Connect with us

Industry

Andy Signore Responds to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Published

on

  • Andy Signore released a video on Monday addressing sexual misconduct allegations against him that surfaced nearly two years ago.
  • In the video, he apologized for making inappropriate comments to fans, but denied ever assaulting anyone.
  • He argued that his relationship with one of his accusers, April Dawn, was consensual.
  • Dawn later tweeted a response to the video and defended her previous claims.

Signore Accused of Misconduct

Screen Junkies creator Andy Signore has responded to sexual misconduct allegations and is maintaining that the assault claims against him are false. 

In 2017, Signore, who was at the time the Vice President of Content at Defy Media, which owned Screen Junkies before its collapse, was accused of sexual harassment and assault. One allegation came from a former employee named Emma Bowers. She identified herself as an intern working for copy credit and said that Signore sent her inappropriate messages complimenting her physical appearance.

 “Lol jacking it to you in your undies,” one message read. 

Another major allegation came from April O’Donnell who goes by April Dawn. Dawn was a fan of Signore and the Screen Junkies who said that Signore sexually assaulted her multiple times. She alleged that he tried to force a sex toy inside of her, took photos of her without her permission, and promised her a position at Screen Junkies for sexual favors. 

When she tried to report this to HR at Screen Junkies, she says they did nothing to help her. This claim was backed up in a statement by her boyfriend, who worked at Screen Junkies, as well as another Defy employee named Dani Fernandez.

Dawn said that Signore threatened her boyfriend’s job over the matter. She also found other women online who said they had received inappropriate messages from Signore in the past. 

These allegations resulted in Signore losing his job at Defy. In August 2018, he sued to the organization for claiming he was wrongfully fired. The lawsuit was settled in June. 

After the accusations came out, other stories brought to the surface painted a similar picture of Signore. In a 2018 interview, Roxy Striar, who worked at Defy under Signore, said that while she was never assaulted, she found his behavior crossed lines. 

“There were things that would happen through the years that I spoke about and was really, I didn’t speak about it publicly,” Striar said in an interview with Kristian Harloff.

“Uncomfortable,” Harloff asked.

“More than uncomfortable, really inappropriate,” she answered.

“He was a super, super inappropriate guy,” she later added.

Signore has denied ever harassing Striar. 

Signore Responds to Claims

On Monday, Signore posted a video titled “#MeToo Misfire – An Honest Defense of Andy Signore” in an effort to clear his name. He said that until now, he was not legally allowed to discuss the situation. 

“The truth is I did awkwardly flirt with and make inappropriate comments to some of my fans despite being married,” Signore admitted. “And in doing this I betrayed so many people that I love and respect. I put them into horribly awkward and uncomfortable positions. And I’m truly sorry for this behavior.” 

While he admitted to inappropriate flirting, he still denied ever assaulting anyone.

“These egregious claims labeling me a sexual predator, workplace harasser, and a rapist are categorically untrue,” Signore said. “And I do not want my family hounded forever by such malicious slander.” 

He claims his relationship with Dawn was consensual and referred to it as an affair. He showed text messages between to two to show the relationship was mutually founded. 

He says that they met at a comic con in 2015. In the messages, he claims the two are flirting. In one Dawn says thinks being his groupie would be fun. However, in some of the messages, it does appear that Signore is doing most of the flirting. He refers to her as a cute nerd girl, says he can’t stop thinking about her, and says he will regret not kissing her for the rest of his life. 

Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.
Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.
Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.

Signore then addressed Dawn’s accusation that he took photos of her, and claimed it was false. He showed screenshots that show that Dawn had sent nude photos herself. 

Signore also said that while Dawn claimed she was invited out to Los Angeles to appear on Fan Cam, this was not the case. He said they planned this together, and that when she got to L.A., she sent him messages about hooking up. Based on the screenshots, it appears she invited him to her hotel room and mentions needing condoms.

After revealing this, he denied ever using sex toys in any of their encounters. 

Signore then continues to say in 2016, he received an email from Dawn saying she found messages he was sending her to be unacceptable. However, he claims he was not sending her anything. 

In the e-mail, Dawn says that she only went along with their relationship because she was concerned for her safety based on comments he made.

 “It honestly was at the point I was afraid to turn you down for anything and kept making excuses for you to not do anything to me,” Dawn wrote. 

Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.

Dawn also requested that he stop calling her, and sending her texts, emails, gifts, and mail. She added that she was “truly afraid of the lengths you would go to get what you want.”

Signore replied saying he had not contacted her in a while and will continue to not do so.

He goes that when he learned Dawn took the matter to HR, he told them about the relationship and sent their correspondence even though it would jeopardize his marriage. He wanted to prove to HR that their relationship was consensual. He said that Dawn had given no evidence of his misconduct. He claims the reason HR never followed up on her complaint was because of his evidence.

Signore then accused Dawn of leading a charge against him. 

She began to look for anybody that she could find who had ever been a fan of the show to look for infidelities and other exchanges that she could use against me,” Signore claimed. “She was determined to have others join her in labeling me as a serial abusing rapist who was ready to assault the next woman in my path.” 

Dawn did not accuse him of being a rapist in her statement against him. 

After addressing the allegations from Dawn, he moved onto the ones from Bower, which he also claimed were false. He said that these events took place before Screen Junkies existed. He also said that Bowers was not an intern and was actually higher up than she implied. 

He then said that she sent him nude photos of herself and that he responded with compliments. However, they both agreed that the situation was awkward and mutually apologized. 

“I remain perplexed that Emma would inflate our indecent, comparing me to the criminal and abusive acts of Harvey Weinstein,” Signore said. 

He then adds that he believes the stories that Dawn and Bowers told made the flirtatious messages he sent to fans look way worse than they were. He shares a tweet that backs him up in part and reads: “His behavior is appalling but if anything the majority of these DMs just prove he’s a cheat, a bit of a creep and has zero game.”

He also includes this message from a girl who shared a screenshot of their interaction. 

“Never said I was harassed,” the girl states. “Just sharing my interactions with him. Like I said at the time, I thought it was all innocent.”

As for why he believes Dawn might fabricate this situation, Signore believes she wanted to use his status.

“I believe that she was using me for access to my brand,” Signore said. “And I believe that when I became unavailable, due to being married, she moved onto my colleague. And I believe that she didn’t want him to think that she was using him too.”

He adds that he thinks her accusation undermines real sexual assault victims and says.

“I’m not proud of many of the lousy decisions that I have made, but I committed no crimes,” he states towards the end of his video.

Statements About the Video

Rogue Rocket reached out to Signore for further comments about the situation. He again admitted that he made mistakes when speaking with fans. 

“At the time I had developed a warped idea in my mind that conflated fan support with romantic interest,” Signore told Rogue Rocket. “And that led me to make some poor choices in the realm of fan interaction. As has been documented, I crossed lines in that regard that I now very much regret.”

“While it has been devastating to be caught up in this movement as I have been, I am grateful for the opportunity to have become a better person,”
Signore added.

He also told Rogue Rocket about his intentions behind making the video. He said he never wanted to deny he did anything wrong, but said he did want to tell his side of the story. 

“I did not make my video to dispute any of that,” he said. “My priority is to clear my name of a wrongful sexual assault allegation that has cost me my reputation and my livelihood.”

Dawn responded to his video in a tweet. She stood by her allegations and maintained that she is telling the truth. 

“I was ready then and I’m ready now to take the hits, comments or criticism you can throw at me because at the end of the day I know my truth and what I did was right,” Dawn wrote. 

Industry

TikTok and Twitter Are Now Deleting Videos That Expose Closeted Olympians on Grindr

Published

on

On top of outing people who may not be ready to have their sexuality revealed to the world, these videos could have endangered LGBTQ+ athletes from countries where homosexuality is illegal.


Closeted Olympians Being Doxxed

Openly LGBTQ+ Olympians are currently more visible than they have ever been before, but unfortunately, so are closeted ones.

That’s because some people have been using the LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr to try and find Olympians. They’ve been doing so by using the app’s “Explore” feature, which allows people to search and see users in specific locations (ie. Olympic Village).

But some aren’t content with just discovering which athletes belong to the LGBTQ+ community. They’re also sharing that information on platforms like TikTok and Twitter. 

“I used Grindr’s explore feature to find myself [an] Olympian boyfriend,” one TikTok user said in a post that had been viewed 140,000 times, according to Insider

That video reportedly went on to show the poster scrolling through Grindr to expose over 30 users’ full faces. 

As many have argued, not only does this potentially out already-stressed Olympians who may not yet be comfortable sharing their sexuality, it also could put some users at serious risk if they live in countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal. 

In fact, the video cited by Insider seemingly did just that, as it reportedly shows the face of a user who appears to be from a country “known for its anti-LGBTQ policies.”

Grindr Responds, TikTok and Twitter Take Action

In response, Grindr said the posts violate its rules against “publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information” from the app. It then asked the posters to remove the content.

Ultimately, it was TikTok and Twitter themselves that largely took action, with the two deleting at least 14 posts scattered across their platforms.

A Highly-Visible LGBTQ+ Presence at the Games 

According to Outsports, at least 172 of around 11,000 Olympians are openly LGBTQ+. While that number is still well below the statistical average, it’s triple the number of LGBTQ+ athletes that attended Rio’s 2016 Games.

In fact, if they were their own country, openly LGBTQ+ athletes would reportedly rank 11th in medals, according to an Outsports report published Tuesday. 

Among those winners is British diver Tom Daley, who secured his first gold medal on Monday and used his platform to send a hopeful message to LGBTQ+ youth by telling them, “You are not alone.”

After winning a silver medal on Wednesday, U.S. swimmer Erica Sullivan talked about her experience as both a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a person of color. 

Still, the Olympics has faced criticism for its exclusion of intersex individuals, particularly those like South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, who won gold medals in both 2012 and 2016. Rules implemented in 2019 now prevent Semenya from competing as a woman without the use of medication to suppress her testosterone levels. 

See what others are saying: (Insider) (Pink News) (Out)

Continue Reading

Industry

Jake Paul Launches Anti-Bullying Charity

Published

on

The charity, called Boxing Bullies, aims to use the sport to give kids confidence and courage.


Jake Paul Launches Boxing Bullies Foundation

YouTuber Jake Paul — best known as the platform’s boxer, wreckless partier, and general troublemaker — has seemingly launched a non-profit to combat bullying.  

The charity is called Boxing Bullies. According to a mission statement posted on Instagram, it aims to “instill self confidence, leadership, and courage within the youth through the sport of boxing while using our platform, voice, and social media to fight back against bullying.”

If the notion of a Paul-founded anti-bullying charity called “Boxing Bullies” was not already begging to be compared to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Best Best” initiative, maybe the group’s “Boxing Bullies Commandments” will help connect the dots. Those commandments use an acronym for the word “BOX” to spell out the charity’s golden rules.

Be kind to everyone; Only defend, never initiate; X-out bullying.” 

Paul Hopes To “Inspire” Kids To Stand Up For Themselves

Paul first said he was launching Boxing Bullies during a July 13 interview following a press conference for his upcoming fight against Tyron Woodley.

“I know who I am at the end of the day, which is a good person,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to change this sport, bring more eyeballs. I’m trying to support other fighters, increase fighter pay. I’m starting my charity, I’m launching that in 12 days here called Boxing Bullies and we’re helping to fight against cyberbullying.”

It has not been quite 12 days since the interview, so it’s likely that more information about the organization will be coming soon. Currently, the group has been the most active on Instagram, where it boasts a following of just around 1,200 followers. It has posted once to Twitter, where it has 32 followers; and has a TikTok account that has yet to publish any content. It also has a website, though there is not too much on it as of yet.

On its Instagram, one post introducing Paul as the founder claims the rowdy YouTuber started this charity because he has been on the receiving end of bullying.

Having been a victim of bullying himself, Jake experienced firsthand the impact it has on a person’s life,” the post says. “Jake believes that this is a prevailing issue in society that isn’t talked about enough. Boxing gave Jake the confidence to not care about what others think and he wants to share the sport and the welfare it‘s had on him with as many kids as possible.”

It adds that he hopes his group can“inspire the next generation of kids to be leaders, be athletes, and to fight back against bullying.”

Paul Previously Accused of Being a Bully

While fighting against bullying is a noble cause, it is an ironic project for Paul to start, as he has faced no shortage of bullying accusations. While Paul previously sang about “stopping kids from getting bullied” in the lunchroom, some have alleged he himself was actually a classic high school bully who threw kids’ backpacks into garbage cans. 

This behavior allegedly continued into his adulthood, as a New York Times report from earlier this year claimed he ran his Team 10 house with a culture of toxicity and bullying. Among other things, sources said he involved others in violent pranks, pressured people into doing dangerous stunts, and destroyed peoples’ personal property to make content.

Earlier this year, Paul was also accused of sexual assault, though he denied those allegations.

See what others are saying: (Dexerto)

Continue Reading

Industry

Director Defends Recreating Anthony Bourdain’s Voice With AI in New Documentary

Published

on

The film’s director claims he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent, but on Thursday, Bourdain’s widow publicly denied ever giving that permission. 


Bourdain’s Voice Recreated

“You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Anthony Bourdain says in a voiceover featured in “Roadrunnner,” a newly released documentary about the late chef — except Bourdain never actually said those words aloud.

Instead, it’s one of three lines in the film, which features frequent voiceovers from Bourdain, that were created through the use of artificial intelligence technology.

That said, the words are Bourdain’s own. In fact, they come from an email Bourdain reportedly wrote to a friend prior to his 2018 suicide. Nonetheless, many have now questioned whether recreating Bourdain’s voice was ethical, especially since documentaries are meant to reflect reality.

Director Defends Use of AI Voice

The film’s director, Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, has defended his use of the synthetic voice, telling Variety that he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent before inserting the lines into the film. 

“There were a few sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke aloud,” Neville said. “It was a modern storytelling technique that I used in a few places where I thought it was important to make Tony’s words come alive.” 

Bourdain’s widow — Ottavia Bourdain, who is the executor of his estate — later denied Neville’s claim on Twitter, saying, “I certainly was NOT the one who said Tony would have been cool with that.”

In another interview with GQ, Neville described the process, saying the film’s creators “fed more than ten hours of Tony’s voice into an AI model.”

“The bigger the quantity, the better the result,” he added. “We worked with four companies before settling on the best.”

“If you watch the film,” Neville told The New Yorker, “you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know. We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.” 

The Ethics Debate Isn’t Being Tabled

But many want to have that discussion now.

Boston-based film critic Sean Burns, who gave the film a rare negative review, later criticized it again for its unannounced use of AI, saying he wasn’t aware that Bourdain’s voice had been recreated until after he watched the documentary.  

Meanwhile, The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner wrote that the “seamlessness of the effect is eerie.”

“If it had been a human voice double I think the reaction would be “huh, ok,” but there’s something truly unsettling about the idea of it coming from a computer,” Rosner later tweeted. 

Online, many others have criticized the film’s use of AI, with some labeling it as a “deepfake.”

Others have offered more mixed criticism, saying that while the documentary highlights the need for posthumous AI use to be disclosed, it should not be ruled out altogether. 

“In a world where the living could consent to using AI to reproduce their voices posthumously, and where people were made aware that such a technology was being used, up front and in advance, one could envision that this kind of application might serve useful documentary purposes,” David Leslie, ethics lead at the Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.

Celebrities Recreated After Death

The posthumous use of celebrity likeness in media is not a new debate. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac took the stage 15 years after his death. In 2014, the Billboard Music Awards brought a hologram of Michael Jackson onstage five years after his death. Meanwhile, the Star Wars franchise digitally recreated actor Peter Cushing in 2016’s “Rogue One,” and unused footage of actress Carrie Fisher was later translated into “The Rise of Skywalker,” though a digital version of Fisher was never used.

In recent years, it has become almost standard for filmmakers to say that they will not create digital versions of characters whose actors die unexpectedly. For example, several months after Chadwick Boseman’s death last year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” executive producer Victoria Alonso confirmed Boseman would not be digitally recreated for his iconic role as King T’Challa.

See what others are saying: (BBC) (Yahoo! News) (Variety)

Continue Reading