+

During a recent Twitter Q&A, Demi Lovato gleefully shared the "funniest prank" she'd ever pulled.

She wasn't quite prepared for the reaction though.

The singer behind such hits as "Skyscraper" and "Cool for the Summer" (my personal favorites) has always been frank and honest in the way she talks about everything from sexuality to beauty standardsto mental health. That's awesome!


But when answering a fan's question about the greatest prank she's every played, Lovato steered into very uncomfortable territory. Writing about a trick she pulled on Max, a member of her security staff, Lovato showed some serious insensitivity.

"I hired a lady of the night in Vegas and sent her to Max's hotel room to surprise him," Lovato wrote in a now-deleted tweet. "She walked into his room without permission and grabbed him in his 'area' and he freaked the fuck out hahahahahaha."

Screenshot via Twitter.

Lovato's joke immediately drew a negative reaction, with Twitter users referring to the prank as "disgusting" and appropriately labeling it as an example of sexual harassment, which is especially salient considering that Max works for Lovato.

Lovato's prank was wrong, and it highlights two serious problems about how our society views instances of sexual misconduct.

First, Lovato's joke suggests that it's OK, even funny, to touch men inappropriately. And the idea that it's "just a joke" unintentionally furthers the stigma of being a male sexual assault survivor. While no one's laying the blame squarely on Lovato, the fact that this wasn't something she considered before posting it to her millions of fans shows just how much of a problem this is in American society, even as the #MeToo movement surges forward.

Second, the prank was demeaning to the sex worker Lovato hired. Not only did she lead the woman to a dangerous situation — she sent "the lady of the night" into Max's room without giving him any warning — but to use sex workers as punch lines to pranks is both humiliating and dehumanizing.

Lovato was mad at first but apologized soon after.

It sucks to be called out. And if it's ever happened to you, you know that the first response usually isn't calm acceptance but a kind of righteous indignation that makes it impossible to see other viewpoints.

"I swear, I could tweet something about craving jellybeans and it would offend someone," Lovato wrote soon after she began experiencing backlash.

But then her tone softened. Conceding that she'd made a "simple mistake" (agree to disagree), Lovato suggested that fans who don't think she takes abuse seriously check out her song "Warrior."

Shortly after, Lovato apologized to everyone she may have inadvertently hurt, and while "if anyone was offended" apologies are not the most ideal kind of apologies, it's a start.

The silver lining to this story is that Lovato's fans are calling out behavior that would have been seen as normal as recently as last year.

It's clear that all of us have some reflecting and learning to do in order to make sure that sexual misconduct and violence are taken seriously. Especially those whose public personas influence millions of people.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

Keep ReadingShow less