- YouTubers Josh Pieters and Archie Manners tricked Carole Baskin, a subject in Netflix’s “Tiger King,” into giving her first-ever interview since the show ended by pretending to be late-night host Jimmy Fallon.
- Baskin agreed to the interview after being promised that Fallon would focus on big cats, rather than the show or suggestions that she might have played a role in her husband’s disappearance.
- Pieters and Manners then used audio clips of Fallon from previous shows to conduct the interview, telling Baskin that she would only be able to hear the host because of their remote taping format.
- Baskin later called it a “fun prank” that gave a “good laugh” and said she appreciated that their stunt was not mean spirited.
How Pieters and Manners Tricked Carole Baskin
Exotic-cat activist Carole Baskin has given her first official interview since the release of Netflix’s hit show “Tiger King.” But while Baskin thought she was speaking with late-night host Jimmy Fallon, she had actually be duped into the video call for a YouTube video by Josh Pieters and Archie Manners.
“Tiger King” has been one of the most talked-about shows on the internet since the start of coronavirus lockdowns; however, Baskin has refused to speak to reporters about the series after it suggested that she may have been involved in her husband’s disappearance. That, in turn, has prompted a ton of hate and threats against her as many believe that she may have killed her husband.
So how did Pieters and Manners secure the interview? Well, the two have been taping a series for their channel where they trick celebrities into thinking they’re being interviewed on a late-night show through Zoom calls.
In previous episodes of this series, the two managed to get ahold of British singer-songwriter Craig David, TikToker Holly H, and “Love Island” couple Molly-Mae and Tommy Fury by pretending to be James Cordon.
To the guests they’ve invited on, the video interviews didn’t seem too out of the ordinary given the fact that so many hosts have been filming their shows from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
So to pull off this latest stunt, the two reached out to Baskin to extend the misleading invitation. Baskin and her team rejected the offer twice, but Baskin changed her mind after her daughter convinced her to reconsider. She also agreed to participate on the condition that “Fallon” focus on the cats and not ask about Netflix or the show.
When speaking with Baskin to coordinate the interview, Manners pretended to be a producer for the show. On the big day, he explained that because of this new remote taping format, Baskin wouldn’t actually be able to see Fallon, only hear him.
Their prank could’ve been much meaner, but the two actually ended up using Fallon’s audio clips to ask her pretty general questions, like how she’s been handling stay-at-home orders.
She talked about continuing to work hard for the tigers and her organization, Big Cat Rescue, as well as how the loss of tourism has hurt the staff at her tiger sanctuary. They also gave her some time to talk about the Big Cat Safety Act, a law she’s been championing to end the abuse of big cats by private owners.
“Hey all you cool cats and kittens, there is something you can do to end the abuse of big cats and to save them in the wild and that’s to make the call of the wild,” she said before offering up a number people could text to let their member of congress know they supported the act. “And if you don’t live in the U.S. what you can do is never pay to see a cub or pet a cub.”
After the call, she even sent over some exclusive photos and videos that they could use during her segment.
Baskin Responds in Good Spirits
It seems like Baskin wasn’t actually too upset about being duped once she learned that it was all for a YouTube video. She even commented below the upload, noting that she was a little suspicious when it was all going down.
Baskin copy and pasted an email she sent to her husband and daughter after the call, with it saying: “Well that was weird. I couldn’t see Fallon during the interview, and when they had his voice on the questions they didn’t sound like it was specific to the topic. He’d just say things they could have recorded from any other interview; like ‘What are you doing during quarantine?;”
She even noted that Fallon’s sign off struck her as odd, writing, “At the end he said, “Miss you buddy.” so that really didn’t sound like it was live to me. They did stick to the questions they gave us, so I just can’t tell.“
“This whole thing may have been a spoof and they said they won’t broadcast till next week, and will let us know before they do, but I’m not holding my breath,” she added.
Baskin then released a statement Sunday, after the video was released, clarifying that she wasn’t angry at all.
“I was suspicious as we were doing it because the questions appeared taped. But had no idea it would turn out to be such a fun prank. It gave us a very welcome good laugh.”
“I appreciate their cleverness and that they created their video in a way that I don’t feel was in any way mean spirited,” Baskin’s statement added.
This definitely wasn’t the first stunt Pieters and Manners have managed to pull off together. They’ve previously fooled people with an Ed Sheeran look-alike, sold microwaved meals on Deliveroo, tricked influencers into promoting gravel, and even presented far-right commentator Katie Hopkins with a fake award.
