Week In Review

By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Kevin Spacey Accused in New Lawsuit of Sex Offenses

In a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, two men accuse Kevin Spacey of sexual assault in the 1980s when they were both teenagers. The lawsuit is being brought under the Child Victims Act, which extended New York's statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse.

A Look at the Partnership Between Rapper Travis Scott and McDonald's

The collaboration consists of a limited-edition meal and a merchandise drop (including a $90 McNugget body pillow). For McDonalds, the co-branded merchandise is "a way to advertise to young people without all the burdens and potential misfires of actually advertising to young people," and for Scott, it is an opportunity to partner with a brand of magnitude and "slip his aesthetics into the global mainstream."

Calls Grow to Boycott 'Mulan' Over China's Treatment of Uighur Muslims

Disney's live-action remake was filmed in Xinjiang, a region that is home to the Uighur minority. Criticism was quick after viewers noticed that the film credits offered thanks to eight government entities in a region where members of the Uighur community have been detained in indoctrination camps and subjected to abuse.

Aging Rockers Emerge to Lead Belarus Revolt

Unlike most of Europe's rock artists who rose to stardom after the fall of Communism, Belarusian rockers were pushed underground in the early 1990s when President Lukashenko established an authoritarian regime. Amidst widespread protests disputing Lukashenko's re-election, musicians are staging their own acts of resistance and hoping that a new political system "could redeem [their] decades of isolation," when the government required lyrics and posters to be cleared by censors and musicians to sing in Russian, one of the country's two official languages.


Corbello v. Valli

The Ninth Circuit's decision affirmed the district court's finding a jury trial that the defendants' musical 'Jersey Boys' did not infringe the plaintiff's copyright in an autobiography of Tommy DeVito, a member of the band Four Seasons. The court found that the similarities were comprised of facts and other non-protected elements, and that any infringement of protected elements was fair use.

Schwartzwald v Oath

The Southern District of New York granted Huffpost's 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the complaint by the photographer of a photo of John Hamm that went viral. The court found that Huffpost's use of the photo, which added a black box with "Image Loading" over the actor's crotch, was transformative and thus constituted fair use.

Goldsmith v Andy Warhol Foundation

Oral argument before the Second Circuit in the Goldsmith v Andy Warhol Foundation copyright case is scheduled for Tuesday, September 15 at 10 a.m. The public can listen using the link below.

On the Anniversary of 9/11, Lincoln Center Awakens with Hope

In the first large-scale performance since its closure in March, 28 Lincoln Center dancers brought 'Prologue' to the public via a livestream this year. 'Prologue' is an adaptation of 'Table of Silence," which has been presented at the theater every September 11 since the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

American Ballet Theater Promotes Dancers, Despite Pandemic Slump

American Ballet Theater announced promotions for six soloists who now become principal dancers. While the dancers will receive raises with their promotions, their earnings this year were reduced given the cancellation of the spring and fall seasons and planned tours.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Hires Its First Full-Time Native-American Curator

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has hired Patricia Marroquin Norby as associate curator of Native American art. Dr. Norby was previously senior executive and assistance director of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.

Backlog at Printers Wreaking Havoc on Book Industry

Limited printer capacity and a spike in sales for print books are causing backlogs in the publishing industry. The fall publishing season is also a crowded one because long-planned fall releases are being sent to print alongside books that were bumped from spring and summer. The backlog is being exacerbated by the fact that America's two largest printing companies are operating under capacity and are both up for sale - one declared bankruptcy in April after its sales fell dramatically and the other temporarily shut down its printers due to the pandemic.

Pulitzer Board Changes Play Submission Rules

Cancelled plays and streamed productions will now be considered for the 2021 prize after the board changed eligibility rules for its annual drama honor.

Ayad Akhtar to Lead PEN America

Playwright and novelist Ayad Akhtar will serve as the new president of PEN America, the non-profit literary and human rights organization that focuses on protecting open expression in the U.S. and globally.

Global Gallery Sales Down 36%

According to a report published by Art Basel and UBS, modern and contemporary art sales at commercial galleries fell by 36% during the first half of 2020. The fall in sales was attributed to gallery closures and cancellations of major art fairs.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Says It Could Be a Year Before Theater Without Marks Feels Normal

Dr. Fauci estimates that it would not be until mid- to late 2021 that audiences can attend performances without masks and expect to return to pre-coronavirus comfort levels. The advice is contingent on a vaccine being released in early 2021 and a large number of people being vaccinated.

