- Photos of 17-year-old singer Billie Eilish wearing a white tank top began circulating on Twitter, with the user who posted the images calling the teen “thick.”
- Fans immediately fired back at the user and pointed out that the singer is underage and has openly admitted to wearing baggy clothes to avoid being objectified.
- The Twitter user tried to argue that the singer is not a minor in most countries and used her song lyrics to suggest that she sexualizes herself.
Fans are defending Billie Eilish against people on social media that they argue are sexualizing the underage singer.
Billie Eilish is typically known for her unique style, which includes oversized t-shirts, baggy pants, long shorts, and sometimes even ski masks. But on Saturday, one Twitter user tweeted out photos of Eilish wearing a white tank top.
The user included a caption in one tweet that says, “Billie Eilish is THICK.” That tweet has since gathered around 55,000 likes as on Tuesday morning.
The post outraged many fans who soon came to Eilish’s defense. Along with pointing out that the singer is still just 17-years-old, fans reminded users that Eilish has publically spoken out about her efforts to avoid being objectified.
“I never want the world to know everything about me. I mean, that’s why I wear big baggy clothes,” she said in an ad for Calvin Klien. “Nobody can have an opinion … because they haven’t seen what’s underneath.”
hope billie never sees this. i don’t know what’s worse. you sexualizing a minor or you sexualizing someone who has gone out of their way to cover themselves.— SJ (@getvindictive) June 23, 2019
This poor girl gets hot and unzips her sweatshirt for a— Elephants but (@Sureasyoureborn) June 24, 2019
beat and is immediately swarmed with the attention she’s been trying to hide from. Get it together.
Twitter User Doubles Town
Fans became even more enraged when the original poster began to defend his post. The user argued that Billie is not a minor, writing, “She’s legal now in almost half of the country, and all countries outside of the US.”
🗣🗣🗣 Billie Eilish is not a minor. Stop it. She’s legal now in almost half of the country, and all countries outside of the US.— k (@PogbaEscobar) June 23, 2019
The user also included lyrics from some of the singer’s popular songs to say that she is the one who sexualized herself.
This girl literally said “bruises on both my knees for you” , “might seduce your dad”— k (@PogbaEscobar) June 23, 2019
BUT I’M ONE WHO’S SEXUALIZING HER???
Fans quickly rejected that argument and said she has the right to sing whatever she wants and still not get objectified. Others argued that the user was victim blaming.
teens are allowed to talk about sexual shit without having adults be attracted to them!!!— sa ||-// (@fvgreys) June 24, 2019
ah yes, i too find that victim blaming always helps people understand your point of view. please post more tweets in which you imply that she’s asking for it based off of a few song lyrics…— Lottie (@lottsxcrawley) June 25, 2019
she also said ‘my friends aren’t far in the back of my car lay their bodies’— saurus (@piratebairdo) June 24, 2019
iS biLLiE EiLisH kiLLiNg hEr FrIEnDs????
Fans Share Their Personal Experiences
The situation eventually inspired other women to come forward with their own experiences of unwanted attention.
This billie eilish thing reminds me of how i would always wear baggy stuff to school because i would get sexually harassed for my boobs and the one day i wore a tight shirt i ended up crying in the bathroom because of all the comments about my tits. I was 14— ethically-sourced meme deposit (@deposit_meme) June 25, 2019
Just last month the singer had to address a groping incident she experienced during a meet and greet with fans. In now deleted Instagram stories, she wrote: “pls dont grab my boobs in the meet & greet.”
The singer said she thought the incident might have been an accident. Still, she said experiences like that make it difficult for her to feel comfortable at meet and greets.
Media Slammed for Poor Judgement and Misreporting in Coverage of Kobe Bryant’s Death
- NBA superstar Kobe Bryant died at the age of 41 Sunday morning, alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others who were killed in a Calabasas, California helicopter crash.
- L.A. authorities specifically condemned TMZ for breaking the story before the victims’ families had been notified.
- Other outlets faced public criticism for their errors, like ABC News which incorrectly said all four of Bryant’s children had died, ESPN which reported that one of the victims was retired NBA player Rick Fox, and the BBC which mistakenly used footage of Lebron James instead of Bryant.
- An MSNBC reporter also faced backlash for appearing to say the n-word when covering the story, though she later apologized and explained that she stuttered on-air, combining the names of the Knicks and the Lakers to say “Nakers.”
