THE OTHER NEWS . . .
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Donates More Than 700,000 Water Bottles to Healthcare Workers: 'You Inspire Me'. Giving back. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson revealed that he donated more than 700,000 bottles of water to healthcare workers and others working on the front lines as a way to show his continued thanks for their services during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "This message is for some very, very special people out there," the 48-year-old Titan Games host declared in an Instagram video posted on Sunday, July 12. "I'm talking about our frontline workers, our healthcare workers, who are working so tirelessly day in and day out for months and months now, and you continue to do so." The Rampage star went on to note that he had already received several thank-yous for the much-needed supplies, which were delivered across the country in conjunction with his partners at Voss. In July 2019, the water brand announced it had entered a strategic partnership with Johnson, who also has a stake in the company. "We sent you guys a few bottles of Voss and that is our small way of saying thank you and that is our small way of letting you know how grateful we are for all of your work as you guys continue to take care of our loved ones, our family and our friends," the Baywatch star added. "I thank you guys so much from the bottom of my heart." Johnson included a personal note with all of the deliveries in which he noted that healthcare workers "inspire" him. "I know I speak for the entire Voss water company and I know I speak for our fellow Americans; I thank you guys so, so much," he said. The California native echoed those sentiments in his caption for the video. "My @vossworld partners & myself donated 700,000+ bottles to our heroes ... Our frontline healthcare workers at our hospitals across the country," he wrote. "It was our very small way of saying, THANK YOU. Thank you all for your tireless, caring efforts. Thank you for taking care of our friends, families and loved ones during this extremely challenging time." The Jumanji star continued: "We, on our end will continue to be disciplined wearing masks, being smart, social distancing etc. We must do our job. As you all continue to do yours. Keep holding the line and stay strong. You inspire us all." As promised, Johnson's video also included a show of thanks from several healthcare workers. "Thank you, Voss, for being partners with us," said one Los Angeles doctor. "And thank you, Dwayne Johnson. Your note that came with this was also super, super kind. It did warm our heart." (UsMagazine)
Snooki helped Tiki Barber get back on the air during a power outage. "Jersey Shore" alum Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi saved the day for New Jersey neighbor Tiki Barber when the Giants great-turned-CBS Sports Radio star was in a work from home crisis. We hear Barber was broadcasting his "Tiki and Tierney" show last week when his power suddenly went out. "He ran next door to a neighbor who had a generator, and she graciously offered to help," said a source. "He set up his laptop at her place, socially distanced. In no time at all, he was back on-the-air broadcasting live from her living room." We're told the hero neighbor was none other than Snooki! The pair have apparently been pals: She posted a pic with Barber in 2014 with their spouses, captioned "Dinner with our neighbors!" CBS and MTV -- home to all things "Jersey Shore" -- are both part of Viacom. Earlier the same day, Barber hit the links at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, NJ, with his p.r. rep Ron Berkowitz. (PageSix)
NY Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier says he's not the only MLB player considering wearing a mask when the '20 season starts -- telling TMZ Sports he knows a few guys are trying them out during practice. 25-year-old Frazier just rocked a COVID mask during a Yankees inter-squad game last week ... wearing it in the field and during his at-bats. Frazier says the mask didn't really bother him -- "I feel comfortable" -- and at this point, it seems like he'll continue to wear it into the 2020 season, which is set to begin later this month. And, with COVID numbers exploding in certain cities, we wondered if other players would be following Clint's lead. "I know that some guys are wearing it more in practice on the field," Clint told us ... "It's just a comfortability thing." "Obviously, I speak for myself. But, hopefully, guys just continue to be safe and do whatever they feel is best possible for them and for us and for everyone else around." So far, 3 Yankees players have already tested positive for COVID -- Aroldis Chapman, Luis Cessa and D.J. LeMahieu. Clint tells us he's already spoken with LeMahieu -- and the infielder is champing at the bit to get back with the team. "I spoke to D.J., I know he's frustrated," Frazier says. "I know that he wants to get back. He's probably walking around with his batting gloves on right now. He's definitely missed in the clubhouse. Whenever he comes back, I'm sure he's gonna be ready to bat .300 immediately." We also asked Clint if he feels the 2020 World Series will be tarnished due to the shortened season ... and Frazier shot that notion down hard, "I don't think anyone's going to deny a World Series championship if we get it," the NYY outfielder says. "I don't think anyone won't come to the parade if we win it." Of course, a lot of people disagree ... with the season only scheduled to go 60 games -- and with several stars already opting out of the 2020 iteration of the MLB season, some believe this year's champ WILL come with a caveat. But, when we got Frazier out in NYC this week ... he told us he believes a ring's a ring regardless of a shortened season. "They all count the same, I think," Frazier said. "It's obviously a unique situation right now and somebody has to win the World Series." "So, I think whoever gets it, it's going to be just as special to everyone that's involved." (TMZ)
