Skip To Content

    Elijah Wood Apologized For Buying NFTs From An Artist Who Created Racist Cartoons, And More Viral Money Stories From This Week

    From the new highest minimum wage in the US to a family who drinks a lot of milk, there was a lot going on this week.

    1. The West Hollywood city council approved the highest minimum wage in the US.

    Twitter: @LisaVanderpump

    The federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 since 2009, but many cities and states mandate higher minimum wages. Now, West Hollywood has approved a hike to $17.64 by 2023, the highest minimum wage in the country.

    West Hollywood councilwoman Lindsey Horvath said, "When people have more money in their pocket, they’re able to take care of themselves and their families. They’re able to spend more money, which is good news for our businesses and our local economy."

    The wage hike has seen some pushback from restaurant owners, including reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump, who tweeted that the new wage should be delayed until businesses have more time to get back on their feet. She also said that she thinks the hike shouldn't apply to tipped workers like servers, who she says often make $500 a night in tips.

    TL;DR: By 2023, West Hollywood workers should be getting paid at least $17.64 per hour.

    2. Elijah Wood came under fire for buying NFTs from an artist who's also drawn some pretty horrific racist cartoons.

    Twitter: @elijahwood

    Elijah Wood is apparently a big NFT collector, but his latest buy stirred up controversy online. In a now-deleted tweet, he showed off a golden zombie NFT he'd bought from Jungle Freaks, a project helmed by cartoonist George Trosley. People on Twitter pointed out that in the 1970s, Trosley drew multiple racist cartoons for Hustler that depict Ku Klux Klan violence against Black people and other upsetting, derogatory scenes.

    Wood has since put out a tweet denouncing racism and explaining that he wasn't aware of the artist's past. He sold the NFT in question, as well as several other works by the same artist, and he says he donated the proceeds to LDF (the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund) and Black Lives Matter.

    TL;DR: Elijah Wood didn't know about the artist's previous anti-Black work, and he has apologized. Meanwhile, we remain kinda confused about what NFTs even are, anyway.

    Update: Artist George Trosley has issued a statement denouncing racism and explaining that his work was intended as satire. You can read the full statement here.

    3. A woman's TikTok rant about what millennials really want out of work went viral, and she 100% nailed it.

    Intuitive mindset coach and business consultant Jessie DaSilva honestly laid out the millennial condition so freakin' well in this TikTok (seriously, go watch it now) that I'm not even going to try to summarize it. Instead, here are some choice quotes:
    "The biggest mistake I see is companies assuming millennials want perks, nap pods, snack rooms, free avocado toast, or whatever else. Those things might seem cool on a company website, but they will never make up for a thrive-able wage, good benefits, vacation time, and the ability to learn and grow with a company."
    "A nap pod costs between $8,000 to $12,000, which would go much further on a salary retaining a talented millennial than giving them an afternoon nap."
    TL;DR: Nap pods are cheugy. Millennials would rather get paid, please.

    4. Remote workers are taking fewer sick days, which could lead to more burnout.

    Woman working on her laptop while laying in bed
    Sellwell / Getty Images

    Axios reported on a survey that found 70% of remote workers said they kept working while sick at some point during the pandemic. It makes sense — especially when you think about the pressure to avoid taking time off that dominates many workplaces. If you're afraid to take the day off, of course you're going to wind up working from your sickbed. 

    But bosses should care because this trend hurts people's well-being and company bottom lines. Presenteeism (aka showing up to work when you're unwell) adds up to $226 billion in lost productivity per year in America. More importantly, pushing yourself to work when you're really not well can make it take even longer to recover and set you up for burnout.

    TL;DR: Remote workers still need to take sick days. If your boss doesn't think so, they're hurting the company in more ways than one.

    5. A report found that college costs are up 169% since 1980, while salaries for grads have only increased by 19%.

    NBC / Via giphy.com

    In news that will surprise nobody under 40, Georgetown University released a report that shows the costs of education in America have exploded while pay for young workers (and most workers, tbh) remains stagnant. And the report is full of sad-but-true observations like "It is far better to be born rich and white than smart and poor in America.” Oof.

    TL;DR: The report is depressing AF, but it makes for a great link to send to your rude uncle the next time he asks why you haven't bought a house yet. This is why, Richard!!!

