Posts

eye

YouTuber MrBeast Helps 1,000 Blind People See Again by Funding Cataract Surgeries

Viral YouTuber MrBeast paid for 1,000 people, who were blind or almost blind but could not otherwise afford cataract surgery, to have their vision restored. The 24-year-old is known for his large donations and philanthropic stunts.

MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, runs the fourth-most-subscribed channel on YouTube. Donaldson told viewers in a video posted on Saturday, “We’re curing a thousand people’s blindness.” The video, titled “1,000 Blind People See For The First Time,” showed a montage of before and after footage of patients seeing with clear vision post-surgery.

Donaldson also gifted some patients money up to $50,000 and gave another patient a Tesla.

Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon, performed the initial procedures in Jacksonville, Florida. For over 20 years, Dr. Levenson has coordinated the “Gift of Sight” program, which offers uninsured people who are legally blind due to cataracts access to free cataract surgery.

In the video posted on Saturday, Dr. Levenson emphatically stated, “Half of all blindness in the world is people who need a 10-minute surgery.”

Embed from Getty Images

Donaldson’s team reached out to local homeless shelters and free clinics to compile a list of people in the Jacksonville region who required cataract surgery but could not afford the procedure. Forty people made it into the final roster. Dr. Levenson spent 11 consecutive hours performing all their surgeries on the same day.

Dr. Levenson said that the patients were grateful and were in “disbelief that somebody would actually seek them out to rescue them from blindness and then have the kindness and generosity of spirit to offer the surgery.”

After having cataract correction surgery himself, he felt compelled to help others access the same procedure.

“In the days and weeks after my own cataract surgery, I was stunned by how bright and beautiful and vivid the world was. But I was shocked by the idea that there are hundreds of millions, probably 200 million people around the world, who are blind or nearly blind from cataracts and who don’t have access to the surgery.”

Donaldson explained in his video how this procedure could be performed so quickly.

“If you’re wondering how the surgery allows people to see again, it’s because the lens in their eyes got so cloudy that they can’t see through it. So, the surgeon uses a tiny vacuum to suck up the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial one. This surgery is that simple. They can see again.”

When Dr. Levenson initially got a phone call from Donaldson’s team in September, he was hesitant about the initiative.

“I had never heard of MrBeast, so I almost hung up. But I gratefully did not hang up.”

Embed from Getty Images

Dr. Levenson eventually connected Donaldson’s team with SEE International, an organization for which he serves as the chief medical officer.

SEE International works to help patients in need get free eye care around the world. With the organization’s reach, the team could do corrective surgeries on a thousand patients, spanning Jamaica, Honduras, Namibia, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam and Kenya, in three weeks.

Dr. Levenson said he hopes the video, coupled with Donaldson’s popularity and generosity, will inspire “a concerted effort to end needless blindness.”

“If MrBeast can light a fire, and if we can get governmental and private support behind it, we can end half of all the blindness in the world without all that much cost and with incredible gains in human productivity and human potential.”

Donaldson shared the same sentiment in a tweet posted on Monday.

“I don’t understand why curable blindness is a thing. Why don’t governments step in and help? Even if you’re thinking purely from a financial standpoint it’s hard to see how they don’t roi on taxes from people being able to work again.”

netflix

Netflix Will Start Charging Users for Password Sharing in March

Netflix will stop subscribers from sharing passwords with members living outside their homes as early as March this year. The streaming giant claims that the widespread sharing of passwords affects its ability to evolve the platform.

In a letter to shareholders late last week, the company said it would “roll out paid sharing more broadly” late in the first quarter of 2023.

“Today’s widespread account sharing (100 million + households) undermines our long-term ability to invest in and improve Netflix and build our business. While our terms of use limit the use of Netflix to a household, we recognize this is a change for members who share their accounts more broadly. So we’ve worked hard to build additional new features that improve the Netflix experience.”

Members will still “have the option to pay extra if they want to share Netflix with people they don’t live with.” Otherwise, subscribers can transfer an existing user profile to a new account, allowing viewing history, recommendations, the “my list” feature and other data to be copied over.

Embed from Getty Images

Netflix previously hinted at discontinuing its password-sharing feature back in July 2022. The company described last year as “tough.” In the first quarter, it suffered its first subscriber loss in over a decade, losing 200,000 users.

