- 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.”
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.”