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Articles on this Page
- 06/10/16--06:00: _YouTube stars are i...
- 06/10/16--09:28: _Martha Stewart says...
- 06/10/16--18:43: _Cowboys' Darren McF...
- 06/10/16--19:39: _Buccaneers TE Austi...
- 06/11/16--03:40: _'The Voice' star Ch...
- 06/11/16--06:25: _The race to crowdfu...
- 06/12/16--06:37: _English and Russian...
- 06/12/16--14:07: _Selena Gomez pays t...
- 06/13/16--05:00: _Lin-Manuel Miranda ...
- 06/13/16--05:20: _Broadway paid tribu...
- 06/13/16--05:33: _Disney's first Poly...
- 06/13/16--05:45: _John Oliver on the ...
- 06/13/16--10:20: _The new season of '...
- 06/13/16--12:05: _Critics hated 'Warc...
- 06/13/16--13:15: _Christina Grimmie f...
- 06/13/16--13:28: _Classic K-pop girl ...
- 06/13/16--15:38: _FanDuel, DraftKings...
- 06/13/16--16:06: _VidCon tightens sec...
- 06/14/16--07:07: _After Orlando, late...
- 06/14/16--12:42: _Justin Bieber perfo...
- 06/10/16--06:00: YouTube stars are influencing social change like never before
- 06/12/16--06:37: English and Russian fans clash at European soccer championships
- 06/12/16--14:07: Selena Gomez pays tribute to Christina Grimmie at Miami concert
- 06/13/16--05:45: John Oliver on the Orlando shooting: 'This just hurts'
- 06/13/16--15:38: FanDuel, DraftKings reportedly in talks to merge
- 06/13/16--16:06: VidCon tightens security following tragic shootings in Orlando
- 06/14/16--07:07: After Orlando, late-night hosts offer comfort and anger
Last week, the world finally saw the convergence of religion and technology that we’ve all been waiting for: His holiness, Pope Francis, sat down with a selection of the world’s preeminent YouTube stars.
Among those in attendance at the private Vatican summit were Game Theorists' MatPat, an American; Louise Pentland, of the the British channel Sprinkle of Glitter; Dulce Candy, a Mexican-American beauty vlogger who entered the U.S. illegally as a child; and Hayla Ghazal, a social media star of Syrian descent from Dubai. The pope then attended an education conference with people who many would consider to be “real” stars, such as George and Amal Clooney.
George Clooney’s interest in global policy is well known, and Hollywood’s long tradition of involving itself in politics goes back to at least the 1930s. But it is the pope’s meeting with the YouTubers that is more significant, as it shows that pop culture’s major influencers are no longer just Hollywood movie stars and big wigs.
This might seem like more evidence of the "Cool Pope" doing what he does. After all, this is the same guy who sat down with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom before unveiling his own account on the photo-sharing app. And despite his insistence that he is tech-illiterate, Pope Francis has also called the internet a “gift from God.”
But YouTube stars are becoming catalysts for important discussions and even focal points in our shifting cultural landscape. And as a platform for social justice, the platform can no longer be ignored.
In 2014, President Barack Obama held a web summit, where he enlisted various YouTubers to help push Obamacare. The attendees included Tyler Oakley; the Fine Bros.; Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen; Michael Stephens of VSauce; Mark Douglas; Todd Womack and Ben Relles, who created the "Obama Girl" video; Peter Shuckoff and Lloyd Ahlquist of Epic Rap Battles of History; Funny or Die producer/director Rachel Goldenberg; Mickey Meyer and Daniel Kellison of comedy network Jash; and Obama impersonator Alphacat. He also went on Between Two Ferns to promote the Affordable Care Act.
“He told us that his daughters are fans of YouTube, and that they have probably seen all of us in the room,” said Tyler Oakley, who currently has more than 8 million subscribers. “It was so cool to hear the president talk about all these issues so candidly with us… we talked about suicide prevention… same-sex marriage. And just to discuss these things in that room, it was so cool.”
Obama returned to the YouTube well the next two years, each time for interviews with influencers.
But using YouTubers to spread a political message is not just trendy or pandering, it’s smart. The website recently released data that indicates YouTube reaches more 18-to-49-year olds in the U.S. than the top 10 TV shows combined. You want more evidence of their power to influence? Just look at the effect YouTube has had on marketing.
Advertisements on the website are 56 percent more successful at reaching consumers in the aforementioned 18-49 demographic. There are 800 YouTube stars who have passed 1 million subscribers in the last year, and 60 percent of those subscribers say that a YouTube star has influenced how they see a specific brand.
Then there’s the influence YouTubers have had on young people. For instance, the YouTube kids app reached over 10 billion subscribers just in the last year. And U.S. teens list eight out of their 10 most influential and popular celebrities as YouTube stars.
And that’s great because YouTube offers a far wider range of perspectives than, say, Hollywood. The pope’s summit gave a sense of this too, as the stars he talked to came from a diverse array of backgrounds, and covered topics such as “immigrant rights, gender equality, loneliness and self-esteem, and greater respect for diversity of all kinds.”
Writes Mashable’s Saba Hamedy: “And though YouTube is now home to a hub of programming from all parts of the entertainment industry, it's remained true to its democratic nature.”
For a whole generation of young people, social issues may now be more of an immediate concern thanks to the diverse perspectives they’ve seen online.
“Even though I’ve been a YouTuber since 2005, the past year was the first time I really distinctly decided to take it seriously; and boy was that a whirlwind,” wrote YouTuber Kat Blaque, who talks about feminist, trans, and African-American issues, earlier this year. “Something I wasn’t used to dealing with was an audience with expectations, and even further more, responsibilities.”
YouTubers can even begin social justice conversations on accident. YouTuber Nicole Arbour’s "Dear Fat People" became ground zero for fat-shaming dialogues last year after the comedian received loads of backlash for the video which YouTube briefly took down.
A meeting with the pope here, a meeting with the president there, a few discussions on social issues and diversity; does any of this mean that YouTubers are influencing a significant portion of the American people?
For most Americans over 30, probably not yet, but that’s steadily changing. It’s well chronicled that teens care about YouTubers more than “traditional” celebrities, and if world leaders want to stay in touch with teens, it means they have to stay in touch with the internet. Through this relationship, YouTubers may indeed find not only validation of their careers, but ways to impact public policy, and push social justice issues for a generation that cares more about diversity.
As Tyler Oakley said after meeting Obama: “There have been so many people along my journey on YouTube who have said that the internet is not a valid thing to do with your time. … To have that discussion with the president, it was like, together we can do something amazing.”
Chris Osterndorf is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Mic, Salon, xoJane, the Week, and more. When he’s not writing, he enjoys making movies with friends. He lives in Los Angeles.
Martha Stewart revealed something surprising this week in an appearance on Chelsea Handler's Netflix talk show: she doesn't watch Orange Is the New Black because it's not as good as the real thing.
Stewart famously spent time in prison in 2004 after being convicted of three felonies, but it seems that the people she met during her stay made a lasting impression.
"When you live through something like Orange Is the New Black, the real characters are better,” she told Handler.
Here's the full clip:
Stewart also shared her early morning prison-TV ritual.
"In prison, it was BET television at all times," she said. "I had to get up really early to watch the news. There’s only one TV available, and you have to sit in a room on hard chairs and you look up like this at the TV, so if I wanted to watch the stock market and stuff like that I’d have to get up really early and watch it by myself."
Typical Martha—always resourceful.
Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden had made nearly $50 million during the course of his NFL career—an impressive amount of money that the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up was hoping to stretch far beyond his tenure on the football field.
Not all of that money may be coming to McFadden, however. According to the NFL player, his longtime business manager and family friend may have cost him heavily. That's why McFadden's suing him to the tune of $15 million.
The unfortunately named Michael Vick (no, not the dog-fighting quarterback) allegedly lost $3 million of McFadden's fortune in a Bitcoin investment gone wrong, misappropriated funds, and even attempted to sell the running back's property that had been allegedly purchased with the hard-earned cash of his client.
Vick allegedly accomplished all of this by convincing McFadden that it was in his best interest to grant the money-manager power of attorney, and according to the lawsuit, Vick used fraudulent documents to gain it. McFadden told the Associated Press that he learned of the fraud when Vick allegedly tried to sell a building to McFadden that Vick had bought using McFadden's own money.
According to the AP, Vick is just one of 11 plaintiffs on the receiving end of the lawsuit. Vick is the only defendant without the anonymous moniker of "Doe," however.
It's unclear when McFadden and Vick will see each other in court. If proceedings occur in the middle of the NFL season, McFadden would be forced to fly to Little Rock to appear in person, as he's filed the suit at the federal court in Arkansas's capital city.
Everyone from artist Kanye West to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton knows that if you want to tell a story, make a point, or hit your opponent where it hurts, you take your grievances to Twitter.
And while turning to the social media platform with thoughts and emotions has worked out for some—say, Zola and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s former roommate—airing dirty laundry through Twitter doesn’t always come off as heroic or empowering.
On Thursday, Seferian-Jenkins took to Twitter to let off steam after a particularly rough day of practice and ended up tussling with a few judgmental fans.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter sent the tight end off the field during the voluntary practice. When asked about Seferian-Jenkins’ departure, Koetter confirmed he kicked the player out of practice, and said, "That's between me and him ... You guys are making more of it than you need to."
While the Times reported that Koetter said Seferian-Jenkins "didn't know what he was doing" just one play before the player left the field, the coach did a fairly solid job of dodging questions regarding Seferian-Jenkins after practice.
Seferian-Jenkins, however, didn’t keep as quiet. Shortly after leaving the field, he took to Twitter to air his message in a pair of tweets. “MOVING ON!” read one, which Seferian-Jenkins later deleted. “Can't let negative stuff get to u. Let it happen and move on!” read the other. It appeared the player closed out his thoughts with a friendly high-five.The tweets are vague and questionable, but not outrightly negative. Perhaps Seferian-Jenkins meant “moving on” in the optimistic sense? He even retweeted sports reporter Rick Stroud, who suggested the idea. However, all perceived intentions were shoved aside when the player began responding to trolling comments for the next nine hours, talking trash to some respondents about their mothers and wives and even challenging one of them.
Oh, wow, that was pointed.
After a few back-and-forth responses, Seferian-Jenkins seemed to call for a truce.
But, just kidding, he’s still going...Might as well take a seat, ‘cause this is clearly going to take a while... This guy? Again? And last, and possibly the most G-rated of the bunch: Alas, had Seferian-Jenkins avoided the confrontational tweets, he might have saved face after that practice dismissal. Perhaps he realized just how heavily his crude responses were weighted, as exhibited by his tweet from Friday night. At least this isn’t the weirdest Twitter-related faux pas to happen in the NFL this week—this time, commissioner Roger Goodell wasn't killed off by a hacker.
H/T The Comeback
Singer Christina Grimmie, who is best known as a former finalist on the TV show The Voice, was shot and killed early Saturday morning after performing in Orlando. According to police, the gunman approached Grimmie, shot her, and then shot himself after Grimmie’s brother tackled him. Grimmie was 22.“Upon arrival officers found the male suspect, who was deceased, and one victim who was gravely injured,” police said in a statement. “That victim, singer Christina Grimmie, was transported to the hospital with critical injuries. She later died from those injuries.”
Fans and supporters have been sharing their condolences across the Internet, including the band Before You Exit, who played with Grimmie in Orlando last night. #RIPChristina has over 1.4 million tweets.Though police have yet to release any information on the identity of the shooter, Steven J. Robinson, a drummer for Selena Gomez and friend of Grimmie’s, claims it was an ex-boyfriend who shot her. The Daily Dot has reached out to Robinson for comment. Grimmie began her career on YouTube, where she performed both covers and original songs. Her channel has over 3 million followers. In her last video, uploaded last week, she urged followers to support her Charity Champions League for the Humane Society.
