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.
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.
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 the end of September. The Census Bureau adopted the revised plan after the Senate failed to take up its request to finish the census later in the year and turn in apportionment numbers in December.
Franchise Workers Win Victory Over U.S. Effort to Curb Lawsuits
A federal judge struck down a Labor Department rule that made it more difficult for franchise workers to win judgments against the parent company if the restaurant violated minimum wage or overtime laws. Under the previous administration, a parent company was considered a "joint employer" and could be liable for violations committed by a contractor or franchisee. The new rule required evidence of control to render the parent company liable as a joint employer, which could be the ability to hire or fire the franchisee's employees, set their pay or dictate their schedules.
Appeal Court Deals Blow to Felons' Voting Rights in Florida
The Court ruled that Floridians who have completed sentences for felonies must pay outstanding court fines and fees before they can register to vote. The Court was reviewing a Florida law passed in 2019, which imposed the requirement to pay outstanding debts. The law was passed after the 2018 constitutional amendment restored voting rights for people who had completed sentences for felonies other than murder or sex crimes.
Three Senators on President Trump's Supreme Court List
President Trump released a list of 20 potential nominees to the Court, which now includes senators Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley. Trump issued a similar list before the 2016 election to try to "persuade wary conservatives to support his unconventional candidacy."
Impasse on Recovery Package Persists: Republican Proposal Dead on Arrival
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans presented a scaled-back stimulus plan that was immediately rejected by Democrats and failed on a vote. The proposal was a fraction of the $1 trillion plan that Republicans had offered earlier in negotiations, an amount that was also rejected by Democrats. The prospect of lawmakers leaving Washington in October without passing a relief bill is becoming more likely.
Trump and Biden Honor 9/11 Fallen
The presidential candidates honored those who died in New York City and Shanksville, Pennsylvania and travelled to both sites to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the attacks.
Postal Service to Hire Liaison in Effort to Ease Democrats' Concerns
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has hired Peter Pastre, a Republican lobbyist, "to act as a liaison for the agency with Congress and state and local governments" and ease concerns about the politicization of the U.S. Postal Service.
Safety Shapes Plan to Fortify Voting Stations
Despite the anticipated rise in mail voting, communities are still considering ways to re-configure polling sites and make in-person voting safer. One way of ensuring that is to hire younger poll workers who are less susceptible to serious virus-related outcomes. Other communities are looking to replace traditional polling places, like church basements and senior-living centers, with less cramped voting sites, and add additional check-in stations to reduce lines and wait times.
Microsoft Warns That Russian Hackers Are Targeting Both Parties
A Microsoft report says that Russian intelligence hackers are targeting both Republican and Democratic officials, while China is mostly aiming at Biden campaign officials, academics, and the national security establishment.
Department of Homeland Security Accused of Downplaying Threats from Russia and White Supremacists
In his whistleblower complaint, former Department of Homeland Securit (DHS) official Brian Murphy says that security chiefs downplayed threats from white supremacists and Russian election interference in order to boost Trump. He says that acting secretary Chad Wolf ordered him to stop producing assessments on those threats and told him not to disseminate a report on Russian disinformation campaign that called Joe Biden's mental health into question. Murphy says leadership is shaping "the agency's views around the president's language and political interests in ways that stretched the law and their authority."
U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Ukrainian Over Election Interference
The sanctions target Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker with ties to Russia. The Treasury Department accused Derkach of "releasing edited audiotapes and unsubstantiated allegations" against American political figures, including Joe Biden.
Bob Woodward's Latest Book Recounts Tense Moments Between President and Senior Leaders
According to a new book by journalist Bob Woodward, President Trump had tense relationships with members of the intelligence community and denigrated American generals in conversations with this trade adviser, saying they favored their relationships with allies over the country's economic interests and trade deals.
Citigroup Names Jane Fraser as Next Chief Executive Officer
Jane Fraser will become the first woman to lead a major financial institution in the U.S.
The Faces of Power in the United States
A review by The New York Times shows that over 80% of officials and executives in prominent positions in the U.S. are white. Even in categories where there have been diversity gains, that has not always translated to equal treatment.
$14.5 Billion Budget Gap Brings Talk of Wealth Tax in New York
A growing number of Democratic lawmakers in New York are pushing for higher taxes on the wealthy, in opposition to budget cuts that would be one option to tackle the debt and reign in the deficit. Governor Cuomo has come out publicly against the idea and has asked congressional leaders for $59 billion to cover two years of projected state deficits.
The New York City Fire Department Renames Its Highest Award After Fallen 9/11 Hero
The Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) acknowledged that the award was named after a man who held deeply racist beliefs. The James Gordon Bennett Medal will now be named after Chief Peter Ganci, who was killed in the September 11th attacks. Bennett was a newspaper publisher who pushed racist and segregationist views during the Civil War.
Rochester Police Chief Resigns
The city's police chief and other high-ranking officials resigned or were demoted in the aftermath of the death of a Black man following an encounter with police. When announcing the news, the city's mayor said the police chief acknowledged that things could have been handled differently, but that he had not tried to cover it up. Police had not publicly disclosed the man's death and body camera footage of the encounter was recently turned over to the family.
Wildfires Along the West Coast Consume Towns; Officials Prepare for Mass Deaths
Parts of California are under a blanket of smoke as wildfires burn from near the Mexico border to the Sierra Nevada in one of the state's worst wildfire seasons. 2.5 million acres have burned in the state, with communities in Oregon and Washington also impacted. The state is experiencing a disastrous wave of climate events, including rolling blackouts and triple-digit heat waves.
Federal Report on Finances Warns of Financial Havoc from Climate Change
The report, commissioned by Trump's Commodity Futures Trading Commission, warned about the impact of climate change on U.S. financial markets primarily because "the costs of wildfires, storms, droughts and floods spread through insurance and mortgage markets, pension funds and other financial institutions."
Trump Emerges as Inspiration for Germany's Far Right
Recent protests as well as online activity in Germany show that Trump's name is being invoked by far-right activists, conspiracy theorists, and people who, generally-speaking, are "quitting the mainstream ... [and] raging against the establishment." Far-right groups have also embraced Trump's policies by calling for a "Germany first" approach and believe in the existence of a "deep state" that is global in nature.
Saudi Court Orders Prison Terms for Eight Defendants in Killing of Jamal Khashoggi
Sentences for the eight men ranged from 10 to 20 years in prison. Saudi Arabia has not revealed the names of the men convicted of murdering Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey in 2018.
Myanmar Soldiers Confess Crimes Against Rohingya
Two soldiers have provided video testimony admitting their involvement in executions and mass burials, saying they obeyed orders in killing 30 members of the country's Rohingya Muslim minority. The International Criminal Court is examining whether military leaders committed large scale crimes against the Rohingya in Myanmar.