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“GMA” Co-Anchor Lara Spencer Apologizes for Mocking Prince George’s Ballet Interest

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  • Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer mocked Prince George’s interest in ballet during a segment last week, saying “We’ll see how long that lasts.” 
  • Many, including big names in the dance community, spoke out against the remark, arguing that Spencer was feeding into toxic masculinity and bullying. 
  • Spencer apologized on Instagram Friday and again on-air Monday after speaking with several professional male dancers about their personal experiences.

Spencer’s On-Air Apology 

After facing a weekend of backlash, “Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer apologized on-air Monday for a recent comment she made about Prince George’s interest in ballet.

“I screwed up,” Spencer said. “The comment I made about dance was stupid and insensitive and I am deeply sorry.”

Spencer said she reached out to members of the dance community to hear their stories. “I have listened. I have learned about the bravery that it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance,” she said. “And last night, I sat down with three influential dancers who lived it – firsthand.”

GMA then cut to a prerecorded segment of Spencer talking to professional dancers Travis Wall, Fabrice Calmels, and Robbie Fairchild, who shared their memories of being bullied for dancing as children. 

Spencer said the dancers agreed to come together and speak with her so that they could turn “a negative into a positive” and use her mistake as a teachable moment to support and encourage young male dancers. 

“For me, the lesson is that words hurt and it was not my intention, but it was insensitive,” Spencer said near the end of the segment. “I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to apologize personally to you and for you guys coming in here to sit and talk to me and to educate me. And again, I’m really sorry.”

“Apology accepted,” Fairchild said. “Absolutely, 100%,” Wall added.

Ballet Lessons Outside of GMA Studios 

In another move to encourage both young boys and girls to dance, the dancers held a public ballet class outside the GMA studio in Times Square early Monday morning. According to Wall, at least 300 dancers showed up to participate in the lesson. 

Spencer’s Initial Comment 

Spencer sparked outrage last week for the comment she made during a segment that mentioned 6-year-old Prince Geroge’s upcoming class curriculum. 

“In addition to the usual first or second-grade things, like math, science and history, the future King of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things,” she said. 

The audience broke out into laughter seemingly in response to the ballet classes. When a picture of a smiling George flashed across the screen, Spencer said, “Oh, he looks so happy about the ballet class.” She then claimed that Prince William said his son “absolutely loves ballet.”

“I have news for you, Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts,” Spencer said before laughing. “I mean he might. He might end up…but between the religious studies and the computer programming, I just want to go back to the Play-Doh.” 

Backlash 

Viewers quickly slammed the comment as insensitive and took to social media using the hashtag #boysdancetoo. Professional dancers, social media influencers, and celebrities also condemned the remarks, including the three dancers who appeared on the GMA segment and others like Cheryl Burke, Derek Hough, Debbie Allen, Artem Chigvintsev, George Takei, Rosie O’Donnell, Patrick Starrr, and Nev Schulman.

Patricia Ward Kelly, widow of famed actor and dancer Gene Kelly, also responded in an open letter, according to a report from Deadline. “In 1958, my late husband, the dancer, director, choreographer Gene Kelly, decided to take on the stigma facing male dancers in an Omnibus television program for NBC that he created and starred in called Dancing, A Man’s Game.”

“Gene would be devastated to know that 61 years after his ground-breaking work, the issue of boys and men dancing is still the subject of ridicule—and on a national network,” she said before closing the letter with: “ABC must do better.”

Spencer’s on air-apology followed a similar one she made on her official Instagram account Friday. “My sincere apologies for an insensitive comment I made in pop news yesterday,” she wrote. “From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain – and love every minute of it.”

See what others are saying: (CNN) (Deadline) (Fox News)

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Joe Rogan Fans Upset After Podcast Moves Exclusively To Spotify

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  • Some fans of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” said they would no longer be listening to the podcast after it officially became a Spotify exclusive this week.
  • Rogan struck a $100 million deal to house his show exclusively on Spotify in May and has warned fans that this change was coming for months.
  • Now that it has, many have said they dislike Spotify’s ad-supported free version or complained that it was not available in their country. Others were also frustrated that couldn’t use a VPN, among other concerns.
  • Still, many believe Rogan’s podcast is unlikely to suffer as fans adjust.

Joe Rogan Moves To Spotify

Joe Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” officially became a Spotify exclusive on Tuesday.

Because of the change, Rogan’s December 1 episode featuring cryptographer Moxie Marlinspike was only uploaded only to Spotify, prompting a bit of frustration from fans. 

