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Tyler Oakley Calls Out Influencers for Partying During Pandemic

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  • Dozens of influencers attended a party at the Hype House in Los Angeles on Tuesday, including James Charles, Tana Mongeau, Nikita Dragun, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Emma Chamberlain, and others. 
  • YouTuber Tyler Oakley called out some of the creators on Twitter, asking them to instead use their platforms to encourage responsibility during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Jake Paul faced similar criticism from the Mayor of Calabasas this month after he threw a massive party where guests crowded together without masks and even swung from a raised excavator crane.
  • Many fear that these creators are sending a bad message to their young followers and warn that this behavior has serious consequences, especially as cases across the country rise. 

Hype House Party 

Dozens of social media influencers are under fire for partying in Los Angeles on Tuesday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic  

The gathering causing all the outrage was thrown in celebration of Hype House member Larray Merritt’s 22nd birthday. The festivities reportedly began with a dinner at BOA Steakhouse and later evolved into a night of partying at the Hype House’s new mansion in Hollywood Hills.

Based on several posts to social media, the party was packed with tons of maskless– or poorly masked- YouTubers and TikTokers. Guests in attendance included James Charles, Tana Mongeau, Nikita Dragun, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Emma Chamberlain, and others. 

In fact, in an interview with The Holywood Fix, Hype House cofounder Thomas Petrou estimated that there were about 60-70 people inside the house. Keep in mind that groups of others were constantly being turned away outside the door. 

Outrage and Call Out From Tyler Oakley 

After seeing all of these influencers ignoring social distancing guidelines and mask policies, many took to social media to call them out.

One of the most notable was YouTuber Tyler Oakley. He initially tweeted, “if your favorite influencers are at huge house parties during a pandemic (& are dumb enough to post it on social media)… they are bad influences. unfollow them.”

A short time later, he decided to tag some especially large influencers, writing that they and “any others who have been partying in large groups” should “consider social distancing, mask wearing, & using your huge platforms to encourage responsibility during a worldwide pandemic.”

As of now it appears that only Merri has responded, saying, “ i understand 100% where ur coming from & it was a dumb thing to do. I will do better & will actually take this shit seriously. appreciate you tyler much love.”

Still, reactions to that have been mixed, with a lot of people pointing to a tweet from March that’s still on his page. That tweet reads, “the fact that there is a virus going around and some of y’all really going out risking ur health to go to a party with people you don’t even like is so stupid but shit I’m bored send me the addy next time.“

Aside from Merrit specifically, people are generally unhappy with what seems to be a widespread disregard for such a serious, fast-spreading, and in many cases deadly virus. In the past two weeks alone, the U.S. recorded more than 915,000 new cases of COVID-19. That’s more than what was reported across the country for the whole month of June and on top of that, the U.S. just surpassed 4 million total cases.

California has received even more attention after surpassing New York as the state with the most confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

Mayor Responds to Jake Paul Party  

These are by no means the first influencers to face backlash for ignoring coronavirus safety measures. Frustrations have already been building against influencers linking up for collaborations and TikTok posts. 

@jasonderulo

Try this with your squad @brentrivera @benazelart @lexibrookerivera @mason_fulp @jeremyhutchins @pierson

♬ Coño – Jason Derulo & Puri & Jhorrmountain

Earlier this month, Jake Paul face similar criticism for throwing a massive party at his Calabasas mansion. 

Clips of that party show guests crowded together playing games and even hanging from a raized excavator crane. At one point someone pulls a car into the packed lobby of his home. 

After seeing videos of the gathering, Calabasas Mayor Alicia Weintraub said she started receiving a flood of phone calls from outrage constituents.

“They’re having this large party, no social distancing, no masks, it’s just a big huge disregard for everything that everybody is trying to do to get things back to functioning,” she told Fox 11. 

But apparently it wasn’t just Paul, the mayor said she also learned of a recent baby shower that brought in over 200 guests, as well a wedding reception that had a big crowd as well. As a result, Weintraub issued a press release Friday announcing a city council approved order. That order says those not wearing a mask in public may be fined $100 for the first offense. She specifically referenced the lack of proper coverings she’s seen as well as parties, even naming Paul specifically.

Now, she says there will be no more warnings. Instead, local sheriffs are ordered to immediately break up large gatherings. 

