- 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.”
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.
View this post on Instagram
DEAR @lara.spencer of GOOD MORNING AMERICA. I have a message for you. Wake up. It’s 2019. Get with the program. Please share and repost this so a boy who needs to see this feels supported if he dances or wants to! #boysdancetoo #ballet #goodmorningamerica #traviswall #laraspencer #bully
View this post on Instagram
That’s me dancing as a young kid, I’ll be honest with you I guess I’m lucky that people around me were proud and encouraging! that being said Prince George and every little boy or girl out there follow your dreams especially if it’s dancing #dancing #cool #art Please post your picture of you as a dancer 🕺🏻 show some love ❤️ #boysdancetoo
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.”
NBC’s Peacock Launches With Free Tier to Compete in Streaming Wars, But Local Stations are Boycotting It By Refusing to Air “30 Rock” Special
- In a bid to compete with an increasingly competitive streaming market, NBC launched its streaming service Peacock on Wednesday with a free, ad-supported tier.
- That tier contains about two-thirds of Peacock’s entire catalogue, with the rest being locked behind two different premium tiers: one ad-supported and one ad-free.
- At the same time, most local NBC stations in the United States are refusing to air an upcoming “30 Rock” reunion special that will essentially be a giant advertisement for Peacock.
- The reason NBC affiliates are boycotting the special is because they’re afraid Peacock will kill their viewership as people shift to online streaming.
- Because of the boycott, reportedly, only about 40% of the country will be able to watch the special when it first airs.
“30 Rock” Special Boycotted By Affiliates
Major local TV station groups are preparing for a battle with NBCUniversal and its new streaming service Peacock, which launched Wednesday.
The casualty? “30 Rock,” a show which originally aired from 2006 to 2013, starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracey Morgan, and Jane Krakowski.
As a way to boost its promotion of Peacock, NBC developed a one-hour “30 Rock” reunion special which is set to air Thursday night. In fact, the special is going to be so much of a promotion that, according to Vulture, it won’t include any traditional commercials and was even produced by NBCUniversal’s ad-sales division.
However, that decision has left local NBC affiliate groups feeling like they’re being sidelined by NBCUniversal so that it can push its new streaming service. Because of that, it’s now being reported that most local NBC stations across the United States will refuse to air the “30 Rock” reunion.
In fact, the decision to boycott this special mainly comes directly from the massive media groups that own these local stations—not the stations themselves. That includes Gray Television, Hearst, Nexstar, Tegna, and Sinclair. Notably, Nexstar and Sinclair are the two largest owners of local stations in the country and control hundreds of stations each.
The boycott will reportedly be so extensive that only about 40% of the country will even have the ability to watch that special when it first airs.
“Station owners are understandably worried about Peacock siphoning viewers from linear TV, particularly since the new platform will offer next-day reruns of NBC shows on its premium tier (and week-late access to reruns on its free level),” Vulture reported.
It’s not unusual for local TV stations to interrupt shows for sports coverage or when there’s severe weather (or even if they’re concerned a program is too controversial), but it is unprecedented for multiple, major broadcast groups to have their stations all boycott a prime-time special.
Still, the decision to boycott the “30 Rock” won’t actually have any direct financial impact for NBC since it won’t be airing any commercials; however, that’s not the case for local stations airing the special. Because the hour will essentially be an uninterrupted infomercial for Peacock, those stations will be unable to air local ads—a major form of revenue for them.
While it would only mean one hour of ad revenue lost, most stations are able to sell more expensive ad slots during prime time. They’ve also already been struggling to retain advertisers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have suffered from sharp declines in ad sales.
The boycott also comes after NBCUniversal decided in January that Peacock would stream episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” hours ahead of their broadcast on live TV. Notably, those shows will only air early for Premium subscribers, but it still means local TV affiliates would essentially be airing reruns.
That decision presented a major concern for TV stations, which must pay substantial fees for the rights to NBC shows and which are already facing declines in viewership.
It is possible, however, that the boycott could inadvertently push viewers wishing to watch the special to Peacock. In any case, cable TV will likely continue to struggle to retain viewers as they make the switch to streaming platforms.
Peacock Launches With Free Tier
On top of the push and pull between cable and streaming services, competition among streaming providers is fierce. In fact, the market is already saturated with options such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBOMax, CBS All Access, and Apple TV+.
Because of that, there are serious concerns about whether Peacock can stay afloat in an industry already filled with, at times, seemingly limitless options on what to watch. For example, Apple TV+, which launched in November, has never attracted the viewership it had hoped to achieve. That’s despite heavily pushing a series headlined by Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell.
