When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock over Rock’s tepid joke at the 2022 Oscars, people immediately blamed Jada Pinkett Smith. In a recent interview with Hoda Kotb for TODAY, Jada herself described the backlash, saying that the public thought of her as “the adultress wife” who “made Will Smith go to ‘Red Table Talk‘ to discuss her extra-marital affair with August Alsina and “now look at what she’s done. She has the power with an eyeroll to make him go up and slap somebody on stage.” Funny enough, as a blogger with an upper-level legal education who is by no means a troll — Jada’s characterization is EXACTLY what I thought. Though we are all responsible for our own acts, especially when they involve physical violence, Will Smith looked completely unhinged on Oscar night, and I could not help but wonder if his tumultuous personal life was to blame. Call me traditional, but a husband sitting beside his wife as she publicly discusses her “entanglement” with a much younger man who made her happy in a way her husband could not, could take a mental and emotional toll on said husband.
For those who do not know, ‘Red Table Talk’ was a talk show on on Facebook Watch hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith, and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris. The series featured candid conversations about relationships, family dynamics, mental health, addiction and other personal and social issues. Most importantly, the show was marketed as the mecca of truth talking. Jada often discussed how she made her marriage to Will Smith work, implying that the couple had risen above many of their past challenges and they were proud to say that “divorce is not an option.” For years there were rumors that the twosome had an open marriage and they vehemently denied it. It was not until August Alsina exposed his years long relationship with Jada, that the façade began to crack. The Smiths were now forced to address the state of their union, and they did it at the Red Table. Only they didn’t really do it. They simply revealed that they had briefly separated, NOT that they weren’t together at all. Though “divorce” might not be an option, a long-term separation certainly was. We now know that the power couple have been living separately for SEVEN years. For all intents and purposes — they are divorced.
Hollywood is a funny place. When you live here, you’ll often hear tales of A-lister adultery, drug use, and open relationships, and it’s always met with my personal eyeroll. “Why would anyone fake their relationship for YEARS,” I’d ask in the most agitated of tones, often chalking these rumors up to conspiracy theories. Then I’d think of Rock Hudson and remind myself that all things are possible. BUT there hasn’t been a Rock Hudson-style fake marriage in decades…until now.
Jada and Will faked it. And they REALLY faked it. They walked red carpets, they joked about keeping their relationship hot, they hosted people at their home for ‘Red Table Talk,’ and so on. And why would anyone put so much effort into faking a relationship? Because Jada and Will were a brand, and it served their brand to stay together. Now that Will’s reputation is irreparably tarnished, it no longer serves a purpose to pretend. Jada’s press tour to promote her new book, ‘Worthy,’ is simply another attempt to preserve a public image that was erroneously predicated on authenticity and honesty. Good luck. We’ve seen the wizard, and we’re not going back.
Rachel Leviss has finally spoken out post Scandoval, and she chose reality television’s queen of revisionist history — Bethenny Frankel — as her “safe space.” Here is a rundown of Rachel’s very underwhelming revelations:
She never really loved Tom Sandoval. She just “got caught up.”
Rachel is “remorseful,” though she has yet to expand on that with any depth beyond just using the word remorseful.
She was never “best friends” with Ariana. In fact, she only hung out with Ariana to be closer to Tom, and the two ladies never had any one-on-one interactions.
She isn’t surprised Ariana and Tom still share the same abode, given that even at the height of Tom and Ariana’s romantic relationship, they were always just roommates who ignored one another.
She would never have become romantically involved with Tom had she believed that Tom and Ariana would go the distance.
Tom insists that he and Ariana were simply “a brand” not a relationship.
The Vanderpump Rules producers attempted to secure Rachel’s return to the show by luring her with the idea that she should return to “tell her own story” rather than “letting someone tell her story for her.” Rachel instead chose to tell her story to Bethenny because Bethenny “is a force.”
She never properly healed from her breakup with James Kennedy.
She entered treatment to learn why she has always been attracted to unavailable men.
