Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Billy Masters gets his wig on

But Neil Patrick Harris plays drag both ways

Published

on

Lady Bunny (Photo Courtesy Lady Bunny and WigStock)

“How you feeling, Birmingham?” – Britney Spears greets the audience at the final stop on her “Piece of Me” tour. Alas, she wasn’t in Birmingham — she was in Blackpool. Oops, she did it again. And we won’t even discuss the Madonna-esque British accent. But you’ll hear it in action on BillyMasters.com.

Back in 2005, a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers used in “The Wizard of Oz” were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn. — which gives you a pretty good idea of the security at that museum. In a caper analogous to the famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist of 1990, the friends of Dorothy broke into the museum late at night through a window and purloined the pumps, which are estimated to be worth between $3-5 million! Anonymous tipsters told the feds where to find the fancy footwear in a sting that lasted a year and crossed four states. The shoes were eventually recovered in an undercover raid in Minneapolis. Oh, the humanity!

And yet, somehow Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal, and Anthony Anderson are escaping the long arm of the law. After extensive investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the charges against all three men have been dropped. When it came to Spacey, the statute of limitations has passed. In the matter of Anderson, the wronged party refused to cooperate (and we all know what that means). As to Steven Seagal…eh, who cares.

With all the drama going on with Harvey Weinstein, it’s no surprise that “Project Runway” was lost in limbo. While the show will be returning to its original home, Bravo (after 11 seasons on Lifetime), there will be a major change — no Heidi and no Tim. Quelle horreur! “After 16 incredible seasons, I am saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to ‘Project Runway’, a show that I was honored to host and help create,” says the ever-modest Klum. She was less sad to announce she’s starting her own competition fashion show on Amazon and that she’s poached Tim Gunn as her sidekick. I guess that means more Milano and Mizrahi. What’s getting lost in the shuffle is that Zac Posen simply took himself out of the equation.

It’s the end of an era. After 63 years, the “Village Voice” is a thing of the past. Although the weekly print edition stopped last year, it remained an online entity. But last week, Peter Barbey, who bought the paper three years ago, gathered the staff and told them the news. “Today is kind of a sucky day. Due to, basically, business realities, we’re going to stop publishing ‘Village Voice’ new material.” And that’s that.

It’s easy to point fingers, but certainly online publishing, social media and hookup apps are contributing to trouble for some print media. Interestingly enough, while one publication is shuttering, an app is expanding. According to filings with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Grindr is planning an initial public offering — meaning they will be on the stock market.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? In an uncharacteristically charitable move, I will share the good news first. Wigstock 2.HO was a HUGE success. While I personally believe the show was stolen by the legendary Lypsinka, one must give credit where credit is due — Neil Patrick Harris slipped back into Hedwig’s pumps effortlessly and put on a fantastic set, totally earning all plaudits he received for his interpretation. And earlier in the day, he, David and their kids manned the wig cannons and shot wigs out to the capacity crowd — which was super cool.

But on the not so cool metric, during an appearance on SiriusXM a few days before Wigstock, he pissed off quite a few people with what he felt was the downside of playing Hedwig. “The limping of the wrists, the cocking of the hip, the tits out and the ass out, and sort of walking with a sway and sort of the overt femininity of the characterization that I had, that was hard to get into my whole body without feeling like I was mocking it initially. I didn’t want to feel like I was pretending.” When asked if the transformation made him feel less masculine, NPH said, “for sure.” At that point, Mrs. NPH (David Burtka) felt compelled to chime in, “I like manly guys.” Yeah, because when I think of the epitome of masculinity, my mind immediately thinks of Neil Patrick Harris. Bitch, please. Be that as it may, I will post Lypsinka’s and Hedwig’s numbers on BillyMasters.com.

Elsewhere on the air, kooky Alex Jones is under fire. It seems that he had his phone in hand while doing his radio show, which also broadcasts live-streaming video. According to an eagle-eyed viewer, while Alex was promoting his line of health and wellness products, his phone was on a page titled, “Naughty tbabe Marissa Mi,”a reference to Marissa Minx, an Australian transgender porn actress. But, wait — Alex can explain this all away as only he can. And he did it on live radio, so there’s no question what he said. “I saw a couple of news articles about that, it’s ridiculous. I was, like, looking for some reporter we’re trying to hire today and punched in some number and porn popped up on my phone. Everybody has had porn pop up on their phone hundreds of times. I probably had porn menus pop up 500 times on my phone. There’s two types of people: people who look at porn and people who lie about it. But I wasn’t looking at porn on my phone. I don’t take phones on air that I look at porn on. Thank you for your call.” All I got out of that is that he sometimes enjoys porn on his phone — but not necessarily while working.

