Week In Review

By Eric Lanter Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media/Technology, and General News:


Dozens of Women in Gaming Speak Out About Sexism and Harassment

In recent days, there has been an outpouring of stories from dozens of women in the gaming industry of instances of "gender-based discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault. Those women have posted their stories "to Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and the blogging platform TwitLonger," and some have begun to say that the sharing of the stories is "the beginning of real change in the industry."

James Brown's Estate: Is It Inching Toward Closure After 14 Years?

Litigation has plagued the estate of James Brown; an estate which was meant to be "largely bequeathed to underprivileged students in South Carolina and Georgia." One major piece of the puzzle was resolved last week, however: a court in South Carolina found that the marriage between Brown and Tommie Rae Hynie was not legal, as Hynie had not annulled a previous marriage. Consequently, experts say that it should smooth the way for finally administering the estate.

David Guillod, Hollywood Executive, Charged With Sexually Assaulting Four Women

A former talent manager and executive producer, David Guillod, has been charged with 11 felony counts, including rape, with respect to four women. The Santa Barbara District Attorney's office announced that the charges were brought regarding instances of sexual assault while each of the four women was unconscious, and the instances occurred over the period of approximately three years. He surrendered to authorities and bail was set at $3 million.

Bill Cosby's Appeal to Be Heard by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court is set to hear the appeal in the sexual assault action against Bill Cosby, and the arguments will be centered on whether the trial court erred in permitting the testimony of five women other than the accuser Andrea Constand, whom Cosby sexually assaulted and drugged at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004. The arguments give Cosby's attorneys "another opportunity to challenge a verdict that represented one of the most high-profile convictions of the #MeToo era."


Seventh Circuit Rules on Contours of Copyright Infringement and Trademark

When a former employee of a wellness store founded his own vitamin shop and used similar layout and design features, his prior employer, Apple Wellness, sued alleging infringement of its trademark, trade dress, and copyright. As Apple dismissed its claims voluntarily based on the commonlaw copyright not existing since 1976 and lack of success on trademark (because no show of likelihood of irreparable harm), there was no evidence that Apple filed suit with an improper motive and no need to deter future frivolous filings and thus the defendant was not permitted to recover fees.

Ninth Circuit Rules on Copyright Infringement Regarding "The Shape of Water" and "Let Me Hear You Whisper"

David Zindel, the son of author Paul Zindel, brought action for copyright infringement alleging that his father's play, "Let Me Hear You Whisper", infringed on the copyright of "The Shape of Water". The district court dismissed the matter, but the Ninth Circuit reversed on the basis that "reasonable minds could differ on whether there is substantial similarity between Let Me Hear You Whisper and The Shape of Water." The court ruled that additional evidence, "including expert testimony, would aid in the objective literary analysis needed to determine the extent and qualitative importance of the similarities" identified, "particularly the plausibly alleged shared plot sequence."

Southern District of New York Rules on Copyright Infringement Action

Photographer Stephanie Sinclair brought suit against Mashable over the use of "embedded" Instagram posts, and the Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that the photographer gave Instagram broad power to relicense the works that she posted, based on the Instagram's Terms of Service.

Trump Family Asks Court to Stop Publication of Tell-All by President's Niece

The Trump family sued in Queens County Surrogate's Court to stop the publication of a tell-all by the President's niece, Mary L. Trump. The allegations are centered on her signing a nondisclosure agreement in connection with settling the estate of Fred Trump, the President's father and her grandfather. Later in the week, a judge dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction, and it is expected that the action would be filed in New York State Supreme Court.

The Transformation of American Culture Continues

With ongoing debate about where antiquated statues and public displays, like Mississippi's state flag, there is a continuing transformation underway about what pieces of antiquity are appropriate for America in the 21st Century. Outside the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, the statue of Theodore Roosevelt will be removed, and other statues throughout the country and in Western Europe also face scrutiny and ire from protesters. Other cultural elements are changing as well: the country trio, The Dixie Chicks, have announced that they will rename themselves The Chicks, and Disney has announced that it will remove certain portions from its Splash Mountain ride. Others have used the moment of heightened activism to attack systemic racism, even in institutions as large as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim.

Black Gallerists Press Forward Despite a Market That Holds Them Back

Despite having increased "attention being paid to black artists," the "number of black-owned galleries representing artists in the United States remains strikingly, stubbornly low." Additionally, with organizations like the Art Dealers Association of America and Art Basel having hundreds of galleries and dealers, there is "only one African-American gallerist."

Facebook Bans Historical Artifact Sales

Facebook has "announced the prohibition after researchers reported that looters were using the platform to identify and sell illegally excavated antiquities." As a result of criticism that the website had "become a bazaar for the sale of looted Middle Eastern antiquities," the company announced that "it would remove any content 'that attempts to buy, sell, or trade in historical artifacts.'"

Opera Has Vanished. So Have Their Dream Jobs at the Met

In any other time, receiving a job offer from the Metropolitan Opera would be an extraordinary opportunity, but those hired at the beginning of 2020 and those with tenure have had a frustrating season. Gone are the operas that go late into the evenings and the morning practices the following day. The next show, at the earliest, will be held on New Year's Eve, and furloughs have become more widespread as the shows have been cancelled.

Museum of Jewish Heritage Lays Off Over 40% of Its Staff

The Museum of Jewish Heritage's finances have suffered during the pandemic, and cuts are starting to be implemented. Over 40% of the staff has been laid off, and many employees are facing "new roles or reduced hours." According to audio from a meeting obtained by the New York Times, there "were no pay reductions for executive and senior managers," however.

