- YouTubers Lauren Love and her partner Joel Ashley are facing backlash for a recent prank video where Love dressed as a Walmart executive and told employees they were fired.
- The prank brought one employee to tears and she later spoke to a local news outlet saying the incident made her feel “powerless.”
- Walmart has also released a statement calling the prank “offensive.”
A YouTube couple is facing backlash for a video posted last month were one of the vloggers dresses up as a Walmart executive and pretends to fire store employees. YouTuber Lauren Love and her partner Joel Ashley have a channel with 1.3 million subscribers called “Joel and Lauren TV” where they post videos with titles like; “CAUGHT CHEATING PRANK ON GIRLFRIEND” and “SURPRISING MY BOYFRIEND WITH FAKE GUCCI PRANK.”
In a video posted last month called “CEO Firing People Prank,” Love goes into a Walmart in Richmond, Texas dressed in business attire. “So, I’m going to be going up to Walmart employees and basically observing them and then I’m going to be, like, ‘You’re fired. Let me see your badge,’” Love explains.
At one point Love fires an employee for being “in the wrong area.” He then takes off his vest and goes to hand it to her before she starts laughing and says “its just a prank.”
In another moment, Love fires a woman who responds by telling her she has been working for the store for six years. “I’ve been doing my job very well. I’ve been regarded as employee of the month,” the woman says as she fights back tears.
“I’m sorry, don’t cry. You’re okay. I’m sorry. You’re not fired. You’re doing a really good job,” Love says.
Some employees laugh off the prank once Love reveals that it is part of a YouTube video, but others, like the woman who cried, were far more impacted.
The woman who was brought to tears in the video was later identified as Maria Leones. Leones spoke to local news about the prank saying that it was especially not funny because her husband is recovering from triple bypass surgery and he uses her insurance.
“Really, I was really so crushed, I felt so little, I felt so powerless,” Leones told Click 2 Houston. Love told ABC 13 that she “felt so bad” and offered Leones fifty dollars, but Leones said that she has never received any money, nor does she want any.
A Walmart spokesperson has since commented on the situation calling the prank “offensive.” The company also said it was banning Love and her cameraperson from their stores.
“We’ve taken actions on behalf of our associates, including asking YouTube to remove the video and calling their attention to the bullying nature of this hoax,” the spokesperson said. “Our associates work hard every day to serve our customers. They do a fantastic job, deserve better than being subjected to such disrespect, and will continue to have our full support.”
Viewers have been spamming Love’s Instagram posts with comments about the firing prank and calling on brands to end their relationships with her. Neither Love or her partner have commented on the situation, but the video has been removed. Love has also disabled comments on some of her recent Instagram posts.
FaceApp Addresses Privacy Concerns
- Social media users are downloading a popular Russian-owned app called FaceApp to alter their photos with features like its aging filer.
- However, many have raised concerns about the app’s privacy policies and terms of service, accusing the company of collecting user data to sell to third parties or share with Russia.
- The company released a statement saying it does not do either of those things.
- However, other concerns about the app and what it specifically does with user data still exist.
FaceApp Challenge Goes Viral
FaceApp is a Russian app that uses artificial intelligence to alter photos of people’s faces. The app is two years old, but a recent FaceApp challenge has prompted the app to trend again. Users are posting photos of themselves with an aging filter that adds a few decades of wrinkles to their faces.
The trend has caught on with celebrities, many of whom have posted their own photos. Drake showed us what promo for his farewell tour might look like.
The Jonas Brothers gave us a glimpse of the year 3000.
Scooter Braun showed the damage a Taylor Swift controversy might do to your skin.
Here’s what Lil Nas X might look like after severe back pain stops him from taking his horse down the old town road.
We also got a peek of what Piers Morgan might look like in a month or so.
Celebrity photos and jokes aside, there is actually a big controversy surrounding FaceApp and the access it has to information on users’ phones. Many voiced their concerns on Twitter, though much of the fears turned out to be speculation.
Developer Joshua Nozzi said that he believed the app might be “uploading all your photos.”
Others brought up the app’s Russian ownership.
“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you,” the policy reads.
This essentially means that the app can take your photos and use them on their own. Many say that this could mean content could get used for marketing purposes.
“We use third-party analytics tools to help us measure traffic and usage trends for the Service,” the policy states. “These tools collect information sent by your device or our Service, including the web pages you visit, add-ons, and other information that assists us in improving the Service.”
The policy also says that while it will not sell your data to third parties, it can “share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners.”
FaceApp Addresses Concerns
FaceApp gave a statement to TechCrunch on Wednesday about some of the app’s policies to clarify some of the rumors spreading online.
