- 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.
The D’Amelio sisters were there as well. pic.twitter.com/mRnX2SET0J— Def Noodles (@defnoodles) July 22, 2020
She was at a huge party last night how the hell is she a role model pic.twitter.com/vZcEvYh4ej— Savemefranktherabbit (@Lyrth3) July 22, 2020
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.
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.
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)
JoJo Siwa Swatted After Coming Out as Member of LGBTQ+ Community
- In an Instagram live on Saturday, YouTube star JoJo Siwa confirmed that police were called to her house on a false report, a dangerous trend commonly referred to as swatting.
- The incident happened hours after Siwa publicly confirmed that she is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Siwa believes members of the media may have called the police in an effort to force her out of her home so they could photograph her amid the excitement surrounding her announcement.
JoJo Siwa’s House Gets Swatted
JoJo Siwa, the 17-year old YouTube star who is massively popular among kids, was swatted at her home on Saturday, hours after coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
During an Instagram Live with her videographer Nate Javier, Siwa confirmed that officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were called to her house on a false report.
Everyone inside had to step out with their hands up. As this happened, Siwa says paparazzi came out from around the corner.
She believes the media called the police to force her outside so they could photograph her while there was so much excitement surrounding her coming out.
She called the incident “really scary” but said that she is safe and fine.
“For me it was no big deal to walk outside my house. I’m okay,” she said. “But I feel bad because there was about 50 police at our house and those police could have had much better time spent somewhere else actually helping somebody instead of dealing with a fake claim from paparazzi.”
Siwa Comes Out
Siwa made headlines over the weekend as fans began to speculate that she might be coming out. They were first tipped off by a handful of TikToks she appeared in, including one where she lip-synched to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. Then on Friday, Siwa shared a photo of herself wearing a shirt from her cousin that said “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.”
Many took this photo as her coming out and began to celebrate her for sharing this. On Saturday the star went live on Instagram confirming that she is part of the LGTBQ community. She thanked her fans for their support.
“I have never ever ever been this happy before and it feels awesome,” she said.
Siwa said she is not yet ready to specifically label herself and that right now she is just happy to be open and sharing this part of her life with the public.
“The reason I’m not ready to say this answer is because I don’t really know this answer,” she explained.
“I wanna share everything with the world. I really do. But I also want to keep things in my life private until they are ready to be public,” Siwa continued. “Right now what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it’s okay.”
Praise for Siwa Rolls In
Many stars have applauded Siwa online, including actress Kerry Washington, singer Lil Nas X, and YouTubers Liza Koshy and Colleen Ballinger.
“You’ve got our love,” Koshy wrote. “Shine on as always!”
“This is the happiest I’ve ever seen you,” Ballinger said. “You’re absolutely glowing and I’m so proud of the woman you are becoming.
Many were also quick to point out the potential impact her coming out could have considering her large following of young people.
“JoJo Siwa’s decision to share her truth with the world is a powerful moment,” wrote Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLAAD.
“As one of the most influential young role models today, Jojo’s story is a reminder for LGBTQ youth to love who they are and to find safe and welcoming environments to speak out.”
See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (Newsweek) (Seventeen)
Joe Rogan Says Grimes Did Not Give Dave Chappelle COVID-19
- Comedian Dave Chappelle is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic and his remaining shows in Austin, Texas have been canceled.
- The news comes just days after Chappelle was photographed with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
- “Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” Rogan wrote on Instagram Friday. “Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
Chappelle Tests Positive
Comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently under quarantine, according to one of his representatives.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, that rep also confirmed that he is currently asymptomatic and has canceled all of his remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas.
“Chappelle has safely conducted socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June 2020 and he moved those shows to Austin during the winter,” the statement read.
“Chappelle implemented COVID-19 protocols which included rapid testing for the audience and daily testing for himself and his team. His diligent testing enabled him to immediately respond by quarantining, thus mitigating the spread of the virus,” it continued.
Joe Rogan Speaks Out After He Was Photographed With Chappelle
Two of the remaining Austin shows were supposed to include fellow comedian Joe Rogan. Rogan took to Instagram Friday morning to announce that they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Still, many fans had questions about Rogan’s current state of health. The news of Chappelle’s positive test comes just days after he was photographed maskless with Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, musician Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
Since Grimes, who is also in a relationship with Musk, recently had COVID, many were concerned that she may have exposed the group. Others wondered if Chappelle may have spread it.
Rogan eventually updates his Instagram caption to dismiss the ideas.
“Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” he wrote.“Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (AP News)
Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention
- In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
- The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
- The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.
Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers
Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.
In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.
Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.
When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.
Success Amid Growth of Competition
The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix.
Still, it reached a massive milestone.
“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”
Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.
“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”
Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers
Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.
An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service.
Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles.