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Travis Scott Speaks About Astroworld in First Interview Since Deadly Tragedy



The rapper said he was not informed of the fatalities while he was performing but feels “a responsibility to figure out what” led to the deadly crowd surge.

Travis Scott Says He Was Unaware of Surge During Performance

Rapper Travis Scott appeared Thursday in his first public interview since the tragic crowd surge at his Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas left 10 people dead in November. 

Scott sat down for an over 50-minute conversation with Charlamagne tha God, which was posted to the radio personality’s YouTube channel. In it, Scott said he was not aware of the fatalities while he was on stage and was not informed of them until a press conference discussing the matter was held.

“It wasn’t really until minutes until the press conference that I figured out what happened,” Scott explained. “Even after the show, you’re just kind of hearing things, but I didn’t know the exact details until minutes before the press conference. And even at that moment, you’re like, ‘Wait, what?’ You just went through something.” 

Video footage taken at the festival showed fans trying to get Scott’s attention, with many screaming for medical assistance or for the show to stop. Scott said he did not hear any of those pleas. 

It’s so crazy because I’m that artist, too — anytime you can hear something like that, you want to stop the show, you want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need,” the “Escape Plan” rapper said, adding that he tries to get a sense of the crowd’s energy, but it can be difficult to do so with the lights and noises surrounding him. 

“So it’s hard to tell excitement from danger, so to speak?” Charlamagne asked.

“Yeah, of course…You can only help what you can see and whatever you’re told,” Scott explained. 

Officials declared Astroworld a mass casualty event 40 minutes before Scott left the stage. According to Charlamagne, Live Nation said the concert could end early amid the chaos, but Scott said he was never directly told to immediately stop performing. 

“They told me, ‘Right after the [musical] guests get on stage, we’re gonna end the show,’ and that’s what we did,” Scott said. “Other than that, there was no communication.” 

“So they didn’t say, ‘Stop now?’” Charlamagne asked. 

“No,” Scott said.

The two discussed a moment where Scott did pause the show to check in with fans. He said he did a call and response to see if everyone was okay but did not hear the crowd express any issues.

“I just kind of stopped the show, I just ask, you know you have a call and response with the fans, you try to generally get a response but you know, if you don’t get like a hard ‘you need to stop’ it’s just…” he explained. 

Scott Says He Wants to Prevent This Tragedy From Happening Again

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Scott, Live Nation, and other event organizers alleging that their negligence lead to the 10 deaths and hundreds of injuries. This week, Scott asked to be dismissed from several cases. His representatives denied the allegations in at least 11 lawsuits and claimed he “is not legally liable” for what happened. Still, conversation about the festival largely centers on Scott and whether or not he could have done more to prevent the tragedy. 

Among other accusations, many of the lawsuits against Scott note his reputation of promoting a rage culture at his shows, which can allow for fan behavior to get out of hand. When asked about this during the interview, Scott said he works to make sure his shows happen in a “safe environment.”

“I think it’s something I’ve been working on for a while of just creating these experiences and trying to show experiences happen in a safe environment,” he said. “Us, as artists, we trust professionals to make sure that if things happen, people leave safely.”

Throughout the interview, he repeated his stance that he feels he should be able to rely on “professionals” to keep the crowd safe while he is on stage. He also denied that the content of his music helped to incite the crowd surge. 

When asked if he felt responsible for the tragedy, he only said he has “a responsibility to figure out what happened here.” 

“I have a responsibility to figure out the solution,” he continued. “Hopefully, this takes a first step for us as artists, having more insight about what’s going on.” 

“I’m the face of the festival, I’m the artist, so the media wants to put it on me, but at the end of the day I don’t think it’s more so about that, it’s more so about stepping up to figure out what the problem is,” he later added. “And I could take that. I could take stepping out to figure out what the problem is, I could take stepping up to figure out what the solution is so that it never happens again.” 

Scott said he wanted the families of those who lost loved ones to know he will “always be there to help you guys heal through this.” He also said he respected the families who denied his offer to pay for funeral costs. 

“All things are understandable,” Scott said. “At a time where they’re grieving and trying to find understanding and they want answers.”

When asked who he blames for the crowd surge, Scott reiterated that his focus is figuring out what series of events unfolded that night to create such a catastrophe. 

“I think the families are owed that, the community is owed that, I feel like we’re owed that to just know what happened,” he said. “And I don’t want to speak too soon, I just want to figure out what happened.”

See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Variety) (NBC News)


Twitch Tightens Policies on Explicit Deepfakes 



“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,”  the company said in a blog post.

New Rules Regarding “Synthetic NCEI”

Twitch is cracking down on explicit deepfake content and will indefinitely suspend users who share or promote it after a first offense.

“The existence of this content, and its presence and distribution on various sites, is personally violating and beyond upsetting. Deepfake porn isn’t a problem on Twitch, but it’s a terrible issue that some streamers (almost exclusively women) may face on the internet at large,” Twitch said in a Tuesday blog post, explaining it wants to “help streamers protect themselves” in any case this issue arises. 

Twitch referred to this content as “synthetic non-consensual exploitative images,” or “synthetic NCEI,” but many of the platform’s users have casually referred to it as deepfake porn. Synthetic NCEI involves someone taking the face of another person and editing it into a pornographic video to make it appear as though that person filmed themselves demonstrating those sexual acts. The new rise in access to this technology has concerned many, as it is easy to use it to exploit others.

While synthetic NCEI is already banned on Twitch, the company took a more actionable step against it in its Tuesday post by creating an Adult Sexual Violence and Exploitation policy. The new rule prohibits the intentional sharing, promoting, or creation of synthetic NCEI and those acts can result in an indefinite suspension on the first offense. 

Twitch also updated its Adult Nudity policy to include synthetic NCEI. Even if it is only shown briefly, that content will still be taken down and result in an enforcement. 

In addition to the policy changes, Twitch made available a list of resources for those who might be impacted by or wish to learn more about synthetic NCEI. 

“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,”  the company said closing its blog post.

Growing Concerns About Explicit Deepfakes

Twitch’s updates come as synthetic NCEI and deepfakes have become a primary topic of concern for social media platforms. Earlier this year, Twitch was home to a major deepfake controversy after a streamer known as Atrioc was caught with an open tab to a website that hosted these videos. That site specifically hosted deepfakes of female Twitch streamers, some of whom were Atrioc’s colleagues. 

Many women featured on the page spoke out against these deepfakes, explaining the trauma they endured knowing their face, image, and likeness were used in a sexual manner without their consent. It’s an issue that extends far past Twitch creators. Some fear they could be used for revenge porn, and there are already several cases where the technology is used to create sexual videos of celebrities. 

On Tuesday, NBC News published a report finding that Facebook and Instagram ran suggestive ads featuring deepfakes of actresses like Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson. The ads were for a deepfake app that told users they could “replace face with anyone.”

While the ads did not show explicit pornographic content, one ad featuring Watson was clearly meant to mimic the start of an explicit video, suggesting a sexual act was about to start. The face of the “Harry Potter” actress was seen looking into the camera before bending down.

The report found that 127 ads with Watson deepfakes and 74 with Johansson deepfakes ran across Meta’s platforms on Sunday and Monday, but have since been removed. The app in question was also removed from the Apple app store after NBC News contacted the tech giant for comment. 

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Engadget) (Kotaku)

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Fans Defend Pedro Pascal After Actor Refused to Read Thirst Tweets: “It’s Sexual Harassment”



Pascal has been dubbed the Internet’s “daddy,” but many think the joke has gone too far.

Pascal’s Heartthrob Status

Fans are defending actor Pedro Pascal after he refused to read thirst tweets on the red carpet, arguing that it is inappropriate and disrespectful to ask him to do so. 

Pascal, the star of HBO’s “The Last of Us” and Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” has become a major Hollywood heartthrob. He has even been widely dubbed as the Internet’s “daddy” by those posting about his handsome looks. The running joke grew last year when he did a Vanity Fair lie detector test and said he considered himself a “bigger daddy” than “Star Wars” star Oscar Isaac. 