TikTok and Twitter Are Now Deleting Videos That Expose Closeted Olympians on Grindr
On top of outing people who may not be ready to have their sexuality revealed to the world, these videos could have endangered LGBTQ+ athletes from countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Closeted Olympians Being Doxxed
Openly LGBTQ+ Olympians are currently more visible than they have ever been before, but unfortunately, so are closeted ones.
That’s because some people have been using the LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr to try and find Olympians. They’ve been doing so by using the app’s “Explore” feature, which allows people to search and see users in specific locations (ie. Olympic Village).
But some aren’t content with just discovering which athletes belong to the LGBTQ+ community. They’re also sharing that information on platforms like TikTok and Twitter.
“I used Grindr’s explore feature to find myself [an] Olympian boyfriend,” one TikTok user said in a post that had been viewed 140,000 times, according to Insider.
That video reportedly went on to show the poster scrolling through Grindr to expose over 30 users’ full faces.
As many have argued, not only does this potentially out already-stressed Olympians who may not yet be comfortable sharing their sexuality, it also could put some users at serious risk if they live in countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal.
In fact, the video cited by Insider seemingly did just that, as it reportedly shows the face of a user who appears to be from a country “known for its anti-LGBTQ policies.”
Grindr Responds, TikTok and Twitter Take Action
In response, Grindr said the posts violate its rules against “publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information” from the app. It then asked the posters to remove the content.
Ultimately, it was TikTok and Twitter themselves that largely took action, with the two deleting at least 14 posts scattered across their platforms.
Twitter says it’s taking steps to remove the posts flagged by Insider showing Grindr’s explore page at the Olympic Village. TikTok has yet to give an on the record response. pic.twitter.com/r11pNL6Lwu— Benjamin Goggin (@BenjaminGoggin) July 28, 2021
A Highly-Visible LGBTQ+ Presence at the Games
According to Outsports, at least 172 of around 11,000 Olympians are openly LGBTQ+. While that number is still well below the statistical average, it’s triple the number of LGBTQ+ athletes that attended Rio’s 2016 Games.
In fact, if they were their own country, openly LGBTQ+ athletes would reportedly rank 11th in medals, according to an Outsports report published Tuesday.
Among those winners is British diver Tom Daley, who secured his first gold medal on Monday and used his platform to send a hopeful message to LGBTQ+ youth by telling them, “You are not alone.”
After winning a silver medal on Wednesday, U.S. swimmer Erica Sullivan talked about her experience as both a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a person of color.
Still, the Olympics has faced criticism for its exclusion of intersex individuals, particularly those like South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, who won gold medals in both 2012 and 2016. Rules implemented in 2019 now prevent Semenya from competing as a woman without the use of medication to suppress her testosterone levels.
Jake Paul Launches Anti-Bullying Charity
The charity, called Boxing Bullies, aims to use the sport to give kids confidence and courage.
Jake Paul Launches Boxing Bullies Foundation
YouTuber Jake Paul — best known as the platform’s boxer, wreckless partier, and general troublemaker — has seemingly launched a non-profit to combat bullying.
The charity is called Boxing Bullies. According to a mission statement posted on Instagram, it aims to “instill self confidence, leadership, and courage within the youth through the sport of boxing while using our platform, voice, and social media to fight back against bullying.”
If the notion of a Paul-founded anti-bullying charity called “Boxing Bullies” was not already begging to be compared to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Best Best” initiative, maybe the group’s “Boxing Bullies Commandments” will help connect the dots. Those commandments use an acronym for the word “BOX” to spell out the charity’s golden rules.
“Be kind to everyone; Only defend, never initiate; X-out bullying.”
Paul Hopes To “Inspire” Kids To Stand Up For Themselves
Paul first said he was launching Boxing Bullies during a July 13 interview following a press conference for his upcoming fight against Tyron Woodley.
“I know who I am at the end of the day, which is a good person,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to change this sport, bring more eyeballs. I’m trying to support other fighters, increase fighter pay. I’m starting my charity, I’m launching that in 12 days here called Boxing Bullies and we’re helping to fight against cyberbullying.”
It has not been quite 12 days since the interview, so it’s likely that more information about the organization will be coming soon. Currently, the group has been the most active on Instagram, where it boasts a following of just around 1,200 followers. It has posted once to Twitter, where it has 32 followers; and has a TikTok account that has yet to publish any content. It also has a website, though there is not too much on it as of yet.
