- Everyday Americans are having a hard time getting tested for the coronavirus, but celebrities don’t seem to be facing the same troubles.
- Kris Jenner, NBA athletes, and influencers have all been able to get tested, in many cases, without showing any symptoms.
- Meanwhile, in hospitals all over the country, severely ill patients are being told there are simply not enough tests.
- This has led to a large online discussion about inequality and the impact it’s had on the severity of this pandemic.
The NBA’s Advantage
While the general American public is struggling to get tested for the novel coronavirus, celebrities seem to have easy access to tests.
According to NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, eight full teams have been tested for COVID-19. The Brooklyn Nets, for instance, were just one of several teams who faced backlash for their ability to get a large number of tests and speedy results.
The Nets announced Tuesday that four players, including Kevin Durant, tested positive for the virus. Three of those four players displayed no symptoms.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that wealthy athletes who show no symptoms should not have ready access to these tests while severely ill people all over the country cannot get their hands on them.
The Nets have defended their ability to test players, saying that their close proximity and frequent travel justifies the need for testing. They also said they acquired the test privately as to not strain the CDC of its public resources.
During a press conference, President Donald Trump was asked about large quantities of NBA players so easily getting the tests, and whether or not this was fair.
“No I wouldn’t say so,” he responded. “But perhaps that’s been the story of life.”
Celebrities Find Tests
Athletes are not alone in having an easy time getting tested, with or without symptoms. Reality star Kris Jenner told Entertainment Tonight that she tested negative, after receiving one despite feeling just fine.
Jenner had previously attended the birthday party of someone who contracted the virus. That party, however, was 16 days before Jenner announced she took the test.
Actor Idris Elba also took the test without symptoms, though it is unclear if he was tested in the United States, where the public has been specifically feeling the impacts of a lack of testing.
Not all stars who had access to tests were asymptomatic. New York-based fashion influencer Arielle Charnas told her Instagram followers that she had been feeling ill herself. She was able to call on her friend, Dr. Jake Deutsch, who is the founder of an urgent care network.
Her test came back positive, but it was that connection to a higher-up medical professional that helped her finally learn that result.
Some celebrities have had to jump through hoops to get their tests. Model and host Heidi Klum said she had symptoms that were in line with coronavirus, but was told by two doctors she could not be tested. Not long after her messages were shared, she was able to update her followers that both she and her husband were tested. Some believe her far reach online could have given her an advantage in getting those tests.
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Like many of you, I also have been sick all week and, unfortunately, my husband who returned from his tour a couple of days ago is also feeling ill. To be safe, we are staying apart until we get the results of our Coronavirus tests (that we were finally able to get today) back. We don’t want to spread germs and risk others getting sicker… even each other! As much as I want to embrace him and kiss him, it is more important to do the right thing and not spread further. ❤️ These are strange times… but in these moments, you remember what’s really important- the people you love and keeping them safe. Social distancing is what we all need to do right now to be responsible citizens of the world. We are all in this together and it is up to us to protect our loved ones, and our neighbors and our communities. Please listen to the officials and stay at home if you can and physically distance yourself from other people… especially if you are not feeling well. I see all the beautiful things people are doing for each other all over the globe and that gives me hope! Sending all of you love and positivity and healing vibes… together we can get through this but we need to be proactive so that we can all have a bright and healthy future. 🥰😷✌🏻🧼❤️ #socialdistancing #washyourhands #stayput #bekindtoeachother
Everyday People Struggle
The dynamic of the wealthy and famous seemingly being able to use their status to get this medical care has ignited outrage online. The rest of the public is dealing with severe shortages of tests, no matter how sick they are.
One Twitter user said their brother had respiratory problems and a high fever but was told to simply quarantine because there are not enough tests.
Others have just wondered how celebrities without symptoms can get tests if there is a nationwide shortage.
Doctors have also chimed in, saying that it is frustrating to see their patients struggling while celebrities are not.
BuzzFeed compiled tweets and photos from those facing difficulties in hospitals to make a startling comparison to the breezier situations of the elite. Some Twitter users posted photos of them in hospital beds, looking ill, but still being denied testing.
I’m sitting in a hospital bed possibly with #COVID19 and I can’t get tested even though the entire nursing and doctor staff thinks I should. It’s not the hospitals.@jaketapper @RepSteveStivers @senrobportman @SenSherrodBrown pic.twitter.com/5KtXoLWgjU— Rob Michaels (@robmichaelsII) March 17, 2020
Meanwhile, people like Charles Barkley has people telling him “they didn’t want [him] to take any chances,” resulting in him getting quickly tested.
And he’s not alone, other reality stars, influencers, and even politicians are able to find tests for themselves, while everyone else is told that there are just not enough. Some have acknowledged this, with Charnas addressing her privilege on Instagram.
