- On her Instagram story, Billie Eilish called out people who have impersonated her in public, saying it is unsafe and mean to fans who might be fooled by the stunts.
- She also said these impersonators make her look bad and shared screenshots of several incidents on YouTube with millions of views.
- Jordan Matter, the YouTuber/Photographer responsible for the most recent impersonation, said he apologized to Eilish and will not post his video without her permission.
Eilish Speaks Out
Singer Billie Eilish called for people to stop impersonating her in public settings on Thursday after noticing the trend attracting millions of views on YouTube in recent months
It’s safe to say that aside from her successful music career, the 18-year-old is also widely known for her unique fashion sense. The Grammy-Award-winning artist, currently rocking neon green roots, can typically be found wearing baggy clothes, chunky sneakers, long nails, and some funky sunglasses.
In fact, her style is so recognizable that she was even one of the most popular Halloween costumes of 2019. But some social media users have taken it a step beyond Halloween fun and have pretended to be Eilish in public for what they call “social experiments” or “pranks.”
In a recent Instagram Story, Eilish shared examples of these incidents, asking for people to put a stop to this behavior. “Please stop doing this shit,” she wrote above an image of an impersonator working for YouTuber and Photographer Jordan Matter.
“It’s not safe for you and it is mean to the people who don’t know any better,” she continued before saying, “you make me look bad.”
In two more posts, Eilish shared YouTube search results showing various videos of people impersonating her. In one post with over 2.4 million views, the impersonator, Lael Hansen, shut down a shopping mall after creating chaos with her presence. Throughout that video, Hansen even goes so far as to stop and pose for pictures with fans who are emotional and excited about meeting the supposed superstar.
One fan who thought she had seen the real singer later posted her own video: “I MET BILLIE EILISH AT THE MALL (SHE WAS SO RUDE)”
Another post by Deshae Frost Vlogs picked up 5.4 million views and incited a similar shopping mall mob.
In Eilish’s last post addressing the issue, she zoomed in on the Jordan Matter-hired impersonator’s legs, writing: “also soooo disrespectful that you’d go out pretending to be me wearing THIS😂😂”
Fan accounts figured out that the impersonator Eilish called out was filming a video with Matter based on other images and videos he shared to his Instagram. Supporters then began to slam the photographer for the stunt across social media.
After Eilish’s post, Matter issued a statement on Instagram addressing the issue, saying, “I gathered a crowd and had an acrobat pretending to be Billie do a huge cheer flip, which revealed it was not Billie. I had absolutely no intention of disrespecting Billie. I’m a big fan, like everyone else.”
“I’ve never done a celebrity impersonation video before, but they’re pretty common so I thought it would be fun to add my own acrobatic twist,” he continued. “I felt it was completely harmless since at no time in the video are we pretending that she is actually Billie.”
Matter went on to say that he reached out to the singer and her mother to apologize and will not post his video without their permission.
View this post on Instagram
Hello everyone. You’ve been commenting on the video shoot I did yesterday, and I’d like to respond. I gathered a crowd and had an acrobat pretending to be Billie do a huge cheer flip, which revealed it was not Billie. I had absolutely no intention of disrespecting Billie. I’m a big fan, like everyone else. I’ve never done a celebrity impersonation video before, but they’re pretty common so I thought it would be fun to add my own acrobatic twist. I felt it was completely harmless since at no time in the video are we pretending that she is actually Billie. I have reached out directly to Billie and Maggie and apologized, and I will not post the video without their permission. I hope this clarifies everything.
See what others are saying: (PopBuzz) (Insider) (The Daily Dot)
Joe Rogan Faces Backlash For Promoting Antisemitic Stereotypes
His comments come as antisemitic hate incidents have increased both online and in the real world.
Rogan’s Antisemitic Comments
Joe Rogan is facing backlash over a Saturday episode of his podcast where he claimed that “the idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous.”
While the “Joe Rogan Experience” episode was posted to Spotify on Feb. 3, the controversial podcaster’s comments did not receive criticism until clips started circulating around social media on Tuesday. Rogan was speaking with “Breaking Points” hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti when the subject of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee came up.
Omar was ousted over a 2019 tweet where she said that American support of Isreal was “all about the Benjamins,” referring to a slang term for money. After she was condemned for promoting antisemitic tropes, she apologized. Some Democrats have accused Republicans of hypocrisy for removing Omar over the remark.
“She’s apologizing for talking about ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ which is just about money,” Rogan said of the incident. “She’s talking about money.”
“She shouldn’t have apologized,” Ball responded.
“That’s not an antisemitic statement, I don’t think that it is,” Rogan continued. “Benjamins are money. The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s fucking stupid.”
Condemned for “Vicious Lies”
His comments were condemned after several Twitter users shared clips of the podcast on the platform. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said it was “disturbing” that Rogan chose to spread antisemitic stereotypes “at a time of rising anti-Jewish violence, when growing numbers of Americans believe in antisemitic conspiracy theories.”
“For centuries, people have used these longstanding tropes to spread vicious lies about the Jewish people,” Greenblatt wrote.
“The thing is, Joe Rogan, Italians were never slaughtered because of the pizza stereotype,” writer and essayist Howard Lovy tweeted. “But because idiots like you believe Jews are into money,’ we have been marginalized, brutalized, and murdered for thousands of years.”
“The ‘Jews are into money’ thing is a generation-spanning smear used as the basis to discriminate against Jews the world over,” attorney Bradley P. Moss added. “Everyone is into money. But we have been accused of secretly hoarding $ to control everything.”
Writer David Baddiel noted how alarming it was that Rogan was able to “breezily” spew “a racist myth.”
“One of the biggest podcasts in the world and no one gives a fuck,” he wrote.
