- After backlash, Lili Reinhart deleted a topless Instagram photo she posted with the caption, “Now that my sideboob has gotten your attention, Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been arrested. Demand justice.”
- Fans felt her post played into the trend of memeing or using Taylor’s name for a punchline, which many say disrespects and trivializes her story.
- Reinhart apologized, saying she never meant to come off as insensitive and is trying to learn and do better.
- While some responded with name-calling, others called it an opportunity to educate, noting that Reinhart has been amplifying Black voices and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement on Instagram.
Reinhart Posts Topless Photo
“Riverdale” star Lili Reinhart apologized Monday for the photo she chose to use when demanding justice for Breonna Taylor on Instagram.
Taylor was a 26-year-old Black woman who was killed by Louisville police on March 13. The night of her death, Taylor and her boyfriend were in bed when officers with a no-knock warrant began to force their way into their apartment. When her boyfriend fired his gun at who he believed were intruders, officers returned fired, striking Taylor at least eight times.
In recent weeks, her name has been used as a rallying cry during Black Lives Matter protests, along with the names of other Black individuals who were unjustly killed by authorities like George Floyd, Eric Garner, and others.
With Taylor’s case, in particular, people have continuously called for the officers involved to face charges. It seems like Reinhart tried to join in on those calls when she posted a photo of herself topless with the caption, “Now that my sideboob has gotten your attention, Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been arrested. Demand justice.”
Photo Prompts Outrage for Memeing Taylor’s Name
However, fans were quick to slam the actress for the post. “This is sick, why do she use Breonna Taylor’s name as an excuse to post her sexy pic? weird and gross,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another said, “The only thing that post did is get a bunch of people to talk about lili reinhart’s boobs. it was a thirst trap with a BLM caption. what are the odds that someone looks at a pic of lili’s boobs and says yas lemme demand justice!”
After likely seeing similar responses in the comments, Reinhart quickly deleted the caption but left the photo up. Doing so further caused people to question her intentions, with some saying this proved she was using Taylor’s name for a “quirky caption.”
Still, fans came to her defense, saying they didn’t see and issue with the post and that she was just trying to support the movement.
Some noted that it’s very common online for people to post something that lures people in, only to redirect their focus towards real issues.
guys it was a trend on insta to bait people with your body and then address the real problems so people can listen.— Isabella (@IsabellaD234) June 30, 2020
However, in recent weeks, people have become increasingly worried that the Black Lives Matter movement is being treated as a trend for likes on social media. With Breonna Taylor’s case specifically, many have been especially frustrated that her name and phrases like “arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor” have become a meme or a punchline.
Some use the phrase, or a variation of it, in tweets, while others edit the message into images.
This subject is actually something that has been a point of debate for a while now. For instance, musical artist Lil Nas X faced similar backlash in June when he posted a meme about arresting the officers in her case.
That tweet began with, “yeah, i’m gay.” Then it continued,
a- Breonna Taylor’s
After seeing some negative responses, he deleted the post and tweeted, “i want u guys to know if i make a meme out of something it doesn’t mean i don’t care about it, my following usually reacts the most when humour is involved. it’s my most efficient way of bringing awarness to anything. i do understand the backlash tho, and i’m learning.”
Like in Reinhart’s case, some felt his intentions were good and that this approach grabs people’s attention. However, the majority of people think these memes trivialize Taylor’s death and are asking that people respect her name and her story.
In response to all this frustration, Reinhart deleted the photo and took to Twitter on Monday to apologize.
“I’ve always tried to use my platform for good. And speak up about things that are important to me,” she wrote. “I also can admit when I make a mistake and I made a mistake with my caption. It was never my intent to insult anyone and I’m truly sorry to those that were offended.”
She then referenced some of her IGTV posts of conversations with Black entrepreneurs, writers, and activists.
“I’ve tried very hard to be honest on my IGTV lives that I’m still learning and trying to be better,” she wrote. “But I understand that my caption came off as tone deaf. I truly had good intentions and did not think it through that it could come off as insensitive.”
For the most part, fans seem glad that she admitted her mistake. While some people responded with name-calling, most argued that isn’t helpful, especially against someone who uses her platform to amplify Black voices and speak about the movement.
