Week In Review
By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker
Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Technology/Media, and General News:
Harvey Weinstein to be Extradited to Los Angeles to Face Rape Changes
A New York judge ruled that Weinstein can be transferred to California to face rape and sexual assault charges. Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence in a New York prison.
Grammy Officials Oppose an Open Hearing on CEO's Ouster
The former chief executive of the Recording Academy is requesting an open arbitration hearing to publicly discuss her dismissal after five months on the job. The organization behind the Grammys had reportedly agreed to waive the confidentiality provision of the arbitration clause but explained that the provision covered the "disclosure of the existence, content or result of an arbitration" and that a full public hearing "would expose other confidential information and cause further emotional distress to witnesses."
Report Paints Bleak Picture of Diversity in the Music Industry
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found almost 20% of executives at major and independent music companies were from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Women made up around 35% of the total.
Nielsen Tool May Solve a Streaming Mystery
Nielsen, the company that measures television ratings, says that it has a new metric to allow it to compare streaming versus traditional cable numbers. While streaming has gained ground, Neilsen found that viewers still spend more time watching cable and network TV.
Worried by Dirty Money, U.S. Examines the Secrecy of Art Sales
Lawmakers are looking at lifting the veil on art sales to improve oversight of the market and expose purchases that launder illicit proceeds.
Design Basics v Kerstiens Homes & Designs
In a recent decision from the Seventh Circuit, the Court affirmed a grant of summary judgment for the defendant, finding that the plaintiff had only a thin copyright in its home floor plans and that it was an "intellectual property troll", trying to enforce copyright not to protect expression but to extract payment through litigation. Design Basics had a thin copyright, because its plans "consist largely of standard features found in homes across America."
Justice Department Ends Criminal Inquiry and Lawsuit on John Bolton's Memoir
The Department of Justice dropped a lawsuit aimed at recouping profits from the book. The criminal investigation had focused on whether national security adviser John Bolton had illegally disclosed classified information in his memoir about his time in the Trump White House.
Study Finds That Control of New York's Stages Remains in White Hands
A study by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition found that 100% of artistic directors and 88% of board members at 18 major nonprofit theaters were white. 94% of Broadway producers and 100% of general managers were white. The study's findings extended to the makeup of acting and creative teams and illustrated the lack of diversity within the theatre industry.
Actors' Union and Procedures Aim to Resume Touring Shows
Broadway producers and the union representing stage actors reached an agreement on health protocols that would require members of a travelling company to be fully vaccinated and have no interaction with audience members, among other conditions.
Victoria's Secret Attempting Brand Turnaround
The fashion company brought on board seven women to try to change its image after drawing criticism for its "misogynistic corporate culture that trafficked in sexism, sizeism and ageism."
Officials Remove Tile Viewed as Offensive from Museum-Sponsored Mural
The tile appeared in a mural sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts. It depicted a skull logo from a Marvel comic book character and elements of the "Thin Blue Line" flag intended to honor police officers. Officials of the Detroit suburb where the mural was installed said that the tile "contained imagery that some associate with a rebuke of racial justice."
Racist Mural Puts Tate Galleries in a Bind
Activists are calling for the removal of problematic sections of a work painted on Tate Britain's walls. The mural lines the walls of a restaurant and contains racist and violent imagery showing a "white woman dragging a struggling Black boy by a rope" and the boy tethered by a collar around his neck, running to keep up with a horse-drawn cart in another. The museum says that it cannot alter the mural, since it is an artwork in its care and the building is protected under British heritage laws.
Trainer Bob Baffert Sues New York Racing Over Ban from Entering Horses at Three Tracks
Baffert sued the New York Racing Association for banning him from competition, arguing that the ban will effectively put him out of business in New York State. Baffert was barred from the State's racetracks after his Kentucky Derby winner failed two post-race drug tests. Baffert will appear before racing officials, whose decision he can appeal to the full commission, before there is an outcome on whether he'll be disqualified.
Olympic Runner Shelby Houlihan Found Guilty of Anti-Doping Rule Violation by Court of Arbitration for Sport
A panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) banned the U.S. runner for four years starting January 14, 2021. Houlihan tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. The panel unanimously found that Houlihan failed to establish the source of the prohibited substance, which she argued was the result of ingesting a tainted burrito.
