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)
Disney Eviscerates Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” Lawsuit as “Callous,” but Report Suggests Emma Stone and Emily Blunt May Follow Her Lead
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in an uncharacteristically blunt statement that was heavily criticized online.
Johansson/Disney Lawsuit Gets Bitter
Disney has described a recent lawsuit from “Black Widow” actress Scarlett Johansson as “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” but Johansson may have just unleashed what is to become an even bigger legal challenge for the House of Mouse.
At the center of this dispute, Johansson alleges she lost $50 million because Disney opted for a dual streaming/theater release of “Black Widow,” which debuted in theaters and for $30 on Disney+ with Premier Access earlier this month.
According to Johansson’s suit, her contract with Disney — which was negotiated prior to any hint of a pandemic — stipulated that “Black Widow” would see an exclusive theater release. Notably, the actress also said her contractual bonuses were tied to the movie’s box office performance, which is an extremely common practice with films featuring A-list celebrities.
Of course, when the pandemic hit — like many other industries — movies were upended. Pandemic-related changes meant that despite having an initial release date of May 2020, Marvel fans wouldn’t get a chance to see “Black Widow” for over a year.
Still, Johansson said she tried to contact Disney to renegotiate her contract prior to the film’s ultimate release, but she claims the company was unresponsive.
On Thursday, she then filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, with her attorney arguing that “Disney has enjoyed the benefits of having one of Hollywood’s top actresses promote its wholly owned subscription service at no additional cost to Disney, and with the intended effect of taking money out of that actress’ own pocket.”
Later Thursday, Disney claimed that it has “fully complied” with Johansson’s contract and that the streamed release of the film “has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in its uncharacteristically blunt statement.
Are Emma Stone and Emily Blunt Next?
Speaking of blunt, it was reported Friday that both Emily Blunt and Emma Stone may also file lawsuits against Disney’s dual streaming release of their films.
In fact, according to an exclusive newsletter run by former Hollywood Reporter Editor Matt Belloni, Stone “is said to be weighing her options” over the dual release of “Cruella” in May. Meanwhile, he suggested Blunt could also take action or speak out following this weekend’s release of “Jungle Cruise.”
Belloni went on to describe Disney as “notoriously difficult to deal with” regarding such matters and claimed that many have simply been waiting for someone powerful enough to speak out.
Disney Criticized for Its Response
Much of the public perception of the situation has led to overwhelming support for Johansson’s camp. Online, a slew of people lambasted Disney’s response, with many calling it a deflection.
See what others are saying: (ScreenRant) (Newsweek) (Variety)
Candace Owens and Logan Paul in Talks to Debate
A spokesperson confirmed to Insider Wednesday that the two have had “productive” conversations about the prospect offline.
Candace Owens Challenges Logan Paul to a Debate
Right-wing commentator Candace Owens and controversial YouTuber Logan Paul are in talks to engage in a political debate. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Owens — best known for making false claims about the George Floyd protests, spreading COVID-19 misinformation, and seemingly saying that Adolf Hitler “just wanted to make Germany great” — first challenged Paul to a debate on Friday. It started with her sharing a year-old clip from Paul’s podcast where he spoke about the importance of fighting racism in the United States.
“It is not enough to be ‘not racist.’ You have to be anti-racist,” he said.
“If you’re white, if you look like me, use your privilege,” he added. “And for those who do not think white privilege exists, you are fucking blind.”
Because merely acknowledging the existence of racism appears to go against Owens’ core beliefs, she asked Paul to duke it out with her.
“Logan loves to challenge people in the boxing ring,” she wrote. “I’d like to publicly challenge him to go a few rounds with me in a political debate. @LoganPaul—how about you stop by my show and explain to me how you’re *checks notes* more privileged than me because you’re white and I’m not?”
Spokesperson Confirms The Two Are in Talks
Paul — best known for launching a boxing career and filming a YouTube video that showed a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest” — said on Tuesday that he was “perplexed” by the offer, but was taking it seriously.
“I started to entertain this action, I ended up speaking with her, and there may be a future where we sit down and have a civil discourse because I think there’s some meat on this bone,” he said during the most recent episode of his “ImPaulsive” podcast.
The internet star acknowledged that Owens’ main arena is politics, while his main arena is being a “fucking idiot” online. Still, he said he does care about these issues and has a “semi-intelligent brain,” so he thinks he could “hold [his] own.”
“Candace Owens, whether you can admit it or not, is a smart person,” Paul continued. “And so I guess I’m just curious because I just fucking fundamentally disagree with her and again, I think there’s room for a conversation.”
A spokesperson for Owens confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that the two had a “productive” offline conversation and said a public political debate between the two is “very likely.”
“Although both of them disagree on a variety of topics, they are both much more interested in learning from one another and think people would benefit from hearing an honest discussion between two parties rather than a ‘gotcha’ moment that might play well for social media,” the spokesperson added.
See what others are saying: (Insider)
Finneas Slams Billie Eilish Troll Account for Attributing Fake Quotes to the Singer
Eilish’s big brother said the account is spreading “relentless lies” and asked that it at least label itself as a satire account.
Troll Account Shares Fake Billie Eilish Quotes
Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas took to Twitter Tuesday to address an account that has been sharing fake quotes attributed to his sister.
The account uses the handle @BilliesUpdatess and goes by the name of “Billie Eilish Updates” in its profile. It was created in July of 2021 and as of Wednesday morning, it had amassed a following of 1,100 people. On a quick glance, it looks just like any other update account a fan might make to share news about their favorite celebrity.
@BilliesUpdatess, however, is far from the standard adoring fan page. Of the over 300 tweets it has posted, several include screenshots of forged articles that make it look like Eilish said something either offensive or totally outlandish. One post claims Eilish defended her boyfriend after he was accused of supporting former president Donald Trump.
“At the end of the day, I fucking love him you know?” the phony statement reads. “It doesn’t matter if he made some homophobic comments in the past, people change. If he [Matthew] supports Donald Trump then I don’t care if it makes him happy. I support EVERY decision Mathew has to make, even the ones some of my fans don’t agree with, like maybe some of his icky comments.”
In another sham passage, Eilish says she thinks queerbaiting “is a really good thing!” In several others, the person behind the account comes up with artificial quotes to make it looks like Eilish is feuding with “driver’s license” singer Olivia Rodrigo.
One post with a fake article ended up being retweeted 12,000 times. That tweet included Eilish claiming she longs to be poor.
“When I got rich, I started balling my eyes out,” the fake piece says. “I wanted to be poor so I can relate to most of my fans. I still want to be broke and poor, it looks really fun and cute.”
Finneas Slams Account
As the troll account started to gain traction, Finneas asked that people report and block it to minimize the spread of its “relentless lies.”
On Tuesday, he responded to a fan that tagged him in the @BilliesUpdatess tweet alleging his sister wanted to be poor.
“Fake obviously,” Finneas wrote. “Honestly I just wish they’d label this account satire like the onion or something. I have no problem with a joke as long as people know it’s a joke.”
The account made several jokes about the fact that Finneas was calling it out, but it seems Eilish’s big brother got what he asked for. @BilliesUpdatess added “parody account” to its bio and the account was deleted as of Wednesday afternoon.