    6. Biden's workplace vaccination rules are set to go into effect on Jan. 4.

    Person showing off the sticker on their arm indicating that they just got vaxed
    Capuski / Getty Images

    As of Jan. 4, workplaces that employ more than 100 people will have to adhere to president Biden's directive requiring that workers get vaccinated or wear masks at work and undergo weekly testing for COVID-19. Employers who don't comply with the directive can face fines up to $13,600 per violation. 

    There are a few exceptions, however. People who only work from home won't face this requirement, as well as people who only work outdoors, and people who work alone in a space without anyone else present.

    TL;DR: If you're employed by a company with 100 or more workers, expect to turn in a copy of your vaccination records (or start getting tested weekly) soon.

    7. A Squid Game–themed cryptocurrency turned out to be a scam.

    Netflix / Via giphy.com

    The New York Times reported that Squid coin began trading last week, and it got attention from several mainstream media outlets as the price surged on Monday from $38 per token to $2,856.65. But minutes later, the price crashed to $0.0007. The anonymous developers of the coin haven't commented, but crypto experts are calling the move a "rug pull."

    The coin was set up in a way that prevented investors from selling it, and in the end, just like in the Netflix series (HERE COMES A SPOILER), only one entity (in this case, the developers) walked away with the money.

    TL;DR: Everyone who bought Squid coin lost money. If you do invest in crypto, experts say you should do your homework before you buy a hot new coin.

    8. Zillow announced that it's ending its homebuying business, and people are saying it was brought down by a viral TikTok.

    One TikTok really fucked up Zillow bag… you love to see it https://t.co/lMXLcKj1St

    Twitter: @StrawHatHydro

    Back in September, the deliciously shady Las Vegas real estate agent Sean Gotcher posted a TikTok asking viewers a simple question: Wouldn't it be weird if a popular real estate company was buying up homes and using what they've learned from customer data to manipulate prices in the housing market? He didn't name names, but people were quick to tie his video to Zillow's home-flipping business. The original video has now been viewed 3.3 million times on TikTok, and Gotcher has been posting follow-up content as the story develops (btw, he also has a really cute dog).

    Reps from Zillow and Redfin have denied the claims, but Zillow continued to be in the news as their stock prices tumbled and news broke that the company had been selling homes for less than it paid for them. And this week, Zillow announced that they are ending their home buying program, laying off 25% of their workforce, and trying to sell 7,000 homes to investors. While some folks on social media are saying that the TikTok brought Zillow's home-flipping business to a halt, an analysis by Bloomberg says it's more likely due to a combo of Zillow's algorithm leading them to overpay for homes plus lower stock prices.

    TL;DR: The TikTok doesn't appear to be behind the demise of Zillow's homebuying branch, but it's still gotta be a PR nightmare for the company.

    9. Finally, people on Twitter were equal parts fascinated and horrified by a CNN segment on inflation that featured a family who buys 12 gallons of milk in a typical week.

    "A gallon of milk was $1.99. Now it's $2.79. When you buy 12 gallons a week times four weeks, that's a lot of money." @EvanMcS goes grocery shopping with the Stotlers and shows us how badly inflation is hitting the middle class.

    Twitter: @brikeilarcnn

    Look, I have a ~complicated~ relationship with lactose, so I get it — 12 gallons of milk sounds wild, and some of the tweets are pretty funny out of context.

    But if you actually watch the segment, you'll see a middle-class, suburban family in Texas with nine kids. The family shared that they now spend about $300 per week on groceries — $100 more than the same shopping trip cost them in March. While many on Twitter were quick to say that they should just buy less milk, I don't see how that's much different from telling millennials to stop buying coffeeshop drinks/avocado toast/whatever.

    Seattle CEO Dan Price, famous for cutting his salary to $70K to give employees a $70K minimum wage, summed up the situation in a tweet, saying, "there's always some story like 'people are suffering because milk went up 5 cents' and never 'we have to budget for milk because our rent went up $500, our health care is $10,000/year, my kids' college fund requires $100k, and every house in our budget is now $100k more expensive'."

    TL;DR: Yes, that is a lot of milk, but making fun of this family is actually kinda tacky. If you absolutely *have to* make fun of someone online, punch up.

    Phew, what a week! Don't forget to set your clocks back on Sunday, if you have clocks. Otherwise, sit back, relax, and let your phone handle the whole "fall back" thing.

    And for more stories about work and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.