Many are hoping that Reinhart’s case serves as a lesson to anyone who might be using Taylor’s name in a similar way on social media, and are using this as an opportunity to educate others.
Joe Rogan Faces Backlash For Promoting Antisemitic Stereotypes
His comments come as antisemitic hate incidents have increased both online and in the real world.
Rogan’s Antisemitic Comments
Joe Rogan is facing backlash over a Saturday episode of his podcast where he claimed that “the idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous.”
While the “Joe Rogan Experience” episode was posted to Spotify on Feb. 3, the controversial podcaster’s comments did not receive criticism until clips started circulating around social media on Tuesday. Rogan was speaking with “Breaking Points” hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti when the subject of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee came up.
Omar was ousted over a 2019 tweet where she said that American support of Isreal was “all about the Benjamins,” referring to a slang term for money. After she was condemned for promoting antisemitic tropes, she apologized. Some Democrats have accused Republicans of hypocrisy for removing Omar over the remark.
“She’s apologizing for talking about ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ which is just about money,” Rogan said of the incident. “She’s talking about money.”
“She shouldn’t have apologized,” Ball responded.
“That’s not an antisemitic statement, I don’t think that it is,” Rogan continued. “Benjamins are money. The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s fucking stupid.”
Condemned for “Vicious Lies”
His comments were condemned after several Twitter users shared clips of the podcast on the platform. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said it was “disturbing” that Rogan chose to spread antisemitic stereotypes “at a time of rising anti-Jewish violence, when growing numbers of Americans believe in antisemitic conspiracy theories.”
“For centuries, people have used these longstanding tropes to spread vicious lies about the Jewish people,” Greenblatt wrote.
“The thing is, Joe Rogan, Italians were never slaughtered because of the pizza stereotype,” writer and essayist Howard Lovy tweeted. “But because idiots like you believe Jews are into money,’ we have been marginalized, brutalized, and murdered for thousands of years.”
“The ‘Jews are into money’ thing is a generation-spanning smear used as the basis to discriminate against Jews the world over,” attorney Bradley P. Moss added. “Everyone is into money. But we have been accused of secretly hoarding $ to control everything.”
Writer David Baddiel noted how alarming it was that Rogan was able to “breezily” spew “a racist myth.”
“One of the biggest podcasts in the world and no one gives a fuck,” he wrote.
Rogan’s comments come as antisemitism has been increasingly present in media and everyday life for Jewish people.
Upon billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the platform saw an increase in racial slurs and hate speech, including language targeted at Jewish people. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found in December that antisemitic hate crimes rose between 2021 and 2022 in major cities like New York and Los Angeles.
Kanye West also made headlines late last year for going on several antisemitic rants, including one where he praised Hitler. While he was dropped by major brands like Adidas over his comments, his words have amplified dangerous conspiracy theories far and wide. He even inspired several neo-Nazis to hang “Kanye is Right” banners in Los Angeles, among other antisemitic actions.
See what others are saying: (The Daily Beast) (Variety) (The Independent)
“Seinfeld” AI Parody Suspended From Twitch After AI Wrote Transphobic Jokes
The parody’s version of Jerry asked if he should make jokes about “how being transgender is actually a mental illness.”
“Nothing, Forever” Suspended
What’s the deal with AI?
While that has been a big question in the media world for the last few weeks, it is being raised yet again after AI software wrote transphobic jokes for an AI parody of the hit sitcom “Seinfeld.”
Titled “Nothing, Forever,” the heavily pixelated program runs 24/7 on Twitch, using Open AI to create endless “Seinfeld” parody content. In this AI version, Jerry is called Larry Feinberg. Larry’s friends, Yvonne, Fred, and Zoltare — who are stands-ins for Elaine, George, and Kramer — often sit around Larry’s apartment, just like in the NBC series.
Also mirroring “Seinfeld,” Larry is a stand-up comedian who does a cold-open set of jokes in front of a brick wall. On Monday morning, he asked if anyone had suggestions for jokes before going on a transphobic rant.
“I’m thinking about doing a bit about how being transgender is actually a mental illness,” Larry said. “Or how all liberals are secretly gay and want to impose their will on everyone. Or something about how transgender people are ruining the fabric of society. But no one is laughing, so I’m going to stop.”
“Thanks for coming out tonight. See you next time,” he continued. “Where’d everybody go?”
Plans to Return
The bit could almost come across as self-aware commentary about how pervasive transphobia is in stand-up comedy, but it’s unclear what the AI’s intent was or if it deserves that much credit.
Soon after the jokes aired, the “Nothing, Forever” Twitch page was closed, showing only a message announcing the channel “is temporarily unavailable due to a violation of Twitch’s Community Guidelines.” It did not specify what rule was broken, but Twitch does have a Hateful Conduct policy that bars attacks against someone’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other protected identities.
Skyler Hartle, one of the co-creators of “Nothing, Forever,” told The Washington Post that the team was “super embarrassed” by the transphobic rant, which “in no way reflects the values or opinions of our staff.”
Hartle said they hope to resume airing the AI parody with new safeguards in place soon. According to The Post, the suspension will last for 14 days.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NBC News) (The Verge)
Grammy Awards Face Backlash For Snubbing Beyoncé of Top Prize
This marks the fourth time the “Renaissance” singer has lost Album of the Year.
Beyoncé Loses Top Awards
Beyoncé may have broken the record for the most Grammy wins on Sunday night, but her snub for the top prize of Album of the Year has left music fans outraged.
Beyoncé nabbed Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song on Sunday night, all related to her latest album, “Renaissance.” While that crossed her Grammy total to a record-breaking 32 trophies, she was shut out of all the major categories she was nominated in: Record, Song, and Album of the Year.
This was the fourth time Beyoncé was nominated for and lost Album of the Year, largely considered the show’s most coveted prize. This year, Harry Styles took home the Grammy for “Harry’s House.”
In his speech, Styles said, he has been “so inspired by every artist in this category” and claimed there is no “best” in music. People in the crowd were heard shouting “Beyonce!” while he spoke, outraged the singer had lost the award yet again.
The moment was reminiscent of the 2017 Grammy Awards when Adele’s “25” beat out Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” for the same category. While accepting the prize, Adele suggested that the “Lemonade” should have gotten the gold.
“The ‘Lemonade’ album was just so monumental, Beyoncé, it was so monumental,” Adele said on stage.
Beyoncé’s History of Grammy Losses
This is part of a long trend in Beyoncé’s Grammy history, as she is almost always shut out of the major categories. Of her 32 Grammys, only one belongs to one of the top slots: her Song of the Year win in 2010 for “Single Ladies.” She has yet to ever win Record or Album of the Year, and most of her wins come from genre categories like R&B.
Many fans think that is an abysmal record for an artist who is considered one of the primary musical talents of her generation. Compare those stats to the similarly-adored Taylor Swift, who has three Album of the Year wins out of 12 Grammy trophies, and it’s not hard to see their point.
“Beyoncé represents every Black woman that is constantly applauded for their work but when it comes to promotion time their white colleague gets it instead,” culture reporter Ada Enechi tweeted in response to Sunday night’s snub.
The Grammy Awards have long been accused of having a racial bias, especially when it comes to Black women. In Beyoncé’s case, every time she has lost Album of the Year, she lost to a white artist.
Even some of the progress made during Sunday night’s telecast only proved how frequently Black women are excluded from major awards. For example, Lizzo won Record of the Year for “About Damn Time,” marking the first time a Black woman has won that award since Whitney Houston in 1994. That’s a nearly 30-year gap.
Backlash From Music Fans
Beyoncé’s repeated snubs have consistently been used as a prime example of the strides yet to be made in the music industry.
“Renaissance not winning AOTY is another example how of a Black woman can consistently deliver excellence, reinvent the wheel + shake the culture, AND still not be recognised to the extent that she deserves,” another person said on Twitter.”
“Absolutely wild that the person with the most Grammys ever is still the underdog who was robbed,” BuzzFeed News reporter David Mack pointed out.
Podcaster Sam Sanders called her loss “criminal.”