- Ariana Grande shared a post by writer Jordan Firstman in which he impersonates a meme by arguing that they degrade the entire value of something an artist poured their soul into.
- Grande suggested the same applies to “pony tail TikTok girls who think doing the Cat Valentine voice and wearing winged eyeliner and a sweatshirt is doing a good impersonation of me.”
- Many assumed she was talking about 15-year-old TikToker Paige Niemann, who Grande has previously criticized for her impersonations.
- Niemann explained that she is just trying to entertain people and many have defended the teen against hate from the singer’s fans.
Grande Calls Out Impersonators
Celebrity impersonators are pretty common in showbiz, and they can actually earn some serious cash and attention for their work. But is there a point when these imitations cross the line? Well, singer Ariana Grande seems to think so.
In a recent Instagram story, Grande called out her TikTok impersonators by sharing a video from writer and filmmaker Jordan Firstman. Firstman’s clip is titled “This is my impression of a meme,” and in it, he says:
“What if we, like, we took a moment, like a small clip from a movie or a TV show — something that, like, an artist really poured their soul into and it, like, it just took them years to make, and it was an uphill battle the entire time — what if we took a moment from that and we kind of, like, recontextualized it?
Like, does that make sense? And we put a completely arbitrary meaning onto that thing that the artist loves so much? Kind of, like, degrading its entire value? I just think that would be kind of like a fun, like, bitchy thing to do. I’m like, I’m so bored. I just kinda wanna ruin someone’s life today. And then like whoever can just say it’s theirs...anyone can just steal it then.”
When sharing that post, Grande added, “Can this please also double as your impression of the pony tail TikTok girls who think doing the Cat Valentine voice and wearing winged eyeliner and a sweatshirt is doing a good impersonation of me…cause this really how it feels.”
The singer then added that she screamed when he said, “degrading its entire value.”
TikToker Paige Niemann Responds
Though Grande didn’t call out anyone by name, most people looked to15-year-old TikToker Paige Niemann for a response. Niemann is TikTok creator with nearly 6 million followers that is well known for her viral impersonations of the Grande.
Just take a close look at some of her photos and you’ll see that the resemblance is uncanny.
Niemann caught wind of that now-deleted Instagram post and addressed it in a recent live stream. “I mean, I’m used to Ariana shading me so… I’m just here to entertain people, it’s not who I really am in real life,” she said.
“Kind of why I’m not a fan of her anymore, honestly. I’m slowly getting rid of all my Ariana stuff,” she added.
Her comments seem to be in reference to past remarks Grande has posted about her TikTok impersonations. In November, Grande wondered why Niemann decided to blend Grande’s appearance with the TV character’s voice.
While some defended the teen, many of the singer’s fans attacked her, calling her creepy and attention-seeking.
In December, Niemann explained to Entertainment Tonight that Grande eventually reached out to her in a direct message on Instagram. “She said, ‘I’m flattered.’ She wanted to let me know that I am beautiful in my own way and I said, ‘Thank you and thank you for being so kind to me.’ And she said, ‘I’m proud of you.'”
Neiman added, “I was shocked. She’s my idol so I was shaking a little bit…She said, ‘Let me know if you’re ever going to my Sweetener Tour, we can grab a hug.'”
But even after that, some still thought Grande was continuing to throw shade at Niemann. Last month in a post celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Victorious, Grande wrote: “I really loved playing Cat Valentine (even though sometimes people think I actually still speak and act like that and her essence will lovingly haunt me ’til I die).”
Now, with this latest remark about “pony tail TikTok girls,” the hate against Niemann has picked up again. Some are calling out the haters, reminding them that Niemann is only 15, while others slammed Grande for enabling the bullying.
See what others are saying: (Complex) (Daily Dot) (Paper)
Halyna Hutchins Family Settles With “Rust” Production, Filming to Resume in 2023
Alec Baldwin said everyone involved was motivated by the “desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son.”
