- Many celebrities and public figures have been speaking out about the coronavirus and spreading awareness on the issue, while some have been downplaying the situation or even trying to capitalize on it.
- When actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanks posted an informative tweet about what he was doing.
- In contrast, Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert made light of the situation, jokingly touching microphones and recorders at a press conference.
- He tested positive for the virus a few days later, along with one of his teammates.
Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson Test Positive for Coronavirus
As the coronavirus spreads, celebrities are using their platforms to spread awareness— some in good ways, and some in not so good ways.
On Wednesday, actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced that they had tested positive for the coronavirus in Australia, where Hanks was filming a movie.
“Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too,” the actor said on Twitter. “To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.”
“The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires.”
NBA Cancels Season After Rudy Gobert Tests Positive
Others have not been as responsible when it comes to the pandemic. During a press conference earlier this week, Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert joked around, touching all of the microphones and recorders near him.
On Wednesday, NBA postponed a game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma Thunder right before tip-off, reportedly because a player was being tested for the coronavirus and those results were about to come in.
Shortly after that, it was announced that the player was Gobert and that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The NBA announced later that night that it was suspending its entire season indefinitely.
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league saying in a statement.
On Thursday, Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell announced that he too had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Celebrities Promote Good Health
A number of other celebrities have also been using social media to speak out about the coronavirus.
Actress Kristen Bell shared data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and John Hopkins on her Instagram account, as well as information on handwashing.
Podcaster Joe Rogan spoke to a public health scientist about just how serious the situation is, and the podcast has been trending on YouTube for several days.
YouTuber Shane Dawson took a different approach, going on Twitter to tell people that it is okay to be worried.
“I don’t want to add to the anxiety of the situation but I’m genuinely spiraling about the corona virus and I just don’t really know how to process all of this,” he wrote. “If ur feeling the same just know it’s ok to be worried right now even if people tell you you’re overreacting.”
Others, however, have been trying to capitalize on the pandemic, like controversial conservative commentator Alex Jones, who reportedly tried to sell a silver-infused toothpaste he claimed could kill the coronavirus.
Televangelist Jim Bakker, who also tried to sell a similar product dubbed “Silver solution” as a cure for the coronavirus, is now being sued by the state of Missouri for his efforts.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that silver can not be used to treat serious diseases. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has specifically said that colloidal silver, the type in the products Jones and Bakker were hawking, can dangerous to ingest.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CBS Sports) (The New York Post)
Halyna Hutchins Family Settles With “Rust” Production, Filming to Resume in 2023
Alec Baldwin said everyone involved was motivated by the “desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son.”
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.”
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)
The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”
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.
Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use
Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.
Willis Debunks Rumors
Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake.
Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects.
However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.
“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.
Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.
This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful.
“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”
Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise.