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Influencer Brittany Dawn Sued By Texas For Alleged Fraudulent Fitness Program

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The lawsuit claims that her health plans were not individualized to each customer as promised. 


State of Texas Sues Brittany Dawn

Fitness and Christianity influencer Brittany Dawn Davis is being sued by the state of Texas for allegedly selling sham custom nutrition plans to her followers.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed the lawsuit earlier this month, but the Dallas-based influencer has been accused of scamming her followers for years. A Change.Org petition demanding she be held accountable for her alleged schemes was started three years ago and has garnered nearly 16,000 signatures. She apologized in a now-deleted YouTube video in 2019 and has since rebranded from a wellness focus to religion. 

According to the lawsuit, which was shared by NBC Fort Worth, Davis began selling custom nutrition and fitness plans in 2014. Packages ranged from $92 for a one-time consultation to $300 for three months of personalized dieting and coaching. Despite the promise of personalization, the state of Texas alleges the “online nutrition and fitness plans delivered to consumers were not individualized.”

The lawsuit also claims that she failed to deliver coaching and check-ins while largely ignoring complaints from customers.

Davis has nearly one million TikTok followers, over 400,000 Instagram followers, and roughly 250,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her followers are primarily women interested in her faith-based lifestyle. 

By 2019, Davis’ followers and customers began raising concerns that her customized package offerings were misleading, which prompted her YouTube apology. The suit alleges that many customers discovered their “individualized” health plans were the same because they were all given access to a “Team Brittany Dawn” Facebook group where they discussed their regimens. 

Some claimed that their plans posed health concerns, as they did not provide enough caloric intake based on their bodies, heights, weights, and activity levels. One person said they “almost passed out from inadequate nutrition.”

Scheme Allegedly Impacted People Struggling With Eating Disorders

The lawsuit also specifically accuses Davis of misleading people who turned to her custom plans for assistance while struggling with eating disorders. Davis was open on social media about her personal journey overcoming an eating disorder through exercise and healthy eating. In posts discussing her story, she would link to her packages, prompting some customers to think she was specifically trained to address eating disorders. 

“The main reason I chose her out of all the coaches out there was specifically that she advertised herself as an ‘eating disorder soldier,’’ one customer cited in the suit said. “It was incredibly important to me that the person I chose to coach me had an idea of what it was like to deal with an eating disorder.”

That customer noted that prior to seeking this plan, she had battled anorexia. At her worst, she weighed under 80 pounds. 

Another customer claimed when they contacted Davis, they wrote that they “truly need guidance” because they had an eating disorder, poor body image, and were underweight. Davis allegedly responded with a message saying, “Great! Welcome to the #TeamBrittanyDawn Family.”

While Davis has denied accepting customers with eating disorders, the lawsuit claims that at least 14 consumers who sought refunds had mentioned eating disorders in their complaints. 

“By means of these unlawful acts and practices, [Davis] obtained money or property from consumers who are entitled to restitution, or in the alternative, have caused actual damages to identifiable persons who are entitled to compensation,” the suit states. 

It is seeking a jury trial and penalties between $250,000 and $1,000,000. Davis has not publicly discussed the lawsuit since it was filed. 

Followers Concerned About Pivot to Christianity

Davis’ followers have other concerns about her content, however. Several told BuzzFeed News in a piece published Tuesday that they believe she chose to rebrand to Christian content in an attempt to distract from her fitness controversies. 

“If she were truly repentant, she would be facing the things that she has done, and this would be her witness,” one follower told the outlet. “She is not immune because she belongs to Jesus. If anything, she should be held more accountable.”

Some are also worried that her fraudulent practices are continuing with her religious focus. Davis is has been hosting Christian retreats, including an upcoming one-day event in April that costs $125. She previously hosted a three-day conference for $600, which included speakers, lodging, and baptisms. Because her religious and education credentials are unclear, some believe these are hefty price tags. 

“I feel like she is still scamming and taking advantage of vulnerable women,” another follower told BuzzFeed News. “She’s basically charging women money to be baptized, which is absolutely disgraceful. Jesus already paid the price for our salvation, and she’s making a profit out of it.”

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (People) (BuzzFeed News)

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YouTube Touts MrBeast and Mainstream Appeal in First Upfront Presentation

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According to Nielson, over 230 million people in the United States used the video service in just one month. 


