Week In Review
By Kajon Pompey
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker
Entertainment Hollywood Braces for Writer’s Strike
What to expect from the latest writer’s strike? Studios will move up deadlines for TV writers and late night shows most likely will be canceled. The last strike occurred in 2007-08 for 100s and the longest strike in occurred back in 1988 for 153 days.
New York to Boost Tax Breaks for Filmmakers
Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to increase incentives to the entertainment industry in hopes that it will increase production in New York. Hochul believes $700 million a year from $420 million is enough of a commitment to ensure they stay put. The new plan would also tweak rules to allow companies to recoup more money per project, including parts of the salaries of actors, producers, directors, and writers.
DeSantis v. Disney
Disney is claiming in federal court that Florida Governor DeSantis is using a campaign to weaponize government power against it in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint.
Ed Sheeran Defends Marvin Gaye Copyright Infringement Song
Ed Sheeran denied that his song Thinking Out Loud copied Marvin Gaye’s song Let’s Get it On. In his defense, Sheeran argued that that he mixes songs together “with similar chords at his performances.”
NBCUniversal C.E.O. Fired
Jeff Shell was fired as NBCUniversal’s chief executive after an anchor at one of the networks lodged a sexual harassment complaint against him. Shell was fired for cause and will not receive severance pay.
Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon Hire Top Hollywood Lawyer
Bryan Freedman has a track record of getting his celebrity clients multimillion-dollar settlements. His client roster includes Quentin Tarantino, Julia Roberts, Seth Rogen, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Cuomo.
Tucker Carlson Offensive Texts Released
Private messages sent by Tucker Carlson that have been redacted in legal filings show him making highly offensive and crude remarks that went beyond the racist comments of his prime-time show. Despite the fact that Fox trial lawyers already had these messages, the board and many senior executives are just now learning about their details for the first time.
Art Residency Programs Seek a Shift
Art institutions are placing an importance on artist residence programs that offer artists the opportunity to forge closer relationships with the communities that surround them. The new residency programs offered by museums, universities, and other institutions are requesting that artists seeking residency opportunities to use the programs to engage with the local communities. The shift is in the recognition that some artists thrive with greater personal interaction in their work setting. Overall, resident programs provide artists with the opportunity of mentorship, wages, and child care support.
The Museum of Modern Art is at the forefront of changing the accessibility of art for the disabled community. The museum is seeking to provide programs and training to other institutions.
Briolette of India
The Briolette of India is a standout necklace that includes a 90-carat diamond and carries an estimate of $7.8 million, which isy on sale as a part of an estate of an Austrian heiress. The heiress’ husband, Helmut, was a German retailer who specialized in department stores and it is believed that the piece was among Helmut’s business empire that was built atop his low-ball purchase of companies from Jews who were pressed to sell their possession by the Nazis.
Media / Technology
Supreme Court to Decide Social Media Censorship
The justices will hear cases on what the First Amendment has to say about social media accounts maintained by elected officials. The question before the Court is whether use of private social media accounts to discuss public issues amounted to “state action,” which is governed by the First Amendment, or is it considered privacy activity, which that is not.
AI Versus U.S. Entertainment Industry
Hollywood writers are currently on strike while contract negotiations are at play and one issue about which the writers are grappling include the potential elimination of their careers. Artificial intelligence (AI) can do many things, including creating content and ideas. In their attempts to push back, writers are leaning on their labor union to push back. This outcome will also affect other writers, actors, and directors. For example, in December, Apple introduced a service allowing book publishers to use “human-sounding” AI narrators, an innovation that would clearly displace voice actors jobs for us humans. Apple advertised the service as a benefit to independent authors and small publishers.
New Online Restrictions for Minors
Louisiana has taken the lead to protect users from online sites that are deemed harmful platforms to minors. Louisiana lawmakers look to enforce a sweeping law that requires users to verify their age with certain credentials in order to access a host of services. Many parents may be happy about this, but civil liberty groups see that as a violation of American’s constitutional “right to see, violating free speech principles.”
New York Transit Agency Quits Twitter
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) ceased providing service updates on Twitter because it believes the social website is no longer reliable. The , the largest public transportation agent in North America, is the latest big-name account to make significant changes regarding how it uses Twitter since Musk’s takeover. The MTA previously provided real-time delays, bus route changes, and other service information via Twitter. In recent months, Twitter eliminated the blue check mark, thrown out content moderation rules, and altered the algorithm that decides the post visibility. Other news reporting organization have also made similar adjustments.
Twitter Eliminated Check Marks
Since the elimination of the blue check marks, Twitter has seen at least 11 new accounts impersonating federal agencies. The information on Twitter has become increasingly unreliable, with an uptick in not only the impersonation of public officials, government agencies, celebrities, propaganda, and disinformation.
Bing Search Engine Controls Search Content
Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity research group, discovered that the search engine Bing has more than 66,000 rules controlling the content that is available to users. This means that China’s censorship apparatus is not only pervasive, but subtle, in that only certain results will populate “pre-authorized websites.”
U.K. Blocks Microsoft’s Activision Bid
British antitrust regulators blocked Microsoft’s attempt to acquire the video game giant for $69 billion. With its ruling, the British regulators believed that Microsoft failed to effectively address the concerns in the cloud gaming sector. This ruling is showing a trend that antitrust regulators are broadening their lenses to consider the affect that mergers and acquisitions may have on emerging markets.
Brazilian Judge Blocks Telegram App
A judge in Brazil ordered that messaging app Telegram be blocked throughout the country while the federal police sought to investigate neo-Nazi groups that used the platform to incite school attacks. Judge Wellington Lopes da Silva ordered the app shut down and imposed a $200,000 daily fine against the company for noncompliance. Google and Apple were ordered to remove the app from their stores in Brazil and mobile carriers to block access to it in the country.