There’s one concerning demon in this interview, and it’s not Raquel/Rachel Leviss. Rachel is not the first, nor will she be the last mistress, and she’s also not the first 28-year-old to make a terrible mistake. As for Bethenny, she’s a middle-aged hypocrite who spent an entire reunion on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills eviscerating her co-star Carole Radziwill to only now proclaim that Rachel Leviss’ castmates “went too far” at their own reunion. Perhaps it takes one to know one? Bethenny has also drastically changed her tune about her reality television reign after years of singing its praises. If it suits Bethenny, she’ll sing for her supper.
As for Rachel, I found her post-mental-health-camp personality to be disappointing. I hoped she’d have found her voice, but that voice is just as shaky (literally) as it was prior to her personal work. She still seems extremely fragile, and I’d tell her to leave this business and never look back. The last thing Rachel wants is to be a faux-influencer recording poor-quality videos about dollar-store blush on her YouTube channel.
There’s an unacceptable Hollywood trend afloat, and it involves giving hosting gigs to famous folks with zero hosting experience. SNL cast member Chloe Fineman was sadly behind the microphone at the Met Gala, which I painfully streamed on Vogue.com during the ceremony. One of her worst moments has since gone viral, and it involves an awkward exchange with designer Stella McCartney and Aubrey Plaza, the latter of which Fineman didn’t seem to recognize at all.
Though there’s a debate as to whether the ladies were putting Fineman at ease with humor or simply takings digs, the fact remains the same — Fineman wasn’t up to the task. To make matters worse, Fineman also swapped her heels for hotel slippers halfway through the night, which would be cute if it wasn’t the biggest fashion event of the year.
Hosting an event is difficult. It involves vamping, thinking on the fly, knowing the names of just about everyone, asking last-minute questions, being funny, etc. The idea that it’s anyone’s game is offensive, and Fineman’s co-host Derek Blasberg, was equally inexperienced. I blame Vogue for this, along with Fineman and Blasberg’s agents and managers for allowing it.
Watch the exchange below and decide for yourself whether these lovely ladies were joking.
When Taylor Swift released her critically acclaimed new album Midnights, it got me thinking about her much-talked-about relationship with her boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn. So what exactly is the timeline of their romance, and did it overlap her short-lived fling with Tom Hiddleston? And how can we forget that Hiddleston himself overlapped with Calvin Harris? After some embarrassing sleuthing with the help of very-devoted Swifties, I might have cracked the code.
CLUE #1: “HIGH INFIDELITY”
In Taylor Swift’s new song off her Midnights album, “High Infidelity,” she says the following telling lyrics:
“Do you really want to know where I was on April 29th?”
“Do I really have him him to chart the constellations in his eyes?”
“Do I really have to tell you how he brought me back to life?”
So where exactly was Taylor Swift on April 29, 2016? There are some fan theories rolling around, but there’s one in particular that I find most compelling. While in a relationship with Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift attended Gigi Hadid’s 21st birthday party on April 28, 2016, which likely lasted past the 12:00 hour (leading us into April 29, 2016). Many suspect this party was also attended by her current boyfriend, Joe Alywn. Why you ask? Because Gigi and Joe allegedly became friends after appearing together in a VOGUE photoshoot, and Joe was in Los Angeles at the time.
It was originally believed that Taylor and Joe met three days later at the Met Gala on May 3, 2016, given Taylor’s lyrics in her song “Dress,” stating, “Flashback to when you met me, your buzzed cut and my hair bleached.” But a smoking gun this is not. If you look at the photo below from Gigi’s birthday party, Taylor’s hair is bleached. If they did in fact meet at Gigi’s birthday — and not the Met Gala — the lyrics would therefore still make sense.
Another theory is that Taylor and Joe had mutual friends, which I learned thanks to the tweet below.
