When James Burch and several activists began filming a sheriff’s deputy during a confrontation on the Alameda County courthouse steps in Oakland, Calif., this week, the officer caught the group by surprise. He pulled out his phone and started blaring Taylor Swift’s 2014 hit single “Blank Space.”
Confused, Burch asked: “Are we having a dance party?”
After he and the other activists pressed the officer about what he was doing, the deputy — identified by local media as Sgt. David Shelby — said, “You can record all you want, I just know it can’t be posted on YouTube.”
He was referring to YouTube’s automated copyright system, which detects and removes unauthorized protected material — such as a popular song — from being uploaded to the Internet.
Things didn’t quite go according to the officer’s plan as the clip has amassed over more than 848,000 views on Twitter at this writing. Plus, a version did indeed make its way to YouTube that has garnered more than 573,000 views so far.
I saw the original tweet when it happened and wondered, “What is it the officer didn’t want recorded?” He didn’t seem to be doing anything wrong, so…why the digital confrontation? He made himself look shady when it’s not clear he was. #fail
“The officer was trying to be a little smart, and it kind of backfired,” Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County sheriff’s office, told the Washington Post. “Instead of censoring it, it made it go viral.”
According to Kelly, Shelby still works for the sheriff’s department but the issue has been referred to internal affairs for review.
While there’s no policy prohibiting an officer from doing what Shelby did in the video, “there is a code of conduct on how we should carry ourselves in public,” Kelly said. The spokesman added that the sheriff’s office does not “condone” the deputy’s behavior.
“This is not a good look for law enforcement,” Kelly said. There is a “serious lesson learned here.”
A woman in Branson, Missouri, was captured on video at a Black Lives Matter protest earlier this week waving a Confederate flag and yelling at protesters “I will teach my grandkids to hate you all.” She also called out “KKK belief.”
Kathy Jenkins told local news station KOLR10 that since the video went viral she’s lost her job (a punishment she says she deserves) and has left Branson, her home of six years.
Jenkins claims, however, that she “blacked out” and doesn’t remember making those racist statements to BLM protesters assembled outside a store that sells Confederate merchandise. She does, however, say she remembers chanting along with the protesters “Black Lives Matter.”
According to Jenkins, she was watching the protest from the other side of the street and was handed a Confederate flag. She says she thought it was a symbol of “unity.”
Jenkins says in the video she was yelling at a pair of neighbors who were heckling her and calling her a racist for waving the flag.
“I wasn’t saying I’m KKK or for the KKK,” she told KOLR10 reporter David Chasanov on Wednesday. “I was mocking them because I don’t like being called a racist.”
“I’m so, so sorry,” Jenkins told KOLR10. “I mean, if it would help for me to stand with Black Lives Matter, I absolutely would do that.”
“I didn’t understand that the Confederate flag meant hate,” said Jenkins. “I don’t understand the whole history of the Confederate flag, but I’m learning.”
But Faith Pittser, one of the Black Lives Matter organizers, disagreed with that version of the story. She told the news station in a statement:
“She knew exactly what she was doing. She was there from the start on the counter-protesters’ side shouting obscenities and hateful words at our protesters. I think her claims to not know what the confederate flag is and what it represents are absurd and lies. She proudly shouted “KKK belief” in front of all of us.
“Her apology does not make sense as she’s trying to state she didn’t realize she was on the opposing side. How do you not realize that if you’re on Dixie Outfitter’s property holding a confederate flag along with the other counter-protesters that are facing us? She never once shouted ‘black lives matter’ along with us. This woman is lying and apologizing because she’s sorry she got caught in her acts of racism.”
Here’s the original video that went viral on Twitter. The clip has been viewed over 13 million times.
I meant to share this weeks ago, and I’ve been looking for more uplifting content to post. This certainly fits the bill.
Alumni of the hit Broadway musical, Hairspray, created this virtual reunion performance of the show’s finale “You Can’t Stop the Beat” to raise money for the Actors Fund of America.
While the word ‘actor’ is used in the name of the organization, the group actually helps all people who work in the theater including ushers, musicians, wardrobe folks, and more.
The super-infectious, feel-good video is simply pure joy.
Beginning with three Tracy Turnblads – Ricki Lake (from the original John Waters’s original 1988 classic), Marissa Jaret Winokur (who created the role on Broadway), and Nikki Blonsky (from the musical film version in 2007) – stars including Harvey Fierstein, Andrea Martin, Matthew Morrison, Kristin Chenoweth, Andrew Rannells, Laura Bell Bundy, Alex Newell, Sean Hayes, and Randy Rainbow all take part alongside the ensemble alumni.
Following the internet success of celebrity chef Ina Garten’s demonstration on how to make a (massive) Cosmopolitan, Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci has seen his own cocktail-making go viral giving this soothing tutorial on how to make a perfect Negroni.
After more than 3.6 million views of the video, it’s clear the Tucc has his own animal magnetism.
What a great feel-good story to get you over Hump Day!
You may have seen the viral video clip zooming around social media of a woman stopped in the London subway by video blogger Kevin Freshwater. In the video, Freshwater thrusts his microphone into the face of Charlotte Awbery asking her to ‘finish the lyric’ as he begins the Lady Gaga smash hit, “Shallow.”
Unsure of where the moment was going, Awbery tentatively picks up the next line of the song. And as Freshwater continues to react to her singing, she kept going eventually belting out the high section of the Academy Award-winning tune.
It turns out Awbery IS a professional singer who performs at weddings, pubs, and other venues. But when the viral video took off, so did her social media following.
Of course, it’s no surprise that Ellen DeGeneres would fly the blond singer to Los Angeles to celebrate the serendipitous episode.
After belting out “Shallow” for Ellen’s audience she sat down with the talk show host who ticked off just some of the stats that followed the video including over 60 million views online, a number that Awbery was not aware of.
Additionally, the song “Shallow” reentered the Top 40 on iTunes thanks to the video. And her Instagram following has grown from 4,000 to over 480,000 in just a few days.
By the way, one of those new followers was Ariana Grande. “I followed her back,” Awbery quickly assured Ellen.
Awbery is disarmingly charming as she is still taking in what it means to have all this attention after being a working singer for fifteen years.
With Freshwater sitting in the audience, Ellen also confirms that the video was not a ‘set-up’ as some have posited.
Of course, it wouldn’t be ELLEN if there wasn’t some gift-giving involved. So, to make sure Awbery gets to her gigs all across London, the show gave her a year-long pass on the London tubes, and Shutterfly gave the songbird $10,000 British pounds.
As her Instagram following has grown exponentially since the video’s release, folks are now discovering past videos by Awbery. Check out her unfiltered take on the Judy Garland classic, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” below. #gorgeous
Twitter-user “’Top Guy’ FloralAndy” is a marketing executive based in Philadelphia who, as his screen name implies, is mostly a ‘top guy.’
But after a packed schedule of business trips, said ‘top guy’ woke up recently feeling ‘a little pent up’ and decided he wanted to hook up BUT wanted to be on the receiving end of ‘business.’
“When I woke up this morning, something just hit different, or rather I wanted to be hit different,” he explained in a Twitter video that has gone viral. “So I made a bold and daring move, and after eating an omelet with a lot of cheese for brunch, decided that I wanted to bottom.”
Of course, as we all know, with that decision comes some preparation.
“So, I found someone who committed like a responsible adult to coming over later and I spent a ton of time in HERE (camera swoops to the toilet).”
“I was also considerate and lit a candle,” explaining how he took the time to set the mood. “And then I was also considerate and made my f**king bed which I never do!”
“And then I laid out a towel – WHICH I NEVER DO because I’m not a very considerate person – and all of a sudden wanting to bottom makes me nice, and then…”
Wait for it…
“He f**king CANCELLED.”
“I swear to god, I’m going to run for public office and I’m going to make this s**t illegal,” said our newly-enlightened hero. “I’m going to criminalize it! I’ve never once canceled on someone and I’m very proud of that.”
He closed his rant with a proud declaration: “And you better bet your a** that I revenge-ate some tacos like a good pseudo-bottom.”
‘Mr. Mostly Top’ told Pink News that he has “hypothetically known that the process is time-consuming and somewhat emotionally draining: taking Imodium hours earlier, starting other prep hours earlier, showering, cleaning, lighting a candle, then losing hope and getting progressively angrier as the clock ticks.”
He also shared that the would-be top eventually texted him (after said taco revenge) to say he had an “unforeseen roommate dispute and am no longer available.”
In any case, Andy shares that the experience has truly helped him to better understand the plight of bottoms everywhere.
“I stand in solidarity with bottoms now more than ever,” he proudly told Pink News. “Tops should be more considerate in their bookings – being an upfront adult can save everyone a lot of time and emotional energy.”
At this writing, the video has over 588,000 views on Twitter in less than a day and the tweet has received over 35,000 Likes.