- Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and more attended protests all over the country following the killing of George Floyd.
- Others, like Beyonce and Rihanna, made statements calling for justice, while stars like Chrissy Teigen, promised to donate to bail funds for protesters who get arrested.
- But many stars were slammed for their silence and YouTuber Jake Paul was criticized for appearing in videos of looters at an Arizona protest.
- CNN Anchor Don Lemon went on a viral rant calling out wealthy celebrities who are choosing silence while younger people with less influence are leading the charge.
Celebrities Attend Protests
While some celebrities took to the streets to call for justice after the death of George Floyd, others were slammed for inaction or poor responses to the news.
Saturday’s rallies in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills saw big names in attendance, like singer Ariana Grande and actors like Tess Thompson and Michael B. Jordan. Grande and Thompson both posted footage of the protests on social media, showing the peaceful nature that they started with.
Singer Halsey also attended Saturday’s protest, where she says she was hit with rubber bullets. When she attended a protest in Santa Monica on Sunday, she said she brought medical help for those who might need it.
Actor Timothee Chalamet also attended the Santa Monica protest and posted footage of it on his Instagram story.
Many were seen taking a stand around the rest of the country. Protesters shared photos of J. Cole marching in North Carolina and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello in Miami. Jamie Foxx spoke at a rally in Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed.
“All I wanted to do is let you know that we’re not afraid to stand, we’re not afraid to stand. We’re not afraid of the moment,” he told a crowd.
Statements and Donations
Protesting was not the only way celebrities showed their support. Many spoke out on social media, including Rihanna who wrote about Floyd on Instagram.
“I can’t shake this!” the singer wrote.
//www.instagram.com/embed.jsView this post on Instagram
For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least! Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart! To the point of staying away from socials, just to avoid hearing the blood curdling agony in George Floyd’s voice again, begging over and over for his life!!! The look of enticement, the pure joy and climax on the face of this bigot, murderer, thug, pig, bum, Derek Chauvin, haunts me!! I can’t shake this! I can’t get over an ambulance pulling up to an arrest, a paramedic checking a pulse without removing the very thing that’s hindering it! Is this that fucking normal??? If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor
“If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???!” she continued.
Beyonce also posted a video on Instagram where she encouraged her followers to sign a petition demanding justice for Floyd.
“We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and disgusted,” Beyonce said. “We cannot normalize this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of color. If you’re white, black, brown and anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now. No more senseless killings of human beings.”
TikTok star Charli D’Amelio also posted a video saying that as an influencer, she feels it is her job to call out and discuss racial injustice.
“We all have a voice, we need to stand up for what is right and stick together,” D’Amilio said.
Other stars opened their checkbooks for the cause. Chrissy Teigen tweeted that she would be committing $100,000 to bailout funds for protesters who get arrested across the country. When people criticized her choice to donate, she doubled the number of money she planned on sending.
Actors like Seth Rogan, Ben Schwartz and Steve Carell also joined a Twitter chain to match a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
Backlash to Responses
That donation train did receive some backlash because the donation they were matching was $50. Many thought that, given their wealth and platforms, they could be contributing more. Some said they should be matching donations as high as Teigen’s.
Rogan later added that he donated more than the $50.
Celebrities faced heat for other reasons, including YouTuber Jake Paul. Paul was seen in videos at a mall where people were looting in connection to a protest. Many accused him of going to the protests with the intention of collecting vlog footage, Others accused him of partaking in the looting.
On Sunday night, he posted a statement claiming that he did not partake in the looting and went so he could document and share what he saw at what started out as a peaceful protest.
“I do not condone violence, looting or breaking the law; however I understand the anger and frustration that led to the destruction we witnessed,” he added.
Don Lemon Calls Out Wealthy Elite
Celebrities who have stayed silent about the matter have found themself in some of the hottest water, though. On Saturday night, CNN anchor Don Lemon called out those with power, money and privilege who have chosen to not use their voices while young people with nothing to their names are leading the charge. He aimed his message specifically at black leaders and Hollywood elites.