“I realize that there are many individuals, both in New York City and nationwide, who do not have the ability to receive immediate medical care,” she wrote. “I acknowledge how lucky I am to have had that access.”
Sydney Sweeney Says There is a “Stigma” Against Actresses Doing Nudity. Other Stars Have Called Out This Double Standard Too.
“I’m very proud of my work in Euphoria,” Sweeney said. “I thought it was a great performance. But no one talks about it because I got naked.”
Sydney Sweeney Talks Nudity Double Standard
“Euphoria” actress Sydney Sweeney said there is a “stigma” against actresses who do nudity on screen.
Sweeney plays Cassie, a high schooler trying to reckon with her relationships with sex and romance. As a result, Sweeney finds herself doing her fair share of scenes involving sex and nudity on the HBO drama.
“Euphoria” is known for having a copious amount of scenes with naked bodies, but Sweeney told The Independent this week that creator Sam Levinson is open to cutting back when necessary.
“There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here.’ He was like, ‘OK, we don’t need it,’” she told the outlet. “I’ve never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t make me.”
On other sets, she has not felt that level of respect.
“I’ve had experiences where I want to go home and scrub myself completely raw because I feel disgusting,” she said.
But even with her comfort on “Euphoria,” she still believes there is a double standard when it comes to female nudity on television. Sweeney said she did not feel she earned critical attention until her role on “The White Lotus,” where her character has no undressed scenes. She does not think that is a coincidence.
“With The White Lotus, I felt like people were finally recognising the hard work I’ve been doing. This is something that has bothered me for a while,” Sweeney explained. “I’m very proud of my work in Euphoria. I thought it was a great performance. But no one talks about it because I got naked.”
“I do The White Lotus and all of a sudden critics are paying attention. People are loving me. They’re going, ‘Oh my God, what’s she doing next?’ I was like, ‘Did you not see that in Euphoria? Did you not see that in The Handmaid’s Tale?’”
She went on to tell The Independent that she believes there is “a stigma against actresses who get naked on screen.”
“When a guy has a sex scene or shows his body, he still wins awards and gets praise,” she said. “But the moment a girl does it, it’s completely different.”
Women in Hollywood Grapple With Nudity Stigma
Sweeney is far from the first actress to address this issue. Stars have long pointed out that Hollywood treats female nudity and male nudity differently. According to a report from Mount Saint Mary’s, women were three times more likely than men to appear partially or fully nude in films in 2014.
Even though women are generally more expected to undress for the camera, they still get flack for it. At the 2013 Oscars, host Seth MacFarlane sang a controversial song called “We Saw Your Boobs” where he teased actresses who had gone topless. Numerous actresses have also expressed regret for doing nude scenes, either because they felt uncomfortable or because their nudity was treated as something for audiences to ogle at rather than as an artistic choice.
Oscar-winner Natalie Portman said she does not like the “misappropriation of” nude scenes. Some of her’s have ended up on porn sites.
“It’s meant to be a dramatic scene and part of a story,” she told MTV in 2011. “That really makes me angry.”
Emelia Clarke has been vocal about her opposition to some of the nudity on “Game of Thrones.” She told the “Armchair Expert” podcast in 2019 that there was a “fuck ton of nudity” early in the show because she was new to the industry and did not know how to refuse. As she gained more confidence, she fought for her right to say no.
“I’m a lot more savvy [now] with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am okay with doing,” Clarke explained. “I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up,’ and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your ‘Game of Thrones’ fans.’ And I’m like, ‘Fuck you.’”
Even before actresses make their way to set, they can be subject to grotesque remarks after being forced to strip down. While speaking at Elle‘s Women in Hollywood in 2017, Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence said she experienced this during an audition.
“A female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me,” she said. “We stood side-by-side with only tape on covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
When Lawrence tried to tell another producer she thought this was inappropriate, she claims he said that “he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat; he thought I was ‘perfectly f*ckable.’”
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Variety) (Los Angeles Times)
D.A.R.E. Accuses HBO’s “Euphoria” of Glorifying Drug Use
The organization believes the drama series could have “negative consequences on school-age children who today face unparalleled risks and mental health challenges.
D.A.R.E. Slams “Euphoria”
HBO’s “Euphoria” has become synonymous with its explicit depictions of teen sex, violence, and addiction. The substance abuse awareness organization D.A.R.E. condemned the series for its lurid content, arguing that it glorifies drug use.
While drugs can weasel their way into any aspect of the show at a moment’s notice, the primary storyline around addiction follows Rue, a high schooler who often resists the help she needs to recover. Zendaya won an Emmy for portraying the struggling protagonist in 2020.
D.A.R.E., also known as Drug Abuse Resistance Education, told TMZ on Wednesday that “Euphoria” is reckless in its handling of such weighted subject matter.
“Rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behavior, HBO’s television drama, Euphoria, chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world,” a representative for the group told the outlet.
“It is unfortunate that HBO, social media, television program reviewers, and paid advertising have chosen to refer to the show as ‘groundbreaking,’ rather than recognizing the potential negative consequences on school-age children who today face unparalleled risks and mental health challenges,” the representative continued.
“Euphoria” Cast and Creator Speak on Heavy Subject Matter
Ahead of the season two premiere, Zendaya warned her followers that much of the content in “Euphoria” is not suitable for all viewers.
“I know I’ve said this before, but I do want to reiterate to everyone that Euphoria is for mature audiences,” she wrote on Instagram. “This season, maybe more so than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch. Please only watch it if you feel comfortable.”
Sam Levinson, the creator of “Euphoria,” has been open about his own experience with addiction. Now over a decade sober, Levinson struggled with substance abuse as a teenager, much like Zendaya’s Rue. He feels a personal connection to the story, and therefore, a responsibility to honestly represent the tribulations of addiction.
“The hardest thing about portraying a drug addict is — there are a lot of cautionary tales, there are a lot of after-school specials — but what I really wanted to get to the core of is the pain and the shame about what you’re doing and you’re inability to get clean despite the havoc and destruction you’re wreaking around you,” Levinson said of the show during the ATX Television Festival in 2019, per Deadline.
Levinson noted that he does have to be “mindful of” the risk of glamorizing drug use “just by the sheer nature of it being on screen.”
“We have to be authentic about it,” he explained. “If we’re pulling our punches and we’re not showing the relief that drugs can bring it starts to lose its impact. Drugs are not the solution but they can feel like it at times, and that’s what makes them so destructive.”
Drug Use on Euphoria
Still, D.A.R.E. is far from the first group to express concern over the impact “Euphoria” might have on younger viewers. Before the second season debuted earlier this month, the Parents Television and Media Council released a statement warning of the show’s “imminent threat to the health and well-being of children.”
Before each episode of “Euphoria” airs, HBO flashes a warning to alert viewers of the drug abuse, language, violence, nudity, and sex that will appear in the program. The show might be cavalier in the casual and frequent manner it depicts drug use and other dangerous behavior, but more often than not, characters await the consequences of their actions.
In the most recent episode of “Euphoria,” Rue’s addiction lands her in a visceral screaming match with her sister. The scene underscores the tragic and harsh reality of substance abuse.
While critics push back against the show for a variety of other reasons, they generally praise Rue’s arc, largely thanks to Zendaya’s gripping performance.
But D.A.R.E. argued that the show goes a bridge too far and offered to meet with HBO to hash out the issues.
“We would welcome the opportunity for our team, including members of our high school-aged Youth Advocacy Board, to meet with individuals at HBO who are involved with producing Euphoria to present our concerns directly,” D.A.R.E.’s representative told TMZ.
HBO has not publicly responded to the criticisms.
See what others are saying: (TMZ) (Vanity Fair) (Complex)
Neil Young Asks For His Music to Be Removed From Spotify Over Vaccine Misinformation
The “Harvest Moon” singer told his representatives that the streaming service “can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Neil Young Wants Music His Off Of Spotify
Musician Neil Young wrote an open letter to his management and record label demanding that his music be taken down from Spotify over concerns about vaccine misinformation.
The “Heart of Gold” singer initially posted the letter on his website, but it has since been removed. According to Rolling Stone, which reported on the document before it was taken down, Young specifically took issue with podcast host Joe Rogan.
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” he wrote. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
“The Joe Rogan Experience” is exclusive to Spotify and was the most popular podcast on the platform in 2021. Rogan has regularly received criticism for spreading COVID-19 misinformation that contradicts public health recommendations, specifically when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines.
Rogan previously said that young people should not worry about getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. He has also regularly cited faulty studies questioning their efficacy and interviewed controversial medical personalities who are known for promoting conspiracy theories about the vaccine.
Young said he is afraid of the ramifications of these kinds of remarks.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” the singer wrote. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
Concerns About Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Comments
Young’s manager, Frank Gironda, confrimed the authenticity of the letter to The Daily Beast.
“It’s something that’s really important to Neil,” Gironda said. “He’s very upset about this disinformation. We’re trying to figure this out right now.”
Young is far from the first person to express frustrations over the anti-vax views on the audio streaming service platforms. Earlier this month, a group of doctors and other medical professionals wrote a letter to Spotify urging the company to implement a policy to fight disinformation.
“We are calling on Spotify to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform,” the letter said. “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, [The Joe Rogan Experience] is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
“This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform,” the expert cautioned.
Spotify has not made a public statement regarding Young’s letter.