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Jay-Z and Beyoncé Earn Mixed Reactions After Sitting During Super Bowl National Anthem

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  • Jay-Z and Beyoncé sat during the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, prompting a wave of backlash from conservatives like Tomi Lahren and Charlie Kirk.
  • The move was surprising to some considering Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL which gives him influence over music events and social justice initiatives – a deal that many saw as a betrayal of Colin Kaepernick. 
  • Kaepernick even reshared a post suggesting that the couple’s choice to sit was hypocritical, meanwhile, supporters called the criticism overblown.

Jay-Z’s Relationship With Kaepernick and the NFL 

Music superstars Jay-Z and Beyoncé are seeing both backlash and support after not standing during the U.S. national anthem at last night’s Super Bowl. 

Footage released by TMZ showed the couple and their daughter, Blue Ivy, seated at Hark Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida during Demi Lovato’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The clip quickly spread across social media and was considered a surprising move by some given Jay-Z’s recent relationship with the National Football League. 

In 2019, Jay-Z, a co-producer of the halftime show featuring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, announced that his Roc Nation company had entered a partnership with the NFL.

The deal gave him influence over NFL music events like the halftime show, as well a hand in “Inspire Change,” the NFL’s new initiative concerning “education and economic advancement, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform,” according to the leagues’ promotional materials. The higher purpose of the partnership is to “bring representation of color and try to foster nationwide cultural dialogue,” Roc Nation executives told The New York Times. 

Jay-Z faced immediate backlash at the time of the announcement, especially since he had previously been known for supporting former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy for kneeling during the national anthem to protest against police brutality and racism. 

Some saw the rapper’s partnership as a betrayal of Kaepernick, including the former football player’s attorney who described it as crossing “the intellectual picket line.”

Jay-Z addressed the criticism in an interview with The New York Times that was published a day before the big game. In it, he said he could deal with the scruitiny if he is able to use the NFL’s platform to convince white football fans that they should also be concerned about police brutality. “As long as real people are being hurt and marginalized and losing family members, then yes, I can take a couple rounds of negative press,” he explained.

“No one is saying he hasn’t been done wrong. He was done wrong,” Jay-Z continued. “I would understand if it was three months ago. But it was three years ago and someone needs to say, ‘What do we do now?’ Because people are still dying.”

He later described himself and Kaepernick as “two adult men who disagree on the tactic but are marching for the same cause.”

Conservatives Slam Jay-Z and Beyoncé 

After seeing the clip of the couple sitting during the anthem, many people took to social media to express their frustration. Perhaps one of the loudest conservative voices speaking out against Jay-Z and Beyonce was Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren.

Other conservatives expressed similar sentiments on Twitter as well, calling the two “pathetic” and “spoiled brats.” 

Colin Kaepernick Takes Notice 

Even Kaepernick himself, who has refused to watch the Super Bowl and support the NFL, shared a screenshot drawing attention to the couple’s move. The screenshot was of a post made by Miko Grimes, wife of football player Brent Grimes and outspoken critic of the NFL. In her post, she seemed to imply that Jay-Z was being hypocritical by sitting after his partnership with the league by writing, “I thought we were ‘past kneeling’ tho?” over a TMZ headline. 

@Kaepernick7

The “past kneeling” comment is a reference to what Jay-Z said last summer about protesting when defending his NFL deal.

“I think we’ve moved past kneeling. I think it’s time to go into actionable items. I don’t want people to stop protesting at all. Kneeling is a form of protest. I support protests across the board,” he said at the time. “We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase. There [are] two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’”

Supporters Clap Back at the Outrage 

Despite the criticism, some supporters praised the couple for sitting. Meanwhile, other internet users spoke out against the outrage, suggesting it was overblown.

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (Fox News) (The Hill

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Former “Real Housewives” Star Bethenny Frankel Sues TikTok Over Ads Misusing Likeness

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The reality star said social media has become “a breeding ground for scams.”


TikTok Hit With Class Action Suit

Businesswoman and reality star Bethenny Frankel filed a class action lawsuit against TikTok on Thursday, accusing the social media app of platforming fraudulent ads that misuse the identities of influencers. 

According to the lawsuit, several videos “purloined the images, voices, and content” of Frankel and others in an effort “to sell counterfeit items.” 

Frankel claims that one advertisement used footage of her to make it appear as though she was endorsing a knockoff cardigan, even though she never authorized the use of her image. According to the lawsuit, Frankel attempted to warn her followers that the ad was misusing her persona, but TikTok allegedly removed that video for being “abusive.”

“Despite demands on TikTok to remove and police this corrupt conduct, TikTok has ignored such demands, and even taken countervailing positions,” the lawsuit claims. “Aside from not being compensated, the reputation and brand of Ms. Frankel and Class Members are being damaged and tarnished through unauthorized associations with counterfeit goods and other products that they do not support.”

It further alleged that TikTok is “unlawfully” allowing the use of Frankel’s “persona, voice, content, and likeness” in a manner that “constitutes unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.”

In addition to previously starring on “The Real Housewives of New York,” Frankel is also the founder of lifestyle and food brand Skinnygirl, and disaster relief initiative BStrong. 