The company has not disclosed the fee it will charge for password sharing nor stated how they plan to enforce the new pricing structure. Currently, Netflix can tell when users log in outside their primary household based on their IP address, device IDs, and other information.

In March 2022, Netflix rolled out paid sharing in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru, charging users a fee to add two “subaccounts” to a primary account. Users found the policy confusing, and many could still share their passwords without repercussions. 

An anonymous Netflix customer service representative told Rest of World that “she was instructed that if a subscriber called arguing that someone from their household was just using the account from another location, she should inquire further and tell the subscriber that they could use their account without extra charge via a verification code.” Many of the representatives still needed more clarification about the policy.

Embed from Getty Images

Other users in those countries canceled their subscriptions after receiving news of the oncoming fee. The shareholder letter stated that Netflix expects engagement to fall in the short term but will pick back up soon after.

“As we work through this transition – and as some borrowers stop watching either because they don’t convert to extra members or full paying accounts – near-term engagement, as measured by third parties like Nielsen’s The Gauge, could be negatively impacted. However, we believe the pattern will be similar to what we’ve seen in Latin America, with engagement growing over time as we continue to deliver a great slate of programming and borrowers sign-up for their own accounts.”

The anticipated sharing fee comes on the heels of a new subscription tier that Netflix started offering in November, which provides customers with a cheaper “Basic With Ads” subscription option. In exchange for $3 off a monthly subscription, viewers are served up to five ads an hour. Netflix claims that rolling out the new option led to member growth.

“Engagement, which is consistent with members on comparable ad-free plans, is better than what we had expected, and we believe the lower price point is driving incremental membership growth. Also, as expected, we’ve seen very little switching from other plans. Overall the reaction to this launch from both consumers and advertisers has confirmed our belief that our ad-supported plan has strong unit economics (at minimum, in-line with or better than the comparable ad-free plan) and will generate incremental revenue and profit, though the impact on 2023 will be modest given that this will build slowly over time.”

rust

Alec Baldwin to Be Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter for ‘Rust’ Set Shooting

Prosecutors announced that they will charge actor Alec Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust.” The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, is facing the same charges.

Hutchins was killed in October 2021 when a prop gun Baldwin was holding fired a live round of ammunition, hitting Hutchins in the chest and wounding director Joel Souza.

The prosecution is accusing the pair of failing to take the necessary firearm safety precautions to avoid such a tragic accident. According to Reed’s lawyer, the set armorer believed that the rounds were dummy ammunition or “blanks.” 

Baldwin maintains that he did not pull the trigger and was unaware that the gun contained live rounds. However, an FBI forensics report stated, “the weapon could not be fired during FBI testing of its normal functioning without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked.”

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said that both Baldwin and Reed were responsible for checking the safety of the prop. In addition to starring in “Rust,” Baldwin is also credited as its producer.

“Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they’re going to handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, that it is not going to fire a projectile and kill someone.”

She added, “nobody was checking those, or at least they weren’t checking them consistently.” 

“And then they somehow got loaded into a gun and handed off to Alec Baldwin. He didn’t check it. He didn’t do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins, and he pulled the trigger.”

Embed from Getty Images

Baldwin and Reed are facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The charges vary in severity and carry separate terms of punishment. 

In a statement issued by the district attorney, Baldwin and Reed will be “charged in the alternative,” which means the jury will have to decide whether or not they are guilty and, if so, on which charge.

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. One of the charges carries additional punishment since a gun was involved, requiring a mandatory sentence of five years in prison. If convicted, they will only be sentenced to one count.

Carmack-Altwies told CNN that the charges would be formally filed by the end of the month. The two will not be arrested, but they will be summoned to appear in court. 

Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, said the charges were a “terrible miscarriage of justice.”

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds.”

Embed from Getty Images

Formal federal prosecutor Duncan Levin told The Daily Beast that the charges are a reflection of Baldwin’s celebrity status.

I think this is an example of a prosecutor trying to make an example out of somebody who is famous and in the public eye. Clearly, a tragic incident happened, and somebody’s responsible, but I think that charging Alec Baldwin with a crime has a lot to do with the fact that he is Alec Baldwin.”