“A lot of the people I ask to come on this show to talk about this, wealthy celebrities, wealthy political people, say, ‘I can’t, I won’t do it, I’m mad, I don’t want people to see me mad. It might hurt my business or I’m so upset that I had to go to my country house and I just can’t do it.’” Lemon said.
“Where are you? Why aren’t you fighting for these young people?” he continued. “If you don’t do it know, when are you going to doit? If you are a millionaire or a gaziollionare or a movie star or a politician and you don’t step up now, when the hell are you going to do it?”
He added that while it is helpful that some are donating, it is still not enough. Lemon believes those who can should speak up and bring visibility to the issue so that their followers have something to turn to.
“If they see you out there, then they know there is that person like me. There is that Oprah like me.There is that Jay-Z like me. There is that Colin Kapernick like me who is on television because of the knee and now it is all coming full circle,” Lemon said.
He later went on to call out other stars like Ellen and Tyler Perry as well. He said he was calling out names because he loves them and wants them to do more in this moment.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Entertainment Weekly) (CBS News)
Disney Eviscerates Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” Lawsuit as “Callous,” but Report Suggests Emma Stone and Emily Blunt May Follow Her Lead
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in an uncharacteristically blunt statement that was heavily criticized online.
Johansson/Disney Lawsuit Gets Bitter
Disney has described a recent lawsuit from “Black Widow” actress Scarlett Johansson as “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” but Johansson may have just unleashed what is to become an even bigger legal challenge for the House of Mouse.
At the center of this dispute, Johansson alleges she lost $50 million because Disney opted for a dual streaming/theater release of “Black Widow,” which debuted in theaters and for $30 on Disney+ with Premier Access earlier this month.
According to Johansson’s suit, her contract with Disney — which was negotiated prior to any hint of a pandemic — stipulated that “Black Widow” would see an exclusive theater release. Notably, the actress also said her contractual bonuses were tied to the movie’s box office performance, which is an extremely common practice with films featuring A-list celebrities.
Of course, when the pandemic hit — like many other industries — movies were upended. Pandemic-related changes meant that despite having an initial release date of May 2020, Marvel fans wouldn’t get a chance to see “Black Widow” for over a year.
Still, Johansson said she tried to contact Disney to renegotiate her contract prior to the film’s ultimate release, but she claims the company was unresponsive.
On Thursday, she then filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, with her attorney arguing that “Disney has enjoyed the benefits of having one of Hollywood’s top actresses promote its wholly owned subscription service at no additional cost to Disney, and with the intended effect of taking money out of that actress’ own pocket.”
Later Thursday, Disney claimed that it has “fully complied” with Johansson’s contract and that the streamed release of the film “has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in its uncharacteristically blunt statement.
Are Emma Stone and Emily Blunt Next?
Speaking of blunt, it was reported Friday that both Emily Blunt and Emma Stone may also file lawsuits against Disney’s dual streaming release of their films.
In fact, according to an exclusive newsletter run by former Hollywood Reporter Editor Matt Belloni, Stone “is said to be weighing her options” over the dual release of “Cruella” in May. Meanwhile, he suggested Blunt could also take action or speak out following this weekend’s release of “Jungle Cruise.”
Belloni went on to describe Disney as “notoriously difficult to deal with” regarding such matters and claimed that many have simply been waiting for someone powerful enough to speak out.
Disney Criticized for Its Response
Much of the public perception of the situation has led to overwhelming support for Johansson’s camp. Online, a slew of people lambasted Disney’s response, with many calling it a deflection.
See what others are saying: (ScreenRant) (Newsweek) (Variety)
Candace Owens and Logan Paul in Talks to Debate
A spokesperson confirmed to Insider Wednesday that the two have had “productive” conversations about the prospect offline.
Candace Owens Challenges Logan Paul to a Debate
Right-wing commentator Candace Owens and controversial YouTuber Logan Paul are in talks to engage in a political debate. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Owens — best known for making false claims about the George Floyd protests, spreading COVID-19 misinformation, and seemingly saying that Adolf Hitler “just wanted to make Germany great” — first challenged Paul to a debate on Friday. It started with her sharing a year-old clip from Paul’s podcast where he spoke about the importance of fighting racism in the United States.