Avocado Milk Is About to Hit U.S. Shelves (Yes, Really). The non-dairy, vegan milk alternative is primarily made out of avocados and oats. Move over, avocado toast. Avocadomilk, a brand that sells several varieties of non-dairy milks made from freeze-dried avocados and oats, has a new vegan version of its staple product, which will be hitting shelves in the United States next month. The new version will be almost the same as the original beverage, only the list of ingredients will no longer include honey, according to VegNews. "It was a very easy decision to make -- our customers told us that they wanted a vegan product," Terry Daly, President and CEO of Avo88 and Avocadomilk, told the outlet in a statement. "All we did was listen to them and we are over the moon with the new formulation. It tastes better, it's healthier, it's simply beautiful." As for bringing the brand, which was originally just sold in New Zealand and Australia, to the states, Daly said that "it was an obvious" move. "On a trip to the US, I went into a Gelsens in LA and watched how the customers picked up the products and actually read the nutritional labels," he said. "It was obvious to us that the US, and especially California, was setting the benchmark for the alternative milk category and we had to be here." So what exactly is Avocadomilk? "It is a dairy free, preservative free, artificial colours and flavors free, cholesterol free, lactose free, vegetarian milk, that contains a minimum of 20% of the goodness of an avocado in every bottle," according to the brand's website. In addition to having some of the same nutrients inside actual avocados, the original version of the beverage is also green in color -- just like the actual fruit. The drink, which has a shelf life of 11 months, also claims to be environmentally and socially responsible, as it uses "ugly" fruit -- and pays growers "20% above market rate" for the products. Additionally, the bottles are made up of completely recycled plastic and the farms are solely irrigated with rainwater. If green-colored milk is a little outside your comfort zone, Avocadomilk also makes a chocolate version, which is flavored with cacao -- and only has 6 grams of sugar per cup. (People)
Disneyland just opened the flood gates to Downtown Disney -- something many employees there are uncomfortable with at minimum ... and deathly afraid of at worst. TMZ spoke to a couple different union honchos who have hundreds to thousands of members working for the Mouse House during normal times -- and they told us their rank and file don't feel safe, and won't until some crucial demands are met. Andrea Zinder -- President of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324 -- says her union's got about 250 cast members (Disney's term for employees) on the ground right now in Downtown Disney, which just invited guests back last week to fairly disastrous results -- coronavirus-wise, anyway. If you haven't seen some of the videos of the scene, there was virtually NO social distancing being enforced whatsoever in any number of stores that reopened. One positive ... most folks were wearing masks, but shoppers were running amok, ignoring signs calling for social distancing. Andrea tells us this seemingly uncontrollable flood of visitors -- from all over the country -- worries cast members, who say it's next to impossible to control the crowds. She says UFCW 324 has been asking for mandatory testing of employees, but Disney ain't budging. As a result, she says she thinks the place is a breeding ground for disease, and hopes Gov. Gavin Newsom makes them close shop entirely. In fact, under Newsom's new order issued Monday ... retail stores will have to close, but restaurants with outdoor seating -- which is most in DD -- can remain open. Austin Lynch, the Organizing Director of UNITE HERE Local 11 says the Downtown Disney reopening is a sign of how badly Disney's running the show so far. Most of his 3,000 union members serve food in the park's hotels and cafeterias, and he too wants guaranteed testing for them before the theme park reopens ... whenever that happens. A Disneyland official tells us, "To date, 20 union affiliates have signed agreements that include health and safety measures such as additional sick pay, reduced park capacity and face coverings for guests and cast members, allowing us to responsibly bring back our cast as soon as possible." As for testing, Disney sent a letter to all of its unions last month saying "COVID-19 testing is not viable as a screening tool" and instead urged cast members to continue hand washing, using face coverings and distancing. In that same letter, though, Disney bragged this approach allowed it to successfully reopen parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong. ICYMI ... Hong Kong Disneyland is re-closing due to a surge of coronavirus cases. (TMZ)