Los Angeles entertainment attorney Tre Lovell told The Daily Beast that movie sets are “different from the real world” and that Hollywood’s “rules and protocols” outline who is responsible for what at every stage of production. Actors are not in charge of inspecting the safety of props. The Screen Actors Guild would never approve of actors being tasked with inspecting their own equipment. 

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said that the prosecution would have to overcome significant hurdles to win the case. Some of these include not knowing how live rounds made it onto the set in the first place and reconciling differing viewpoints on how much responsibility actors and crew members carry.

“Remember, this is a criminal case. You need all 12 jurors to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So I’m not saying that there’s no chance here, but this is a really difficult case for the prosecution.”

Brian Panish, a lawyer representing the Hutchins family, expressed gratitude for the prosecution bringing forward these charges. 

“It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”

rocks

Ann Axtell Morris, One Of The US’s First Female Archaeologists, Gets Recognition In New Tom Felton Film

Tom Felton, known for his role as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter, produces new film ‘Canyon Del Muerto,’ telling the epic story of Ann Axtell Morris, one of the US’s first female archeologists.

red carpet

Selena Gomez Responds to Body Shamers After Golden Globes Appearance

Selena Gomez called out social media users who were body-shaming her after her appearance at the 2023 Golden Globes on Tuesday.

In an Instagram Live, the “Only Murders in the Building” actress talked about body positivity alongside her 9-year-old sister, Gracie Elliott Teefey, who also accompanied her to the event.

“I’m a little bit big right now because I enjoyed myself during the holidays.”

“But we don’t care,” she added, laughing with her little sister.

Gomez walked the red carpet in a black velvet Valentino gown featuring purple sleeves, a plunging neckline, an off-the-shoulder bodice, and a thigh-high slit. She wore a pair of diamond drop earrings by De Beers and pulled her hair into a high ponytail to complement the dress.

Embed from Getty Images

Gracie wore a silver and gold dress with a tiny gold purse. In August 2022, Gomez shared on TaTaTu’s video podcast that the two sisters are very close, and Gracie “puts things in perspective.”

“I have to basically watch this little person grow into a human being. There’s no better feeling in the world. I kind of feel like a parent in a way.”

Gomez has been vocal about online “trolls” before. Back in April 2022, Gomez told her fans on TikTok that being skinny was not worth sacrificing eating her favorite foods since she would get criticism about her weight regardless.

“You’re too small,’ ‘you’re too big,’ ‘that doesn’t fit,’ meh-meh-meh. I am perfect the way I am. Moral of the story? Bye!”

The singer has been open about her relationship with social media through the years. In 2019, she deleted several apps off her phone, including Instagram, after comments left her feeling “depressed.”

In a “Good Morning America” interview in April 2022, Gomez said she had been off the internet for four and a half years. She only posted on Instagram and Twitter by sending her assistant photos and text to share.

Embed from Getty Images

Two years prior, in an interview on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” Gomez talked about the impact of social media on today’s youth.

I think it’s just become really unhealthy for young people, including myself, to spend all of their time fixating on all of these comments and letting this stuff in.”

She told “Women’s Wear Daily” in October 2021 that taking a long hiatus from social media significantly improved her mental health.

“I’m completely unaware of actually what’s going on in pop culture, and that makes me really happy. And maybe that doesn’t make everybody else happy, but for me, it’s really saved my life.”

Gomez hinted at her return to Instagram on Tuesday with a series of bathroom selfies.

“Wait, can you tell I’m back on Instagram?” she captioned the post.

Gomez’s performance as Mabel Mora on Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” earned her a nomination for Best Television Actress in a Musical/Comedy Series on Tuesday.

med flight

Jeremy Renner Out Of Surgery And In ICU Following Snow Plow Accident 

Jeremy Renner, actor most recently recognizable from his role as Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is now out of surgery and has been admitted into the intensive care unit following a snow plowing accident on New Year’s Day. 

Initially reported by Variety, Renner is confirmed to have suffered from blunt force trauma and orthopedic injuries following the accident, and is currently in “critical but stable” condition. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Jeremy’s family would like to express their gratitude to the incredible doctors and nurses looking after him, Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue, Washoe County Sheriff, Reno City Mayor Hillary Schieve, and the Carano and Murdock families,” Renner’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“They are also tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans.”

