- In an interview with Joe Rogan, Robert Downey Jr. defended his decision to act wearing blackface in the film Tropic Thunder, arguing that it was satire.
- Former talk show host Megyn Kelly responded in a tweet, suggesting that NBC Universal gave him a free pass while she was “canceled” by the company for comments previously made defending blackface.
- Some Twitter users criticized Kelly, pointing out that the movie was a parody while her comments were serious, while, others agreed that she was treated unfairly.
Robert Downey Jr. Interview
Former news anchor Megyn Kelly accused NBC Universal of practicing a double standard regarding discussions of blackface after Robert Downey Jr. defended his decision to play a character who wears blackface in the movie Tropic Thunder.
The 2008 satirical action-comedy centered around four actors who were filming a Vietnam war movie. In the film, Downey plays Kirk Lazarus, a method actor who got “pigmentation alteration” surgery to darken his skin so he could play a black character for the movie.
While the character drew some criticisms, the film was still quite well-received by critics, many of whom felt the movie was a satire of Hollywood and that Downey’s character fit that narrative. Downey was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, as well as other awards for the role.
The topic was recently rehashed again when podcast host Joe Rogan asked Downey Jr. if he believed Tropic Thunder could be made today. Downey said that he initially thought the role was “a terrible idea.”
“And then I thought, ‘Well hold on dude, get real here, where is your heart?’” he continued. “And my heart is, a) I get to, I get to be black for a summer in my mind, so there’s something in it for me. The other thing is I get to hold up to nature the insane, self-involved hypocrisy of artists and what they think they’re allowed to do on occasion. Just my opinion.”
Downey Jr. went on to praise Ben Stiller, who co-wrote, directed, and acted in the movie.
“He knew exactly what the vision for this was,” he said. “He executed it. It was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie. And 90% of my black friends were like, ‘Dude, that was great.’”
When asked about the other 10% Downey Jr. admitted that he couldn’t disagree with them.
“But I know where my heart was,” he explained. “And I think that it’s never an excuse to do something that is out of place and not of its time, but to me, it was just putting a, it was a blasting cap on.”
Rogan then circled back to the question of whether or not the movie could be made today.
“There’s a morality clause here on this planet, and it’s a big price to pay,” Downey Jr. said. “And I think having a moral psychology is job one, so sometimes you just got to go, ‘Yeah I effed up.’ Again, not in my defense, but ‘Tropic Thunder’ was about how wrong that is, so I take exception.”
Megyn Kelly Responds
After the clip went viral, many people took to Twitter to respond. Some criticized Downey, saying that blackface is never acceptable, while others agreed with the actor that the film was meant to satirize those who actually do blackface.
Kelly, however, had a different take altogether. In October 2018, Kelly drummed up controversy after comments she made on her NBC talk show about wearing blackface on Halloween.
“But what is racist?” she asked in the segment. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
Kelly publicly apologized for the comments on her show the next day. But three days after making those remarks, NBC canceled her show, and her contract with them was terminated in January 2019.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Kelly went after NBC Universal, which produced Tropic Thunder, accusing them of a double standard.
Response to Kelly
Twitter users responded to Kelly’s post with the expected mixed reactions.
Some argued that the movie was a satire and that Downey was just an actor playing a role, while Kelly was a journalist speaking as herself on her own talk show.
Robert Downey Jr. parodied racists who choose blackface in “Tropic Thunder”. Your personal and career failings are of your own making and can’t be attributed to a racist character you were playing (that’s Alex Jones’ weak defense).https://t.co/yK5Sae0G96— the inverted pilcrow. ¶ (@dlnodots) January 23, 2020
Robert Downey Jr – satire. Megyn Kelly – racism. Big difference, which you obviously still cannot get over. You must be missing that paycheck. Oh and we haven’t forgotten about your white Santa BS too.— Suzie O’Shea (@oshea_suzie) January 23, 2020
Did you see Tropic Thunder? His character was a parody of an idiotic, egomaniacal actor who thought he was making some kind of deep point. In other words, his character was a parody of people like you.— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) January 23, 2020
On the other side, some people agreed with Kelly, arguing that she was right and it was and that she was treated unfairly.
Complete double standard. They didn’t treat you right.— Eric Coleman (@EricSColeman) January 23, 2020
NBCUniversal did you dirty. The way you were treated was absolutely disgraceful. Excited to see what you do next.— Tyler Cardon (@TyCardon) January 23, 2020
You got a raw deal there. It has nothing to do with “blackface”. They used it as an excuse.— gypsy_sol77 (@GypsySol77) January 23, 2020
See what others are saying: (IndieWire) (Fox News) (Vanity Fair)
Kellyanne Conway Accused of Posting Topless Photo of Her Underage Daughter
- A topless photo of Kellyanne Conway’s 16-year-old daughter Claudia was shared as a Fleet on the former Trump counselor’s Twitter page Monday.
- Claudia later confirmed that the photo was of her but claimed she never sent it to anyone. She said she believes her mother made a copy of the photo after confiscating her phone in the past.
- The incident sparked a new wave of concern for the teen, who has repeatedly accused her parents of abuse and unsuccessfully filed for emancipation last year.
- Claudia changed her tone in a new statement Tuesday, suggesting that her mother would never post such a photo of her online, though some fear her comments may have been recorded by force.
Conway’s Account Posts Nude Photo
Kellyanne Conway, an ex-counselor to former President Donald Trump, is facing intense backlash after a topless photo of her underage daughter Claudia was shared on the elder Conway’s Twitter account Monday.
The photo was posted as Twitter Fleet, which is analogous to Instagram and Snapchat’s 24-hour stories features. It has since been deleted; however, before its removal, it was easily accessible to all of Twitter. Even now, it still exists in the form of screen captures.
After the photo was initially shared, Claudia took to TikTok to confirm that the picture was, in fact, of her.
“The picture’s from months ago, and I’m assuming when my mom took my phone… she took a picture of that, so that was on her phone, and I guess she accidentally posted or somebody hacked her but nobody would ever have any photo like that, ever,” Claudia said, noting that she had never sent the photo to anyone.
Claudia went a step further and accused Kellyanne of keeping the photo to one day use against her.
Notably, on Tuesday, Claudia adopted a much different tone in another series of TikToks.
This isn’t force,” she said. “This is coming completely from me: Claudia. I have faith and I know that my mother would never put something like that on the internet, as well as me. We would never do that. My mom and I, we fight like mothers and daughters, but we also love like mothers and daughters, and I do love her. I will be taking a break from social media because we are really tired of being [featured in] headlines.’
Shortly after that video was posted, a number of people online pointed out that recently, Claudia said she wouldn’t leave social media on her own accord. Because of that, many think she was forced to record the message.
Conway Accused of Posting Child Porn
Online, many have accused Kellyanne of posting child pornography.
Many have also reignited conversations of emancipation for Claudia, something the teen unsuccessfully pushed for last year.
The posting of this photo comes one week after Claudia posted now-deleted TikToks that appear to show Kellyanne physically and verbally abusing her.
In one of those videos, a woman who seems to be Kellyanne can be heard screaming at Claudia while hurling a barrage of explicit insults at the girl. Other moments appear to depict Kellyanne throwing things at Claudia and even hitting her. In one, Claudia is crying and seems to be trying to ask Kellyanne to stop but is unable to get a word in.
The New York Post reportedly reached Kellyanne by phone Tuesday morning for a statement about the incident. “We have no comment,” she told the outlet while also noting that she was “sitting here with Claudia.”
According to Variety, Twitter is investigating the matter. It is still unknown whether Kellyanne posted the photo herself or if her phone was hacked.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (New York Post) (Vulture)
JoJo Siwa Swatted After Coming Out as Member of LGBTQ+ Community
- In an Instagram live on Saturday, YouTube star JoJo Siwa confirmed that police were called to her house on a false report, a dangerous trend commonly referred to as swatting.
- The incident happened hours after Siwa publicly confirmed that she is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Siwa believes members of the media may have called the police in an effort to force her out of her home so they could photograph her amid the excitement surrounding her announcement.
JoJo Siwa’s House Gets Swatted
JoJo Siwa, the 17-year old YouTube star who is massively popular among kids, was swatted at her home on Saturday, hours after coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
During an Instagram Live with her videographer Nate Javier, Siwa confirmed that officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were called to her house on a false report.
Everyone inside had to step out with their hands up. As this happened, Siwa says paparazzi came out from around the corner.
She believes the media called the police to force her outside so they could photograph her while there was so much excitement surrounding her coming out.
She called the incident “really scary” but said that she is safe and fine.
“For me it was no big deal to walk outside my house. I’m okay,” she said. “But I feel bad because there was about 50 police at our house and those police could have had much better time spent somewhere else actually helping somebody instead of dealing with a fake claim from paparazzi.”
Siwa Comes Out
Siwa made headlines over the weekend as fans began to speculate that she might be coming out. They were first tipped off by a handful of TikToks she appeared in, including one where she lip-synched to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. Then on Friday, Siwa shared a photo of herself wearing a shirt from her cousin that said “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.”
Many took this photo as her coming out and began to celebrate her for sharing this. On Saturday the star went live on Instagram confirming that she is part of the LGTBQ community. She thanked her fans for their support.
“I have never ever ever been this happy before and it feels awesome,” she said.
Siwa said she is not yet ready to specifically label herself and that right now she is just happy to be open and sharing this part of her life with the public.
“The reason I’m not ready to say this answer is because I don’t really know this answer,” she explained.
“I wanna share everything with the world. I really do. But I also want to keep things in my life private until they are ready to be public,” Siwa continued. “Right now what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it’s okay.”
Praise for Siwa Rolls In
Many stars have applauded Siwa online, including actress Kerry Washington, singer Lil Nas X, and YouTubers Liza Koshy and Colleen Ballinger.
“You’ve got our love,” Koshy wrote. “Shine on as always!”
“This is the happiest I’ve ever seen you,” Ballinger said. “You’re absolutely glowing and I’m so proud of the woman you are becoming.
Many were also quick to point out the potential impact her coming out could have considering her large following of young people.
“JoJo Siwa’s decision to share her truth with the world is a powerful moment,” wrote Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLAAD.
“As one of the most influential young role models today, Jojo’s story is a reminder for LGBTQ youth to love who they are and to find safe and welcoming environments to speak out.”
See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (Newsweek) (Seventeen)
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.”