Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? We are down to just a handful of entries left... literally. We are down to the last five. Lana Del Rey says she is signing off social media. In a video posted to Instagram on Saturday night, Del Rey announced that all of her accounts will be deactivated effective Sunday. “That is simply because I have so many interests, and other jobs I’m doing that require privacy and transparency,” she explained of the decision. Del Rey assured fans she will continue to making music and poetry, adding, “I’m still very present and love what I do.” The timing of Del Rey’s decision is certainly odd, considering she has a new album coming out next month. But it’s also probably for the best, as the singer has stirred up plenty of controversy with some of her past social media postings. Last year, she criticized female musicians of color, only to later say her comments couldn’t possibly be construed as racially charged because “I have Black friends,” and then vowed to get revenge on her critics. She also posted photos of herself wearing a mesh face mask during the height of the pandemic, and posted video of looters during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. So, yeah, probably a good decision to deactivate the accounts. Before Del Rey signed off for good, however, she commemorated the 20th anniversary of September 11th by announcing she was working on a new covers album.
The gravesite of Pop Smoke was vandalized over the weekend, and there’s evidence to suggest the vandals attempted to remove the late rapper’s casket. TMZ reports that the crypt at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York was smashed open sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning. Drag marks were also seen on the ground outside of the crypt, suggesting that the vandals attempted to remove the rapper’s grave. It was not immediately clear if they were successful. Pop Smoke (whose real name Bashar Barakah Jackson) was shot and killed during a home invasion in Los Angeles on February 19th, 2020.
Looks like Bill Cosby won’t be heading out on a comedy tour any time soon. The disgraced comedian first let the ill-advised plan of some sort of post-prison stand-up comedy tour slip back in July, but according to a new report by TMZ, he’s been talked out of the idea because of yet another sexual assault lawsuit. The case in question was filed by Judy Huth, who alleges Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion back in the 1970s when was just 15 years old. Huth’s case isn’t exactly new either... it dates back to 2014, with Huth one of more than 60 women who have come forward over the years with allegations of rape, drug-induced sexual assault, sexual battery, and child sexual abuse towards the one-time icon. However, the lawsuit was put on the back burner while Cosby faced the charges brought by Andrea Constad, which ultimately sent him to prison until his early release this summer courtesy of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Now, with the newly-energized case set to go to trial next spring, the actor is staring down the prospect of another legal battle, and his rep told TMZ he won’t go on tour in order to avoid all the media scrutiny that would come with mounting a comeback in the middle of more allegations. There are also concerns Cosby could say something incriminating while on stage. While Cosby’s spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, wasn’t directly quoted in the report, he insists Cosby's decision had nothing to do with lack of interest on the part of audiences or the comedy circuit. In fact, he claims at least a dozen clubs around the country approached Cosby about performing after his conviction was overturned. Speaking of media scrutiny, Cosby himself claimed the “mainstream media are the insurrectionists” after Phylicia Rashad received a public reprimand and more than a little backlash for celebrating his release from prison.
If you’re like most Americans, then chances are you’ve stopped by McDonald’s hoping to beat the heat with a McFlurry only to be told that the machine is broken. It’s an infamous trait of McDonald’s franchises around the country, but hopefully that might change soon. After years of complaints from everyday consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has started an investigation into the fast-food chain’s perpetually broken ice cream machines. The Wall Street Journal reports that the FTC has been mailing letters to McDonald’s locations around the U.S. inquiring why the ice cream machines that make milkshakes, soft-serve cones, and the coveted McFlurry are constantly out of order. While it’s tempting to imagine federal employees are doing this because they want a classic sweet treat like the rest of us... and, really, who could blame them... the real reason is because they’re hoping to answer a bigger question. If these machines break as often as they seem to, then who is tasked with fixing them? And more importantly, why are those people doing such a bad job? Before the FTC can solve the cursed malfunctions of McDonald’s ice cream machines, they must first determine how the fact-food chain reviews its suppliers and equipment, why they still work with a faulty supplier, and how frequently owners work on their own machines themselves. As Business Insider points out, McDonald’s gets its frozen treat machines from a brand called Taylor and they’re notoriously very difficult to fix, nevermind to maintain, due to special cleaning cycles that often lead to failure. Two years ago, a company called Kytch designed a tool that helps McDonald’s franchise owners fix their own ice cream machines without having to call in a special Taylor repair technician. Soon, McDonald’s owners in over 30 states were using Kytch’s breakdown spotter. However, McDonald’s ordered franchisees to stop using the devices last year because they’re unsanctioned. Kytch fought back by suing Taylor, accusing them of infringing on franchisees’ rights to fix their own machines and stealing intellectual property. Alas, that’s when the FTC stepped in. So where are we in the process now? The FTC is currently engaging in a “preliminary investigation” to figure out if manufacturers are blocking consumers from fixing the machines themselves. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee the FTC’s involvement will solve this lawsuit or result in McDonald’s finally purchasing more reliable ice cream machines. At the very least, though, it does mean a non-consumer, non-business organization is finally applying pressure to the years-long problem, which is certainly overdue. While you wait for the FTC to solve this long-running McDonald’s issue, figure out where to get your next McFlurry with ease by using McBroken, a website that tracks which McDonald’s locations have broken machines that was created by someone who was fed up and good at coding. Don’t forget you can get your ice cream fix at any of the local parlors or independent ice cream stands in your local neighborhood, too.
Darth Vader is taking some time to interact with Star Wars fans. Hayden Christensen has been spotted at Florida SuperCon where he posed for photos with fans who attended the convention. Interestingly, the Darth Vader actor was also promoting his upcoming "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series at the event. Fans were overjoyed when it was confirmed that Christensen will reprise his role as the Sith Lord in the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series. However, the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith actor has been very secretive about his role and hasn't been making a lot of public appearances since the announcement. Luckily, that changed when Christensen was confirmed to be in attendance at Florida SuperCon. The Anakin Skywalker actor took photos with fans while maintaining social distance. People who are concerned about the fan interaction can rest assured that there is a clear panel between Christensen and his fan. Besides, it's more exciting to note that Christensen was wearing a stunt crew cap from the Kenobi show. It isn't clear if Christensen was discussing the series with fans but there is little doubt that everyone was curious about his new series. For now, it's only been confirmed that the show is still in production but we're hoping there will be a new update soon.
Instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this album...
Ummm... maybe not. Did you see the new Star Wars show that is coming out on Disney+? I'll show ya...
Hahaha. That's dumb. Ever noticed every photo of Tears For Fears looks like a couple who just had a fight and aren't talking to each other?