The accident occurred near Reno, Nevada. Renner’s representative initially confirmed the news of the accident and shared some positive words regarding the actor’s current team taking care of him through this time of recovery. 

“We can confirm Jeremy is in critical but stable condition with injuries suffered after experiencing a weather related accident while plowing snow earlier today. His family is with him and he is receiving excellent care.”

Around 9 am PT on Sunday, January 1st, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and officers responded to a “traumatic” injury near Mount Rose Highway in Reno, Nevada. 

Embed from Getty Images

Representatives and spokesmen stated that “upon arrival, Deputies coordinated with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and REMSA Health to arrange for medical transport of Mr. Jeremy Renner via care flight to a local area hospital. Mr. Renner was the only involved party in the incident.”

The sheriff’s Major Accident Investigation Team is “currently looking into the circumstances of the incident,” and no further details were given at this time. 

Renner’s home is located in Washoe County, where he’s owned property for many years. Weather reports in the area showed the county enduring a massive snowstorm on New Year’s Eve, with over 31,000 people losing power. 

Renner’s Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo took to social media to ask fans to send their best wishes to Renner and his family during this time. 

“Prayers up for our brother @jeremyrenner on a full and speedy recovery. Please send healing goodness his way,” Ruffalo posted on his Instagram story alongside reports of the accident when the news initially broke.

balenciaga

Kim Kardashian Outraged Over Balenciaga Ads Featuring Children Holding Bondage Bears

Kim Kardashian put pressure on fashion brand Balenciaga to take action over their latest controversial ad campaign, which featured children holding teddy bear handbags dressed in what appeared to be bondage gear.

Another campaign for a black and white purse that retails at $3,000 sparked controversy when it was revealed that the photographs purporting to be of a “business environment” included genuine legal documents from a court case about child pornography scattered on a desk.

After receiving tremendous backlash, the high-end fashion label swiftly deleted the offending marketing photos and issued an apology on Instagram. Many people felt it fell short of taking proper accountability. As a well-known face of the brand, Kardashian received criticism for not responding to the controversy as soon as it broke. The brand continued to trend on Twitter for days amid calls for celebrities such as Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Nicole Kidman to sever ties with the company. On Sunday, Kardashian issued a statement on Twitter addressing the campaigns.

“I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.”

She said she was “shaken by the disturbing images,” as a mother of four. Kardashian also added that “any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society—period.”

Kardashian acknowledged that the brand removed the campaigns and apologized and believes “they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again.”

Talking about her future with the company, she said that she was currently re-evaluating her relationship with Balenciaga and will take into account “their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”  

Embed from Getty Images

After Kardashian’s tweets, Balenciaga reiterated its apology in an Instagram post but partially blamed external vendors for controversial elements of the campaign.

“The second, separate campaign for Spring 2023, which was meant to replicate a business office environment, included a photo with a page in the background from a Supreme Court ruling ‘United States v. Williams’ 2008 which confirms as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech the promotion of child pornography. All the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents. They turned out to be real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama. The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint. We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.”

A few days prior, Balenciaga filed a lawsuit against North Six and Nicholas des Jardins, the production company and set designer of the Spring 2023 campaign. Balenciaga’s suit stated that the production company’s “inexplicable acts and omissions [were] malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.” They were also done without the brand’s knowledge. Balenciaga says it will seek $25 million in damages or more for the “false association” between Balenciaga and the “repulsive and deeply disturbing subject of the court decision.”

As for the first campaign, the brand said Balenciaga “made the wrong choice” in featuring children.

“The first campaign, the Gift Collection campaign, featured children with plush bear bags dressed in what some have labeled BDSM-inspired outfits. Our Plush Bear bags and the Gift Collection should not have been featured with children. This was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone.”

Embed from Getty Images

The fashion house also listed actions it would take due to what it called “a series of grievous errors.”

“While internal and external investigations are ongoing, we are taking the following actions:

– We are closely revising our organization and collective ways of working

– We are reinforcing the structures around our creative processes and validation steps. We want to ensure that new controls mark a pivot and will prevent this from happening again.

– We are laying the groundwork with organizations who specialize in child protection and aims at ending child abuse and exploitation.”

