- 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)
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Deadline) (The New York Times)
Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch May Have Abandoned Plans To Participate In TikTok NFT Program
Lil Nas X’s TikTok NFT was scheduled to debut a week ago and is still not available to the public.
Creators Allegedly Leave TikTok’s NFT Program
Musicians Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch may have quietly exited TikTok’s new NFT collection, according to a report from Rolling Stone.
TikTok first announced the line, which is called “TikTok Top Moments,” at the end of September. It involves a series of creator-led NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique and tradeable digital assets. TikTok’s NFTs can be purchased with the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to a press release, the money will “largely go directly to the creators and NFT artists involved.”
TikTok said that creators like Poarch, Lil Nas X, Grimes, Curtis Roach, Brittany Broski, and more would be participating in the program. The company called NFTs an “empowerment tool” that will allow these creators to “be recognized and rewarded for their content.” It planned to debut the collection on Oct. 6 with Lil Nas X’s NFT, but that token has still not been made available. A source told Rolling Stone that it may never be released.
NFT Rollout Described as “A Mess”
The outlet also reported that Poarch is “actively contemplating pulling out of the program due to worries about its execution.” According to Rolling Stone, three sources familiar with the rollout of the program have described it as “a challenge,” “a mess,” and “a complete joke.”
Those sources claimed that in order to secure Poarch’s initial participation, TikTok offered her marketing support worth potentially $4 million for her next release. The company also allegedly promised to use one of her songs in an end-of-year campaign. A spokesperson for TikTok, however, described these claims as “not accurate.”
Neither Poarch nor Lil Nas X has commented on their participation yet. Meanwhile, TikTok declined to answer Rolling Stone’s questions about the status of their NFTs.
Some of TikTok’s announced NFTs have gone public, though. Throughout Tuesday, Roach’s “Bored in the House” video was up for auction on the platform Immutable.
NFTs took the internet by storm in early 2021, but their popularity peaked in May and declined throughout the summer. Celebrities, tech moguls, and everyday people featured in viral memes have hopped on the trend and made millions doing so.
According to Rolling Stone, TikTok has valued some of its own NFTs at $1 million. Now, it’s unclear if those tokens will ever hit the market.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Dexerto)
Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid, and Others Honor World Mental Health Day
A slew of stars acknowledged the day by sharing personal stories and making hefty donations to organizations that offer mental health resources.
Celebrities Donate to Mental Health Organizations
Major celebrities honored World Mental Health Day on Sunday by speaking candidly about their mental health struggles and donating to nonprofits.
Singer Ariana Grande announced that she is donating $5 million worth of free therapy through the online counseling platform Better Help. The star previously partnered with the company over the summer to give $1 million in therapy to fans and opted to throw more money at the program following its success.
“I acknowledge that there are very real barriers when it comes to accessing mental health resources, and while this is only one small gesture (and a much larger systemic problem remains) I wanted to do this again with @betterhelp in hopes of bringing access to a few more people and perhaps inspiring a few of you to try something new and prioritize your own healing,” Grande wrote on Instagram.
Those interested can sign up for a free first month of Better Help and get an additional 15% off the second month.
Model Bella Hadid also pledged to donate to mental health resources. She teamed up with the beverage company Kin Euphorics, which will donate 10% of its October sales to Gurls Talk, a nonprofit that gives adolescent girls a space to talk about mental health, along with various educational tools to aid those discussions. Hadid will match those donations.
“Dealing with mental illness for most of my life, bringing awareness to the education of mental health through my platform is something that I will continue to do until our mental is just as respected as our physical,” Hadid wrote. “I want everyone who struggles daily to know that you are not alone.”
Stars Share Resources and Personal Stories
Meanwhile, actress and singer Selena Gomez used her new makeup brand Rare Beauty to share statistics about the prevalence of mental illness and the efforts to combat it. The company, which has previously focused on several mental health initiatives, shared that just 1.3% of philanthropic investments go towards supporting mental health.
The company additionally cited information from an American Psychological Association report, which revealed that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles. It found that seven out of 10 Gen Z adults are more likely to report experiencing depression symptoms compared to other generations.
Gomez shared Rare Beauty’s post to her own story as well.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo similarly opened up about mental health and therapy during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday. In it, she said she has been in therapy since she was 16, which she believes has helped her both personally and professionally.
“That was a really big, life-changing moment,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself.”
“I think there’s sometimes a stigma around it, too, like I was saying,” the singer continued. “Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh, you don’t need that. You have so much. Your life is so great. What are your problems?’ I think that’s definitely a thing that sometimes older people can do to younger people to kind of trivialize what they’re going through.”