Olivia Moultrie Wins Preliminary Injunction in Fight Against Soccer League's Age Rule
A judge granted the 15-year-old a preliminary injunction in her antitrust lawsuit against the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Moultrie is challenging NWSL's rule requiring players to be at least 18 years old to sign a contract. The injunction prohibits NWSL from enforcing the age rule and Moultrie will be eligible to play once she signs a contract with the league.
Hope Fades for Federal Deal on College Athletes
While a number of name, image, and likeness (NIL) state laws take effect July 1st, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass federal legislation on college sports. A recent Senate hearing further highlighted the rift between Democrats and Republicans on student-athlete rights, with some senators supporting the ability of college athletes to earn money while in school but also pushing to expand the scope of the bill to ensure athletes' rights to health care, for example.
Agent Scott Boras Wants More Transparency from Major League Baseball on Substance Rules
Baseball agent Scott Boras is demanding answers from Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred over the enforcement of a rule that says pitchers can no longer use a foreign substance, like rosin or pine tar, to assist their grip. Players caught violating the policy will automatically receive a 10-game suspension. Boras is calling on MLB to certify a gripping agent/substance and provide guidance to MLB umpires in enforcing the new rule.
Notion in Sport Grows that Nike is Curtailing Its Financial Supports
As track and field athletes observe "a series of cancelled or reduced sponsorship agreements, executive shuffling and internal responses to scandals," many are left wondering where the sport stands with Nike. Though it isn't clear if the moves are connected with a broader strategy, agents, athletes, and executives say that the company's enthusiasm for track and field is waning.
Long Overlooked, Wyomia Tyus's Gesture at the 1968 Olympics Is Part of Rich History of Athlete Protest
The article describes a video of Tyus's brief dance before her 100-meter sprint in Mexico City as "part of Olympic lore," also drawing attention to the dark-colored shorts she wore "distinct from the official white shorts" of her two American teammates. Tyus speaks to The New York Times about what her move meant at the time, shedding light on another example of sporting activism by a Black female athlete.
NASCAR Exploring the Idea of an All-Electric Racing Series
NASCAR is said to be considering an all-electric companion series in the future, with some form of hybrid technology/alternative power model being introduced in the next couple of years.
Utah High School Issues Apology After Girl with Disability is Left Out of Cheer Squad Yearbook Photo
The school's cheerleaders had taken two nearly identical photos, using only the one without the student with disabilities on its yearbook and social media accounts.
European Soccer's Governing Body Reminds Teams of Sponsorship Obligations After Ronaldo Coca-Cola Case
UEFA has reminded teams of their contractual obligations towards tournament sponsors following a press conference in which Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo removed two Coke bottles from the podium and held up a bottle of water and said "Agua". France's Paul Pogba also removed a Heineken beer bottle from his press table a day later. UEFA has not taken any disciplinary action against the players and an executive distinguished between the two situations, saying that there was an understanding that some players could take action for religious reasons (like Pogba).
Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal Withdraw from Wimbledon
Osaka will be taking personal time off but will play in the Tokyo Olympics. Nadal will skip both to allow time for his body to recover.
Crisis of Abuse Grows in International Women's Sports
The sexual abuse scandal in Mali basketball is yet another example of how sports organizations "are failing to curb the mistreatment of women," often at the hands of the officials and coaches that are supposed to protect them.
International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Chief Steps Aside Amid Claims He Ignored Abuse
Hamane Niang, the president of basketball's world governing body, has stepped aside "during an investigation into alleged systemic sexual abuse of women players at his home federation" in Mali, which he led from 1999 to 2007. He denies the allegations. Reports of the investigation say that around 12 coaches and officials are implicated and over 100 players impacted.
Inside the Exhausting World of E-Sports in South Korea
The article describes the extent to which thousands of young South Koreans go to compete in pro e-sports teams. Those wanting to pursue professional gaming careers attend classes at e-sports academies, which serve as their training grounds.
Consumer Groups Support Amendment to Journalism Competition and Preservation Act
A number of consumer advocacy groups, including Public Knowledge, have submitted a letter to the Senate's antitrust subcommittee, supporting an amendment to the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. The letter raises concerns a bill that would give journalism outlets limited antitrust immunity to team up to bargain with big tech companies could implicitly extend copyright protection to links and headlines.