The agent for North Six and Nicholas des Jardins, Gabriela Moussaieff, told the Washington Post that his client was “being used as a scapegoat,” and that “everyone from Balenciaga was on the shoot and was present on every shot and worked on the edit of every image in post production.” 

Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer who shot the brand’s campaign, took to Instagram to address the “hundreds of hate mails and messages” he received as a result of the photos he took.

“I am not in a position to comment Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same. As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer.”

Galimberti went on to say that he suspects that “any person prone to pedophilia searches on the web and has unfortunately a too easy access to images completely different than mine, absolutely explicit in their awful content.”

“Accusations like these are addressed against wrong targets, and distract from the real problem, and criminals.”

In response to the photo containing the Supreme Court case papers, Galimberti said it was taken on another set by other people and “was falsely associated” with his photos.

The brand has been at the center of several controversies, with the latest surrounding rapper Ye, who was formerly known as Kanye West. Last month Ye, who has collaborated with the brand throughout the years, made antisemitic remarks, causing the brand to cut ties with the musician. 

awards

Will Smith Opens Up About Chris Rock Oscars Slap on The Daily Show

Will Smith promoted his new historical drama “Emancipation” on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” on Monday evening. During the interview, the pair discussed Will Smith’s controversial night at the Oscars, where he slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage.

At the 94th Academy Awards last March, Smith charged the stage after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her baldness. Jada suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. Later that night, Smith won the award for best actor for his performance in “King Richard.”

In the days that followed, Smith released a series of public apologies on social media. Smith also resigned from the Academy. He is barred from attending its ceremony for the next 10 years.

“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know? I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all … It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”

Smith said he understood “the idea where they say hurt people hurt people,” and is working on learning how to forgive himself “for being human.” Noah offered his perspective on the situation, telling Smith he is “one of those rare breeds of people who’ve spent more time in the spotlight than out of it.” 

Embed from Getty Images

Noah empathized with Smith, saying that he does not believe that moment should define Smith since none “of us in life deserves to be defined by our one f**k-up.”

“I love Chris. I’m friends with him. I love you, but this is f****d up … I know that as Black people, Black people get together and go, ‘What was Will doing? What the hell happened?’ A lot of Black people were like, ‘He should go to jail.’ Like, you need to relax yourself. Some people were overreacting, which made some people underreact.”

Smith shared a story from the fallout of the Oscars evening. At that point, he was already dealing with the repercussions of his actions.

“I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time. My nephew is nine. He is the sweetest little boy. We came home. He had stayed up late to see his uncle Will, and we are sitting in my kitchen, and he is on my lap and he is holding the Oscar and he is just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?'”

Smith also talked about his upcoming movie “Emancipation,” and what compelled him to participate in the film. The movie is based on actual events and features Smith playing a runaway slave the world knew as “Whipped Peter.” The name was given to him after photos of keloid scarring on his back were distributed worldwide in 1863, showing the true horror and brutality of slavery. The images helped fuel the abolitionist movement.

“First seeing that image was one of the things that really got me excited to explore this, because you see the image, but you don’t know who he is. You don’t know what the story is. American slavery was one of the most brutal aspects of human history … It is hard to understand the level of human cruelty. My daughter asked me, ‘Daddy, do we really need another slave movie?’ I said, ‘Baby, I promise you, I wouldn’t make a slave movie. This is a freedom movie.'”

Embed from Getty Images

Director Antoine Fuqua explained to Vanity Fair why “Emancipation” will release eight months after Smith’s Oscars controversy since “the film to me is bigger than that moment.” The film release was delayed in May with concerns that Smith’s actions at the Oscars would affect its reception.

“400 years of slavery is bigger than one moment. My hope is that people will see it that way and watch the movie and be swept away with the great performance by Will and all the real hard work that the whole crew did.”

“Emancipation” will release in select theaters this Friday and premiere on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9. The film is the first major project in which Smith was involved since his notorious Oscars night.

In a television interview with Fox 5, Smith said that he understands if audiences are reluctant to watch him promote the new film but hopes that events from that ceremony will not hurt the movie. 

“I completely understand that, if someone is not ready. I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready.”

Smith says that he believes director Fuqua showcases “the greatest work in his entire career” and that people on the film’s production team “have done some of the best work of their entire careers.” Smith hopes his actions during the ceremony “don’t penalize my team.”

“So at this point, that’s what I’m working for. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping that the material, the power of the film, the timeliness of the story — I’m hoping that the good that can be done — will open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”

netflix

Stranger Things Final Season Pitch Made Netflix Executives Cry

Fans of Netflix hit series Stranger Things should brace themselves for an emotional final season. The creators of the show and several of its cast members hinted at what viewers should expect from a blockbuster Season 5 during a panel in Los Angeles Sunday night.

Creators Ross and Matt Duffer, executive producer Shawn Levy, and cast Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, Priah Ferguson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joseph Quinn and Eduardo Franco took part in the panel held at Tudum Theater.

The Duffer brothers revealed that the team had finished writing the season’s first episode, “The Crawl.” The crew also conducted a two-hour pitch meeting with Netflix execs to lay out the series ending, which left some executives in tears. According to Matt Duffer, just a few individuals know how the series will end.

“We did get our executives to cry, which I felt was a good sign that these executives were crying. The only other times I’ve seen them cry were like budget meetings.”

After submitting the first episode of the beloved series’ final season, Ross Duffer reflected on the show’s remarkable run.

“We turned in the first script a couple of weeks ago and we’re onto the second. It’s full steam ahead. I remember Season 1 we were just amazed that Netflix was letting us do this at all, but Season 2 was when we really, with the writers, we developed an overall plan and a back story for all of this and make sure that, with the Upside Down, everything about what it was.”

Embed from Getty Images

Patton Oswalt, who served as the panel’s moderator, probed for information on Season 5’s emotional underpinnings. Fans hope the show will continue weaving 80s horror and pop culture references into its script.

“Five, the way we see it, is kind of a culmination of all the seasons, so it’s sort of got a little bit from each, whereas before each season was so distinctly … [Season] 3 is our big summer blockbuster season with big monsters, and [Season] 4 was the psychological horror. I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in sort of the tone of [Season] 1.”

Ross Duffer also shared that the last episodes of Season 5 will be comparable to Season 4 “scale-wise.” 

Season 4 of the series became the most expensive Netflix original created, costing around 30 million dollars to make each episode. In comparison, Breaking Bad Season 5 was 3.5 million dollars an episode, and Game of Thrones Season 8 was 15 million dollars an episode.

The series’ outstanding ratings among viewers and 12 Emmy wins suggest that the production costs were well worth it.

“Just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now, most of whom are still living. It’s important to wrap up those arcs because a lot of these characters have been growing since Season 1. So, it’s a balancing act between giving them time to complete their character arcs and also tying up these loose ends and doing our final reveals.”

Levy, the show’s executive producer, has praised the Duffer brothers’ dedication to the show over the years.

“As a witness and having been in that two-hour pitch room and having read this first script — I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll spoil anything but I will say the thing about these Duffer Brothers is that even though the show has gotten so famous and the characters have gotten so iconic and there’s so much about the ’80s and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people, it’s about these characters. Season 5 is already so clearly taking care of these stories of the characters because that’s always been the lifeblood of Stranger Things.”

Embed from Getty Images

Matt Duffer revealed in August that the creators were considering not adding any new cast members during the final season to retain the focus on the current ensemble. Some viewers have criticized the show in the past for its reluctance to kill off main characters, which seems  idealistic in a world filled with ravenous monsters.

“Whenever we introduce a new character, we want to make sure that they’re going to be an integral part of the narrative. So that’s something with Eddie this season, where we go, ‘Well, we need a character here for this storyline to really work, and to give it the engine that is needed.’ But every time we do that, we’re nervous, because you go, ‘We’ve got a great cast of characters here, and actors, and any moment we’re spending with a new character, we’re taking time away from one of the other actors.’ So we’re just very, very careful about who we’re introducing.”

David Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper in the series, believes the final season will be a “home run.” Harbour said that playing Hopper has been “the role of a lifetime in many ways” and that he is going to pour his “heart and soul” into playing him for the last time.

“I know those Duffer brothers are very specific, and I know they want to get that last season. I mean if you look at Season 4, I have a feeling that Season 5 may not be as long, but it certainly will be packed to the brim with good stuff that you love. I mean, they really are getting better at giving you that home run that the audiences love. And I think that Season 5 will do that so much.”

waitress

James Corden Breaks Silence on Restaurant Ban and Makes Things Worse

In an interview with The New York Times to promote his new Prime Video series “Mammals,” the 44-year-old host of the Late Late Show, James Corden, finally addressed the comments made by Balthazar owner Keith McNally after he banned Corden from his restaurant.

