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Celebrities ′pass the mic′ to COVID-19 experts | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW

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While social media has been a vital source of information about the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also been a forum for unsubstantiated chatter, misinformation and conspiracy theories that too often go viral. 

But a new initiative called #PassTheMic is seeking to cut through the noise by giving leading pandemic experts and frontline workers a powerful platform: the social media accounts of A-list celebs with millions of followers.

Launched by ONE, a self-described “global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030,” with a particular focus on Africa, the initiative aims to promote “data, facts, and science to defeat COVID-19.”  

Actors Hugh Jackman, Shailene Woodley, Penelope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Busy Philipps, Danai Gurira and Robin Wright are among the Hollywood names that have committed to #PassTheMic each day and will be handing over their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts to expert guests. 

ONE will publish excerpts from interviews with the guests — “people who actually know what they’re talking about” — and, as an added bonus, some video interviews will be available on ONE’s YouTube channel.

Setting the record straight

Julia Roberts kicked things off on May 21, when she handed over her Instagram account to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and interviewed him on YouTube.

Fauci, the scientific face of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, has a tough job that requires toeing a fine line amidst a dire situation. The US is ground zero for COVID-19, with infections totaling more than 1.5 million and the death toll nearing 100,000, both global records. At the same time, he must work with a president who routinely dismisses or contradicts expert advice.

Trump has said he is taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to guard against coronavirus, even though it has raised safety concerns and has not yet been approved. Fauci himself has said it has not been proven effective as a COVID-19 treatment, pointing to “anecdotal evidence” only and the lack of clinial trials.  Trump is also seeking to reopen the country much earlier than experts like Fauci would like.

Screenshot Videochat Julia Roberts und Anthony Fauci #PasstheMic (youtube.com/One)

Robert’s said Fauci ‘may be the coolest man on the planet right now’

In his YouTube interview with Roberts, Fauci said, “The most important thing that people can do right now is listen to the scientific evidence. At the moment, that clearly indicates that physical separation is working to a certain extent. So now is not the time to tempt fate and pull back completely.”

He added that, “The thing that keeps me optimistic [are] the power of science and the ability to develop interventions, diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.”

Roberts referred to Fauci as one of her “heroes.” The immunologist has tackled countless pandemics and outbreaks, from HIV/AIDS to Ebola, and has advised every US president since Ronald Reagan.

Such sentiment aligns with the broader goal of #PassTheMic, which aims to raise public trust in such experts amidst an unprecedented pandemic.    

On Roberts’ Instagram account, Fauci posted on public-private partnerships to speed COVID-19 vaccine research and on “Coping with COVID-19.” His final post was an image of himself washing his hands, which had 130,000 likes as of Friday morning. He thanked people for checking in and learning about the outbreak and vaccine research “to help you and this country get back to your normal lives safely. Thanks again to Julia Roberts for letting me take over her account!” 

Global perspectives

#PassTheMic, announced on May 20 by organizer ONE, will have a necessarily global outlook

Experts to come will include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former president of Liberia, who will impart lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic of 2014-16 and explain why we need to improve national healthcare systems; Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, a former Nigerian finance minister who serves as the chair of the global vaccine alliance GAVI; and Minouche Shafik, an Egyptian-born British-American economist and the director of the London School of Economics.

 Iweala will take over X-Men star Hugh Jackman’s social media accounts.  

ONE has previously pushed for a united response to the coronavirus pandemic with a petition that calls on world leaders to create a global pandemic response plan to “protect the vulnerable, support essential workers, and make a vaccine available to everyone.” Strengthening the readiness of healthcare systems for future pandemics is also considered key.



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Celebrity Homes – Kathy Griffin’s A-List Home With Giant Wine Cellar Is For Sale

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Kathy Griffin is asking $15.9 million for her Bel Air mansion with a 1,000-bottle wine cellar.

Where Real Estate Is Never Boring!

“Kathy Griffin’s A-List Bel Air Estate”

“My Life on the D-List” comedian Kathy Griffin is selling the guard-gated Bel Air Crest mansion she bought in 2016. It was also where she married husband Randy Bick on New Year’s 2020 that was officiated by friend and legendary comedian Lily Tomlin. Almost five years after moving in she has recently put it on the market priced at $15.9 million.

