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Smith Family Weighs in After Shane Dawson Apologizes for Racist Skits and Pedophilia Jokes

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  • YouTuber Shane Dawson apologized in a video Friday for a long history of racist jokes and caricatures, as well as for jokes he made about pedophilia.
  • “I don’t have hate in my heart for anyone, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that I made jokes about everyone,” he said. 
  • Following the release of that video, Jada Pinkett Smith and her son Jaden offered strong rebukes of the YouTuber, who once pretended to masturbate to a poster of an 11-year-old Willow Smith.

Smiths Rebuke Shane Dawson’s Apology

YouTuber Shane Dawson apologized Friday for a myriad of controversial remarks and actions over his 15-year career on the platform, but it seems like many weren’t ready to accept it.

In fact, some people are now resurfacing even more offensive moments from his past. Not lost among the critics are mother and son duo Jada Pinkett Smith and Jaden Smith. Their rebuke of his apology is especially notable because in one clip, Dawson simulates a sexual act to a poster of an 11-year-old Willow Smith.

“To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses,” Jada Pinkett Smith said on Twitter. 

“SHANE DAWSON I AM DISGUSTED BY YOU,” her son wrote in all caps. “YOU SEXUALIZING AN 11 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO HAPPENS TO BE MY SISTER!!!!!!  IS THE FURTHEST THING FROM FUNNY AND NOT OKAY IN THE SLIGHTEST BIT.” 

Prior to his apology, Dawson was already facing a number of different scandals, including allegations of him sexualizing other children such as his cousin, a fan, and even a baby. Aside from accusations of pedophilia or pedophilic behavior, Dawson is also facing intense backlash for racist moments, including his repeated use of blackface and his use of the n-word.

Over the weekend, Dawson’s apology video—titled “Taking Accountability”—trended number one on YouTube. Since Friday, it’s garnered over 10.6 million views. 

In it, Dawson begins by saying that he hates much of his past and that he’s tried to remove himself from those situations by deleting old videos. 

Dawson also noted that this isn’t his first apology video. In fact, he issued an apology in 2014 for his use of blackface, and in 2018, he denied he was a pedophile after those rumors circulated following an edited clip where he joked that he found naked babies “sexy.”

“Those apologies suck,” he said of them. “I don’t know who that person is anymore. Every apology video I’ve ever made has been from fear. It’s me sitting at home thinking the whole world hates me, crying and hyperventilating and just turning on a webcam and just saying ‘I’m sorry’ and hoping people know I’m a good person and it’ll go away, and that is stupid. That is something that a child does.”

Dawson “Taking Accountability”

In his apology, Dawson first addressed his history of racism on YouTube, including a number of times where he played very stereotypical versions of Black, Asian, and Mexican people.

While he said he thought those skits were funny at the time of recording them, he said he now hates the person he was in the past.

“That person was filled with sadness, filled with anger about their own issues, in the closet, constantly projecting on others,” he said. “Just like, I don’t know, just that person is someone I don’t like seeing. And I think that’s why I’ve been avoiding this because I’m like, ‘No, I’ve already apologized. I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to see it again.”

Dawson then directly mentions his repeated use of blackface.

“I am so sorry,” he said. “I am so sorry to anybody that saw that and that also saw that people were lifting me up and were saying, ‘You’re so funny, Shane. Oh my, God, you’re so funny.’ I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be Black and to see this white fucking guy do blackface and the whole internet at that time being like, ‘LOL.’” 

“I should lose everything for that,” he continued. “I can tell you this. I don’t have hate for any race or any people with weight issues or any of that, special needs. I don’t have hate in my heart for anyone, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that I made jokes about everyone.” 

Dawson also addressed his use of the n-word, saying that at the time he justified using it because he was playing a character and it was in the name of comedy. In multiple videos, Dawson can be heard saying the word, including instances where he uses a “hard r.” In one video, he even coerces his young cousin to say the word. 

Dawson admitted in the nearly 21-minute video that he should have never used the n-word, adding that he thinks he should have lost his career for saying the word. 

He also addressed why he made yet another apology video, saying that his past apologies fell flat because he would take criticism as attacks on his character and would automatically jump on the “I’m not racist” card.

“And it’s like, you know, ‘Okay, but look what you’re making, Shane,’” he said. “Like I don’t know how I didn’t see that. That is scary, and I’m sorry.” 

Dawson promised his viewers that he’s changed since he made clips and videos like that, saying that he’s educated himself and that he stopped using racial slurs years ago.

Dawson Addresses Pedophilia Accusations

Dawson continues the video by then addressing a 2013 podcast clip where he compares pedophilia to being a normal fetish and talks about finding naked babies “sexy.” As Dawson has noted in the past, some of the clips circulating online omit lines where he says he is joking about those subjects.

“I shouldn’t have been joking about it anyways, which is my problem. My fault,” he said in rebuke of those jokes. 

Shane also apologized for that video he made with his then 12- or 13-year-old cousin, where he talks about sexual acts around her in an inappropriate way. In that apology, he said he also apologized to her mother years ago.

I can’t believe I can’t believe I talked to, you know, my cousin like that,” he said. “And [my aunt] was like, ‘Oh my, God, we know. We know. It’s okay. It was funny, like we all thought it was funny, like that’s just how our family is’ So I kind of took it as, ‘Well, I don’t need to apologize for it,’ but I do.”

Dawson then went on to again talk about his personal life and a lot of the pain he saw in his childhood and with his family, saying that he was projecting that pain into wildly inappropriate jokes. 

“I swear on my life, I am not somebody who would ever talk about a child, like in seriousness, I would never talk about a child in any way that was inappropriate,” he said. “That is disgusting. That is gross. It is not something that I would ever do. It was something I did for shock value or because I thought it was funny or ‘Oh my, God, I’m a child molester character.’ Whatever. It’s all gross, and I promise that is not real. That is not me.” 

Dawson Debunks Rumors About Orchestrating the James and Tati Fued

Toward the end of the video, Dawson denies speculation that he was some sort of mastermind behind last year’s massive feud between Tati Westbrook and James Charles. 

Dawson previously denied that accusation in a now-deleted Twitter post earlier this month. In that note, he seemed to justify the barrage of criticism against James Charles, saying the then 19-year-old influencer deserved a slice of “humble pie.”

In fact, Dawson said he wrote that Twitter note after he started seeing narratives like that pop up and people pressuring him to respond. While he said he had tried to be funny in that note, he admitted that it came across very angry, notably because he said he was angry.

“So the part of the Twitter note that I regret more than anything in my life was the part where I said that James deserved a slice of humble pie the size of the Empire State building,” Dawson said.

He also said he wanted to come at this situation with love and started by apologizing.

“I’m sorry, James,” he said. “I’m really sorry. First of all, nobody deserves what happened. Nobody. The whole internet ganging-up on someone. Nobody deserved that. And who am I to say that somebody needs to be humble? Me? Like who am I to say that? I literally have put so much hate into the internet over my last 15 years of YouTube world.” 

He also addressed criticism that came after he said he was leaving the beauty community in that tweet. In his apology, he agrees that he was never really in it, as many have argued.

“So to know I hurt those people, who are problematic, and just love makeup, and who have been working their ass off for years, for me to shit on that, I am so sorry.” 

“I’m ready to own up to this stuff and to hopefully show you guys that it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong. It’s okay to be upset at your past self for making mistakes. But also it’s okay if people don’t want to accept your apology or if people don’t want to support you anymore, that’s okay too.”

Reaction to Dawson’s Apology

Reaction to Dawson’s apology has been mixed. Currently, about a third of the reactions on that video are dislikes.

In the comments, many criticized his apology, saying he was victimizing himself and using his past trauma to try to justify his actions. 

“Depression and anxiety isn’t a reason to sexualise children, Shane,” a number of people repeated in separate comments. 

On Twitter, hundreds of others shared this comment: “In Shane’s apology, he keeps saying things like “I would never do that” “that’s something I wouldn’t do in my whole lifetime” that is not me” “I wasn’t myself” when referencing things he ACTUALLY DID. He is not taking responsibility, he is removing himself from his past by creating two different Shane’s.”

Others, however, did strike more of a sympathetic tone.

“I’m honestly glad that he came out and apologized,” one person said in the comments section of his video. “Some of the stuff he talked about ppl won’t forgive him for, and that’s ok. I’m just glad he apologized.”

“Accepting his apology IS NOT excusing his actions,” another person said. “Some people need to realise this.”

Still, many others said Dawson would need to take even further action before he could find forgiveness.

“I think you’re trying to ‘do the right thing’ and honestly I’ll never say it’s too late but dude you can’t continue to call yourself Jeffree Star’s friend and be on the right side of all this drama, please understand that,” one person said.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Essence) (CNN)

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Zendaya, John David Washington, and “Euphoria” Creator Film Secret Movie During Coronavirus Pandemic

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  • “Malcolm & Marie,” a new picture starring Zendaya and John David Washington was completely written and shot during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced most productions to halt in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
  • The film was written and directed by “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, who began the project after Zendaya asked him if he could pull off a quarantine movie.
  • The cast was under strict safety precautions and underwent a two-week quarantine on location before filming. While filming, sanitation, social distancing, and other measures were also taken. 
  • This comes as Hollywood is working on its plans to open up again, a complicated task made even more difficult by growing coronavirus cases.

Film Shot in Secret

Zendaya, along with John David Washington and “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, secretly filmed an entire movie during the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to a report from Deadline, the actress called Levinson after production for season 2 of “Euphoria,” which she also stars in, came to a halt over concerns regarding COVID-19. She asked if he could write and direct a movie during quarantine and just six days later, he churned out a script titled “Malcolm & Marie.”  Levinson then brought Golden Globe-nominated Washington on board to co-star in the feature alongside Zendaya. 

Shooting began on June 17 and wrapped up on July 2, according to Deadline’s exclusive. The film was shot at the Caterpillar House in Monterey County, California, where shooting on private property was allowed at the time. The house sits on 33 acres of land, providing plenty of space between the crew and the outside world. 

Safety Measures Taken

Levinson, Washington, Zendaya, and other producers on the project worked with lawyers, doctors and industry unions to make sure they were following COVID-19 safety precautions while on set. Deadline said that the cast and crew quarantined in Monterey for two weeks prior to shooting.

During that time, everyone wore masks, social distanced, had individual dwellings, rehearsed in the parking lot, and ate in designated spots with food only prepared by chefs who were also quarantining. No one was allowed off the property, no physical contact was allowed, and no more than one person was allowed in a room at the same time, unless those people had been quarantining together. 

Cast and crew were tested at the start and end of their quarantine, and the film kept to a relatively small crew. Only 12 people were allowed on set at a time, and had to wear personal protection equipment when in contact with actors. Physical distancing was required as much as possible. 

Production offices worked remotely and there were increased sanitation measures for those on set. Surfaces were cleaned, frequent hand washing was required, and people were not allowed to share things like keys or phones. 

Hollywood and Coronavirus

This comes as production fell last quarter by 98%, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Because of this, Hollywood is anxious to find a path forward with filming. Some bigger productions, like “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which is set to resume filming this month, will have large budgets devoted to sanitation. 

However, that picture is filming in the United Kingdom. Movies filming in the United States have to battle growing coronavirus cases, which could severely delay reopening plans.

Christopher Miller, a writer and producer behind hits like “The Lego Movie” and “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” warned that these increased cases could throw the industry further behind.  

Right now, Hollywood could look to “Malcolm & Marie” as an example of how to shoot a film while in quarantine. While it was completed in secrecy and details are still scant, projects designed to be completed in some form of isolation could be the answer. 

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (The Hollywood Reporter) (IndieWire)

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Lady A, Formerly Lady Antebellum, Sues Black Blues Singer Lady A Over Rights to Use Name

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  • In June, the country group Lady Antebellum renamed itself Lady A, dropping the word “antebellum” due to its association with slavery. However, a Black blues singer named Anita White noted that she had been using “Lady A” professionally for more than 20 years.
  • After a Zoom call between all parties, it appeared that they agreed to coexist, but White later said she felt the band’s camp was trying to erase her after seeing their draft agreement. 
  • On Wednesday, the band sued White for the right to use the name after claiming she demanded $10 million dollars as part of a draft settlement agreement. 
  • The band claims they trademarked the name in 2010 without opposition and are not seeking monetary damages or asking for White to stop using the name, but want all parties to coexist.

Country Band Rebrands 

Lady A, the country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum, is now in a legal battle with a Black blues singer named Anita White, who is known professionally as Lady A. 

Discussions over the use of “Lady A” have been going on for about a month now, so let’s take a look at how the issue started.

After nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people unjustly killed by police, people all across the country have been forced to confront systemic racism and their roles in perpetuating inequality. In response, there have been widespread changes, from TV shows removing scenes with blackface, to brands pulling logos that many deemed offensive.

The country band joined in on that movement, dropping “antebellum” from their name over its ties to slavery.

On June 11, bandmembers Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood said they would officially go by Lady A. At the time, the group said, “When we set out together almost 14 years ago we named our band after the southern “antebellum” style home where we took our first photos. As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…southern rock, blues, R&B, gospel and of course country.”

“But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this world referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our heart’s intention, but it doesn’t change the fact that indeed, it did just that.”

Anita White Blindsided 

But soon after, Anita White came forward to say she had been using Lady A as a stage name for over 20 years and was blindsided by the country band’s announcement. Her fans reportedly bombarded her with the news that her name has been solen, and in an interview with Rolling Stone, the 61-year-old singer said the band hadn’t reached out to her before making their decision. 

At the time, she called it ironic that they were changing their name in support of racial equality while at the same time taking another name from a Black performer. She said she would not stop using the name and called their failure to reach out “pure privilege.”

“They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it,” she added. 

“It’s an opportunity for them to pretend they’re not racist or pretend this means something to them.” 

Discussions Take Place 

After facing questions about White, the band admitted that they were not aware she was already using the name and planned to reach out. 

Then on June 15, they shared an image of a Zoom call with White that seemed to suggest they had reached an agreement. “We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come,” the band wrote at the time. 

White tweeted out a similar message, however, shortly after the chat, she told Newsday, “I received a draft agreement from the Antebellum camp. I’m not happy about [it] yet again after talking in good faith… Their camp is trying to erase me and I’ll have more to say tomorrow. Trust is important and I no longer trust them.”

Lawsuit 

Tensions escalated Wednesday when the band sued the singer for the rights to use the name. According to the lawsuit, the parties involved had agreed to coexist, with the band agreeing to support the singer’s musical career. It even says they had plans to collaborate on a song together. 

However, the band says talks fell apart when “White’s new counsel delivered a draft settlement agreement that included an exorbitant monetary demand.”

The group said in a statement, “Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended. She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years.”

“We are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended. We can do so much more together than in this dispute.”

The suit outlines the band’s history with the name, saying they’ve used Lady Antebellum and “Lady A” interchangeable since around 2006 or 2007. The filing reportedly included documents of the band’s website and other reports demonstrating their use of the name. 

According to the suit, the group applied to register “Lady A’ as a trademark in 2010. It was officially registered in 2011 and reportedly received no opposition at the time.   

The suit says White never applied to trademark or register the name “Lady A.” The legal filing also doesn’t ask for White to stop using the name, or for any monetary damages. Instead, it says, “Plaintiffs simply wish that the parties continue to coexist.” 

Reactions 

Backlash against the group came swiftly following news of the suit, with people now questioning if the intentions behind their initial name change were genuine. 

One user wrote,  Lady Antebellum changing their name to Lady A to show solidarity with BLM only to SUE AN ACTUAL BLACK ARTIST who already has that name is performative wokeness at its BLEAKEST.”

Even though the group filed for a trademark, some think it’s still not a good look for them to file a lawsuit against a Black artist over the name. Some argued that they should just pick something else. 

Still, there are many who view White’s request for $10 million as extortion and believe the band was trying to come to a peaceful resolution. 

Meanwhile, others believe it’s likely a defensive move on the band’s part to get legal approval for use of the name in case White decides to sue them. 

