- 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.
Britney Spears’ Attorney Files Petition To Oust Father as Conservator
Spears’ new attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said there are “serious questions” regarding “potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest [and] conservatorship abuse.”
Mathew Rosengart Petitions Court To Remove Jamie Spears
Britney Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart, filed a petition Monday to remove the singer’s father, Jamie Spears, as her financial conservator.
Jamie Spears has served as his daughter’s financial conservator for 13 years. In the filing, Rosengart said the elder Spears “profited handsomely” from the position. He asked that Jamie be replaced with a Certified Public Accountant named Jason Rubin, who Rosengart described as “objectively intelligent” and “highly qualified” for the job.
The petition is 120 pages long and contained scathing remarks about Jamie. Britney has made it clear she wants him removed from the conservatorship, which she wants to be terminated entirely. During a statement in June, she called the situation “abusive” and specifically condemned her father.
“He loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it,” she said.
Rosengart has promised to be a stronger advocate for Britney than her previous lawyer, Samuel Ingham, was. He seems to be following through on his word by challenging Jamie’s status as a conservator just weeks after being appointed Britney’s attorney.
“Serious questions abound concerning Mr. Spears’s potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest, conservatorship abuse and the evident dissipation of Ms. Spears’s fortune,” he wrote.
The petition claims that Jamie made at least $2.1 million from Britney’s residency in Las Vegas, snagging a 1.5% cut of gross revenues and merchandise. It also claims that he paid himself $16,000 a month from Britney’s estate, which is $2,000 more than he gave Britney. On top of that, Jamie reportedly took another $2,000 for business purposes.
Rosengart wrote that while it might be common for a manager or agent to make this kind of money, someone in Jamie’s position should not be.
“He is a conservator, and, as a conservator, his role is to be burdened by, rather than benefit from, the conservatorship.”
Britney’s Mother Speaks Out
Both Britney’s personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, and her mother, Lynne Spears, gave statements in the filings echoing the need for Jamie to be removed from his role. Montgomery emphasized that his departure was necessary for the singer’s welfare.
“It would be best for Ms. Spears’ well-being and mental health that her father stop acting as her conservator,’ she wrote.
Lynne did not hold back on criticizing Jamie, saying Britney’s relationship with her father has “dwindled to nothing but fear and hatred” because of the control he exerts over her. She also claimed that he relied on Britney’s house staff, medical aides, and security team to “inform on and report back to him each and every detail of every action” in his daughter’s life.
“Such scrutiny is exhausting and terrifying, like living in custody,” she said.
This petition does not terminate the conservatorship fully, but Rosengart said that could be something the court has to examine one day further down the line.
“There might well come a time when the court will be called upon to consider whether the conservatorship should be terminated in its entirety and whether — in addition to stripping his daughter of her dignity, autonomy and certain fundamental liberties — Mr. Spears is also guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance warranting the imposition of surcharges, damages or other legal action against him,” Rosengart wrote.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (NBC News) (New York Times)
Simone Biles Withdraws, Naomi Osaka Ousted in Rough Day at Olympics. Both Cite Heavy Pressure To Perform
Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team final due to a medical issue while Osaka lost in the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament.
Team USA Takes Silver in Women’s Gymnastics
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles shocked the world Tuesday after pulling out of the women’s gymnastics team finals at the Tokyo Games due to a medical issue.
She left the competition area with a medical examiner after faltering during her vault performance, which was pretty out of character for Biles, who is the most decorated gymnast of all time. However, she later told NBC’s Today that her withdrawal was not due to a physical injury.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she explained. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
Biles said she isn’t sure whether she will compete Thursday in the individual all-around competition and is just going to “take it day by day.”
The gymnastics star later talked about not wanting to cost her team a medal or injure herself by performing her dangerous stunts in the wrong headspace.
“It’s just it’s not worth it, especially when you have three amazing athletes that can step up to the plate and do it,” she said, according to The New York Times.
Biles has previously been pretty open about all the pressure she’s been feeling amid the Games, writing in an Instagram post on Sunday, “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me, but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke.”
Russia went on to take gold at the competition while the U.S. took silver, ending more than a decade of American domination in the event. Still, it’s worth noting that Russia’s margin of victory proved no single mistake by the U.S. was to blame for their second-place finish.
According to The Times, it wasn’t just Jordan Chiles’ fall on floor or Biles’ weak vault. “It was a combination of those two mistakes plus Biles’s absence on the other apparatuses plus truly standout performances from Russia on three out of four events.”
Holding that same sentiment, many fans are defending Biles against anyone suggesting she was solely responsible for the team’s missed shot at first place, noting that the country’s strategy to win can’t just be based on expecting her to generate huge margins for them.
Tennis Star Speaks Out After Olympic Loss
Day four of the Games proved to be similarly rough on tennis star Naomi Osaka, who will leave Tokyo without a medal after losing to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament.
Osaka, who represented Japan at the Games, faced high expectations to do well as she is the highest-paid female athlete in the world and the host country’s face of the Games.
“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” she said.
“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this. I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much.”
She later added, “I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure, so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation.”
Osaka has been open about her mental health struggles before, with her citing, among other things, the way speaking with reporters after matches create self-doubt, so one can only imagine what she was feeling with all of the eyes on her at such a huge international event.
Despite the surprising performances from Biles and Osaka, people all over the world are continuing to praise them for being trailblazers in their sports and for being so candid when it comes to topics like mental health.
Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”
The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.“
Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund
Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country.
The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States.
“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”
The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S. It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”
The Fight to End Cash Bail
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”
Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.
“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”
A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning.
The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.