YouTube Presents at Upfronts

During its first Upfront presentation on Tuesday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company said it was joining staple broadcast and entertainment companies “because YouTube is the mainstream.”

“Viewers have more choices than ever about what to watch or where to watch it,” Wojcicki said while speaking at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. “And they continue to use YouTube.”

The company had previously done its Brandcast presentation at the NewFronts. This was the first time its pitch came alongside television competitors during the busy Upfronts season.

Many of YouTube’s primary talking points were highlighted in a company blog post. In its address, it marketed itself not just as the future of media consumption, but as the modern-day leader, too. 

It said that over 135 million people watched YouTube on Connected TVs, representing every age demographic from toddlers to viewers 55-years-old and up. It also cited Nielson data that said YouTube has over 50% of ad-supported streaming watch time on TV screens. 

Nielsen also found that YouTube reached over 230 million people in the United States in just one month. 

YouTube Offers Up Its Talent

MrBeast, one of YouTube’s top creators, attended the presentation. The company boasted that if MrBeast were his own streaming service, he would “would have more subscribers than the next three most popular ad-supported streaming services.” In other words, with 95 million YouTube subscribers, MrBeast is ahead of HBO and HBO Max’s 77 million, Paramount’s 33 million, and Hulu’s 54 million in the United States. 

Or course, subscribing to a YouTube channel is very different from subscribing to a streaming service, as YouTube subscriptions come at no cost. Viewers can subscribe to as many or as few creators as they please for free, while each streaming service has a monthly or annual fee to gain access to its content. 

YouTube didn’t only show off its homegrown talent. Popstar Lizzo also took the stage to sing her praises of the company, along with a few of her biggest hits. 

But the company’s most important appeals came from the strengths it offered to advertisers. It claimed that 2020 Nielson analysis showed that YouTube on average had a 1.2 times greater return on investment than television.

It also announced a frequency optimization tool for advertisers that would allow companies to control how many times viewers see their spots in one week. In its blog post, YouTube said this allows for “more efficient” spending and “a better experience for viewers.”
It touted this optimization as “a solution only YouTube can provide.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (TubeFilter) (Variety)

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“Saturday Night Live” Faces Backlash for Sketch Mocking the Johnny Depp Amber Heard Trial

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Many fear that jokes about the case could hurt the everyday domestic abuse survivors that see them.


SNL Mocks Trial

After “Saturday Night Light” parodied the ongoing defamation trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in its cold open this weekend, many are criticizing the show — and media at large — for making a mockery of the case. 

Ever since the trial began in April, there has been an onslaught of TikToks, tweets, videos, and other posts turning the happenings in the courtroom into clickbait content. Most of the posts use Heard as a punchline as the #JusticeForJohnnyDepp narrative prevails online. 

Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” While she never mentioned Depp by name, many believed the piece referred to previous abuse allegations she had made about him. Depp, however, alleges that Heard was actually the abuser and concocted the claims to ruin his career. She countersued for $100 million. 

In its most recent episode, “Saturday Night Live” aired a sketch starring Kyle Mooney as Depp, Cecily Strong as the judge, and Aidy Bryant and Heidi Gardner as lawyers in the case. The sketch took place in the courtroom as the involved parties discussed allegations that Heard defecated in her and Depp’s bed. They then watched “video evidence” of house staffers, played by Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Melissa Villaseñor, and Chris Redd, finding the fecal matter. 

At various points, Strong’s judge said they should continue watching the video “because it’s funny” and she and Mooney’s Depp both said they find the trial “amusing.”

“This trial is for fun,” the judge proclaimed at one point.

Many online did not see the humor in SNL’s parody, arguing that a case involving domestic abuse accusations should not be a punchline. Some said the sketch was “disgusting and desperate.”

“Domestic violence is not a joke. Rape is not a joke,” writer Ella Dawson tweeted. “Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke. Abusers using accusations of defamation to silence their victims is not a joke.” 

“In twenty years people are going to look back at this trial and all of the media coverage and be disgusted,” Dawson continued. 

You’re free to have absolutely no opinion on the Depp/Heard trial, but thinking it’s ‘for fun’ is for someone with a diseased heart and brain,” Meredith Haggerty, the senior culture editor at Vox, wrote.

Many felt that regardless of how someone feels or who they support in this case, those making fun of Heard are “making a joke of victims everywhere.”

Criticism of Media’s Trial Coverage

Others argued this sketch was part of an overall disturbing trend in the media’s coverage of this case where serious allegations were being played up for laughs. 

The hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp has trended on Twitter several times throughout the trial as fans defend the actor. Many also use it to mock Heard, share clips of her crying, and in some cases, spread misinformation about her courtroom claims. The tag is also popular on TikTok, where it has been viewed over 11 billion times as of Monday morning. 

Many of the videos involve jokes about the case, memes, fan cams, and other content meant to belittle Heard. On TikTok, the tag #AmberTurd has raked in over 1.6 billion views. Some videos involve animated renderings of courtroom videos meant to make Heard look careless or dumb. Others use audio of Heard alleging that Depp hit her along with silly imagery to make those claims look like a farce. Many involve people making fun of the way Heard has cried on the stand.

Experts have told numerous media outlets that by ridiculing Heard, Depp’s supporters are potentially harming abuse victims that may come across these posts. 

“I can’t imagine what this might be doing to someone who may eventually want to seek safety and support,” Ruth M. Glenn, the chief executive officer of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told NBC News. “Whether it’s Amber Heard or Johnny Depp, how dare us make fun and make light of someone who is sharing something very personal — no matter how we feel about that person.”

The trial is being broadcast live so interested parties can watch it unfold in real-time. The viral clips have allowed the case to become a massive entertainment spectacle.

Public discourse of the trial has sorted people into either “Team Depp” or “Team Heard,” and just a quick glance online will show that Depp has so far won a good portion of public favor. Still, no matter how one views the trial, many think jokes at the expense of Heard’s claims are a bridge too far.

“In the commentary, it’s almost as if people are forgetting that this is real life, that this is not a show that we’re all watching,” Laura Palumbo, communications director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, told USA Today. “Many victims of domestic violence and sexual assault will go into a courtroom at some point and have an experience that is largely outside of their control, in a setting like this.”

“There’s such a strong desire in the public discourse for [Heard] to be the villain, for her to be the example of the fact that there are victims who have ulterior motives, that there are victims who are not telling the full truth,” Palumbo continued. “It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of folks thinking critically or wanting to understand the nuances of abuse or of unhealthy relationships.”

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

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Actors Equity Association Slams Nude Video Leak of “Take Me Out”

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Even though audience members are supposed to have their phones locked away, one viewer uploaded a video featuring actor Jesse Williams naked. 


Nude Video From “Take Me Out” Leaks

The Actors Equity Association, Second Stage, and stars of Broadway’s “Take Me Out” condemned a leaked video of the play that captured actors during a nude scene. 

Actor Jesse Williams, best known for his role in “Grey’s Anatomy,” is seen fully naked in the clip, which was taken by an audience member despite the show’s no-phone policy. It was uploaded online Monday night. 

The Actors Equity Association, a labor union representing thousands of theater workers, addressed the leak on Tuesday via a statement by its president Kate Shindle.

“As actors, we regularly agree to be vulnerable on stage in order to tell difficult and challenging stories. This does not mean that we agree to have those vulnerable moments widely shared by anyone who feels like sneaking a recording device into the theater,” Shindle said. “Whoever did this knew not only that they were filming actors without their consent, but also that they were explicitly violating the theater’s prohibition on recording and distribution.”

Shindle equated the leak to “sexual harassment and an appalling breach of consent.” 

“Taking naked pictures of anyone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences,” Second Stage, which is producing “Take Me Out,” echoed in a statement. “Posting it on the internet is a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and audience forged in the theatre community.”

Second Stage said it implemented a strict phone-free rule at the show, meaning attendees had to lock their devices in a pouch during the performance. The group said it is “appalled” that this policy was violated. Additional security will be added to upcoming shows to enforce the rules. 

Second Stage is also “actively pursuing takedown requests” of the video. 

Leak Slammed As Disrespectful

Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who stars alongside Williams in the play, said the leak showed “disrespect” towards his fellow castmates. 

“Anyone who applauds or trivializes this behavior has no place in the theater,” he wrote on Twitter. 

The videos leaked on the same day Williams earned a Tony Award nomination for his role in “Take Me Out.” The show is also nominated for Best Play Revival, and Ferguson and Michael Oberholtzer are nominated alongside Williams for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

While speaking on “Watch What Happens Live” following the leak, Williams said the nude scenes were not a big deal. 

“It’s a body, once you see it, you realize it’s whatever, it’s a body,” the actor said. “I just have to make it not that big of a deal.”

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Entertainment Weekly) (CNN)

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