Hank Green, internet celebrity and organizer of VidCon, expressed his condolences on Facebook. He also said that he is speaking with the security team for VidCon about increased screening and protection.According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 89 people die every day from gun violence—31 from murders, 55 from suicide. Two days ago, a federal appeals court in California ruled that the Second Amendment, which provides the right to bear arms, does not include carrying a concealed gun.
Update 11:13am CT, Jun. 11: Orlando police have identified the shooter as a 27-year-old male “armed with 2 handguns and a hunting knife.” Police also said he was not from Orlando. They are currently searching for a motive, and have said they will release the shooter’s name in a few hours.
Meanwhile, a pinned tweet to Christina Grimmie’s account, posted two hours ago, reads “The end.”
Update 3:43pm CT, Jun. 11: Orlando police have identified Grimmie’s shooter as Kevin James Loibl.
The pinned tweet to Grimmie’s Twitter account has disappeared, but Grimmie’s manager Brian Teefey, has started a GoFundMe account“to assist her family in their time of need.” Nearly a thousand people have donated in the past 14 hours.
The story of how Geoffrey Gray and True.ink decided to crowdfund a racehorse that one day could compete in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, or the Belmont Stakes is actually a story about how to advance journalism in this technological, dying-newspaper age.
Gray himself is a first-class sports writer whose words have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and Sports Illustrated. He also loves background investigative journalism and whodunnits, and one day, he happened upon on old, pulpy periodical called True that was one of the top adventure magazines in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Ernest Hemingway wrote about Cuban fishing streams for the publication, and Pulitzer Prize winner Jimmy Breslin penned odes to racehorses. It was the golden age of magazine writing, and True was among the best.
Gray had never read a magazine that was so well-written, and it got him thinking about the kind of internet site where this kind of writing could be housed, a space where clicks and page views didn't matter but where experiences do. A place where readers weren't simply passive customers but where they could be part of the story. He wanted a place in real life where 50 people could come together to cook paella and an online nook where other people could breathe in the results of that feast.
"We want," Gray told the Daily Dot, "to engage in a deeper way."
One way to do that, Gray figured, was to pool a bunch of people together and buy a racehorse.
That's why he created this Indiegogo page for True.ink's True Stables, where he asked fans to buy a stake in a racehorse so everybody who was interested could guide the animal for its career—so they simply could experience what it was like to own one.The initial crowdfunding goal was $35,000, and True Stables raised more than $37,000. That means this is actually happening. The horse, thus far, is simply named The People's Horse, but all 329 owners who have donated thus far will get a chance to choose a trainer, a breeder, and a permanent name. There are also owners' perks that include feeding the horse, watching it progress from wherever you are in the world, and then taking part in the race day parties. Owners get to be part of the team without much financial investment and virtually zero time spent at the track.
But $35,000 isn't going to make a huge dent in what it takes to raise, train, and feed a competitive race horse. That's why this first run of donations is earmarked for exercise, training, and stabling fees for a year. The next step is to actually buy the horse.
"Racehorses are so, so fantastically expensive and extraordinarily fragile," Gray said. "...A reason why horse owners get into trouble is that they spend all this money buying a horse, but then they don't have the money to keep it secure."
Now that training expenses are locked in for a year, True Stables can look forward to actually raising money for a purchase. The first goal is $35,000. The second is $50,000. If people keep donating, the ultimate goal is $100,000.
And yes, it's possible to get a good, solid horse for those figures. Gray's goal is to win the Kentucky Derby, and who's to say that couldn't happen with a horse bought for $35,000? After all, Seattle Slew—which won the Triple Crown in 1977—was purchased two years earlier for $17,500 (close to $80,000 in today's money).
"Back in those days in the '60s and early '70s, you could go to the sale, and for $100,000, you could buy five really nice horses and have some money left over," Billy Turner, who trained Seattle Slew, told the Daily Dot. "That's not so today. But when somebody goes and does their homework and they go in to that ring and start to bid, they can feel pretty safe that they're getting a really sound individual for not a lot of money."
The idea for crowdfunding a racehorse began in a supermarket checkout line in Saratoga Springs, New York when the magazine's credit card was denied multiple times and the man in the checkout line behind grew dismayed at the delay. Turns out he was a race handicapper nicknamed The Wiz, and he was in the process of trying to buy and race his own horse. After hearing The Wiz's backstory, Gray was hooked. He wanted to buy a race horse and bring his readers along for the ride.
And the racing community has embraced him.
Gray and his team have been traveling with a fiberglass horse (nicknamed The People's Horse) in which people can sign their name nominations. True Stables was even represented at the Kentucky Derby last month.Gray was also in Maryland for the Preakness, and on Friday, Gray was hustling around Elmont, New York readying himself for Saturday's Belmont Stakes. "This," Gray said, "allows everybody to have the experience of being a horse owner and to really engage on a story from the inside and not having to be told through the filter of a report."
"What's so very true about this project, there's nothing more inefficient, nothing that doesn't make any sense in the modern world, than a racehorse," he continued. "It's all about efficiency and scale, and if you can't do that, the modern world rejects you. It's like that in the media and in a sub sandwich. It's like that everywhere. But you can't control a racehorse. You operate on a rhythm that comes from someplace else. It forces us to take a breath, and it embraces the unknown."
Like those articles that filled the old True magazines Gray fell in love with, this is a good story, potentially a fantastic one. The beginning of the tale has already begun, and it's a page-turner. For now, there's no middle and there's no end. But to Gray, that's fine. He's excited about what he doesn't know, about the journey to some distant location that neither he nor those who have contributed to the cause can visualize quite yet.
It's like the jockey who's on the back of the stallion. You can hope to guide the horse to victory, but really, you only have a little bit of control. The horse is really the one in charge.
You? Well, you're just the one along for the ride.
The European soccer championship began in France this week, kicking off with clashes between fans and riot police in Marseilles. One match on Saturday night saw crowds of Russian and English fans fighting in the stadium, as well as being teargassed in the streets outside.
English soccer fans have a particularly bad reputation throughout Europe, although the last few years have been comparatively quiet. With riot police already being deployed on Friday, the first night of the championship, this week seemed to signal the return of England's infamous soccer hooligans. Then, on Saturday, the Russian fans swung into action.Before and after the England versus Russia match on Saturday, fans were rioting in the streets. Footage from inside the Stade Velodrome in Marseilles shows a crowd of Russians chasing English fans through the stands, with many people having to climb over barricades to escape.
Videos on social media show English and Russian fans throwing chairs and bottles in the streets, and getting into brawls. Both within the Euro 2016 stadiums and outside in public spaces, it seems that authorities were not remotely prepared for this level of violence.Rebekah Vardy, wife of England striker Jamie Vardy, tweeted that she had been caught up in the violence before Saturday's match with Russia, saying that police "teargassed fans for no reason." Meanwhile, former England star Gary Lineker tweeted, "You can talk about police provocation, or other fans causing trouble, but it only seems to happen where the English go." UEFA, the governing body for the European soccer championship, has now opened disciplinary proceedings with Russia's Football Union. The BBC reports that Russian fans were charged with "crowd disturbances, racist behavior, and setting off fireworks." According to the Independent, one English fan was allegedly beaten with a metal pole, and another was slashed with a knife.
With Euro 2016 due to continue until July 10, UEFA is deploying "corrective measures" to avoid similar incidents in future matches.
During her concert in Miami on Saturday night, Selena Gomez offered a heartfelt tribute to her slain friend Christina Grimmie.
Gomez was overcome with emotion during her show at American Airlines Arena, as she began crying in the middle of her song "Nobody." The singer apologized to the crowd and spoke of Grimmie, who was shot and killed while signing autographs a day earlier in Orlando.
Gomez dedicated her performance of "Transfiguration" to Grimmie during the show.On Saturday morning prior to the concert, Gomez tweeted a photo of herself and Grimmie with the caption, "My heart is absolutely broken. I miss you Christina." The 22-year-old former Voice contestant had been friends with Gomez for years. Gomez's stepfather Brian Teefey served as Grimmie's manager after discovering her on YouTube. Grimmie performed as an opener for Gomez on her "We Own the Night" tour in 2011.
Grimmie was killed after her concert on Friday night when 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl opened fire during her meet and greet with fans. The shooter was armed with two handguns and a hunting knife and fatally shot himself after being tackled to the ground by Grimmie's brother Marcus.
A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the Grimmie family was launched on Saturday and has raised over $85,000. On the page, Teefey wrote a note expressing his condolences and support for the Grimmie family.
"Words cannot begin to describe the pain I am feeling. I learned this business through the eyes of a father and Christina was like a second daughter to me," he wrote. "As family Mother, Father, and Brother made the ultimate family sacrifice to support Christina on her musical journey. They did nothing but love her and support her as family the best they knew how, the only worry I want them to have at this point is that of recovery.
Grimms I love you, and miss you beyond comprehension."
H/T Rolling Stone
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda won big at the 2016 Tony Awards, with countless cast members of the acclaimed musical picking up awards on Sunday night. The musical itself won a grand total of 11 Tonys. Miranda's first ultra-personal victory of the night came by nabbing the "Best Original Score" award shortly after the show kicked off.
The Broadway superstar dispensed with a traditional speech of gratitude, instead choosing to deliver a powerful sonnet that touched on his personal triumphs and marked the passing of at least 50 people earlier that day at an LGBT club in Orlando. The mass shooting was the deadliest in U.S. history.
The Tony Awards have been dedicated to all affected by the tragedy. Miranda's sonnet hit all the right notes of what the Tonys means to those in the theatre community as well as how such artistry transcends history itself, distilling what it means to be human in the movements, sound design, carpentry, and light work of the stage.The sonnet reads as follows:
My wife's the reason anything gets done
She nudges me towards promise by degrees
She is the perfect symphony of one
Our son is her most beautiful reprise
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until their finished songs then start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised—not one day
This show is proof that history remembers
We live in times when heat and fear seem stronger
We rise and fall and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
Cannot be killed or swept aside
I sing vanessa's symphony and lisa tells her story
Now fill the world with music, love, and pride
The 2016 Tony Awards were a bittersweet affair, celebrating a historic year on Broadway while also mourning the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
The Tonys were officially dedicated to those affected by the Orlando shooting, beginning the broadcast with a message of support and grief. Many guests and performers also wore white ribbons in a show of solidarity, including presenter James Corden.
Nominated for a record 16 awards, hit musical Hamilton was the obvious star of the evening. As Corden joked in his opening monologue, "I promise you that tonight's show will not all be about Hamilton. There will also be some commercial breaks." Naturally, he was introduced with a Hamilton parody performance, starring the show's cast.Meanwhile the Tony Awards' opening number was a wider celebration of Broadway achievements, featuring a huge cast of stars from various shows. Hamilton wound up taking home 11 awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, and acting awards for Renée Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, and Leslie Odom Jr. The cast's ensemble performance included one of the most moving moments of the evening, as the cast decided against using guns onstage. Towards the end of the performance, they posed in silence, empty-handed. Frank Langella, who won the Tony for best lead actor in a play, was one of the many guests to pay tribute to the Orlando shooting victims in his speech. "When something bad happens we have three choices," he said. "We let it define us, we let it destroy us or we let it strengthen us... Today, in Orlando, we had a hideous dose of reality. And I urge you, Orlando, to be strong."
Saying that he was now too old to freestyle (as he did when he won a Tony for In The Heights in 2008), an increasingly tearful Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted the award for best score by reading a sonnet dedicated to his wife Vanessa, celebrating the importance of love and hope in times of tragedy.
"When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day
This show is proof that history remembers
We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer."
Announced in 2014, Moana is a fantasy tale about a young Polynesian navigator (Moana, obviously) who sets out to meet the demi-god Maui, voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. From what we've seen so far, it looks like a fun addition to Disney's catalog of animated musicals, directed by the creative team behind Hercules, The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and the Frog.The first teaser focuses on Johnson's character, probably because he's the most famous person in the cast. Moana herself is voiced by 15-year-old Auli'i Cravalho, who was selected during Disney's open casting process for the role.
