- Former First Lady Michelle Obama and a slew of celebrities signed a letter urging the American people to reach out to their senators in support of the For the People Act.
- The bill was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month and features massive expansions to voting rights, including increasing voter registration options, making Election Day a holiday, and requiring two weeks of early voting in federal elections.
- In addition to encouraging U.S. citizens to organize, the letter also asked the Senate to move quickly with this bill and even eliminate the filibuster in order to do so.
- The letter was sent by Obama’s election non-profit When We All Vote. Liza Koshy, Janelle Monáe, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, Kerry Washington, who are all co-chairs of the group, were among the big names attached.
Celebrities Sign Letter Urging Voting Rights Expansions
Michelle Obama, Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe, Selena Gomez, Liza Koshy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and more stars signed a letter with When We All Vote on Tuesday urging Americans to contact their senators in support of the For the People Act, a bill aimed at expanding voting rights nationwide.
The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in early March. Among other things, it will increase voter registration options by allowing same-day and online registration, require two weeks of early voting for federal elections, make Election Day a holiday, and restore the right to vote for people with felony convictions.
Voting rights have become a priority for many Democrats as there are currently 43 states that have carried over, introduced, or pre-filed 253 bills with provisions that restrict voting access.
“What’s happening is this: After more Americans than ever voted in the last presidential election, some state leaders believe that silencing them is the only way to maintain their grip on power,” the letter said. “They’re hoping to choose their voters, rather than the other way around.”
The signers of the letter — which also include Billie Eilish, Blake Lively, Jennifer Lopez, The Jonas Brothers, Tom Hanks, and Kerry Washington — encouraged readers to write to and call their senators to fight against these bills, which “particularly impact Black, Brown, and young people.”
“Some of these undemocratic measures have already become law, with others surely to follow,” the letter added.
The letter mentioned the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol and said that even though some of the insurrectionists are facing justice now, the threat to democracy still exists.
“We write to you today as citizens who love this country and care deeply about its future,” the letter said. “And right now, the most important thing we can do to protect that future is to rise together in support of the For the People Act currently before the Senate—the most significant piece of legislation to strengthen our democracy since the Civil Rights movement.”
The letter also specifically called on the Senate to eliminate or reform the filibuster if that allows the For the People Act to be passed more swiftly. They described it as “a relic of Jim Crow and an arcane chamber rule increasingly abused to create gridlock and forestall progress.”
“We cannot continue to allow the will of the majority of Americans to be overshadowed by an oppositional few fixated on maintaining power,” it said.
Stars Spread the Word Online
Many of the stars who signed the letter shared it on social media to encourage their followers to organize.
“Now is our chance to protect and strengthen our democracy and put power back where it belongs—with the people,” Selena Gomez wrote.
The issue remains in the Senate’s court. On Wednesday, Senators discussed the For the People Act during a hearing. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said it should be a priority for the country.
“Instead of the Republican Party trying to win back voters they lost in this election, they’re trying to disenfranchise voters,” he wrote on Twitter. “The #ForThePeople Act is a priority of this Congress to fight this and renew Democracy.”
Still support is largely divided along party lines and the bill faces opposition from many Republicans, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Ut.) who wrote an editorial dubbing it the “Illegal Voting Act.” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) called it a “solution in search of a problem.”
See what others are saying: (Complex) (The Independent) (USA Today)
Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out as Gay
While making his announcement, the athlete also pledged a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.
Nassib Comes Out
Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday as the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
The 28-year-old made the announcement in an Instagram video, along with a longer written statement.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said in the post.
“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he continued.
“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project.”
He also noted that he was thankful for the support from his NFL coaches and fellow players. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote.
Praise From Sports Community
Nassib’s announcement was met with praise from his team on social media, as well as other athletes and the NFL itself.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on behalf of the league, saying that it “is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth.”
Several football fans and commentators, including sports reporter Jemele Hill, also pointed to the potential impact his bravery could have.
“Carl Nassib likely isn’t the only active gay player in the NFL, but him coming forward will be huge for those who haven’t gotten there yet,” HIll tweeted. “Very courageous decision that will not only help other players but so many young people in this country.”
See what others are saying:(ESPN)(The New York Times)(NBC News)
Billie Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Racist Slur in Old Clip
Eilish said she is “appalled and embarrassed” to have mouthed along to a song containing the term, which she did not know was a slur at the time.
Video Shows Billie Eilish Using Slur
Singer Billie Eilish apologized Monday night for mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur in an old video that recently resurfaced on social media.
The clip was featured in a compilation that went viral on TikTok. In it, she was mouthing along to the song “Fish” by Tyler the Creator, which contains the slur. The compilation also showed her speaking in a voice that many interpreted as her mocking foreign accents or languages.
“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “And this is something that I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not.”
Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Term
The “Bad Guy” singer said she was 13 or 14 at the time the video was taken, and claimed she had no idea the word was a derogatory term at the time.
“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” Eilish wrote. “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”
Regarding accusations that she mocked foreign accents and languages, the singer said she was speaking a “silly gibberish” that she made up as a child and uses around her pets, family, and friends in a joking manner.
“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she added. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”
“Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she continued.
The Grammy Award-winner said that she wants to use her platform to promote “inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity, and equality.” She closed her statement by telling her followers that it is important for people to listen and learn when it comes to conversations about these subjects.
Read her full apology below.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Complex) (The Guardian)
Chrissy Teigen’s Team Says Direct Messages Shared by Michael Costello Were Fake
Teigen’s team accused the designer of faking the screenshots a day after a report from Insider found several “technical inconsistencies” in the photos.
Chrissy Teigen Accused of Bullying Michael Costello
Model Chrissy Teigen released a statement from her team on Friday denying the authenticity of screenshots designer Michael Costello shared last week depicting Teigen bullying him and threatening his career.
Costello’s claims against Teigen came just after she apologized for past offensive social media remarks she made. Those remarks included hateful comments directed at then-16-year-old Courtney Stodden, who received an onslaught of negative press for marrying a 51-year-old man a decade ago. Hours after posting her apology, Costello said he, too, was a victim of Teigen’s online persecution in 2014.
Costello wrote that Teigen attacked him online when a screenshot allegedly showing him making a racist comment was circulating. He claims that the screenshot was fake, but even after he told Teigen this, he alleges that she and her stylist Monica Rose continued to berate him and threaten his career. In his post, he said this drove him to have suicidal thoughts.
He also shared alleged screenshots of direct messages that depicted Teigen telling him his career was dead and that he deserves to “suffer and die.” His post ignited a swift round of backlash and outrage against Teigen and caught the attention of several major news outlets.
Investigations Finds That the Screenshots Were Faked
A Thursday report from Insider alleged that those conversations had been doctored. The investigation found “technical inconsistencies in the purported DMs that could suggest they are manipulated.”
“Several visual identifiers in the images appear to come from various iterations of Instagram and Teigen’s profile throughout the years, which is oftentimes a signature of manipulated imagery,” the article continued.
According to Insider, the screenshot looks like it was taken in 2014, as Teigen did not have a verified check, a status she received early in 2015. However, the message backgrounds in the image have a purple and blue gradient, which did not exist in Instagram until 2020. There is also a video chat icon on top of their chat, a feature that was not introduced until 2018. The photo that appears for Teigen is also her profile picture from 2014. If Costello had gone back and taken that screenshot recently, her current profile picture would have been visible instead of her old one, and again, her verification would be visible.
Teigen shot back on social media Friday, sharing a statement that addressed the inconsistencies noted in the Insider article. The statement, which was written on Teigen’s behalf, also claimed that in early iterations of the screenshots, Teigen’s name had been spelled incorrectly.
“Chrissy is completely surprised and disappointed by Michael Costello’s recent attack, which includes fictional ‘screenshots’ from 2014 of supposed private messages that Chrissy did not send,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Teigen did comment on one of Costello’s posts in 2014 after he was accused of making a racist remark, but she deleted that comment upon learning that the remark was photoshopped. It also claims that Teigen did not work with Rose until 2016, two years after Costello claims he was victimized by her.
Teigen went on to share screenshots of messages the two had exchanged online, which were largely complementary. In one message, Costello praises her lipstick choice. In another, he admires a meal she cooked. Teigen claimed she was under the impression she had a cordial relationship with him.
“Chrissy has acknowledged her past behavior and the pain she has caused but will not stand for anyone spreading false accusations to further demean her name and reputation,” the statement continued. “Chrissy will continue to do the work she needs to do to be the best person she can be. She hopes Michael Costello can do the same.”
“Chrissy has every right to correct the record and defend her name. She is not interested in making Mr. Costello the target of harassment or abuse for anyone claiming to support her.”
Teigen’s husband, singer John Legend, also defended her, saying he had no idea why someone would insert themselves into an already complicated narrative.
“I encourage everyone who breathlessly spread this lie to keep that same energy when they correct the record,” he wrote.
Costello Doubles Down
Since he came out against Teigen, several people have accused Costello of misconduct. A makeup artist who was undergoing chemotherapy said he was sexually harassed by Costello, singer Leona Lewis said he body-shamed her, and a woman who sold him something online said he called her the n-word.
Costello has deleted his original post accusing Teigen of bullying him, which included the allegedly doctored screenshots, though he doubled down on his claim that Teigen tried to ruin his career in a post shared Friday.
“The fact that Chrissy Tiegen and her crisis team are working so hard, so strategically, to come out against the DMs she sent me, and to downplay the comments she publicly posted on my Instagram, only proves that she is the same bully she always has been, despite her fake apology to the public,” he wrote.
He said this will be the last time he speaks on the issue and announced that he is taking a break from social media to aid his mental health.