Rogan’s comments come as antisemitism has been increasingly present in media and everyday life for Jewish people.
Upon billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the platform saw an increase in racial slurs and hate speech, including language targeted at Jewish people. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found in December that antisemitic hate crimes rose between 2021 and 2022 in major cities like New York and Los Angeles.
Kanye West also made headlines late last year for going on several antisemitic rants, including one where he praised Hitler. While he was dropped by major brands like Adidas over his comments, his words have amplified dangerous conspiracy theories far and wide. He even inspired several neo-Nazis to hang “Kanye is Right” banners in Los Angeles, among other antisemitic actions.
See what others are saying: (The Daily Beast) (Variety) (The Independent)
“Seinfeld” AI Parody Suspended From Twitch After AI Wrote Transphobic Jokes
The parody’s version of Jerry asked if he should make jokes about “how being transgender is actually a mental illness.”
“Nothing, Forever” Suspended
What’s the deal with AI?
While that has been a big question in the media world for the last few weeks, it is being raised yet again after AI software wrote transphobic jokes for an AI parody of the hit sitcom “Seinfeld.”
Titled “Nothing, Forever,” the heavily pixelated program runs 24/7 on Twitch, using Open AI to create endless “Seinfeld” parody content. In this AI version, Jerry is called Larry Feinberg. Larry’s friends, Yvonne, Fred, and Zoltare — who are stands-ins for Elaine, George, and Kramer — often sit around Larry’s apartment, just like in the NBC series.
Also mirroring “Seinfeld,” Larry is a stand-up comedian who does a cold-open set of jokes in front of a brick wall. On Monday morning, he asked if anyone had suggestions for jokes before going on a transphobic rant.
“I’m thinking about doing a bit about how being transgender is actually a mental illness,” Larry said. “Or how all liberals are secretly gay and want to impose their will on everyone. Or something about how transgender people are ruining the fabric of society. But no one is laughing, so I’m going to stop.”
“Thanks for coming out tonight. See you next time,” he continued. “Where’d everybody go?”
Plans to Return
The bit could almost come across as self-aware commentary about how pervasive transphobia is in stand-up comedy, but it’s unclear what the AI’s intent was or if it deserves that much credit.
Soon after the jokes aired, the “Nothing, Forever” Twitch page was closed, showing only a message announcing the channel “is temporarily unavailable due to a violation of Twitch’s Community Guidelines.” It did not specify what rule was broken, but Twitch does have a Hateful Conduct policy that bars attacks against someone’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other protected identities.
Skyler Hartle, one of the co-creators of “Nothing, Forever,” told The Washington Post that the team was “super embarrassed” by the transphobic rant, which “in no way reflects the values or opinions of our staff.”
Hartle said they hope to resume airing the AI parody with new safeguards in place soon. According to The Post, the suspension will last for 14 days.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NBC News) (The Verge)
Grammy Awards Face Backlash For Snubbing Beyoncé of Top Prize
This marks the fourth time the “Renaissance” singer has lost Album of the Year.
Beyoncé Loses Top Awards
Beyoncé may have broken the record for the most Grammy wins on Sunday night, but her snub for the top prize of Album of the Year has left music fans outraged.
Beyoncé nabbed Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song on Sunday night, all related to her latest album, “Renaissance.” While that crossed her Grammy total to a record-breaking 32 trophies, she was shut out of all the major categories she was nominated in: Record, Song, and Album of the Year.
This was the fourth time Beyoncé was nominated for and lost Album of the Year, largely considered the show’s most coveted prize. This year, Harry Styles took home the Grammy for “Harry’s House.”
In his speech, Styles said, he has been “so inspired by every artist in this category” and claimed there is no “best” in music. People in the crowd were heard shouting “Beyonce!” while he spoke, outraged the singer had lost the award yet again.
The moment was reminiscent of the 2017 Grammy Awards when Adele’s “25” beat out Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” for the same category. While accepting the prize, Adele suggested that the “Lemonade” should have gotten the gold.
“The ‘Lemonade’ album was just so monumental, Beyoncé, it was so monumental,” Adele said on stage.
Beyoncé’s History of Grammy Losses
This is part of a long trend in Beyoncé’s Grammy history, as she is almost always shut out of the major categories. Of her 32 Grammys, only one belongs to one of the top slots: her Song of the Year win in 2010 for “Single Ladies.” She has yet to ever win Record or Album of the Year, and most of her wins come from genre categories like R&B.
Many fans think that is an abysmal record for an artist who is considered one of the primary musical talents of her generation. Compare those stats to the similarly-adored Taylor Swift, who has three Album of the Year wins out of 12 Grammy trophies, and it’s not hard to see their point.
“Beyoncé represents every Black woman that is constantly applauded for their work but when it comes to promotion time their white colleague gets it instead,” culture reporter Ada Enechi tweeted in response to Sunday night’s snub.
The Grammy Awards have long been accused of having a racial bias, especially when it comes to Black women. In Beyoncé’s case, every time she has lost Album of the Year, she lost to a white artist.
Even some of the progress made during Sunday night’s telecast only proved how frequently Black women are excluded from major awards. For example, Lizzo won Record of the Year for “About Damn Time,” marking the first time a Black woman has won that award since Whitney Houston in 1994. That’s a nearly 30-year gap.
Backlash From Music Fans
Beyoncé’s repeated snubs have consistently been used as a prime example of the strides yet to be made in the music industry.
“Renaissance not winning AOTY is another example how of a Black woman can consistently deliver excellence, reinvent the wheel + shake the culture, AND still not be recognised to the extent that she deserves,” another person said on Twitter.”
“Absolutely wild that the person with the most Grammys ever is still the underdog who was robbed,” BuzzFeed News reporter David Mack pointed out.
Podcaster Sam Sanders called her loss “criminal.”