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Virginia Gubernatorial Campaign Targets Taylor Swift Fans With Ads Involving Controversial Masters Sale

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Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe began running ads on Instagram and Google on Tuesday that call out his opponent for financially backing the sale of Swift’s masters.


Terry McAullife Runs Ads Aimed at Swifties

Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe launched a campaign effort on Tuesday aimed at energizing support from Taylor Swift fans. 

McAuliffe is running ads that call out his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, for being involved in the controversial sale of Swift’s masters in 2019. Youngkin was the CEO of the Carlyle Group, which financially backed the transaction that resulted in music mogul Scooter Bruan owning Swift’s catalog via his company, Ithaca Holdings. 

According to a screenshot shared by The Verge, those ads use the hashtag #WeStandWithTaylor, which fans popularized at the time Swift’s catalog was sold in an effort to support the singer. 

“Did you know that Republican candidate for Governor, Glenn Youngkin, helped buy Taylor Swift’s masters out from under her when he was co-CEO of Carlyle Group?” one ad reads.

According to The Verge, the ad buy was worth five figures and will specifically target people in Virginia that enter Swift’s name in online searches, as well as people who engage with her content on Facebook and Instagram. 

Swift has spoken out against the sale numerous times, calling the loss of her masters her “worst-case scenario.” She also alleged that the sale happened behind her back and that she only learned the news when it was publicly announced. Braun has since sold the rights to her catalog in a whopping $300 million deal, but Swift fans still feel bad blood between him — and anyone who aided the transaction.

The Grammy Award-winner is now in the process of re-recording the six albums she lost the rights to. 

Responses to the Campaign Effort

The race between McAuliffe and Youngkin remains right and no candidate is out of the woods just yet. According to FiveThirtyEight, the two have mostly polled within three points of each other since September, with the Democrat taking a slight lead. A representative from Youngkin’s campaign released a statement slamming McAuliffe for using Swift’s catalog to smear his opponent’s reputation.

“Terry McAuliffe has reached the stage of desperation in his campaign where he’s rolling out the most baseless attacks to see what sticks,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a pathetic fall that could only be achieved by a 43-year political hack.”

Democrats, however, are leaning into the strategy. The Democratic Governors Association previously tweeted about the ordeal, calling the sale a “malicious deal financed by #VAGov candidate Glenn Youngkin’s Carlyle group.” On Tuesday, the group joked that “Glenn was trouble when he walked in.”

Manuel Bonder, a spokesperson for the Virginia Democratic Party, gave a statement to Billboard using the transaction to imply that Youngkin had selfish priorities. 

“No matter the industry, Youngkin has shown he would rip off anyone for a profit,” Bonder said. “What happened here is a continuation of Glenn Youngkin’s abhorrent track record of shipping jobs overseas, raising rents on seniors, and harming working families across our country. When it comes to Taylor Swift’s music: what did Glenn know and when did he know it? Virginians deserve answers.”

Will The Movement Gain Traction Among Swift’s Fans?

While each campaign has been talking about the effort since it began, the movement is gaining slower traction among Swift’s fanbase. On Twitter, much of the conversation is dominated by people who already had an interest in politics and the Virginia gubernatorial race, including politically active Swift fans. Still, some fan accounts have shared articles alerting their fellow Swifties and encouraging them to vote. There are also a handful of TikToks devoted to the race. 

It’s not impossible to think that the strategy could eventually yield a more dramatic effect, though. Swift herself has influenced elections before. In 2018, when she posted on Instagram to endorse Tennessee Democrats and encourage her fans to vote, a surge in voter registration followed. 

According to The Washington Post, 169,000 new people registered to vote on Vote.org in the 48 hours following her post. Over half of those registrations came from people 18-29 years old.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Billboard) (Axios)

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Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts

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The cut in revenue share has ignited severe backlash on Twitch, where users argue pay for creators should be increased, not slashed. 


Revenue Share Shake Up

Twitch users are criticizing the company for hiring artist Megan Thee Stallion to perform at TwitchCon just one week after announcing cutbacks to top creator pay.

Last week, the video and streaming platform said that starting in June of next year, some creators will receive less revenue from their subscriptions. While the standard split for subscription revenue is 50/50, some major streamers previously received a more favorable 70/30 share in premium agreement terms. 

Many creators have long argued that everyone should get that 70/30 share, but Twitch took a step in the opposite direction. In the future, streamers with premium terms will only get the 70/30 slice for their first $100,000 from subscription revenue. After that, they will get bumped down to the regular 50/50 cut. 

The company argued the move was necessary as the premium terms previously lacked transparency and consistency, insisting it tried to modify the policy in a way that impacted the least amount of creators. According to Twitch’s statement, 90% of streamers on standard agreements will not even be impacted by the change.

Still, this move outraged Twitch users who were furious the company was not investing more in the creators that bring so many viewers to its platform. Those frustrations were exacerbated on Wednesday when the company announced Megan Thee Stallion would make an appearance at TwitchCon, a weekend-long event set to take place in San Diego in early October. 

Backlash Continues to Mount

While no details of Megan Thee Stallion’s agreement to perform have been disclosed, one can assume she charges a pretty penny to book at an event of this nature. Critics argued that if Twitch is willing to spend money on her, it should be willing to spend it on its own streamers. 

“So Twitch can’t afford to pay their creators 70/30, can’t fix their media player that crashes after each ad, can’t enforce their policies so people aren’t doing inappropriate things on stream, but they can afford paying celebrities to promote their streaming site?” one person wrote. 

“It’s weird that a company that just announced a bunch of budget cuts due to infrastructure costs goes out and grabs an A-list musician instead of promoting their own musicians that run on their platform,” another person claimed.

“Instead of giving your creators a cut they deserve when they do so much work, this is what you do…?” one user asked. “Maybe give your creators a better deal instead of wasting their hard earned money on things we don’t even want.”

Twitch has not responded to the outrage, but Megan Thee Stallion was not the only music act the Amazon-owned service booked for the event. Kim Petras and Meet Me at the Altar will also take the stage at TwitchCon. 

The backlash comes as concerns have been mounting against Twitch for a plethora of reasons including creator pay, gambling streams, and more. 

In recent months, some of the platform’s biggest names have left Twitch in favor of rival services like YouTube Gaming. 

See what others are saying: (Dexerto) (The Verge) (Metro)

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“Dahmer” Series Breaks Netflix Records Amid Backlash For Exploiting Victims’ Stories

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Family members of some of the murderer’s victims say the program is “retraumatizing.”


“Dahmer” Lands Successful Week on Netflix

While criticisms mount against “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” the true crime series broke Netflix’s record as the most-watched first week for a series debut.

According to data provided by the streaming giant, the Evan Peters-led show was watched for over 196 million hours between its release on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25.

“Dahmer” is the newest of several pieces of fiction and media based on the famous serial killer. Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the series quickly generated a lot of attention online, primarily from those concerned the show is exploiting a gruesome true story. 

Critics have echoed those fears, giving the show a mixed 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The “Critic’s Consensus” blurb on the site states that while the show is “seemingly self-aware of the peril in glorifying Jeffrey Dahmer” the story still “tilts this horror story into the realm of queasy exploitation.”

Victims’ Families Speak Out

The family of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, has also spoken out against the series. In a viral tweet, Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry said his family is “pissed about the show.”

“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?” he wrote. “How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”

In much of the promotion for the series, Netflix claimed it would be told from the perspective of the victims. Perry slammed that narrative, noting that his family was never even contacted by the streamer about the project.

“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them,” he wrote. “My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”

Lindsey’s sister, Rita Isbell, echoed that claim in an essay she wrote for Insider, noting that Netflix did not notify her of the show, or ask her any questions about her brother. 

She said that watching the show “felt like reliving it all over again.”

“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then,” she wrote. 

“It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” she continued. 

Obsession With Dahmer

Controversy has also grown from some of the responses to the series, as many viewers have posted fan edits of the show that romanticize Dahmer. Some pair clips of Peters’ Dahmer with his victims to love songs or pop ballads, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who do not understand why someone would make content glorifying the killer. 

Others have responded to the show by calling Dahmer “hot” or posting thirst tweets about his mug shot. This has resulted in a backlash of its own. 

“Jeffrey Dahmer molested and murdered people, mostly black men and boys,” one person wrote. “So to see people making edits and thirst traps of him is a little off putting.”

“if I see anyone tweeting thirst tweets about Jeffrey Dahmer I’m immediately unfollowing,” another person said. “That’s so fuckin nasty.”

Concerns that this kind of media results in more people admiring Dahmer are also mounting in Milwaukee, where many of his crimes took place. According to TMZ, the city is considering creating something to honor the victims, but officials fear a physical memorial would turn into a “mecca” for Dahmer’s fans. 

See what others are saying: (Insider) (IndieWire) (Vox)

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YouTube Removes Age Restriction From Nicki Minaj Video After Singer Calls Company a “Bogus Platform”

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Even though her video can now be viewed by all YouTuber users, Minaj made it clear she was upset that the age-gate tanked its view count in the first 24 hours.


Nicki Minaj Vs. YouTube

Nicki Minaj called out YouTube on Monday after the platform age-restricted her new music video for “Likkle Miss Remix” featuring Skeng. 

By age-restricting a video, YouTube blocks users who are under 18 or not logged into a Google account from viewing the content. 

Minaj’s video features close-up shots of people in skimpy outfits twerking, but several videos on YouTube with similar imagery have not been gated. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” video is available for everyone, as is Minaj’s own “Anaconda” video. 

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Minaj accused YouTube of being inconsistent and playing favorites. 

“They restricted my fucking video but have things a million fucking times worse on their BOGUS FKNG PLATFORM,” she wrote in a post that included a screenshot of YouTube’s age-restriction notice. “This is what they do to keep you from winning while doing ads for another ppl and posting fake fkng stats. Because the same ppl who run YouTube are in bed with a certain record label and mngmnt company.”

Minaj further alleged that YouTube’s actions were done to prevent her from getting a significant number of views in the video’s first 24 hours, which is often the most crucial timeframe for a video’s success. She continued to assert that the Google-owned company has a bias toward certain music labels.

YouTube Walks Back Restriction

“How long have yall been playing the numbers game to lie & pretend ppl r doing ‘good’ when they r not?!?!!” Minaj continued in another post. “How much ad space did these duds purchase to be promoted on my channel in the last 5 years?!??!!!!”

Later on Monday, YouTube removed the restriction from Minaj’s video, per Variety. The company said the content in it did not violate its rules and guidelines. 

While Minaj ended up deleting her Instagram posts calling YouTube out, she made it clear she was still frustrated by the debacle. 

“FUCK THEM DUDS,” she tweeted. “THEY CANT GIVE US BACK OUR FIRST 24 HOURS CAN THEY?!?!!!”

As of Monday afternoon, her video had been viewed over one million times.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Independent) (Billboard)

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