On its Instagram, one post introducing Paul as the founder claims the rowdy YouTuber started this charity because he has been on the receiving end of bullying.
“Having been a victim of bullying himself, Jake experienced firsthand the impact it has on a person’s life,” the post says. “Jake believes that this is a prevailing issue in society that isn’t talked about enough. Boxing gave Jake the confidence to not care about what others think and he wants to share the sport and the welfare it‘s had on him with as many kids as possible.”
It adds that he hopes his group can“inspire the next generation of kids to be leaders, be athletes, and to fight back against bullying.”
Paul Previously Accused of Being a Bully
While fighting against bullying is a noble cause, it is an ironic project for Paul to start, as he has faced no shortage of bullying accusations. While Paul previously sang about “stopping kids from getting bullied” in the lunchroom, some have alleged he himself was actually a classic high school bully who threw kids’ backpacks into garbage cans.
This behavior allegedly continued into his adulthood, as a New York Times report from earlier this year claimed he ran his Team 10 house with a culture of toxicity and bullying. Among other things, sources said he involved others in violent pranks, pressured people into doing dangerous stunts, and destroyed peoples’ personal property to make content.
See what others are saying: (Dexerto)
Director Defends Recreating Anthony Bourdain’s Voice With AI in New Documentary
The film’s director claims he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent, but on Thursday, Bourdain’s widow publicly denied ever giving that permission.
Bourdain’s Voice Recreated
“You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Anthony Bourdain says in a voiceover featured in “Roadrunnner,” a newly released documentary about the late chef — except Bourdain never actually said those words aloud.
Instead, it’s one of three lines in the film, which features frequent voiceovers from Bourdain, that were created through the use of artificial intelligence technology.
That said, the words are Bourdain’s own. In fact, they come from an email Bourdain reportedly wrote to a friend prior to his 2018 suicide. Nonetheless, many have now questioned whether recreating Bourdain’s voice was ethical, especially since documentaries are meant to reflect reality.
Director Defends Use of AI Voice
The film’s director, Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, has defended his use of the synthetic voice, telling Variety that he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent before inserting the lines into the film.
“There were a few sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke aloud,” Neville said. “It was a modern storytelling technique that I used in a few places where I thought it was important to make Tony’s words come alive.”
Bourdain’s widow — Ottavia Bourdain, who is the executor of his estate — later denied Neville’s claim on Twitter, saying, “I certainly was NOT the one who said Tony would have been cool with that.”
In another interview with GQ, Neville described the process, saying the film’s creators “fed more than ten hours of Tony’s voice into an AI model.”
“The bigger the quantity, the better the result,” he added. “We worked with four companies before settling on the best.”
“If you watch the film,” Neville told The New Yorker, “you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know. We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.”
The Ethics Debate Isn’t Being Tabled
But many want to have that discussion now.
Boston-based film critic Sean Burns, who gave the film a rare negative review, later criticized it again for its unannounced use of AI, saying he wasn’t aware that Bourdain’s voice had been recreated until after he watched the documentary.
Meanwhile, The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner wrote that the “seamlessness of the effect is eerie.”
“If it had been a human voice double I think the reaction would be “huh, ok,” but there’s something truly unsettling about the idea of it coming from a computer,” Rosner later tweeted.
Online, many others have criticized the film’s use of AI, with some labeling it as a “deepfake.”
Others have offered more mixed criticism, saying that while the documentary highlights the need for posthumous AI use to be disclosed, it should not be ruled out altogether.
“In a world where the living could consent to using AI to reproduce their voices posthumously, and where people were made aware that such a technology was being used, up front and in advance, one could envision that this kind of application might serve useful documentary purposes,” David Leslie, ethics lead at the Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.
Celebrities Recreated After Death
The posthumous use of celebrity likeness in media is not a new debate. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac took the stage 15 years after his death. In 2014, the Billboard Music Awards brought a hologram of Michael Jackson onstage five years after his death. Meanwhile, the Star Wars franchise digitally recreated actor Peter Cushing in 2016’s “Rogue One,” and unused footage of actress Carrie Fisher was later translated into “The Rise of Skywalker,” though a digital version of Fisher was never used.
In recent years, it has become almost standard for filmmakers to say that they will not create digital versions of characters whose actors die unexpectedly. For example, several months after Chadwick Boseman’s death last year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” executive producer Victoria Alonso confirmed Boseman would not be digitally recreated for his iconic role as King T’Challa.