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Lady Gaga to Fund 162 Classroom Projects in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton

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  • Lady Gaga announced plans to fund 162 classroom projects in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton—three communities that were shaken by mass shootings that took place in the span of about one week. 
  • Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation is partnering with DonorsChoose.org to provide these cities with “access to the support they need to inspire their students to work together and bring their dreams to life.”

Funding Announced 

Lady Gaga announced Friday that she will fund classroom projects in Gilroy, Dayton, and El Paso— three grieving communities that were struck by mass shootings in the span of about one week.

In a post to Facebook, the singer wrote, “My heart goes out to those who were taken from us too soon and to their families, loved ones, and communities who are left to grieve. Everyone has the right to laws that make them feel safe in their communities.”

“In this moment, I want to channel my confusion, frustration, and fury into hope. Hope that we are there for each other and for ourselves,” she added. 

Gaga said her Born This Way Foundation will team up with DonorsChoose.org to “fully fund” classroom projects needed in the three cities. The projects will include 14 classrooms in Dayton, Ohio, 125 classrooms in El Paso, and 23 classrooms in Gilroy.

Gaga wrote that the initiative aims to provide these communities with “access to the support they need to inspire their students to work together and bring their dreams to life.” 

Mental Health Message 

In her post, the pop star also took a moment to speak on the importance of prioritizing mental health. 

“Surviving and recovering from these tragedies also means prioritizing your mental health and checking in on your loved ones. If you’re struggling, please be brave and tell a trusted someone.” Gaga wrote. 

“Don’t be scared to ask for help, I beg you. If you see a loved one struggling, please be brave and reach out, remind them it’s ok to not be ok, and listen to them. We cannot turn away from ourselves. We cannot turn away from our loved ones. We need each other. Don’t turn away.”

On Sunday, Jul. 28, a gunman opened fire at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, killing three people, including two children. 

The following Saturday, Aug.3, a shooter opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, leaving 22 dead. Less than 24 hours later, nine people were killed in a mass shooting that took place in a popular nightlife area of Dayton, Ohio.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (INSIDER) (CNN)

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Sean Spicer Defends His Participation in Dancing with the Stars After Backlash

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  • Critics are using #BoycottDWTS online after Dancing with the Stars announced former Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer as a contestant on its 28th season.
  • Host Tom Bergeron also criticized the casting, saying he stressed not including any political figures during a meeting with the ABC show’s executive producer.
  • However, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, who will also appear on the season, defended Spicer, telling Access that he looked forward to respectful conversations with him.

Spicer on DWTS

Former Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer is responding to those critical of his participation in the upcoming 28th season of Dancing with the Stars after #BoycottDWTS began trending online.

“I am very happy with who I am and who I support,” Spicer said in an interview with CNN. “I’m not changing. I am giving people another opportunity to see a side of me that is different.”

Spicer also defended his appearance, calling the show entertainment and not news. “If people are looking for news, I suggest they tune into a news program,” he told CNN.

“It will make this show an example of how Americans can disagree about politics and tune into good entertainment shows and keep their politics at bay,” he told US Weekly in a statement.

On Wednesday, Good Morning America revealed the cast, which includes Christie Brinkley, Ally Brooke from Fifth Harmony, Kate Flannery from The Office, and Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown. Spicer will reportedly make six figures while on the show.

Before passing the position to Sarah Sanders, Spicer’s tenure as press secretary was embroiled in controversy. Following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Spicer claimed it was the largest crowd to ever show up at a presidential inauguration.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe,” he said in a press conference

That claim was heavily disputed, and after he left the position, he later said he regretted making the comment.

Spicer also received criticism for comments about Hitler in relation to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

“You look, we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” he said in a different press conference. “Someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” 

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Nazi soldiers under the command of Adolf Hitler killed millions of people using gas chambers.

While Spicer’s new appearance is also generating controversy, he is not the first political figure to appear on Dancing with the Stars. Fox News host Tucker Carlson competed in season 3. Former U.S. Representative Tom DeLay and now-Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also competed in different seasons.

More political figures connected to Trump such as Anthony Scaramucci and Omarosa also competed on other shows like Big Brother.

Host and Castmate Reaction 

Hours after Spicer’s casting was revealed, host Tom Bergeron jumped into the mix by criticizing the choice to cast a political figure. 

“A few months ago, during a lunch with DWTS’ new executive producer, I offered suggestions for season 28,” he said on Twitter. “Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-long hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations. I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement.”

“Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.'”

“For me, as host,” he continued. “I always gaze into the camera’s lens and imagine you on the other side, looking for a two-hour escape from whatever life hassles you’ve been wrestling with. That’s a connection, and a responsibility, which I take very seriously.”

