- The Sun is facing backlash for publishing a front-page interview with J.K. Rowling’s ex-husband titled,“I Slapped J.K. And I’m Not Sorry.”
- Rowling recently wrote a blog post revealing she is a survivor of domestic abuse and described her first marriage as violent.
- Anti-domestic abuse charities are condemning The Sun for glamorizing abuse and giving spotlight to an abuser. Politicians in the United Kingdom have joined in on the criticisms.
- Rowling has been in the news for the past week for repeatedly making transphobic remarks. Stars of the Harry Potter franchise like Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have both made statements against Rowling’s remarks, and in support of the transgender community.
Backlash Against the Sun
After publishing a front-page interview with J.K. Rowling’s ex-husband headlined “I Slapped J.K. And I’m Not Sorry,” The Sun is facing criticism from activists against domestic violence.
The acclaimed but embattled Harry Potter author revealed that she is a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault and described her first marriage as “violent” in a blog post on Wednesday. Then, The Sun spoke to her first husband, Jorge Arantes, for the cover story of their Friday issue. He claims that he did slap her, but said there was no pattern of abuse.
The flashy way in which The Sun presented Arantes’ claim has landed them in hot water, with criticisms pouring in claiming that the headline glamorizes abuse. Scottish Women’s Aid, a charity devoted to ending violence against women called the article “abuse for profit.”
“Scottish Women’s Aid will no longer provide commentary or interviews for The Sun and we encourage other organisations to do the same,” it added in a statement.
Jane Keeper, the Director of Operations at Refuge, which provides services to survivors of domestic abuse, released a statement calling the piece “troubling” and “shocking.” According to Keeper, the article comes at a time when there has been a 66% increase in calls to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
“In England and Wales one in four women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their life,” Keeper wrote. “What sort of message does this front page send to survivors? That their abuser will be given national media headlines to justify their actions?”
Politicians Speak Out
Charity leaders were not the only people speaking out against The Sun. Scottish Parliament member Gillian Martin called the headline “beyond triggering for many abuse survivors, and enabling to abusers. It is irresponsible and dangerous.”
Jess Phillips, a member of British Parliament, called the paper’s front page “awful.”
“Still too often doubt and disbelief are the best weapon abusers have in their arsenal,” she said.
A spokeswoman for The Sun said that their intent in publishing the story was not to enable or glorify domestic abuse. She said the outlet was “disgusted” by the remarks that Rowling’s ex-husband made.
“Our intention was to expose a perpetrator’s total lack of remorse,” her statement said. “Our sympathies are always with the victims.”
J.K. Rowling’s Tumultuous Week in the News
Rowling has been making headlines all week for her controversial remarks about the transgender community. The blog post in which she revealed the abuse she faced was mainly written to explain those comments, which many found offensive and transphobic.
On June 6, she sent out a tweet insinuating that only women menstruate, excluding the reality that many people who do not identify as a woman also menstruate, and that not all who do identify as a woman menstruate.
She later sent more tweets seeming to double down against the notion that biological sex does not determine a person’s gender. She still maintained she supports the transgender community.
These comments sparked a lot of frustration against the author. Many were particularly upset because Harry Potter has become a cultural staple not just in children’s literature, but in people’s upbringing and daily lives. Now, some are calling their adoration of the books into question. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the title character in the film adaptations of the wildly successful series, penned an essay with the Trevor Project condemning Rowling’s remarks.
“I feel compelled to say something at this moment.” Radcliffe wrote. “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.
“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you,” he added. “I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.“
Still, Rowling stood by her remarks in a 3,700 word essay, which some are calling a transphobic manifesto. In it, she outlined her concerns about trans activism. She claimed she has done research on the subject, and said she is worried that trans activism could have a negative impact on free speech, charities, and education for women and children. She also implied that identifying as transgender could be contagious and said she was concerned about “detransitioning.”
This prompted more internet outrage. Other Harry Potter stars also began to speak up, including Emma Watson who said, “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.”
Even as anger has been mounting against the author, many still said that nothing could excuse The Sun’s choice to amplify her ex-husband on their front page.
“Whatever any of us think about JK’s choices on how she uses her platform, what the Sun did to her was the peak of evil and callous tabloid culture,” actress Jameela Jamil said.
See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (BBC) (The Independent)
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.