TMZ Reports Kobe Bryant’s Death
Minutes after Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash, TMZ was already reporting the death of Kobe Bryant.
TMZ’s coverage—along with coverage by various other outlets—sparked a national debate over how to handle celebrity deaths, especially as they break.
Bryant’s death was first reported by TMZ before authorities were able to fully contact the victims’ next of kin. From there, the story propagated on other major media outlets like ABC, the BBC, and ESPN.
At a press conference Sunday, Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva criticized TMZ directly for leaking the information so soon.
“There is wide speculation of who the identities are,” he said, “however, it would be entirely inappropriate to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made the identification through their very deliberative process, and they’ve made notifications to next-of-kin. And it would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one was perished and that you learned about it from TMZ. That is just wholly inappropriate, so we’re not going to be going there.”
Later, Los Angeles Undersheriff Tim Murakami issued a similar statement on Twitter, though he stopped short of naming TMZ directly.
“I am saddened that I was gathering facts as a media outlet reported the Kobe had passed,” Murakami said. “I understand getting the scoop but please allow us time to make personal notifications to their loved ones. It’s very cold to hear of the loss via media. Breaks my heart.”
Bryant is not the first celebrity death TMZ has broken, a trait the celebrity gossip site is known for. In 2009, it first reported that Michael Jackson had died. In 2012, it broke the story that Whitney Houston had died and in 2016, it also broke the news of Prince’s death.
On social media, the hashtag #BoycottTMZ trended, with many users saying the site exploited his death to break the story.
Shame on you!! Reporting about this crash before the families were notified! Despicable greedy behavior. #boycottTMZ— Wendy (@raztazz2001) January 26, 2020
ABC, ESPN, and BBC Slammed
TMZ isn’t the only news organization being criticized for its coverage of Kobe’s death. In the first few hours following Bryant’s death, reports were highly varied.
During early coverage, ABC News reporter Matt Gutman reported that it was believed all four of Kobe’s daughters were aboard the helicopter and had been killed. That then led to a number of ABC affiliates reporting the same information. In reality, neither Bryant’s wife Vanessa nor his other three daughters were on the helicopter.
At the same time, you had ESPN reported that one of the victims was Rick Fox, a former player for the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers. Fox, however, was not on the flight and was later confirmed alive by an NBA reporter on Sunday.
The BBC also caught major criticism during its airing of an obituary segment for Bryant where it mistakenly used footage of Lebron James, who is still very much alive. That footage included direct shots of James’ “23” jersey with his name on the back.
MSNBC Anchor and Buttigieg Criticized
MSNBC’s Alison Morris—while not criticized for misreporting—was accused of dropping the n-word when talking about Bryant’s death.
Morris later took to Twitter to clarify her comment, which said she was a stutter between trying to say “Knicks” and “Lakers.”
“Earlier today, while reporting on the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing, I unfortunately stuttered on air, combining the names of the Knicks and the Lakers to say “Nakers.” Please know I did not & would NEVER use a racist term. I apologize for the confusion this caused.”
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also came under fire for insinuating Bryant was a football player while on Fox News.
“Our lives are often touched by people we never even meet, and there are millions of people, not just in Los Angeles but around the world,” Buttigieg said. “Right now, mourning because they were inspired by what he did he did on the field, what he meant off the field.”
However, in an earlier interview, Buttigieg used the term “court.” On Twitter, he also used the term “court.”
What Do We Know So Far?
While a preliminary report likely won’t be published for another month and a full report likely won’t come until next year, many details surrounding the crash are still being learned.
During their initial reports Sunday morning, many media outlets said five people—including Bryant and his daughter—had been killed; however, Sheriff Villaneuva later revealed that nine people had been aboard the aircraft when it went down.
“There were no survivors,” he said. “We have a manifest that indicates that there was nine people onboard the aircraft. The pilot plus eight individuals.”
Victims include Bryant, his daughter, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, elementary school basketball coach Christina Mauser, a parent named Sarah Chester and her daughter Peyton, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
The helicopter reportedly took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County just after 9 a.m. It passed over Boyle Heights and near Dodger stadium. It then circled Glendale, and it was on its way to Kobe’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game. Just before 10 a.m., the craft then crashed onto a hillside in Calabasas.
