(TMU) – Over the weekend, actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen infiltrated a conservative rally in Olympia, Washington, and tricked the participants into singing along with a ridiculous and problematic song that had strongly racist overtones.
Towards the end of the event, he appeared on stage with a band, dressed in overalls and a wig, and began singing about a variety of topics currently popular among conservatives, asking them to sing along.
Cohen has pulled off dozens of very similar pranks in the past, where he was able to infiltrate large events and bait the participants into certain reactions, sometimes exposing bigotry in the process.
This time, Cohen targeted an event called “March for Our Rights 3,” which was organized by a militia group. It is not entirely clear why this rally was chosen specifically because the overall theme of the event appears to be gun rights, while the prank focused more on racism and conservative party politics.
Still, many of the attendees were happy to join in with Cohen as he sang about infecting Obama with the “Wuhan Flu,” or chopping him up “like the Saudis do.” He sang about the (you know whos) which Vanity Fair suggests is a reference to Jewish people, and also called for using nuclear weapons on Asian populations “like we used to do.”
Cohen was able to infiltrate the event by making a large sponsorship and donation at the last minute, which gave the organization very little time to make sure that they were dealing with a legitimate sponsor. As a part of the sponsorship, Cohen’s group paid for the event’s security, who ensured that the prank went off without any problems.
In fact, moments into Cohen’s performance the organizers of the event realized that something was off and tried to get on the stage to intervene in the situation, but the security staff would not allow them, even though it was their event, since Cohen and his team were the ones who actually hired them.
Security reportedly also prevented the organizers of the event from cutting off the power. Organizers later gave an interview about the situation, describing how they were deceived by Cohen.
Holy s*** 😂
Sacha Baron Cohen infiltrated the Washington 3% (local rightwing militia) event in Olympia a few minutes ago. A last-minute big donor paid to sponsor the event, and hire security… And then that security kept the organizers from getting on stage to stop Cohen. 😂 pic.twitter.com/mllLkKBcpZ
— Spek (@spekulation) June 27, 2020
Yelm City Councilman James Blair said that the crowd eventually turned on Cohen, and he was forced to flee the stage with his security team and speed away in an ambulance that was waiting nearby as a getaway vehicle.
This post is by a city council member in Yelm, Washington. Earlier this afternoon, Sacha Baron Cohen crashed the event of Washington 3% – a right-wing group of armed insurrectionists and white supremacists – in Olympia.
I look forward to the video… pic.twitter.com/zilUA2zJQU
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 28, 2020
However, it appears that Cohen put on a different disguise and returned to the event, where he was seen lurking around as the organizers were being interviewed, standing amongst them. In a photo, which has since been deleted off of twitter, he is the man who was seen in the large sunglasses and gray wig.
In a later statement on Facebook, the organizers of the event said that they do not support the messages espoused in the song, and noted that they have members of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. They also claimed that racism and bigotry are not welcome in their organization, and that anyone who exhibits such beliefs is immediately “dismissed.”
It is not clear if Cohen staged this prank for a new movie or for a second season of his Showtime series “Who Is America?”
WATCH: Sacha Baron Cohen infiltrated a right-wing militia event in downtown Olympia and got them to sing along with things like —🎶“Obama what we gotta do, inject him with the Wuhan flu" 🎶
Posted by The Tennessee Holler on Sunday, June 28, 2020
American Flag Clad Trump Supporters Rock Out To Rage Against The Machine – Band Reacts
Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello shared a video on Twitter Friday night, which showed supporters of US President Donald Trump, clad in American flags and “thin blue line” flags, rocking out to the band’s song “Killing in the Name” in Philadelphia.
The video was also shared from the band’s official Twitter account, with the caption “They just don’t GET IT do they?”
In an interview with Rollings Stone earlier this year, Morello said that lyrics of the song make him think of Frederick Douglass, although it is not clear if he was an inspiration for the song, which Zack de la Rocha wrote.
“‘F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me’ is a universal sentiment. While it’s a simple lyric, I think it’s one of [Zack de la Rocha’s] most brilliant. And to me, it relates to Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass said, the moment he became free was not the moment that he was physically loosed from his bonds. It was the moment when master said, “Yes.” And he said, “No.” And that’s the essence of “F*** you, I will not do what you tell me,” Morello said.
The lyrics for the song also explicitly discuss the connection that police departments across the country have with white supremacy, in the lines “some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses,” and “you justify those that died by wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites.” In fact, these lines account for about 50% of the words in the song, so they are pretty hard to miss.
Morello has previously said that it was encouraging to hear the song chanted at the “Fed goons who are shooting tear gas at American citizens,” but he doesn’t seem very proud of this most recent video.
Political campaigns have a long history of making musicians cringe by playing their music at political events.
In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has been criticized for its use of songs for campaign purposes, including Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” which is about how poor people get sent to war, but those who are wealthy or connected with politicians stay out of harm’s way and reap the benefits of the conquests. Many could easily argue that Trump is a representation of the “fortunate son” that is criticized in the song.
