- Internet users have spent days talking about the music video for Lil Nas X’s new song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and his limited line of Satan-themed sneakers.
- Fans praised the singer for reclaiming the predominantly Christian narrative that gay people are sinners by embracing Hell in his video, which at one point features him sliding down a stripper pole to give Satan a lap dance.
- Many conservatives were outraged by his use of imagery regarding Hell and the devil as well as its potential impact on children, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlyn Bennet, and political commentator Candace Owens.
- Lil Nas X reminded people that parents are responsible for what their kids listen to and tweeted, “i spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the sh*t y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay. so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”
Lil Nas X Responds To Backlash
Lil Nas X fired back at critics who are slamming the music video for his new song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and the accompanying limited line of Satan shoes he released.
The music video debuted on Friday and has since been viewed 33 million times. In the most talked about part of the video, Lil Nas X slides down a stripper pole into Hell and gives Satan a lap dance. Many people loved it and praised the singer for reclaiming the predominantly Christian narrative that gay people are sinners by embracing Hell in his video. However, others — mostly Christians and conservatives — were offended by the imagery and references to the devil.
Throughout the weekend, many have been tweeting that they are horrified by it. Because the musician’s most famous song “Old Town Road” was so popular with children, many are specifically upset that kids might watch the video and be impacted by it.
However, Lil Nas X slammed those who thought that he should stay in a PG-lane just because younger people liked “Old Town Road.”
“I literally sing about lean & adultery in old town road,” he wrote on Twitter, adding , “u decided to let your child listen. blame yourself.”
This backlash was something Lil Nas X anticipated as his song and video openly celebrate his sexuality. Prior to releasing the project, he shared a letter he wrote to his 14-year-old self, who was still in the closet with no plans to come out as gay.
“This [song] will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist,” he wrote. “You see, this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.”
He expanded on this idea as outrage rolled in.
“I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the sh*t y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay, so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves,” he said on Twitter.
Outrage Over “Satan Shoes”
In addition to the song and video, people were also outraged by limited edition Satan shoes the singer released with MSCHF. Styled after Nike Air Max 97s, promotions for the sneakers say each of the 666 pairs contain a drop of blood. Nike has denied involvement in the line, which sold out in under a minute on Monday morning.
As backlash regarding the sneakers began to roll in, Lil Nas X posted a fake apology video on YouTube on Sunday.
“Okay guys, I see everybody’s been talking about this shoe and I just want to come forward and say,” he said before the video cuts to the part of his “Montero” music video where he gives Satan a lap dance.
The sneakers also landed him in a brief Twitter fight with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) who slammed the shoes on Twitter.
“Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it’s “exclusive.” But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul,” she wrote.
Lil Nas X responded with, “ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!”
Noem hit back with a quote from the Bible and Lil Nas X ended their riff by replying with most suggestive lyrics in his song.
Lil Nas X Spars With Conservative Media Figures
Noem was far from the only conservative figure Lil Nas X called out on Twitter. He called commentator Candance Owns a “flop” after she tweeted about his sneakers and asked, “But we’re convinced it’s white supremacy that’s keeping black America behind. How stupid can we be?”
“You know you did something right when she talks about it,” he added.
The musician also sparred with Kaitlin Bennett, known on the Internet as “gun girl” because of a viral photoshoot where she walked around the campus of Kent State University with an assault rifle.
“It’s [weeks] like these that I’m thankful to be blocked by Lil Nas X,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I still see ur tweets shitty pants,” Lil Nas X responded, referencing a popular but unproven rumor that Bennett once soiled herself at a party.
Bennett replied by asking, “Do you still see your dad?” Lil Nas X then said, “yep and i might fuck yours.”
While some thought that was a mic drop-moment, Bennett shared a screenshot of the tweet in an effort to rile up her followers and other conservatives by claiming the singer was threatening to rape her father.
On Monday, Lil Nas X was still on Twitter addressing the controversy he stirred.
“We are in a pandemic and y’all are going on day 5 of being mad at a gay n**** who don’t do none but tweet all day,” he wrote.
See what others are saying: (Slate) (Entertainment Weekly) (The Hill)
The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”
The group said that by severing ties with Fulmer, it felt like they were losing a friend.
“That Is Not What We Stand For”
Digital comedy and sketch group The Try Guys posted a video on Monday night explaining the recent removal of member Ned Fulmer.
Last week, the Internet was filled with speculation that Fulmer, who is married with children, was having an affair with a staffer for The Try Guys. Fulmer confirmed the reports, claiming he had a “consensual workplace relationship.” The Try Guys quickly announced that Fulmer would no longer be working with the group as the result of an internal review.
In Monday’s video, the remaining three members, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger, explained what led to their decision to remove Fulmer. While the trio noted there were legal issues that prevented them from sharing certain details, they wanted to be as transparent as possible.
“On Labor Day weekend, multiple fans alerted us that they had seen Ned and an employee engaging in public romantic behavior,” Habersberger explained. “We reached out to check on that employee and Ned confirmed the reports, and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time, which was obviously very shocking to us.”
He emphasized that the rest of the group “had no idea this was going on.”
After this, The Try Guys reached out to a variety of lawyers and HR professionals to make sure they handled the situation correctly.
“This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are, and that is not what we stand for.”
Removing Fulmer From Content
They decided to immediately remove Fulmer from work activities and hired an HR rep to conduct a review. Fulmer was also withdrawn from releases pending the results of that review.
As part of this, his video section was erased, he was digitally taken out of some content, and he was not included in merch drops. The Try Guys said this was a long and tedious process.
“Honestly, I want to give major props to our editing staff for how deftly they handled that,” Kornfeld said. “There are several videos that we have deemed as fully unreleasable, you will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that is a decision that has cost us lots of money.”
“We will not be able to recoup that money,” he continued. “But it’s a decision we stand by proudly.”
The group declined to share details of the review but claimed it found that Fulmer engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of the team. Because of this, Yang, Kornfeld, and Habersberger gave written consent on Sept. 16 to ax Fulmer as a manager and employee of The Try Guys company.
The three said they were always planning to make a public statement about their decision, but were initially waiting out of respect to the families and employees involved. As online speculation arose, they chose to deal with it sooner.
“We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with, we just made a TV show together,” Kornfeld said. “I’m sure many of you feel the same way.”
According to the group, some upcoming videos featuring Fulmer will be edited to remove him. They said they are currently taking time to reimagine their channel.
Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use
Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.
Willis Debunks Rumors
Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake.
Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects.
However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.
“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.
Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.
This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful.
“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”
Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise.
See what others are saying: (BBC) (Mashable) (The Telegraph)
Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts
The cut in revenue share has ignited severe backlash on Twitch, where users argue pay for creators should be increased, not slashed.
Revenue Share Shake Up
Twitch users are criticizing the company for hiring artist Megan Thee Stallion to perform at TwitchCon just one week after announcing cutbacks to top creator pay.
Last week, the video and streaming platform said that starting in June of next year, some creators will receive less revenue from their subscriptions. While the standard split for subscription revenue is 50/50, some major streamers previously received a more favorable 70/30 share in premium agreement terms.
Many creators have long argued that everyone should get that 70/30 share, but Twitch took a step in the opposite direction. In the future, streamers with premium terms will only get the 70/30 slice for their first $100,000 from subscription revenue. After that, they will get bumped down to the regular 50/50 cut.
The company argued the move was necessary as the premium terms previously lacked transparency and consistency, insisting it tried to modify the policy in a way that impacted the least amount of creators. According to Twitch’s statement, 90% of streamers on standard agreements will not even be impacted by the change.
Still, this move outraged Twitch users who were furious the company was not investing more in the creators that bring so many viewers to its platform. Those frustrations were exacerbated on Wednesday when the company announced Megan Thee Stallion would make an appearance at TwitchCon, a weekend-long event set to take place in San Diego in early October.
Backlash Continues to Mount
While no details of Megan Thee Stallion’s agreement to perform have been disclosed, one can assume she charges a pretty penny to book at an event of this nature. Critics argued that if Twitch is willing to spend money on her, it should be willing to spend it on its own streamers.
“So Twitch can’t afford to pay their creators 70/30, can’t fix their media player that crashes after each ad, can’t enforce their policies so people aren’t doing inappropriate things on stream, but they can afford paying celebrities to promote their streaming site?” one person wrote.
“It’s weird that a company that just announced a bunch of budget cuts due to infrastructure costs goes out and grabs an A-list musician instead of promoting their own musicians that run on their platform,” another person claimed.
“Instead of giving your creators a cut they deserve when they do so much work, this is what you do…?” one user asked. “Maybe give your creators a better deal instead of wasting their hard earned money on things we don’t even want.”
Twitch has not responded to the outrage, but Megan Thee Stallion was not the only music act the Amazon-owned service booked for the event. Kim Petras and Meet Me at the Altar will also take the stage at TwitchCon.
The backlash comes as concerns have been mounting against Twitch for a plethora of reasons including creator pay, gambling streams, and more.
In recent months, some of the platform’s biggest names have left Twitch in favor of rival services like YouTube Gaming.