- 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)
Katy Perry and Portia de Rossi Share Support for Ellen
- Ellen DeGeneres received words of support from her wife Portia de Rossi, singer Katy Perry, and others following accusations that her the workplace behind the scenes of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is toxic.
- Several reports indicated that DeGeneres might be departing from her show, but NBC News confirmed Tuesday that she is staying for an 18th season.
- The allegations against top staffers on the show include bullying, racism, and sexual harassment.
- WarnerMedia is conducting an investigation into the workplace, and DeGeneres said she is committed to making changes going forward.
Stars Defend Ellen
Rumors have been swirling that Ellen DeGeneres might be leaving her post as the host of her own talk show following allegations of a toxic workplace behind the scenes. However, those rumors were quelled on Tuesday morning, and celebrities began to speak up in support of the daytime host.
Pop star Katy Perry tweeted support for DeGeneres, saying she has “only ever had positive takeaways” from her encounters with her. Perry also praised DeGeneres for the strides she has made when it comes to representation and equality on television and elsewhere.
On Monday, DeGeneres’ wife, actress Portia de Rossi, shared an Instagram photo that said “I Stand By Ellen.”
Country singer Brandi Carlile responded to the post, calling the attacks against DeGeneres “unprecedented.”
“Ellen has made my life so much easier for me and other LGBTQ people,” she commented. “I’ll never stop being grateful for that.”
Some Speak Out Against Ellen
Other stars have been quicker to condemn Degeneres. Brad Garrett, best known for his role on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” said these issues are well known and start at the top.
“Know more than one who were treated horribly by her. Common knowledge,” he tweeted.
“Back to the Future” actress Lea Thompson replied to an article sharing Garrett’s statement and said it was true.
Twitter has also been quick to punish DeGeneres. Several reports indicated that she was leaving and speculated that James Corden might be her replacement. On Monday, #ReplaceEllen was a trending topic where users suggested personalities that they believe should step into DeGeneres’ shoes.
The reports suggesting she is leaving the show have been disproven. On Tuesday, NBC News confirmed that DeGeneres would be staying on for an 18th season.
What Are the Accusations?
The accusations against DeGeneres and her staff are serious. Some former staffers say that producers use intimidation and fear tactics on set every day. Others say they have faced racism. WarnerMedia is conducting an investigation into the matter. DeGeneres herself released a statement on Thursday addressing her staff.
“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,” she wrote. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that.”
Following her response, more allegations were shot at leaders of the show. BuzzFeed News published a scathing piece accusing three of the show’s top staffers of sexual assault and harassment, including head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman. One ex-employee said Leman asked him if he could give him a handjob or perform oral sex while at a company party. Another said they saw Leman grab a production assistant’s penis.
Almost a dozen also said it was common for him to make inappropriate sexual comments and jokes. Leman told BuzzFeed that these allegations and their article were malicious and misleading.
Executive producer Ed Glavin was also accused of inappropriately touching women, and allegedly “had a reputation for being handsy with women.” 47 former employees also told BuzzFeed that he led with intimidation and fear on a daily basis. Prior to BuzzFeed‘s publication, several reports indicated that as a result of WarnerMedia’s investigation, Glavin could be departing the show.
Co-executive producer Jonathan Norman was accused of grooming a former employee by taking him to concerts and giving him other perks. That employee alleges that one night, Norman attempted to perform oral sex on them. This was corroborated by three former employees. Norman also denied this to BuzzFeed, claiming that the accusations come from someone with ulterior motives.
It is not clear what other actions will be taken as a result of these accusations.
See what others are saying: (NBC News) (Washington Post) (People)
Emmys Preparing Remote Telecast for September Show
- As has long been assumed, officials with the Emmys confirmed that the awards show will be conducting a remote telecast on Sept. 20.
- A letter sent to nominees by host Jimmy Kimmel and several other producers said that aspects of the show will be coming to nominees’ homes to create a virtual show.
- According to that letter, technicians, producers, and writers will work with the nominees and with Kimmel to create the show. Nominees will be filmed from their homes or other remote locations of nominees.
- No further details about the show, including if segments will be pre-taped or if winners will be announced in advance, have been released.
Emmys Go Remote
Instead of its traditional dazzling red carpet and Los Angeles backdrop, the 2020 Emmy Awards will be coming to you from the homes of television’s biggest stars.
It has long been assumed that the show would not go forward in the Microsoft Theater, as coronavirus lockdowns, social distancing protocols, travel restrictions, and case increases in L.A. make that a seemingly impossible concept. Host Jimmy Kimmel, along with some of the show’s producers, confirmed this in a letter addressed to nominees, obtained by Variety on Wednesday.
“At a time like this, we’re taking the opportunity to create a moment that is more relaxed, more entertaining, more enjoyable not only for you, but for the millions watching at home,” that letter stated. “It’s still television’s highest honor, and we never want to lose the significance of being nominated for, and maybe winning, an Emmy, but we’re going to do in a way that is appropriate to the moment (and guarantees you a memorable night).”
“But we cannot ignore the circumstances, and aside from NOT being able to come together in one place, we also acknowledge that our world is going through a challenging moment in many ways,” the letter continued. “We’ll be producing an event that is filled with warmth and humanity, which celebrates the power of television to bring us together and to help us shape our world.”
What to Expect
As for how this works come show night on Sept. 20, the letter further explains that a team of technicians, producers, and writers will work with Kimmel and the nominees to capture essential awards show moments from the homes of nominees or another remote location of their choice.
Fashion wise, the letter said that the theme of the night is “come as you are, but make an effort!” So, if people want to suit up or throw on a ballgown, great. If they’d rather chill in their bed in PJs, that’s fine too, but powder those cheeks and make sure those pajamas are designer.
While this COVID-19-era set-up now potentially gives Americans the unprecedented chance to get a peak at A-lister’s living rooms, it also leaves a few major questions unanswered. For example, it is still not known if the whole show will run live or if portions will be pre-taped.
Likewise, we also don’t know if winners will be hearing of their victory for the first time during the broadcast or if they will be told in advance of the show. Setting up live cameras, audio, lighting and other logistics for every single nominee in the event they win is a difficult feat.
While the letter states the intent for nominees to work with the show for some technical aspect like this, it is unknown if every single nominee will appear on screen and participate the way they would during a normal show.
The Emmys will air on Sept. 20 on ABC.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Vanity Fair)
#ChallengeAccepted Trend Faces Criticisms for Alleged False Activism
- 5.5 million people, including many A-list celebrities, have participated in the #ChallengeAccepted trend, where women post black and white photos of themselves to promote female empowerment.
- However, the trend has been heavily criticized by people like The New York Times writer Taylor Lorenz and actress Emmy Rossum who both said it actually doesn’t do anything to actively help women.
- Others have claimed the trend has lost focus and meaning, thinking it originated in Turkey, where people are sharing black and white photos of women to raise awareness for high rates of violence against women in the country.
- Instagram has stated that the trend in the U.S. is not tied to the trend in Turkey, but many are now using the hashtag to call attention to it and to encourage their followers to support the Istanbul Convention, which is meant to protect victims of domestic violence.
#ChallengeAccepted Goes Viral
As black and white photos of women flood Instagram feeds for the #ChallengeAccepted trend, the campaign has become a contentious subject. What started as a simple photo challenge is now under fire for not actually empowering women as it claims to do. Many are also concerned that these glamour shots are clogging up space where information about important subjects like femicide in Turkey could be shared.
Olivia Munn, Kristen Bell, Reese Witherspoon, Florence Pugh, Jennifer Lopez, and Kerry Washington are among the over 5.5 million people who have shared black and white photos of themselves using the hashtag #ChallengeAccepted. In addition to these photos, those who partake also often share messages about female empowerment and the importance of women supporting other women.
But the trend’s purposes and murky roots have led many to criticize the movement, and it’s unclear if any one moment served as a specific catalyst for the trend. Many now claim that it was inspired by black and white photos being shared in Turkey to raise awareness for the high rates of violence against women in the country. This has led to a lot of frustration and outrage because most of the big name celebrities sharing these photos do not mention this aspect at all, leaving their posts to just a flattering photo and brief caption.
Though, in all likelihood, this trend probably has nothing to do with what is happening in Turkey. Instagram told The New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz that the resurgence of this challenge in the United States is actually unrelated to the trend in Turkey. Versions of this trend in the U.S. have actually existed since 2016. It has been used to spread awareness for serious diseases like cancer, as well as just to share general positivity online.
Criticism of the Online Challenge
Lorenz further discussed #ChallengeAccepted on TMZ Live, where she criticized the campaign for masquerading as a form of female empowerment while doing nothing to actually empower women.
“Just posting, you know, ‘I’m posting this beautiful photo of myself to support other women,’ that doesn’t actually do anything to, you know, move women forward or actually advocate [for] women,” she said. “It’s not highlighting impressive women, it’s not helping your company hire more women, so it’s ultimately pretty meaningless.”
Lorenz was far from the only critic of the trend. Actress Emmy Rossum asked her Twitter followers: “How is it empowering to other women to post a selfie?”
Though, Lorenz did think that in some cases, #ChallengeAccepted has been used for good. Stars like Rashida Jones used it to call for justice for Breonna Taylor. Also, because many are under the impression that women in Turkey are the root of the trend, many more have been using it to spread awareness about that.
Violence Against Women in Turkey
Various infographics have been created and shared on Instagram to educate users on the platform about femicide in Turkey. Some have been liked tens, if not hundreds of thousands of times. People all over are sharing these graphics to their Instagram stories so their followers can read up on the topic.
Violence against women in Turkey has been an issue for a long time, but it is facing renewed attention because a 27-year-old woman was recently murdered by her ex-boyfriend. This has prompted protests and calls for action when it comes to the common threats women face in the country.
According to The Guardian, 42% of Turkish women between the ages of 15-60 have suffered some form of physical or sexual violence by their husbands or partners. In 2019 alone, 474 women were murdered, mainly by partners or relatives, which was the highest rate in a decade. This number has been increasing every year for the past ten years. It is expected to climb even higher this year because of coronavirus lockdowns leading to increases in domestic violence.
Those using the challenge to discuss Turkey on Instagram are also pointing to efforts to protect the Istanbul Convention, which is a Council of Europe treaty designed to protect victims of domestic violence and other forms of violence against women. While Turkey was among the first countries to sign it, the convention is facing a new wave of threats against it.
Legislation that provides basic human rights for women in Turkey is in jeopardy under the country’s conservative leadership. According to The Guardian, lobbyists are working to change the Istanbul Convention, leaving its future in question.
Celebrities Refocus #ChallengeAccepted
With all this information going around, some celebrities have opted to refocus their role in this online challenge. Actress Florence Pugh, who shared a goofy black and white selfie, discussed the Istanbul Convention in her caption. She encouraged others to do the same.
“Women are being subjected to violence and this convention is to end forgiveness for the attacker/murderers,” the “Little Women” star wrote. “With that in mind, adjust your hashtags if you didn’t already do so.”
Pugh is also sharing information about violence against women in Turkey on her Instagram stories. Likewise, Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman is also sharing articles about femicide in hers, while singer Demi Lovato is raising awareness on her page, as well.
With celebrities changing the angles of their involvement in this, what initially appeared to be a surface-level girl power challenge has now started to highlight an international issue that many may have previously been unaware of. While its initial direct ties to the #ChallengeAccepted campaign have been disproven by Instagram, this issue has become a driving force behind the trend’s spread.