Featuring music from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, there's more than enough to get excited about in this movie. And if you're already impatient to see it in November, just imagine being one of the fans who was already working on Moana fanart all the way back in January 2014.
He skipped the show’s usual introduction and solemnly addressed the camera as he summed up the shooting at Pulse, which is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Oliver emphasized that the shooting took place at a gay nightclub, which has been omitted from some statements from officials. It’s early into the investigation, Oliver noted, but “right now, this just hurts.”“And the worst thing is this pain is so familiar,” Oliver said. “In Paris last November, terrorists seemed to target places symbolizing everything that is wonderful about France—culture, music, restaurants. And in Orlando earlier this morning, a gunman attacked a Latin night at a gay club in the theme park capital of the world. And for the record, I will happily embrace a Latin night at a gay club at the theme park capital of the world as the ultimate symbol about what is truly wonderful about America.”
Oliver ended the segment by showcasing the humanity that is still prevalent among the people of Orlando: hundreds of people waiting in line to donate blood for the dozens of people injured in the shooting who desperately need it.
In season 2 of UnREAL, Lifetime’s series about the machinations of a dating reality show called Everlasting, we’re introduced to a black male suitor for the first time on TV. It’s something not even The Bachelor, a show that’s been on for 20 seasons, has done yet.
Co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro worked as a producer on The Bachelor, so she has a more informed view its inner workings than most. And UnREAL is certainly a show about inner workings. It focuses on a new kind of power couple: producers Quinn (Constance Zimmer) and Rachel (Shiri Appleby), who make Everlasting (and its foundational drama) happen. In last week’s debut episode, Rachel boasts that she’s responsible for this history-making black suitor, which foreshadows what race might really be used for.
Before an UnREAL panel at this past weekend’s ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, Shapiro said the introduction of Darius Beck (B.J. Britt) a football player in need of an image makeover after saying “bitch, please” to a white female reporter, was something important they needed do with the platform.
Last season, two black female contestants were told early on what they needed to do to win by Jay (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), Everlasting’s black, gay producer—fit into very specific stereotypes about black women. This season, we’re introduced to contestant Ruby, a black activist who’s told by Rachel that she could use the show to further her platform. But, since this is UnREAL, we have a feeling that she’ll also manipulated into a stereotype for ratings. As Quinn explains to an exec in season 2’s debut episode, the first time Darius puts his hands on “white ass,” Twitter will melt down. And just like that, progress is at odds with ratings.Shapiro says that with that scene, they wanted to show that “Rachel’s the idealist and Quinn’s the realist. And it actually takes both of them to get the job done.” But they also wanted to shine a light on the conversations that often happen behind the scenes, and further explore how TV and media often mold black men and women to be more palatable to a larger audience. “To be palatable but also to make fun of them,” adds executive producer Stacy Rukeyser.
“It’s a reality that can’t be ignored,” says Bowyer-Chapman. “It goes back to how black people have been treated in America for centuries. The history of slavery in this country has affected not only how black people see themselves, but how white people see black people as well, and the roles they’re meant to play. ... I’m aware of it, as a person of color. I tend not to play this game with myself anymore, but for many years I realized that the more general that I was, the more doors I could walk into without people questioning me. So I think to have a character like Ruby, who is the complete antithesis to that, who is not only a very educated woman but a black rights activist, who is going to stand her ground and give a different perspective to the world of Everlasting, is an incredible story to tell.”
In the second episode, which debuts tonight, Ruby takes it a step further, wearing a shirt that reads “I can’t breathe,” the last line uttered by Eric Garner before being killed by police in 2014. She’s using it to send a message, but the producers are wired to mine it for ratings. It reflects the media attention Black Lives Matter activists received, though not always in ways that elevate it.
“The Eric Garner case was for me and probably for most of us, a pretty big watershed moment of, the state of racism in this country is really over the line,” Shapiro says. “When we were doing research on some of those cases, we read a lot of police testimony after some of these shootings, where they described the unarmed black men in a very similar way, as like monsters, animals, beasts, superhuman, threatening. These words just keep coming up. And what we were talking about is, if the only images of black men on TV is of violent offenders… we just wanted to put up pictures of a black prince charming, and just let that be.
“We have an obligation to fill some of our screen time with images that matter.”
“If you’re a woman, you’re going to be judged on something that’s out of your control.”
Says Bowyer-Chapman says: “It really is systematic oppression that is so deeply ingrained into the very fabric of American society. ... Shedding a light on it, in whatever way possible, is the only way to create change.”
So why has The Bachelor not had a non-white suitor yet?
“They have a formula that works for them and they’re scared to fuck with it,” says Bowyer-Chapman.
“They get incredible ratings,” Rukeyser says, “and so I understand why they would be afraid to mess with the formula. But we’re lucky enough to not have to worry about those things.”
UnREAL also explores women’s complicated relationship with feminism. In the series pilot, we first see Rachel lying on the floor of a limo, surrounded by the show’s potential "wifeys,” wearing a shirt that says, “This is what a feminist looks like.” As the season goes on, we struggle with that declaration, as Quinn and Rachel break down the female contestants while also trying to wrestle power from the men in charge.
“I think in an era where there are so many confusing messages for women—lean in, lean out; opt in, opt out; have babies, who cares—nobody knows what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing,” says Shapiro. The focus on women at work was organic and not something Shapiro or Rukeyser thought of as particularly revolutionary, until critics and viewers started talking about it. For all its woman-on-woman manipulations, UnREAL is a show where two female protagonists talk to each other about work and their friendship is the love story. As we see at the beginning of season 2, their matching “Money. Dick. Power.” tattoos solidified that.
“We have a rule of thumb in the writers’ room,” says Shapiro. “When you’re writing Quinn and Rachel, make sure that they’re talking to each other like Walt and Jesse from Breaking Bad, and not like Serena and Blair on Gossip Girl. And when you really break down what that’s about, they’re talking about strategy and winning and efficacy and doing your fucking job, and not talking about, you hurt my feelings, I want my boyfriend back. So that is the calibration of those characters, and I never thought of it as male, but they really do talk to each other like a team, like, ‘We gotta get this shit done.’”
