Celebrities

The realities of crowdfunding & the evils of social media

No doubt many of you will have seen the viral video posted by the mother of Quaden Bayles, a child with dwarfism who was allegedly bullied at school.

Famous actors, sports stars and media personalities rallied in support of the disabled kid. If only the same could be said of over 90% of the 256,700 people that shared his GoFundMe page instead of contributing themselves. That’s right, in today’s virtue signalling world, appealing that you care about social justice is enough.

Although the ugly side of social media is never far away. It didn’t take long for trolls seeking to demonize anyone by dredging up the past and drawing conclusions in haste. Digital footprints have a half-life of infinity.

Some suggested that his mother was abusing his skills as an actor, influencer and model to make some extra money by boosting his profile. If this was a stunt, which we sincerely hope it wasn’t, that would be an even more despicable act at the hands of those who should be protecting his best interests.

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Ultimately, 9-yo Quaden Bayles should simply not be in the firing line. Sadly he will be collateral damage as a growing number have taken upon themselves to savage him and his mother. That is not to condone any alleged deceptive behaviour but it throws up the growing dangers of social media. An exponential number of people seem so desperate to have their profiles go viral that they are resorting to ever more extreme actions to achieve it.

The GoFundMe account to support Quaden has amassed c.US$455,000 from 20,100 people for him and his mother to go to Disneyland. As doubt to the authenticity of the bullying claim does the rounds in cyberspace, the mother is being attacked for using his disability to raise some quick cash via GoFundMe. The facts don’t show that.

First, she didn’t ask to set up the GoFundMe account. Comedian Brad Williams did. Second, the organiser clearly stated that “after all the flights, hotel, tickets, and food is paid for, any excess money will be donated to anti-bullying/anti-abuse charities.

We won’t bother to make some sort of woke comment to condemn bullying of any sort because that should be the default setting for anyone with at least two brain cells. There are no points for publicly broadcasting one is against attacking a child with a disability. Or without one for that matter.

Still in this day and age, we should never underestimate the actions of some who gladly look to hijack a “trending” cause for their own social media exposure.

Hollywood is a great example. How so many actors and actresses came out and rallied behind the #MeToo movement despite Harvey Weinstein being the worst kept secret in movies. Celebrities rushed to condemn his actions on Twitter despite wearing black ball gowns with the surface area of three postage stamps held together with dental floss to protest sexual assault. That’s right, when it comes to career progression and fame, expedience by remaining silent trumped principle.

If people wish to part with their money on GoFundMe we think they bear all the personal responsibility of doing so. At the very least, GoFundMe should consider a 7-day cooling-off period where the money is held in trust such that the impulsive have an avenue to reverse a decision if any misrepresentation which changes their decision crops up. The cross-jurisdictional nightmare of charging a fundraiser for potential fraud makes it too complex, much less for the generally small average size of individual donations.

Today, social media is judge and jury. People are smeared before getting a chance to prove their innocence. For all of the video footage and pictures of Quaden Bayles dressed in designer fashion several years prior to his emotional plea this week, it doesn’t automatically cancel out the chances he was bullied by his peers who probably don’t know any better. He may have given as good as he got. He is only 9-yo. It is ultimately irrelevant. We know bullying has dreadful consequences, sometimes fatal. It shouldn’t just come down to seeing a video of a disabled kid before we do something about it.

Unfortunately, the lessons about the dangers of bullying so many demand kids are taught aren’t practised by the very adults on social media who should know better.

Brad Pitt attacks GOP senators at Oscars

They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week…I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it — in the end, the adults do the right thing.”

Thanks Brad. If only the adults in Hollywood gave 45 seconds to stop the well known issues surrounding the Harvey Weinstein saga years before. These sorts of award ceremonies used to openly joke about Weinstein’s unethical antics.

Perhaps we should ponder why Adam Schiff didn’t call John Bolton as a witness during the Democrats own impeachment trial when they had the chance, especially after he blurted all over Twitter that he had the “backstory” evidence back on November 22nd, 2019.

The House voted 15th January 2020 to send articles to the Senate.

Yael Stone forgets that the scheduled flights will still take off

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Yet more moral preening from celebrities. While Yael Stone might think such virtue signalling has a purpose, she needs to get to grips with the fact that the scheduled flights between the US and Australia will still be taking off, with or without her. Did she miss Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globes introduction?

Her net impact is likely to be a number so close to zero so we thought we’d assist with the maths before she pulls the plug.

280 million trips were made by commercial aircraft last year according to the IATA. Her one way trip to Australia would mean she represents represent 0.000000357% of all annual flights taken.

Given that airlines, by the IATA’s own stats, annually produce the equivalent to 2% of all man-made emissions or 0.000016% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere, her flight would make up around 0.0000000000057%.

The Boeing 777-300ER that would likely carry her has a maximum take-off weight of 351,000kg. Let’s assume she weighs 50kg and carries 50kg of luggage. Her impact on the pilot’s fuel calculations would be 0.0028%.

Overall her “skin in the game” as she calls it, would result in a 0.0000000000000022344% personal impact on flight shaming based CO2 emissions.

