Joy Reid Critiques Rock And Roll Icon Eric Clapton For Donating To Anti-Vax Group

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MSNBC 11 October, 2021 - 10:00pm

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Ridiculed celebrity responses to coronavirus

MSN UK 12 October, 2021 - 05:12am

As the world weathers this crisis together and people are reaching out to comfort, inform, and support each other, many celebrities are failing to strike an empathic chord with their followers. Plenty of publications are even claiming that their responses to coronavirus will be the demise of celebrity culture, as many of the rich and famous are making it difficult to idolize them.

Eric Clapton has made his controversial thoughts clear during the pandemic, expressing his anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine sentiments several times. Now, Rolling Stone reveals he has also put his money where his mouth is. Jam for Freedom is a group of UK musicians that plays free shows in public, spreading their anti-lockdown sentiments and singing songs with lyrics like “You can stick your poison vaccine up your arse," and occasionally getting in trouble with the police. Their car, used to transport gear, was in an accident, so they set up a GoFundMe page to pay for transportation, gas, and legal fees. They certainly weren't expecting a £1,000 (US$1,362) donation from Eric Clapton.

Clapton sent them a message complimenting their work, Jam for Freedom founder Caleb McLaughlin said, and on the phone the rock star reportedly offered his family’s VW Transporter van as a temporary replacement for the group's vehicle. He also apparently gave them money to buy a new van, ensuring that the group will be able to continue spewing their message across the UK. Because that's the best place money can go in a time like this, right? 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. From trying to share "relatable" quarantine content from the comfort of their mansions, to making ridiculous claims about the virus, click through to see the most widely slammed things celebrities have said or done regarding this pandemic.

The controversial NHL player Evander Kane was caught up in another scandal when he was accused of using a fake Covid-19 vaccine card, which is not only against the rules of the NHL, it's also illegal. The sporting organization has specific restrictions in place for players who are not fully vaccinated, including limiting their movements and visitors on road trips. Teams are also allowed to suspend players who are unable to play for covid-19 related reasons. The majority of NHL players have already been vaccinated and aren't subject to these rules, unlike Kane. He has been separated from the team while the league investigates the claims. 

Nicki Minaj didn't show up for the 2021 Met Gala because "they want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now." That comment might've been fair enough, but then she shared an anecdote that her cousin told her about a friend who got the vaccine and "became impotent." This has all led to claims she is scaring her fan base off getting vaccinated, and spreading misinformation about the vaccine itself. 

Carrie Underwood came under fire after a sharp-eyed fan noticed she liked a tweet from a far-right anti-masker. Matt Walsh is an extreme and outspoken individual who claims that obliging children to wear masks is equal to child abuse. Underwood liked a tweet where he had posted a video sharing these views.

Chet Hanks, son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, stirred up controversy online when he posted a video in which he first calmly states the logical reasons why we should be getting vaccinated. "PSYCH, b—h!" he suddenly shouted. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I never had COVID. Ya ain't sticking me with that motherf—king needle." He then falsely claimed that COVID-19 is "the motherf—king flu," adding, "Get over it, okay? If you're sick, stay inside. Okay, why we working around y'all? If you're in danger, stay your a— inside. I'm tired of wearing a motherf—king mask." Many were quick to point out that more than 617,000 Americans have died after contracting the coronavirus, and many others asked if his parents, who famously had COVID-19, approved of this message. 

The Offspring, a band known for their hits like 'The Kids Aren't Alright' and 'Gone Away,' have ousted their drummer Pete Parada after he refused to get the the COVID vaccine, reportedly due to his history with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. According to Variety, he's being replaced on tour and he's been told not to come to the studio, and Parada himself has made comments about “find(ing) a new way forward,” which suggest he may not return. He explained on Instagram that he's had COVID before and believes he has antibodies, and he supports those against the vaccine. "I have no negative feelings towards my band," he wrote. "They’re doing what they believe is best for them, while I am doing the same." His further comments about "coercion" by "those with the most power" to get people to take the vaccine have stirred some controversy.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that proof of vaccination will be required for customers to enter nightclubs and music venues. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Eric Clapton was quick to respond, stating that he refuses to play concerts under these conditions: “I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present. Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.” Clapton has previously expressed anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine sentiments that caused some controversy.

Bruce Willis was asked to leave a pharmacy after "refusing" to wear a mask, a source told Page Six. The actor reportedly had a bandana around his neck that he could have easily lifted, but instead he chose to the leave the Rite Aid. What's more, the pharmacy is in Los Angeles—the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in California.

Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed that Kim K organized a private Zoom call with him and 36 other A-listers in the early days of the pandemic. According to CNN, the virtual meeting with the US infectious diseases expert also included stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Orlando Bloom, and Katy Perry. Fauci felt these stars could reach many more people than he could with the accurate information, and yet, many Twitter users have pointed out, Kim K has been a repeat offender during the pandemic.

After posting her birthday photos, of her friends and family on a private island amid the pandemic, Twitter had a field day mocking Kim's caption, which read: “After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time,” she shared, adding a description of all the fun things they did and acknowledging that "this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is." Twitter users mocked her tone-deaf concept of "normal."

On May 23, Alyssa Milano posted a photo of her family wearing masks with the caption, "Masks keep people safe and healthy. Show me yours! Ready? Go! #WearAMask," which would have been fine if her mask didn't seem to be crocheted and sporting many, many holes. Naturally, Twitter had a lot of fun criticizing her, but the actress eventually wrote back, “A–holes, mask has a carbon filter in it. So, yes, it might be crochet but totally safe." Touché!

On May 11, the Canadian singer posted a video of himself singing his hit 'Cuts Like a Knife,' which was all fine until he went on an angry rant after his concerts were canceled due to the pandemic. "Thanks to some f—ing bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bast–rds, the whole world is now on hold, not to mention the thousands that have suffered or died from this virus," he wrote.

She already had some previous controversial thoughts about coronavirus, and after testing positive for antibodies, Madonna said she's going to go for a long drive and "breathe in the COVID-19 air." Some say it's performance art, many more say they're not a fan.

After initiating the highly criticized celebrity rendition of 'Imagine,' which you'll see later in this gallery, the actress was spotted ignoring social distancing guidelines, hugging friends and not wearing a mask, on her birthday.

Back in 2020, Joe Rogan went so far as to brag about getting multiple coronavirus tests, two for himself in the same week, and one for each of his podcast guests. "I'm just going to test myself every three or four days. F it," Rogan said, even after testing negative twice. The US was experiencing a shortage of tests for the virus, and he was called out for abusing his privilege.

When the talk show host joked that quarantine for her was "like being in jail," people were quick to point out that her lavish mansion was nothing like a prison, especially since real inmates were at increased risk of coronavirus.

Gal Gadot invited friends like Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, Jamie Dornan, Zoë Kravitz, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Kaia Gerber, Sia, Amy Adams, Mark Ruffalo, Ashley Benson, and more to sing John Lennon's 'Imagine.'

The public response was overwhelmingly negative, with people mocking these millionaires for their literally and figuratively tone-deaf response to a global crisis. Many pointed out the irony of rich people singing "imagine no possessions" from their mansions.

After the pandemic was announced and lockdowns began, the actress decided to post about how she was still taking her kids to gymnastics and how everything was "business as usual."

"Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives," she wrote. "We all make our choices." She has, however, since apologized.

The star posted a video of herself clapping from her balcony, as people around the world are doing to honor first responders. But her claps were received by an enormous and entirely empty yard. One user called the now-deleted video "simply a comedic masterpiece."

The singer shared emotional snaps of their "quarantine meltdown" to Instagram, after admitting they have been "bored s—tless" during the health crisis, and sympathy was not included in the overwhelming response.

Many pointed out the fact that Smith was sharing these photos from their US$14 million, five-bedroom home in London.

The tests are in short supply and people with symptoms, even medical workers, are struggling to get tested, but stars like Idris Elba, Heidi Klum, and Kris Jenner are getting them without having had any symptoms. Only Elba of those three turned out positive.

