- 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)
Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use
Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.
Willis Debunks Rumors
Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake.
Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects.
However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.
“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.
Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.
This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful.
“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”
Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise.
See what others are saying: (BBC) (Mashable) (The Telegraph)
Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts
The cut in revenue share has ignited severe backlash on Twitch, where users argue pay for creators should be increased, not slashed.
Revenue Share Shake Up
Twitch users are criticizing the company for hiring artist Megan Thee Stallion to perform at TwitchCon just one week after announcing cutbacks to top creator pay.
Last week, the video and streaming platform said that starting in June of next year, some creators will receive less revenue from their subscriptions. While the standard split for subscription revenue is 50/50, some major streamers previously received a more favorable 70/30 share in premium agreement terms.
Many creators have long argued that everyone should get that 70/30 share, but Twitch took a step in the opposite direction. In the future, streamers with premium terms will only get the 70/30 slice for their first $100,000 from subscription revenue. After that, they will get bumped down to the regular 50/50 cut.
The company argued the move was necessary as the premium terms previously lacked transparency and consistency, insisting it tried to modify the policy in a way that impacted the least amount of creators. According to Twitch’s statement, 90% of streamers on standard agreements will not even be impacted by the change.
Still, this move outraged Twitch users who were furious the company was not investing more in the creators that bring so many viewers to its platform. Those frustrations were exacerbated on Wednesday when the company announced Megan Thee Stallion would make an appearance at TwitchCon, a weekend-long event set to take place in San Diego in early October.
Backlash Continues to Mount
While no details of Megan Thee Stallion’s agreement to perform have been disclosed, one can assume she charges a pretty penny to book at an event of this nature. Critics argued that if Twitch is willing to spend money on her, it should be willing to spend it on its own streamers.
“So Twitch can’t afford to pay their creators 70/30, can’t fix their media player that crashes after each ad, can’t enforce their policies so people aren’t doing inappropriate things on stream, but they can afford paying celebrities to promote their streaming site?” one person wrote.
“It’s weird that a company that just announced a bunch of budget cuts due to infrastructure costs goes out and grabs an A-list musician instead of promoting their own musicians that run on their platform,” another person claimed.
“Instead of giving your creators a cut they deserve when they do so much work, this is what you do…?” one user asked. “Maybe give your creators a better deal instead of wasting their hard earned money on things we don’t even want.”
Twitch has not responded to the outrage, but Megan Thee Stallion was not the only music act the Amazon-owned service booked for the event. Kim Petras and Meet Me at the Altar will also take the stage at TwitchCon.
The backlash comes as concerns have been mounting against Twitch for a plethora of reasons including creator pay, gambling streams, and more.
In recent months, some of the platform’s biggest names have left Twitch in favor of rival services like YouTube Gaming.
“Dahmer” Series Breaks Netflix Records Amid Backlash For Exploiting Victims’ Stories
Family members of some of the murderer’s victims say the program is “retraumatizing.”
“Dahmer” Lands Successful Week on Netflix
While criticisms mount against “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” the true crime series broke Netflix’s record as the most-watched first week for a series debut.
According to data provided by the streaming giant, the Evan Peters-led show was watched for over 196 million hours between its release on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25.
“Dahmer” is the newest of several pieces of fiction and media based on the famous serial killer. Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the series quickly generated a lot of attention online, primarily from those concerned the show is exploiting a gruesome true story.
Critics have echoed those fears, giving the show a mixed 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The “Critic’s Consensus” blurb on the site states that while the show is “seemingly self-aware of the peril in glorifying Jeffrey Dahmer” the story still “tilts this horror story into the realm of queasy exploitation.”
Victims’ Families Speak Out
The family of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, has also spoken out against the series. In a viral tweet, Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry said his family is “pissed about the show.”
“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?” he wrote. “How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
In much of the promotion for the series, Netflix claimed it would be told from the perspective of the victims. Perry slammed that narrative, noting that his family was never even contacted by the streamer about the project.
“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them,” he wrote. “My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”
Lindsey’s sister, Rita Isbell, echoed that claim in an essay she wrote for Insider, noting that Netflix did not notify her of the show, or ask her any questions about her brother.
She said that watching the show “felt like reliving it all over again.”
“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then,” she wrote.
“It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” she continued.
Obsession With Dahmer
Controversy has also grown from some of the responses to the series, as many viewers have posted fan edits of the show that romanticize Dahmer. Some pair clips of Peters’ Dahmer with his victims to love songs or pop ballads, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who do not understand why someone would make content glorifying the killer.
Others have responded to the show by calling Dahmer “hot” or posting thirst tweets about his mug shot. This has resulted in a backlash of its own.
“Jeffrey Dahmer molested and murdered people, mostly black men and boys,” one person wrote. “So to see people making edits and thirst traps of him is a little off putting.”
“if I see anyone tweeting thirst tweets about Jeffrey Dahmer I’m immediately unfollowing,” another person said. “That’s so fuckin nasty.”
Concerns that this kind of media results in more people admiring Dahmer are also mounting in Milwaukee, where many of his crimes took place. According to TMZ, the city is considering creating something to honor the victims, but officials fear a physical memorial would turn into a “mecca” for Dahmer’s fans.