FNF Media strongly advises she reads the 20-year forecast from Boeing.

Demand in the commercial market is forecast to more than double in the next two decades. To meet this demand…the number of jet airplanes in service nearly doubling to 50,660.

Golden Globes goes vegan to save the planet

Wow. If it isn’t the hot air coming out of their mouths, it is now coming out of the arses. In order to save the planet, our virtue signalling Hollywood thinks that going vegan at the awards ceremony will do the trick.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) made the following statement,

If there’s a way we can, not change the world, but save the planet, maybe we can get the Golden Globes to send a signal and draw attention to the issue about climate change…The food we eat, the way we grow the food we eat, the way we dispose of the food is one of the large contributors to the climate crisis.

One only needs to calculate the number of private jets, hydrofluorocarbon hairspray cans used, the number of bedrooms in their gated mansions and the emissions coming out of the tailpipes of the stretch limos that will ferry these Einsteins to the awards to work out that their own carbon footprints are about as bad as it can get.

Cute though. To think that eating a vegan risotto will help. If only they knew that rice production causes over twice the amount of methane than farm animals. Will any of them point this tidbit out to the dwindling viewers? Why aren’t the slamming the table and demanding over half the world’s population that rice is off the menu! What a shame Asia is a growth market for Hollywood. Best just revert to type and embrace expediency.

A recap of the 2019 Golden Globes:

It was no surprise to learn that the initial ratings for the Golden Globes In 2019 were down on 2018 which were down on 2017…which were down on…Get the picture? It was the worst showing in a decade.

It seems the formula is so bust that even deliberately leaving Trump mocking out of the corny gag lines saw another 5% drop this year. Despite little competition in the time slot and following on straight after the Chicago Bears vs Philadelphia Eagles (38mn viewers), 20mn switched channels to something other than the Golden Globes.

Who actually took the time to watch The Oscars last year? Viewers voted with their eyes sending ratings down 16% on 2017 and 40% on 5 years ago. Perhaps The Oscars could take a lessson from 90 years ago and stick to silent movies!

From Nielsen:

The 8 p.m.-11 p.m. portion of ABC’s telecast averaged an 18.9 household rating and 32 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnight ratings, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. That’s down about 16% from the 22.5/37 rating generated by the 2017 Oscars.

We wonder if the dead cat bounce in the ratings will result by virtue of veganism.

Cinematic Correctness

Sir Ian Fleming and Cubby Broccoli are probably rolling over in their graves. James Bond 007 has been a formula that has worked. It created a franchise around a suave, sophisticated, educated, debonair and witty womanizing British spy. Whether the dashing Sean Connery, the corny Sir Roger Moore, the rigid Jeremy Dalton, the one-trick pony George Lazenby, the slick Pierce Brosnan or the moody Daniel Craig – the formula has been a massive winner. The Bond franchise has grossed $14.7bn inflation-adjusted.

There are suggestions that James Bond will be replaced by actress Lashana Lynch. The first female Bond. There is probably absolutely nothing wrong with her acting at all. The question is will the producers flunk at the box office by ripping up the script of what has always worked? It is 100% their decision to toy with the tried and tested formula but as ever, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

To be honest, Idris Elba would make a good Bond. He fits all the stereotypes of the role and fans would watch it on his ability rather than his skin tone. The producers could celebrate being woke and the franchise would retain its (relative) believability quotient.

Political correctness seems to dominate Hollywood of late. Whether complaints that not enough actors of colour were represented in Dunkirk or JK Rowling copping flak from LGBT activists because Albus Dumbledore wasn’t openly gay enough in the Fantastic Beasts film, it seems there is a push to make writers and producers conform. Why can’t films just be those made as their writers intended without enforcing politically correct overtones? Surely if there is a market for “politically correct” movies, the champagne socialists of Hollywood will be the first to jump all over it.

Sadly, many of the Best Picture winners selected at the Oscars (with elements of political correctness) in the past decade have been flops with the paying customers. It is interesting that $100m+ box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004. Since 2004 it has been hit and miss. 10 films in the last 14 have failed to breach $75mn. Real-life stories – Argo, A Beautiful Mind, Titanic and The King’s Speech – all cleared $100m at the box office. Maybe audiences can gel to the real-life aspects?

Brokeback Mountain grossed $178m because it didn’t propose to be anything other than a story set around gay cowboys. Milk, grossed $55m because it was a factual story about known gay activist, Harvey Milk. A good film by the way. Bohemian Rhapsody, the story about Freddie Mercury, has raked in over $900m at the box office. It was a factual tale and representative of a period in time.

To keep up with the times, perhaps we should demand that Meryl Streep become the next Shaft and Samuel L. Jackson portray Hillary Clinton in a movie about the 2016 election? How about Jackie Chan portray Michael Jordan in a basketball film about the Chicago Bulls? Why not cast Charlize Theron as Adolf Hitler in the next WWII film and have Arnold Schwarzenegger roleplay her wife. At least he won’t struggle with language? Perhaps do a rerun of Star Trek with Capt. Jane T Kirk? The options to rewrite history or fantasy are endless.

Why did Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese and Bill Paxton rake in $350m but First Man starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong draw in only $45m in North America? Same space theme – two different results. Apollo 13 celebrated the pride in failure as American ingenuity was able to rescue the damaged spacecraft. Maybe home audiences repudiated Gosling’s film for deleting the pivotal moment the US flag was planted on the moon. Small stuff? Don’t play with audiences. They bite.

The lack of political correctness is a drawcard to the Bond franchise. We can laugh at the double entendre and innuendo. We can marvel at the spectacular car chases, death cheating moves, his Casanova-like charm and underdog victories against evil henchmen. Will audiences believe that a woman will be able to knock out a monster of a man 3 times her size with her fists? Will we want to see a poor defenseless woman stripped naked while tied to a chair while her privates are belted with a shipping rope by a Le Chiffre type character? Or will she be promiscuous to extract information from would-be villains? Perhaps she confronts Graham Norton as the villain this time?

Perhaps the new Mr. Moneypenny will have his heart skip a beat every time the new 007 tosses her Philip Treacy on the hatstand outside M’s office. Maybe Q will design a machine gun in a Hermes Kelly handbag? Perhaps a dart firing pump from Manolo Blahnik? Perhaps the Aston Martin will be replaced by a pink Tesla so we can tackle environmental issues as half of London is set ablaze?

People fell in love with Star Wars because it was all about lasers and space ships. Not because it ticked the diversity (although the Star Wars Bar was as diverse as one could imagine) and inclusion boxes. How dare the poor harmless Jawas or Ewoks be murdered by white supremacists aboard Imperial Battlecruisers. Were the Sand People just misunderstood? What about the animal cruelty that was inflicted on the poor tauntauns on Hoth?

Maybe the franchise is testing the waters by proposing Lynch. We’ve already had Halle Berry play Jinx, the NSA agent in Die Another Day. There have been countless female villains throughout the franchise too – Rosa Kleb, Xenia Onnatop, Miranda Frost, Elektra King, Fiona Volpe, Helga Brandt, Mayday, Bambi & Thumper. All added their own spice. Yet it was always James Bond that was the drawcard.

Ultimately the box office will tell the story. Die-hard Bond fans will likely be cringing at the thought. Maybe CM is just too much of a purist and detests change for the sake of it, especially if it is just about appeasing activism.

Desperate Housewife exposes the utter hypocrisy of the liberal elite

The admissions scandal rolls on. Nothing shouts “elitism” more than these champagne socialists cheating to get their kids into top colleges. How ironic that the very people that push liberal values of equality and fairness to the point of nose bleed. get outed like this. The same people that bang the drum of progressivism in acceptance speeches and pontificate their sanctimony at any public appearance. Hypocrisy in the extreme.

Desperate Housewives (now there is a pun) star Felicity Huffman, along with 13 others are likely to plead guilty in cheating their way into top schools for their kids. These 14 are among 50 who paid bribes of $25m to cheat college exams and ensure they got into elite schools. While the media is busy taking their pound of flesh, perhaps we might want to consider the actions of the vendors of such nefarious schemes. Little mentioned about that. Do admissions departments of the elite colleges need an independent audit?

Whatever the outcome, how little faith could Hollywood have in the progeny to have to do this? We all want the best for our kids. Surely those millions earned from Hollywood could hire the best tutors to help little Jimmy or Jenny get there on their own steam. How could they not instil the very values they spend so much time lecturing Main Street on to their own kids? What a slap in the face of the children to have their parents do this behind their back. How many kids of famous stars have we seen struggle to live under the limelight of their parents? CM wouldn’t be surprised if many of these kids end up with issues having to wear this stigma, not of their own making.

Will Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris return the generous donations she received from Huffman? Harris has been exceptionally quiet post Jussie Smollett too. Double standards go hand in hand with liberal values.

If only they could be tried by Chicago’s Cook County SA’s office like Jussie Smollett. Call in a few favors and have all charges dropped! Jussie is guilty as charged according to the SA even though his verdict is one of innocence.

Jim Jefferies – what goes around comes around

Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies shot to stardom on the back of his “gun control’ skit post the Parkland school shooting last year. He now has a regular slot on US TV.

Comedy cuts across almost limitless bounds. It triggers some and makes others convulse with laughter. We should accept that. To give Jefferies his due, he can be very funny. Usually vulgar but pointed.

However Jefferies deliberate misrepresentation of Jewish vlogger, Avi Yemini, was reprehensible. Yemini’s responses were edited and cut in ways to answer totally different questions that were asked in an attempt to smear him. It was unethical on every level.

The irony of the “hidden recording” taken by Yemini was that Jeffries himself was exposed for the very anti-Islamic remarks he accused his guest of. He even scribbled a mock drawing of Mohammed and agreed with much of what he criticized Yemini for. Hypocrite. How ironic that the comedian who thought he was interviewing a total dummy now looks the fool.

Regardless of whether one likes Yemini or who he represents or not, it does not give anyone, even a comedian, the right to smear in such a duplicitous and sanctimonious manner. Yemini warned Jefferies he may invite death threats for his blasphemous actions.

Serves him right. Live by the sword, die by the sword.