The Wild West of Social Media

In a TikTok video last month, the former Real Housewife told her followers she was considering taking legal action against the video app. As for why she took her complaints up with TikTok as opposed to the brands behind the sham ads, she said that the bigger issue is “the wild wild west of social media.”

This is something that has to be addressed because it’s a breeding ground for scams,” she said. 

After the fake ads appeared to show Frankel giving the knockoff cardigan a thumbs up, many of her followers thought she “sold out” by “hocking” the product. According to Frankel, TikTok offers little help in repairing the issue. 

“There’s nobody to call at TikTok,” she said. “You know, calling China, you’re reporting something, it’s like small potatoes.”

After news broke that she filed the class action complaint, Frankel posted a statement to Instagram saying her demands “for creators and consumers is correct and just.”

“Consumers and creators are being exploited with no recourse or power to defend and protect themselves,” Frankel wrote. “That ends now.”

“Social media, and its impact as the most powerful medium on the planet, cannot be a reckless marketplace where people risk their rights and privacy being violated without protection.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Insider) (Reuters)

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Halyna Hutchins Family Settles With “Rust” Production, Filming to Resume in 2023

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Alec Baldwin said everyone involved was motivated by the “desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son.”


Settlement Reached

The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the set of “Rust” last year, reached a settlement with the production over a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday. 

The lawsuit was filed in February, several months after Hutchins’ death in New Mexico last October. The cast and crew were rehearsing a scene that involved producer and actor Alec Baldwin pointing a gun toward the camera. Baldwin claims he did not know it was loaded when it fired, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. 

The actor also claims he did not actually pull the trigger, but investigators determined it must have been pulled. 

Hutchins’ husband Matthew filed the wrongful death suit on behalf of himself and his young son. It claimed that the production did not follow proper safety procedures and endangered the crew via reckless cost-cutting measures. Baldwin was listed as a defendant, as well as the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director, Dave Halls, and others involved with the film. 

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but as part of the agreement, the production of “Rust” will resume in January 2023. The late cinematographer’s husband will join the project as an executive producer. 

“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he said in a statement. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”

A Tribute to Hutchins

Souza will return as the director. In a statement, he said his “every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring” Hutchins.

For his part, Baldwin shared the news of the settlement on his Instagram Wednesday morning.

“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” he wrote. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”

According to The Los Angeles Times, while Gutierrez-Reed and Halls were not part of the settlement, if a judge approves it, the allegations against them will be resolved.

There is still an ongoing criminal probe happening separately from this lawsuit. It is unclear what impact the settlement will have on that, if any. 

Last month, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies sent a letter to the New Mexico Board of Finance seeking additional funding to prosecute up to four people over the incident, including Baldwin. So far, no charges have been filed. 

In April, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau fined the production after it found multiple safety violations on set. 

See what others are saying: (The Los Angeles Times) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Deadline)

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The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”

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The group said that by severing ties with Fulmer, it felt like they were losing a friend. 


“That Is Not What We Stand For”

Digital comedy and sketch group The Try Guys posted a video on Monday night explaining the recent removal of member Ned Fulmer. 

Last week, the Internet was filled with speculation that Fulmer, who is married with children, was having an affair with a staffer for The Try Guys. Fulmer confirmed the reports, claiming he had a “consensual workplace relationship.” The Try Guys quickly announced that Fulmer would no longer be working with the group as the result of an internal review. 

In Monday’s video, the remaining three members, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger, explained what led to their decision to remove Fulmer. While the trio noted there were legal issues that prevented them from sharing certain details, they wanted to be as transparent as possible. 

“On Labor Day weekend, multiple fans alerted us that they had seen Ned and an employee engaging in public romantic behavior,” Habersberger explained. “We reached out to check on that employee and Ned confirmed the reports, and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time, which was obviously very shocking to us.”

He emphasized that the rest of the group “had no idea this was going on.” 

After this, The Try Guys reached out to a variety of lawyers and HR professionals to make sure they handled the situation correctly. 

“This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are, and that is not what we stand for.” 

Removing Fulmer From Content

They decided to immediately remove Fulmer from work activities and hired an HR rep to conduct a review. Fulmer was also withdrawn from releases pending the results of that review. 

As part of this, his video section was erased, he was digitally taken out of some content, and he was not included in merch drops. The Try Guys said this was a long and tedious process. 

“Honestly, I want to give major props to our editing staff for how deftly they handled that,” Kornfeld said. “There are several videos that we have deemed as fully unreleasable, you will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that is a decision that has cost us lots of money.” 

“We will not be able to recoup that money,” he continued. “But it’s a decision we stand by proudly.” 

The group declined to share details of the review but claimed it found that Fulmer engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of the team. Because of this, Yang, Kornfeld, and Habersberger gave written consent on Sept. 16 to ax Fulmer as a manager and employee of The Try Guys company. 

The three said they were always planning to make a public statement about their decision, but were initially waiting out of respect to the families and employees involved. As online speculation arose, they chose to deal with it sooner. 

“We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with, we just made a TV show together,” Kornfeld said. “I’m sure many of you feel the same way.” 

According to the group, some upcoming videos featuring Fulmer will be edited to remove him. They said they are currently taking time to reimagine their channel. 

See what others are saying: (USA Today) (People) (Deadline)

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