The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the set of “Rust” last year, reached a settlement with the production over a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday.
The lawsuit was filed in February, several months after Hutchins’ death in New Mexico last October. The cast and crew were rehearsing a scene that involved producer and actor Alec Baldwin pointing a gun toward the camera. Baldwin claims he did not know it was loaded when it fired, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
The actor also claims he did not actually pull the trigger, but investigators determined it must have been pulled.
Hutchins’ husband Matthew filed the wrongful death suit on behalf of himself and his young son. It claimed that the production did not follow proper safety procedures and endangered the crew via reckless cost-cutting measures. Baldwin was listed as a defendant, as well as the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director, Dave Halls, and others involved with the film.
The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but as part of the agreement, the production of “Rust” will resume in January 2023. The late cinematographer’s husband will join the project as an executive producer.
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he said in a statement. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”
A Tribute to Hutchins
Souza will return as the director. In a statement, he said his “every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring” Hutchins.
For his part, Baldwin shared the news of the settlement on his Instagram Wednesday morning.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” he wrote. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
There is still an ongoing criminal probe happening separately from this lawsuit. It is unclear what impact the settlement will have on that, if any.
Last month, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies sent a letter to the New Mexico Board of Finance seeking additional funding to prosecute up to four people over the incident, including Baldwin. So far, no charges have been filed.
In April, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau fined the production after it found multiple safety violations on set.
See what others are saying: (The Los Angeles Times) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Deadline)
The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”
The group said that by severing ties with Fulmer, it felt like they were losing a friend.
“That Is Not What We Stand For”
Digital comedy and sketch group The Try Guys posted a video on Monday night explaining the recent removal of member Ned Fulmer.
Last week, the Internet was filled with speculation that Fulmer, who is married with children, was having an affair with a staffer for The Try Guys. Fulmer confirmed the reports, claiming he had a “consensual workplace relationship.” The Try Guys quickly announced that Fulmer would no longer be working with the group as the result of an internal review.
In Monday’s video, the remaining three members, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger, explained what led to their decision to remove Fulmer. While the trio noted there were legal issues that prevented them from sharing certain details, they wanted to be as transparent as possible.
“On Labor Day weekend, multiple fans alerted us that they had seen Ned and an employee engaging in public romantic behavior,” Habersberger explained. “We reached out to check on that employee and Ned confirmed the reports, and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time, which was obviously very shocking to us.”
He emphasized that the rest of the group “had no idea this was going on.”
After this, The Try Guys reached out to a variety of lawyers and HR professionals to make sure they handled the situation correctly.
“This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are, and that is not what we stand for.”
Removing Fulmer From Content
They decided to immediately remove Fulmer from work activities and hired an HR rep to conduct a review. Fulmer was also withdrawn from releases pending the results of that review.
As part of this, his video section was erased, he was digitally taken out of some content, and he was not included in merch drops. The Try Guys said this was a long and tedious process.
“Honestly, I want to give major props to our editing staff for how deftly they handled that,” Kornfeld said. “There are several videos that we have deemed as fully unreleasable, you will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that is a decision that has cost us lots of money.”
“We will not be able to recoup that money,” he continued. “But it’s a decision we stand by proudly.”
The group declined to share details of the review but claimed it found that Fulmer engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of the team. Because of this, Yang, Kornfeld, and Habersberger gave written consent on Sept. 16 to ax Fulmer as a manager and employee of The Try Guys company.
The three said they were always planning to make a public statement about their decision, but were initially waiting out of respect to the families and employees involved. As online speculation arose, they chose to deal with it sooner.
“We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with, we just made a TV show together,” Kornfeld said. “I’m sure many of you feel the same way.”
According to the group, some upcoming videos featuring Fulmer will be edited to remove him. They said they are currently taking time to reimagine their channel.
Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use
Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.
Willis Debunks Rumors
Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake.
Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects.
However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.
“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.
Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.
This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful.
“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”
Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise.