Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Join us each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinseltown’s A-listers and their whacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
J.K. Rowling Fights Back
The war of words between the Twitterverse and author J.K. Rowling continues. The creator of the Harry Potter series, long considered a progressive hero, isn’t too popular with transgender activists.
The author has faced criticism and the transphobic label since the summer of 2020, when she had the audacity to posit that antidepressants were being prescribed too much to the youth and that gender reassignment surgeries should not be given to children under 18. She backed up her suppositions with links to articles supporting her claims, but that didn’t sit well with many who thought she was making fun of those with anxiety or depression and accused her of calling them “lazy” for taking medications.
Rowling has consistently said that she is not against trans people; she is for women’s rights. She tweeted last year: “As I’ve said many times, transition may be the answer for some. For others, it won’t – witness the accounts of detransitioners. ‘The system sees surgery as the easy fix to girls who do not conform.’” The topic is still gaining a lot of attention and conversation a year later.
According to the fantasy author, she sent out a request for drawings from children via her Twitter account. Transgender activists then flooded this supposedly child-friendly thread with porn. Commenters ignored the images and instead focused on Rowling’s lack of response. On July 18, the Hogwart’s creator argued:
“I’m not sure how these tactics – using porn as a weapon against women you dislike, not caring that children get caught in the crossfire and then misrepresenting what really happened – are supposed to help trans people.
Nor do I see how what you’ve done here helps correct the impression that the end game for you & your ilk is to intimidate women out of speaking up for our own rights, no matter how low you have to go to do it.”
One of the commenters responded with: “I wish you a very nice pipebomb in the mailbox.”
Cheers And Jeers
Sometimes, HollyWeird players make headlines for silly or bizarre happenings, so here is a collection of newsworthy doings — honorable and dishonorable — by the tenants of Tinseltown.
Britney Spears Won’t Dance to Her Dad’s Tune
The pop star has had it with people controlling her life. Last week, Spears reached out to her Instagram followers with a stern message: “For those of you who choose to criticize my dancing videos. Look I’m not gonna be performing on any stages anytime soon with my dad handling what I wear, say, do, or think.” And then she got more explicit: “If you don’t want to see my precious a– dancing in my living room or it’s not up to your standards…go read a f—ing book.”
Hollywood: Must Get Vaccinated
Quick to jump on the “get vaccinated or else” bandwagon, Tinseltown’s unions and studio representatives have reached an agreement that allows productions to mandate vaccines for cast and crew. This is a revised plan from last year, which now includes the vaccination clause as well as requirements for wearing masks, that will remain in effect until Oct. 1.
The Kennedy Center’s Newest Honorees
The Kennedy Center has announced its 44th lifetime achievement award winners. This year’s honors go to Bette Midler, Grammy winner singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, founder of the Motown record label Berry Gordy, and opera bass-baritone Justino Díaz. “This year’s Honorees represent the unifying power of the Arts and surely remind us of that which binds us together as human beings,” Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Ruttler said in a statement. “These artists are equal parts genius, inspiration, and entertainment.” The 44th Kennedy Centers Honors will take place at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Dec. 5 during a gala event.
Former producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on July 20 to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault after being extradited to Los Angeles, CA. Last year, he was sentenced to serve 23 years in prison after being convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York.
Nielsen Ratings Accused of Discrimination
According to The Wrap, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) has asked the Media Ratings Council to suspend Nielsen’s accreditation. VAB accuses Nielsen of “gross inaccuracies” and “flawed measurement.” More specifically, the group said the rating agency “undercount and under-represent Black and Hispanic households, as well as the ‘younger adult segment.’” Nielsen admitted there were some inaccurate measurements, but claimed that was due to the pandemic and that its agents were not able to make house calls to follow up on the information.
Tune in next week to see what else Tinseltown has planned.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.