“Daddy is a state of mind, you know what I’m saying? I’m your daddy,” he quipped during the interview. 

Since then, TikTokers have started posting thirst trap edits of Pascal, journalists have called him “daddy” on the red carpet, and interviewers have shown him tweets where fans call him a “cool, slutty daddy.”

Pascal has been a good sport about the public displays of lust for him, but many think the joke may have crossed a line. During last week’s red carpet premiere for season three of “The Mandalorian,” an Access Hollywood reporter went viral for asking Pascal to read thirst tweets to the camera. Pascal politely declined. 

“No. Dirty! Dirty!” he told the reporter after reading through the tweets.

“For your enjoyment only,” she responded.

“Thank you very much,” Pascal said before exiting the interview. 

Fans Condemn Thirst Tweet Interviews

In response, many who watched the clip condemned this treatment of Pascal, arguing it promoted constant objectification.

“I think it’s time for the internet to leave Pedro Pascal alone,” one person wrote. “It’s sexual harassment, but no one seems to care bc he’s a man + is graceful about it. It’s really gross and I would never want to be treated like that.”

“These jokes have gone way too far and he’s visibly uncomfortable,” another fan added. 

Some claimed that while the Internet’s love of Pascal “started as harmless fun…the constant public objectification and sexualization must be terrible” and should stop.

“Being attractive, banking on it, selling it, and even at times enjoying some of the attention, doesn’t give everyone wholesale permission to sexualize you,” someone else argued. 

See what others are saying: (IndieWire) (The Gamer) (BuzzFeed News)

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Conservatives Pledge to #BoycottHershey After International Women’s Day Campaign Featured a Trans Woman



“I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too,” activist Fae Johnstone said in her Hers for She video.

Hershey Highlights Fae Johnstone

Step aside, Green M&M. Conservatives have a new candy that they’re mad at: Hershey bars. 

On Wednesday, Hershey Canada unveiled its “Her for She” International Women’s Day initiative, which aims to celebrate “women changing the future.” Conservatives were quickly outraged by the company’s choice to highlight Fae Johnstone, a trans woman and LGBTQ+ rights activist, as part of this effort. 

“We can create a world where everyone is able to live in public space as their honest and authentic selves,” Johnstone said in a “Her for She” video. 

In addition to Johnstone, the campaign features gender equality activists, a climate tech researcher, and an indigenous rights activist, all of whom have fought for progress in their respective fields. The women will appear on Hershey’s websites, in marketing promotions, and in artistic renderings on Hershey bar wrappers.

Johnstone wrote on Twitter that she hopes Hershey’s campaign will “give more young women and girls role models” who can demonstrate how to “change the world, together.”

“It also means a lot to be included, as a young(ish?) trans woman,” Johnstone continued. “I grew up with few trans role models. Many young trans folks haven’t met a trans adult. I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too.” 

A Swift Transphobic Backlash

This decision, however, prompted right-wing Twitter users to accuse Hershey of hating “real” women. Many of the posts included blatantly transphobic rhetoric, as well as promises to boycott the company because it went “woke.”

The outrage was so prominent that #BoycottHershey was one of the top Twitter trends on Thursday morning. 

This backlash comes just a little over a month after conservative media figures like Tucker Carlson slammed M&M for making the green mascot character, well, less sexy. 

In response to Mars changing the green candy’s outfit, Carlson accused the Mars company of making its characters “as unattractive as possible because when you’re intentionally repulsive, it’s clear you’ve got the right politics.”

Not long after the right-wing backlash, M&M opted to replace its “spokescandies” with actress Maya Rudolph. 

The conservative outrage targeted at both Hershey and M&M is part of a larger culture war against any company that makes changes to address diversity, climate change, or other social issues. Brands like Xbox, “Sesame Street,” and more have at one point provoked the ire of Fox News hosts and other Republican figures. 

In fact, their outrage against these progressive changes has become so common that once #BoycottHershey was trending, some tweeted that they did not even have to click on the hashtag “to know that they must have done something compassionate that the right hates.”

See what others are saying: (The Daily Beast) (MarketWatch) (Bloomberg)

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