However, the major difference between Peacock and other platforms is that Peacock is free—well, sort of. Along with two different premium tiers, it’s also offering a free tier with roughly 13,000 hours of content.
Under the free tier, viewers can watch whole series such as ‘This Is Us,” “Parks & Rec,” “30 Rock,” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” They can also stream full movies like the original “Jurassic Parks” and “The Matrix.”
If viewers want to see other shows, such as “Superstore,” or even a movie like “Shrek,” they will then have to upgrade to a premium tier, which will unlock about 7,000 more hours of additional content.
“The ‘freemium’ model will be the secret weapon for Peacock to win against the other big streaming services,” Michael J. Wolf, chief executive of the tech consulting firm Activate, told CNET.
Wolf added that the free tier “will ensure that Peacock comes out of the gate with a large base of users and will be the service’s surest path to scale.”
Additionally, Peacock will still be able to collect revenue from the free tier, as it will be supported by ad sales. Even if viewers upgrade to the lowest premium tier, which is $5 a month, they’ll still see around 5 to 7 minutes of ads. The highest tier, which is $10 a month, is ad-free.
Nick Cannon Apologizes to Jewish Community, Demands Rights to Wild ‘N Out After ViacomCBS Firing
- Nick Cannon was fired from ViacomCBS after the company condemned anti-Semitic comments he made on his podcast.
- Cannon claimed Black people could not be anti-Semitic because “the Semitic people are Black people.” He also praised the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan and brought up conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds.
- Cannon slammed ViacomCBS in a Facebook post, saying he would not be “bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed” by any company. He is demanding full ownership of MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out,” which he hosts and produces.
- He also apologized to the Jewish community and said it was never his intention to be hurtful.
Cannon Blasts ViacomCBS
Nick Cannon is taking shots at ViacomCBS after the company severed ties with him Tuesday over anti-Semitic comments he made on his podcast “Cannon’s Class.”
In a 1,500 word Facebook status on Wednesday morning, the TV host said he would not be “bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed” by any group or company.”
“I am disappointed that Viacom does not understand or respect the power of the black community,” he wrote, later alleging that the company has banned ads regarding George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Cannon had been with Viacom since he was a kid on Nickelodeon. He later became the Chairman of TeenNick and went on to become a producer and host for other major projects. Among his most recent ventures for the network was hosting MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out.”
“I created a billion-dollar brand that expanded across a multitiered empire that is still Viacom’s biggest digital brand, touring business, talent discovery and incubation system and successful restaurant franchise,” Cannon claimed. “Based on trust and empty promises, my ownership was swindled away from me.”
Cannon is now demanding an apology from ViacomCBS, and for full ownership of “Wild ‘N Out.” He is ousting was announced Tuesday.
Anti-Semitic Comments on “Cannon’s Class” Podcast
In the 90 minute episode from late June, Cannon spoke to rapper Richard Griffin, known as Professor Griff, who was previously in Public Enemy until he exited the group in 1989 after making anti-Semitic comments. At the time, he told the Washington Times that he could prove that “Jews are wicked” and claimed that Jewish people are responsible for “the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”
While his exact words were not brought up, the controversy regarding them was. Griffith continued to defend himself, and Cannon said that Griffith was “fearless” and speaking the truth.
“In order for me to be anti-Semitic, I would have to be anti-Black man, anti-Black woman, anti-Black people, anti-Africa, anti-all of the people,” Griffith said.
“Because the Semitic people are Black people,” Cannon added. “So y’all get that clarity, the Semitic people are Black people.”
Cannon also mentioned the Rothschilds, a family that is the subject of many anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. He mentioned them a handful of times, including after Griffith claimed that Jewish people control six main media corporations in America.
“Who are they? When we speak of the six corporations, when we go as deep as the Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America,” Cannon said.
Cannon also repeatedly praised the controversial Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, who has long been known for making anti-Semitic comments. Cannon referred to him as “honorable” and defended him against criticisms of anti-Semitism.
Cannon also referred to Black people as the “true Hebrews.”
“So then, these people who didn’t have what we have, and when I say we I speak of the melanated people, they had to be savages, they had to be barbaric,” Cannon said at one point. “Whether it’s ‘Jewish people,’ ‘white people, ‘Europeans,’ ‘the illuminati,’ they were doing that as a survival tactic.”
Viacom CBS Severs Ties
These remarks received a substantial amount of backlash from those who said they were deeply rooted in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The American Jewish Committee called them “abhorrent and unacceptable.”
When announcing that they were severing ties with the star, ViacomCBS said they condemn “bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism.”
“We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast ‘Cannon’s Class’ on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” the company wrote in a statement. “While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry, we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”
“We are committed to doing better in our response to incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry,” ViacomCBS added.
In his Wednesday post denouncing Viacom, Cannon apologized to the Jewish community. He claimed he has received support from them during this controversy.
“I must apologize to my Jewish Brothers and Sisters for putting them in such a painful position, which was never my intention, but I know this whole situation has hurt many people and together we will make it right,” he wrote.
“As for Viacom, who is now on the wrong side of history, I will continue to pray for you,” he continued. “I don’t blame any individual, I blame the oppressive and racist infrastructure.”
He also acknowledged the comments in a Facebook post and Twitter thread on Monday.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions. I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric,” he wrote, before saying that the “Black and Jewish communities have both faced enormous hatred, oppression persecution and prejudice for thousands of years and in many ways have and will continue to work together to overcome these obstacles.”
He called for open dialogue in conversations about anti-racism and social justice and maintained that everyone must work to educate one another for any of these issues to get better.
Some, including Sean Combs, also known as P Diddy, shared support for Cannon. Combs said Cannon is welcome to come to his network, Revolt TV.
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (USA Today) (New York Times)
Howie Mandel Shuts Down Captivity Rumors With the Help of David Dobrik
- A series of odd TikToks from Howie Mandel prompted users to believe that he was being held captive inside his home.
- Mandel eventually debunked the theory with the help of YouTuber David Dobrik.
- While the entire ordeal with Mandel seems lighthearted, unfounded conspiracies have been easily spreading across social media in recent days.
- The now-debunked theory that Wayfair is running a human trafficking operation, for instance, resulted in at least one person coming forward, angry that she was falsely identified online as a missing victim.
Why People Think Howie Is in Trouble
“America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel has found himself at the center of one of the latest conspiracy theories circulating on TikTok.
Recently, his followers were worried because they believed he was being held captive inside his home and was trying to send signals to the outside world through his social media posts. Concerns began popping up in early July when TikTok users started commenting about how odd some of his uploads were.
While some chalked it up to him just having an eccentric personality, others thought there was possibly more going on. One particular video that caught people’s attention was a crafting video where he showed his audience how to use a brown paper bag for “shoe stuff.”
When he wrote the words on the bag, his viewers claimed each letter S looked like the number 5. So people thought this was a secret signal because when you call 999 for an emergency in the UK and can’t speak, you can be asked to dial 55 to be put through to police.
At this point, people began analyzing his behavior and looking for more “secret messages.” Then, in another post, Mandel wrote a message in a bottle over a song by the same name, perhaps intentionally feeding into the conspiracy. He also uploaded a video of him dancing in a captain’s outfit along with a few other odd posts.
The comments were loaded with conspiracies and Mandel’s friend, YouTuber David Dobrik, even acknowledged the concerns writing, “Howie I think your phones been hacked youre sending some scary stuff. Plz reach out to me or nat.”
Some people claimed they spotted figures in the reflection of his sunglasses. Others claimed they left instructions in his comments of signal he should send if he needed help that he followed. However, they’re usually instructions like start your video with “hello” or wear a certain color in your next video – general things that could just happen by coincidence.
There are dozens of different rabbit holes to go with this and tons of “evidence” people claim to have found.
On Sunday, Mandel uploaded a post in response saying he was fine. However, he was performing a nonsensical dance that people still found suspicious.
But of course, as many have pointed out, we’d probably be hearing real concern from people close to him if he wasn’t okay. Still, to keep fans calm, Dobrik headed over to check on Mandel in his latest TikTok.
When Dobrik explained that people are worried because his TikTok’s are weird, Mandel said, “Weird? I’m 65! I’m on TikTok. that’s weird!”
“I’m okay. Nobody’s holding me. I can go wherever I want.” Mandel added.
It seems like TikTok has been home to a lot of baseless conspiracies lately, and while this one seems pretty lighthearted, people should be careful about the content they spread online. For instance, there’s recently been a now-debunked theory floating around about Wayfair secretly conducting a human trafficking operation through expensive furniture sales online. However, that’s not completely TikTok’s fault. It’s a theory that grew from Qanon and Reddit conspiracy theorists that has now spread all over social media.
As part of it, you might be seeing images floating around with missing persons who are alleged victims of the fake scheme. Now, at least one those individuals has recently taken to social media, angry that people were claiming she was missing when she isn’t.