Apple Turned Over Data on Donald McGahn to Justice Department
The Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for Donald McGahn's account information three years ago. McGahn was Trump's White House counsel at the time. Apple notified McGahn of the subpoena last month and had been barred from telling him about it at the time.
Justice Department Will Toughen Rules for Seizing Lawmakers' Data
Attorney General Garland announced the Justice Department will "tighten its rules for when law enforcement officials may seize information about members of Congress and their aides," "amid a backlash to the disclosure of a 2018 subpoena" that forced Apple to disclose account data of Democratic lawmakers and staff.
The New Yorker Union Reaches Deal with Conde Nast After Threatening to Strike
The parent company agreed to a minimum salary of $60,000 by April 2023. It covers employees at three publications, including The New Yorker and Pitchfork.
Hong Kong Police Arrest Pro-Democracy Paper Executives
Police arrested the top editors of Apple Daily and froze its assets in the latest media crackdown under the national security law imposed last year by Beijing.
Slovenia's Prime Minister Takes Aim at Media
The article describes Jansa's early reliance on platforms like Twitter and, more broadly, his government's attitude toward the press. The government recently suspended funding for the country's principal provider of local and national news.
Nicaragua Denies Entry to New York Times Journalist
The move came amid a nationwide crackdown on journalists, dissidents, and civil society groups in the lead-up to the general elections on November 7th. The journalist worked with the newspaper's Mexico City bureau and had his airline ticket cancelled by Nicaraguan authorities.
Zimbabwe Releases Local Reporter Working for the New York Times
The government did not oppose bail for a freelance journalist arrested on charges that he "improperly helped two Times journalists make a reporting trip to the country."
Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare
In a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, concluding that the 18 states and two individuals who brought the case "had not suffered the sort of direct injury that gave them standing to sue." The challengers argued that without the penalty for failing to obtain coverage (which was part of the original law but was eliminated in 2017), the individual mandate could no longer be justified as a tax. The majority decision focused on the issue of standing, finding that the individuals suffered no harm from a toothless provision that urged them to obtain health insurance. The Court sidestepped the larger question of whether the law could stand without the penalty.
Supreme Court Rejects Sentence Reductions for Minor Crack Offenses
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Step Act, the 2018 criminal justice reform law, did not require new sentences for low-level drug offenders. Central to the discussion was a 1986 law that had subjected drug dealers selling crack cocaine to the same sentences as those selling 100 times as much powder cocaine. In her concurring decision, Justice Sotomayor acknowledged the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine and the disproportionate impact it had on Black offenders.
At issue in this case was whether the petitioner, convicted of a specific crack-related offense in 2008, could benefit from the application of the First Step Act, which made some prisoners eligible for reduced sentences and made other 2010 sentencing changes retroactive. The decision clarified that a crack offender is eligible for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act only if convicted of an offense that triggered a mandatory minimum sentence. The petitioner was not entitled to relief.
Supreme Court Supports Catholic Agency in Case on Gay Rights and Foster Care
The unanimous ruling focused on the terms of Philadelphia's contract with foster care agencies, finding that the contract allows city officials to make exceptions. The exception in this case was available for (and ultimately favorable toward) a Catholic social services agency that refused to place children in foster homes of same-sex couples.
Supreme Court Limits Human Rights Suits Against U.S. Corporations
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of two American corporations that had been sued by six citizens of Mali who accused the companies of complicity in child slavery and of profiting from the practice of forced child labor. The majority decision noted that the companies' activities (namely, buying cocoa from the Ivory Coast farms, providing them with technical and financial resources but not operating them) were not sufficiently tied to the asserted abuses.
President Biden's First Two Judicial Picks Are Confirmed with Modest Republican Support
Julien Xavier Neals and Regina Rodriguez were confirmed as district court judges in New Jersey and Colorado, respectively. Both had modest Republican support.
Federal Judge Blocks Biden's Pause of New Gas Leases">Federal Judge Blocks Biden's Pause of New Gas Leases
A federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Biden administration's suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands. In granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Doughty said that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases "lies solely with Congress" as the legislative branch that originally made federal lands available for leasing.
Department of Education Says That Title IX Protections Extend to Transgender Students
In a reversal of a Trump-era position, the department said that discrimination against transgender students is prohibited under the law. The decision is "rooted in a Supreme Court ruling ... that determined that protections in the Civil Rights Act against discrimination in the workplace extended to gay and transgender people."