BBC Chairman Resigns in Boris Johnson Loan
Richard Sharp was forced to step down from his role as a chairman of BBC after failing to disclose his involvement in arranging a $1 million loan to former prime minister Boris Johnson. Sharpe was a former banker at Goldman Sachs and a major donor to Johnson’s Conservative party. This action showed a potential conflict of interest in the governance of Britain’s most important media institution.
News Group Settles with Prince Harry
Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper group apparently paid Prince William a settlement in the dispute where a journalist hacked his cellphone. Prince Harry is also suing Murdoch’s News Group for illegally intercepting his calls and other personal information.
Taiwanese Publisher Detains in China
A Taiwan-based publisher has been detained in China for suspected violation of national security laws. Publisher Li Yanhe is a Chinese citizen who has been living in Taiwan since 2009. Li is well known in Taiwan for books that cast a critical eye on China’s ruling Communist Party. He returned to China in early March to visit family, but fell out of contact shortly after. The investigation into his arrest is the second politically loaded case linked to Taiwan that China confirmed this month.
China Accuses a Columnist of Espionage
Dong Yuyu, a high-ranking editor at a Chinese Communist Party newspaper, is expected to stand trial for espionage in Beijing. Dong was a columnist and deputy editor of the editorial section of Guangming Daily and for decades he would meet with foreigners, including diplomates and journalisst, in part to inform his writing. Now the government is claiming that such interactions may be proof that he was working as a foreign agent.
Indian Village Cultivates All Girls Cricket Team
The young women of one Punjab village in India will receive an opportunity of a lifetime, a new $500 million women’s cricket league. They daily routine the sport offers these young women gives them an opportunity to escape boredom of village life. The women’s league is modeled on India’s hugely successful men’s professional cricket league, the Indian Premier League. The two leagues make India the world’s foremost stage for professional cricket.
Supreme Court May Adopt an Ethics Code
Senators Angus King and Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill on ethics after the recent revelations about Justices Thomas and Gorsuch. This legislations is another act by lawmakers to pressure the Court to increase transparency and better police itself. The legislation will need support of Republicans and it is currently unclear how many will back the measure.
Schumer Calls an End to Single-Judge Divisions
Schumer calls on the chief judge of the Northern District of Texas to end a system that allows “judge-shopping”. Apparently, based on the unusual case assignment orders, plaintiffs in this particular district are able to choose the judges who will hear their cases.
The Federal Reserve Slams Itself on Silicon Valley Bank
The Federal Reserve released documents pointing out how it failed to prevent the bank’s collapse. The documents addressed a lack of oversight of and mentioned that SVB’s collapse demonstrated a “weaknesses in regulation and supervision”. The review outlined a range of potential changes to the oversight and regulation problem.
Transgender Lawmaker Barred by Republican Lawmakers
Montana Republican lawmakers ousted a transgender lawmaker from the House chamber after she vocally opposed a proposed ban on what doctors call gender-affirming medical care for children. Zooey Zephyr was elected last year after campaigning on a platform to advocate for the rights of underrepresentation populations. She won with about 80% of the vote.
New York Set to Change Bail, Minimum Wage Laws, and More
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the new $229 billion state budget that will increase New York’s minimum wage, open 14 new charter schools in New York City, change the bail law, and more.
North Carolina Maps Deemed Illegal Gerrymanders
In 2022, Democratic justices in North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that maps of the state’s legislative and congressional districts drawn to give Republican unequal majorities were illegal gerrymanders.
Pence Appears Before Grand Jury
As a key witness to the Jan 6 2020 riot, the former vice president appeared before the grand jury that heard evidence about former President Donald J. Trump’s effort to overthrow the 2020 election. Pence provided testimony in the criminal investigation into whether Trump and a number of his allies broke federal law in trying to keep him in power.
Proud Boys Jan. 6 Trial
Prosecutors spent more than two months introducing evidence, including the Proud Boys’ group chat, and several recordings of their podcasts and meetings. During closing arguments, one of the defendant’s lawyers raised free speech issues, saying that her client and his co-defendants may have used violent language prior to Jan 6 but that such actions was not a crime.
E. Jean Carroll’s Story
E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of rape. The writer told a Manhattan jury a “harrowing” story of being raped by him in the mid-1990s. Carroll described it as a brutal attack that she tried fighting off by stamping on his foot and the impact it has had on her life for decades. She is seeking damages for battery and for defamation for the attacks he made on her via his social media platform last October.
Trump’s Lawyer v. E. Jean Carroll
Trump’s lawyer upset the judge this week with his aggressive cross-examination of Carroll.
Tree of Life Trial
Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the man accused of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Potential jurors was questioned for 30 minutes each and mostly about their thoughts regarding the death penalty. The gunman lived a low-key life, but online he was a prolific and virulent presence in right-wing forums.
U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Russia Intelligence Agency for Detained Americans
The U.S. seeks to punish foreign governments, namely Russia and Iran, for detaining Americans and other nationals by cutting off access to the international financial system. These actions are the first for the U.S. government in taking formal steps to punish foreign governments for such actions.
Dutch Braces for Discomfort in Release of Nazi Collaborators Files
In the aftermath of WWII, more than 300,000 Dutch people were investigated as Nazi collaborators. More than 65,000 of those accused ended up standing trial in a confidential court system where some were stripped of certain civil rights, some sent to prison, and where some where condemned to death. Now, the Dutch have decided to make these files public stirring up concern and excitement among historians and activists.