reactions to Swift’s Donation

The “Shake it Off” singer’s donation trended online, and was met with positivity.

Ellen Degeneres tweeted her praise.

The Human Rights Campaign thanked her for supporting their “incredible partners.”

Taylor’s Past Political Actions

This hefty donation is not Swift’s first jump into Tennessee politics. Back in October, she made a long post on Instagram about her choice to use her voice for politics and endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen.

Photo via Instagram, @taylorswift

She also encouraged her followers to head to Vote.org to register before the upcoming midterms, which lead to a surge of registrations. The site said they received 65,000 new registrations in the 24 hours after she posted, which is more than they received throughout the whole month of August.

See what others are saying: (Tennessean) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Jezebel)

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Why Twitter Tried to Cancel Lil Nas X

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  • #LilNasXIsOverParty was trending on Twitter this weekend after users shared screenshots of Islamaphobic tweets they claim came from an old Nicki Minaj stan account he used to run.
  • However, people are doubting the validity of this account, as it is unclear if he actually ran it.
  • Some argue that either way, this is another example of people trying to cancel an artist on the rise.
  • Lil Nas X has not addressed whether or not the account was his, though he has acknowledged the hashtag on Twitter.

#LilNasXIsOverParty Trends on Twitter

#LilNasXIsOverParty was trending on Twitter over the weekend after Islamaphobic tweets from a Nicki Minaj stan account that many claim Lil Nas X used to run resurfaced. However, social media users are unsure if the “Old Town Road” singer is actually the person behind the account.

The trend followed the release of Lil Nas X’s new EP “7″, which came out on Friday. The tweets came from an account called Nasmaraj. They included insinuations that Islam is a violent religion, as well as remarks about the bombing that occurred in 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The account has since been suspended, with many reports claiming the reason behind this was TweetDecking. TweetDecking is when accounts copy viral content in mass.

Still, when people saw these screenshots, many took offense. Some asked what was wrong with the singer, while others spoke against Islamaphobia.

However, some people thought this was a case of people taking cancel culture too far, and said that they just wanted to attack an up-and-coming artist.

A tweet that no longer appears on Lil Nas X’s page also came up. In May, it appears he acknowledged his past and said he had grown.

Debates Over Account Legitamacy

One of the biggest questions people had about the tweets, however, was if they really came from Lil Nas X. Many users debated whether or not he was behind the Nasmaraj account.

Some claimed the account belonged to the singer, including one user who says they were a fan of his starting with that Twitter account.

A video allegedly shows someone sending a direct message to Lil Nas X, and him responding acknowledging the account.

In April, Intelligencer, a publication by New York Magazine, wrote an article claiming that the Nasmaraj account belonged to Lil Nas X. They claim a Reddit user called Nasmaraj posted content just to promote Lil Nas X. The account has since been removed, but according to Intelligencer, it pre-dated Lil Nas X’s fame, so it was unlikely that it would have been a fan account.

The report also says that after the Nasmaraj account was suspended, a new account was created by the same user, which is a common practice for meme accounts. This account was allegedly called Nasmarai.

That account now is locked and appears to be owned by a new user. However, people on Twitter pointed out that the handle used to be in Lil Nas X’s Twitter bio.

Intelligencer also said that they got the URL from an old Nasmarai tweet. They said that the digits at the end of the tweet’s URL serve as an ID, and that this ID can be used to find the current account of the user. When you type those digits into Twitter now, a tweet from Lil Nas X’s current account appears. They claim that because of this, those two accounts must be linked.

Others also claim that his current account and the Nasmarai account share the same e-mail address.

However, some don’t believe this is enough evidence to show that the Nasmaraj account was owned by Lil Nas X. Many think that he could be behind Nasmarai, but don’t see enough evidence to connect him to the problematic tweets.

According to Hot One Hip Hop, Lil Nas X’s team has also denied that he was behind the Nasmaraj account. The outlet ran an article about the Nasmaraj Twitter account, then ran a correction.

“Lil Nas X’s team has reached out to us to confirm that the Lil Nas X did not run a Nicki Minaj fanpage, despite Billboard’s initial reports,” the correction reads. The Billboard article referenced appears to have been removed.

Some people on Twitter have also pointed out that the timestamps on one of the screenshots have been different. One tweet has a date on May 30, 2017, which is a few days after the terrorist attack in Manchester. However, another screenshot dates the tweet in March, two months before the event happened.

Lil Nas X Responds

On Sunday, Lil Nas X tweeted about the trending hashtag with two memes.

On Monday, he shared an old tweet of his about people trying to “ruin other ppls career when they see them on the rise.”

Lil Nas X performed at the BET Awards on Sunday night and has not specifically addressed whether or not the Nasmaraj account belonged to him.

