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Ex-Rebel Media columnist Katie Hopkins flown to Prague to receive fake award

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It cost him what he described as a “large investment,” but YouTube star Josh Pieters pulled off a prank for his 1.2 million followers. He flew controversial U.K. pundit Katie Hopkins to Prague to accept a fake award and recorded her as she went on a rant against minorities, Greta Thunberg and more.

Hopkins, whose twitter bio says she is “the biggest bitch in Britain,” has spoken previously about how Islam is taking over the U.K.; of being persecuted as a white person; and about the scourge of “feminazis.” Writing for the Sun in 2015, she described Mediterranean migrants as “cockroaches.” In early 2018 she began a column for Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media, but was dropped at some point later the same year, according to CanadaLand.

In conversation with the U.K. outlet Metro, Pieters revealed that the stunt, designed to show Hopkins up as an extremist, was two and a half months in the making and involved a lot of logistics and legal advice. He said he and his friend, Archie Manners, “wanted to fly (Hopkins) to Prague for three days and give her the Campaign to Unify the Nation Trophy just to show her what a c*** she is.”

You might wonder if this is a bit mean. For a moment, I did too. But then she made her speech and told us what she really thought

To present the commentator with a trophy whose acronym spells “C***,” Pieters hatched a painstaking plan. To start, he and Manners set up a fake campaign group called the Cape Town Collective for Freedom of Speech. On the website’s leadership section, they ironically placed an image of an ex-leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Posing as group leadership, they invited Hopkins to the Czech Republic to collect a lifetime achievement award that didn’t exist.

When she agreed, Pieters says in the video that he posted to YouTube, “the game was on.”

Using a team of actors portraying racists, Pieters and his co-conspirators booked a dinner room at the Four Seasons in Prague, he says in the video. The room, complete with four hidden cameras and a three-course meal, was set up to resemble an intimate gathering of like-minded people. Introducing Hopkins as she collected her award, Pieters gave her a glowing endorsement as a beacon of free speech.

“Without being able to attack people, we are not free,” he said.

“I cannot think of a more worthy recipient (of the award),” he added. “For the tide is changing. The intellectual battle against the ‘woke’ brigade is being won. The snowflakes are melting and Katie Hopkins — in the United Kingdom and beyond — should take a great deal of credit.”


Katie Hopkins is seen drinking from a trophy at an awards ceremony in her “honour.”

Josh Pieters/YouTube

When Hopkins came up to collect the award and her back was to the screen, Pieters briefly flashed up the award’s acronym behind her: “C***.”

“You might wonder if this is a bit mean,” he says on the video. “For a moment, I did too. But then she made her speech and told us what she really thought.”

Taking the microphone from Pieters, who kept a straight face throughout, Hopkins said, “it’s strange to hear nice things being said about yourself. Normally it is an incoming deluge of fireballs coming my way.”

And then she went on a rant against all manner of groups. The full clip, quotes from which are not suitable for publication, can be seen here. As of Friday afternoon it had been viewed almost 1.8 million times.

It remains unclear whether, at any point after her speech and the dinner had concluded, Hopkins realized she had been pranked.

Speaking with Metro on Friday, Pieters explained the process behind the prank.

“A huge amount of hard work goes into it,” he said.

The snowflakes are melting and Katie Hopkins — in the United Kingdom and beyond — should take a great deal of credit

“(Archie and I) both worked extremely, extremely hard on it. Like it didn’t just happen, there were flights, a dinner, hotels, Katie Hopkins, 10 actors, people on her flight, our flight, then camera people. So many little details that we have to get right to make sure this works, and the writing of the speech, the way it came across and just so many things.”

“She had absolutely no idea. The con was the two- to three-hour dinner before her speech, where she genuinely believed she was in a room with 10 white racists.”

It’s been a bad week for Hopkins, who on Thursday was removed from Twitter entirely. She has drawn attention from U.S. President Donald Trump, whose retweets of her content have boosted her own following, the BBC reports. Now, though, all her one million followers can see on her account are notices that her content was in violation of rules and has been removed.

Anti-racism and anti-hate speech activists have long called for her to be barred from the platform and Twitter told the BBC Friday that it was looking into complaints about whether her posts were hate speech.

“Keeping Twitter safe is a top priority for us – abuse and harassment have no place on the service. These rules apply to everyone using our service – regardless of the account involved,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

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Are You Missing Life’s Moments Because of Social Media?