If it’s true they met through the Lily connection, then it’s possible they actually had their first meeting in LA near the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Vine Street (“Whisky on ice, Sunset and Vine” are lyrics from her song “Gorgeous”), potentially at the Bowery Gastropub, which would explain Joe using the pseudonym “William Bowery” for his co-writing credit on Taylor’s album. This meeting might have also taken place on April 29, 2016.
When Johnny Depp first sued The Sun newspaper in the UK for calling him a “wife beater,” I was just as engrossed in the outcome of that of that trial as I was when he sued Amber Heard in the United States for defamation. I believed then, as I believe now, that Johnny Depp is innocent of the allegations against him. Not only did I believe him not to be a “wife beater,” I believed he was also a victim of serious physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his then wife — Amber Heard.
Many folks in the media and anyone anti-Depp likes to use the UK verdict to measure Johnny Depp’s innocence or guilt. In fact, many will argue that the standard for winning in the UK is even more difficult, as the burden is on the newspaper to prove the truth of what they printed as opposed to the burden being on Johnny Depp to prove that it is false. What these people don’t understand; however, is something very important — the law.
For starters, the UK involved different parties. Johnny Depp sued a newspaper, not Amber Heard. For Johnny Depp to win the case in the UK he would have to prove that The Sun had absolutely no reason to believe the truth of what they printed. All they needed to prevail was for Heard to testify as the source. “You see,” they would say, “the accuser herself has testified to the violence. It’s not up to us to strap her to a lie detector.” Simply put, all the The Sun had to prove is that they didn’t pull it out of thin air. It’s a much easier for The Sun than many suspect.
In the United States, there’s one thing we know for certain about suing a celebrity for defamation — it is hard as hell to win. Because Depp is a “public figure,” he must not only prove that Heard’s allegations are false, but that she had “actual malice” when she said it. That means at the time she wrote and published the now infamous Op-Ed in the Washington Post stating, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change,” she knew it was a lie. And after weeks of grueling testimony in a Virginia court, the jury decided that Amber Heard not only lied — she did so with purpose (or malice).
Many in the media have used this case to support their own personal agenda. Anti #MeToo republicans such as Megyn Kelly seem to have found some perverse joy in a woman being exposed for her lies, as if it’s some larger knock at a liberal agenda. Some major media outlets, on the other hand, are so unbearably biased that they printed thought pieces begging us to continue to “believe all women” rather than review the evidence at hand.
The New York Times, for example, called the trial a “sad spectacle” that “rested less on facts than on sympathies.” They also claimed that Depp was at a distinct advantage because “he’s a more familiar performer, a bigger star who has dwelled for much longer in the glow of public approbation.” And in the most heinous of statements (shame on you, NYT) they surmised that “the audience was primed to accept him as flawed, vulnerable, human, and to view her as monstrous…because he’s a man.”
I need not explain that Johnny Depp’s gender has done nothing but work against him since Heard first accused him of violence. Heard was immediately believed before anyone even looked at the evidence, and Depp was swiftly dropped from nearly every movie, including the very lucrative Pirates franchise, with little to no recourse. In the eyes of the public, the media, and perhaps some in his close orbit, he was a villainous monster who sexually assaulted and beat his wife. He was unemployable. And to make matters worse, he was the real victim who was simultaneously suffering the residual trauma of domestic violence at the hands of his wife. The idea that his gender worked to his benefit is therefore laughable.
Vogue published an article entitled, “Why It’s Time to Believe Amber Heard,” in which its author stated, “Though I’ve felt myself veering toward it, I can no longer ‘both sides’ this. It’s time to draw a line. It’s time to believe women—all women. It’s time to believe Heard.” Again, a blanket declaration based on gender…not evidence. The idea that we should automatically believe an accuser whose claims can destroy lives is a precedent I do not care to set. I’m a lawyer, and I believe in evidence. To quote Johnny Depp himself, I hope that “the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”
Even Monica Lewinsky got involved in an article for Vanity Fair, in which she deemed the trial a “celebrity circus” and challenged us to be far less cruel to Amber Heard, given Monica’s own unfair experience with the media. Lewinsky also admitted to not having watched the trial in full. Personally, I’d advise Lewinsky to no longer write articles on legal trials if she hasn’t watched said legal trials. Furthermore, I’d challenge her to explain to me how we’re supposed to talk about Amber Heard, if not with cruelty? If she were a man who beat up his wife over and over again, would she still encourage us to treat him with a little more kindness? No one treated Chris Brown with kindness after he assaulted Rihanna.
