Who’s having a good week? Who’s having a bad one?
Every week we track the highs, lows and everything in between. We give you … What’s Up? What’s Down?
UP: MACKENZIE SCOTT
Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife was back in the news this week, again for her philanthropy.
MacKenzie Scott donated more than $133 million to Communities in Schools, an educational nonprofit whose other donors include Mark Zuckerberg and tobacco giant Altria (formerly Philip Morris), according to its website.
After splitting up with Bezos back in 2019, MacKenzie Scott was awarded $38 billion in Amazon shares as part of the divorce settlement. Those shares swelled to roughly $60 billion in value over the first year of the pandemic as Amazon flourished.
Of that, she had reportedly donated $8.5 billion to other groups before this week. As her donations increase, she continues to eclipse her ex-husband in charitable giving. Will he catch up? As of now, it doesn’t look likely.
This week, MacKenzie Scott is definitely trending up.
DOWN: RUDY GIULIANI
It’s been a long 20 years for the former New York City mayor, but he may have finally hit rock bottom this week.
Giuliani was supposed to be revealed as a surprise contestant in the Season 7 premiere of Fox’s famously bizarre vocal competition The Masked Singer.
But according to a report from Deadline, judges Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke walked off the set in protest when the former Trump lawyer was unmasked.
Even on a show that’s welcomed Sarah Palin, Giuliani just can’t catch a break. As usual, the former mayor is trending down.
UP: TOM BRADY
The seven-time Super Bowl champ confirmed his retirement Tuesday after some confusion over the weekend, and since he’s made his choice official, Brady is being widely recognized as the greatest quarterback of all time.
From his one-time rivals Eli and Peyton Manning to his once-estranged mentor, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the football world is taking the occasion of Brady’s retirement to reflect on his historic career.
Over 22 seasons, the quarterback won seven rings and threw for more passing yards than anybody in league history. For that, he’s trending way up.
DOWN: JEFF ZUCKER
The CNN president resigned this week amid as news emerged that he had a romantic relationship with a female colleague that he didn’t disclose to his higher-ups. Though the relationship was consensual, he was required by the company to notify executives about romantic interactions with company employees.
Zucker’s contract expired at the end of 2021. But David Zaslav, the current head of Discovery, was hoping Zucker would stay on in the coming months to help during the much-hyped WarnerMedia-Discovery merger.
Before his sudden resignation, Zucker was allegedly recruiting talent and shaping content for CNN+, the network’s upcoming premium subscription streaming service.
Though the consensual relationship is unlikely to negatively affect Zucker’s future career options, it’s never good to leave on a low note. For that reason, this influential media executive is trending down.
When Art Spiegelman’s Pulizter-winning graphic novel was banned by a Tennessee school district in January, critics were outraged.
The book, based on the recollections of the author’s Holocaust-survivor father, was reportedly banned in McMinn County for “rough, objectionable language” and an illustration of a naked woman.
But many felt the book’s subject matter demanded an unvarnished picture of the truth. Thanks to those readers, and likely many new ones, the book sits at number four this week on Amazon’s bestseller list. Not bad for a 30-year-old novel.
So much for book bans. Maus is trending up.
DOWN: MARK ZUCKERBERG
The Facebook founder is having his worst week in memory.
After markets closed on Wednesday, Meta announced that profits had fallen sharply in the last quarter of 2021, as the company’s flagship platform Facebook has largely stagnated, and isn’t attracting new users over competitors like TikTok.
By the end of trading on Thursday, Meta was 26 percent less valuable than it had been the night before. The company lost almost $240 billion of its market value, amounting to a personal loss of almost $30 billion for Zuckerberg’s net worth.
Losing $30 billion probably isn’t that bad when you’ve got $85 billion left. But he lost it because of long-term issues with his company’s platforms and “growth-at-all-costs” model, and those aren’t going away.
Turns out rebranding the company as Meta hasn’t been a cure-all. Zuck needs to come up with a lifeline … fast.
For now, he’s definitely down.
UP: DOLLY PARTON
We’ll be seeing a lot more of Dolly Parton this awards season.
First, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland announced that Dolly was nominated for induction at the 2022 award ceremony. Then, the singer was tapped to host the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas next month.
To top it all off, Dolly reportedly produced a sequel to her 1980 hit 9 to 5 with Kelly Clarkson titled “Still Working 9 to 5.” The song was recorded for a documentary of the same name that will screen in select theaters in March, while fans will have to wait until “the middle of 2022” for a commercial release of the soundtrack.
We love you, Dolly! After decades in the music business, you’re still way up.
DOWN: WHOOPI GOLDBERG
On Monday, Whoopi Goldberg angered critics when she said on ABC’s The View that the Holocaust was “not about race” because it involved “two White groups of people” in a discussion about the Tennessee school district that banned Maus.
The backlash was fierce, and the TV host issued an apology on Twitter that evening, writing she was “sorry for the hurt that [she had] caused.” Whoopi opened her show on Tuesday with an apology directly to viewers, saying she “misspoke” and that she “stand[s] corrected” on the Holocaust matter.
Still, ABC News president Kim Godwin announced Tuesday that the host was banned from The View for two weeks “effective immediately.”
While Whoopi seemed contrite, it’s pretty embarrassing to apologize on air and still get a very-public time out. Whoopi, this week you get two thumbs down.
See you next week for What’s Up? What’s Down?