Things That Matter

Mark Zuckerberg Has Apologized For The Facebook VR Tour Of Flooded Streets And Damaged Buildings In Puerto Rico

Live from virtual reality — teleporting to Puerto Rico to discuss our partnership with NetHope and American Red Cross to restore connectivity and rebuild communities.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, October 9, 2017

The Internet can’t decide whether or not this was a good idea.

On Oct. 9, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s head of social VR, Rachel Dwyer, showed off the social media platform’s virtual reality experience. The promotional livestream was done via Facebook Live because branding. However, one section of the video really bothered some people. During their tour, Zuckerberg and Dwyer went to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico. The video was intended to show the Facebook audience how they’ve been assisting the American Red Cross and NetHope with relief efforts in Puerto Rico. However, some people saw it as exploitative.

The Facebook video showing avatars in Puerto Rico has really caught the Internet’s attention in a bad way…

And in a good way.

Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook

Some critics of the video argue that showing scenes from devastated Puerto Rico was unnecessary and tone deaf. However, Zuckerberg received some support from people with family in Puerto Rico because of the work Facebook has been doing on the island since Hurricane Maria hit.

One moment that got people’s attention was when Zuckerberg and Dwyer’s  avatars high-five in front of a flooded house.

After the livestream, the Internet was divided on the video, with some accusing the company of exploiting Puerto Rico for press.

Puerto Ricans have been struggling to get back on their feet since Hurricane Maria tore through the island. Food, water, medicine, and basic necessities are running low and some still haven’t heard from family and friends on the island. Several companies, including Facebook, are sending resources and people to help in the recovery of Puerto Rico.

Some considered the VR promo helpful in bringing attention to what is happening in Puerto Rico.

Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook

And, he does look like a early 2000s Justin Timberlake in VR form.

Zuckerberg replied to the comments criticizing the promo video and apologized.

Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook

“One of the most powerful features of VR is empathy,” Zuckerberg posted. “My goal here was to show how VR can raise awareness and help us see what’s happening in different parts of the world. I also wanted to share the news of our partnership with the Red Cross to help with the recovery. Reading some of the comments, I realize this wasn’t clear, and I’m sorry to anyone this offended.”

So, let us know. Do you think the VR promo was in bad taste?


READ: The Latino Workers At Facebook Have Joined A Union To Get Better Pay To Afford Decent Housing

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Olympian Laurie Hernandez Is Back And Just Gave A Powerful “Hamilton” Inspired Performance

Fierce

Olympian Laurie Hernandez Is Back And Just Gave A Powerful “Hamilton” Inspired Performance

She’s back! After an almost five-year hiatus, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez made her big return to competition at Saturday’s 2021 Winter Cup meet with moves to remember — set to some pretty unforgettable music, too.

The 20-year-old gold and silver medalist hit the mat with a “Hamilton”-inspired floor routine.

Laurie Hernandez just gave a stunning floor routine at the 2021 Winter Cup.

Please welcome Laurie Hernandez back to the floor! After a four-and-a-half-year hiatus, the 20-year-old Olympian showed off her strength, proving, like Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote, she is inimitable and an original.

“My first priority [at Winter Cup] is to go in and hit clean routines and show that I can be consistent,” Hernandez told NBC News. “But my next one is to enjoy myself.” It sure looks like she accomplished her goal, with nonstop energy and a smile on her face throughout her entire choreography.

As “The Room Where It Happens” played in the background, Hernandez flipped and danced her way to a 12.05 score in the event, good for an 11th-place finish in the floor exercise.

And after the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup in Indianapolis wrapped up, the noted theater fan shared her routine on Twitter and asked for feedback from “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel Miranda and actor Leslie Odom Jr. — who sang “The Room Where It Happens” as Aaron Burr in the original cast.

This weekend’s performance was her first since stealing hearts during the 2016 Rio games.

Hernandez was part of the Team USA “Final Five” squad that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But following those games she took a step back from competition, later revealing that former coach Maggie Haney was emotionally and verbally abusive toward her. The gymnast dealt with depression and eating disorders as a result.

Hernandez said it wasn’t until years later that she realized her love of the sport could be separated from the trauma she experienced. “I thought I hated gymnastics, and it wasn’t until mid-2018 I realized that it was the people that made the experience bad, not the sport itself,” she explained on Instagram.

Though she already has a gold medal from the team all-around and a silver medal from her 2016 individual performance on the beam, Hernandez is now ramping up for more challenging competitions over the next several months with the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics this summer. But with a crowded field vying against her for just four roster spots, securing a bid to Tokyo will undoubtedly be an uphill battle.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Entertainment

Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Prediction: You will want to check out Walter Mercado’s house in Puerto Rico, and maybe even buy it up and call it home. And what perfect timing, because the stars have aligned to bring you his Puerto Rico pad at an unbeatable price.

That’s right! Walter Mercado’s home in San Juan is up for sale!

Located in an “exclusive area” of San Juan, according to the property listing, the six-bedroom, five-bathroom estate is on sale for just $395,000.

Since you likely won’t fly to San Juan right now (thanks, COVID), you can check out the flamboyant cape aficionados sweet, two story tropical oasis on Realtor.com.

The listing photos show the home’s vibrant interior, which appears in the documentary, with yellow, red and green walls. The first floor boasts a large living room, kitchen and dining room. Tile-work leads up the stairs to the second level, where there’s yet another living room, dining room and a smaller kitchen — plus two balconies.

Outside, there’s a pool area with a gazebo and a patio, as well as a covered carport for at least four cars.

The home seems to be having trouble finding a buyer.

The estate originally hit the market for $495,000 in September 2020 but with no buyer in the cards, it then had its price slashed to $430,000 in December, according to Realtor.com. It’s now asking just $395,000.

Mercado already sold his Miami property in 2017 to cover financial difficulties.

While in Miami, Mercado maintained an apartment at The Grand in downtown for many years until 2017 when he decamped part time to New York.

Many in his family had hoped to turn his Puerto Rico home into a museum to the late icon, but due to zoning issues the family decided the best step forward was to list the home for sale. Regarding Mercado’s belongings that were contained within the home (so many of which we came to see in the Netflix documentary), one of his nieces told Pledge Times, that though family members have each kept some items, many were given to the Miami History Museum, and some items will go to Mexico. However, his cape with the Puerto Rican flag is being sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com