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L.A. Frozen Yogurt Shop Addresses Online Rumors After Demi Lovato Slammed It for Offering Sugar-Free Options

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  • A Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt shop denied reports that singer Demi Lovato had sent it a donation or caused any changes to its menu after rumors spread on social media this week.
  • Lovato launched a feud with the froyo store, named The Bigg Chill, over the weekend for offering “tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods.” She called the shop, and other brands that do the same, “diet culture vultures.”
  • The Bigg Chill responded by saying they offer such items for people with dietary restrictions like diabetes and celiac disease.
  • Lovato apologized for the tone of her messaging and suggested the shop label its products in a way that is less triggering for people like herself who are recovering from eating disorders.

Froyo Shop Clarifies Rumors

There’s nothing quite like a good rivalry. David Vs. Goliath, Rocky Vs. Apollo Creed, The Jedi vs. The Sith, and now, Demi Lovato vs. a Los Angeles frozen yogurt joint called The Bigg Chill.

The befuddling feud started over the weekend when the singer called the shop out on Instagram for carrying “tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods.” As of Wednesday, the fallout from the controversy has not died down and The Bigg Chill had to take to their Instagram story to clarify rumors that are spreading as a result of the saga. 

Some internet users have been claiming that the frozen yogurt shop changed its menu following the public dispute. Others have said that Lovato gifted The Bigg Chill a generous apology donation. Neither appear to be true. 

“We have not received any donations from Demi’s team nor do we want one,” The Bigg Chill wrote. “We have not made any changes to our menu.

Demi Lovato Calls Out The Bigg Chill

Lovato is recovering from an eating disorder and has been very open about her struggle. On social media, she regularly advocates for body positivity, mental health, and has called out trends that promote eating disorders. Her weekend post that called out The Bigg Chill attempted to do just that.

“Finding it extremely hard to order froyo from The Bigg Chill when you have to walk past tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods before you get to the counter,” she wrote. “Do better please. #DietCultureVultures.”

The Bigg Chill ended up responding to her, saying that they carry these options for people with certain dietary needs and restrictions, like vegans, people with diabetes, celiac disease, and more. The company also privately messaged her to clarify this and apologize if she found this offensive. 

Lovato shared that message and her response on Instagram. She said her entire experience in the shop was triggering and that they should make the shop more inviting for everyone, noting that eating disorders are among the deadliest mental illnesses. 

“You aren’t wrong for catering to many different needs but it’s about not excluding one demographic to cater to others,” she wrote. 

She also suggested that the shop should label these products differently so that their intent is clear and the diet-focused messaging does not trigger people recovering from eating disorders.

The back-and-forth generated a lot of chatter on social media, largely from people who did not understand Lovato’s choice to so strongly condemn The Bigg Chill. Many frozen yogurt and other dessert shops offer sugar-free, gluten-free, or other diet-flexible options, so the attack appeared to come from left field. Others thought it was unfair for her to draw so much negative attention to a local business. 

Fellow celebrities ended up getting involved, either quietly or with strong intent. In fact, the Bigg Chill ended up sharing an Instagram story posted by media personality Mia Khalifa, who tagged the shop in a photo and encouraged people to support local businesses that accommodate dietary needs. 

Actress Jameela Jamil backed Lovato on Instagram, arguing that the marketing of diet products and health foods should change. 

“If an eating disorder advocate says she sees products that are positioned as guilt free, and it is potentially triggering, that doesn’t mean she’s too stupid to remember that diabetics exist,” Jamil wrote. “It just means that we need to change the marketing of products that are for people’s medical needs.”

“Guilt free is diet culture terminology,” she added. “We need to stop using that fucking term.”

Lovato Apologizes

Lovato ended up apologizing to The Bigg Chill in an eight minute video on Instagram. She said her messaging did not come across as intended and that she really just wanted to express how triggering the experience was for her. 

She explained that for her and other people recovering from eating disorders, going into a froyo shop, ordering something, and feeling good about that choice is extremely difficult. She said seeing a variety of diet products on display just reminds her of this.

“So that’s why I’m super sensitive when I walk into a froyo place and I see diet stuff. I’m going to be protective,” she said. “I’m protective of the little girl inside of me that didn’t get that representation at a young age of someone saying ‘all of this diet stuff is not okay, you’re worth more than that.’” 

“My intentions were not to come in and bully a small business,” she continued. “That was not it. I walked in and was so triggered that I left without froyo and it made me really sad.”

Lovato also said she would be willing to work with The Bigg Chill to change the branding of those products if they were interested. On Wednesday, the shop said that outside of what they described as her “Sorry Not Sorry” apology, they have not heard from the star or or her team. 

While this rigmarole may have been akin to a headache for the store, it appears to have generated a good amount of free press for the business. According to the Los Angeles Times, prior to Lovato’s post, The Bigg Chill had 6,000 Instagram followers. As of Wednesday afternoon, it has 34,000.

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (HuffPost) (Eater)

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Childish Gambino Sued for Alleged Copyright Infringement

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  • Florida rapper Kidd Wes filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Thursday against Grammy award-winning artist Childish Gambino.
  • Kidd Wes claims Childish Gambino’s 2018 song “This Is America” plagiarized his 2016 song “Made in America,” arguing that the two songs have “nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic compositional and performance content.”
  • Kidd Wes’ lawyers said his client is seeking damages from profits for record sales, endorsements, and other income sources. 

Childish Gambino Faces Lawsuit

Grammy award-winning rapper Childish Gambino, AKA Donald Glover, is being sued for alleged copyright infringement by Florida rapper Kidd Wes.

Kidd Wes, whose real name is Emelike Nwosuocha, claims Glover’s 2018 song “This Is America” plagiarized his song “Made in America,” which came out in 2016.

According to Pitchfork, he filed a lawsuit in a New York federal court on Thursday arguing that “the substantial similarities between both songs include, but are not limited to, nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic compositional and performance content contained in the chorus—or ‘hook’—sections that are the centerpieces of both songs.”

Pitchfork reported that defendants in the suit include Glover, the song’s co-writer Young Thug, producer Lüdwig Goransson, Kobalt Music, RCA Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Young Stoner Life Publishing LLC, 300 Entertainment, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, Roc Nation, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Warner Chappell Music.

“This Is America” and its accompanying music video were praised for providing stark social commentary on America’s history with racism, inequality, and gun violence. In 2019, it won both Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards, making it the first rap song to take home the prize in either of those top categories. The song has been streamed over 465 million times on Spotify and the music video has been viewed on YouTube over 773 million times.

Lawyers Argue Similarities Are “Beyond Coincidental”

The music video for “Made in America” has just over 415,000 views on YouTube. Nwosuocha has 12,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. While Nwosuocha may have a smaller platform than Glover, his lawyers claim it is no mistake that the two songs sound alike. 

“The similarities between the two pieces of music are beyond coincidental, and amounts to infringement as alleged in the complaint filed by our client, Emelike Nwosuocha, professionally known as Kidd Wes,” attorneys Imran H. Ansari and La’Shawn N. Thomas told Pitchfork. “Mr. Nwosuocha is confident in his claims, and simply seeks the credit and compensation he deserves for the unauthorized use of his music.” 

Nwosuocha is reportedly seeking damages from profit in roughly 43 instances, including record sales, ringtones, endorsements, and record masters.

Glover has not responded publicly to the lawsuit. This is not the first time he has been accused of plagiarism over the song “This Is America.” Previously, he was accused of taking inspiration from New York rapper Jase Harley’s song “American Pharaoh.” At the time, Harley said he did not want to take legal action. Glover’s manager also denied Glover stole from Harley’s work.

See what others are saying: (Pitchfork) (A.V. Club) (The Guardian)

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MrBeast Accused of Creating Toxic Workplace

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  • YouTuber MrBeast, who is known for his massive giveaways, was accused of fostering a toxic workplace in a Tuesday article by The New York Times. 
  • One former employee claimed he quit after a week because MrBeast had unreasonable demands and “nothing ever worked for him.”
  • Another, named Matt Turner, said he was berated almost every day and was often called a “phrase used to insult people with mental disabilities.” 
  • Turner previously posted several videos about his experience working for MrBeast. In one, he praised the YouTuber and thanked him for a fun experience, but in another, he painted a negative and hostile picture of MrBeast.

MrBeast Accused of Creating Toxic Workplace

YouTuber MrBeast was accused of creating a toxic workplace in a Tuesday article from The New York Times. 

Jimmy Donaldson, who goes by MrBeast online, is known for his massive giveaways and “stunt philanthropy” videos. He has gained a substantial following and as The Times, noted, is a huge influence for many young creators. 

However, former employees said that behind the scenes, Donaldson is a very different person. According to The Times, his corporate entities “have been rife with favoritism and bullying.”

Matt Turner, who was an editor for Donaldson between 2018 and 2019, said that he was berated “almost every day” and that Donaldson often called him by a “phrase used to insult people with mental disabilities,” which would leave him in tears. 

According to the report, Donaldson initially largely hired friends to work for him, but as his empire grew, so did his number of staffers. Turner told The Times that while those friends got to be in videos, he struggled to be acknowledged. 

“I was not to be credited for anything I did,” Turner said. “I’d ask for credit, he’d credit someone else.”

Another former staffer, Nate Anderson, said he worked for Donaldson for a week in 2018 before quitting because of what he described as unreasonable demands.

“Nothing ever worked for him,” he told The Times. “He always wanted it a certain way.”

When Anderson uploaded a video describing his experience, he was met with hateful messages and even death threats from Donaldson’s fans. Turner said the same happened to him when he posted videos and wrote about his experience on social media. 

The Times spoke to, 20-year-old Akash Rathod, a fan who found Donaldson’s silence regarding these complaints and the subsequent death threats from his followers troubling. 

“There needs to be more from Mr. Beast on the issues his fans are causing,” Rathod said. “It’s not enough just to make positive videos.”

Donaldson did not give a comment to The Times for their piece. A representative for him declined to talk about the workplace allegations and only acknowledged a part of the piece that briefly mentioned Donaldson’s past use of slurs and offensive jokes.

“When Jimmy was a teenager and was first starting out, he carelessly used, on more than one occasion, a gay slur,” the representative said. 

They added that he now “knows there is no excuse for homophobic rhetoric” and “has grown up and matured into someone that doesn’t speak like that.”

Former Employee’s Previous Remarks

Rogue Rocket reached out to Donaldson for comment. In response, MrBeast sent a clip that Turner previously posted where he discussed his work experience in a much brighter light. In that video, which has since been deleted but exists in reuploads, Turner referred to the gig as a “dream job” and recommended others work for Donaldson. 

“If you have the opportunity to get this job that I had, totally take it,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. It was basically just like a friendship. And going to work was a blast each and every day.” 

Turner then said his decision to part ways from the role was mutual, as the company knew he would not be in the job for the long haul. Turner said he was going to college, wanted to backpack across Asia, and was considering moving to Los Angeles eventually, so they decided to part ways. 

He also claimed that even after he was no longer working there, Donaldson, who had been paying for his rent while he worked for him, continued to pay for him to stay in his apartment and encouraged him to stay as long as he needed. Turner said he even continued to receive paychecks after he left the job for an unspecified period of time. 

“And that is basically funding my trip to backpack across Asia,” he explained. “He’s saying, ‘You don’t have to work for me, but I’ll still pay you. And because of that, I hope that lets you live in L.A., go to college, backpack Asia, whatever you want to do after this, I want to set you up for that.’” 

“If you’re watching this MrBeast, I fucking love you bro,” he continued. 

However, these are not the only remarks Turner has made about his experience working for Donaldson prior to the release of The New York Times report. He previously posted several tweets, which were later taken down, describing a hostile environment where he was “bullied” and “having mental breakdowns day after day.”

He also posted another video, which was deleted but has been partially reuploaded by other channels, where he said that he only posted positive remarks about Donaldson to “clout chase” because he was afraid of what would happen if he spoke ill of the YouTuber. He then painted a much more confrontational picture of Donaldson, telling a story where Donaldson allegedly wiped an entire project and cursed at him after being unhappy with an edit.

Taylor Laurenz, who wrote the article about Donaldson in The New York Times, told Insider that this story is reflective of a larger issue within creator culture. 

“For a large portion of Gen Z that doesn’t want to be creators themselves, working for a creator seems like an absolute dream job,” she said. “But we see time and time again that these creators have basically little to no management experiences and, behind the scenes, can create a really hostile, stressful environment.”

“Working for a 22-year-old YouTube star isn’t going to be the most professional work environment,” she added. “But if you are posturing yourself as a business leader or the next Elon Musk, you should think about the type of work culture you’re creating and what you are rewarding.”

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Insider) (Dexerto)

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Will Smith To Make Docuseries About Getting Fit After Saying He’s “In The Worst Shape” of His Life

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  • Will Smith announced on Tuesday that he will star in a YouTube Originals series called “Best Shape of My Life,” which will premiere in 2022 and follow the actor on a fitness and weight loss journey.
  • The news comes just a few days after Smith shared that he was in “the worst shape” of his life in an Instagram post that resonated with several people as many across the country struggle with pandemic weight gain.
  • “This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic and countless days grazing thru the pantry,” Smith wrote in his announcement post on Instagram. “I love this body, but I wanna FEEL better… Hope it works!”

Will Smith to Star in YouTube Originals Docu-series

Just days after sharing that he is in the “worst shape” of his life, actor Will Smith announced on Tuesday that he will be starring in a YouTube Originals series called “Best Shape of My Life.”

His initial Instagram post revealing his weight gain resonated with many who praised him for being honest about his body changing during the pandemic. 

“You’re a real one for this,” YouTuber Casey Neistat wrote. 

“Fucking love it. That’s confidence,” Smith’s Suicide Squad co-star Joel Kinnaman added.

According to the show’s official description, “Best Shape of My Life” will follow “the story of Will Smith, looking up one day to find himself in middle age, rebuilding his body into the best shape of his life and getting his groove back along the way.” In it, he will challenge his physical abilities with the help of pro-athletes, scientists, other experts, and YouTube creators. 

The docuseries will air in six parts in 2022. It marks his second project with YouTube Originals, following his 2018 bungee-jumping stunt that raised money for charity to celebrate his 50th birthday. “Best Shape of My Life” is being produced by Westbrook Media, a company the Fresh Prince star launched with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Series Will Address Pandemic Weight Gain

“This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic and countless days grazing thru the pantry,” Smith wrote on Instagram. “I love this body, but I wanna FEEL better”

“Imma get in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE,” he continued. “Hope it works!”

Pandemic weight gain has been a common issue for people all over the world. According to Healthline, 61% of Americans said they gained weight as the world shuttered because of COVID-19.

See what others are saying: (Huff Post) (Entertainment Weekly) (Billboard)

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