- Joe Rogan is facing backlash after saying he tested negative for coronavirus twice in one week adding, “I’m just going to test myself every three or four days.”
- He also said he has a doctor testing all his podcast guests before their episodes.
- Critics were frustrated by his access to the $299 tests, meanwhile, others noted that they are actually non-FDA approved antibody tests that show whether someone has been previously infected.
- Even so, those tests have faced mixed reactions, with some warning of inaccuracies and others touting them as essential tools for understanding immunity and plans to reopen the economy.
Rogan Talks About Testing
Comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan is facing heavy criticism from people who are frustrated by his ability to obtain multiple coronavirus tests when people all over the country who need them are struggling to get access. However, his fans noted that he is actually using non-FDA approved antibody tests.
During last Wednesday’s episode of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan spoke to comedian Chris D’Elia. At the top of the episode, Rogan revealed that D’Elia had just tested negative for COVID-19.
“That’s right. I got the test. You know why I got the test? Because of Joe Rogan,” D’Elia said before referencing a doctor that Rogan had come to the studio to administer the test.
Shortly after, Rogan explained that he had actually been tested twice in one week.
“I’ve been tested twice already. I got tested yesterday, and I got tested two days before that,” Rogan said. “I’m just going to test myself every three or four days, fuck it.”
Rogan then added that he is having all of his podcast guests tested before their interviews. “So I’m testing everybody. So the way we’re doing this here is when people come in to do the podcast, test them first, keep the fuck away from them, and then give them a hug,” he said before laughing.
Rogan’s Access Sparks Frustration
The following day, D’Elia talked about being tested before Rogan’s show in an interview with BUILD. The comedian told interviewer Ricky Camillieri, “I went to do Joe Rogan’s podcast yesterday and I said to him– I texted him– I was like, ‘Are you still doing this? Should we do this?’”
Rogan allegedly responded with, “Yeah I have a doctor here. He’s going to test you first.”
D’Elia then added, “So I was like okay and I got tested, and I was negative, but I was like, ‘What if I was positive? You’d just be like okay? Got to go home?’”
But after telling that story, the interviewer’s first response to D’Elia was “How is Joe Rogan’s podcast getting tests?”
“Well because Joe is paying for it, that’s why,” D’Elia said. “Joe is basically Bruce Wayne, that’s why,” he joked.
Camillieri was clearly shocked by the news, saying, “Unreal. I don’t want to let my blood pressure go off the charts while I’m doing an interview with you, but that is wild to me.”
“I mean, there’s plenty of tests, there’s plenty of doctors– there’s plenty of tests out there…I just think that it’s tough for the actual public to get it, which sucks,” D’Elia responded.
D’Elia wasn’t the only celebrity guest that Rogan tested. Comedian Bryan Callen also shared a video online of his negative results before appearing on an episode.
Rogan also wrote that he and comedian Donnell Rawlings were “rona free!” in a social media post promoting their episode together.
So after more people watched all of these clips and got wind of what Rogan was doing, many took to social media to express their frustrations.
Tests Not FDA Approved
Others pushed back against criticisms, noting that the Rogan is using non-FDA approved tests, not test kits most commonly used in hospitals across the nation to detect active infections.
The doctor administering the tests, Dr. Abe Malkin, is part of Concierge MD LA, which touts itself as “a premium provider of high-end, on-demand, and personalized medical care in Los Angeles.”
On its website, Concierge says it offers “in-home coronavirus testing” for $299. Its two options are swab tests and antibody tests.
VICE interviewed Dr. Malkin who said MD LA began offering nasal swab testing several weeks ago, which was especially difficult given the widespread shortages of personal protective equipment and swabs.
Now, Malkin said he is mostly administering an antibody test, which is not approved by the FDA and is used to show whether you have ever been infected with COVID-19.
“There’s about 70 companies producing antibody tests, and only one of them is FDA approved, that’s Cellex. I don’t know how the hell they got that contract that they got FDA approval, but it’s impossible to get those tests,” Dr. Malkin told VICE.
“I give everyone a disclaimer, it’s not FDA approved, you can’t use this for diagnosis, it’s more for peace of mind, for epidemiologic data. But if they need a definitive diagnosis, they have to get a nasal swab,” he added.
“I’ve tested about 300 [people] in the last week, about 5% of asymptomatic people turn up positive on antibody testing, and about 10 to 20% of symptomatic people have showed up positive on antibody testing. And everyone that was a known positive, has shown up positive on antibody testing,” Dr. Malkin said, noting this is in line with statistics he’s seen elsewhere.
So fans have been saying that the outrage against Rogan is misplaced. Others argued that Rogan doing this allows him to entertain people and keep his podcast running.
He pays his personal doctor at his studio to test people coming in to entertain millions. Are you mad they are being safe with their testing? Or that they are still trying to provide entertainment for people stuck in quarantine?— no one (@iridocyclitis_2) April 19, 2020
Even so, the U.S. has seen some rollouts of these antibody tests which have been lauded as crucial tools to asses the reach of the pandemic and potentially give us information about immunity and reopening the economy.