FaceApp said that photos are processed in the cloud, but it debunked Nozzi’s theory that it was downloading all photos from your camera roll.
“FaceApp performs most of the photo processing in the cloud,” their statement reads. “We only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud.”
At the bottom of the statement, they linked to Nozzi’s tweet, which has now been deleted, specifically to drive their point home.
“We don’t do that. We upload only a photo selected for editing. You can quickly check this with any of network sniffing tools available on the internet.”
The statement went on to say: “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”
The statement said that the company accepts requests from users to remove all their data from its servers. They also added that the app’s features are available without logging in and said that 99% of users don’t log in, meaning that in most cases, they don’t have access to any data that could identify a person.
In its final points, the company confirmed that it does not sell data to third parties, and does not transfer information to Russia.
Many don’t think the statement answered enough questions. For example, it did not address the app’s right to use your data, which is mentioned in the terms of service, or other marketing concerns.
However, outlets like the Independent have noted that this is “fairly standard within such apps.”
Back in 2017, the chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, David Vaile, spoke to the Australia Broadcasting Company about this lack of transparency.
“They ask for way more rights than they need to offer the service to you,” Vaile said. “It is impossible to tell from this what happens when you upload it, that is the problem. The licence is so lax.”
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Mashable) (Tech Crunch)
Man Kills 17-Year-Old Bianca Devins and Posts Photos Online
- On Sunday 17-year-old Bianca Devins was murdered and her alleged killer posted graphic photos of her body online.
- He also posted cryptic and incriminating messages to his Instagram story and called police making comments alluding to both the murder and potential self-harm.
- He is being treated for serious injuries after slitting his neck and has been charged with second-degree murder.
- #RIPBianca began trending online, with people sharing condolences and speaking out about this type of violence.
Bianca Devins Killed
After a 17-year-old girl was murdered, graphic photos of her taken by her suspected killer circulated on online forums.
Bianca Devins was a micro-influencer in Utica, New York, who, according to reports, had around 6,000 followers at the time of her death. She was known as an e-girl who posted about video games and other online content.
In a statement, the Utica Police Department confirmed that she was killed on Sunday morning. According to authorities, she and a 21-year-old man went to a concert together on Saturday night. On the way back, they got into an argument, which continued until they arrived back in Utica early on Sunday.
The situation ended with the man pulling out a knife and stabbing Devins.
“During this time it is believed that he took and distributed photographs of the killing on the Discord platform,” the statement reads. “Members of Discord then viewed the images and posts and contacted the Utica Police Department. We can confirm that the images distributed of both the victim and the offender’s injuries are authentic and occurred at the time of the incident.”
According to other reports, the photos were also posted on Instagram and 4chan.
The man then called 911 himself making comments alluding to the murder, as well as comments about harming himself. When officers arrived at the scene, he began stabbing himself in the neck.
An officer also noticed a tarp at the scene, with brown hair sticking out from underneath.
“The male advised him that the female was beneath the tarp, and proceeded to pull out a cell phone,” the statement continues. “It was at this time that is believed that the male took self-photographs of himself laying across the deceased female.”
Officers were able to disarm the man, who was taken to the hospital with severe injuries but is expected to survive. He has been charged with second-degree murder.
The police investigation is ongoing and officers are still trying to figure out the nature of Devins’ relationship with the suspected killer. According to their statement, they met online two months ago. However, some reports have identified him as her boyfriend, some say he was a man who was obsessed with her, and others call him a family friend.
Devins’ family released a statement about the tragic news saying she “was a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon.”
“We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and sympathy we have received from our Friends, Family, Bianca’s Friends and the whole community,” the statement added. “Your prayers help to strengthen us through this difficult time.”
Photos Circulate Online
The story blew up on social media, with many focusing on the photos shared of the killing, as well as other social posts from the alleged murderer.
The photo of Devins that was posted to Discord was reportedly captioned with, “sorry fuckers, you’re going to have to find somebody else to orbit.” Orbiting is a phrase that refers to a “non-alpha male” who idolizes and pedestalizes a woman in hopes of pursuing her.
BuzzFeed News obtained screenshots of very cryptic messages he allegedly posted to his Instagram story that night. One included a quote from the movie Fight Club that says, “this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
Another photo posted to his Instagram story said, “Here comes hell. It’s redemption, right?”
BuzzFeed News and the Washington Post obtained screenshots that allegedly came from his Discord and show him saying “subscribe to Pewdiepie.”
BuzzFeed News also obtained screenshots of his Instagram bio before his account was taken down. It was updated to include a lifespan that read “10/06/1997-7/14/19,” which notably marked Sunday as his date of death. It also said, “just know that I feel no pain now.”
Instagram gave a statement to Rolling Stone saying they removed his account.
“We have also taken steps to prevent others from re-uploading the content posted to that account to Instagram,” they added.
Discord also gave Rolling Stone a statement about the news.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this terrible situation,” their spokesperson said. “We are working closely with law enforcement to provide any assistance we can. In the meantime, our hearts go out to Bianca’s family and loved ones.”
#RIPBianca Trends Online
The story also created the hashtag #RIPBianca, which began trending on Twitter. People are using it to share their condolences and to speak out against violence of this nature.
Many are also commenting messages on Devins’ Instagram, which has gained over 100,000 followers, sharing messages of love and saying “Rest in Peace.”
However, the comment section has also brought out an ugly side of the Internet. Some users are commenting that they have the graphic photos available on their profile.
Others are fighting back against users victim-blaming Devins, claiming she “literally had it coming” for meeting men online and allegedly leading them on.
“What happened to bianca is absolutely sickening and the way the internet is responding is almost just as sick,” one comment reads.
“She didn’t deserve it or have it coming. she was a child,” said another.
Editors Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.
VidCon Apologizes for Miles McKenna Deadnaming Incident
- YouTuber Miles McKenna was misgendered and deadnamed at VidCon by someone moderating a panel about LGBT activism and awareness.
- Deadnaming is referring to a person by their birth name or the name they went by before transitioning or changing their name.
- McKenna criticized VidCon on Twitter for choosing a moderator to lead an LGBT panel who did not better understand trans issues.
- VidCon, Hank Green, and the moderator, Stevie Wynne Levine, have apologized for the incident and said they hope issues like this can serve as a learning lesson for those who are unfamiliar with how to properly address their trans and nonbinary friends when referring to times that came before their transitions or name changes.
Miles McKenna Calls Out VidCon
VidCon has apologized after YouTuber Miles McKenna was misgendered and deadnamed during a panel about activism in the LGBT community.
On Sunday, the YouTuber tweeted that a panel moderator used female pronouns and deadnamed him when speaking about him. To “deadname” someone means to refer to a person by their birth name, or the name they went by before transitioning or changing their name.
The panel he is referring to was also hosted in partnership with The Trevor Project, an organization that benefits LGBTQ youth. According to McKenna, The Trevor Project was the only group to immediately reach out and apologize.
He then explained that his main frustration was that VidCon should be finding moderators who know how to discuss the panel’s topics properly.
Support For McKenna
Many people responded to the issue with online support for McKenna, including The Trevor Project. The organization issued a public apology, noting that what happened to McKenna is both “hurtful and invalidating” to transgender and non-binary people.
Other creators also chimed in to reach out, like Thomas Sanders and Damon Fizzy.
I am incredibly sorry that happened, Miles— Thomas Sanders (@ThomasSanders) July 15, 2019
that’s horrible. i’m sorry that happened to you! 🙁— Damon Fizzy. (@deefizzy) July 15, 2019
Other Twitter users expressed frustration that this happened to McKenna. Many wondered how he was deadnamed in the first place, seeing as his name is on all of his social media platforms. Others asked for VidCon to issue an apology.
@hankgreen @TheMilesMcKenna This seems really weird though. It seems like a difficult mistake to make? It’s not like Miles’s deadname is the name everyone commonly comes across when looking up Miles McKenna? It’s clearly a “Dead”name. Don’t use that. Use the name you tweeted out.— Reinier Miles (@ReinierDays) July 14, 2019
VidCon tweeted an apology, saying they would reach out to McKenna privately.
McKenna posted on his Instagram story confirming plans to speak with VidCon.
Hank Green, who is one of VidCon’s founders, also responded to McKenna’s tweet saying that he would DM him. He later tweeted a thread about the situation. Green acknowledged that as a cisgender and heterosexual man, he still has room to grow when it comes to LGBTQ issues.
He then explained that in no situation should a person deadname someone, regardless of the time of their life you are referring to.
He closed by saying that everyone “is learning all the time” and said that by talking about these issues on big platforms, we have opportunities to educate one another.
The moderator of the panel, Stevie Wynne Levine also apologized. She said she was sorry to have hurt McKenna and is heartbroken over the situation.
“I have been an out and proud member and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community for over a decade- spreading messages of love and support for those in my community,” she wrote.
She also explained that this was an unintentional mistake and provided context on how she deadnamed and misgendered McKenna.
“I took my role seriously, worked hard to research the best way to communicate the issues facing our queer community, as well as the participants that were on the panel,” Levine said.
“I understood from our conversation prior to the panel that telling the story of when we spoke back in 2014, about casting you in a female-led series, was OK. I regret not specifically asking you if I could reference your deadname in relation to the story, but the truth is- I really, really didn’t know.”