The helicopter itself was a Sikorsky S-76B model, which has been manufactured since the 1970s. Bryant specific helicopter had been in operation since 1991. It was outfitted with twin turboshaft engines and contained room for 12 passengers and two crew members.
Bryant reportedly began using the helicopter as a way to beat L.A. traffic and spend more time with his children. Since his death, a clip of Bryant explaining his decision on The Corp has circulated on social media.
Bryant was also known for offering his helicopter to help his teammates make doctors’ appointments.
What Will the Investigation Look Into?
As for the investigation, many Angelenos took notice of a thick fog encompassing the region Sunday morning; however, it is wholly unknown if this caused or even played into the helicopter’s crash.
Despite that, on Sunday prior to the crash, L.A. police and the sheriff’s departments did deem the fog hazardous enough to ground their helicopters. Reports Monday morning indicated that Bryant’s pilot had given special permission to fly in the fog.
Fog by itself does not mean that a pilot cannot fly a helicopter. Instead, helicopters need to be equipped with specialized instruments that help pilots fly in those conditions. If not using those instruments, a pilot would only be able to use what’s known as VFR — right, visual flight rules. Pilots can request special clearance in inclement conditions to use VFR if a pilot is rated high enough to not fly only by instruments.
According to the LATimes, an audio recording between the pilot and air traffic controllers suggests that indicates the helicopter was using VFR because the pilot told a controller he was “in VFR at 1,500″ feet. The newspaper, however, also noted that none of this has been confirmed yet.
Regardless of whether or not fog was the culprit, it is expected to play a factor in the official investigation.
That investigation will also look into if there were mechanical problems aboard the helicopter, though it’s extremely rare for Sikorsky S-76B’s to experience twin-engine failure. From 2006-2016, the model saw the lowest number of fatal crashes among all of the major civilian helicopters in the country.
It is likely possible that both the weather and some form of mechanical failure took place, causing the chopper to plummet, but any official cause will likely not be known for some time.
Fans and Friends Remember Kobe
Following news of Bryant’s death, many fans and friends mourned the loss of the NBA superstar, with many in L.A. saying he perfectly represented the spirit of the city.
Perhaps one of the most memorable responses came from footage showing the Lakers returning to the city, where Lebron James can be visibly seen tearing up. The team reportedly learned about the crash on their flight back to LA.
Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan also lamented the loss of Bryant.
“Words can’t describe the pain I am feeling,” Jordan said. “I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force.”
Major politicians such as President Donald Trump and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also issued statements via Twitter.
Throughout Sunday, many fans gathered around the Staples Center where the Lakers play. Bryant also saw more tributes at the Staples Center later that night when stars like Alicia Keys, Aerosmith, Lizzo, and Lil Nas X all honored him at the Grammys.
In Philadelphia, people have set up a memorial in front of the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium at Bryant’s high school.
At the same time, there have been multiple reports of fans rushing to the crash site to set up a memorial. The traffic became so heavy that authorities shut down roads leading to the hillside where the helicopter crashed after that traffic made it harder for emergency personnel to perform their jobs.
That disturbance also risked contaminating the crash site as investigators work to both preserve and examine the scene to determine what caused the helicopter to go down.
Bryant’s 2003 Rape Allegation
While millions mourn Bryant’s death, others have used this as an opportunity to reminded people of Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault allegation, when a then-19-year-old hotel employee accused him of raping her. That case was later dropped because the accuser refused to testify in court. The accuser then settled privately with Bryant.
“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual,” Bryant admitted in 2004, “I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
People like Evan Rachel Wood noted the tragedy of the situation but also refused to shy away from addressing the accusation.
“What has happened is tragic,” she said on Twitter. “I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.”
Additionally, Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted a Daily Beast link to a 2016 article titled: “Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case.” Sonmez later tweeted that she had received over 10,000 abuse and death threats after posting the link.
As of Monday, her tweets on Bryant have all been deleted and she has reportedly been suspended by the Post.
However, many were frustrated by those bringing up the rape case at such a sensitive time, including Comedian Corrine Fisher, who offered her take on the matter.
“MY REPLY WHEN YOU TELL ME KOBE IS A RAPIST: ‘I know. We all fucking know. You think I don’t know? I fucking know. Go away,’” she said on Twitter. “Welp, he’s dead at 41 AND his 13 yr old daughter is dead. They crashed in a helicopter & burst into flames. Is that the justice you wanted you monsters?”
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (The Los Angeles Times) (NBC News)
2020 Grammys: Billie Eilish Wins Big, Tyler the Creators Slams “Urban” Categories, and Other Major Moments
- The 2020 Grammy Awards took place last night, with Billie Eilish breaking records after sweeping in all four major categories.
- Guests and viewers also mourned the loss of recently deceased LA legends Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant with special tributes during the show.
- While dealing with backlash over corruption accusations from its former president, the Recording Academy also faced criticism from Tyler the Creator and Diddy who slammed its treatment and categorization of black artists.
Billie Eilish Wins Big
The biggest names in music gathered for 62nd annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, which proved to be a tough and emotional event mixed with celebration and mourning.
The stand out winner of this year’s show was Billie Eilish, who took home awards in all four major categories: Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year.
Thanks to the success of her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” and her smash hit “Bad Guy,” the 18-year-old has made history as the second artist to sweep in the top four categories, after Christopher Cross in 1981. She is also the youngest person and first woman to ever do so.
On top of that, Eilish is now the youngest person to ever win in the Album of the Year category, beating out Taylor Swift, and the youngest to take home Record of the Year, a spot previously held by Sam Smith and Kimbra.
Aside from the four major wins, the singer also won a 5th award for Best Pop Vocal Album.
Mourning Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant
The Grammys also took a moment to celebrate the later rapper Nipsey Hussle with a star-studded tribute performance just hours after honoring him with his first Grammy posthumously.
The performance, which included the likes of John Legend, YG, DJ Khaled, and others, concluded with an image of Hussle alongside Kobe Bryant, the 41-year-old basketball legend who passed away just hours before the show.
Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning– news that stunned family, friends, and fans across the country.
The two were on their way to a youth basketball game with Orange Coast College baseball coaching legend John Altobelli, his wife Keri, their daughter Alyssa, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, assistant coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan, who all died in the tragic accident.
Bryant’s shocking death was also addressed at the show’s opening by host Alicia Keys who said, “We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now.”
“Earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
After her opening remarks, Keys began a line from the Boys II Men song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” and was joined by the ban itself moments later.
Recording Academy Scandal and Tyler the Creator on Diversity Issues
Though grief seemed to overshadow much of the night, the award show also had to deal with ongoing scandals and criticisms.
Dugan was ousted earlier this month, and since then, accusations of harassment, corruption, and conflict of interests have been thrown each way. Dugan recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the Academy of retaliation, sexual misconduct, improper voting practices, and more. Meanwhile, the Academy accused Dugan of creating a “toxic and intolerable” work environment and engaged in “abusive and bullying conduct.”
But concern over insider Recording Academy practices also made headlines when Tyler the Creator seemed conflicted after earning his first-ever Grammy for Best Rap Album. Following a gracious acceptance speech, Tyler spoke to reporters backstage about the Recording Academy’s voting process.
While he said he was “very grateful” to have his work acknowledged, he called the categorization of his music as rap a “backhanded compliment.”
“It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said.
Sean “Diddy” Combs showed similar concerns at Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala on Saturday, saying the Recording Academy has never respected black artists.
“Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be. So, right now, in this current situation, it’s not a revelation. This thing been going on and it’s not just going on in music. It’s going on in film. It’s going on in sports, It’s going on around the world,” he said.
He went to say that it was silly to allow “institutions that have never had our best interest at heart, to judge us.”
“We need transparency. We need diversity. This is the room that has the power to make the change. It needs to be made. They have to make the changes for us,” he continued.
Tyler’s comments come just as the Recording Academy announced new diversity initiatives to “ensure that the Academy — and the music business — is truly representative of artists and their audiences.”
Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer Harvey Mason Jr. said in his message to Academy members Sunday morning: “The music we create has always reflected the best of ourselves and our world. But what was true of music has historically not been true of the music business as a whole.”
“Too often, our industry and Academy have alienated some of our own artists — in particular, through a lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that leans towards exclusion rather than inclusion,” he added.
Megyn Kelly Accuses NBCUniversal of Double Standard After Robert Downey Jr. Defends Acting in Blackface
- In an interview with Joe Rogan, Robert Downey Jr. defended his decision to act wearing blackface in the film Tropic Thunder, arguing that it was satire.
- Former talk show host Megyn Kelly responded in a tweet, suggesting that NBC Universal gave him a free pass while she was “canceled” by the company for comments previously made defending blackface.