She spoke about how COVID-19 "doesn't care about how rich you are, how famous you are," and added: "It's the great equalizer and what's terrible about it is what's great about it."

On March 6, the tech mogul tweeted, "The coronavirus panic is dumb," and then on March 15 he added, "Fear is the mind-killer." Naturally, many disagreed.

The comments targeted this privileged outlook, and one user wrote that it shouldn't take a pandemic for people to realize the toll they're taking on the planet.

The rapper documented his quarantine experience on Instagram, writing "My life for the next however long," accompanied with a video of his private full-size basketball court.

The actress posted a picture of her dog having "deep quarantine thoughts" while simultaneously showing off her stunning patio.

Just for reference, this is her house.

The model told her Instagram followers to stay inside while she ate a burrito topless in her beautiful country home.

The star posted on Instagram about her quarantine, saying that staying in the house for months when she was pregnant prepared her for quarantine.

Many commenters argued that firstly, those two things aren't the same, and that it was, in fact, money and her enormous house that prepared her for a comfortable quarantine.

The pop star re-posted a video of Italians in lockdown singing her song 'Roar' from their balconies, and wrote, "You cannot break the human spirit. We are one in this." It turned out the video was fake.

See also: The best lessons we can learn from social isolation

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Eric Clapton Funds Anti-Vax Music Group

Paste Magazine 11 October, 2021 - 01:52pm

Cambel McLaughlin, 27, of U.K. “pro-medical choice” music group Jam for Freedom, told RS that, after the group’s car was damaged in an accident, Clapton not only donated £1,000 (roughly $1,360 USD) via GoFundMe to help get them back up and running, but also “offered his family’s white, six-person VW Transporter van as a temporary replacement” for their vehicle, and gave Jam for Freedom an additional, unspecified sum to put towards a new van. (An August tweet by the group confirms that Clapton did, indeed, donate a vehicle to their cause.) To top it off, Clapton expressed an interest in sitting in and performing with the band, and said “something complimentary, along the lines of, ‘Hey, it’s Eric—great work you’re doing,’” McLaughlin claims. A rep for Clapton declined to comment on the outlet’s story, which is, frankly, odd, given how eager he has been to espouse his anti-vaccination and -lockdown views.

The RS story, which you can read in full right here, goes on to analyze whether Clapton has always held such problematic views (spoiler alert: yes), or whether his belief system has gotten worse with time. That analysis includes, for instance, The English Beat founder Dave Wakeling’s recollections of seeing “a clearly inebriated Clapton [...] grousing about immigration” during a 1976 Birmingham show, making “vile, racist comments” about how “foreigners” needed to leave the country, and using a pair of racial slurs we won’t reproduce here.

“As it went on, it was like, ‘Is this a joke?’” Wakeling told RS of the incident. “And then it became obvious that it wasn’t … It started to form a sort of murmur throughout the crowd. He kept talking, and the murmurings started to get louder: ‘What did he fucking say again?’ ... We all got into the foyer after the concert, and it was as loud as the concert: ‘What is he f*cking doing? What a c*nt!’”

The report recounts other disturbing past incidents in which Clapton: referred to Jimi Hendrix using a racist slang term; voiced support for anti-immigration politician Enoch Powell (best-known for his notoriously xenophobic “Rivers of Blood” speech); and no-showed at a 1979 Rock Against Racism show. Both at the time (i.e., the ‘60s and ‘70s), and in the years since, Clapton has shrugged off his various inflammatory comments, either claiming they were misinterpreted or blaming his well-documented struggles with alcohol and drugs.