Hong Kong Disneyland Closure Seen by Analysts as Temporary Setback. The conglomerate has faced criticism for reopening parks, especially in America. The Walt Disney Co. on Monday announced it would again close Hong Kong Disneyland due to a rise in coronavirus cases in China. The second of the company's theme parks to welcome guests back amid the global pandemic on June 18, Disney said the park would "temporarily close" on Wednesday, with no mention of when it may reopen. Disney has faced criticism for reopening parks, especially in America, while the virus remains rampant. Still, Florida's Walt Disney World partially reopened Saturday and will be fully reopened on Wednesday. But as for Hong Kong, as far as some analysts are concerned, Disney closing a park again amid the virus crisis is not necessarily a huge hit to the conglomerate. One veteran Wall Street analyst noted the move was not a "big surprise" as theme parks face a rocky road to full recovery. "We anticipated that flare-ups could cause temporary setbacks such as temporary closures and then re-openings again," Moodys senior VP Neil Begley told The Hollywood Reporter. "I don't expect any long term implications or prolonged closures. But re-closures and potential multiple re-closures could continue until the virus is mostly buttoned-down." The Hong Kong park is the second setback Disney has faced as it attempts to operate its theme parks and stores in a drastically changed environment. In late June, Disneyland in Anaheim had to scrap plans to reopen the theme park and resort hotels fully by late July due to the surge in novel coronavirus cases in California. What's more on Monday afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a statewide order requiring indoor operations to close effective immediately. That order includes restaurants, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, wineries and tasting rooms, zoos and museums, cardrooms and bars. "We're seeing an increase in the spread of the virus, so that's why it's incumbent upon all of us to recognize soberly that COVID-19 is not going away any time soon until there is a vaccine or an effective therapy," Newsom said Monday. The Downtown Disney shopping and dining district, which reopened last month, will still be able to operate. CFRA Research analyst Tuna Amobi said the closure of Hong Kong Disneyland "underscores the fluidity of the COVID-19 outbreak and its projected financial impact across Disney's worldwide theme park businesses, also raising the specter of similar concerns following the earlier reopening at Shanghai Disneyland." The Shanghai park remains open. Begley argued, in his opinion, that Disney has a bigger concern than temporary closures, which is the limitation on raising capacity at each park over the next six months, which "will impact profitability and the ability to bring back furloughed workers." For the moment, no park is operating at greater than 30 percent capacity. At the same time Disney World was reopening, Florida reported a record-breaking 15,299 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday. That marked the highest daily total any U.S. state has recorded thus far. And yet, Begley gave the company some praise. "In Florida, Disney may in fact be leading by example with social distancing and mask-wearing if in fact the science behind those protocols proves effective and spread is not traced to park attendance," he said. "The state of Florida is very dependent upon Disney World, so I would not necessarily expect a push for broad closure unless the spread and hospitalizations in Orlando approaches critical levels." While the surge in cases my raise more questions about the domestic parks reopening, Amobi said, "Longer term, we believe Disney's portfolio diversification and relative financial strength continue to provide distinct competitive advantages as the media and entertainment industry navigates the highly disruptive impact of the pandemic." (Hollywood Reporter)
Some of Joe Exotic's most prized possessions, like his crown and penis pump, are now in Zak Bagans' hands ... and the 'Tiger King' memorabilia is heading to a haunted museum. Zak was at the original 'Tiger King' zoo, now owned by Jeff Lowe, over the weekend to film an episode of his show, "Ghost Adventures," and he left with a treasure trove of Joe's old things -- a gift from Jeff. Some of the items in Zak's hilarious -- and possibly haunted -- haul include Joe's infamous jeweled crown, pill bottles, flashy clothing, wedding trinkets, penis pump and Travis Maldonado's glass pipe. Zak's also heading back to Sin City with the park's original 'Exotic Animal Park' signage, complete with some super cool tiger imagery, and a section of an art mural wall featuring a bullet hole from Travis' suicide. The memorabilia is the centerpiece of an upcoming 'Tiger King' exhibit at Zak's Haunted Museum in Las Vegas ... and an October "Ghost Adventures" episode will feature ZB's eventful trip to Joe's stomping grounds, which included cadaver dogs searching for human remains. (TMZ)