Bel Air Crest is one of several gated communities in Bel Air favored by celebrities due to its heavy security. Said to be possibly the most prestigious of the few, it has beautifully landscaped common areas, is a great place for walks and has a well-outfitted community center. Homeowner recreation includes a pool, tennis courts and putting green where residents can feel comfortable among their peers.

Built in 2003, Kathy’s 13,336-square-foot, three-story home opens into a skylit foyer with wrought-iron banisters on the curving stairwell and overlook. Straight ahead down a long hall is a wide view and access to the back garden. Contemporary Mediterranean in style, the interior has the light, bright California vibe. The main floor has an open floor plan with formal rooms and a chef’s kitchen with butler’s pantry and an adjoining family room. French doors open from the family room to the pool terrace. The home has a total of nine bedrooms and 12 baths. All bedrooms are ensuite with the master having its own terrace with steps leading to the ground level and has his-and-her baths, large dressing room closets and lovely outdoor views. The lower level, apart from its car gallery and staff quarters, is all about fun. It has a 1,000-bottle wine cellar – which she told “People” she would fill when she had 1,000 guests – a home theater and a billiards room. Landscaping is mature, lushly planted and is a mix of lawn, trees and shrubbery.

With 30 years of performing under her belt and amassing a fortune of approximately $40 million, the redheaded, razor-tongued comedian has won two Primetime Emmy awards and a Grammy for her TV show “My Life on the D-List.” Kathy has performed numerous concerts including The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and 23 televised comedy specials – more than any other comedian in history.

The listing agents are Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” stars Josh and Matt Altman of Compass, Beverly Hills.

Visit TopTenRealEstateDeals.com for more real estate news, spectacular homes and Celebrity Home Video Tours.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: 10 Best Celebrity Appearances

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has frequent guest stars and celebrity cameos. It’s hard to pick the best of them, but we’ve narrowed it down…

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend follows Rebecca Bunch as she decides to move to West Covina, California to try to find happiness in ex-boyfriend Josh Chan. The show is full of unique and well-developed characters with clearly defined personalities of both the main and supporting characters.

RELATED: The Best Episodes Of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, According To IMDb

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also has frequent guest stars and elaborate musical interludes that most celebrity guest stars and musicians join in when they appear on the show. Here are some of the best celebrity guest stars that appeared throughout the series.

10 B.J. Novak

bj novak crazy ex girlfriend

B.J. Novak, most known for portraying the at times annoying Ryan on The Office, had a very small cameo in one episode of the show. Rebecca brings together everyone in Josh Chan’s apartment complex and leads them in a class action lawsuit against their landlord, in an effort to gain Josh’s affection and become romantic partners, and leads them in a rousing homage to Les Misérables, which calls out B.J. Novak and he appears for a second right after the line.

9 Dr. Phil McGraw

crazy ex girlfriend dr phil

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend quickly establishes that its main character hallucinates elaborate musical numbers in her head amongst other things, as Dr. Phil appears only to Rebecca to give her advice about her life and relationships throughout the episode. Dr. Phil appears at the end of the episode to get a boba tea and Rebecca is finally fed up, she yells at him to leave her alone, but she quickly realizes that it is actually Dr. Phil and says she’s such a huge fan.

8 Patti LuPone

patti lupone crazy ex girlfriend

Patti LuPone appears for one episode of the show as a Jewish community leader who is friends with Rebecca’s mother Naomi and is attending her Rebecca’s cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. LuPone joins in on a song, in a minor key, about Jewish suffering in the show’s usual song break as Rebecca and Josh attend the Bat Mitzvah. It’s one of the most iconic songs of the series and the legendary actress and singer is at the center of it all.

7 Brittany Snow

brittany snow crazy ex girlfriend

Brittany Snow appears on a few episodes of the series as Josh’s new girlfriend who is seemingly perfect. Rebecca and Valencia stalk her online, even though they claim to not care about Josh Chan anymore, and try to find her weaknesses. She sings a relatable song, tempting Rebecca and Valencia to research her obsessively on the Internet, and she eventually breaks up with Josh because of his dream to be a male model.

6 Seth Green

crazy ex girlfriend seth green

Seth Green appears in one episode of the series as a delivery man who discusses Rebecca’s upcoming wedding to Josh as he continues to deliver wedding dresses for her to try on. He’s as supportive as he can be, being that she keeps asking for his opinion on the dresses even though they hardly know each other.

RELATED: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Most Romantic Moments On The Show

Rebecca lied to her best friend Paula saying that she was fine, but Green’s delivery man tells Paula, while on delivering a package to the law firm, that Rebecca’s been frantically trying to find a dress on her own.

5 Josh Groban

josh groban crazy ex girlfriend

Josh Groban appeared in an episode of the show to sing a song about the character’s lives and how sometimes things in life don’t make sense unlike how everything is connected in a movie. He appears in the background as Rebecca is walking home and sings that sometimes people are main characters or just in the background like he is, Josh Groban, and then proceeds to lament Rebecca on her terrible decision to sleep with her ex-boyfriend’s dad.

4 “Weird Al” Yankovic

weird al yankovic crazy ex girlfriend

“Weird Al” Yankovic appeared on one episode of the series as a quirky hot air balloon rental salesman. Greg is planning a romantic gesture of Rebecca and wonders why there isn’t more of a song and dance from the over the top salesman when he confirms he’s ready to go all-in for a hot air balloon.  Yankovic’s character says he would never sing and dance, but then in the next second, he whips out an accordion and plays a short song about how there’s no bathroom in hot air balloons.

3 Patton Oswalt

patton oswalt crazy ex girlfriend

Patton Oswalt appears as a security guard that allows Paula and Rebecca to enter a graveyard if Paula agrees to go on a date with him. Paula agrees and is very uncomfortable as he shows how excited he is at an aquarium. He appeared in a later episode as the same security guard character and sings a Halloween themed song called “The Cringe” to the tune of “Monster Mash” as he and the main cast sing about embarrassing things they’ve done in their past.

2 Eugene Cordero

eugene cordero crazy ex girlfriend

Eugene Cordero has appeared in several sitcoms and movies over the years and has portrayed hilarious supporting characters in his career. He appears in multiple episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as Josh Chan’s super chill boss at Aloha Tech Center.

RELATED: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: 10 Talented Actors The Show Introduced Us To

Most notably, Cordero interviewed Josh for the position and described the chill work environment and said that Josh seemed too high strung for the job, which was only because Rebecca completed his application for him.

1 Tovah Feldshuh

crazy ex girlfriend rebecca naomi

Tovah Feldshuh appears in multiple episodes throughout the unique series as Rebecca’s over embrasive and over the top mother, Naomi. Rebecca is constantly trying to make her mother proud of her and will do anything for her mother’s approval. Feldshuh has sung multiple songs throughout the series, including singing with Patt LuPone, and was always an entertaining character to watch.

NEXT: 5 Ways Crazy Ex-Girlfriend & Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Are Similar (& 5 They’re Different)

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Sorry, not sorry: Ellen DeGeneres and the art of the celebrity apology

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Before social media, before TMZ, before camera phones and the rise of the Internet, celebrities didn’t have much to apologise for, as anything that went wrong in their lives was left to some fearsome publicist to deal with.

And the way the publicist dealt with it usually consisting of them saying: “If you want my client to do an interview with your publication or appear on your TV show ever again, you’ll conveniently forget they just ran over a puppy / stole charity funds from an orphanage / got in a fist fight at their child’s tennis tournament.”

And thus, the celebrity was eternally protected from the consequences of their own actions.

But the advent of social media has brought unprecedented levels of accountability into the fame game. It took just one tweet by US comedian Kevin T Porter back in March, which read: “Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen DeGeneres always talks about! She’s also notoriously one of the meanest people alive. Respond to this with the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean”, for the 62-year-old talk show host’s carefully cultivated everywoman persona and “be kind” motto to start collapsing.

It was a reckoning that spilled out of the studio and into her own home, when one former member of her domestic staff declared: “Ellen was the worst person that I’ve ever met in my life. She takes pleasure in firing people.”

‘Cold and distant’

Three producers, Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman, were fired from The Ellen DeGeneres Show last month, following an internal investigation into allegations of misconduct (allegations that Leman and Norman deny, while Glavin has not publicly commented). And so DeGeneres kicked off her 18th season by addressing the allegations to her virtual audience.

