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Miami Postpones Ultra Music Festival Amid Coronavirus Concerns, Other Major Artists Cancel Shows

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  • After pressure from the city of Miami, organizers with the Ultra Music Festival decided to postpone the 3-day show that had been scheduled for later this month.
  • David Guetta, Major Lazer, and Zedd had all been scheduled to perform.
  • The move comes as the United States faces a surge in coronavirus cases and its first wave of deaths.
  • Some have criticized Miami for making the decision so late since many people have already booked flights and hotels.
  • Other major artists have all either canceled or postponed several of their shows, including BTS, Khalid, Green Day, Mariah Carey, and Avril Lavigne.

Ultra Music Festival Postponed, Possibly Cancelled

City officials and organizers for Miami’s Ultra Music Festival agreed to postpone the three-day show amid fears around the coronavirus outbreak. 

It is currently unknown how long Ultra, which was originally scheduled for March 20-22, will be postponed for, though it’s unclear for how long. It is being reported that the festival could be pushed back for up to a year, effectively canceling this year’s show.

The event was set to feature major artists like David Guetta, Major Lazer, and Zedd. 

Wednesday morning, Miami Mayor Francis Saurez and Commissioner Joe Carollo told reporters that the city was encouraging Ultra organizers to suspend the festival. After a meeting with Ultra representatives, the postponement was announced. 

Currently, it’s still unknown how this will affect people who have already bought tickets. Miami city officials are expected to give more details about the event in an announcement on Friday.

The move to suspend the concert festival comes after four people in Florida have been confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus. Additionally, Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a public health emergency in the state.

Did Miami Officials Act Too Late?

Last year, Ultra reportedly attracted 170,000 people. It is also a major international festival for the city, with people from over 100 countries expected to flock to Miami. 

That, combined with the recent and rapid spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., prompted officials to postpone the event, though their timing has created some backlash. 

While many were likely upset to miss out on seeing their favorite artists, some also expressed additional concern because many have already booked flights and hotels to Miami. The city will also be hosting Miami Music Week, a celebration that will result in a number of parties.

Others, however, have supported the move, noting how massive of an event Ultra is. 

Ultra’s postponement also raises other questions: Will other major festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo follow suit? Will major acts in these festivals start dropping out?

In 2016, amid concerns over the Zika virus outbreak, Rihanna reportedly dropped out of her headline performance for Lollapalooza Colombia. In turn, the entire festival was then canceled. 

Other Musical Acts Cancel Shows

Ultra is not the first instance of a major musical event being canceled over coronavirus concerns.

On Feb. 14, Khalid canceled multiple concerts scheduled in Asia. Later that month, artists like Green Day and Avril Lavigne also canceled their Asian tours. BTS also canceled concerts in its home country of South Korea, which is currently seeing the largest outbreak in the world outside of China.

Notably, on Tuesday, Mariah Carey became the first major artist to postpone a show in the United States.

Aloha Hawaii!! I’m so so sad to have to announce that I’m postponing my show to November,” Carey said. “…evolving international travel restrictions force us to consider everyone’s safety and well being.”

See what others are saying: (The Miami Herald) (Billboard) (NBC 6 South Florida)

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Chris Pratt Denies Association With Hillsong Church: “I’ve Never Actually Been”

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The church has been accused of having anti-LGBTQ ties, something Pratt has taken a hit for. 


Pratt Addresses Hillsong Controversy 

After several years of facing criticism for his alleged ties to the controversial Hillsong Church, actor Chris Pratt said he has “never actually been” to the church and is “not a religious person.”

The Hillsong Church has been condemned for being anti-LGBTQ. The issue received increased attention in 2019 when actor Elliot Page tweeted, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed.” 

“Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides,” he continued.

At the time, Pratt responded to the allegations by saying that “nothing could be further from the truth” and that he believes “everyone is entitled to love who they want.” He doubled down on his denial in a profile published Tuesday in Men’s Health.

 “I never went to Hillsong. I’ve never actually been to Hillsong,” he told the outlet. “I don’t know anyone from that church.”

Instead, Pratt said he attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, though not exclusively. According to Men’s Health, Zoe Church is not without its issues. The church was founded by a pastor who produced a film that equated “sexual brokeness” to “same-sex attraction.” Other outlets have also described it as a Hillsong affiliate. 

Pratt faced his biggest wave of backlash in 2020 when Internet memes declared him the “worst” Chris compared to other actors with the same first name, including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pine. A slew of celebrities quickly came to Pratt’s defense, arguing the criticism was unjustifiably mean. Their speedy responses only heightened the online conversation and many of the celebrities who spoke out were eventually mocked for doing so. 

Pratt Says He is Not Religious

As for why the Internet has become increasingly anti-Pratt, his alleged association to Hillsong was a major factor. Some also speculated he was a supporter of Donald Trump as he did not join his “Avengers” co-stars for a Joe Biden fundraiser, though Pratt is not usually politically outspoken in either direction.

Pratt believes the backlash against him started when he gave a speech at the MTV Movie Awards in 2018 where he said, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you.” He understands why those remarks may have rubbed people the wrong way. 

“Maybe it was hubris. For me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he told Men’s Health. “Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time. I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person.”

He went on to explain that in his eyes, there is a difference between adhering to certain customs and believing in God versus using God to control and harm people and justify hatred.

“The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride,” he said.

See what others are saying: (Men’s Health) (The AV Club) (People)

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Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”

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“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.


Actress Pushed at Protest

After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights. 

Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”

Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.

Sweetin Addresses Incident

Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over. 

“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”

Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.

“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.

According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter. 

“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him

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“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.


Theater Named Announced

Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title. 

The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. 

A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”

Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.

The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”

Chappelle Defends Controversial Special 

According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students. 

“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.

Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda. 

“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said. 

“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special. 

According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)

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