Axios reports New Zealand has gone more than 100 days with zero new cases of COVID-19 coming from a local source.
With an election coming up in September, the current prime minister sees her government’s response as a selling point for reelection.
New Zealanders are going to the polls on Sept. 19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been widely praised for her leadership that saw NZ lock down hard for several weeks before all domestic restrictions were lifted in June. She sees her government’s response to and recovery from the coronavirus outbreak as key to her Labour Party being re-elected.
By the numbers: New Zealand has 23 active coronavirus cases. All are NZ residents newly returned from abroad, who are staying in managed isolation facilities.
The border remains closed to non-residents and all newly returned Kiwis must undergo a two-week isolation program managed by the country’s defense force. All travelers tested three times before they leave.
Police are stationed outside hotels where travelers are in quarantine.
• InstaHunks: When the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades, you might be hottie Max Souza (above).
• NZ Herald: Ken Miller and his husband Jason Brumbaugh moved to New Zealand two years ago and bought a restaurant, Saluté, that became the target of local homophobia. Then, an online review of the small-town restaurant raved about the food and denounced the homophobia sparking a nationwide wave of support for its owners.
• The Gaily Grind: Actress Jamie Lee Curtis said in a new interview that she “fully accepts outing” hypocritical politicians that pass “anti-gay legislation.” And I’m totally with her.
• Boy Culture: First a hit novel, then a movie, and in 2020 will become ‘The Series,’ Matt Rettenmund is releasing a 25th Anniversary Edition of his book, Boy Culture. Click here for the backstory on the novel, a cavalcade of sexy covers from all the international iterations of the book, plus a link to buy the new, updated edition. Congrats, Matt!
• PEOPLE: First lady Melania Trump was met with a “resounding chorus of loud boos” from middle and high schoolers as soon as she walked on stage at an opioid awareness event on Tuesday.
• Advocate: For her decades of activism with LGBTQ youth, Cyndi Lauper will be awarded the inaugural High Note Global Prize presented by the United Nations Human Rights and the High Note Global Initiative at her annual Home for the Holidays concert on December 10.
• JustJared: Wendy Williams denied she’s gay telling her audience today, “I am no lesbian. I like women for friendship. I like men and I like the D.”
• Instagram: Madonna had ‘a moment’ with out rapper Lil Nas X at the Wiltern Theater during the residency of her Madame X tour in Los Angeles.
Radio host Ryan Bridge was filling in on New Zealand’s The AM Show when a casual remark abruptly outed him to the show’s listeners.
The moment occurred on Thursday’s broadcast, as the morning crew was discussing collector’s items. Bridge was asked if he collected anything, to which co-host Mark Richardson laughingly suggested, “Ex-boyfriends?”
Cue the awkward laughing.
Richardson and co-host Amanda Gillies continued giggling for a few seconds until they realized what had happened.
“Yes, it’s true, I’m gay,” said Bridge after a few seconds of uncomfortable stammering. “There we go, it’s out there.”
Apparently, while Bridge isn’t closeted to his family or friends (like Richardson), he hadn’t come out to his audience yet.
After composing himself, Bridge addressed the elephant in the room about half an hour later.
“If you caught what was said before, it’s not something I’ve tried to hide, it’s something all my friends and family have known about for a very long time,” he told the audience. “The reason I haven’t chosen to share it with you at home, with listeners on my radio show is just that, I don’t know, it’s not that interesting really, is it?”
“It’s just my private business and my life and not something I have necessarily tried to hide but it’s just not something that I’ve bothered or cared to share with the world, with you at home, but it’s out there, so that is that,” added Bridge. “Thank you very much to the people who have been getting in touch in the last few minutes. It’s quite heartening.”
He also displayed tremendous grace in addressing his colleague’s faux pas.
“I wanted to say that Mark didn’t do this on purpose,” Bridge told the viewers. “It wasn’t like he was being mean, or he was trying to get me to say something I didn’t want to say. it was an innocent, honest mistake.”
A clearly chagrined Richardson was effusive in his apology.
