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Taylor Swift Uses Leaked Kanye Call to Raise Money for Coronavirus Relief Efforts

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  • Over the weekend, the full-length footage of the phone call between Taylor Swift and Kanye West about his song “Famous” emerged online. 
  • The call seemed to back up Swift’s original story that she didn’t know West would call her a “bitch” in the song, years after Kim Kardashian released snippets of the footage that seemed to indicate otherwise.
  • Both Swift and Kardashian acknowledged the drama and the larger crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Some were critical of Kardashian for seeming to focus more on the drama and only offering to donate 20% of her profits to emergency response efforts, while Swift quickly directed followers to donation pages unrelated to her.

Background of Taylor-Kim-Kanye Feud

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the last ten years, odds are you’re at least somewhat familiar with the drama between Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian West, and her husband, Kanye West.

But just for good measure, here’s the gist of it:

It all started in 2009, when pop star Taylor Swift accepted an award for “best video by a female artist” at the MTV Video Music Awards. She was interrupted by Kanye West coming on stage, saying the infamous four words, “Im’a let you finish,” before proceeding to imply, in front of the crowd and on television, that Beyonce Knowles should have won the award instead. The moment stunned Swift and many of her fans. 

Then, in 2016, West dropped his song “Famous,” referencing the incident and Swift directly by name. 

“For all my southside n***** that know me best, I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous,” West raps in the hit.

According to a report from TMZ, Kanye said that Swift had approved the song before it was released. Swift denied this through a publicist. 

“Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account,” Swift’s representative Tree Paine told The New York Times. “She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message.” 

“Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous,’” Tree Paine added.

Meanwhile, West maintained that he received Swift’s approval. Months later, the feud got worse when Kanye’s wife Kim Kardashian West released bits of the phone call between the two musicians, defending her husband and claiming Swift actually did okay the song. 

This resulted in a lot of backlash for Swift, with many slamming her and accusing her of lying, and Swift said in her recent documentary “Miss Americana” that the whole affair made her want to “disappear.”

Stars Acknowledge Developments, Point to Coronavirus

Over the weekend, the full-length, 25-minute phone call between West and Swift from years ago was somehow leaked and made its rounds on social media, appearing to back up Swift’s claim that she didn’t know about the line referring to her as a “bitch.” 

There’s actually one part of the call where Swift is relieved he didn’t use that word, saying “I thought it was going to be like, ‘That stupid, dumb bitch.’ But it’s not.”

From listening to Kim’s snippets of the call released in 2016 alone, it was not known whether the pair of musicians talked about the use of the word “bitch.” 

The hashtags #KimKardashianIsOver Party and #KanyeWestIsOverParty were trending over the weekend, imitating the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty hashtag that populated in 2016 after Kardashian leaked snippets of the call. After several days of online reactions, both Swift and Kardashian finally spoke out about it. 

Swift posted to her Instagram story Monday night, acknowledging the leaked footage and how the controversy has negatively impacted her over the years. However, Swift quickly pointed attention to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that seems to be mentioned in nearly every other headline.

“Instead of answering those who are asking how I feel about video footage that was leaked, proving that I was telling the truth the whole time about *that call* (you know, the one that was illegally recorded, that somebody edited and manipulated in order to frame me and put me, my family, and fans through hell for 4 years),” Swift wrote. “Swipe up to see what really matters.

Credit: Taylor Swift Instagram

Upon swiping up, viewers could access a donation page for Feeding America, a non-profit organization devoted to providing food to those in need. Swift also pushed her followers to donate to the World Health Organization. 

“If you have the ability to, please join me in donating during this crisis,” Swift wrote.

Several hours later, Kardashian West posted her take on the matter with a much longer message. She wrote across her Instagram stories and Twitter page, also referencing the coronavirus outbreak.

“Taylor Swift has chosen to reignite an old exchange – that at this point in time feels very self-serving given the suffering millions of real victims are facing right now,” Kardashian West wrote. 

Kim went on to continue her defense of herself and her husband. 

“To be clear, the only issue I ever had around the situation was that Taylor lied through her publicist who stated that “Kanye never called to ask for permission…” They clearly spoke so I let you all see that. Nobody ever denied the word ‘bitch’ was used without her permission,” Kardashian West wrote.

Kim also addressed accusations made against her of altering the story by only releasing bits of the footage in 2016.

“I never edited the footage (another lie) – I only posted a few clips on Snapchat to make my point and the full video that recently leaked doesn’t change the narrative,” Kardashian West wrote.