Preaching Caution to the Choir - Safety Precautions at In-Person Choir Rehearsals

The article discusses measures adopted by choirs as they return to in-person rehearsals. They include shorter rehearsal sessions, physical distancing, and the use of the Singer's Mask, which protrudes from the face to make singing more comfortable.

Tiffany's $16 Billion Sale Falls Apart

Prospective buyer LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton pulled out of the $16 billion deal, citing a request from the French government to delay the purchase beyond January of next year because of the threat of U.S. tariffs on French goods (in retaliation for French taxes on American technology companies). Tiffany filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery, arguing that "LVMH had breached its merger obligations by excluding the retailer from its discussions about the transaction with the French government."

T.S. Eliot's Estate Donates 'Cats' Royalties to Brontë Parsonage Museum

The gift of £20,000 will help sustain the museum, once the home of the Brontë sisters. The donation was made possible by royalties earned from the musical "Cats", which is based on Eliot's 1939 poetry collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

Gucci Heir Alleges Child Sexual Abuse

Alexandra Zarini has a filed a lawsuit against three family members - her former stepfather, whom she accuses of sexual abuse, as well as her mother and her grandmother for covering up the abuse. Zarini is the granddaughter of Aldo Gucci, who turned the family-owned leather goods business into a global fashion house.

The Two Men Buying Your Favorite Retailers

The article profiles Jamie Salter and David Simon, who are acquiring brands like Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers. Salter is a licensing expert and the founder and chief executive of Authentic Brands Group. Simon is head of the largest mall operator in the U.S.

Retailer Century 21 is Closing

The discount retailer has filed for bankruptcy and will close all of its 13 locations. The company said it had failed to receive about $175 million from its insurers despite policies "to protect against losses stemming from business interruption such as that experienced as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Student Blockade Protests Victor Orban's Reach at a Top Arts University in Hungary

A student demonstration took place at the University for Theater and Film Arts in Budapest, protesting legislation that transferred ownership of the public university to a private foundation and installed a new board of trustees that students say will force the university's vision and operations to fall in line with the values of the government of the day.


Canelo Alvarez Suing Golden Boy, DAZN Over Breach of Contract

In 2018, boxer Canelo Alvarez signed an 11-fight deal for $365 million with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. The promoter had a separate contract with DAZN, a sports streaming service. While Golden Boy promised to deliver DAZN a match between Alvarez and a "premier" opponent every year, Alvarez says he was not aware that DAZN had the right to reject his opponents and effectively freeze him out of future matches. If DAZN did have this right, then Alvarez argues that "Golden Boy breached its fiduciary duty and intentionally misled him on its own deal with DAZN." He is asking for over $280 million in damages (what is still owed to him under the contract plus lost sponsorship and gate revenue) and the ability to fight on shows promoted and broadcast by other entities.

National Football League Season Kicks Off with Team Protest

Opening night brought different reactions as the Houston Texans remained in their locker rooms during the national anthem, while most Kansas City Chiefs players linked arms. The Texans were met with a smattering of boos from fans when they ran onto the field.

Advertisers Flock to National Football League Broadcasts as a 'Safe Haven'

With some broadcast rights contracts expiring next year, the National Football League (NFL) is expected to command "gigantic increases for the upcoming cycle of new NFL contracts" as media partners look to extend their current deals. In determining their ad spend and placement, many companies are looking at the NFL as a "safe haven", in part because it was the first sport returning "in its regular time frame in its regular season", a significant achievement in the fact of such of uncertainty in sport.

Kansas City Chiefs Fans Adjust to New Game Rituals

To address concerns over the use of Native American imagery, the team banned the wearing of headdresses and is discussing the future of its tomahawk chop celebration. As fans adjusted to a new reality, including masking and socially distanced crowds, many also expressed mixed opinions on whether game traditions involving Native American imagery should be allowed.

Big 12 Decides Against Pursuing Outside Loans in Face of Pandemic Shortfall

As the Big 12 prepares for the start of its football season this week, its commissioner said the conference considered outside funding to offset financial losses due to the pandemic, but ultimately decided against taking on loans in favor of an approach that lets individual athletic departments consider mitigation measures. The Pac-12 Conference, which postponed all sports competitions for the rest of the year, reportedly investigated "a loan package that would approach" $1 billion. options-due-pandemic/5739747002/

Major League Baseball Set to Hold Postseason at Neutral Sites

Major League Baseball (MLB) plans to hold playoff games at four stadiums in Texas and California. The World Series is scheduled for October at the Texas Rangers' new stadium in Arlington, Texas. While the regular season was shortened to 60 games, MLB landed on the "bubble site" concept for its expanded playoff format.

MLB Players Object to Postseason Quarantines, Protocol Changes

MLB players believe that the less restrictive health and safety protocols that applied to the regular season should be in place for the postseason. MLB, on the other hand, is "adamant that players quarantine separately from their families for seven days before entering bubbles" to avoid outbreaks that would place the postseason in jeopardy.

National Basketball Association to Allow Coaches to Have Guests Inside Bubble

The policy change came after Denver Nuggets coach Malone decried the National Basketball League's current policy, which allowed players and referees to bring guests to the Disney campus but did not extend that same right to coaches. All guests are subject to a seven-day on-site quarantine. The amended policy takes effect at the start of the conference finals.

Why Was Novak Djokovic Disqualified from the U.S. Open?

Last weekend, the U.S. Open referee defaulted Djokovic from the 2020 tournament after he found Djokovic to have intentionally hit a ball "dangerously or recklessly within the court or ... with negligent disregard of the consequences." This explanation is based on the definition of "abuse of balls" in the sport's rulebook. The penalty came from the rule addressing "unsportsmanlike conduct." Under that rule, there is an escalating scale of penalties with clearly defined steps, ranging from a warning to a default. However, an official could opt for the most severe penalty (a default) instead of a point or game penalty, if the rule violation is egregious. What rendered the player's actions particularly egregious in the eyes of this particular referee was the fact that the line judge who was hit by the ball in the throat collapsed to the ground and stayed down for a prolonged period of time.

Caster Semenya Loses Appeal at Swiss Supreme Court

Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya lost her appeal of a decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that upheld rules drafted by track and field's governing body that limit female runners' naturally high testosterone levels (runners with differences of sex development - SDS). The CAS decision found that the discrimination was "necessary, reasonable and proportionate" to maintain fairness in women's track. The ruling means that Semenya cannot compete at any top meets in distances from 400 meters to the mile unless she lowers her testosterone level through medication or surgery. The Swiss federal tribunal found that Semenya's "guarantee of human dignity" was not compromised because affected female athletes are free to refuse treatment.

Iran Executes Wrestler Accused of Murder After Participating in Anti-Government Protests

Wrestler Navid Afkari was executed in Iran despite a high-profile international campaign for clemency. Afkari was accused of fatally stabbing a water-utility worker. Government critics suspect that the charges were false and Afkari was being used as an example to silence dissent.

Japanese Soccer: Sitting in Silence With 5,000 Fans

The article describes the current state of affairs in Japanese soccer. Though spectators can now attend games, its orchestrated fans are prohibited from singing, chanting, and drumming.


No Evidence of Toxic Work Culture at Essence

Workplace investigations at Essence Communications, the media brand that includes Essence magazine, found no evidence of an abusive work culture or of sexual harassment at the company. In an essay published in June of this year, a group of Essence employees accused the company of systematically intimidating, harassing, and underpaying Black female employees.

Gaming: Video Game Star Returns to Twitch

Famous video gamer Tyler Blevins, known as Ninja, announced that he will livestream exclusively on the Amazon-owned platform Twitch. His return to Twitch comes after a short stint on Microsoft-owned Mixer, which announced that it is shutting down.

China Freezes Credentials for Journalists at U.S. Outlets

The Chinese government has stopped renewing press credentials of journalists working at American news organizations in China and has suggested that their work status will be determined by how Chinese media employees are treated in the U.S. In May of this year, the U.S. imposed 90-day limits on work visas and visa extensions for Chinese journalists working for non-American news outlets.

Fearing Detention, Two Australian Correspondents Flee China

The last two Australian correspondents working in China for Australian news organizations have left the country over fears that they would be detained after state security officers paid them unannounced visits. Their departure was yet another sign of souring relations between the two countries and came after China already detained a Chinese-born news anchor in August.

General News

Justice Department Intervenes in E. Jean Carroll Defamation Suit Against Trump

The White House requested that the Justice Department take over the case pursuant to the Westfall Act, arguing that Trump had acted in his official capacity as president when he denied author E. Jean Carroll's claim that he sexually assaulted her over 20 years ago. The move substitutes the government as the defendant.

Court Rejects Trump Order to Exclude Undocumented Migrants from Census

A three-judge panel in Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that Trump lacked the authority to remove noncitizens from census counts. The order would have impacted communities with large immigrant populations that would have lost House seats that are allocated based on the census.

Federal Judge Orders U.S. Census Bureau to Stop Plan to Wind Down Its Operations

A federal judge in California issued a temporary restraining order against the department that oversees the Census Bureau. The order stops the agency from winding down operations until a court hearing determines whether the agency can follow its revised plan for finishing the census at