- Some Twitter users criticized Kelly, pointing out that the movie was a parody while her comments were serious, while, others agreed that she was treated unfairly.
Robert Downey Jr. Interview
Former news anchor Megyn Kelly accused NBC Universal of practicing a double standard regarding discussions of blackface after Robert Downey Jr. defended his decision to play a character who wears blackface in the movie Tropic Thunder.
The 2008 satirical action-comedy centered around four actors who were filming a Vietnam war movie. In the film, Downey plays Kirk Lazarus, a method actor who got “pigmentation alteration” surgery to darken his skin so he could play a black character for the movie.
While the character drew some criticisms, the film was still quite well-received by critics, many of whom felt the movie was a satire of Hollywood and that Downey’s character fit that narrative. Downey was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, as well as other awards for the role.
The topic was recently rehashed again when podcast host Joe Rogan asked Downey Jr. if he believed Tropic Thunder could be made today. Downey said that he initially thought the role was “a terrible idea.”
“And then I thought, ‘Well hold on dude, get real here, where is your heart?’” he continued. “And my heart is, a) I get to, I get to be black for a summer in my mind, so there’s something in it for me. The other thing is I get to hold up to nature the insane, self-involved hypocrisy of artists and what they think they’re allowed to do on occasion. Just my opinion.”
Downey Jr. went on to praise Ben Stiller, who co-wrote, directed, and acted in the movie.
“He knew exactly what the vision for this was,” he said. “He executed it. It was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie. And 90% of my black friends were like, ‘Dude, that was great.’”
When asked about the other 10% Downey Jr. admitted that he couldn’t disagree with them.
“But I know where my heart was,” he explained. “And I think that it’s never an excuse to do something that is out of place and not of its time, but to me, it was just putting a, it was a blasting cap on.”
Rogan then circled back to the question of whether or not the movie could be made today.
“There’s a morality clause here on this planet, and it’s a big price to pay,” Downey Jr. said. “And I think having a moral psychology is job one, so sometimes you just got to go, ‘Yeah I effed up.’ Again, not in my defense, but ‘Tropic Thunder’ was about how wrong that is, so I take exception.”
Megyn Kelly Responds
After the clip went viral, many people took to Twitter to respond. Some criticized Downey, saying that blackface is never acceptable, while others agreed with the actor that the film was meant to satirize those who actually do blackface.
Kelly, however, had a different take altogether. In October 2018, Kelly drummed up controversy after comments she made on her NBC talk show about wearing blackface on Halloween.
“But what is racist?” she asked in the segment. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
Kelly publicly apologized for the comments on her show the next day. But three days after making those remarks, NBC canceled her show, and her contract with them was terminated in January 2019.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Kelly went after NBC Universal, which produced Tropic Thunder, accusing them of a double standard.
Response to Kelly
Twitter users responded to Kelly’s post with the expected mixed reactions.
Some argued that the movie was a satire and that Downey was just an actor playing a role, while Kelly was a journalist speaking as herself on her own talk show.
Robert Downey Jr. parodied racists who choose blackface in “Tropic Thunder”. Your personal and career failings are of your own making and can’t be attributed to a racist character you were playing (that’s Alex Jones’ weak defense).https://t.co/yK5Sae0G96— the inverted pilcrow. ¶ (@dlnodots) January 23, 2020
Robert Downey Jr – satire. Megyn Kelly – racism. Big difference, which you obviously still cannot get over. You must be missing that paycheck. Oh and we haven’t forgotten about your white Santa BS too.— Suzie O’Shea (@oshea_suzie) January 23, 2020
Did you see Tropic Thunder? His character was a parody of an idiotic, egomaniacal actor who thought he was making some kind of deep point. In other words, his character was a parody of people like you.— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) January 23, 2020
On the other side, some people agreed with Kelly, arguing that she was right and it was and that she was treated unfairly.
Complete double standard. They didn’t treat you right.— Eric Coleman (@EricSColeman) January 23, 2020
NBCUniversal did you dirty. The way you were treated was absolutely disgraceful. Excited to see what you do next.— Tyler Cardon (@TyCardon) January 23, 2020
You got a raw deal there. It has nothing to do with “blackface”. They used it as an excuse.— gypsy_sol77 (@GypsySol77) January 23, 2020