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Celebrities Open Up About Personal Struggles as Mental Health Awareness Month Comes to a Close

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On Wednesday, both Ryan Reynolds and Naomi Osaka shared candid statements about their own mental health issues.


Ryan Reynolds Opens Up About Anxiety

As Mental Health Awareness month is coming to a close, both actor Ryan Reynolds and tennis champion Naomi Osaka opened up about their own experiences with mental health issues. 

In an Instagram statement, Reynolds acknowledged that his own struggles with anxiety are part of the reason his post on the subject was so late in the month. 

“One of the reasons I’m posting this so late is I overschedule myself and important things slip,” he said. “And one of the reasons I overschedule myself is my lifelong pal, anxiety. 

“I know I’m not alone and more importantly, to all those like me who overschedule, overthink, overwork, over-worry and over-everything, please know you’re not alone,” he continued. “We don’t talk enough about mental health and don’t do enough to destigmatize talking about it.”

Stars like Hugh Jackman and Kerry Washington uploaded Reynolds for sharing his story. This is not the first time he has spoken about mental health. In 2018 he told The New York Times that anxiety has always taken a toll on him. 

“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” he shared. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”

Naomi Osaka Speaks on Athletes’ Mental Health

Osaka’s post similarly addressed mental health, though it did not directly acknowledge that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In her post, she specifically addressed how media events can negatively impact the mental health of athletes, revealing that for this reason, she will not do press conferences during the French Open. 

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” she explained on Instagram. “We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me. 

“I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well,” she continued. “I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down.”

Osaka claimed that this choice is nothing personal against the tournament and added that she does generally have a friendly relationship with the press. 

Athletes can be fined for not attending press conferences. According to ESPN, the fine can be as high as 20,000 for a major tournament like the French Open. Osaka said she hopes her fine gets donated to mental health charities. 

“If the organizations think that they can just keep saying, ‘do press or you’re gonna be fined’ and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are at the centerpiece of their corporation then I just gotta laugh,” Osaka wrote. 

In addition to her statement, Osaka shared two videos: one where a young Venus Williams was being pressed by a reporter on her confidence in her playing abilities until her dad finally intervenes, and another of former NFL player Marshawn Lynch answering every question at a press event by saying “I’m here so I won’t get fined.”

Williams was one of many who commented on Osaka’s post praising her for standing up for herself. 

Other Stars Honor Mental Health Awareness Month

Reynolds and Osaka are not the only stars who have been vocal about the importance of mental health throughout the month of May. Ariana Grande previously shared lists of mental health resources to her fans, while Selena Gomez launched an initiative called Mental Health 101, which is aimed at supporting mental health education and services. Gomez promised to match $200,000 in donations throughout the month. 

Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey also brought mental health discussions front and center with their AppleTV+ docuseries “The Me You Can’t See.” In the series, Prince Harry got candid about his struggles with depression himself, as did other stars like Lady Gaga.

See what others are saying: (People) (ESPN) (Jezebel)

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

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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.”

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Streamers Stand Up For Pokimane Amid Controversy With Ninja and JiDion

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Ninja and his family have threatened legal action against Pokimane, but many argue she is yet again the target of gender-based harassment.


What Happened Between Pokimane, Ninja, and JiDion?

Pokimane criticized fellow streamer Ninja on Monday for seemingly offering to help JiDion evade his recent Twitch ban, prompting a larger conversation about female harassment on the platform. 

The controversy began last week when JiDion hate-raided one of Pokimane’s Twitch streams. JiDion was initially given a 14-day ban from the platform, but it was eventually extended to a permanent ban, which he vowed to fight against. He and his viewers attempted to enlist the help of Ninja in hopes he might be able to get in touch with Twitch. 

At one point, Ninja said he would consider seeing if there was anything he could do, but warned that JiDion should not spam anyone or “ratio bitches” in the future. While Ninja soon clarified he did not mean Pokimane specifically, rather “bitches in general,” many lambasted the streamer’s choice of words as Pokimane is vocal about the vitriol female creators face. 

“I wonder if Ninja would have said bitches if it was a large male streamer that was hate raided,” Pokimane said during a livestream. “But I digress.” 

During a stream of his own, Ninja also said he texted his Twitch representative for assistance on behalf of JiDion. 

“Why Ninja would help someone evade a ban for harassing me?” Pokimane said in response. “I have no idea. I genuinely don’t know.” 

Jessica Blevins Threatens Legal Action

Pokimane has continued to call out Ninja for aiding a streamer who was facing consequences for harassing her. However, despite his comments during his own stream, Ninja now claims he never actually texted his representative to help JiDion. 


“I swear on my grandfather’s life, who just passed away, that I didn’t text my twitch rep,”
he said in the alleged direct message to Pokimane. “You are making a big mistake.”

Ninja’s wife, Jessica Blevins, likewise allegedly messaged Pokimane about the ordeal. 

“We are considering everything defamation of character at this point and are getting our legal team involved,” Blevins wrote, according to the screenshot shared by Pokimane. “You are spewing lies to tens of thousands of people. You know Twitch, you claim you know his rep, then you know from them that Tyler NEVER reached out to anyone, and AGAIN, just said that to stop the harassment in his chat from jidion’s viewers. We have clarified everything to you. You are actively bringing harassment to Tyler and I right now at the highest level and we are taking this very seriously.”

Pokimane said she interpreted this to mean that Ninja merely pretended to text the representative.  

“I’m willing to accept [that] and cannot disprove,” she tweeted. “I just wanted the clip out there to show what happened.” 

JiDion has since apologized to Pokimane and asked for his followers to put the ordeal behind them. Other major streamers have also taken to Twitter to support Pokimane, citing the constant harassment female content creators are subjected to online. 

Streamers Support Pokimane

“​​If Ninja’s upset about being harassed and ‘misrepresented’… imagine how Pokimane feels every single day being a woman on Twitch,” ConnorEatsPants wrote.

Sad how Pokimane still has to deal with misogyny and harassment in 2022,” Mizkif added. “And It’s even more sad how I have to say this publicly because people are afraid to stand up and say she’s being treated poorly because they’ll be called a ‘simp.’”

Valkyrae wrote that she will “always” support Pokimane, while Annie Fuschia said the streamer has so “much strength” for sticking up for herself. 

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Anti-Vaxxers Spread Conspiracy Theory Claiming Bob Saget Died From COVID-19 Booster Shot

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This comes less than a month after anti-vaxxers spread a similar false rumor about comedian Betty White.


Anti-Vaxxers Spread Unfounded Theory About Bob Saget’s Death

Anti-vax and right-wing conspiracy theorists are spreading unfounded claims that comedian Bob Saget died as a result of receiving his COVID-19 booster shot.

Saget, best known for his role as Danny Tanner on “Full House,” died this week at the age of 65 in Orlando, Florida. The Orange County Sheriff’s office said they were responding to “a call about an unresponsive man in a hotel room” and pronounced Saget dead on the scene at the Ritz-Carlton. They found “no signs of foul play or drug use” and some reports have since claimed that it appears Saget may have died in his sleep. No further cause of death has been released. 

Not long after the news of his death, anti-vaxxers begin circulating baseless claims that a COVID-19 booster shot killed Saget. Saget said he received his booster shot on a Dec. 13 episode of his podcast. Many have shared a clip where he talks about the booster to suggest that was his cause of death.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters have been proven to be both safe and effective. That, of course, has not stopped conspiracy theorists from endlessly touting false assertions about unproven side effects and responses.

Claims about Saget’s death being vaccine-related can be found on Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, Telegram, and other social media platforms. Many of the posts, despite containing clear misinformation, have remained on these sites for several days without being taken down. 

Candace Owens Promotes Booster Theory

The conspiracy found a large platform this week when conservative news personality Candace Owens discussed it on her Daily Wire talk show. Owens has repeatedly spoken against COVID-19 vaccines and uses her platform to regularly share all kinds of political and cultural misinformation. 

During the Jan. 11 episode of “Candace,” which was flagged by Media Matters, Owens said the public has a “right to demand answers” about the circumstances around Saget’s death and the booster. 

“I’m just not on Big Pharma’s payroll and I refuse to peddle in their lies. And so to that end, today, I’m going to point out another truth and it will likely be deemed a conspiracy theory until it’s not,” she said. “There are too many healthy individuals, like Bob Saget, who we know have received their vaccinations, who are dropping dead, suddenly and unexpectedly, with no further explanation. Healthy athletes, young students in their physical prime — the majority of them males — dropping dead suddenly and unexpectedly in the middle of games from heart issues.”

Owens continued to peddle anti-vax rhetoric regarding the media and vaccine mandates. She also spewed unsubstantiated suggestions that “healthy men are dying” because of vaccines. 

“All of this to say I don’t know why a healthy man, who was in the middle of a comedy tour, suddenly and unexpectedly drops dead in his hotel room,” she continued. “But I do know that we have a right to ask the question. All of us do. In fact, when the entire world has suddenly and unexpectedly been prescribed an injection that we don’t need, it is not only our right to ask questions but also our right to demand answers.”

Anti-Vax Misinformation Has Found A Large Platform

Not even a month before Saget’s death, anti-vaxxers likewise falsely claimed that comedian and actress Betty White died from receiving her COVID-19 booster. White passed at the age of 99, just weeks before her 100th birthday. According to her death certificate, she died from a stroke she had six days before her death on Dec. 31. 

After people started falsely claiming the booster caused her death, White’s agent released a statement clarifying these rumors were not true. 

“Betty died peacefully in her sleep at her home,” Jeff Witjas told People Magazine. “People are saying her death was related to getting a booster shot three days earlier but that is not true. She died of natural causes. Her death should not be politicized — that is not the life she lived.”

Media platforms have struggled to control the swelling amount of misinformation users constantly spread, specifically regarding the pandemic and vaccinations. While many sites have promised to remove, flag, or fact-check incorrect posts, anyone who wants to find anti-vax information will have an easy time doing so. 

This week, a group of doctors and medical workers urged Spotify to lay out a misinformation policy, citing the false claims Joe Rogan has repeatedly made about vaccines on his podcast. Several international fact-checking organizations also recently demanded that YouTube do more to fight disinformation on its service. Over the last year, citizens and politicians have asked that Twitter, Facebook, and Google do more to slow the spread of pandemic-related misinformation.

“While we understand that your companies have implemented policies regarding the removal of vaccine-related misinformation and dedicated resources to stop the spread of misinformation, we believe more must be done,” a group of Democratic senators wrote in a letter to the three company’s CEOs. “It is imperative that you be transparent about the amount of harmful misinformation that appears on your platforms and the effectiveness of your efforts to remove this content, so that public health organizations and experts can respond appropriately.”

See what others are saying: (Insider) (The Daily Beast) (The Daily Dot)

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