Weintraub told the LA Times she was worried about young people would follow pauls lead in ignoring health guidelines. “I’m hoping he will turn it around, issue an apology, and start promoting wearing a mask.”

She also wasn’t the only one concerned about the example he was setting. As news of that party went viral, Oakly calling him out. However, that time he simply wrote, “f*ck you, @jakepaul.”

Paul didn’t seem phased and even retweeted Oakley’s post.

@tyleroakley

Experts Warn of Risks

While it’s not just influencers specifically who are hosting large get-togethers, the general sentiment online is that they could be sending the message that doing so is okay, and the consequences of spreading this virus are massive. 

Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist who specializes in infectious disease told Mashable, “People who are in prominent positions in the media and in particular, these influencers, have exactly that: influence.”

“And they could be doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus. What we know right now is that masks and social distancing work. We cannot rely on any other kind of magic bullet. This virus doesn’t care whether or not you believe in it, this virus is going to spread.”

“Everybody needs to take responsibility…Our economy depends on it, our ability to get back to school depends on it, our ability to get back to normal depends on it. So everybody needs to be doing their part. There’s no excuse.”

In an interview with WedMD last week, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned people who might think they’re not vulnerable, that this type of thinking is not correct. He did not blame young people for the rise in cases, but he emphasized the importance of reaching them and said, “By allowing yourself to get infected or not caring if you do get infected, you are propagating a pandemic.”

“It doesn’t end with you,” he continued. “The chances are you’re going to infect someone else, who will then infect someone else, and then someone who’s vulnerable…will get infected.”

“That could be [somebody’s] father, mother, or grandmother. It could be a sick child who’s immunodeficient.”

“Then, all of a sudden you’re not operating in a vacuum. You’re part of the problem as opposed to being part of the solution.” 

See what others are saying: (Mashable) (Insider) (Cosmopolitan) 

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Quinta Brunson Says This Country is “Not Okay” Following Requests For School Shooting Episode of “Abbott Elementary”

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“I don’t want to sound mean, but I want people to understand the flaw in asking for something like this,” the writer and actress tweeted.


Quinta Brunson Calls Out “Wild” Requests

“Abbott Elementary” star and creator Quinta Brunson shut down requests for her to make an episode of the hit comedy series involving a school shooting. 

“Wild how many people have asked for a school shooting episode of the show I write,” Brunson tweeted “People are that deeply removed from demanding more from the politicians they’ve elected and are instead demanding ‘entertainment.’ I can’t ask ‘are yall ok’ anymore because the answer is ‘no.’”

Her message came one day after 19 children and two teachers were killed during a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. It marked the 27th school shooting of 2022, just 22 weeks into the year. The news of the massacre has rocked the nation, dominating the cultural conversation with calls for change

Brunson believes those calls should fall on the ears of politicians, not television writers. 

“Please use that energy to ask your elected official to get on Beto time and nothing less. I’m begging you,” Brunson said to fans, referring to Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke (D), who publicly confronted Gov. Greg Abbott (R ) about gun control legislation during a press conference the same day. 

“I don’t want to sound mean, but I want people to understand the flaw in asking for something like this. We’re not okay,” she continued. “This country is rotting our brains. I’m sad about it.”

“Abbott Elementary” is a heartwarming sitcom following teachers at a public Philadelphia elementary school. Brunson plays Janine Teagues, a passionate and optimistic second-grade teacher. Despite a lack of resources and funding, Teagues and the rest of the staff are deeply committed to helping their students learn and succeed. 

Brunson Shares Example of Suggestion

Brunson shared an example of “one of many” messages she received suggesting a school shooting episode for “Abbott Elementary.” The anonymous fan said a shooting should happen in the “eventual series finale” to “highlight the numerous ones in this nation.” 

“Formulate an angle that would get our government to understand why laws need to pass,” the message continued. “I Think Abbott Elementary can affect change. I love the show.”

In response to Brunson’s thread, many were shocked that viewers would want to watch something so devastating happen on a largely uplifting show. Some followed Brunson in questioning why those fans were not directing their focus on politicians instead. Others were frustrated that these requests were being pointed at a joyful show depicting a predominantly Black school.

“I look to Abbott Elementary for a laugh, not a reminder about how black kids will never be safe,” one person wrote. 

