- Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine accused Billboard of manipulating its Hot 100 charts to give the No. 1 spot to Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande’s charity single “Stuck With U.”
- His single, “Gooba” debuted at No. 3, but he says thousands of units for “Stuck With U” were illegally purchased through six credit cards at the last minute, allowing the song to take the top spot.
- Grande, Bieber, and their manager Scooter Braun denied the claims, accusing the rapper of miscalculating his numbers and explaining that they released their data late as a strategy.
- Bieber also called out 6ix9ine for only referencing Grande in his criticism, while Braun noted that the real winner is the charity earning profits from “Stuck With U.”
6ix9ine Slams Billboard
Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber defended their No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Monday after rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine said they had fraudulently climbed their way to the top.
On May 8, the two singers released their collaboration song called “Stuck With U,” meanwhile, 6ix9ine dropped his new single “Gooba.” Fans of both artists have been waiting to see where the songs would fall in their first week on the Billboard charts.
And on Friday, 6ix9ine posted a video to Instagram accusing Billboard of manipulating the streaming numbers. The video shows him scrolling through what he called a “forecast” of the charts sent to him Thursday. That data showed his song at No 2. and “Stuck With U” at No. 5. He also notably only refers to the song as Grande’s, making no mention of Bieber.
Then he says that at the last hour, “Stuck With U” submitted 60,000 more units “out of nowhere,” which sent it to the top of the charts.
He also showed a tweet from Billboard about a limited time signed CD version of “Stuck With U” that was for sale, and he said that Sony and Universal Music asked for an audit of Billboard’s data because they were suspicious of potential manipulation.
6ix9ine Makes Claims of Illegal Unit Purchases
Then on Monday, the public officially learned that “Stuck With U” debuted at No. 1, while “Gooba” landed two spots below at No. 3.
But shortly before the chart reveal, 6ix9ine took to Instagram again to accuse Billboard of lying and being corrupt. “So listen, I want the world to know that Billboard is a lie. You can buy number ones on billboard,” he said.
He went on to claim that his team conducted an investigation into those last-minute 60,000 units, saying: “They purchased half of those things with six credit cards. When we asked where was those six credit cards linked to, Billboard said ‘we can’t disclose that information.’”
He also said that not all of his streams were counted, showing that Billboard only county 31 million streams when it should’ve been 50 million. “Billboard illegally disqualified 20 million streams so it can drop down, and the people who bought the number one, which was stuck with U, can go to No 1.”
He adds that buying No. 1’s is a practice that is unfair to hardworking artists and even shows his YouTube numbers to emphasize just how popular his single actually was in comparison to others. “And if you want to compete with this, this is in one week…this is 184 million and you counted 30 million streams?”
He also posted another video directly addressing Grande, clarifying that his frustrations are with Billboard not her. However, he stressed that they both come from different backgrounds.
He plays an old clip of himself to show how he found success despite growing up under difficult circumstances. Then he showed clips of Grande on acting on Nickelodeon, suggesting her early beginnings were not as hard. “
I speak for the millions of kids who aren’t as fortunate as you,” he added in the caption of the post. “YOU ARE VERY TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL GOD BLESS YOU. But you will NEVER UNDERSTAND MY PAIN.”
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@arianagrande All I’m saying is I worked super hard to make it out of Brooklyn NY. I speak for the millions of kids who aren’t as fortunate as you. The millions who weren’t fortunate to be on T.V.. LIFE is REAL when you’re on welfare LIFE is REAL when you grow up with out a father. You don’t know what that is like. You say for me to be humble …. I don’t think you know what humble is………. YOU ARE VERY TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL GOD BLESS YOU. But you will NEVER UNDERSTAND MY PAIN 💯
Grande, Bieber, and Braun Respond
So, of course, all of these accusations sparked a ton of conversation online, prompting Grande, Bieber, and their manager Scooter Braun to respond.
In a lengthy post, Grande thanked her fans for the success of the song but noted that numbers have never been the driving force behind anything she does. Then she says she has to address the drama because “this has gone a little too far.”
“My fans bought the song. JUSTIN’S fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song.(never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE). they are ride or die motherfuckers and i thank god every day that i have them in my life.”
She continued, “i know. sales count for more than streams. u can not discredit this as hard as u try. to anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason…..), i ask u to take a moment to humble yourself. be grateful you’re even here. that people want to listen to u at all. it’s a blessed position to be in. i’ve had a lot of “almost number ones” in my career and i never said a goddamn thing because I FEEL GRATEFUL TO EVEN BE HERE. TO WANT TO BE HEARD AT ALL …. and you should feel that way too.”
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thank u to everybody who supported this song, this cause and made this happen. we love uuuuu so much. 🤍 there’s so much to celebrate today. 🤍 however, i would like to say a few things. anyone who knows me or has followed me for a while knows that numbers aren’t the driving force in anything i do. i’m grateful to sing. grateful to have people who want to listen. grateful to even be here at all. i didn’t have a number one for the first five years of my career and it didn’t upset me at all because from the bottom of my heart, music is everything to me. my fans are everything to me. i promise i couldn’t ask for another fucking thing. so with this celebration today, i would like to address a few things which i don’t usually do (i don’t give my energy to drama or strange accusations normally but this has gone a little too far)…my fans bought the song. JUSTIN’S fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song (never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE). they are ride or die motherfuckers and i thank god every day that i have them in my life. not just when they fight for us to win (even when i ask them not to as i did this week) but because they’re some of the greatest people i know. sales count for more than streams. u can not discredit this as hard as u try. to anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason…..), i ask u to take a moment to humble yourself. be grateful you’re even here. that people want to listen to u at all. it’s a blessed position to be in. i’ve had a lot of “almost number ones” in my career and i never said a goddamn thing because I FEEL GRATEFUL TO EVEN BE HERE. TO WANT TO BE HEARD AT ALL …. and you should feel that way too. congratulations to all my talented ass peers in the top ten this week. even number 3. 🥰 and thank u to @billboard for this honor. and thank u to everybody who helped us raise a lot of money for a very important cause this week. love u all a lot.
Bieber followed that up with an Instagram story saying that 6ix9ine is counting his global streams in his records when Billboard only looks at domestic streams. He says the 60,000 units were reported late because they chose not to disclose their numbers until the end of the week.
“That’s called strategy,” he explained.
Bieber also called the claim about 30,000 units being purchased on six credit cards a lie. “Nielson company checks this and founds all our sales were legit because our fans are amazing and bought them. Don’t discredit our fan base with false info.”
Finally, he adds, “This is my song with Ariana Grande and I’m honored to work with her to help raise money for a great cause. If you’re gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it’s our song.”
Braun also posted a statement to his Instagram reiterating the same points, and as far as the investigation that 6ix9ine claimed other labels had called for, Braun said: “Yes there was an investigation this week but it was into a video that had 6 times the amount of paid bot activity than the normal video. That video was not ours.”
Braun closed by saying that the ultimate winner is the First Responders Children’s Foundation, where all net proceeds from the track will be donated to fund scholarships for children of frontline workers.
Some viewed this as a reference to the rumors that 6ix9ine used bots to improve his YouTube numbers.
It’s unclear if 6ix9ine was aware of their responses, but shortly after, he posted a photo of himself with six credit cards and the caption: “Don’t worry we’re going #1 next time #billboard.”
Billboard Responds With Article
It stressed that streaming numbers and other data that is publicly visible does not reflect the volume that is included in Billboard’s calculations.
Instead, the article says “each data provider provides a post-audit number to Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data — excluding streams that do not meet long-standing charting parameters, such as U.S.-based-only plays, minimum play length, excessive plays and lack of user verification.”
It noted that the YouTube video count the rapper pointed to is for global plays, without any other auditing filters. It also stressed that the “forecast” 6ix9ine reviewed did not come from Billboard, however, it said that those with access to sales, streaming, and radio data often create their own chart models.
The article attributed the sales spike for “Stuck With U” to the fact that signed versions of the single were put up for sale on Grande and Bieber’s websites on the last tracking day. Several physical formats and digital download bundles were also available throughout the week.
Meanwhile, 6ix9ine, released a non-signed CD single/digital download on his website the last day of tracking.
And as far as his claims about the six credit cards, the article said: “Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data conducts audits on all sales reported with access to purchase-level detail, and works with data partners to recognize excessive bulk purchases and remove those units from the final sales total. All titles this week, as in every week, were put under the same scrutiny.
In response 6ix9ine’s claims that Billboard would not “disclose” information about data when asked, it said that Billboard was open about all information pertaining to “Gooba,” but it could not provide “granular detail on a title to anyone but its content owner.”
Finally, Billboard stood by its data, saying “Overall Stuck With U” drew 28.1 million U.S. streams, 26.3 million in radio airplay audience, and 108,000 sold in the tracking week. Gooba” had 55.3 million U.S. streams, 172,000 in radio airplay audience and 24,000 sold.”
BBC Diversity Chief Sparks Backlash After Claiming “Luther” Was Not an “Authentic” Black Lead
- BBC Diversity Chief Miranda Wayland sparked backlash after saying Monday that the Idris Elba-led series “Luther” was not authentic because the Black protagonist “doesn’t have any Black friends” and “doesn’t eat any Caribbean food.”
- Many criticized Wayland’s remarks, arguing that she essentially implied the character was not “Black enough” because he did not fall into certain stereotypes.
- BBC defended the show and said they were “tremendously proud” of “Luther.” Meanwhile series creator Neil Cross said one of the reasons Elba was attracted to the role was because it did not center on race.
BBC Diversity Chief Sparks Controversy
The Diversity Chief at BBC sparked backlash after implying that the title character in the hit series “Luther” was not an authentic Black lead.
The crime drama ran for five seasons between 2010 and 2019, starring Idris Elba as detective John Luther. It won Elba a Golden Globe in 2012 and earned him four Emmy nominations.
“When [Luther] first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, Black character lead,” BBC’s Diversity Chief Miranda Wayland said while speaking on diversity and inclusion strategies during the Digital MIPTV conference on Monday. “We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right?”
“But after you got into about the second series you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic,” she continued.
Fans Defend “Luther”
Her remarks upset numerous people who felt Wayland was implying that Luther was not “Black enough” because he didn’t fall into certain racial stereotypes.
“This farcical criticism was clearly thought up out of boredom or just sheer ignorance,” one Twitter user wrote. “Luther is a brilliant series and actually shows a Black actor in a light not defined by anything but his ability to do his job. Stop using stereotypes to justify your own insecurities.”
Many pointed to the fact that even successful actors like Elba still have to deal with being labeled either “not Black enough” in some roles, but “too Black” for others. Elba has long been rumored as a potential pick to be the next James Bond. If he were cast, he would be the first Black actor to take the famous role. Despite his popularity, nothing has come of those rumors.
Others found the criticism of him not having Black friends to be especially weak because Luther did not have a lot of friends in general, as one of his character traits was his stark commitment to his job.
BBC and “Luther” Creator Respond
The creator of “Luther,” Neil Cross, told The Daily Mail that one of the reasons Elba was interested in the role was because it had nothing to do with race. Many doubled down on the fact that the show was great because his character was complex and human on his own without having to deal with racial issues, something that is often not seen in shows with Black leads.
Great thing about Luther is that his skin colour isn’t the core of his identity.— Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) April 14, 2021
He’s fighting many battles. An example that we’re all human, we all struggle, but our ethnicity doesn’t always play a part in that.
That’s diversity, @MirandawTV. Equality!https://t.co/sIDc7c0pnL
“I have no knowledge or expertise or right to try to tackle in some way the experience of being a Black man in modern Britain,” Cross said in his statement to The Daily Mail. “ It would have been an act of tremendous arrogance for me to try to write a Black character.”
“We would have ended up with a slightly embarrassed, ignorant, middle-class, white writer’s idea of a Black character,” he continued.
A BBC spokesperson also defended the show in a statement to The Independent saying the network is “tremendously proud” of “Luther.”
“The BBC is committed to its continued investment in diversity and recent BBC One dramas ‘I May Destroy You’ and ‘Small Axe’ are testament to that,” the spokesperson continued. “Of course people can have open discussions about our shows but that doesn’t mean it’s a statement of policy.”
Elba himself has not directly responded to the situation, though some think an Instagram story he posted Wednesday may have been related to it.
“We must not pull ourselves backwards, only push ourselves forward,” the actor wrote.
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (The Daily Mail) (The Wrap)
Durte Dom Returns To TikTok Following Sexual Assault Accusation Levied Against Him
- YouTuber Dom Zeglaitis, a former member of David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad known online as Durte Dom, returned to the Internet less than one month after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2018 who was too drunk to consent.
- Zeglaitis has not issued a response to the allegation, but in the past three days, he has posted a dozen TikToks that mostly consist of short sketches and jokes he filmed with friends.
- One post shows Zeglaitis participating in the “Bulletproof” challenge, with text in the clip reading, “You think you can hurt my feelings?!? I got kicked out of the Vlog Squad for…”
- Several people, including major creators like Tana Mongeau and Ethan Klein, are now calling him out for seeming to make light out of a serious situation.
Durte Dom Returns To Internet
Former Vlog Squad member Dom Zeglaitis, also known as “Durte Dom,” has resumed posting on social media after nearly a month of silence since he was accused of sexual assault.
A woman told Insider in March that Zeglaitis raped her while she was too drunk to consent to sexual activity in 2018. She said that she and her friends were hanging out with YouTuber David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad at the time. The accuser, who was under 21 the night of the alleged assault, claimed the group supplied her and her friends with alcohol.
The fallout of this allegation has been significant. While Zeglaitis has yet to respond to it, Dobrik has issued multiple apologies and faced most of the financial repercussions as frontman of the group. Both Zeglaitis and Dobrik were later demonetized by YouTube. Dobrik also lost multiple sponsorship deals and bowed out of Dispo, a photo-sharing app he co-founded. He is now taking a break from YouTube and social media.
Though Zeglaitis has returned to the Internet, he is still largely ignoring the sexual assault accusation levied against him. He specifically began posting on TikTok over the weekend, and since then has posted roughly a dozen videos on the platform.
Durte Dom Jokes About The Vlog Squad on TikTok
Most of the videos are short sketches or comedy bits with his friends. In one, he and a friend are going through Omegle while Zeglaitis is off-screen. The friend asks the people on the other end of the chat “What are your thoughts on Durte Dom?” before Zeglaitis enters the shot.
Several of the videos continue to reference Zeglaitis’ sleazy, womanizing, reputation. One shows him claiming to have “smashed” adult film star Riley Reid. In another, he is sitting on a lounge chair throwing money at girls dancing next to him.
The video generating the most attention, however, is his take on the viral “Bulletproof” challenge. That TikTok features him standing below a text block that reads “You think you can hurt my feelings?!? I got kicked out of the Vlog Squad for…” while the song “Bulletproof” plays in the background.
In the caption of that video, he tagged Dobrik and asked “bruh why they kick me out?!?”
Creators Call Out Zeglaitis for Ignoring Allegation
This specific TikTok caught the attention of major creators, including Tana Mongeau and Ethan Klein, who dueted that video to call Zeglaitis out.
“Someone please make this make sense to me,” Mongeau wrote.
“This mf serious?” Klein said.
They are not the only ones frustrated with Zeglaitis. Many responded to the video in the comment section shocked he was posting at all, bringing up the sexual assault allegation, and urging him to not treat it as a joke.
The comment sections on the rest of his videos are similarly flooded with people who are outraged that he is posting regular content as though nothing had happened.
See what others are saying: (Insider)
TikToker Neumane Called Out for Copying Content From Smaller Creators
- Kane Trujillo, a comedy TikToker known as @neumane, is facing backlash after fellow TikToker Joey Bailey posted a video noting that Trujillo has risen to popularity off content copied from several, often smaller, creators.
- Bailey also shared an alleged audio message he received from Trujillo where he threatened Bailey to take his call-out video down before sending a second message promising to pursue legal action.
- In a clip from a TikTok live stream, Trujillo addressed the controversy by saying that “nothing’s original” and seemingly admitting to copying.