Of course, you’ll always find the best gossip (and pretty pictures) on BillyMasters.com — the site that’s telling you it’s not going. If you have a question for me, send it along to [email protected] and I promise to get back to you before Alex Jones hits on NPH! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sports

Welsh Olympic distance swimmer Dan Jervis comes Out

Jervis, who placed 5th in distance swimming at the Olympics in Tokyo said he was inspired by Blackpool FC soccer player Jake Daniels

Published

on

Dan Jervis (Screenshot via British Swimming Livestream-archive)

NEATH, Talbot County Borough, Wales – In a recent interview with BBC Radio Cornwall, 26-year-old British Olympian distance swimmer Dan Jervis revealed that he had given considerable thought before announcing to the world that he is gay.

Jervis told the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast; “I was adjusting to everything else, just trying to fit in — until I thought, Just be you.”

Jervis, who placed 5th in distance swimming for the British team at the Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan, told the BBC he was inspired by 17-year-old Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels, the professional soccer player who made history as only the second person in the past 30 years to acknowledge their sexual orientation publicly in that sport in the United Kingdom.

The swimmer also told the BBC it was important to be seen as a role model as he readies to compete in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Jervis has previously competed winning a 1500m freestyle silver and bronze at the 2014 and 2018 Games in Glasgow, Scotland and Australia’s Gold Coast respectively.

“It took me 24 years to be who I am,” he said and added, “You know, we’re just before the Commonwealth Games and there are going to be kids and adults watching who will know that I’m like them, and that I’m proud of who I am.”

The Olympian reflected on his decision to announce he was gay: “For so long, I hated who I was – and you see it all the time, people who are dying over this. They hate themselves so much that they’re ending their lives.

“So if I can just be that someone people can look at and say, ‘yeah, they’re like me,’ then that’s good.”

Jervis then said he revealed his sexuality to a close friend when he was 24: “At that point, I’d never said the words out loud to myself.”

“I said to her: ‘I think I’m gay.’ I couldn’t even say: ‘I’m gay.’ I was basically punching the words out.

“She was quite shocked but great, and it was exactly the reaction I wanted. I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person.

“Everyone’s journey is different, but I think I’ve always known.

“It was something in the back of my mind, bugging me. I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved – but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this.

“It wasn’t affecting my swimming, but me as a human being. It sounds quite drastic, but I wasn’t enjoying my life. Yeah, I was smiling, but there was something missing to make me properly happy.

“I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now.”

The Commonwealth Games open in Birmingham, UK on July 28.

Listen: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0chqfhn

Continue Reading

Online Culture

FCC asks Apple & Google to remove TikTok app from their stores

Its pattern of surreptitious data practices that are documented show TikTok is non-compliant with app store policies and practises

Published

on

Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

WASHINGTON – In a series of tweets Tuesday, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr disclosed a letter sent to both Apple and Google’s parent company Alphabet asking the two tech giants to remove TikTok from their app stores over his concerns that user data from the wildly popular social media platform is disclosed and used by bad actors in China.

In his letter dated June 24 to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Carr noted that because of its pattern of surreptitious data practices documented in reports and other sources, TikTok is non-compliant with the two companies’ app store policies and practises.

“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or meme. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” he said in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”

Carr stated that if the companiest do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they should provide statements to him by July 8.

The statements should explain “the basis for your company’s conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies,” he said.

Carr was appointed by former President Trump in 2018 to a five-year term with the FCC.

In March of this year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a nationwide investigation into TikTok for promoting its social media platform to children and young adults while its use is associated with physical and mental health harms to youth.

The investigation will look into the harms using TikTok can cause to young users and what TikTok knew about those harms. The investigation focuses, among other things, on the techniques utilized by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including strategies or efforts to increase the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform.

TikTok’s computer algorithms pushing video content to users can promote eating disorders and even self-harm and suicide to young viewers. Texas opened an investigation into TikTok’s alleged violations of children’s privacy and facilitation of human trafficking last month.

TikTok has said it focuses on age-appropriate experiences, noting that some features, such as direct messaging, are not available to younger users. The company says it has tools in place, such as screen-time management, to help young people and parents moderate how long children spend on the app and what they see, the Associated Press reported.

“We care deeply about building an experience that helps to protect and support the well-being of our community, and appreciate that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of younger users,” the company said. “We look forward to providing information on the many safety and privacy protections we have for teens.”

TikTok has also had a problematic relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. Recently The Washington Post confirmed that the ‘Libs of TikTok,’ an influential anti-LGBTQ account regularly targets LGBTQ individuals and their allies for harassment from its more than 640,000 Twitter followers while serving as a veritable wire service for Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media to push anti-LGBTQ smears.

Libs of TikTok regularly targets individual teachers and their workplaces – releasing their personal information that includes school and individual names as well as social media accounts, and leading its audience to harass the schools on social media.

A year ago, an investigation by Media Matters found that TikTok’s “For You” page recommendation algorithm circulated videos promoting hate and violence targeting the LGBTQ community during Pride Month, while the company celebrated the month with its #ForYourPride campaign. 

Numerous LGBTQ+ content creators have shared stories with the Blade about TikTok’s seemingly arbitrary algorithms that target otherwise benign content that is not listed outside of the platform’s polices and removed the content. In many cases restoring the posts after appeals or in the worst case scenarios banning the users.

Continue Reading

Online Culture

Facebook banning users who post that abortion pills can be mailed

When Facebook started removing these posts is unclear. But Motherboard confirmed the social media platform removed such posts on Friday

Published

on

Facebook/Meta Headquarters Menlo Park, Calif. (Blade photo by Brody Levesque)

MENLO PARK, Ca. – Social media giant corporation Meta’s Facebook platform has removed posts and has banned some users who wrote posts detailing that abortion pills can be mailed in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Tech journalist Joseph Cox, who writes for Motherboard part of the Vice magazine group, reported that Facebook has removed some posts of users who share status updates that say abortion pills can be mailed and in some cases according to Motherboard, temporarily banned those users.

When exactly Facebook started removing these and similar posts is unclear. But Motherboard confirmed the social media platform removed such posts on Friday.

Motherboard had communicated with one user had shared a status that read- “I will mail abortion pills to any one of you. Just message me,” who then told the publication in an email:

“I posted it at 11 a.m. and was notified within a minute that it was removed. I was not notified until I tried to post later that I was banned for it.”

Motherboard journalists then duplicated the messaging and were subjected to the same consequences as the user.

The post was flagged within seconds as violating the site’s community standards, specifically the rules against buying, selling, or exchanging medical or non-medical drugs. The reporter was given the option to “disagree” with the decision or “agree” with it. After they chose “disagree,” the post was removed. 

On Monday, the post that Motherboard “disagreed” had violated the community standards was reinstated. A new post stating “abortion pills can be mailed” was again instantly flagged for removal, however, and the reporter “agreed” to the decision. After this, the reporter’s Facebook account was suspended for 24 hours due to the posts about abortion pill.

The platform’s policy clearly states “To encourage safety and compliance with common legal restrictions, we prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers and retailers to purchase, sell or trade non-medical drugs, pharmaceutical drugs and marijuana.”

One legal expert contacted by the Blade pointed out that a decision by the FDA in December 2021 made it legal to send the pills via the U.S. Postal Service.

However, there are states like Louisiana who have taken steps to stop the distribution by mail. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) into law a bill that will prohibit pregnant people from getting abortion pills via mail.

Axios reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Friday, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, that states cannot ban mifepristone, a medication that is used to bring about an abortion, based on disagreement with the federal government on its safety and efficacy.

“In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy,” the Attorney General said.

As part of efforts to limit abortion access, some states have taken action to block the use of telehealth for abortion. Six states, ArizonaArkansasMissouriLouisianaTexas, and West Virginia, have passed laws specifically banning telehealth for abortion provision. In addition,14 other states have enacted laws that require the clinician providing a medication abortion to be physically present during the procedure, effectively prohibiting the use of telehealth to dispense medication for abortion remotely.

The question for social media platforms is what can be ‘policed’ especially in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision and the FDA deciding that patients to have a telemedicine appointment with a provider who can prescribe abortion pills and send them to the patient by mail.

Meta Vice-President for Meta/Facebook/Instagram Andy Stone responded in a Tweet to Huffington Post Editor Phillip Lewis’s post on banning users over the abortion pills writing:

“Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed. Content that discusses the affordability and accessibility of prescription medication is allowed. We’ve discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these.”

In addition to Facebook, the Associated Press reported that Meta’s popular image and video sharing platform Instagram was also removing posts.

The AP obtained a screenshot on Friday of one Instagram post from a woman who offered to purchase or forward abortion pills through the mail, minutes after the court ruled to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion. “DM me if you want to order abortion pills, but want them sent to my address instead of yours,” the post on Instagram read. Instagram took it down within moments.

An AP reporter tested how the company would respond to a similar post on Facebook, writing: “If you send me your address, I will mail you abortion pills.”  The post was removed within one minute. The Facebook account was immediately put on a “warning” status for the post, which Facebook said violated its standards on “guns, animals and other regulated goods.” Yet, when the AP reporter made the same exact post but swapped out the words “abortion pills” for “a gun,” the post remained untouched.

The Los Angeles Blade has reached out to Meta/Facebook for a comment.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular