- Melissa Lingafelt, a singer who now goes by Jimi Ono, posted a TikTok claiming that she was physically and verbally abused by her former boyfriend, actor Drake Bell, who she dated between 2006 and 2009. She was 16 when they began dating and he was 20.
- After her post went viral, others sent her messages accusing Bell of having sex with minors and claiming to have known about her abuse. One person said Bell raped her when she was in 8th grade.
- Two women who had serious relationships with him also sent her words of support and claimed they experience similar abuse.
- Bell denied Ono’s allegations, adding that he is reviewing his legal option and questioning whether Ono is lying for some other reason because she reached out to him for financial support last year, which he says he gave.
Abuse Allegations Go Viral
Actor Drake Bell is facing some serious abuse allegations from a former girlfriend who shared her alleged experiences with him in a now-viral TikTok.
Bell reported started dating a woman by the name of Melissa Lingafelt in 2006 when she was 16 and he would have been 20. That woman, a musician who now goes by Jimi Ono, first hinted at issues with Bell as part of a recent TikTok trend. Earlier this week, she posted a video featuring the song “Bulletproof” by La Roux with text that read: “Think you can hurt my feelings? I lived with and dated an alcoholic, abusive Drake Bell from 16-19.”
On Wednesday, she expanded on those claims with another post, starting off by saying she doesn’t care if anyone believes her because this is her story.
Then she said: “It wasn’t until recently that I actually realized that abuse is something that all women have to go through. When I started dating Drake, I was 16. I was home-schooled, I moved in with him, I was singing. It wasn’t until about a year when the verbal abuse started. And when I say verbal abuse, imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine, and that was what I got. It then turned into physical — hitting, throwing, everything. At the pinnacle of it, he drug me down the stairs of our house in Los Feliz. My face hit every step on the way down. I have photos of this.I don’t event want to get into the underage girls thing. I mean I will, but I’m scared.”
That video quickly spread throughout the app and was shared across other platforms as well. Eventually, Ono posted a statement to her Instagram story, saying that anyone who has been a friend of hers over the last 15 years knows about what she experienced.
She added, “Nobody wants attention from abuse!!!!!!! I hope this gives girls the strength to come out about their experiences with him, because I know for a fact he has hundreds of victims.”
Other Alleged Victims Speak Out
In the hours that followed her initial claims, Ono posted several other TikTok’s with screenshots of texts and direct messages she has received. Some of these posts were also shared on her Twitter and Instagram story.
The first showed someone saying they remember her telling them about the abuse, writing, “I remember the pics. I remember the physical fights. I remember him throwing you in a bathtub and scalding you with water. I remember him breaking all your antiques and I also remember calling the cops on him and having to stay at Molly’s house until shit fizzled over.”
Other posts show responses to her Instagram story, where some accused Bell of sleeping with minors. One individual even claimed that Bell raped her when she was in the 8th grade, while another wrote, “I remember you speaking to my friend on the phone after it happened and you told her he chocked you and spit in your face. That was in 2006.”
On top of that, Ono also shared direct messages from Bell’s ex-girlfriend of five years, Paydin Layne LoPachin. In those messages, LoPachin shared support and said, “I went through the same horrific verbal, physical, and mental abuse.” She also agreed with Ono’s claim that he had sex with “hundreds of underage girls.”
Finally, Ono shared a message from Gillian Leos, who also allegedly had a serious relationship with Bell. In that post, Leos says she dated Bell from 2001-2005/2006. She explained that she wished she had more proof for what she experienced, saying she has some photos but no voicemails or texts because “he broke every phone I had back then.”
“Like you I have many friends & witnesses to attest what he put me through,” she added.
Drake Bell Denies Allegations
Bell, for his part, has denied Ono’s allegations. In a statement to Variety, he said, “I never abused my ex-girlfriend or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her Tik Tok video,”
“As our relationship ended—more than a decade ago—we unfortunately, both called each other terrible names, as often happens when couples are breaking up. But that is it.”
“Clearly, Melissa still felt close enough to me just last year that she was comfortable reaching out to ask me to provide her with financial support during a tough time (which I did). I do not know if today’s behavior is some kind of misguided quest for more money or attention. But I cannot and will not allow these offensive and defamatory allegations to go unchallenged and I am reviewing my legal options.”
He has not addressed any of the other allegations against him.
Ono Clears Up Rumors
Even after Bell’s response, Ono has continued to be vocal about her experience. She’s also been responding to users online in an effort to shut down rumors that she is not the same person shown in the photos that were in the TikTok.