Heard herself tried to capitalize on the culture after her loss, stating that “It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.” This is an interesting sentiment, because it ignores violence against men. Should that be taken seriously? She also stated that she believes “Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech.” This argument also fails on its face, as Freedom of Speech comes with restrictions. Even those of us who did not go to law school know that you cannot scream fire in a crowded theater, nor can you defame people. Lies that destroy one’s reputation are not “protected” speech. Also, Amber Heard is a hypocrite. When Johnny Depp’s very close friend, Doug Stanhope, wrote an article in defense of Depp on the heels of Heard’s initial allegations, she sued him for defamation. So what about Doug’s Freedom of Speech, Amber?
It would be easy to chalk up Johnny Depp’s relationship with Amber Heard to mutual toxicity as so many in the media have. It would be easy to say they “both beat each other up” and to diminish the trial as a circus. No one wants to believe that a woman lied about domestic violence and sexual assault for revenge. No one wants to listen to the tapes of Amber Heard admitting to beating up her husband. No one wants to look at the photos of Johnny Depp with a black eye and a severed finger and believe that his wife attacked him. No one wants to believe that a human being would set out to obliterate another person’s reputation, on top of having already physically abused them. Who could possibly be that evil?
This case was not a spectacle, a circus, or a voyeur’s delight. It was a man fighting for his life back with a supervised trial as his last available option. Unless the public saw the evidence with their own eyes and listened to Amber Heard’s testimony with their own ears, Johnny Depp would be forever, unjustly tarnished.
I would encourage the media and the public at large to either watch every minute of the trial or not comment on it. These jurors devoted a lot of time and energy to this case, and they determined that Amber Heard lied on the stand. Almost every incident of violence alleged by Amber Heard had witnesses present, and every single witness contradicted her testimony. Furthermore, there are a plethora of pictures after each alleged incident of violence that directly impeach her testimony. The only person with visible injuries and hospital records is Johnny Depp. Lastly, I watched Amber Heard testify on the stand and she was not a credible witness. I understand that not all victims of domestic violence will behave the way we think they should behave, but I also understand what a liar looks like — and I believe Amber Heard is a liar.
For more on the trial, listen to my podcast below.
Chris Rock took the stage at the 94th Annual Academy Awards to present the award for Best Documentary Feature and things did not go as planned. While looking at Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who were seated front and center, Rock made a bad joke about Jada’s bald head, saying, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.” Though Smith initially laughed, Jada did not, and Smith then charged the stage and slapped Chris Rock, before sitting back down and yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”…twice (uncensored video below).
Jada Pinkett Smith has alopecia, and she’s been honest about her insecurities surrounding the autoimmune disease. It was a shockingly dated, bad, low-hanging-fruit joke for someone of Rock’s stature, but was it worthy of inspiring such ire? And to quote Howard Stern, “What the f— is going on because where’s security? This is a live television event. Not one person came out because he’s Will Smith. This is how Trump gets away with shit. Will Smith and Trump are the same guy.” See some other reactions below.
so upsetting – on every level – bravo to Chris Rock – for not eviscerating will smith – which he could do any day of the week – he walked away – bravo from a sad display of toxic masculinity from a narcissistic madman #Oscars2022#chrisROCK
If I were Will Smith, I’d be crying over the fact that my son — whom I’d hope he would try to set an example for — thinks violence is okay. If my father did something like this, I’d admonish him behind the scenes. People need to be checked, especially by their own family — especially by the younger generation that we hope would know better.
Others pointed out that Will Smith showed August Alsina — the man with whom is wife was having an affair with — way more grace than Chris Rock — a comedian whose joke did not land. Is it possible this is about more than the joke? Perhaps, to quote Nikki Glaser, Smith’s alleged open relationship with Pinkett Smith is taking its inevitable toll, and Smith is losing it. If I’m playing armchair psychologist, I think Smith’s very personal memoir kicked up dust on his childhood trauma, and he hasn’t recovered.
What we witnessed at the 94th Annual Academy Awards was an assault with no repercussions, because Will Smith is an A List star who is held to a different standard. When we ask how so many high-powered individuals got away with verbal abuse, sexual abuse, or physical abuse for so long inside the walls of Hollywood, just look to this event. In fact, Smith was allowed to accept his Oscar and therefore be given a platform to deliver an extremely damaging speech that justified his physical violence as “protecting his family.” The Oscars should be ashamed for not holding him accountable, in addition to their deplorable ceremony overall.
I like a good revenge story just as much as the next person and despite my previous distaste for Taylor Swift’s very identifiable heartbreak references, her musical prowess has forced me to come around. But when Swift re-released “All Too Well,” what was once a knock at her previous lover, Jake Gyllenhaal, turned into a full on, burn-the-house-down 10-minute retelling of the actor’s poor behavior, including a very cutting line that would inevitably serve to direct attention to his current flame (see below).
“And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes/ I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.”
Jake’s current girlfriend — Jeanne Cadieu — is 26 years old while Jake is 41. One can only anticipate what happened next. Social media venom was directed not only at Jake for decade-old behavior, but to Jeanne, and Swift refused to call off the troops. To be fair, it can be argued that these trolls are not true Taylor fans, but Taylor had the power to stop it with a simple message on Twitter, and she did nothing. Now, Jake is speaking up for the first time to Esquire and he has a very good point. Though he takes no issue with Taylor expressing her heartbreak in song, the actor said:
“At some point, I think it’s important when supporters get unruly that we feel a responsibility to have them be civil and not allow for cyberbullying in one’s name. That begs for a deeper philosophical question. Not about any individual, per se, but a conversation that allows us to examine how we can—or should, even—take responsibility for what we put into the world, our contributions into the world. How do we provoke a conversation? We see that in politics. There’s anger and divisiveness, and it’s literally life-threatening in the extreme.
I’m not here to tell another woman what to do, but it’s certainly troubling that she never spoke up, fully knowing the consequences.
Kanye West has given Billie Eilish an ultimatum — either apologize to Travis Scott for taking a rightful dig at Scott or Ye will take his Coachella ball and go home.
Eilish paused her performance in Atlanta after she noticed a fan in distress, saying, “I wait for people to be okay until I keep going.” Kanye took issue with Eilish’s implication that Scott knew the lives of his concertgoers were under threat when he chose to continue performing. According to Kanye, “No one intended this to happen Trav didn’t have any idea of what was happening when he was on stage and was very hurt by what happened and yes Trav will be with me at Coachella but now I need Billie to apologize before I perform.”
For starters, I take issue with a man giving an ultimatum to a woman and holding a show hostage until she relents, especially when said man is two decades older. Furthermore, Eilish is entitled to believe that Travis Scott engaged in reckless behavior, especially given his history of inciting violence at his concerts. And lastly, Kanye’s behavior will only serve to unleash a social media mob on Eilish, which isn’t just immature — it’s dangerous.
I’ve always known Miley Cyrus was talented, but I certainly can’t take credit for knowing she was this talented. She rang in the new year alongside Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson and some very special guests for the most incredible performances I’ve seen on live TV in some time.
Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party aired live last night on NBC from Miami, Florida (at an undisclosed location that I’m still hunting down) and it can be streamed on-demand on Peacock. The show was executive produced by Lorne Michaels, which shows through in some of the very funny sketches between Miley and Pete.
Watch some of the performance highlights below and prepare to have your jaw dropped.
Miley Cyrus singing her new tune, “You”
Miley performing “Plastic Hearts” off her 2020 record by the same name.