“A lot of the women I know in my life, they’re working all the time,” says Genevieve Buechner, who plays fledging producer Madison. “The women I know have to work 10 times as hard to get anywhere near where a lot of the men are. Even in acting, I get turned down because they don’t like the way my face is, or they don’t like the way my body is. It’s so based on the way I look as opposed to what I can do. And in any field, it seems that way. If you’re a woman, you’re going to be judged on something that’s out of your control.”
But, as we saw in last week’s episode, Madison is being manipulated too. In one of the most intense scenes, she must draw out the pain of a contestant who recently lost her fiancé, with Rachel in her ear, pushing her further. She does her job, visibly sickened, but then she feels the rush.In doing what a real TV show still hasn't done, UnREAL is creating a conversation, one that's already been taking place on social media alongside conversations about the stereotypes shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette perpetuate, and how they deal with things like rape jokes. We'll have to wait and see if it leads to real progress.
Warcraft the movie is not a good film. In fact, it’s terrible. Most reviewers who’ve seen it, both veteran gamers and novices alike, didn’t care for it. It’s two hours of lackluster acting, cliched plot lines, and CG motion capture that will look about as convincing in 10 years as the Beowulf film does now.
The domestic weekend box numbers weren't great, as the 26-percent-on-Rotten-Tomatoes clunker only raked in $24.4 million domestically. Considering the fact that the movie cost $160 million to make, Warcraft won’t be looked at as a success in the United States.
However, Warcraft will absolutely get a sequel.
Even if the film isn’t a hit here in the states, it is a blockbuster in China. It raked in about $45 million on opening day, breaking release day records, and is expected to generate about $300 million in the country. That would make it the second-highest grossing film of all time in China, as well as the biggest foreign film, outselling U.S. blockbusters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The overseas hit represents an ongoing, subtle shift in Hollywood. The Warcraft movie was designed to sell in China. In fact, the film was actually made more for China than it was for the United States.
Legendary Pictures has been working on the Warcraft movie for years, buying the rights for the film about a decade ago. At the time, World of Warcraft was one of the fastest growing games in the world. Between 2005 and 2006, the game grew from 1.5 million subscribers to more than 7 million, peaking at about 12 million in 2010.
China is courting Hollywood for more films, as well as influence.
However, the game is not the behemoth it used to be. As of last November, World of Warcraft had about 5.5 million subscribers, with California-based game developer Blizzard Entertainment announcing it would no longer be releasing numbers on how many players it has left. Blizzard has since released the freemium collectible-card mobile game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, which looks to be doing well, and its competitive multiplayer online battle arena game Heroes of the Storm, which is starting to show its wear and tear. Heroes competitive team Cloud9 recently announced that it’s quitting the game, and there are rumors that MVP Black may leave by the end of the year.
Without a doubt, China is World of Warcraft’s biggest audience, with at least one-third to half of current players believed to be Chinese. It's a cultural icon in the country, with a legacy spanning a generation of players. China’s love of the Warcraft universe is one of the main reasons why Blizzard made the Mists of Pandaria expansion in 2012.
Legendary has taken great strides to appeal to Chinese moviegoers for the Warcraft film. In 2014, Asian-American actor Daniel Wu was cast to play Gul’Dan, one of the Orcs from the film. He’s a talented actor and fit the role well, but sources also cited his popularity among Asian audiences as motivation for his casting.
Last December, Blizzard held a massive mall tour across the country, featuring dozens of props, set replicas, costumes, a giant Warhammer display, and a virtual reality ride on the Gryphon from the film. There was no such mall display in the United States.The film’s release date was also strategically designed for China’s audience. It was originally set to come out in December, but was delayed because of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Then it was perfectly placed so that Warcraft came out right after students finished their exams.
China is making Hollywood a lot of money. It’s on track to become the biggest movie market in the world.
China’s movie industry is booming, and it’s making hits out of films that would’ve otherwise performed OK stateside: Pacific Rim, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and The Terminator: Genisys become international sensations largely thanks to Chinese ticket sales. China accounted for 25 percent of Pacific Rim’s sales when it first came out.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, China’s movie market grew almost 50 percent in 2015. Mike Ellis, who heads the Asia Pacific operations of the Motion Picture Association of America, said ticket sales are set to reach $6.5 billion this year. If the industry continues its uphill climb, Ellis predicted China would soon surpass the U.S., becoming the world’s biggest movie market by 2017.
As a result, China is courting Hollywood for more films, as well as influence. Chinese movie studio Bona Film Group invested millions into a finance company behind major studios like 20th Century Fox. Chinese media mogul Bruno Wu partnered with a Beijing financial service company to create a billion dollar investment fund, which is devoted to funding movies and TV shows for an international audience.
We’re also seeing Hollywood directly take up shop in China. The Russo brothers, who directed Captain America: Winter Soldier, opened a startup studio in China called Anthem Pictures to produce Chinese-language films for local audiences. Other studios are collaborating directly with Chinese studios to make movies both in China and America.
Legendary Pictures is undoubtedly one of the biggest recent Chinese acquisitions. In January, Legendary Pictures was purchased by Wanda Group, a Chinese theater chain conglomerate that owns AMC Entertainment. Legendary Pictures founder and CEO Thomas Tull said in a statement that he was excited to “create a completely new international entertainment company.”
Warcraft was technically made before the buyout, but Legendary Pictures has been involved in the Chinese movie market since 2011—back when it was first trying to form its Chinese joint venture Legendary East. The Asian subsidiary has been heavily involved in the financing and distribution of Warcraft, securing a $10 million Chinese investment for the film all the way back in 2014. Legendary East also helped market Pacific Rim in China, where it made about $100 million more than it did here in the U.S.
No surprise, the sequel is now being cast.
It's an interesting shift in power. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon made millions more in the United States than it did internationally, and plenty of changes were made to make it more suitable for a western audience, like increasing female representation.
However, there is one major problem: censorship. As the Chinese movie market has become bigger, so have the demands to make films for the Chinese audience. And by audience, oftentimes that means the country’s communist government. Given how China only allows 34 foreign films into the country every year, American films that aren’t co-produced in China have struggled to meet the expectations of its government.
This has included changing the villains in the Red Dawn remake from Chinese to North Korean, and removing scenes depicting Chinese bad guys in Men in Black 3 before it was released in China. Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill partially blamed China for Tilda Swinton’s casting as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, because Chinese audiences, and the government, would reject a Tibetan actor in the role. American film director Dede Nickerson, who has spent decades working on films in China, said Hollywood’s even starting to predict China’s objections and self-censoring to avoid problems.
“China is so important to Hollywood, that I would say that those decisions are going to get made when a film is being green lit to be careful about what may be offensive to Chinese people or to the Chinese authorities,” Dede Nickerson told 60 Minutes reporter Holly Williams. “They won’t need to cut because… they won’t make them in the first place.”
Even the game has experienced government censorship. World of Warcraft has had to make numerous adjustments to fit censorship laws against supernatural elements and extreme violence, including changing the color of blood, replacing corpses with tombstones and adding skin onto skeletons. It’s also the reason why China’s subscription model is by-the-minute instead of monthly, because the government limits how long players can play due to fears of addiction. (Given that a Chinese player died last year after playing WoW for 19 hours straight, and there are thousands of WoW addiction centers nationwide, it’s not a fear that’s entirely unwarranted.)
Legendary now sets its sights on collaboration. It's working on its first major U.S.-China co-production with The Great Wall, a $135 million international blockbuster starring Matt Damon, Chinese actor Andy Lau, and Willem Dafoe. The studio is also gearing up for a multi-year monster movie series starring King Kong and Godzilla, with Kong: Skull Island coming out in 2018. This is largely thanks to how well Godzilla 2014 performed in China, where it brought in more money than in the U.S.
Legendary is clearly planning for the long haul with China, and based on how well Warcraft is doing, it will probably work. Let’s just hope the next films are a little bit better, and a lot less censored.
Former The Voice contestant Christina Grimmie's management team started a GoFundMe page Saturday with a simple goal—to help cover the cost of her funeral—but the outpouring of support its received from fans has exceeded its wildest expectations.
"As family, Mother, Father, and Brother made the ultimate family sacrifice to support Christina on her musical journey," manager Brian Teefey wrote on the landing page. "They did nothing but love her and support her as family the best they knew how, the only worry I want them to have at this point is that of recovery."
Fans more than met the modest goal; in fact, they surpassed it nearly 50 times over. As of Monday afternoon, the total amount of money raised for Grimmie's family is more than $174,000.
“Words cannot express,” Grimmie wrote. "Literally I have no words."
It's the end of an era for K-pop girl group 4Minute. After seven years, the members decided to disband following the end of their contracts with Cube Entertainment.
So far, only member Hyuna is confirmed to have renewed her contract with the label. The other four members—Jiyoon, Jihyun, Sohyun, and Gayoon—are still in negotiations, and may or may not leave the company altogether. The group reportedly no longer shares a common focus and holds different career goals, including in singing and acting.
4Minute debuted in 2009 in the midst of the "Golden Era" of K-pop and has been considered one of the key groups to have influenced the K-pop scene. Despite its prevalent name however, some netizens are not surprised by the news. Some are debating whether the break up was inevitable, having predicted it since the group's February release of its seventh album, Act 7.
According to Soompi, the group was relying heavily on the success of Act 7 to determine whether or not they would renew their contracts. The members had revealed they hoped to be viewed as artists, rather than just idols, and worked with Skrillex for the title track "Hate."Others have attributed the disbandment to the disparate popularity between Hyuna and the rest of the members, saying that the company promoted her more than the others. Hyuna launched a solo career in 2010 with the song "Change" and has released four songs since then. She also formed the duo Trouble Maker with former label mate Jang Hyunseung in 2011.
Regardless of how or why, the news of their breakup is depressing for many fans, who are taking to social media to voice their support for the group. Both the #ThankYou4Minute and #4MinutePleaseStayTogether hashtags have been gaining popularity on Twitter since the group's announcement.
After suffering a number of setbacks in the past year—and a few victories, as well—the two biggest players in daily fantasy sports reportedly are thinking about joining forces.
Both sites once were valued at more than $1 billion, but they’ve been hit hard since January when Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee forbid the DFS sites from operating in their respective states. And though New York is close and Virginia already has legalized the two sites (with a hefty licensing fee, of course), the news surrounding the industry mostly hasn’t been good (both sites have stopped taking action on college sports and DraftKings dropped sponsorship of major esports leagues).
Bloomberg reported that both sites’ value has dropped by more than 50 percent, which might be why DraftKings and FanDuel have been recently working toward an agreement. Forbes, though, wrote it was "incredibly unlikely that the U.S. government would allow a merger" because of antitrust law.
FanDuel declined comment Monday to the Daily Dot. DraftKings also has remained silent.
Digital video conference VidCon announced it has heightened security procedures for its upcoming event in Anaheim, California, following a pair of horrific incidents in Orlando last weekend.
Less than a day before a nightclub massacre left 50 people dead and dozens wounded, YouTube star Christina Grimmie was shot and killed while signing autographs after a performance in the city. Grimmie, best known as a finalist on The Voice, was a YouTuber with 3 million fans on the platform. The incidents immediately prompted VidCon founder Hank Green to reevaluate the conference's security plans.VidCon announced new rules and regulations on its Tumblr. These include metal detectors at meet and greet halls, random bag checks, and fencing off the entire convention center perimeter only to credentialed guests. Some changes were direct results of the murders, while others were already in the works to help manage the growing convention.
VidCon also announced undercover police patrols and at least three security guards at each panel, with total security force topping 450 officers, double the amount last year. The convention expects 30,000 people to attend over the three-day festival.
Additionally, guests will not be permitted to linger after panels and accept gifts or take pictures with fans, restricting that access to secured meet and greet lines.
