Why Demi Lovato's 'prank' on her bodyguard was a huge problem.

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 standards to 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.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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