In response to one user, she said, “The photos were taken of me 14 years ago. I had a little lip filler, and that’s that on that.”
She also clarified the name discrepancies people were seeing, saying Mellisa Lingafelt was her legal name. “I actually started going by Melissa Baldwin when dating drake. Baldwin is my mother’s maiden name and I was having problems with family at home.”
“I started going by my nickname, Jimi, (my grandfathers name) after breaking up with drake. I don’t like being called my legal name. I wanted seperaation from that time in my life.”
In other replies, she mentioned that she did go to the police, but did not explain when.
She believes has more underage victims and said she now has other alleged victims who have agreed to stand by her in court.
She hinted at legal action once more writing, “Everyone that has made accusations, including myself, ALL have witness accounts and evidence. Justice will be served!”
Jake Paul Launches Anti-Bullying Charity
The charity, called Boxing Bullies, aims to use the sport to give kids confidence and courage.
Jake Paul Launches Boxing Bullies Foundation
YouTuber Jake Paul — best known as the platform’s boxer, wreckless partier, and general troublemaker — has seemingly launched a non-profit to combat bullying.
The charity is called Boxing Bullies. According to a mission statement posted on Instagram, it aims to “instill self confidence, leadership, and courage within the youth through the sport of boxing while using our platform, voice, and social media to fight back against bullying.”
If the notion of a Paul-founded anti-bullying charity called “Boxing Bullies” was not already begging to be compared to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Best Best” initiative, maybe the group’s “Boxing Bullies Commandments” will help connect the dots. Those commandments use an acronym for the word “BOX” to spell out the charity’s golden rules.
“Be kind to everyone; Only defend, never initiate; X-out bullying.”
Paul Hopes To “Inspire” Kids To Stand Up For Themselves
Paul first said he was launching Boxing Bullies during a July 13 interview following a press conference for his upcoming fight against Tyron Woodley.
“I know who I am at the end of the day, which is a good person,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to change this sport, bring more eyeballs. I’m trying to support other fighters, increase fighter pay. I’m starting my charity, I’m launching that in 12 days here called Boxing Bullies and we’re helping to fight against cyberbullying.”
It has not been quite 12 days since the interview, so it’s likely that more information about the organization will be coming soon. Currently, the group has been the most active on Instagram, where it boasts a following of just around 1,200 followers. It has posted once to Twitter, where it has 32 followers; and has a TikTok account that has yet to publish any content. It also has a website, though there is not too much on it as of yet.
On its Instagram, one post introducing Paul as the founder claims the rowdy YouTuber started this charity because he has been on the receiving end of bullying.
“Having been a victim of bullying himself, Jake experienced firsthand the impact it has on a person’s life,” the post says. “Jake believes that this is a prevailing issue in society that isn’t talked about enough. Boxing gave Jake the confidence to not care about what others think and he wants to share the sport and the welfare it‘s had on him with as many kids as possible.”
It adds that he hopes his group can“inspire the next generation of kids to be leaders, be athletes, and to fight back against bullying.”
Paul Previously Accused of Being a Bully
While fighting against bullying is a noble cause, it is an ironic project for Paul to start, as he has faced no shortage of bullying accusations. While Paul previously sang about “stopping kids from getting bullied” in the lunchroom, some have alleged he himself was actually a classic high school bully who threw kids’ backpacks into garbage cans.
This behavior allegedly continued into his adulthood, as a New York Times report from earlier this year claimed he ran his Team 10 house with a culture of toxicity and bullying. Among other things, sources said he involved others in violent pranks, pressured people into doing dangerous stunts, and destroyed peoples’ personal property to make content.
See what others are saying: (Dexerto)
Director Defends Recreating Anthony Bourdain’s Voice With AI in New Documentary
The film’s director claims he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent, but on Thursday, Bourdain’s widow publicly denied ever giving that permission.
Bourdain’s Voice Recreated
“You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Anthony Bourdain says in a voiceover featured in “Roadrunnner,” a newly released documentary about the late chef — except Bourdain never actually said those words aloud.
Instead, it’s one of three lines in the film, which features frequent voiceovers from Bourdain, that were created through the use of artificial intelligence technology.
That said, the words are Bourdain’s own. In fact, they come from an email Bourdain reportedly wrote to a friend prior to his 2018 suicide. Nonetheless, many have now questioned whether recreating Bourdain’s voice was ethical, especially since documentaries are meant to reflect reality.
Director Defends Use of AI Voice
The film’s director, Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, has defended his use of the synthetic voice, telling Variety that he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent before inserting the lines into the film.