“As you may have heard this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation,” she said. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened, I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

It’s worth noting that DeGeneressays she “learned” of these things, implying she was unaware of the severity of the misconduct allegations against her producers. However, allegations against her, personally, had been trending since March, when Dutch beauty blogger, Nikkie de Jager, accused the host of being “cold and distant” when she appeared on her show, telling another interviewer: “It’s nice that you say ‘hi’ before the show. She didn’t.”

I get impatient and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress

Ellen DeGeneres

DeGeneres acknowledged some of the criticisms that have been levelled against her in her opening monologue.

“There were also articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV because I became known at the ‘be kind’ lady,” said DeGeneres, addressing the myriad accusations, one of which was that she tried to get a waitress fired from an LA restaurant for having chipped nail polish.

“The truth is I am that person who you see on TV [but] I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”

The significance of the word ‘if’

“If I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that,” DeGeneres added. Her use of “if” is interesting. The word has emerged as a key component in any celebrity public apology in which the famous person wishes to distance themselves from the consequences of their actions.

But “if” is not an admission of wrongdoing; rather, it is a subtle way of shifting focus onto the offended rather than the offender. Certainly, it’s a far less concrete term than “when”, which changes the whole tone of the apology. To wit: “When I’ve ever let someone down, when I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.”

The use of “if” is also wishy-washy, suggesting that something might have happened … but then again, it might not have. And anyway, if you were offended, then maybe the problem lies with you? (Shrug emoji)

Madonna was another star who played the “if” card back in 2014 when she hashtagged a racial slur while referring to her son, Rocco.

“I am sorry if I offended anyone with my use of the [racial slur] on Instagram,” the Vogue singer wrote. “I appreciate that it’s a provocative word and I apologise if it gave people the wrong impression.”

And in 2016, Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence upset Hawaii’s indigenous people when she appeared on the UK’s Graham Norton Show and revealed that sacred rocks on the island had been “good for butt itching!”

“I apologise if I offended anyone,” the Hunger Games star said of the furore. Except there is no ‘if’. She did offend people and they were very vocal about it.

The ‘please relate to me’ apology

Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon made a now-famous apology back in 2013, when her husband Jim Toth was arrested for driving under the influence, and the actress refused to do as the police officer asked and stay in the car during the arrest.

Do you know my name? You’re about to find out who I am

Reese Witherspoon

“I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said,” she told US show, Good Morning America. “It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse.”

Ah, the I-was-just-defending-my-family apology. So relatable, right?

Except that you or I probably wouldn’t bust out the words: “Do you know my name? You’re about to find out who I am”, as we’re being hustled into a police car and read our rights.

But it’s okay, she was simply “frightened for her husband”. Her six-foot-one husband, who was quietly complying with the officer’s requests.

A right way to be wrong?

One celebrity who has managed to nail an actual apology is Justin Bieber. When a video surfaced on TMZ of the then 15-year-old star using a racial slur, the Baby singer didn’t resort to ifs, but managed to make an apology that owned the mistake as his own.

“I’m very sorry. I take my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologise for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable mistake. I was a kid then and I am a man now who knows my responsibility to the world and to not make that mistake again,” he wrote. “I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say but telling the truth is always what’s right.”

And as you can see, he apologised for offending, not if he offended.

Is it too late now to say sorry? No, Justin, it certainly isn’t, and you killed it.

His fellow Justin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was also forced to make a public apology last year when pictures emerged of him wearing blackface make-up for a school performance.

“I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn’t have done it. I should’ve known better,” he said.

Even the at-times prickly Christian Bale, whose 2009 rant against director of photography Shane Hurlbut on the set of Terminator Salvation went viral, didn’t fall back on any ifs when he said of his diatribe: “I have no confusion whatsoever, I was out of order beyond belief. I acted like a punk. I make no excuses for it, it is inexcusable, and I hope that is absolutely clear.”

However, if you are a modern celebrity unwilling to take full responsibility for your actions and you still insist on using the dismissive “if”, always remember to follow up with some version of: ‘Some of my best friends in the whole world are a member of [insert marginalised social group here]’, for full A-list unaccountability.

Updated: September 23, 2020 12:26 PM



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