Having just finished its first season, “Abbott Elementary” is currently being credited as one of the few series saving the network sitcom. It raked in ABC’s highest ratings for a comedy since the series finale of “Modern Family” in 2020. It also became the first ABC sitcom premiere to quadruple its ratings since its initial airing.

“Abbott Elementary” is highly acclaimed by both critics and viewers and is considered a favorite for Emmy nominations this year. It is expected to return in the fall. 

See what others are saying: (People) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Washington Post)

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Ricky Gervais Criticized For Jokes About Trans People in New Netflix Special

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The backlash comes less than a year after Dave Chappelle received similar criticism for his most recent stand-up special on Netflix. 


Ricky Gervais Aims Jokes at Trans Community

Comedian Ricky Gervais is facing backlash over transphobic remarks he made in his latest Netflix stand-up special “SuperNature.”

Less than five minutes into the program, which was released on Tuesday, Gervais began aiming his jokes specifically at trans women. 

“Oh, women. Not all women, I mean the old-fashioned ones,” Gervais said. “The old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs. Those fucking dinosaurs. I love the new women. They’re great, aren’t they? The new ones we’ve been seeing lately. The ones with beards and cocks!” 

“They’re as good as gold, I love them,” he continued. “And now the old-fashioned ones say, ‘Oh, they want to use our toilets.’ ‘Why shouldn’t they use your toilets?’ ‘For ladies!’ ‘They are ladies, look at their pronouns. What about this person isn’t a lady?’ ‘Well, his penis.’ ‘Her penis, you fucking bigot!’ ‘What if he rapes me?’ ‘What if she rapes you, you fucking TERF whore?’” 

He then bemoaned cancel culture and “woke comedy,” claiming the surest way for someone to get canceled is to tweet that “women don’t have penises.”

Gervais is no stranger to prompting controversy and outrage with his comedy. He likely anticipated that his remarks would cause a stir, especially given that he carved out time in his special to defend his jokes about trans people. 

“Trans people just want to be treated equally,” he said. “I agree. That’s why I include them.”

Gervais noted he made jokes about a variety of groups and people, arguing that these remarks are not a window into his soul or beliefs. He said he would “take on any view” to make a joke as funny as possible, even if it does not reflect his own opinions.

“In real life, of course, I support trans rights,” he said. “I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights. Live your best life. Use your preferred pronouns.”

Moments later, he joked that ladies should still “lose the cock.” The audience erupted in laughter. 

Gervais Faces Backlash Online

Gervais was met with swift criticism within hours of “SuperNature” debuting on Netflix. Many said they would cancel their Netflix subscriptions because of the transphobia on the platform. 

“Ricky Gervais has a new stand up show out on Netflix today,” one person tweeted. “[Five] minutes in and he’s making jokes about trans women attacking & raping people in public bathrooms. To him we exist only as a punchline, a threat, something less than human.”

“Ricky Gervais is a disgrace, he is going to cause hate crime and ultimately the death of Trans folk,” another person added.

Some further claimed that on top of it being offensive, it is lazy to take shots at marginalized communities in the name of comedy. 

“This isn’t comedy. This is making cheap, nasty stereotypes out of a minority group,” one person wrote. “Please, if you’re Transgender or Support Trans lives, don’t watch this.”

Others accused Gervais of riding a wave of transphobia that has recently popped up among major comedians. Last year, Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special “The Closer” sparked a wave of backlash over the comedian’s jokes about trans people. Netflix staffers staged a walkout in protest, demanding that the company do more to help LGBTQ+ creators and stand against anti-trans content. 

Terra Feld, a former Netflix employee who helped organize the protests, encouraged subscribers to ditch Netflix over Gervais’ recent remarks. 

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (AV Club) (IndieWire)

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Halsey Says Her Label Won’t Release Her New Song Unless They Can “Fake” A Viral TikTok Moment. Artists Say This Points to a Larger Issue in the Industry

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Artist Sizzy Rocket said that record companies are forcing musicians “to fit into this box of virality” in hopes of landing a quick hit.


Halsey Calls Out Record Label

Over the last several years, TikTok has changed nearly every aspect of the music industry by sending viral songs to the top of the Billboard charts. Even major artists like Halsey say they cannot escape the pressure to go viral, sparking concern over how the app is influencing music.

On Sunday, Halsey, who uses she/they pronouns, posted a TikTok saying they had a new song they were eager to release, but their label said they “can’t release it unless they can fake a viral moment on TikTok.”

“Everything is marketing,” Halsey wrote, adding that this issue is impacting “basically every artist” right now. 

Countless songs, including chart-toppers like “Old Town Road” and “drivers license” first soared to success on TikTok. Labels are eager to recreate that path in whatever ways they can.

Halsey’s label, Astralwerks-Capitol, gave a statement to Variety claiming its “belief in Halsey as a singular and important artist is total and unwavering.”

“We can’t wait for the world to hear their brilliant new music,” the statement said. 

In response, Halsey noted that Astralwerks was the company that signed her before upstreaming her to Capitol. She said this statement in particular “came from the company who believed in me from the jump” and not the company she is “wrestling with now.”

Artists Speak Out

Nearly eight million views later, Halsey’s TikTok prompted fans and people working in the music industry to criticize the practice of forcing songs to go viral.

“Halsey has sold over 100 million records and she is having to put up with this nonsense?” musician Rebecca Ferguson tweeted. “Artists and creatives should be ‘free.’”

“halsey’s tik tok only scratches the surface of what’s happening in music right now,” singer and songwriter Sizzy Rocket added. 

While speaking to Rogue Rocket, Sizzy Rocket said that labels and producers don’t understand that making a song and going viral on TikTok are two different art forms. The pressure of going viral often puts artists in positions where they feel their creative integrity could be compromised. 

“Artists like myself and Halsey, who require a little bit more time and space to craft our messages, are sort of being forced to fit into this box of virality and so, it’s a big problem,” Sizzy Rocket said.

“As an artist, I can’t just do something to go viral.”

Sizzy Rocket said that labels have approached her to write songs for their more viral artists, oftentimes offering no pay for the session. 

“It’s taken me four albums, I just released my fourth album, and ten years to develop this melodic and lyrical style,” she explained. “You know I have a thing, I have a je ne sais quoi, and so to ask me to just give that to a brand new artist who just went viral overnight is truly offensive.”

Smaller Artists Face Bigger Issues

As Halsey’s call-out TikTok has spread online, the “Closer” singer denied that the video was a promotional stunt of its own, arguing she is “way too established to stir something like this up for no reason or resort to this as a marketing tactic.”

But whether it be intentionally or inadvertently, Halsey has drummed up attention for their new music. Smaller artists don’t have the luxury of being able to instantly reach the masses. Sizzy Rocket said that up and comers like herself have to struggle more to get the spotlight, while mainstream artists have a larger fanbase to fall back on. 

“I feel like smaller artists are more affected because we’re getting buried, right?” she said. “There’s so much content, there are so many people trying to go viral.” 

“I feel like larger artists, because they have a more established and bigger audience, they sort of have access to that attention already,” Sizzy Rocket continued. “But for smaller artists, we sort of have to like, dig, dig through the pile of everyone else sort of grabbing for that trend.”

While Sizzy Rocket does not consider herself a viral artist, she said she did at one point try to go viral on TikTok. After filming the video, she felt it would be of no benefit. 

“I just couldn’t post it because I didn’t understand how that sort of cheap grab for attention would help me deliver the message of my music,” she said.

With that said, Sizzy Rocket said she does not blame any TikTok artists who went viral on their own. Instead, she pointed the finger at labels who are trying to drive inorganic viral success while lacking an understanding of how art and social media interact with one another. 

“I don’t want to place any blame on the actual TikTok artists who did go viral. I feel like they deserve to make their art as well,” she said. “It’s more about the label prioritizing the platform over the art itself.” 

Other artists like Zara Larsson and Florence Welch have bemoaned the pressures they face from their record companies to be active on TikTok. Many agree that the expectations labels have in this arena are unfair to artists. 

“labels all want a dove cameron ‘boyfriend’ moment (which i’d argue was rather organic) but how sustainable is that kind of traction as it’s v fleeting + how can artists even replicate that kind of virality,” culture writer Zoya Raza-Sheikh asked on Twitter.

For Halsey, it remains unclear when their new song will see the light of day. In a tweet, they claimed their label was impressed by their TikTok’s traction, but only said “we’ll see” when asked if the song could be released. 

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Rolling Stone) (Entertainment Weekly)

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