Founder of Virginia's Signature Theater Steps Down

In the wake of sexual harassment allegations, the founder of the Virginia theater, Signature Theater, is stepping down. Eric Schaeffer had spent 30 years with the organization after founding it, and he has resigned after allegations from Thomas Keegan, an actor, suggesting that "Schaeffer had grabbed his genitals at an awards ceremony in 2018."

For the Actors of "Take Me Out", a Coming-Out Party is Postponed

The baseball play "Take Me Out" was set to make its Broadway debut, and five actors in the play were also set to have their first appearances on Broadway. Now, those five actors are "bunking with family, grappling with unemployment, and fighting injustice." The difference between a Broadway show and an Off Broadway contract is significant in most cases: whereas a "steady paycheck and guaranteed health insurance" comes to those on Broadway, an Off Broadway contract will have significantly less pay.

The Flea Will Begin Paying All of Its Artists

The Flea Theater has relied on "a troupe of volunteer actors," which has drawn criticism for years, but an angry letter "prompted a promise of change" recently. The letter accused the theater of "racism, sexism, gaslighting, disrespect, and abuse," and the Flea announced that it would pause its production activity "to enact sweeping changes, including the elimination of unpaid roles for its artists."

Neolithic Site Near Stonehenge Yields an "Astonishing Discovery"

Archaeologists have announced the discovery of a "circle of trenches at a nearby ancient village" near Stonehenge that "promises to offer significant clues about life more than 4,500 years ago in the Neolithic period." The discovery "also makes the site the largest prehistoric structure in Britain and possibly in Europe."


Coronavirus Rates Ramp Up Throughout the United States and Around the World

The South and West of the United States have seen a jump in Coronavirus cases that have brought the country to its highest rates of confirmed cases. Those increased rates in Texas and Florida have caused their state governments to halt and reverse the reopening that was previously underway. Stock markets have reacted negatively to the news, as it has become increasingly clear that the infection rates will continue to plague the United States and cause more economic devastation. Even with this news comes different approaches to how to handle future events: the Kentucky Derby announced that it will proceed with spectators in September, whereas the New York City Marathon, scheduled for November, has been cancelled. Additionally, the European Union announced that it will not permit tourists to visit Europe unless those travelers are coming from a select few countries that have low Coronavirus cases. The United States did not make that list. Sports have begun to develop plans to start their seasons, and it appears that many professional sports will have games played in environments that are highly secure so as to insulate the athletes and staff from infection.

Baseball Has a Plan to Begin Its Season

Major League Baseball has announced that it will proceed with a shortened season in 2020. Teams "will play only 60 games, with opening day set for July 23 or July 24," which effectively means that each game that a team plays "will count 2.7 times more than usual, infusing daily urgency to a sport in which teams often have time to coalesce."

Talladega Noose Incident Puts Spotlight on NASCAR's Troubles With Racism

Investigators have determined that a noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace's garage was "not meant as a hate crime." However, NASCAR as an organization has "long had complaints of racist behavior from people within the sport."

Softball Team's Tweet to Trump Leads Players to Quit Mid-Series

Two professional softball teams, the USSSA Pride and Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, played a seven-game series in Melbourne, Florida, and that series took on new political meaning when one of the team's manager's tweeted to President Trump a photograph showing both teams standing during the national anthem. The politicization of the moment caused players to quit the team this week.

CrossFit Owner Fostered Sexist Company Culture, Workers Say

Greg Glassman, the chief executive of CrossFit, has resigned, and many former employees and athletes have come forward and revealed a "management culture rife with overt and vulgar talk about women: their bodies, how much male employees, primarily Mr. Glassman, would like to have sex with them and how lucky the women should feel to have his rabid interest."

Australia and New Zealand Will Host 2023 Women's World Cup

FIFA has announced that Australia and New Zealand will be the joint hosts for the 2023 Women's World Cup. FIFA also announced that its council "approved $1 billion in investment in women's soccer over the next four years," and the tournament will be the first 32-team women's tournament.

Bundesliga TV Rights Deal Suggests a Softening Market

Germany's soccer league, the Bundesliga, has been a bellwether for how soccer will proceed following the pandemic, and now, after the league negotiated its broadcast deal, the Bundesliga has showed other leagues in Europe that the market has softened. The deal covers four years, starting with the 2021-22 season, but fell beneath the record $5.1 billion deal, although the precise figure is not publicly known.


Google Sets Limit on How Long It Will Store Some Data

Google has long faced criticism for the length of time it stores data regarding its users, and Google has responded to that criticism by announcing that "it would start automatically deleting location history and records of web and app activity as well as voice recordings on new accounts after 18 months." Settings for "existing accounts will remain unchanged."

Another Tweet From Trump Gets a Label From Twitter

President Trump, on Twitter, threatened "serious force" if protesters attempt to set up an autonomous zone in Washington, D.C. akin to the one set up in the city of Seattle. Twitter promptly labeled that tweet as one that "violated its policies" as it contained "a threat of harm against an identifiable group." The labeling is likely to further escalate the "company's battle with the president over his often incendiary tweets."

Tennessee Newspaper Apologizes for "Utterly Indefensible" Anti-Muslim Ad

A newspaper in Nashville, The Tennessean, has apologized for publishing "a full-page ad on Sunday by a biblical prophecy group claiming 'Islam' would detonate a bomb in the city." The ad featured photographs of "President Trump, Pope Francis, and burning American flags," and "urged readers to visit a website offering more details." The ad warned of "another civil war" and that "Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device" in the city of Nashville.

United States Designates Four More Chinese News Organizations as Foreign Missions

The United States federal government has announced that it has designated four more Chinese news organizations as foreign missions, bringing the total number to nine. It is expected that China will retaliate in some form, as the designation sends the message to Americans that the organizations are viewed &q