Biden Signs Bill Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday
June 19th marks the national day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth remembers the day when General Granger informed enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas of their freedom.
White House Unveils Strategy to Combat Domestic Extremism
Shifting focus from foreign terrorism, the plan outlines steps to hire more intelligence analysists, screen government employees for ties to hate groups, improve information-sharing among law enforcement agencies, and investigate long-standing drivers of domestic terrorism.
U.S. Ends Policy Limiting Asylum for Survivors of Violence or Abuse
Marking a break with the previous administration, the Justice Department will permit asylum applications from those with credible fears of domestic abuse or gang violence, impacting tens of thousands of cases moving through immigration courts.
Biden and Putin Joust Even as They Seek to Ease Relations
The article describes President Biden's efforts to forge a working relationship with the Russian leader.
Republican Bills Rattle Disabled Voters
Disabled voters are concerned that recent bills proposing restrictions on voting methods and accommodations will disproportionately impact them and undermine their ability to vote. As an example, a Texas bill that Republicans plan to revive in a special session, allows poll watchers to record videos of voters. Disability rights advocates say that poll watchers will misinterpret legal accommodations as fraud.
Trump Pressed Justice Department on False Election Claims
Emails indicate that Trump pressured acting attorney general Rod Rosenstein to back claims of election fraud that had already been thrown out in court.
Couple Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor Charge in Capitol Attack
The convictions will reveal possible sentencing ranges for groups of defendants charged with offenses stemming from the January 6th Capitol riot.
Albany Session Ends with Challenge to Governor Cuomo
The New York State Legislature passed several progressive initiatives (gun laws, absentee voting, and criminal justice reform), but lawmakers clashed with Governor Cuomo over his "proposal to restructure the leadership of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority," with no agreement reached on the issue.
Colorado Baker Fined for Refusing to Make Cake for Transgender Woman
A state judge found that the baker's refusal to create a cake that symbolized a woman's transition violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. He was fined $500 for the violation. During the trial, Jack Phillips argued that "his Christian beliefs prevented him for creating custom cakes that would 'violate his religious convictions.'"
Missouri the Latest State to Limit Reach of Federal Gun Laws
A new law "threatens a penalty of $50,000 against any local police agency that enforces certain federal gun laws and regulations," which the state considers infringements of Second Amendment rights.
How New York City's Law Department Got Hacked
Hackers used a single employee's login credentials to hack into the Law Department's network, disrupting court proceedings in the process. Multifactor authentication had not been enabled, even though the City began requiring it over two years ago. Officials have not determined the full scope of the attack.
Scholarly Groups Condemn Laws Limiting Teaching on Race
After several states introduced legislation restricting lessons on racism, a coalition of scholarly and educational groups are calling the laws "an infringement on the right of faculty to teach and of students to learn and a broader threat to civic life."
Women and Minorities Underrepresented in Corporate Boardrooms
A multiyear analysis of Fortune 100 and 500 companies has found that little has changed in corporate boardrooms, which continue to be predominantly male and white.
G7 Nations Take Aggressive Climate Action but Hold Back on Coal
G7 leaders failed to set an end date on burning coal, a primary contribution to global warming. They did agree that there would be no international funding for coal projects that "lacked technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions" by next year.
United Nations General Assembly Demands That Myanmar Junta End Coup
In a resolution adopted by the General Assembly, the United Nations body condemned the February coup in Myanmar, emphasized the need to stop the crackdown on opponents, and requested unimpeded humanitarian access.
Three Chinese Astronauts Take Up Posts on Spacecraft
They successfully arrived at China's space station, one of the two populated outposts in orbit and an expected rival to the International Space Station.
New York and California Lift Most Coronavirus Restrictions
The announcements came after both states reported that over 70% of their adult populations have received one dose of the vaccine.
Vaccine Maker Earned Record Profits Despite Millions on Contaminated Doses
Emergent BioSolutions was "awarded a $628 million federal contract with no competitive bidding" and its top executives were rewarded handsomely "while factories sat mostly idle and tens of millions of Covid-19 doses were thrown away."
As Pandemic Recedes, Calls Grow for an Investigative Commission
While bills to create a bipartisan panel have been introduced in both houses of Congress, a leader of the September 11th Commission believes that a nonpartisan effort would have more success in examining the pandemic, including the origins of the virus.