The arrest is the latest escalation in a feud stretching back to Nov. 2019.
Friendlyjordies Producer Arrested
Popular YouTuber friendlyjordies posted a video on Monday that shows his producer, Kristo Langker, being arrested by plainsclothes Australian officers.
The police, part of a counter-terrorism branch known as the “fixated persons unit,” were acting upon a formal complaint filed by New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who accused Langker of stalking and harrassment related to two separate incidents.
Langker’s lawyer has called his client’s bail conditions “utterly extreme” as they prohibit him from possessing images or caricatures of Barilaro. Langker is also barred from speaking on Barilaro’s “personal appearance or behaviour.”
Langker, who has been charged with stalking and intimidating Barilaro, will appear in court on June 24.
The Feud Between Friendlyjordies and Barilaro
Langker’s arrest can be traced back to an ongoing feud between Barilaro and friendlyjordies, whose real name is Jordan Shanks, that began in late 2019.
In November of that year, Shanks — a political satire YouTuber with about half a million subscribers — blasted NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for the state’s response to Australia’s devastating bushfire season. In fact, he even dubbed her a “Koala Killer” in reference to the numerous animals that died during the fires.
Later, her Deputy Premier, Barilaro, criticized the use of the phrase on Sydney radio.
On June 18, Shanks posted a video where he said he must continue to “trigger” Barilaro “for the good of the state.” During that video, Shanks, who’s known for over-the-top impressions of politicians, went on to impersonate Barilaro, adopting a heavily exaggerated Italian accent and repeatedly swearing.
Following that video, Barilaro denounced Shanks’ impression as “very offensive” and “racist.” To note, both of Barilaro’s parents are Italian immigrants to Australia. Meanwhile, Shanks has some southern European ancestry, though no known Italian ancestry.
The back and forth between Shanks and Barilaro didn’t stop there. In September, Shanks rented an Airbnb property owned by Barilaro, and while there, Shanks accused him of corruption and environmental vandalism — while continuing to do an exaggerated accent.
In May, Shanks then revealed that Barilaro had sent him a letter in Dec. 2019 threatening to sue him for defamation.
“The deputy premier of [NSW] really likes destroying [NSW’s] environment and he’s using his office to enrich himself,” Shanks said. “I make fun of him for this, so naturally his response was to call me racist for putting on an Italian accent while doing so.”
In that same video, Shanks shows a clip of him confronting Barilaro while dressed as Luigi from Nintendo’s Mario series.
“John, you silly calzone!” he says while running up to the lawmaker. “Why you threaten to sue me? Why you threaten to sue? Why you do this?”
Shanks is then guided away by guards, but his producer, Kristo Langker, stays and begins to argue with other guards and staffers while trying to speak with Barilaro.
“John, I’ve got some documents you might like to see,” Langker jokes. “I’ve got an Italian club.”
As Langker continues to try to push through to Barilaro, the situation becomes noticeably tenser. One guard can briefly be seen lunging to move Langker back. Eventually, Langker finds his way to Barilaro.
“Just go,” Barilaro says in the clip. “Why don’t you just bugger off?”
“I want to know why you are threatening to sue,” Langker says.
“I’m not threatening to sue. I am suing,” Barilaro responds. “Because you guys are liars.”
At the end of May, Barilaro launched official defamation proceedings against Shanks.
Clip of the Arrest
Langker was arrested for both his actions at the event where Shanks was dressed as Luigi and for a second incident on June 4 where he approached Barilaro as the lawmaker was returning to his car following the funeral of rugby star Bob Fulton.
“Deputy premier, why are you suing my boss?” Langker asked at the time.
Hours later, the fixated persons unit appeared at Langker’s doorstep and arrested him while his family filmed the interaction.
Shanks shared several clips of the incident in his Monday video. In those clips, Langker can be seen trying to give his cell phone to his mother before the police intervene to seize the phone. The camera then goes dark, but an officer can be heard saying, “They’re trying to give away evidence to try to run away with it. Don’t throw the evidence, okay?!”
Following that scuffle, Langker’s mother accused an officer of assaulting her, saying, “You hurt a 51-year-old woman! You knocked me over!”
The officer then repeatedly says he tripped over her as she tried to pass the phone off to another, unidentified female.
“You pushed me down in my own home!” Langker’s mother continues to allege.
At one point, she even accuses the police of killing the family dog. Though that dog wasn’t actually dead, the family is still accusing the police of nearly killing it.
Shanks has also condemned the arrest and referred to the fixated persons unit as an “extra-legal mafia.” This isn’t the first time the unit has faced criticism. Independent Australia has described it as Orwellian and as looming in the shadow of Big Brother.
Barilaro has declined to comment on the arrest.
See what others are saying: (ABC Australia) (The Sydney Herald) (The Guardian)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“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)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“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)
Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”
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.”