- 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.”
Chris Pratt Denies Association With Hillsong Church: “I’ve Never Actually Been”
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)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“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)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“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.