“In three years of doing this job, this is as bad as I’ve ever felt,” said Richardson. “I say a lot of stuff on this show, and I mean it, and some of it walks the line. I just want to say I’m sorry. It’s because obviously I love you so much as a person.”
He added, “Just me being a smartass and trying to poke fun at you for a comedic moment on the show has led to this, and I’m dreadfully sorry.”
Gillies chimed in telling Bridge, “You know we love you to bits, completely.”
“The way you’ve handled this with immense class – just beautifully,” she added. “Makes us love you even more.”
• I attended the opening night of the hit two-man play Potted Potter at Ballys Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas last night. The show, which parodies all 7 books of the Harry Potter series in 70 minutes, has been running for years in the UK. The original stars opened the show here and I was thrilled to take my uber-handsome god son, Josh, to the performance.
• During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, John Cena talked about getting ‘accidental boners’ during wrestling matches.
• Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) somehow ‘straight-washed’ his proclamation observing the 3rd anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. DeSantis blamed the missing mention of the LGBTQ community on staffers. It was later added to the proclamation.
• The 20 Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for the first Dem debates have been announced:
BREAKING: DNC announces the names of the candidates who will appear in the first Democratic Debates on June 26 & 27 from Miami. @chucktodd: “After months of campaigning and polling, the stage is now set.” pic.twitter.com/fQbafzHr26
Around 250,000 people in New Zealand own a total of about 1.5 million weapons.
BREAKING: New Zealand’s parliament voted 119-1 today to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons. The change comes less than one month after the Christchurch mosque shootings that left 50 people dead. pic.twitter.com/UHxFn7Vuez
As New Zealand continues mourning the deaths of 50 people gunned down by a white nationalist terrorist, dozens of boys from Christchurch Boys’ High performed a ceremonial haka dance to show support and unity with the Muslim community.
I’ve posted hakas on The Randy Report before here.
I always find the fierce commitment to the dance, and the spirit of those performing the haka, to be profoundly inspiring.
According to ABC News Australia, “Tears began to stream down the faces of some people watching as the boys performed the traditional dance.”
Although he tweeted his ‘warmest sympathies’ and ‘best wishes’ to New Zealand, he refused to criticize the white supremacist ideology behind the shooting. This has been contrasted with his quick responses to Islamist terror attacks in the past.
New Zealand massacre suspect praised Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
1. Advocated banning all Muslims from the U.S.
2. Praised the (apocryphal) killing of Muslims with pigs blood
A video showing a Muslim student blaming a very pregnant Chelsea Clinton for the anti-Muslim massacre of 49 people in New Zealand instantly went viral.
The moment took place at a vigil to honor the victims gunned down at two New Zealand mosques.
Clinton, pregnant with her third child, displays extraordinary composure while an angry student alleges Clinton’s recent commentary about anti-Semitic comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar about a pro-Israel lobby, helped cause the massacre in New Zealand.
“This, right here, is a result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,” the student tells Clinton. “And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep down inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”
“I’m so sorry you feel that way,” Clinton replies in the video. “Certainly, it was never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.”
Another student snaps at Chelsea: “What does ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ mean? What does that mean?”
So, now, it’s Chelsea Clinton’s fault a violent gun massacre took place in New Zealand???
Here is a pregnant Chelsea Clinton being accosted in public by NYU students blaming her for the New Zealand massacre. You are free to have your opinion, but how you express yourself matters. Note how Clinton never shuts down or stops listening, despite not deserving any of this. pic.twitter.com/V6XcC3lWCB
Forty-nine people were killed in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, in a terrorist attack that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
• Officials said that one man in his late 20s had been charged with murder, and that two explosive devices were found attached to a vehicle that they had stopped.
• A Muslim leader in New Zealand said the attack was especially shocking as it took place around Friday Prayer. The police urged people to stay away from the mosques until further notice.
• A gunman streamed a live video of the attack on Facebook, and he appeared to have posted a manifesto online.
“You may have chosen us — but we utterly reject and condemn you.”