See what others are saying: (Uproxx) (Insider) (Intelligencer)

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Netflix Responds to Backlash Over New Prank Show Hosted By Stranger Things Star Gaten Matarazzo

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  • Netflix announced their new show, Prank Encounters, on Friday which is hosted by Stranger Things actor Gaten Matarazzo.
  • The show is set to air sometime in 2019 and is described as a hidden-camera prank show featuring people who believe they are starting their first day at a new job.  
  • People began criticizing the show’s plotline, calling it cruel to give false hope and target people who are looking for work.
  • However, Netflix assured the public that participants had a “great time” and said they “came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.”

The Show

Netflix announced a new show hosted by Stranger Things actor Gaten Matarazzo on Friday and is already dealing with harsh backlash over its plotline.

In a press release, Netflix says the show, Prank Encounters, will be eight episodes long and air sometime in 2019. It goes on to note that in addition to being the host, Matarazzo is also one of the executive producers.

According to Deadline, a Netflix representative described Prank Encounters as a “terrifying and hilarious prank show.”

The spokesperson added that it “takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares”

Responses

Following the announcement, Netflix and Matarazzo faced backlash. Many were upset with the plotline, saying it preyed on people looking for work. Different media outlets like Vulture and AV Club were among the critics.

An AV writer even compared prank shows to the measles outbreak, writing: “TV prank shows are kind of like measles epidemics: They’re sudden, happen seemingly at random, and it’s hard to believe that they’re still popping up in the world in twenty-nine-f*cking-teen.”

Fans began calling out Prank Encounters, taking their outrage to Twitter.

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However, a few did support the show and asked people to at least give it a chance to air before they attack it.

Others found humor in the situation and started suggesting different show ideas for Netflix.

Netflix Defends Show

In response to the criticism, Netflix released a statement hoping to help clarify what the show is about.

“The pranks in Prank Encounters are spooky, supernatural, and over the top, and everyone had a great time,” a spokesperson for the company told reporters. “All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.”

However, according to BuzzFeed, Netflix declined to say how the jobs for the show were advertised. As of now, Matarazzo and his team have not made any comment.

See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed) (CNBC) (Cinema Blend)

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Bella Thorne Posts Her Own Topless Photos After Threats From Hacker

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  • Actress Bella Thorne posted topless photos of herself on social media in response to threats from a hacker who had obtained the images.
  • In an apparent message to the hacker, Throne wrote: “I can sleep tonight better knowing I took my power back. U can’t control my life u never will.”
  • Many fans have supported the move, calling Thorne brave, while others wonder if this incident is a stunt to promote her new book.

The Tweet

Actress Bella Thorne posted topless photos of herself on Twitter after a hacker threated to release the images that were stolen from her.

On Saturday, Thorne tweeted out screenshots of text messages between her and an alleged hacker, which included nude photos and videos of Thorne. Along with the photos, the actress also included a message to her fans in the tweet, explaining her decision to release the photos.

“I feel someone has taken something from me that I only wanted one special person to see,” Thorne wrote. “He has sent multiple nude photos of other celebs, he won’t stop with me or them he will just keep going.”

She continues, “for too long I let a man take advantage of me over and over and I’m f***ing sick of it, I’m putting this out because it’s MY DECISION NOW U DON’T GET TO TAKE YET ANOTHER THING FROM ME. I can sleep tonight better knowing I took my power back. U can’t control my life u never will.”

The tweet and photos come just days after Thorne’s twitter was hacked. On Thursday, the actress’ social media account was filled with racial slurs and sexually explicit messages. By the end of the day, Thorne had regained control and deleted all the tweets.

Thorne’s full statement released via Twitter.

Responses

Many of Thorne’s fans have praised her, calling her strong and brave for standing up to her hacker.

However, others have questioned her motivation and wonder if this was just a promotional scheme for her new book.

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Other Celebrity Hacking Incidents

In 2014, hundreds of private photos, including some belonging to Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Kristen Dunst, were leaked online. According to the U.S. Justice Department, four men used various forms of fake emails to pose as security alerts from accounts to obtain login information and passwords.

They gained access to over a thousand different iCloud and Gmail accounts and were eventually charged with felony computer hacking. All four men ended up in federal prison after being found guilty or accepting a plea deal.

As for pursuing legal options in her case, Thorne says she believes her hacker is likely a minor, so she wants to try and be reasonable.

“This kid sounds like he’s 17,” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “As much as I’m so angry and wanted to f*** him up over doing this to people I just wanted to teach him a lesson. He’s still a kid and we make mistakes, this mistake is a bad one. But I don’t want some 17-year-old’s whole life ruined because he wasn’t thinking straight and [was] being a dumbass.”

“You can’t always tear someone down for their bad sides but more so build up their good sides.”

On Wednesday actress Victoria Justice also had her Twitter account hacked. She has since deleted tweets that were posted without her consent, but it is unclear if hacks against Justice and Thorne are related.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Entertainment Tonight) (News18)

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