“It is not enough to be ‘not racist.’ You have to be anti-racist,” he said.
“If you’re white, if you look like me, use your privilege,” he added. “And for those who do not think white privilege exists, you are fucking blind.”
Because merely acknowledging the existence of racism appears to go against Owens’ core beliefs, she asked Paul to duke it out with her.
“Logan loves to challenge people in the boxing ring,” she wrote. “I’d like to publicly challenge him to go a few rounds with me in a political debate. @LoganPaul—how about you stop by my show and explain to me how you’re *checks notes* more privileged than me because you’re white and I’m not?”
Spokesperson Confirms The Two Are in Talks
Paul — best known for launching a boxing career and filming a YouTube video that showed a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest” — said on Tuesday that he was “perplexed” by the offer, but was taking it seriously.
“I started to entertain this action, I ended up speaking with her, and there may be a future where we sit down and have a civil discourse because I think there’s some meat on this bone,” he said during the most recent episode of his “ImPaulsive” podcast.
The internet star acknowledged that Owens’ main arena is politics, while his main arena is being a “fucking idiot” online. Still, he said he does care about these issues and has a “semi-intelligent brain,” so he thinks he could “hold [his] own.”
“Candace Owens, whether you can admit it or not, is a smart person,” Paul continued. “And so I guess I’m just curious because I just fucking fundamentally disagree with her and again, I think there’s room for a conversation.”
A spokesperson for Owens confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that the two had a “productive” offline conversation and said a public political debate between the two is “very likely.”
“Although both of them disagree on a variety of topics, they are both much more interested in learning from one another and think people would benefit from hearing an honest discussion between two parties rather than a ‘gotcha’ moment that might play well for social media,” the spokesperson added.
See what others are saying: (Insider)
Finneas Slams Billie Eilish Troll Account for Attributing Fake Quotes to the Singer
Eilish’s big brother said the account is spreading “relentless lies” and asked that it at least label itself as a satire account.
Troll Account Shares Fake Billie Eilish Quotes
Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas took to Twitter Tuesday to address an account that has been sharing fake quotes attributed to his sister.
The account uses the handle @BilliesUpdatess and goes by the name of “Billie Eilish Updates” in its profile. It was created in July of 2021 and as of Wednesday morning, it had amassed a following of 1,100 people. On a quick glance, it looks just like any other update account a fan might make to share news about their favorite celebrity.
@BilliesUpdatess, however, is far from the standard adoring fan page. Of the over 300 tweets it has posted, several include screenshots of forged articles that make it look like Eilish said something either offensive or totally outlandish. One post claims Eilish defended her boyfriend after he was accused of supporting former president Donald Trump.
“At the end of the day, I fucking love him you know?” the phony statement reads. “It doesn’t matter if he made some homophobic comments in the past, people change. If he [Matthew] supports Donald Trump then I don’t care if it makes him happy. I support EVERY decision Mathew has to make, even the ones some of my fans don’t agree with, like maybe some of his icky comments.”
In another sham passage, Eilish says she thinks queerbaiting “is a really good thing!” In several others, the person behind the account comes up with artificial quotes to make it looks like Eilish is feuding with “driver’s license” singer Olivia Rodrigo.
One post with a fake article ended up being retweeted 12,000 times. That tweet included Eilish claiming she longs to be poor.
“When I got rich, I started balling my eyes out,” the fake piece says. “I wanted to be poor so I can relate to most of my fans. I still want to be broke and poor, it looks really fun and cute.”
Finneas Slams Account
As the troll account started to gain traction, Finneas asked that people report and block it to minimize the spread of its “relentless lies.”
On Tuesday, he responded to a fan that tagged him in the @BilliesUpdatess tweet alleging his sister wanted to be poor.
“Fake obviously,” Finneas wrote. “Honestly I just wish they’d label this account satire like the onion or something. I have no problem with a joke as long as people know it’s a joke.”
The account made several jokes about the fact that Finneas was calling it out, but it seems Eilish’s big brother got what he asked for. @BilliesUpdatess added “parody account” to its bio and the account was deleted as of Wednesday afternoon.