- Athletes and teams in the U.S. are donating thousands to pay arena employees who are being financially impacted by the NBA, MLB, and other sport season suspensions.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma and Dell Technologies billionaire Michael Dell offered the U.S. medical supplies and technical infrastructure support.
- As cases of COVID-19 surge across the globe, China is beginning to recover and is easing up on drastic restrictions.
- Viral video shows Wuhan doctors celebrating the closure of the city’s last temporary hospital.
Amid all of the panic surrounding the spreading coronavirus, many big names are offering financial support to those in need.
The suspension of the NBA season, for instance, isn’t just affecting million dollar players and fans. It’s having a huge impact on thousands of employees in basketball arenas across the nation.
Last week, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love committed to giving $100,000 through his non-profit to help support the Cavaliers’ arena and staff. Soon after, other players followed his lead, like Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokoump.
Antetokoumpo tweeted, “It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier. Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together!”
Zion Williamson, a forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, said on Instagram that he was paying the salaries of Smoothie King Center employees for the next 30 days.“This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis,” he wrote.
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The people of New Orleans have been incredibly welcoming and supportive since I was Drafted by the Pels last June, and some of the most special people I have met are those who work at smoothie King Center. These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus. My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis. This is an incredibly resilient city full of some of the most resilient people, but sometimes providing a little extra assistance can make things a little easier for the community.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who first brought up pay issues right as the season was suspended, said the Mavericks would pay event staff during the hiatus. The Golden State Warriors took it a step further, with franchise owners, players, and coaches promising to contribute $1 million for Chase Center employees. After all of these generous announcements, more teams made commitments to help arena staff, including the Atlanta Hawks, the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, LA Lakers and Clippers.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert even promised assistance of his own after apologizing for not taking the virus seriously. Gobert prompted the NBA shut down when he tested positive for the virus after joking touching microphones at a press conference and reportedly acting “careless” around other players.
In an effort to make things right, he encouraged people to use his story as a lesson and is donating $200,000 to the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena. On top of that, he’s giving $100,000 each to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City, plus 100,000 euros for his native country of France.
And this isn’t just happening in the NBA, Major League Baseball stars have been donating funds for their workers, including Astros players George Springer and Alex Bregman. A few National Hockey League teams have also reportedly been working on plans to reimburse workers for lost wages.
Medical and Technological Support
The donations have eased some employees, allowing them to find comfort in knowing that they will still have an income during this stressful time. But it’s not just employee’s impacted by closures who are seeing support.
Others are focusing on medical necessities, like Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma. Ma is donating 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million protective face masks to the U.S., saying that from his own country’s experience, “speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus.”
The Chinese billionaire has already offered similar supplies for areas like Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran, and Spain, and others. According to tweets from the Jack Ma Foundation, the first U.S. shipment is already on its way.
Tech billionaire Michael Dell also explained how Dell Technologies was helping fight the coronavirus worldwide. Dell said the company has made a donation of two million yuan ($284,000 USD) to fund needed materials in China including surgical masks, protective clothing and eye protectors for local hospitals.
Along with technical infrastructure support for the CDC in China, the company also set aside $3 million USD in funds and in-kind technology to help meet the needs of organizations working to treat and contain COVID-19.
Dell has also agreed to match employee donations to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund up to $10,000 per employee.
Many are celebrating all of these moves, which show a stark contrast in leadership in comparison to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who reportedly recommended that employees ‘donate’ PTO to one another amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Cases Ease Up in China
In an effort to remind people that this outbreak will pass, many internet users have been celebrating the progress being made in Wuhan China, where the virus first broke out.
While people across the globe have been forced to stay inside, healthcare professionals have been working tirelessly to help thousands of people who have fallen ill, putting themselves at risk.
In a viral video, medical workers in Wuhan took their face masks off to reveal smiles as they celebrated the closing of the last temporary hospital. Last month, China quickly built more than a dozen temporary medical facilities last month, including two in Wuhan that proved more than 2,000 more beds to accommodate the overflow of patients in the city.