Clapton’s far more recent history of harmful rhetoric has included the claim that “live music might never recover” from lockdowns, the release of three protest tracks he recorded alongside Van Morrison (“This Has Gotta Stop,” “The Rebels” and “Stand And Deliver”), and a fear-mongering account of his “disastrous” vaccination experience in which he condemned “the propaganda [that] said the vaccine was safe for everyone”—despite acknowledging in the same account that he “suffer[s] with peripheral neuropathy,” a condition that Dr. Matthew Fink, chairman of the Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, told RS could help explain such an adverse reaction. On tour this year, he’s refused to play venues that require proof of vaccination, decrying “discriminated audiences” in a statement, and at an Austin show, he posed for backstage photos with Gov. Greg Abbott, who infamously shot down mask and vaccine mandates even as cases were surging in Texas, only to contract COVID himself.

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Eric Clapton reportedly helped fund an anti-lockdown band

The Independent 11 October, 2021 - 09:18am

According to Rolling Stone, Clapton also let the group borrow his own van after theirs broke.

Band member, Caleb McLaughlin, told the publication that Clapton donated via a GoFundMe page and later received a text message from the Cream guitarist: “It was something complimentary, along the lines of, ‘Hey, it’s Eric – great work you’re doing.’”

McLaughlin, who is behind such lyrics as “stick your poisonous vaccine up your a**e”, said he believed the donation from Clapton was fake until he received the text message.

He went on to detail how Clapton also gave the band extra money to purchase a new van but refused to say exactly how much.

McLaughlin also said that Clapton had said he would like to sit in on a gig with them at some point after their efforts to jam were allegedly thwarted by Clapton experiencing adverse side-effects to his Covid vaccine.

McLaughlin said: “We did want to have a jam, but because of his condition at the time, it was tough for him to play and to play outside when his fingers are cold because of the side effects.”

Clapton has previously called his reaction to the vaccine “disastrous” and said it made his hands “useless”.

The band also wrote on their social media: “Delighted to announce one of the greatest modern musicians alive has helped us stay afloat after damage to our equipment from police recklessness on Saturday.”

Clapton has been an opponent of lockdowns and mandatory vaccination and has previously collaborated with Van Morrison on anti-lockdown song “Stand for Freedom”.

The Independent have contacted Clapton’s representatives for comment.

Eric Clapton reportedly helped out an anti-lockdown group with £1,000 and a van

Tone Deaf 11 October, 2021 - 03:29am

It looks like Eric Clapton did a lot more than just write rubbish anti-COVID songs according to a new story. 

As reported by Rolling Stone, the guitarist donated £1,000 to the U.K. anti-lockdown music group Jam For Freedom earlier this year. He also supposedly lent the group his own van for transportation.

Jam For Freedom are an anti-lockdown group who describe their purpose as “spearheading the pro-freedom revolution happening globally as a response to restrictions on our basic human rights to work, travel and live”. They try to achieve this by playing free shows in public spaces.

Clapton donated £1,000 to a GoFundMe page set up to support the group, its founder Cambel McLaughlin told Rolling Stone. McLaughlin initially thought it might have been fake but emailed the account listed with the donation and received a text back from Clapton himself.

“It was something complimentary, along the lines of, ‘Hey, it’s Eric – great work you’re doing,’,” McLaughlin revealed.

McLaughlin also said that he and Clapton spoke on the phone, with the musician offering Jam For Freedom his own six-person VW Transporter van to use temporarily, an offer the group were happy to accept.

Clapton supposedly wasn’t finished there, also giving the group more money to go towards their own van and offering to sit in with them during one of their performances.

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Clapton and McLaughlin then met in a studio, where McLaughlin claims that Clapton informed him he hadn’t been able to play guitar for months because of after-effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We did want to have a jam, but because of his condition at the time, it was tough for him to play,” he told Rolling Stone, “and to play outside when his fingers are cold because of the side effects.” Back in May, Clapton was vocal about his “disastrous” experience with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The musician has been an outspoken opponent of lockdowns and other restrictions, releasing his anti-vaccination song ‘This Has Gotta Stop’ in August. He had previously appeared alongside fellow skeptic Van Morrison on last year’s anti-lockdown tirade ‘Stand For Freedom’.

And despite stating that he wouldn’t play live music venues requiring proof of vaccination for entry, he did just that at a New Orleans show last month.

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