- 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)
Andrew Tate to Remain in Romanian Detention After Losing Appeal
The controversial influencer, accused of sex trafficking and organized crime, has maintained his innocence.
A Romanian court on Wednesday upheld a judge’s decision to extend influencer Andrew Tate’s arrest another 30 days.
The judge initially tacked the extra time onto his detention on Jan. 20. According to BBC News, the judge cited “the capacity…of the defendants to exercise permanent psychological control over the victims, including by resorting to constant acts of violence”.
Tate appealed that decision alongside his brother and two others, all of whom were arrested as part of an ongoing sex trafficking and organized crime investigation. The court’s Wednesday decision rejected that appeal, meaning Tate and the other accused individuals will remain in custody until at least Feb. 27.
Investigators claim that Tate lured victims under the guise of a romantic relationship, only to place them under surveillance and force them to make pornographic content. Tate has denied the accusations.
“You know I’m innocent,” Tate said to reporters Wednesday morning while walking into the courtroom.
“Ask them for evidence and they will give you none,” he added while leaving court. “Because it doesn’t exist. You’ll find out the truth of this case soon.”
Tate’s Controversial Online Presence
Ever since December his arrest, Tate’s Twitter account has continued to post sometimes cryptic messages about the investigation into him.
“Would your life be fine without you?” he tweeted on Tuesday, one day before his appeal was rejected. “In Romania. They can steal your life without a trial. They do not need evidence, In this system, innocent men return to ruined lives. My life outside is fine. But for most men, 6 months detained and their whole life will crumble.”
Tate is a controversial online figure famous for spreading violent misogyny to his often young male followers. He has been banned by a number of social media platforms for his drastic remarks, including one where he said rape victims should “bear responsibility” for the assault they endured.
Tate and his brother recently added high-profile lawyer Tina Glandian to their defense team. Glandian has previously represented celebrities like Chris Brown, Jussie Smollett, and Kesha.
On Wednesday, she said there is a “lack of evidence against the Tate brothers.”
“So far the system has failed,” she said, via the Associated Press.
See what others are saying: (BBC News) (The Associated Press) (Rolling Stone)
QTCinderalla Vows to Sue Deepfake Website: “Constant Objectification” is “Exhausting”
The streamer said that anyone who chooses to view nonconsensual deepfake porn is “the problem.”
QTCinderella Plans Legal Action
Twitch streamer QTCinderalla said during a Monday stream that she is going to sue the maker of a website that hosts explicit deepfake images of herself and other content creators.
“I promise you, with every part of my fucking soul, I am going to sue you,” QTCinderella, whose real name is Blaire, said through tears.
Blaire went live after fellow streamer Atrioc accidentally revealed on Twitch that he had an open tab to a website that hosts deepfake porn. Graphic images of high-profile female streamers were visible his browser, and the website also includes deepfakes of more creators, including Blaire.
Atrioc apologized for accessing deepfake images on a website that promotes explicit content of his female streaming colleagues. He claimed that he got “morbidly curious” and “clicked something” after falling down an artificial intelligence rabbit hole online.
“It’s gross,” he said. “It’s gross and I’m sorry.”
In the past, Blaire has talked about having to pay services thousands of dollars to remove graphic deepfake content that has been posted without her consent. Despite those efforts, it is an issue she still has to deal with on a regular basis.
“Fuck the fucking Internet,” she said during her Monday stream. “Fuck the constant objectification and exploitation of women, it’s exhausting.”
“Fuck Atrioc for showing it to thousands of people,” she continued. “Fuck the people DMing me pictures of myself from that website.”
The Objectification of Female Streamers
Blaire said that it “should not be a part of [her] job” to constantly fight for this content to be removed from the Internet, nor should it be her job to deal with the onslaught of harassment that comes with the dissemination of these fabricated images.
“If you are able to look at women who are not selling themselves or benefiting off of being seen sexually — they’re not benefiting, they’re not selling it, they’re not platforming it themselves — if you are able to look at that, you are the problem,” she said. “You see women as an object.”
On Twitter, she explained that the repercussions of these deepfakes go far beyond exploitation and violation.
“The amount of body dysmorphia I’ve experienced since seeing those photos has ruined me,” she said.
She was far from the only person to call out how invasive it is to post or consume deepfake content of people who did not consent to being depicted in a sexual manner.
“Stop sexualizing people without their consent,” Pokimane, who is also among the female streamers featured on the site, said. “That’s it, that’s the tweet.”
“No one should have themselves be put on a deepfake porn website w/o their consent and it’s fucking disgusting at the men who are making light of this shit. fucking despicable,” another person wrote.
Britney Spears Asks For Privacy After Fans Called Cops to Conduct a Wellness Check on Her
Fans said they were concerned after the singer deleted her Instagram account.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated to include a statement from Britney Spears
Fans Call 911
Britney Spears said her fans “went a little too far” after some called the police to conduct a wellness check on her.
The fans, many fueled by online conspiracy theories, were concerned about Spears because she deleted her Instagram account. While this is something the singer has done multiple times in the past, her fans thought she had left secret signals in her last post suggesting she needed help.
Some even posted videos of them calling emergency services on TikTok, a platform that is full of conspiracy videos about Spears.
“I love and adore my fans but this time things went a little too far and my privacy was invaded,” Spears wrote in a statement on Thursday, citing “prank phone calls” that were made to police.
According to Spears, officers did not enter her home because once they got to her gate, they “quickly realized there was no issue and left immediately.”
“This felt like I was being gaslit and bullied once the incident made it to the news and being portrayed once again in a poor and unfair light by the media,” Spears continued. “During this time in my life, I truly hope the public and my fans who I care so much about can respect my privacy moving forward.”
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Ventura County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to Page Six that the department “did get calls into our dispatch” but added there was no reason to believe that Spears was “in any kind of harm or any kind of danger.”
That spokesperson declined to say if officials contacted Spears or conducted a wellness check, citing privacy and public trust issues.
The Prominence of Britney Spears Conspiracies
Just over a year has passed since Spears was freed from a highly restrictive conservatorship that controlled her life and finances for 13 years. Throughout the conservatorship, fans tried to use the pop icon’s social media to pick up clues that she was secretly struggling. She did not publicly speak about the conservatorship until the summer of 2021.
Now that she has her freedom, fans are still reading heavily into her posts. Some believe there are hidden messages in her captions and in the gestures she does while dancing. Others think she is dead, missing, or hiding and that a body double is being used in her posts. Some are so concerned that they are coordinating a mass effort to pressure the Los Angeles Times into investigating Spears’ whereabouts and safety.
In the last several years, many have reflected on Spears’ early days in the spotlight and the cruel ways she was harassed and targeted by paparazzi, news outlets, and culture at large. Often the punchline to a joke throughout the 2000s, many now sympathize with Spears, who was forced to endure heavy public scrutiny at a young age. Documentaries like “Framing Britney Spears” prompted many to see Spears as a victim of abusive media tactics, not the “crazy” woman tabloids painted her to be.
Many are now concerned that fans are only going to subject Spears to a new onslaught of harassment by calling the police to her house. Even if the conspiracy theories are technically well-intentioned and often come from a place of concern, some believe they will jumpstart a media frenzy that could harm Spears’ mental well-being.