But guidance so far has been confusing and some have been misusing the tests to diagnose COVID-19. Experts have also warned that tests have mistakenly flagged people as having antibodies when they don’t.
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Deadline) (The New York Times)
Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch May Have Abandoned Plans To Participate In TikTok NFT Program
Lil Nas X’s TikTok NFT was scheduled to debut a week ago and is still not available to the public.
Creators Allegedly Leave TikTok’s NFT Program
Musicians Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch may have quietly exited TikTok’s new NFT collection, according to a report from Rolling Stone.
TikTok first announced the line, which is called “TikTok Top Moments,” at the end of September. It involves a series of creator-led NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique and tradeable digital assets. TikTok’s NFTs can be purchased with the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to a press release, the money will “largely go directly to the creators and NFT artists involved.”
TikTok said that creators like Poarch, Lil Nas X, Grimes, Curtis Roach, Brittany Broski, and more would be participating in the program. The company called NFTs an “empowerment tool” that will allow these creators to “be recognized and rewarded for their content.” It planned to debut the collection on Oct. 6 with Lil Nas X’s NFT, but that token has still not been made available. A source told Rolling Stone that it may never be released.
NFT Rollout Described as “A Mess”
The outlet also reported that Poarch is “actively contemplating pulling out of the program due to worries about its execution.” According to Rolling Stone, three sources familiar with the rollout of the program have described it as “a challenge,” “a mess,” and “a complete joke.”
Those sources claimed that in order to secure Poarch’s initial participation, TikTok offered her marketing support worth potentially $4 million for her next release. The company also allegedly promised to use one of her songs in an end-of-year campaign. A spokesperson for TikTok, however, described these claims as “not accurate.”
Neither Poarch nor Lil Nas X has commented on their participation yet. Meanwhile, TikTok declined to answer Rolling Stone’s questions about the status of their NFTs.
Some of TikTok’s announced NFTs have gone public, though. Throughout Tuesday, Roach’s “Bored in the House” video was up for auction on the platform Immutable.
NFTs took the internet by storm in early 2021, but their popularity peaked in May and declined throughout the summer. Celebrities, tech moguls, and everyday people featured in viral memes have hopped on the trend and made millions doing so.
According to Rolling Stone, TikTok has valued some of its own NFTs at $1 million. Now, it’s unclear if those tokens will ever hit the market.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Dexerto)
Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid, and Others Honor World Mental Health Day
A slew of stars acknowledged the day by sharing personal stories and making hefty donations to organizations that offer mental health resources.
Celebrities Donate to Mental Health Organizations
Major celebrities honored World Mental Health Day on Sunday by speaking candidly about their mental health struggles and donating to nonprofits.
Singer Ariana Grande announced that she is donating $5 million worth of free therapy through the online counseling platform Better Help. The star previously partnered with the company over the summer to give $1 million in therapy to fans and opted to throw more money at the program following its success.
“I acknowledge that there are very real barriers when it comes to accessing mental health resources, and while this is only one small gesture (and a much larger systemic problem remains) I wanted to do this again with @betterhelp in hopes of bringing access to a few more people and perhaps inspiring a few of you to try something new and prioritize your own healing,” Grande wrote on Instagram.
Those interested can sign up for a free first month of Better Help and get an additional 15% off the second month.
Model Bella Hadid also pledged to donate to mental health resources. She teamed up with the beverage company Kin Euphorics, which will donate 10% of its October sales to Gurls Talk, a nonprofit that gives adolescent girls a space to talk about mental health, along with various educational tools to aid those discussions. Hadid will match those donations.
“Dealing with mental illness for most of my life, bringing awareness to the education of mental health through my platform is something that I will continue to do until our mental is just as respected as our physical,” Hadid wrote. “I want everyone who struggles daily to know that you are not alone.”
Stars Share Resources and Personal Stories
Meanwhile, actress and singer Selena Gomez used her new makeup brand Rare Beauty to share statistics about the prevalence of mental illness and the efforts to combat it. The company, which has previously focused on several mental health initiatives, shared that just 1.3% of philanthropic investments go towards supporting mental health.
The company additionally cited information from an American Psychological Association report, which revealed that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles. It found that seven out of 10 Gen Z adults are more likely to report experiencing depression symptoms compared to other generations.
Gomez shared Rare Beauty’s post to her own story as well.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo similarly opened up about mental health and therapy during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday. In it, she said she has been in therapy since she was 16, which she believes has helped her both personally and professionally.
“That was a really big, life-changing moment,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself.”
“I think there’s sometimes a stigma around it, too, like I was saying,” the singer continued. “Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh, you don’t need that. You have so much. Your life is so great. What are your problems?’ I think that’s definitely a thing that sometimes older people can do to younger people to kind of trivialize what they’re going through.”