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Recently my wife and I watched the movie Before Sunrise [1995], starring Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delpy as Celine. While travelling on a Eurail train from Budapest, Jesse, an American, sees Celine, who’s French. It’s Jesse’s last day in Europe before returning to the US. Jesse strikes up a conversation with Celine, and they disembark in Vienna to spend the night wandering Austria’s capital city.

 

Summary: Before Sunrise is a back-and-forth conversation between a romantic [Celine] and a cynic [Jesse].

 

During the closing credits, I turned to my wife and said, “That wouldn’t have happened today. Jessie and Celine would have been staring at their respective smartphone throughout the train ride, which in 2021 would have free Wi-Fi, not noticing the passing scenery, their fellow passengers or each other, let alone start a conservation.”

 

How much of real life are we trading to participate in the digital world?

 

I have this problem; actually, it’s more of an addiction I need to keep in check constantly. I suffer from FOMO [Fear of Missing Out].

 

You’ve probably heard of FOMO. Odds are you suffer from it to a degree. FOMO is that uneasy feeling you get when you feel other people might be having a good time without you, or worst, living a better life than you. FOMO is why social media participation is as high as it is. FOMO is why you perpetually refresh your social media feeds, so you don’t feel left out—so that you can compare your life. FOMO is what makes social media the dopamine machine it is.

 

FOMO has become an issue, especially for those under 40. More and more people choose to scroll mindlessly through their social media feeds regardless of whether they’re commuting on public transit, having dinner in a restaurant, or at a sports event. Saying “yes” to the digital world and “no” to real life is now common.

 

Your soulmate could be sitting a few seats over on the bus (or Eurail train), or at the diner counter, or in the doctor’s waiting room. However, you’re checking your social media to see if Bob’s vacationing in Aruba with Scarlett or if Farid got the new job and may now be making more money than you. Likely, your potential soulmate is probably doing the same.

 

Look around. Everyone is looking down at the screen in their hand, not up at each other.

 

We all know Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, et al. [even LinkedIn] doesn’t provide a very well-rounded picture of people’s lives. Most of what people post is cherry-picked to elicit self-affirming responses, such as likes, thumbs-up and hand-clapping emojis, retweets, shares, and those coveted comments of “Congratulations!”, “Way to go!”, “You’re awesome!”, “Looking good!”

 

The Internet, especially its social media aspect, equates to “Look at me!”

 

Sometimes I wonder, if bragging and showing off were banned on social media sites, how much would posts decrease?

 

“Stop paying so much attention to how others around you are doing” was easy advice to follow pre-Internet (the late 90s). Back in the day, it would be only through the grapevine you were a part of that you found out if Bob was in Aruba with Scarlett and that be without pictures. Evidence of how others are doing, strangers included, is pervasive because undeniably, most of us care about status. In 2021 how people are doing is in the palm of our hands, so we tend to give more time to the device we’re holding at the cost of neglecting the real-life happenings within our immediate surroundings.

 

Social media has made us a restless, anxious bunch underappreciating the present moment. With lockdown restrictions lifting and more social activities taking place, people will be hunkering down on their smartphones more than before to see what others are doing. They’ll see the BBQ they weren’t invited to or people they consider to be friends having a few laughs on the local pub’s patio or camping or at the beach without them. Loneliness, questioning self-worth, depression will be the result.

 

Trading engaging with those around you to feed your FOMO angst is what we’ve come down to. In my opinion, Guildwood is the GTA’s most walkable neighbourhood. You can choose to take walks around Guildwood, getting exercise, meeting people or stay addicted to the FOMO distress social media is causing you.

 

Instead of catching up with an old friend or colleague in person over lunch, coffee, or a walk in Guild Park & Gardens, people prefer to text or message each other on social media platforms eliminating face-to-face interactions. Instead of trying to reconnect with old friends verbally, people would rather sit at home with their technology devices and learn what their friends are up to through social media platforms, thus the start of a slippery slope towards anti-social behaviour.

 

Social media’s irony is it has made us much less social. How Jesse and Celine meet [you’ll have to see the movie] and the resulting in-depth conversation they have as they gradually open up to each other, thus beginning a postmodern romance wouldn’t have happened today. They’d be too preoccupied with their smartphones feeding their FOMO addiction to notice each other.

 

Social media will always nudge you to give it attention, but that doesn’t mean you have to oblige. Take it from me; there’s more to be had in enjoying life’s moments outside of social media.

______________________­­­­­­­___________________________________________

Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). You can reach Nick at nick.kossovan@gmail.com and him on Instagram and Twitter @NKossovan.

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck pictured kissing as ‘Bennifer’ returns

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have been pictured exchanging passionate kisses, apparently confirming weeks of fevered rumors that they have rekindled a romance that dominated celebrity media almost 20 years ago.

Paparazzi photos printed in the New York Post on Monday showed the two actors kissing while enjoying a meal with members of Lopez’s family at Malibu’s posh Nobu sushi restaurant west of Los Angeles on Sunday.

Representatives for Lopez, 51, declined to comment on Monday, while Affleck’s publicists did not return a request for comment.

Lopez and “Argo” director Affleck, dubbed “Bennifer,” became the most talked about couple in the celebrity world in the early 2000s in a romance marked by his-and-her luxury cars and a large 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring. They abruptly called off their wedding in 2003 and split up a few months later.

The pair have been pictured together several times in Los Angels and Miami in recent weeks, after Lopez and her former baseball player fiance Alex Rodriguez called off their engagement in mid-April after four years together. Monday’s photos were the first in which Lopez and Affleck were seen kissing this time around.

Celebrity outlet E! News quoted an unidentified source last week as saying Lopez was planning to move from Miami to Los Angeles to spend more time with Affleck, 48, and was looking for schools for her 13-year-old twins Max and Emme.

Max and Emme, along with the singer’s sister Lydia, were also photographed walking into the restaurant in Malibu on Sunday.

Lopez married Latin singer Marc Anthony, her third husband, just five months after her 2004 split with Affleck. Affleck went on to marry, and later was divorced from, actress Jennifer Garner.

 

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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TikTok debuts new voice after Canadian actor sues

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TikTok

After noticing a new female voice narrating the videos on the popular video-sharing social networking service, users of TikTok were baffled as to why. It actually turns out that the Canadian actress behind the old voice filed a lawsuit against the platform for copyright violation as her voice was apparently being used without her permission.

Bev Standing, a voice actor based in Ontario, is taking China-based ByteDance to court. TikTok’s parent company has since replaced her voice with a new one, with Standing reportedly finding out over email after a tip-off from a journalist. On the matter, Standing said: “They replaced me with another voice. I am so overwhelmed by this whole thing. I’m stumbling for words because I just don’t know what to say.”

TikTok is said to be considering a settlement for Standing outside of the courts, but nobody knows whether or not this is true. According to legal experts, the fact TikTok now has a new voice on the popular social media app suggests they acknowledge Standing’s case and potentially understand that she may have suffered as a result of the company’s actions.

Thanks to the emergence of the powerful smartphone devices of today, alongside taking high-quality images for Instagram, getting lost down YouTube wormholes, and accessing popular slots like Purple Hot, people are turning to relatively new platforms like TikTok. The service has 689 million monthly active users worldwide and is one of the most downloaded apps in Apple’s iOS App Store. This latest news could harm the platforms future, although many of its younger users potentially aren’t aware that this type of scenario is unfolding.

For Bev Standing, the ordeal is a testing one. She wasn’t informed of the voice change, there is no mention of it in TikTok’s newsroom online, and the development is news to her lawyer also.

 

This all comes after her case was filed in a New York State court in early May after the voice actor noticed a computer-generated version of her voice had been seen and listened to around the world since 2020. Speculation is rife as to how TikTok managed to obtain the recordings but Standing believes the company acquired them from a project she took part in for the Chinese government in 2018.

(Image via https://twitter.com/VoiceOverXtra)

The Institute of Acoustics in China reportedly promised her that all of the material she would be recording would be used solely for translation, but they eventually fell into the hands of TikTok and have since been altered and then exposed to a global audience.

According to Pina D’Agostino, an associate professor with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and an expert in copyright law, the fact that the hugely popular social media platform has now changed Standing’s voice could result in a positive outcome for the distraught voice actor. She said: “It’s a positive step in the way that they are mitigating their damages. And when you’re mitigating, you’re acknowledging that we did something wrong, and you’re trying to make things better.”

When assessing social media etiquette and how both companies and users should act, this type of news can only do more harm than good. Not only does it make the company look bad, but it could have an effect on revenues and, ultimately, TikTok’s reputation.

With a clear desire to move on and put this whole process behind her, Bev Standing is eager for the case to be resolved and get back to the daily work she loves and has been doing for a large part of her life. TikTok has until July 7 to respond to her claim.

 

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