White, for her part, simply tweeted, “No Weapon formed against me shall prosper” following the news, but has not commented much further. 

Either way, it seems like the bands attempt to avoid controversy with their name has now brought along just that. 

See what others are saying: (CMT) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Entertainment Weekly) 

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Halle Berry Apologizes for Considering a Transgender Role in an Upcoming Film

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  • In an Instagram live interview Friday, Halle Berry mentioned that she was considering taking the role of a transgender man, while repeatedly misgendering him by using “she/her” pronouns. 
  • Some responded with anger, but many asked her to reconsider and educate herself on trans issues. 
  • People specifically asked her to watch Netflix’s “Disclosure,” a documentary that explores trans representation in Hollywood and the real-world implications trans depictions have on the trans community. 
  • Halle apologized Monday, promising to promote better representation both on and offscreen. Her apology was welcomed by fans, GLAAD, and “Disclosure,” which thanked her for listening and learning. 

Berry Considers Taking Transgender Role 

After a weekend of backlash, education, and conversations about transgender representation, actor Halle Berry announced Monday that she is no longer considering plans to play a transgender character.

The backlash against Berry first appeared Friday after she took part in an Instagram live interview with hairstylist Christin Brown. In that stream, Berry talked about possibly cutting her hair short again for a potential new film project, saying, “I’m thinking of playing a character where the woman is a trans character, so my hair is gonna have to be – she’s a woman that transitioned into a man, so my hair is going to be really shaved.” 

“I want to experience that world, I want to understand that world. I want to understand that character. I want to deep dive in that in the way I did ‘Bruised,’ Berry continued.

“This world, who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next acting role.”

“It’s really important to me to tell stories, and that’s a woman, that’s a female story actually– it changes to a man, but I want to understand the why and how of that,” she added.

Internet Asks Berry to Reconsider 

When people caught wind of this interview, people took issue with her remarks and the idea that a cisgender woman would be taking on such a role.

This isn’t exactly a new point of debate. For instance, Scarlett Johansson came under similar scrutiny in the past when she initially accepting the role of a transgender man for the film “Rub & Tug,” which she later walked away from after backlash. 

However, in Berry’s case, people were also upset by her lack of knowledge about the transgender community, noting that she repeatedly misgendered the character by using “she/her pronouns.”   

Still, while some people responded with anger, a lot of people took the approach of asking her to educate herself on trans issues and reconsider taking that role. Many actually asked her to watch Netflix’s new documentary “Disclosure,” which is executive produced by Laverne Cox. That film takes an in-depth look at Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people to help understand the real-world implications they have on the trans community. 

On Monday, the official Twitter account for the documentary even shared a clip from the project, writing, “Today is a good day to remind people that casting trans actors in trans roles is more than about opportunity.”

Then it directly addressed Berry in another post, asking her to watch the film “to understand how cis actors like yourself acting in trans roles has major cultural consequences offscreen.”

Others continued sharing similar messages, including the film’s director Sam Feder, who added, “Often people don’t know what they don’t know. And that’s ok!” 

Halley Berry Responds 

By Monday evening, Berry responded with a statement posted to her social media pages apologizing for her remarks and adding, “As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories.”

She explained that she was grateful for the guidance and critical conversations that have taken place over the last few days, adding. “I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake. I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.” 

Berry Thanked for Listening

Berry’s statement was received very well, with a lot of people thanking her for being willing to engage in dialogue with others and responding with a statement so quickly. 

Similar sentiments came from the documentary’s account, which thanked her for listening and learning. 

GLAAD also tweeted at Berry, saying it was pleased that she had listened to the concerns of transgender people, adding, “Other powerful people should do the same.” 

Still, Berry has faced some criticism from those angry with her for apologizing, as some believe there should more flexibility in Hollywood about who can play what roles. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for instance called her statement “performative wokeness.” 

But that is a point the film’s Twitter account hit on Monday when it first addressed Berry’s initial comments. At the time, the account tweeted, “In preemptive response to the critique that all artists should be able to play any role.@Lavernecox “I think if all things were equal, then [yes]. But all things are not equal.”

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (Insider) (Vanity Fair

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