Like thousands of Americans, celebrities near and far spoke out against police brutality throughout the week in the wake of George Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis. Stars such as Jamie Foxx, Ben Affleck, Kristen Stewart, Emily Ratajkowski, Norman Reedus, Ariana Grande, John Boyega and so many others participated in peaceful Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations in Los Angeles, New York City and London. Some celebrities got caught up in more chaotic situations. Halsey, Madison Beer and Porsha Williams said they were tear gassed at their demonstrations. John Cusack said police came at him with batons while he documented the protests in Chicago. Cole Sprouse and Jaime King said they were arrested at protests in Los Angeles. "Insecure" star Kendrick Sampson said he was hit by rubber bullets at a demonstration. Several celebrities including Chrissy Teigen and Seth Rogen donated money to bail out protesters who'd been arrested. Meanwhile, others expressed themselves in the media or on social media. JAY-Z took out full-page ads in newspapers across the country dedicated to George. Hundreds if not thousands of famous people participated in June 2's Instagram "Black Out," in which users posted blank black screens, a show of support for Black Lives Matter and peaceful protesting. In an Instagram message, Lizzo tearfully added, "This is the most outrage I've seen as a country, and that is starting to give me the first semblance of hope I've had in a long time. I really do believe in the good of people, and maybe that makes me naive, but I've seen Minneapolis rise up and do incredible things." She continued, "I still believe that everybody's life matters. But until we start treating each life equally and respecting each life equally, we gotta say Black Lives Matter. I hope that everybody can just really see this s— for what it is. Open your mind, open your heart, listen, believe."
Lea Michele probably wishes she could get a do-over. On June 1, the actress tweeted her outrage about the death of George Floyd. After doing so, Samantha Marie Ware, who starred alongside Lea on "Glee" on season 6, called out the actress-singer for making her time on the set "a living hell." Afterward, others in the spotlight including actor-musician Dabier, piled on. "GIRL YOU WOULDNT LET ME SIT AT THE TABLE WITH THE OTHER CAST MEMBERS CAUSE 'I DIDNT BELONG THERE'" he tweeted. Heather Morris tweeted that Lea was "unpleasant" to work with on "Glee." Lea's "Spring Awakening" co-star Gerard Canonico said she was "nothing but a nightmare" to work with and made him feel like he "didn't belong there." "The Real Housewives of New York City" alum Aviva Drescher wasn't surprised by the negative feelings, saying Lea was once "very unkind" to her. Amid all the claims, Hello Fresh dropped Lea as a spokeswoman. Lea responded on June 3, saying she's now realized her actions hurt people. "Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused," she tweeted. "We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings." The mea culpa didn't go down well, as many branded it a "non-apology."
It's official, Justin Hartley is off the market again. On June 3, People magazine reported that the "This Is Us" star has been dating his former "The Young and the Restless" co-star Sofia Pernas "for several weeks." The couple, a source told the mag, have been "spending a lot of time at his house." Last November, Justin filed for divorce from Chrishell Stause after less than three years of marriage. Interestingly enough, Chrishell and Sofia were reportedly "close friends for years" after meeting on the set of "The Young and the Restless" in 2016. In fact, The Sun notes that the women often communicated on social media, "liking" and commenting on each other's pictures. Their last public correspondence took place in February when Chrishell liked a photo of Sofia working out in Thailand.
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"Riverdale" star Lili Reinhart publicly came out as bisexual on June 3. The actress made the announcement while encouraging her followers to attend an LGBTQ+ for Black Lives Matter protest in the Los Angeles area. "Although I've never announced it publicly before, I am a proud bisexual woman," she wrote. "I will be joining this protest today. Come join." Lili's announcement came a month after it was reported that she and "Riverdale" co-star Cole Sprouse split following three years of dating.
Fox News host Sean Hannity and his wife of more than 20 years, Jill Rhodes, have ended their marriage — in fact, they secretly split years ago. On June 3, the New York Post reported that Sean and Jill formally (and very quietly) divorced more than a year ago following several years of being separated. The split was reportedly amicable and the "Hannity" host is still every close with his ex's family. "Sean and Jill are committed to working together for the best interests of their children. Amicable agreements were entered into over four years ago between Sean and Jill," a statement from the former couple read. "They maintain a close relationship as parents to their children. Neither will have any further comments and ask for the sake of their children that their privacy be respected."