Castmate Karamo Brown, however, said he looks forward to having respectful conversations with Spicer. 

Sean Spicer and I have been talking,” he said in an interview with Access Online. “I was most excited to meet him because the thing is, people would look at us and think that we’re polar opposites, but I’m a big believer that if you can talk to someone and meet in the middle, you can learn about each other each other both grow, and so, we have been chatting all day today. He’s a good guy, really sweet guy.”

Online Response and Boycott Culture

Many online directed their criticism at Dancing with the Stars and its network ABC for deciding to cast Spicer, with some calling for a boycott of the show.

“Let @ABCNetwork know that paying Sean Spicer a reported six-figure salary to appear on @DancingABC is a hard pass from loyal viewers,” one person tweeted. “We will not be tuning in this season if he remains on the lineup.”

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Many of those people who are urging for a boycott of the show said they are scared to normalize a political figure who, at times, provided misinformation to journalists.

“Shame on you ABC,” one person tweeted. “By having Sean Spicer on DWTS, you are helping to normalize a behavior, ie lying, that is helping to tear down our democracy.”

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Meanwhile, others have called the situation the latest trend in a series of calls for people to boycott media, including hashtags like #BoycottMulan and #BoycottSony that trended earlier this week.

See what others are saying: (Fox News) (Vanity Fair) (LA Times)

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MTV’s New Series “Ghosted” Draws Backlash for Promoting Stalking

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  • MTV released a first look at its new docu-series Ghosted: Love Gone Missing, which focuses on helping people track down and confront those who have abruptly cut off contact with them.
  • Viewers are blasting the show as toxic and dangerous, even saying it encourages stalking. 
  • Others said MTV’s Catfish is similar, yet did not face as much backlash, and argued that participants would have both had to agree to take part in this show ahead of filming.

New Series 

MTV released a first look at its latest docu-series Ghosted: Love Gone Missing on Tuesday, which is already being slammed by social media users who say it promotes stalking.

The Catfish-style show, which is set to premiere on Sept. 10, is hosted by The Bachelorette’s Rachel Lindsay and singer turned actor Travis Mills, who help people track down someone who has “ghosted” them. For the lucky ones who aren’t familiar with the term, “ghosting” is a common strategy used to end a relationship which involves one person abruptly cutting off all communication without explanation.

“Have you ever been ghosted? Totally left in the dark by someone you care about? No text. No DMs. Nothing,” Mills says in the dramatic first look, as the show’s participants describe their experiences being blocked or ignored. 

“We’re traveling the country looking for love gone missing,” Lindsay adds. The two hosts apparently “investigate” what went on between the pair and “follow every lead to track down the ghost.” They then convince them to sit down for a face-to-face meeting with the person they’ve been ignoring. 

Backlash 

After watching the MTV clip, several viewers took to social media to express concerns over the show’s premise, arguing that it crosses a line and essentially encourages stalking. Some even pointed out that people often have good reasons for ignoring someone rather than explicitly ending their relationship. 

“Trying to ‘track down’ the person that ghosted you, is stalking,” one user wrote.

Another user wrote, “Imagine ghosting someone because they were toxic or even HARMFUL and these idiots track you down with said person!!! THE TRAUMA!!!!”

People Will Still Watch 

MTV has not addressed any of the criticism, but loads of people are still excited to watch, including people who are concerned about the concept.

Others have said there is no real issue since both participants would have had to agree to be featured on the series beforehand.

Meanwhile, others have argued that MTV’s Catfish operates on a similar premise but did not receive the same backlash.

“On Catfish, they look up personal info, collect data, call people who might know said person and show up at their door with a camera to expose them. They already promote stalker behavior,” one user wrote.

See what others are saying: (Elle) (Entertainment Tonight) (Independent

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JAWS, Shark Week, & SharkFest: How Hollywood Demonized Sharks and Shaped Our Perceptions…

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When most of us think of sharks, we think of defining features, like teeth. We also think of Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, and any other shark movie that ends with pretty much one person making it to the end of the film.

Sharks make for good entertainment, which is why, over the years, they’ve arguably become Hollywood’s favorite man-eaters. It’s no question that the film industry and media in general have played a huge role in how we perceive these animals, especially when it comes to Great White Sharks. But as you’ll see in this video, that perception is off-base and actually a little unfair.

In this video, we examine the role that films and television programs like Shark Week and SharkFest play in shaping our perceptions and how much of what we see on TV is actually based on scientific evidence. You’ll hear from marine biologists and conservationists about their ongoing efforts to battle negative perceptions and ensure that one of the oldest living creatures on the plant doesn’t die out. Watch the video for the full story.

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