Internet Users React

Many took to social media to praise Swift for the way she handled the most recent development in the feud by trying to point it away from herself and onto the more serious matter of the coronavirus.

Some Twitter users argued that while Kardashian West tried to do the same, she missed the mark.

Others also compared Taylor’s urging of donations with no monetary gain for herself, while criticizing Kim for only donating 20% of her SKIMS profits to a COVID-19 emergency response program.

And some criticized Kim for equating Swift’s documentary, “Miss Americana,” and the questionably-legal phone call that Kanye recorded as documentations of musical journey and process.

Ultimately though, even though some good may come of it as people are urged by famous voices to contribute to a good cause, it appeared some users were just plain tired of hearing about the rehashed drama in general. 

“In 2020, we can’t escape the coronavirus and we also can’t escape Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s tiring feud,” one user wrote.

See what others are saying: (Washington Post) (NBC) (Variety)

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Hollywood Figures Back John Boyega After Powerful Black Lives Matter Speech

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Photo: Twitter/The Nikki Diaries

  • Star War’s actor John Boyega gave an emotional speech in support of the Black Lives Matter movement at a protest in London.
  • In it, he stated that he might lose his career for speaking out but didn’t care.
  • Many pointed to the white privilege of other stars, like Ariana Grande and Harry Styles, who can protest without the same fears.
  • Soon after, directors, actors, and Disney’s Lucasfilms showed support for Boyega, promising to have his back or expressing a desire to work with him. 

Boyega’s Emotional Speech 

Star War’s actor John Boyega is one of the many celebrities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calling for justice over the killing of George Floyd.

Since protests first broke out last week, he’s made headlines for speaking out against racism on Twitter and Instagram. 

Now he’s in the news again after giving a powerful speech during a demonstration at Hyde Park in London. 

Clips of his speech have spread on social media that show him getting emotional when talking about the struggles Black people face. “I need you to understand how painful this shit is…to be reminded every day that your race means nothing!”

“We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd!” Boyega continued “We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland! We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin! We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence! For Mark Duggan!”

He also fought back tears when pleading with Black men to take care of Black women. “They are our hearts. They are our future. We cannot demonize our own.”

Along with that, Boyega talked passionately about fighting for Black people around the world to live in freedom.

He also encouraged protesters to keep things peaceful, saying “because you know what guys, they want us to mess up.”

Boyega Notes Career Risk 

Tons of different segments from his speech have been praised, but one moment that seemed to capture a lot of attention was this: “I’m speaking to you from my heart. Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that.”

That was a very striking comment for people who pointed to the white privilege of celebrities like Ariana Grande and Harry Styles, who don’t have to worry about losing their careers for protesting.

Hollywood Shows Support

It’s hard to deny that the risk is real for Boyega when you considering the fact that Colin Kaepernick lost his football for fighting the same fight. So in response to that, several Hollywood figures made sure to pledge their support for Boyega. 

“BlacKkKlansman” producer Matthew A. Cherry tweeted, “I would work with John Boyega and I urge other Non-Black creators to affirm that they have his back as well.”

Jordan Peele, the Oscar-winning writer behind films like“Get Out” and “Us”, then follow up with “We got you, John.”

Others like Olivia Wilde and Elizabeth Banks said they would be honored to work with Boyega, with similar praise coming from people like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Paul Feig, and dozens of other industry players. 

As far as his Star War’s team, actor Mark Hammil said he had “never been more proud,” while Directors JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson also backed Boyega. 

But the biggest display of support came from the Disney-owned Star Wars Twitter account, which shared a photo of Boyega from the protest along with a statement that said Lucasfilms stands with him. “John Boyega, you are our hero,” it added.

The flood of statements are major signs of solidarity for the fight against racial injustice. They show that key figures in the entertainment industry not only trying to ease Boyega’s fears but are also encouraging him and others to use their celebrity for a greater purpose. 

See what others are saying (Vanity Fair) (Insider) (The Hollywood Reporter

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Emma Watson Responds to Backlash After Blackout Tuesday Post

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  • Emma Watson faced backlash when she participated in #BlackoutTuesday by sharing three black squares with white frames, seemingly to match the style of her Instagram profile. 
  • Some thought this was a form of fake allyship, but others fought back saying Watson has engaged in activism for longer than most celebrities.
  • Watson later posted more, noting that she was waiting for #BlackoutTuesday to end in the U.K. before speaking.
  • Her new posts included statements on how she has examined her white privilege, art and writing from Black activists, and resources for people to become better allies. 

Watson’s Posts Spark Backlash

Emma Watson’s participation in #BlackoutTuesday caused a divide amongst her followers after, prompting backlash from some who thought they were a display of lazy allyship.

On Tuesday, many Instagram users posted black squares on their feed as a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Watson followed suit but posted three black squares, each with a white frame surrounding them.

Her most recent three photos before this were a row of all white squares, prompting her followers to think her blackout posts were more about aesthetics than activism. 

Because Watson has such a far reach with her audience, many criticized her for not taking more advantage of that in calling for justice following the death of George Floyd. 

“She thought the best idea was sharing (three black squares)?” one person asked, noting the size of her platform. “…Open your purse, SPREAD INFORMATION”

Fans Defend Watson

However, some fans did rush to Watson’s defense, explaining that she has a longer history of being an activist and ally than most celebrities who are participating in #BlackoutTuesday

“Emma Watson’s done more than most of you all and she’s been doing it since 2015,” said one person on Twitter. “And most of you have been doing it for like… 2 days? And you think you have the right to call her out?”

“She’s been campaigning against inequality and racism for years,” another person added, noting that there are plenty of other public figures who could be called out for “virtue signaling.”

Many brought up Our Shared Shelf, a book club Watson founded that often selects works by female authors of color. Watson has also advocated for gender equality on the global stage in work with the United Nations and G7.

She has also been very open about her feminism and its growth. In 2017, she wrote a post about examining her own white privilege, how that played a role in her feminism, and how she could make sure it does not prove to be a blind spot. 

However, a lot of people thought that because she has such a long history with activism, she should be more vocal during this moment. 

Emma Adds More to Conversation

A few hours after posting the controversial black squares, Watson posted three more photos on Instagram. 

“I was holding off posting until #blackouttuesday ended in the UK.,” Watson explained in the caption of her first post, which featured art by Dr. Fahamu Pecou. She also shared a poem and quote Pecou wrote as part of a Black Lives Matter series.

View this post on Instagram

I was holding off posting until #blackouttuesday ended in the UK.⁣ ⁣ The Artwork of my brilliant dear friend @fahamupecou “White Lies, Subtleties, Micro-Aggressions, and Other Choking Hazards”⁣ ⁣ B R O K E N O P E N (poem + text from the series BLACK MATTER LIVES) by Dr Fahamu Pecou⁣ ⁣ broken⁣ broke and hoping⁣ broke in, hoping⁣ broke.⁣ end.⁣ hoping…⁣ bro! kin hopin’!⁣ broken…⁣ hopin.⁣ broken.⁣ open.⁣ broken open!⁣ (Break)⁣ ⁣ “We can not be broken. We do not break. For too long we’ve been afraid that their violence would end us. But we are still here. Some they took, but they’ve all come back. They never truly left. We never truly leave. Like the police and other systems they’ve weaponized against us, the names of those they tried to silence go off in their ears like nuclear bombs. Names that swell in their throats and linger until they can no longer breathe. So let us haunt their dreams and their waking moments alike. Say their names: Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Let them see us. Let them hear us. No friends, we have nothing to fear. An army of Egungun warriors walk amongst us. They have tried, and for centuries they have failed to violate us… to silence us. This is not breaking. This is opening. The cracks are windows. The holes are doors. Shine your light through.” – Dr. Fahamu Pecou⁣ ⁣ Say their names #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor #GeorgeFloyd

A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on

“Like the police and other systems they’ve weaponized against us, the names of those they tried to silence go off in their ears like nuclear bombs,” Pecou’s quote read. “Names that swell in their throats and linger until they can no longer breathe. So let us haunt their dreams and their waking moments alike. Say their names: Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.”

In the following post, she expressed some of her own thoughts. 

“There is so much racism, both in our past and present, that is not acknowledged nor accounted for,” she wrote. “White supremacy is one of the systems of hierarchy and dominance, of exploitation and oppression, that is tightly stitched into society. As a white person, I have benefited from this.”

View this post on Instagram

I stand with you.

A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on

“Whilst we might feel that, as individuals, we’re working hard internally to be anti-racist, we need to work harder externally to actively tackle the structural and institutional racism around us,” she continued. “I’m still learning about the many ways I unconsciously support and uphold a system that is structurally racist.”

She then promised to share information and resources that she has found useful in examining race and privilege herself. Her Instagram bio now links to a Google Doc of anti-racism resources that includes guides on how to talk to children about race, as well as podcasts and books that discuss race.

Her Instagram story also encouraged her followers to sign petitions and donate to organizations fighting for justice for George Floyd and other Black victims of police brutality. On Twitter, she has been retweeting articles, allyship guides, information on violence against black women, and other projects demanding justice.

