- Troye Sivan called a phone interview he did with New Zealand LGBTQ+ magazine Express invasive and inappropriate after the interviewer asked: “Top or Bottom?”
- An editorial by Out Magazine then called Sivan hypocritical for the comments, saying Sivan has openly discussed sexual themes in his latest album.
- Sivan later criticized the editorial by arguing that talking about “sex in my music on my terms” does not “give anyone a pass on basic manners and allow them to ask about the ins and outs of what i do in bed.”
Sivan’s Interview With Express
Troye Sivan criticized an interviewer who asked him about his preferred sexual position, calling the question “invasive.”
In a phone interview with LGBTQ+ New Zealand magazine Express, Matt Fistonich plays a lightning round with the singer, ending the interview by asking, “Top or bottom?” in relation to Sivan’s sexual position with his boyfriend, Jacob Bixenman.
Sivan follows by answering, “Ooo… definitely passing!”
Sivan then shared a tweet of the interview from a fan, expressing his disdain for the question.
“I thought about asking the interviewer about his absolute fave sex position after that last question,” Sivan said in a tweet, “but then i remembered how wildly invasive, strange and innapropriate that would be. Didn’t stop him though!”
“Next time I’ll just do a Twitter q&a,” Sivan continued.
Fistonich also asked Sivan earlier in the interview whether Bixenman would give Sivan a “hall pass” for Shawn Mendes, who is straight. A “hall pass” is an agreement some couples make allowing one partner to be intimate with certain people.
Sivan previously stated his celebrity crush was Mendes in an interview with Vogue for “73 Questions with Troye Sivan.”
Sivan then goes on to say that if the opportunity presented itself, he would not act on it even if he had permission from Bixenman.
“But the strange thing is when you end up meeting your hall pass, it ends up becoming very real very quickly and suddenly you’re like, ‘no, no, never mind, no hall passes,” Sivan said in the interview.
Fistonich then continues, asking, “So when you met Shawn Mendes nothing got too steamy?”
“No, no, not at all!” Sivan answered.
In an editors note, the magazine states “Matt threw some pretty outrageous questions at Troye, but Sivan took it all in his stride.”
The magazine has also disabled Instagram comments for their post on the story.
Reaction to the Interview
Following the interview, many online expressed their concern over the nature of Fistonich’s sexual questions, with a major concern being the nature of Sivan’s sexuality in relation to the questions about his private life.
Those people argued straight artists do not face the same sort of hyper-sexual questions that LGBTQ+ artists are asked.
An editorial from Out Magazine, however, described Sivan as “hypocritical,” pointing to the sexual imagery presented throughout Sivan’s album, Bloom.
“Do queer journalists have to adhere to the same respectability politics as straight ones?” the opinion piece reads. “It’s 2019, talking about anal sex shouldn’t be taboo, especially in queer media.”
Regarding the album, Sivan has been open with discussing its more sexual themes — including a now-deleted tweet where he used the hashtag #BopsBoutBottoming.
“I just wanted to be as real as possible about it and for me, that’s a really tender and sweet experience,” he said in an interview with Paper Magazine. “I wanted to explore it in that perspective, and ultimately I was writing a love song from my experience. I wanted it to be sweet and candor and have all that stuff with fear and curiosity — everything packed in there.”
Sivan Challenges Out Editorial
Thursday, Sivan responded to the op-ed on Twitter, saying it was “disappointing” to see the LGBTQ+ magazine “miss the mark so much on the reporting of this.”
Sivan then posted a series of tweets explaining both his album and its relation to sex, including a rebuke of Out’s assertion “he wrote a whole ass album about bottoming.”
“Firstly, Bloom is about love,” Sivan said. “I said that in every single interview i did about the album. Suggesting that i made the entire album about bottoming is over sexualising me + my work, and is reductive.”
“I speak about sex in my music on my terms, when I’m in control, and writing music that is going to be close to my heart forever,” Sivan continued. “That does not open the flood gates + give anyone a pass on basic manners and allow them to ask about the ins and outs of what i do in bed.”
Firstly, Bloom is an album about love. I said that in every single interview i did about the album. Suggesting that i made the entire album about bottoming is over sexualising me + my work, and is reductive— troye (@troyesivan) August 29, 2019
I speak about sex in my music on my terms, when I’m in control, and writing music that is going to be close to my heart forever. That does not open the flood gates + give anyone a pass on basic manners and allow them to ask about the ins and outs of what i do in bed— troye (@troyesivan) August 29, 2019
Sivan then echoed many of the sentiments his fans expressed over what they called a divide between the way straight and LGBTQ+ people are seen in media.
“I highly doubt anyone would ask any of my straight peers explicit questions about who does what to who in their relationship, no matter the content of their music,” Sivan said.
I highly doubt anyone would ask any of my straight peers explicit questions about who does what to who in their relationship, no matter the content of their music. I don’t think artists should have to expect to be asked about that when they show up to work in the morning— troye (@troyesivan) August 29, 2019
There’s no shame in anal sex or any kind of sex – i just don’t want to talk about it over the phone to a complete stranger— troye (@troyesivan) August 29, 2019
Since Sivan’s series of tweets, Out has removed the comments many viewed as controversial.
“This piece has been updated since its original publish time due to the editorial team’s determination that it did not meet our standards,” an edit to the article now reads. “We have condensed and revised the piece accordingly.
The singer ended his message by liking a tweet that read, “i’m not a top or a bottom. i’m just tired.”
See what others are saying: (INSIDER) (Hollywood Life) (PopCrush)
Joe Rogan Says Grimes Did Not Give Dave Chappelle COVID-19
- Comedian Dave Chappelle is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic and his remaining shows in Austin, Texas have been canceled.
- The news comes just days after Chappelle was photographed with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
- “Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” Rogan wrote on Instagram Friday. “Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
Chappelle Tests Positive
Comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently under quarantine, according to one of his representatives.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, that rep also confirmed that he is currently asymptomatic and has canceled all of his remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas.
“Chappelle has safely conducted socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June 2020 and he moved those shows to Austin during the winter,” the statement read.
“Chappelle implemented COVID-19 protocols which included rapid testing for the audience and daily testing for himself and his team. His diligent testing enabled him to immediately respond by quarantining, thus mitigating the spread of the virus,” it continued.
Joe Rogan Speaks Out After He Was Photographed With Chappelle
Two of the remaining Austin shows were supposed to include fellow comedian Joe Rogan. Rogan took to Instagram Friday morning to announce that they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Still, many fans had questions about Rogan’s current state of health. The news of Chappelle’s positive test comes just days after he was photographed maskless with Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, musician Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
Since Grimes, who is also in a relationship with Musk, recently had COVID, many were concerned that she may have exposed the group. Others wondered if Chappelle may have spread it.
Rogan eventually updates his Instagram caption to dismiss the ideas.
“Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” he wrote.“Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (AP News)
Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention
- In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
- The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
- The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.
Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers
Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.
In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.
Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.
When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.
Success Amid Growth of Competition
The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix.
Still, it reached a massive milestone.
“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”
Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.
“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”
Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers
Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.
An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service.
Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Paramount+ To Launch March 4
- ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year.
- The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection.
Paramount+ Gets Launch Date
ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year.
It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news.
“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”
State of the Streaming Wars
Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”
The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television.
ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.