Without ever mentioning Donald Trump's name, Dwayne Johnson blasted the POTUS for his lack of leadership amid the unrest gripping the country. "Where are you? Where is our leader?" The Rock began a more than eight-minute video he posted on social media on June 3. "Where is our leader at this time when our country is down on its knees, begging, pleading, hurt, angry, frustrated, in pain with its arms out, just wanting to be heard?" Dwayne has rarely delved into politics on social media, making this stance all the more notable. "Of course, all lives matter, but in this moment right now, this defining, pivotal, explosive moment where our country is down on its knees… we must say the words: Black lives matter," he said. "We must become the leaders we are looking for. I'll ask it one more time: Where are you? Where is that compassionate leader who steps up and takes accountability for his country and all the people in our country Where are you? I'll tell you what, we're here. We're all here. The process to change has already begun. You can feel it across our country. Change is happening. It's going to take time. We're going to get beat up. We're going to take our lumps. There's going to be blood, but the process of change has already begun." After posting the video, Dwayne was largely applauded with many followers urging him to run for political office.
White privilege backlash
Lori Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade was largely mocked after she shared an Instagram post on May 31 urging change, saying "white privilege" could be used for good. In referencing the unrest in the country following George Floyd's May 25 death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the social media influencer said, "I'm not racist and i never have been but i need to speak up about this because just not being racist isn't enough. It outrages me. It makes me feel sick. It brings me to tears. THERE SHOULD NOT BE SUCH A GAP BETWEEN PEOPLE LIKE THIS. We need to support and stand up and speak and use our WHITE PRIVILEGE TO STOP THIS." Olivia faced backlash as many felt that the college admissions scandal that's enveloped her and her parents for over a year is textbook "white privilege." On June 4, Olivia took action, donating to the National Bail Out Fund, which is raising money to bail out protestors jailed during Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Unrest in the country is causing many to second-guess past decisions. Late last month, "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon sparked backlash after a 20-year-old clip of him wearing blackface while doing an impression of Chris Rock on "Saturday Night Live" surfaced. After a few days, he publicly apologized. On June 1, he apologized again and this time delved deeper into the 2000 television clip. "I had to really examine myself in the mirror this week because a story came out about me on 'SNL' doing an impression of Chris Rock in blackface," he said. "And I was horrified. Not of people trying to 'cancel' me or cancel this show, which is scary enough. The thing that haunted me the most was, how do I say I love this person?" Jimmy said he was advised to stay silent on the matter. "I realized that I can't not say I'm horrified and I'm sorry and I'm embarrassed," he explained. "I realized that the silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing, staying silent. We need to say something. We need to keep saying something. And we need to stop saying, 'That's not OK' more than just one day on Twitter."
The cast of "Tiger King" has roared back into the news cycle again. On June 1, a judge awarded the Oklahoma zoo once owned by Joe Exotic, the star of the Netflix docu-series, to Carole Baskin, his longtime nemesis. Joe is currently behind bars serving time for his part in a murder-for-hire plot involving Carole, whoruns a big cat rescue sanctuary in Florida. How did she become the new owner of the 16-acre plot that was once the site of Joe's big cat zoo? CNN reported that in 2011, Joe was ordered to pay $1 million to Carole in a trademark infringement lawsuit. In a second suit, filed in 2016, she claimed he had subsequently transferred the Oklahoma property to his mother in a bid to evade creditors. This week, a judge agreed with her. In further Carole news, a Florida sheriff claimed on June 3 that the will of Don Lewis, Carole's missing millionaire husband, was forged. Don disappeared in 1997 and was declared dead in 2002. Carole has long denied any involvement in his disappearance.
Gabrielle Union is continuing her fight with NBC. On June 4, the actress filed a harassment complaint against the peacock network and the producers of "America's Got Talent" — NBCUniversal, Fremantle and Simon Cowell's production company, Syco Entertainment — alleging that they committed "racial bullying" by failing to "promptly investigate" her complaints about racist and misogynistic behavior on the set of the popular reality show. In there complaint, she claims to have raised about 60 issues with higher-ups when she served as a judge on "AGT." She claims, via her lawyer, that they failed to "even ask HR to get involved" but rather "stood against her and directed [their] outrage" at her. According to Variety, she also alleges that NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy threatened her for "whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experienced" while working on "AGT" in an "attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show." Gabrielle also cited other times when she claims NBC looked the other way at racism. Gabrielle's husband, Dwyane Wade, made a disturbing allegation on June 4, too, claiming their family was harassed after Gabrielle first sounded the whistle on NBC. "When these negotiations started my house started being watched and my family started being followed," he tweeted. "My daughter couldn't even go to swim class without us being trailed by people looking for answers."