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Kristen Bell Responds After Critics Accuse Her of Teaching “Color Blindness” in Children’s Book

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  • Kristin Bell co-wrote a children’s book titled, “The World Needs More Purple People,” which is about a “purple person” who “looks at similarities before differences.”
  • She hopes teaching children to do this will allow them to be open-minded when hearing other people’s differences or connecting with people they thought were different. 
  • Critics say it teaches color blindness, which ignores people’s history, culture, and personal experiences.
  • Bell responded by saying the book was not intended to be a tool to teach kids about race but was meant to help kids see past political divisiveness.

Kristen Bell’s Book 

Kristen Bell is facing a slew of backlash online for co-writing a children’s book that many feel promotes color blindness rather than recognizing people’s different races and ethnicities. 

The book causing all the outrage is titled, “The World Needs More Purple People,” which she co-wrote with Benjamin Hart. In a recent interview with AP Entertainment, Bell explained her thought process behind the project.

“Adults love debate, I do, and debate talks about differences. It’s layering difference upon difference upon difference, ‘I think this’, ‘no, you should think this’, it’s just constantly pointing out divisive narratives,” she said.

“Our kids are absorbing all of that and maybe we needed a bit of a road map to show them that it’s actually great to start with similarities first.”

She went on to explain this idea that if people can find a connection to each other first, they can better hear each other out on their differences. So for this book, she created a “purple person” who “looks for similarities before differences.” 

“Hopefully that will allow kids to have a little bit more of a social identity and be able to see similarities and through that have their mind opened by some people who they thought were different.”

Responses 

While Bell may have had good intentions about unity and understanding, she faced a lot of backlash from those who argued that this wasn’t the best way to teach kids about race. 

In general, people felt this was essentially promoting an “I don’t see color” message, which ignores people’s history, culture, and personal life experiences. On top of that, many felt this was already an outdated education strategy that people have warned against. 

One user said, “Purple people don’t exist. They aren’t oppressed and actual BIPOC aren’t asking for white people to find the similarities with them in order to be humanized. Also BIPOC don’t get to dance around the topic of race to their own kids.”

And another user gave a personal experience, saying, “As a brown kid who grew up in an all white community, I remember trying to fit so that I could feel more similar to the white kids around me. It made me shrink myself. When we tell poc kids to look for similarities it makes them think their differences are wrong.”

That same user was also frustrated by the fact that Bell equated “differences” with “divisive narratives,” calling that gaslighting. 

Fans Defend Bell

This is not the first time Bell has come under fire for trying to address racism in America. Last week, she also faced criticism for participating in the #ITakeResponsibily campaign video. That movement calls on white people to stand up for the black community through education and action, but some found the style of the PSA disingenuous since it featured trained actors passionately reading a scripted message. 

That PSA was even spoofed by the white actors from the Netflix series “Dear White People,” who filmed a similar black and white video with slow piano playing in the background.

But even with all this recent backlash, many have defended Bell for at least trying to use her platform for good, pointing to how vocal she’s been about racism on social media. 

She’s been similarly vocal on television. When appearing on CBS to talk about her book Friday, she continued to call on white people to not let these conversations about race fade away. “It has to be stated it does not fade away for Black Americans. This is the reason why white Americans need to choose to keep it at the forefront of their mind.”

So with all this in mind, fans noted that she may have missed the mark, but is clearly trying to educate herself and be a good ally. 

At the same time, however, people argued that she doesn’t seem to understand the subject she’s trying to tackle, calling at an example of how good intentions can cause harm.

Bell Responds

After seeing the backlash, Bell took to Twitter Sunday night and Monday morning to respond to several people who were confused about the book, saying, “Its being looked at like [a] book intended to teach kids abt race, which its not at all,&I am also not qualified to teach on. Its a book abt kids finding things in common, being inclusive, being kind,&being uniquely themselves.”

In other replies, she said she wrote the book two years ago to help kids see past political divisiveness and apologized if her words were confusing. “I think through the lense of today my sameness was interpreted as colorblindness, which I do not believe in or condone,” she said.

When asked if she consulted with any black people about the book, she said, “random house participates in ‘authenticity reads; as part of the editorial process. Those readers were asked to evaluate with an eye toward inclusion and to help us recognize any blind spots.”

Ultimately, she said her book is about standing up for what you believe is right and she’s been actively trying to explain that message in conversations with people online.

Bell’s book is already on sale, however, she also uploaded a free read-along version to YouTube in partnership with PBS kids.

See what others are saying: (Complex) (The Independent) (Vulture)

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The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”

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The group said that by severing ties with Fulmer, it felt like they were losing a friend. 


“That Is Not What We Stand For”

Digital comedy and sketch group The Try Guys posted a video on Monday night explaining the recent removal of member Ned Fulmer. 

Last week, the Internet was filled with speculation that Fulmer, who is married with children, was having an affair with a staffer for The Try Guys. Fulmer confirmed the reports, claiming he had a “consensual workplace relationship.” The Try Guys quickly announced that Fulmer would no longer be working with the group as the result of an internal review. 

In Monday’s video, the remaining three members, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger, explained what led to their decision to remove Fulmer. While the trio noted there were legal issues that prevented them from sharing certain details, they wanted to be as transparent as possible. 

“On Labor Day weekend, multiple fans alerted us that they had seen Ned and an employee engaging in public romantic behavior,” Habersberger explained. “We reached out to check on that employee and Ned confirmed the reports, and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time, which was obviously very shocking to us.”

He emphasized that the rest of the group “had no idea this was going on.” 

After this, The Try Guys reached out to a variety of lawyers and HR professionals to make sure they handled the situation correctly. 

“This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are, and that is not what we stand for.” 

Removing Fulmer From Content

They decided to immediately remove Fulmer from work activities and hired an HR rep to conduct a review. Fulmer was also withdrawn from releases pending the results of that review. 

As part of this, his video section was erased, he was digitally taken out of some content, and he was not included in merch drops. The Try Guys said this was a long and tedious process. 

“Honestly, I want to give major props to our editing staff for how deftly they handled that,” Kornfeld said. “There are several videos that we have deemed as fully unreleasable, you will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that is a decision that has cost us lots of money.” 

“We will not be able to recoup that money,” he continued. “But it’s a decision we stand by proudly.” 

The group declined to share details of the review but claimed it found that Fulmer engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of the team. Because of this, Yang, Kornfeld, and Habersberger gave written consent on Sept. 16 to ax Fulmer as a manager and employee of The Try Guys company. 

The three said they were always planning to make a public statement about their decision, but were initially waiting out of respect to the families and employees involved. As online speculation arose, they chose to deal with it sooner. 

“We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with, we just made a TV show together,” Kornfeld said. “I’m sure many of you feel the same way.” 

According to the group, some upcoming videos featuring Fulmer will be edited to remove him. They said they are currently taking time to reimagine their channel. 

See what others are saying: (USA Today) (People) (Deadline)

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Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use

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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. 

Deepfakes Online

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)

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Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts

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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. 

See what others are saying: (Dexerto) (The Verge) (Metro)

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