- “It’s not who made it first, it’s who does it better,” he said in the clip. “Who gives a f*ck about some little copied content? … I’m an actor. I’m not a writer, I’m not a f*cking storyteller…You give me a script, I will f*cking nail that sh*t. And I’m not gonna think of it, no, but I’m gonna make yours better.”
Popular comedy TikToker Kane Trujillo, who has over 2.7 million followers and is known on the platform as @neumane, has been called out by fellow creators for a pattern of stealing content.
The latest creator sounding the alarm is Joey Bailey (@joey.bailey), who posted a video to the app on March 15 that showed Trujillo’s posts next to the original versions he appears to have replicated, often word for word and with nearly identical expressions.
Similar allegations regarding Trujillo were made on March 13 in a YouTube video from thatsjustchris.
In a follow-up TikTok and a longer YouTube video, Bailey went on to explain that he received an audio message from Trujillo through Instagram trying to get Bailey to take the call-out video down.
“You can kindly take it down and we can just, you know, be cool and move on from all this sh*t, or you could just leave it up and have a lot of enemies from here on out,” the voice that allegedly belongs to Trujillo can be heard saying in the audio.
Bailey said he privated the video after that because he “didn’t want to become the drama TikToker,” but he eventually changed his mind, arguing that he wasn’t starting drama, he was just standing up for himself.
After he unprivated the video, he said Trujillo sent him another message promising to pursue legal action.
“As of today me & my management team will be proceeding with a False Accusation lawsuit against you. I wish we didn’t have to go this far but you leave me no choice,” that message read.
Copied Creators Express Mixed Feelings
In statements to The Daily Dot, some of those creators essentially said they’ve accepted that this is something that happens on TikTok.
“This is something I’ve come to accept because sadly TikTok is an app that will push stolen content and Suppress originality!” Natchez Ballinger (@nuhchez) told the outlet in an email. “Creators have stolen from me since I’ve joined the app, I take it as flattery in a way.”
“I mean yeah he did steal my video and it became more popular but it’s TikTok,” Dawson Anderson (@dawson.taylor1) told the outlet via Instagram. “I don’t really care all that much it’s a video trend not worth crying over.”
Still, others were much more frustrated.
“The thing with him is that he doesn’t steal ideas, he steals the video word for word, uses the same sound, the same gestures, and even the same wording without giving any credit to the creator whatsoever,” Brodie Falgoust (@brodiefalgoust) told The Daily Dot via Instagram. “That is how he gained all of his following, and continues to do it still (even after being called out). I get ripped off all the time but It’s frustrating as a smaller creator who is constantly coming out with original content when a person with a big following comes and takes credit for your originality.”
“People take my ideas but any creator that has been bigger than me has given me credit!” Falgoust continued.
“There is [a] large difference between following a trend and ripping off someone’s work shot for shot and word for word,” said another creator who spoke to the outlet anonymously out of feat of legal retaliation.
“A lot of users do not understand how much work some of these creators are putting into original content. And for Neumane to hunt down those smaller creators and reproduce their successful content as his own without acknowledging credit is exasperating. The real issue becomes the money and opportunity he is being given by eating off of the backs of others.”
In a clip of a TikTok live stream reviewed by The Daily Dot, Neumane addressed the controversy by saying, “nothing’s original.” He also seemed to admit to copying.
“Imagine showing hate to somebody on the internet,” Trujillo reportedly said during the live stream. “Like bro, just show love. Who gives a f*ck about some little copied content? Like, just make it good, and yours will get a lot of views. Do good expression, act well. I’m an actor. I’m not a writer, I’m not a f*cking storyteller. I’m an actor. You give me a script, I will f*cking nail that sh*t. And I’m not gonna think of it, no, but I’m gonna make yours better.”
A viral TikTok by @ttdramanews covering the allegations against Trujillo shared portions of that clip, which also shows Trujillo saying, “It’s not who made it first, it’s who does it better.”
According to The Daily Dot, Trujillo talked about people needing to show love, though commenters quickly pointed out that he’s the one threatening others with legal action.