“There were a few sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke aloud,” Neville said. “It was a modern storytelling technique that I used in a few places where I thought it was important to make Tony’s words come alive.”
Bourdain’s widow — Ottavia Bourdain, who is the executor of his estate — later denied Neville’s claim on Twitter, saying, “I certainly was NOT the one who said Tony would have been cool with that.”
In another interview with GQ, Neville described the process, saying the film’s creators “fed more than ten hours of Tony’s voice into an AI model.”
“The bigger the quantity, the better the result,” he added. “We worked with four companies before settling on the best.”
“If you watch the film,” Neville told The New Yorker, “you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know. We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.”
The Ethics Debate Isn’t Being Tabled
But many want to have that discussion now.
Boston-based film critic Sean Burns, who gave the film a rare negative review, later criticized it again for its unannounced use of AI, saying he wasn’t aware that Bourdain’s voice had been recreated until after he watched the documentary.
Meanwhile, The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner wrote that the “seamlessness of the effect is eerie.”
“If it had been a human voice double I think the reaction would be “huh, ok,” but there’s something truly unsettling about the idea of it coming from a computer,” Rosner later tweeted.
Online, many others have criticized the film’s use of AI, with some labeling it as a “deepfake.”
Others have offered more mixed criticism, saying that while the documentary highlights the need for posthumous AI use to be disclosed, it should not be ruled out altogether.
“In a world where the living could consent to using AI to reproduce their voices posthumously, and where people were made aware that such a technology was being used, up front and in advance, one could envision that this kind of application might serve useful documentary purposes,” David Leslie, ethics lead at the Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.
Celebrities Recreated After Death
The posthumous use of celebrity likeness in media is not a new debate. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac took the stage 15 years after his death. In 2014, the Billboard Music Awards brought a hologram of Michael Jackson onstage five years after his death. Meanwhile, the Star Wars franchise digitally recreated actor Peter Cushing in 2016’s “Rogue One,” and unused footage of actress Carrie Fisher was later translated into “The Rise of Skywalker,” though a digital version of Fisher was never used.
In recent years, it has become almost standard for filmmakers to say that they will not create digital versions of characters whose actors die unexpectedly. For example, several months after Chadwick Boseman’s death last year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” executive producer Victoria Alonso confirmed Boseman would not be digitally recreated for his iconic role as King T’Challa.
See what others are saying: (BBC) (Yahoo! News) (Variety)
Doctors Want You to Know: Whatever You Do, Don’t Stick Garlic up Your Nose to Try and Relieve Congestion
They warn the new TikTok trend could cause even worse problems, such as irritation and swelling.
TikTok Garlic Nose Trend
In a viral trend that feels eerily similar to the Nutmeg Challenge, doctors are now warning people against participating in a TikTok trend that has users shoving whole cloves of garlic up their noses for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
In the videos, creators claim that garlic can relieve sinus congestion, and once they pull the cloves out of their nostrils, an excessive amount of snot comes flowing out of their noses.
“Since tik tok took it down the first time. THIS IS NOT DANGEROUS. The garlic cleans out your sinuses,” TikTok user hwannah5 said in a June 25 post.
Doctors are now warning the opposite, saying that there’s no medical proof garlic acts as a decongestant.
As Dr. Richard Wender of the University of Pennsylvania told Insider, “Evidence is important, and it would be wrong to say that we’ve done extensive research about garlic in noses.”
“But in general, garlic itself and the chemicals of garlic don’t interact much with human tissue,” he added.
Wender went on to explain that stuffing one’s nose with foreign objects can actually cause irritation and swelling, rather than relief.
“Yes, it’s true that garlic has some antibacterial properties, which means it may be useful to treat a variety of common ailments,” Dr. Deborah Lee from Dr. Fox Online Pharmacy told Delish. “In one study, those who took garlic supplements for three months had less colds than those who did not. But this is not the same as actively treating a stuffy nose or blocked sinuses. Garlic is not a decongestant, and in fact, may just irritate the lining of the nose and airways and make symptoms worse.”
As far as what’s causing streams of snot to pour out of people’s noses after inserting their garlic plugs, Wender said that may be occurring because the nose produces mucus when irritated. On top of that, the cloves can also block already-existing mucus from flowing.
Instead, doctors recommend using already-known solutions if you’re feeling congested, such as vapor rubs, antihistamines, over-the-counter saline sprays, and neti pots.
TikTok user hwannah5 later responded to a doctor’s explanation that the clove blocks create rather than clear mucus, noting that others shouldn’t repeatedly try the blocks. Doctors contend that the trend should not be done at all.