As of Monday, China has reported nearly 81,000 cases, with more than 67,000 patients who have recovered and about 3,000 who have died. But the country’s quarantine measures and have drastically reduced their number of daily cases and China has now begun easing local travel restrictions in an effort to get thousands of people back to work.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Business Insider) (Independent)
Chris Evans Dismisses Reports of His Possible MCU Return
- Deadline published an article Thursday reporting that Chris Evans was in talks to return to his role as Captain American for at least one future Marvel production.
- The news was unexpected as Evans retired from the role following 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
- After the rumor became a trending topic, Evans tweeted, “News to me.”
Deadline Reports Evans Is Coming Back to the MCU
According to Deadline, actor Chris Evans is in talks to return to his iconic role as Captain America in at least one upcoming Marvel project.
However, according to Evans himself, that rumor is “news to me.”
Evans trended online Thursday following Deadline’s report, which stated that the actor could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in up to two projects.
Reportedly, the roles would not be for an Evans-led “Captain America” film; rather, they would be more akin to Robert Downey Jr’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-“Iron Man 3.”
Evans Said Goodbye To Captain America in 2019
Evans’ subsequent tweet appears to indicate that the actor has no plans to return as Captain America.
Indeed, the reports of Evans’ return were unexpected as the actor has been vocal about 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” being his last outing as the character.
“Officially wrapped on Avengers 4,” Evans said in 2018. “It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.”
In addition to Evans’ own desire to retire from the role, the character of Captain America (AKA, Steve Rogers) was given a firm conclusion in “Endgame.”
In its original article, Deadline explained that while Evans was initially adamant about not returning to the role, he has been more open to the idea in recent months.
So far, Marvel has not confirmed or denied the reports, but it might not be unfathomable to think that Evans’ could return to the role at some point, even if Thursday’s rumors are false.
For example, Downey Jr. is set to briefly reprise his role as Iron Man in Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow,” despite Downey Jr also retiring from his role in “Endgame.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNET) (Insider)
Warner Media Defends DC Films President Following Accusations From Ray Fisher
- Warner Media said it does not believe DC Films President Walter Hamada interfered with misconduct investigations on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
- Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in DC films, previously alleged that director Joss Whedon created an abusive and unprofessional work environment on set, adding that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
- He also claimed Hamada tried to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to protect Johns, who is his friend, despite knowing about his involvement in the issues.
Issues on the Set of The Justice League
Warner Media is standing by DC Film President Walter Hamada after actor Ray Fisher claimed the executive inferred with investigations into misconduct on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
Fisher has played Cyborg in “Justice League” and other DC projects. Back in July, he alleged that director Joss Whedon created a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” work environment during reshoots for “Justice League.”
Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder, who was originally directing the 2017 film until he had to leave because of a death in his family.
Fisher says that Whedon’s behavior was enabled by Geoff Johns, who was the DC Entertainment president at the time before transitioning to a new role at Warner Brothers, as well as Jon Berg, who was the co-president of production at Warner Brothers until the end of 2017.
Warner opened an investigation into the claims and announced in December that it had concluded. The studio said remedial action had been taken but did not give details. Though, just weeks earlier, news broke that Whedon was leaving his show at HBO and Warner Media, effectively parting ways with the studio.
The studio and Fisher sparred online throughout the investigation and after it was over. In September, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa showed support for Fisher and also claimed people on set were mistreated.
“Serious stuff went down,” he wrote on Instagram. “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.”
“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot eventually expressed support for Fisher’s choice to speak out in December.
Fisher Claims Hamada Interfered in Investigation
Despite the investigation ending, Fisher still lodged complaints at the studio alleging that Hamada had interfered with the investigation in an effort to cover for Johns, who was a friend of his. At the end of 2020, Fisher said he did not want to work on any production involving Hamada.
On Wednesday, he confirmed that Warner Bros. decided to remove Cyborg from the upcoming film “The Flash.” He said that while he disagreed, he was not surprised.
“While I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world,” he wrote.
Fisher said that when he tried to escalate his concerns about Whedon, Johns, and Berg on the “Justice League” set to Hamada, Hamda attempted to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to save Johns. Fisher said that he alerted Hamada that Johns was in fact involved with the issues at hand, but Hamada allegedly responded by asking for names of more witnesses and dismissing the claims.
“Walter Hamada interfering with the ‘Justice League’ investigation is a completely separate issue than the investigation itself,” Fisher wrote. “And while Walter’s behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the ‘Justice League’ reshoots, his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account.”
“No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse,” he continued before saying Hamada was “unfit” for a position in leadership.
He said that if ending his tenure playing Cyborg was the price he had to pay to bring awareness to Hamada’s actions, that he would “pay it gladly.”
Warner Media Stands By Hamada
On Thursday morning Warner Media contradicted Fisher’s remarks and stood by Hamada.
“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”
Warner Media also said that they remain in business with Johns, who produces a number of projects at the studio.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (Entertainment Weekly)
Belle Delphine Responds To Outrage After Tweeting Out Graphic Photos
- Adult content creator Belle Delphine sparked outrage after tweeting graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying a kidnapping situation.
- Many accused her of glorifying rape and even pedophilia, arguing that she was dressed like a child. Others criticized her for not including a content warning and potentially triggering assault survivors.
- Delphine issued a statement refusing to apologize, saying, “There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual.” She also said those who require trigger warnings before posts should not follow her.
CONTENT WARNING: The photos in this article and the discussion around
them involve explicit sexual content, rape, and kidnapping.
Belle Delphine Sparks Outrage
Adult content creator Belle Delphine received immediate backlash Tuesday after tweeting out graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying as an apparent kidnapping victim.
“My perfect first date,” she captioned her post. The photos show Delphine in the back of a car with her legs and wrists bound by ropes. Her mouth is also covered by duct tape. In one specific image, a man who appears to be her “kidnapper” is having sex with her against a tree in the woods.
Soon after posting the photos, Twitter users accused her of fetishizing and glorifying rape. Some even argued that she was glorifying pedophilia as well because she appeared to be dressed like a child.
That type of defense was slammed as well, with critics saying there were still other problems with her post. For instance, many noted that her tweet did not include a content or trigger warning. They described that choice as irresponsible given the explicit nature of the photos, which could bring pain to rape and assault survivors.
Others argued that even though this situation was consensual, without the context, some might see these photos and internally normalize rape. They also noted that people who see the images might not be aware or any safe words or other signals that could have been agreed upon beforehand.
The issue isn’t having this kink, it’s the fact that a lot of males here will see this and think this is normal. They don’t know about the safe words, long discussions, and therapy that take place before engaging in a scene like this. They just see rape.— amelia (@ameIia_says) January 13, 2021
Delphine Defends Herself
Delphine addressed the backlash Wednesday, saying she is “not sorry.”
“There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual. I think saying because I enjoy consensual non-consent is promoting rape, is the same as the argument that violence in video games promotes violence,” she wrote.
“I made it very clear in the caption of my photo, and anything written about it that I was enjoying it and that is was consensual, I never said the word rape, or anything against my will. This is what other people have put onto it.”
She also said it was “insane” to her that people thought she was dressed like a child. She described the outfit as “vintage” and said that other people dress like this all the time.
“If it’s about how I genetically look I can’t change that and I will not apologize for it either nor will I stop being sexual since I am a sexually active adult,” she added.
“No one likes rape, no one wants rape to exist,” she continued. “Saying that I support rape is the same as saying that 50% of the female population does, because if you look at statistics based upon this (from studies done over the last 30 years, including new studies) 31-61% of women have powerplay/rape fantasies in the exact same way. I consented to being tied up and to having rough sex.”
Delphine said that the front page of porn sites has every “fantasy scenario” a person can think of, from incest to teacher to stepmom and that one of the most common sexual fantasies is a schoolgirl.
“Just because someone likes the fantasy of something, doesn’t mean they want it in real life. Sex is complex and explorative, but should always be consensual,” she wrote.
When it comes to people upset that she did not include a trigger warning, she said that because her job involves this kind of content, people who would be upset by this should not follow here.
“My whole Twitter/OnlyFans have constant themes of kink since I do porn as a job and I will not put a trigger warning on all of my posts,” she said. “Do not follow me if you require trigger warnings before posts.”