Connect with us

Entertainment

Meghan Markle Receives Backlash for Her Comments About the Importance of Voting in the 2020 Election

Published

on

  • Meghan Markle spoke at a virtual event for The United State of Women and When We All Vote to speak about the importance of voting in the 2020 election.
  • While she never mentioned any candidate by name or who she supported, she did reference high stakes and a need for change, prompting some to think she was implying she wanted Trump out of office.
  • It is against the rules for royals to speak publicly about their political opinions. Several people, including broadcaster Piers Morgan, called for Meghan’s title to be stripped.
  • On the other hand, many defended her, believing her statements were general and nonpartisan. Some also think that because she and Prince Harry have stepped aside from their roles, they should no longer be bound by those kinds of Royal Family rules.

Meghan Markle Speak About Voting

Over the weekend, Meghan Markle joined the growing voices encouraging people to vote in the 2020 Election. Her calls, however, were met with swift backlash online from those who thought she crossed a royal line. 

On Friday, the Duchess of Sussex spoke at a virtual event held by the United State of Women and When We All Vote to emphasize how important it is to participate in the upcoming election. 

“I think we’re only 75 days away from Election day. And that is so very close and yet there is so much work to be done in that amount of time because we all know what’s at stake this year,” she said. “I know it. I think all of you certainly know it. And if you’re here on this fun event with us then you are just as mobilized and energized to see the change that we all need and deserve.” 

While these remarks sound like standard fare in election dialogue, two key words stood out to a few people. While she never says who she is voting for or ever references any candidate by name, her reference to the “stakes” of the election as well as the call for a needed “change” led many to believe she was implying that she wanted President Donald Trump voted out of office. She would be far from the first celebrity to take such a stance, but sharing political opinions is a little more complicated when it comes to royals. 

Members of the Royal Family are not allowed to share political opinions. However, where Markle and Prince Harry fit into this rule is unclear. The two stepped away from their duties as senior members of the Royal Family earlier this year, meaning they no longer formally represent the Queen or receive money from the family’s Sovereign Grant.

Still, the two technically retained their titles, His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex. Since they are not working members of the Royal Family, they cannot actively use their HRH title, the part that denotes them as His or Her Royal Highness, but they are still known and referred to as the Duke and Duchess. 

Outrage Aimed at Markle

Like most of the centuries-old rules and protocols of the Royal Family, this title jargon makes almost no sense and seems relatively pointless. However, these age-old rules are the bread and butter of the family, and most never dare an attempt to break them. Some think that since Markle and Prince Harry are still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they should still be bound by the guidelines banning them from political speech. Many, including television personality Piers Morgan and Conservative London Assembly member David Kurten, called for Markle’s title to be stripped. 

Radio host Dan Wootton called the incident a “massive diplomatic embarrassment for the Queen.”

Support Expressed for Markle

On the other side though, many don’t think Markle spoke out of turn. Some thought these rules should no longer apply to her, while others said she was simply encouraging people to vote, not speaking in a partisan manner.

“I understand the need to prevent leaders and notable figures seeking to swing another country’s election, that is fair and proper – but to call Markle’s remarks that is surely stretching the point,” Chris Stevenson wrote in a piece for The Independent.

“It’s not like Trump doesn’t offer his opinion on UK matters every time he is asked, normally in a much more straightforward manner than the Duchess of Sussex did,” he added. 

Kate Williams, a history professor who has written books about the Royal Family tweeted out a thread claiming that Markle’s comments were not partisan, and even if they were, she would have been “entirely within her rights.”

“Other royals have talked about elections, matters such as the environment, even written to ministers about policy,” Williams explained. “But #Meghan, who is a US citizen, telling people to take US elections seriously is some sort of terrible scandal.”

“Talking about ‘change’ is NOT partisan!!! Trump voters talk about change – ie more states for him,” she added. “She’d be entirely within her rights to say ‘Go Biden/Harris’. But instead  #Meghan simply talks about importance of voting and is being attacked. It’s madness. Racist  madness.”

History of Attacks in the Press

Unprompted attacks against Markle in the press have become as steady a British staple as bangers and mash or fish and chips. The Duchess has been superficially slammed for everything from shutting a car door to the way she holds her son. Those attacks have also gotten blatantly racist, with one headline claiming that her family went “from cotton slaves to royalty.”

Some believed the outrage hurled at her voting comments were part of this perpetual cycle of criticism, which one person called “disproportionate” and “worrying.” 

Others also wondered why Markle is often the subject of such visceral and constant fury, when Prince Andrew, who has been accused of sexual abuse by a woman who claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a teenager, does not face these regular attacks. Actress Jameela Jamil responded to a tweet calling Markle’s comments embarrassing by saying the family “may be more embarrassed” by Prince Andrew.  

See what others are saying: (Forbes) (Huffington Post) (Harpers Bazaar)

Entertainment

M&M Announces “Progressive” Rebrand. Internet Asks: “Why?”

Published

on

The company hopes its characters will “reflect the more dynamic, progressive world that we live in.” 


M&M Revamps Candy Characters

The green M&M — the femme fatale of the candy world — is swapping her tall white gogo boots for a pair of classic sneakers as part of Mars’ new effort to make the brand more “inclusive, welcoming, and unifying.” The change sparked a swell of backlash online from those who think the plain Jane facelift is unnecessary. 

“M&M’S has been around for more than 80 years and this year the brand continues to evolve to reflect the more dynamic, progressive world that we live in,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“The refreshed M&M’S brand will include a more modern take on the looks of our beloved characters, as well as more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling,” the statement continued.

The company said it hopes for fans to notice an “added emphasis on the ampersand to more prominently demonstrate how the brand aims to bring people together.”

What fans noticed, however, was the fact that the green M&M is no longer, well, sexy. Formerly known as Ms. Green, her prefix was dropped and her poses are less flirty. The same happened with Brown, also a female, who had her footwear changed to lower her heel. The company wants the two to represent a “force supporting women.”

In character bios on M&M’s website, Green described herself as a “hypewoman” who wants to “see more women in leading roles.” Brown says she is “Not bossy. Just the boss.”

The other characters are getting new styles as well. Red, the macho leader, is going to become more friendly and collaborative. Orange is getting to lean into his high anxiety, admitting in his profile that he can’t leave the house without “panicking.”

Twitter Mocks Rebrand

But it turns out, many people were seemingly happy with the gender-normed M&M characters just as they were. Rolling Stone put out a piece asking that Mars “let the green M&M be a nasty little slut.” The Guardian accused the company of “slut-shaming” the iconic candy cartoon.

On Twitter, the redesign was met with even more criticism. 

“I will REFUSE to buy m&m’s until they make the green one SEXY again,” one person tweeted.

“They told green m&m she couldn’t go to euphoria high school anymore,” another person wrote. 

“Finally an M&M with mental health struggles,” someone joked about Orange. 

Others mocked it as an overall small and meaningless gesture of equality from a large corporation. 

“Who needs equitable pay, healthcare, voting rights?” One person tweeted. “That stuff is for chumps. What we need is Woke M&Ms to carry us through these tough times.” 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CBS News) (The Independent)

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Jay-Z, Other Artists, Sign Letter Supporting N.Y. Bill to Block Use of Rap Lyrics in Court

Published

on

The legislation aims to “protect all artists and content creators, including rappers from having their lyrics wielded against them by prosecutors.”


New York Senators Introduce “Rap Music On Trial” Bill

Jay-Z and a slew of other rappers and artists signed a letter this week in support of a New York law that would prevent rap lyrics from being used as evidence in court. 

The bill, titled Rap Music on Trial, was introduced in November by state Sens. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Jamaal Bailey (D-Queens). Rap Music on Trial aims to “enhance the free speech protections of New Yorkers by banning the use of art created by a defendant as evidence against them in a courtroom.”

“The legislation will protect all artists and content creators, including rappers from having their lyrics wielded against them by prosecutors,” a statement released by the senators said. 

If the law were passed, in order to submit lyrics and other creative works as evidence, prosecutors would need to present “clear and convincing proof that there is a literal, factual nexus between creative expression and the facts of the case.”

Hoylman, Bailey, rappers, and many other advocates believe that rap lyrics are often used unfairly in court.

“The use of rap and hip-hop lyrics in particular is emblematic of the systemic racism that permeates our criminal justice system,” Bailey explained in a statement.

Major Artists Sign Letter Backing Legislation

The letter signed by Jay-Z echoed those concerns. It was written by his lawyer, Alex Spiro, and University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson. Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, Kelly Rowland, and Robin Thicke were among the other artists who put their names behind the cause. 

“Rather than acknowledge rap music as a form of artistic expression, police and prosecutors argue that the lyrics should be interpreted literally — in the words of one prosecutor, as ‘autobiographical journals’ — even though the genre is rooted in a long tradition of storytelling that privileges figurative language, is steeped in hyperbole, and employs all of the same poetic devices we find in more traditional works of poetry,” the letter said. 

According to Spiro and Nielson, using rap lyrics allows prosecutors to “obtain convictions even when other evidence is lacking.” They also argued the strategy specifically harms young Black and Latino men, who are “the overwhelming majority of artists in these cases.”

Several high-profile artists have experienced this practice themselves. In their joint statement, Hoylman and Bailey pointed to a 2019 case where Tekashi69’s lyrics were introduced in court to compel him to become a government witness to avoid harsher sentencing. 

Per a report from Rolling Stone, the late Drakeo the Ruler was subjected to something similar while on trial for a 2016 murder case. Before he was acquitted of the crime, prosecutors attempted to use lyrics from his song “Flex Freestyle” in an effort to make jurors think he brought a group of armed people to a party to target the victim.

In the letter, Spiro and Nielson pointed to research that “identified hundreds of cases” where rap lyrics were exploited in court, noting that the genre has the “potential to be highly prejudicial.”

In one study they cited, two groups were given identical violent lyrics, but one group was told those lyrics came from a country song, and the other was told it was rap. Members of the group who believed the lyrics were rap “were significantly more likely to view them as threatening and in need of regulation” than members of those who thought the words came from a country song. 

“Nobody thinks Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, or that David Byrne is a psycho killer, but routinely rappers have their lyrics used against them in criminal trials,” Hoylman said in a November tweet. 

“As these and other studies suggest, weaponizing rap music against its creators is racially and culturally discriminatory,” the letter concluded. “It is also an affront to the First Amendment protections that everyone in this country should be entitled to.” 

See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Billboard) (The Gaurdian)

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Britney Spears Sends Cease and Desist to Jamie Lynn Over Book Tour

Published

on

Britney’s lawyer claimed that Jamie Lynn’s “ill-timed book” contains “misleading or outrageous claims” about the singer.


Britney Spears Slaps Sister With Cease and Desist

Britney Spears sent a cease and desist letter this week demanding her sister, Jamie Lynn, stop “referencing Britney derogatorily during” her book tour.

The two sisters have been embroiled in a heated war of words over the last week, largely prompted by Jamie Lynn’s new memoir, “Things I Should Have Said.” In the book and during its accompanying press tour, Jamie Lynn has discussed a variety of issues, including Britney’s controversial conservatorship, their father’s struggles with alcoholism, and what it was like to be raised in her older sister’s shadow. 

“We write with some hesitation because the last thing Britney wants is to bring more attention to your ill-timed book and its misleading or outrageous claims about her,” Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Variety. “Although Britney has not read and does not intend to read your book, she and millions of her fans were shocked to see how you have exploited her for monetary gain. She will not tolerate it, nor should she.”

The Spears family has been the subject of international headlines over the last year as the legal battle to free the “Toxic” singer from her 13-year conservatorship took off. Britney has been vocal about the fact that she felt largely abandoned by her family while she was in the conservatorship, claiming they did nothing to help her. A Los Angeles judge officially terminated the arrangement in November, giving the pop star newfound control over her life. 

“Having endured a 13-year conservatorship that stripped her of civil rights and fundamental liberties, Britney will no longer be bullied by her father or anyone else,” the letter continued. “Britney was the family’s breadwinner and she also otherwise supported you. Publicly airing false or fantastical grievances is wrong, especially when designed to sell books. It is also potentially unlawful and defamatory.”

Spears Sisters Duke it Out on Social Media

During the press tour, Jamie Lynn has conducted interviews aired on “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” and the “Call Her Daddy” podcast with Alex Cooper. Britney has taken issue with several stories Jamie Lynn told, including one where she claims Britney locked them inside a room together with a knife because she was “scared.”

“I’ve never been around you ever with a knife or would I ever even think to do such,” Britney wrote in one Twitter post denying the story.

“Hope your book does well, Jamie Lynn !!!!” the singer wrote in another post. “My family ruined my dreams 100 billion percent and try to make me look like the crazy one.”

Jamie Lynn has defended her choice to write the memoir, arguing that she is “speaking my truth to heal my traumas.” 

“I hate to burst my sister’s bubble, but my book is not about her,” she wrote. “I can’t help that I was born a Spears too, and that some of my experiences involve my sister.

Rosengart mentioned this statement in the cease and desist letter. 

“You recently reportedly stated that the book was ‘not about her.’ [Britney] takes you at your word and we, therefore, demand that you cease and desist from referencing Britney derogatorily during your promotional campaign,” he wrote. “If you fail to do so or defame her, Britney will be forced to consider and take all appropriate legal action.”

See what others are saying: (Variety) (USA Today) (Rolling Stone)

Continue Reading