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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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Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”

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“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.


Actress Pushed at Protest

After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights. 

Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”

Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.

Sweetin Addresses Incident

Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over. 

“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”

Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.

“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.

According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter. 

“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him

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“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.


Theater Named Announced

Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title. 

The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. 

A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”

Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.

The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”

Chappelle Defends Controversial Special 

According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students. 

“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.

Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda. 

“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said. 

“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special. 

According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)

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Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”

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The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it. 


Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene

“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film. 

“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion. 

“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued. 

Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”

Evans argued those opinions are outdated. 

“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”

“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.

Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen

According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife. 

Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.

The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.” 

Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard. 

“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”

See what others are saying (Reuters) (Variety) (IndieWire)

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