“I see your anger, sadness and pain,” Watson wrote. “I cannot know what this feels like for you but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to.”

While some were upset that it took Watson so long to speak up, some were glad she user her voice more and did research on the matter. 

See what others are saying: (Entertainment Tonight) (Fox News) (Metro)

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Star Samantha Marie Ware Says Lea Michele Made Glee Set a “Living Hell”

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  • Lea Michele was called out by former Glee co-star Samantha Marie Ware, who said Michele made the set a “living hell” and once said she would shit in Ware’s wig.
  • Some of Michele’s former colleagues shared this tweet with messages supporting it, while others echoed Ware’s statement with stories of their own.
  • The topic of racism in Hollywood also made its way to Twitter after someone said Josie and the Pussycats were written off Riverdale because actress Ashleigh Murray was a diva who did not like working with talented women. 
  • Both Murray and co-star Vanessa Morgan denied this. Morgan also made a statement condemning stereotypes being portrayed on television, as well as black characters being sidelined in plots while white characters get more screen time.

Former Co-Stars Call Out Lea Michele

Actress Lea Michele was called out by former co-stars for alleged racist behavior on the set of Glee. 

Michele, who appeared on the show for the duration of its run from 2009-2015, tweeted about the death of George Floyd on Friday. On Monday night, Samantha Marie Ware, who starred alongside her for a duration of season six, shared that tweet and said Michele made her time on the show “a living hell.”

“I believe you told everyone that if you (sic) had the opportunity you would ‘shit in my wig!’ amongst other microagressions that made me question a career in Hollywood,” she added in her all-caps tweet. 

After she shared this, many of Michele’s other former co-stars made posts that either directly or indirectly indicated that they agreed with Ware or had a similar experience.

Amber Riley, who was also a lead on Glee, shared a gif of her sipping from a coffee mug. 

Alex Newell, who was on the show for several years shared Ware’s tweet along with a gif of a RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant saying “Get her, Jade!”

Musician and actor Dabier, who appeared on one episode of Glee claimed that Michele told him he could not sit at a table with the main cast because he did not “belong there.”

“Seeing her message brought back bad memories of being less than on set of glee. Ain’t goin stand for her being fake like she care,” he later added. 

Actors who worked with her on other projects also responded, including Yvette Nicole Brown, who worked with Michele on the short-lived comedy The Mayor.

“I felt every one of those capital letters.” she said in response to Ware’s tweet. 

Brown posted several tweets inr response to this, but never called Michele out on any behavior or detailed a specific experience she had. In one tweet, she emphasized that every person on any set should be respected, and that this starts with main cast actors creating a welcoming environment. 

Riverdale Cast Speaks Out

Michele has not yet responded to the tweets. However, these claims were not the only reason people online were discussing racism in Hollywood. Actors from the cast of Riverdale also spoke out against racial stereotypes often depicted on television. 

This discussion started Sunday when someone tweeted about Ashleigh Murray. Murray played Josie of Josie and the Pussycats for several years on Riverdale and now plays that same character in Katy Keene, another show in the Archie Comics Universe.

In the now-deleted post, someone alleged that Josie and the Pussycats were written off of Riverdale because Murray is a “known diva” and didn’t want to share the screen with other talented women. They also claimed that in Katy Keene, Josie has few scenes with women because of this. 

You clearly have me mixed up with someone else,” Murray responded. I love the Pussycats more than any show ever did. If it were up to me, we’d have our own show.”

Vanessa Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz on Riverdale, also stepped up to Murray’s defense. 

“You don’t know what the fuck your talking about and don’t talk about my friend like that,” she wrote. “Another thing i hate BLACK women being called DIVAS for sticking up for themselves. Maybe the show should write for her like the white characters.”

She also sent another tweet criticizing the the way Black people are represented on television.

“Tired of how black people are portrayed in media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people,” she wrote. “Tired of us also benign used as side kick non dimensional characters to our white leads.”

On Riverdale, Morgan’s character usually only has plotlines related to the character she dates, who is a white lead that gets more screen time.

These Riverdale stars were not the only ones creating an open dialogue about race in Hollywood. Lesley-Ann Brandt, who appears on the show Lucifer tweeted on Tuesday morning that leaders in the industry should be reaching out to Black artists to learn about their experiences. 

Murray shared that tweet and added that “these are the ways we can implement real change.

See what others are saying: (Entertainment Weekly) (BuzzFeed News) (Variety)

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