In a post on Instagram, McNally said that Corden was “the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago.” It led him to “86” Corden, barring him from the eatery on Monday.

He lifted the ban hours later after Corden called McNally to apologize.  Corden said he was comfortable speaking about the situation while being interviewed a few days later.

“I haven’t done anything wrong on any level. So why would I ever cancel this [interview]? I was there. I get it. I feel so Zen about the whole thing. Because I think it’s so silly…I just think it’s beneath all of us. It’s beneath you. It’s certainly beneath your publication.”

When asked if he was aware of the conversation McNally’s posts ignited on the internet, Corden said he had not “really read anything” and asked, “should we not all be a little grown-up about this?”

“It’s strange. It’s strange when you were there. I think I’m probably going to have to talk about it on Monday’s show. My feeling, often, is, never explain, never complain. But I’ll probably have to talk about it…I promise you, ask around this restaurant. They don’t know about this. Maybe 15% of people. I’ve been here, been walking around New York, not one person’s come up to me. We’re dealing in two worlds here.”

During the interview, which was conducted at a restaurant, another customer happened to send back a dish nearby. Corden pointed out that incidents like this happen “every day” and they are “happening in 55,000 restaurants as we speak.” He asked the journalist, “Can you imagine now if we just blasted her on Twitter? Would that be fair? This is my point. It’s insane.”

Embed from Getty Images

According to McNally, Corden treated his employees poorly both times he visited his restaurant and also at another establishment named Café Luxembourg.

One of the incidents happened in June when Corden found a hair in his lunch while dining at Balthazar.

McNally said that “although this is diabolical, it happens very occasionally in all restaurants.” Corden showed the hair to the manager after he finished his meal. The manager was apologetic. Corden then said, “Get us another round of drinks this second. And also take care of all of our drinks so far. This way I don’t write any nasty reviews in yelp or anything like that.”

In another incident, McNally said that Corden was upset about his wife’s meal and lashed out at a server.

“James Corden was at Balthazar with his wife on Oct. 9 for brunch. He asked for a table outside. Brunch Maitre D’ Allie Wolters took the party to table 301. Mr. Corden’s wife ordered an egg yolk omelet with Gruyere cheese and salad. A few minutes after they received the food, James called their server, M. K. and told her there was a little bit of egg white mixed with the egg yolk. M. K. informed the floor manager, G. The kitchen remade the dish but unfortunately sent it with home fries instead of salad. That’s when James Corden began yelling like crazy to the server: ‘You can’t do your job! You can’t do your job! Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelet myself!’ M.K. was very apologetic and brought G. over to the table. He returned the dish, and after that, everything was fine. He gave them promo Champagne glasses to smooth things out. G. said that Corden was pleasant to him but nasty to the server.’ M.K. was very shaken, but professional that she is, continued to finish her shift.”

Embed from Getty Images

After publicly calling out Corden on social media and banning and then unbanning him from his renowned NYC restaurant, McNally shared with his Instagram followers that he was “feeling strange.”

“On the one hand, he was definitely abusive to my staff, on the other hand, I feel really sorry for him right now. Like most cowards I want it both ways, F— it, I’m going to get drunk.”

However, upon seeing the published NYTimes interview, McNally made another post on Instagram expressing his disappointment in Corden’s comments.

“I’ve no wish to kick a man when he’s down. Especially one who’s worth $100 Million, but when James Corden said in yesterday’s N.Y. Times that he hadn’t done “anything wrong, on any level,” was he joking? Or was he denying being abusive to my servers? Whatever Corden meant, his implication was clear: he didn’t do it. Although I didn’t witness the incident, lots of my restaurant’s floor staff did. They had nothing to gain by lying. Corden did. I wish James Corden would live up to his Almighty initials and come clean. If the supremely talented actor wants to retrieve the respect he had from all his fans (all 4 of them) before this incident, then he should at least admit he did wrong. If he goes one step further and apologizes to the 2 servers he insulted, I’ll let him eat for free at Balthazar for the next 10 years.”