Highlight clips of the episode were still uploaded to the PowerfulJRE YouTube channel. However, there is a message to listen to the full podcast on Spotify at the end of the clip and in the description.

Fans React

It seems like some fans are not happy about the move because in the comment section of one highlight clip, many left their goodbye messages.

“It’s been a hell of a ride guys. See ya,” one user wrote.

“I’m not downloading Spotify so I guess no more Joe Rogan,” another said, while a different listener wrote, “RIP Joe Rogan Experience.”

Some also left comments about also not liking the free, ad-supported version of Spotify.

“Tried listening on Spotify. I can’t handle the 10 straight minutes of ads, and having Joe read them just makes me suddenly able to totally tune out everything he says without even trying to,” one person said.

Sad times for me. Sad to say, I’m not switching to from YouTube premium to Spotify premium for one podcast.”

Others also noted that Spotify isn’t available in their country or that they can’t use a VPN.

Will This Hurt Rogan?

It will be interesting to see if this change actually costs Rogan listeners or if it will better for him in the long run. 

It’s not like he’s been struggling since the slow transfer of his content started happening. Episodes of his podcast only began to appear on Spotify in September, and that was still enough to earn him the title of the platform’s top global podcast of the year.

Plus, this information about him moving exclusively to Spotify this month isn’t exactly new. 

Fans have known this was going to happen for months now as part of that $100 million deal he struck with the company in May, so perhaps Rogan anticipated some of this backlash and an adjustment period. Either way, many feel like the outrage is unlikely to truly hurt the show’s success.

See what others are saying: (Dexerto) (Billboard) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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U.K. Wants Netflix to Add ‘Fiction’ Label to “The Crown”

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  • The U.K. government is set to formally ask Netflix to attach a label to its series “The Crown” that clearly marks it as fiction.
  • The government is concerned viewers may take the events as fact when the show is a historical drama.
  • The request comes after Netflix released the fourth season of the show in mid-November, which covers Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister, the Falklands War, and the Royal family’s tumultuous relationship with Princess Diana.
  • Netflix has attached other labels in the past when covering topics such as mental health, even when the depicted content is fictional.
  • There are also concerns that show writer Peter Morgan has laid out events in a way that could push conspiracy theories, such as those around Princess Diana’s death.

The Crown Ruffles U.K. Feathers

The United Kingdom says it will formally ask Netflix to place a fiction label on its popular series “The Crown.”

The show’s fourth season released in mid-November and has already ruffled feathers in the U.K. In an interview with The Daily Mail on Sunday, U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed rumors that the government was seeking such a label.

“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” he said.

“Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

Many are concerned that scenes depicted by show writer Peter Morgan feed into conspiracy theories about the royal family. Those conspiracy theories largely circulate around Princess Diana, who was introduced in the show this season.  

Princess Diana was a polarizing figure in the royal family. She married Prince Charles in 1981 and was seen as a “modernizing” figure for the royal family. She infamously died in a car crash that has spawned many conspiracy theories about who was responsible.

Even without the theories tying her death to the Royal family, her struggle with her royal in-laws never helped the family’s image.

Fact or Fiction?

A warning label on the show, even on season 4, isn’t completely unheard of. A few episodes delve into Diana’s struggle with bulimia and have health warnings clearly shown before those episodes.

“Those were difficult scenes to film and I also feel like taking her to that place was a good thing,” Emma Corrin, who portrays Princess Diana, told Variety over the weekend.

It gave me somewhere to go with her, but I was exhausted a lot those days coming off set because at the same time as you’re playing someone who’s fictionalized and obviously you’re not feeling or thinking those things, it’s your job to make yourself feel that way,” she added.

There are also pushes to affix a fictional label to the show by members of Diana’s family. Her brother, the Earl Spencer, told ITV, “It would help The Crown [the show] an enormous amount if at the beginning of each episode it stated that, ‘This isn’t true but is based around some real events’. Because then everyone would understand it’s drama for drama’s sake.”

Regarding the show’s fictionality, Corrin told talk show host Tamron Hall,“I think for everyone in “The Crown,” we always try and remind everyone that… the series we are in is fictionalized to a great extent.”

“Obviously it has its roots in reality and in some fact but Peter Morgan’s scripts are works of fiction.”

However, Morgan’s stance on fiction blurs the line a little. In the past, Morgan has defended his approach to the show, commenting, “You sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”

For critics, that thought process can lead to misrepresentations of what happened for the sake of a spun narrative. For example, in season 4 there’s a scene where Princess Diana is distressed and alone in her bedroom when Prince Philip, her father-in-law, approaches and asks what’s wrong.

She tells him she just wants to get away and he makes it clear that it won’t end well if she does. Diana replies, “I hope that isn’t a threat, Sir.”

Critics of the show claim this line is a way to foreshadow Diana’s death and a subtle nod to the theory that the Royals orchestrated her death.

In 1999, French police debunked that claim and put sole responsibility for the crash on her driver, who they claim was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Otherwise, the media and paparazzi are criticized for following her life so closely, particularly on the night of her death, prompting her driver to speed away dangerously.

Netflix has yet to make any comments about the U.K.’s looming request.

See What Others Are Saying: (Variety) (Radio Times) (Vulture)

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South Korea Postpones BTS’ Mandatory Military Service for Two Years

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  • On Tuesday, South Korea’s Parliament approved a revision to the country’s Military Service Act, granting a two-year military conscription deferral for BTS’ oldest member, Jin.
  • Jin turns 28 on Friday. Under normal requirements, all able-bodied South Korean men must join the country’s military by then, meaning Jin only had several days left to sign up.
  • In fact, all seven BTS members will now be able to defer their military service period until the time they turn 30.
  • The revision comes after a year-long debate over whether internationally successful male K-pop groups are influential enough to be granted tightly-regulated exemptions they normally would not be able to receive. 
  • BTS alone is estimated to account for $4.65 billion of South Korea’s Gross Domestic Product. 

BTS Is Granted a Military Service Deferral

Kim Seok-jin, also known as Jin, is the oldest member of the global K-pop phenomenon BTS. On Friday, he’ll turn 28. While that news might not normally capture headlines, it coincided with his deadline to conscript in South Korea’s military — a prospect that held the potential to upheave the group’s ever-growing success.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s Parliament changed that deadline when it passed a revision to the country’s Military Service Act in a 270-2​ vote. Now, top K-pop performers can postpone their conscription until they turn 30, meaning BTS will be able to remain fully intact for the next two years. 

K-pop stars will only be eligible for the deferral if they have received government medals for helping to spread South Korea’s ​cultural influence internationally. Notably, all seven members of BTS have met that requirement because they all received such medals in 2018.

The legislation was introduced in South Korea’s parliament in September, shortly after BTS became the first K-pop group to reach No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for “Dynamite.”

At the time, Representative Jeon Yong-gi argued that top pop stars — including BTS — should receive the deferral if they have raised the country’s national prestige. 

Another lawmaker argued that BTS should be able to receive a full exemption. Currently, such exemptions are extremely rare, and only a few hundred have been handed out since 2008. Even then, they usually only go to classical musicians or athletes who’ve won medals in the Olympic or Asian Games. They’ve never been granted to any pop stars. 

“There was a football player who was offered an exemption by playing for just four minutes at the 2014 London Olympics,” that lawmaker, Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, wrote on social media, arguing that BTS’ success and economic effect outweighed that event.

BTS and the Debate Over Military Exemptions

The debate over a possible military exemption for BTS has been raging for more than a year now. 

In September 2019, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said such an exemption was not possible. 

In October of that same year, Noh Hyeong-ouk, the country’s Minister of Government Policy Coordination, said South Korea’s mandatory conscription system should reflect the current times.

“We need to review the need for an open-door policy regarding special exceptions from military service in the K-pop industry, in order to provide motives for Korea’s expansion as a cultural content powerhouse,” he argued. 

That back and forth continued until November 2019 when the Ministry of National Defense seemed to put the speculation to rest by saying that BTS will still be required to conscript. Alongside that, it also imposed stricter rules on granting exemptions at all.

That decision was made, in part, because of a declining birthrate in South Korea. Currently, South Korea has about 600,000 active soldiers but by 2022, it projects that number will fall to 500,000. Over the next two decades, the ministry expects that number to shrink again by half. Low numbers like that could impede the country’s ability to continue imposing pressure on North Korea.

According to South Korean law, all able-bodied men must conscript in the country’s military by the time they turn 28. They must then serve at least 18 months or risk a number of repercussions, including being barred from international travel — a not so good prospect for a world-famous pop group.

On Monday, BTS made further history as their new single, “Life Goes On,” became the first Korean-language song to top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. In 2019, The Hollywood Reporter estimated that BTS accounted for a jawdropping $4.65 billion of South Korea’s GDP.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CBS News) (Reuters)

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