He has also used Bruce Springsteen’s song “Born In The USA,” which is frequently misunderstood by politicians and appropriated for political campaigns. Springsteen himself has called the song a “protest song,” partly based on Ron Kovic’s 1976 autobiography Born on the Fourth of July, which tells the story of a Vietnam veteran who becomes anti-war after returning home with a physical disability from the conflict.
Springsteen described how the song was misunderstood in a 2005 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross.
“‘Born In The USA’ is a classic situation of a song misinterpreted by some because of its chorus. My music has been a football where I had people from the far-left to the far-right who misrepresent us. It’s something I live with and I always have the opportunity to go on stage and say my piece about it,” He said.
The Flaming Lips Held A Concert Where Everyone Was In A Plastic Bubble
Although many people throughout the United States have started to get back to work, the live entertainment industry is still on hold for the most part.
Some artists and production companies have come up with creative ideas to keep the shows running, but they look nothing like the events of 2019. The most popular style of COVID-era concert this past summer was the drive-in, with many artists touring drive-in theaters that were repurposed as outdoor concert venues.
However, at these shows, everyone is still required to stay in their cars, and it doesn’t feel much like a real concert.
Last week, the popular rock band The Flaming Lips actually played an indoor concert venue but they performed in giant plastic bubbles, and all of the fans in attendance were inside the bubbles also. The show happened at The Criterion in Oklahoma City, where the band used the strange setting to shoot a music video.
The band’s frontman Wayne Coyne told CNN that he came up with the idea when the pandemic began, but didn’t expect the virus to stick around long enough for it to actually be necessary.
“I did a little drawing… where I drew a picture of The Flaming Lips doing a show in 2019. And I’m the only person in the space bubble, and everybody else is just norma. Then (I did another drawing with) The Flaming Lips playing a show in 2020. The exact same scenario, but I’m in a bubble, and so is everybody else….I don’t think anybody would have thought, in the middle of March that this is still going to be going, you know, eight months later. I think we all thought this is a month, this is maybe two months, but we’re going to get a handle on this,” he said.
The band first revealed the idea on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” back in May, and the reaction inspired them to expand it into a full concert experience.
“We do a couple of songs with about 30 people in the bubbles. And we start to think, ‘Well, you know, just from doing that, we start to get an idea that we could actually do it, you know, and it could actually happen,'” Coyne said.
“Since May, the desire to see the live music has just gotten, you know, more, more amplified,” he added.
Although this is the first time that they have required their fans to wear them, the band has previously performed in space bubbles, so they knew exactly where to find them.
“I like the way this looks, because you can get as excited as you want, you can scream as much as you want, you just can’t infect the person next to you, no matter what you forget about, how excited you get. That barrier is still there, they’re protected, and you’re protected… that part of it is what we really felt like was the success,” Coyne said.
“We, as The Flaming Lips, we like the idea that we are doing something different…. I think it could be cool. It could be fun. And we could all have a, you know, a crazy unique experience,” he added.
University Says Students Intentionally Getting COVID So They Can Sell Their Plasma
There is a growing concern that people who are desperate for some extra spending money are intentionally getting COVID-19 so they can later sell their plasma. People who have recovered from COVID are encouraged to donate their plasma because their blood will contain antibodies that could help others fight the illness.
The FDA says plasma “may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.”
Administrators at Brigham Young University’s campus in Idaho announced that they were investigating multiple cases of students intentionally getting sick with COVID so they can cash in on their plasma donation. The school has also threatened to suspend any students who are found to intentionally contract the virus.
“BYU-Idaho is deeply troubled by accounts of individuals who have intentionally exposed themselves or others to COVID-19, with the hope of getting the disease and being paid for plasma that contains COVID-19 antibodies…The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter. Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community,” the school said in a statement.
Each donation site has different offers for potential donors, but East Idaho News found locations close to the school that offered as much as $200 for their first visits. Many of these locations allow people to donate multiple times.
BYU-Idaho is offering financial help and mental health services to students who are feeling desperate.
“If students are struggling, BYU-Idaho stands ready to help. There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet,” the school said.
However, many people are in situations where they have no choice but to endanger their health to make ends meet, especially people who are forced to deal with the public every day during a pandemic in order to keep a steady paycheck. Tuition alone at BYU runs an average of close to $20,000, which would likely be a factor that would push a person to put themselves in danger for some extra money.
BYU is located in Rexburg, Idaho, which the New York Times recently ranked as a nationwide hotspot. BYU has confirmed 119 active student cases of COVID-19 and 20 active employee cases as of Tuesday. In response to the explosion in cases, the school recently warned that it is considering a switch to remote learning.
The problem of plasma donation centers preying on poor and desperate people is nothing new. According to ABC, nearly 80 percent of the plasma centers in the U.S. are located in America’s low-income neighborhoods. They also tend to target college students and cluster around college campuses.
Of course, the donation of plasma is important and should be encouraged, but there is also a problem with predatory practices that should not be ignored. The fact that people are putting themselves in danger for a few extra dollars also illustrates how this system is failing people.
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