"As in all years we want VidCon to be fun, but you can’t have fun without being safe, and the VidCon Team is committed to making sure that everyone’s safety is the number one priority," the team wrote on Tumblr.
VidCon's entire security announcement is below.
In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, Americans once again looked to late-night television for a sense of comfort and catharsis. And like President Obama, some hosts are starting to notice how similar these addresses sound.
The shooting at Pulse, an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub, occurred early Sunday morning, so most late-night hosts had to wait until Monday night to address their respective audiences with the exception of John Oliver, whose show airs on Sundays, and James Corden, who opened the Tony Awards with a message on behalf of the entire theater community in a show dedicated to the victims of the Orlando shooting.
“Hate will never win,” Corden said. “Together, we have to make sure of that. Tonight’s show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principal.”Some were at a loss for words as they talked about the violence that occurred in Orlando, showing vulnerability—they’re just as lost as the rest of the country. In the middle of offering his thoughts, Jimmy Fallon wondered, possibly like many parents, how he was going to eventually tell his kids about Orlando. He didn’t call Pulse a gay nightclub, but he spoke against the idea that it’s OK to kill people for their differences.
“We need to get back to being brave enough to accept that we have different opinions, and that’s OK because that’s what America is built on,” Fallon said.But many of them got angry. They were more explicit about the LGBT community being directly affected by this. They’ve seen this happen too many times and while they offer their condolences, they’re also using their platforms to call for change. They want the government to do something about it besides offer “thoughts and prayers” before the next mass shooting occurs.
Conan O’Brien is the most seasoned host on TV, and he’s had to do numerous addresses over the years. He’s mostly kept his thoughts out of it, but this time he called for a ban on semi-automatic assault rifle sales. (The gunman legally purchased an AR-15 one week before the shooting even though he was under investigation by the FBI twice for connections to terrorism.)
“I’ve tried really hard over the years not to bore you with what I think,” O’Brien said. “However, I am a father of two, I like to believe I have a shred of common sense, and I simply do not understand why anybody in this country is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle. It makes no sense to me. These are weapons of war, and they have no place in civilian life.”Samantha Bee, who debuted on Full Frontal just a few months ago, is on the other end of the spectrum and hasn’t had to do many of these on her show yet. But she’s a longtime veteran of The Daily Show, and she’s had plenty of exposure to those stories over the years. Her response was raw as she called out Florida Gov. Rick Scott for telling people to pray instead of attempting to change how Florida does background checks on gun purchases and access to semi-automatic rifles. (There is no waiting period to purchase one under Florida law.)
“There is no shortage of troubled 20-somethings out there, and whether they’re radicalized by ISIS, or homophobia, or white nationalism, or a dislike of movies, we are making it far too easy for their derangement to kill us,” Bee said. “So until we as a nation find the political will to reject a mass shooting per day as the price of freedom, I’m just gonna pray.”Seth Meyers tried to make sense of all through one of his “Closer Look” segments. He praised the heroics and the hundreds of people who waited hours in line to donate blood, predicted an ugly debate on gun control, and tore into Donald Trump, who called for congratulations after the shooting.
“So while there were some who were busy callously exploiting the tragedy to spread bigotry and misinformation, let’s keep in our hearts the victims and applaud those acts of love and humanity that poured forth in Orlando and across the country,” Meyers said. “Because at the end of the day that’s what will endure.”Trevor Noah, who’s already had to make numerous of these addresses in the nine months since he took over The Daily Show for Jon Stewart (who had a particular knack for saying whatpeople needed to hear), pondered if Obama had ever thought he’d have to give so many speeches about mass shootings during his presidency. Obama asked if this is the country we want to be, and Noah pointed out that we already have an answer.
“This is exactly the kind of country it wants to be,” he said. “Because we know how this always plays out. We’re shocked, we mourn, we change our profile pics, and then, we move on. It’s become normal, but I’m sorry. Maybe it’s because I’m new, but it’s not normal, and it shouldn’t be normal. We shouldn’t allow this to be normal.”Larry Wilmore offered his condolences as well, but he turned his attentions to Trump, who he felt was taking advantage of the Orlando shooting with his anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric, and Scott, who didn’t mention that the mass shooting took place at a gay nightclub.
“Politicians will tell you this was an attack on American freedom,” Wilmore explained. “But let’s be very clear, it was first and foremost an attack on an American minority group. The deadliest mass shooting in American history specifically targeted a gay night club. Not only during pride month, but on the eve of the gay Super Bowl.”Stephen Colbert zeroed in on the overwhelming feeling of familiarity when it comes to mass shootings.
"It's as if we have a national script we have learned, and I think by accepting the script we passively accept that the script will end the same way every time—with nothing changing, except for the loved ones and the families of the victims for whom nothing will ever be the same. It's easy, it's almost tempting to be paralyzed by such a monstrously hateful act, to despair and say, 'Oh, this is the way the world is now.' Well, I don't know what to do, but I do know that despair is a victory for hate."He happened to have Bill O’Reilly on Monday night, so the duo went toe-to-toe on guns and what was to blame—and he even got O’Reilly to admit that Trump would take advantage of Orlando. A minor victory in a sea of seemingly hopeless debates for these hosts.
Grimmie, a former Voice finalist who made a name for herself with a 3-million-subscriber-strong YouTube channel, was murdered Friday after a concert in Orlando. She had been signing autographs when a gunman—27-year-old Kevin James Loibl—shot her multiple times in front of more than 100 fans.
No clear motive has been established, though Loibl did reportedly post disturbing messages professing his love for Grimmie in the weeks leading up to her murder. Loibl fatally shot himself on the scene.
Performing onstage at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, Bieber fell to the floor during "Purpose," belting out "Grimmie, can you hear me?" The concert took place Saturday in the immediate aftermath of the news, but a fan video went viral on Tuesday—becoming a Facebook trending topic.
Bieber reportedly met Grimmie during her stint on The Voice.
On Monday about 500 fans gathered in Grimmie's hometown of Evesham, New Jersey, for a vigil, according to the Courier-Post. Her Voice coach, Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, has reportedly offered to pay for her funeral expenses.