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Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Below, for your browsing convenience, are categories are divided into Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:

Can Nonprofits Survive Trump? For Some, It's Life and Death

Federal funding has been a go-to point for trimming government spending when Republicans have had majority control in Congress, dating back to the 1980s. Programs such as AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund have used government grants to garner private sector investments in urgent issues, such as homelessness, unemployment, mental health. With President Trump's proposed budget, nonprofits are bracing for severe cuts, expecting that government grants are going to dry up in the near future.



Spotify's New Licensing Deal Eases Path to Going Public

Spotify and Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's biggest record company, have agreed to a licensing deal. Analysts use this latest development to forecast the expectation that Spotify will go public in the near future. The deal also puts pressure on other major labels, like Sony and Warner, to follow. The agreement is anticipated to help Spotify achieve its subscriber goals in the coming years, which will also allow Spotify to cut the royalties it pays to Universal.



Using Art to Transcend Prison Walls

The State of California has initiated an art program, bringing improv theater, novels, and songwriting to its 35 adult prisons throughout the state. The programs hire respected artists to teach inmates in various programs in prison, and those programs are now under siege at a time where the political climate does not favor the funding of arts programs. San Quentin inmates have given art to charities and some works of art have been displayed abroad.


Court Clears Takeover of Poland's New World War II Museum

A Polish court ruled that a newly-opened World War II museum in Gdansk, Poland, may merge with a smaller, not-yet-built institution meant to focus solely on the German invasion in 1939. The right-wing government in Poland has publicly said that the museum, as it is now, does not focus enough on the Polish perspective on the war, hinting that the museum may become more nationalistic in the wake of the court's ruling.


At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, A Hushed Departure Reveals Management Culture

With the resignation of Thomas Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), a culture is increasingly being revealed that is both exclusive and insular. Campbell was known to have erudition and elegance, but not experience, at managing an institution with approximately 2,200 employees. He created a new position for Erin Coburn, first chief officer of digital media, but she has since resigned, citing a disruptive relationship between Campbell and a female staff member in Coburn's department. While Campbell remains director of the museum until June, Daniel Weiss, a former president of Haverford College, is the interim chief executive and a leading candidate for the next director. The museum's 101-member board, where many decisions are made in committees, has been filled in recent years with trustees from the business world who have been focused on the Met's financial future. The current president, Mr. Weiss, stated last week that he hopes to instill a "climate of candor, transparency, accountability and mutual respect."



Negotiations Intensified Over New Deal for U.S. Women's Soccer Team, Earning Players Greater (Although Not Equal) Pay

U.S. Soccer representatives sat with several members of the national women's soccer team to negotiate player wages through a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Both sides had met over 20 times this year to sort out the agreement, with the main issue being compensation for the players, which is drastically less than the U.S. Soccer organization pays the national men's soccer team.

On Wednesday morning, the team announced a new CBA with U.S. Soccer, which includes an increase in base pay for the players. The increase could push player incomes to $200,000 or $300,000 in any given year, and more in years with major competitions. The women's union's executive director said that the agreement "changes the equation for the future." However, the consummation of the deal will not stop the federal wage-discrimination complaint that five top women players had filed.



With Contract Fight Over, Women's U.S. Hockey Team's Hard Work Begins

The U.S. Hockey organization reached a 4-year deal with the women's national hockey team. U.S. Hockey created an advisory group to help advance women's hockey both in the U.S. and abroad, but has still come under scrutiny, given that the women have widely been considered as being shortchanged. With the support of other women's teams, like the Austrian women's hockey team, the U.S. women hope to increase the diversity in the U.S. Hockey organization and continue the progress achieved in this agreement.

In a close match, U.S. Women beat Canada in overtime to win the gold medal in the Women's World Championship.


NCAA Lifts Ban After Law is Revoked

The NCAA "reluctantly" lifted its ban on holding championship events in North Carolina after that state's legislative body repealed a law that required transgender people to use bathrooms in public facilities that matched their birth sex. Given the NCAA's boycott of holding events in the state, this is welcome news for cities like Charlotte, where the NCAA regularly held events, as the NCAA's events brought tourism to North Carolina.


Global Federation Says Russian Hackers Accessed Athletes' Medical Records

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the track and field governing body, announced that Russian hackers breached its computer network and potentially accessed athletes' private medical records. The IAAF discovered the attacks, which occurred last year and were orchestrated by a group called Fancy Bear, on February 21st.


Yankee Stadium and Citi Field May Have to Extend Netting to Protect Fans

The New York City Council is proposing legislation requiring its two baseball stadiums, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, to install netting to reach both dugouts. This would be the first time that a legislative body becomes involved in the debate. Rafael Espinal, a City Council member from Brooklyn, is one of the proponents of the legislation and has publicly commented about the necessity of it, given the injuries to fans from foul balls. The Pittsburgh Pirates have taken action, extending the nets in the stadium to 70 feet, and the New York City Council's proposed legislation would extend the netting to the furthest yet: 90 feet.


The National Hockey League Says That Its Players Will Skip the 2018 Winter Olympics, Leaving Players Cold

The National Hockey League (NHL) announced that its players will not attend the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. NHL players have participated in every Olympics since 1998, and many players, like Henrik Lundqvist, have denounced the decision, touting the Olympics as a major competition for the sport. Alex Ovechkin, a star with the Washington Capitals, said that he will represent Russia at the 2018 Olympics, raising the question of whether there will be a conflict between the NHL and its players who do not comply with its policy.

The mood in the locker rooms following the statement was filled with "frustration, disappointment, resentment and even some defiance." Many current players have participated in previous Olympics and have touted the competition, while the upcoming stars will have to wait until 2022 to participate. Reflecting the players' perspective, their union issued a statement calling the NHL's decision "shortsighted."



New York City Will Pay $4 Million to End False Arrest Suit

New York City (NYC) agreed to pay four million dollars to Thabo Sefolosha, an National Basketball Association forward with the Atlanta Hawks. This payment is part of a settlement, which was prompted after five police officers arrested Sefolosha and allegedly used excessive force outside a Manhattan nightclub on April 8, 2015. Sefolosha broke his right fibula, which required surgery and months of rehabilitation, causing him to miss the 2015 playoffs. NYC did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.



Twitter Sues the U.S. Government to Block the Unmasking of Account Critical of Trump

Twitter has sued the federal government to stop the government from revealing who operates the anonymous account known as @ALT_USCIS, which has posted messages critical of the Trump administration and has claimed to have ties to a government agency. Twitter alleged that it cannot be compelled to reveal the identity of whomever is behind a Twitter account, and to force Twitter to do so would have a chilling effect on the speech of accounts like the one at issue.


Facebook Unveils New Ways to Prevent Revenge Porn

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, announced a new tool that can be used if an individual publishes an image that could be a nonconsensual sexual picture from an ex (known sometimes as "revenge porn"). Facebook will recognize the image and alledgedly prevent it from being shared across all of its platforms. This comes after previous lawsuits were brought by victims who had their images shared on social media, and who had sued Facebook for not preventing the dissemination of those intimate images.


Facebook Loses Appeal to Block Bulk Search Warrants

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled 5-1 that Facebook "had no right to ask an appellate court to quash search warrants" that ordered Facebook to turn over information from hundreds of accounts. This decision is the latest development in a saga of tension between the government and private companies that have data, raising issues under the Stored Communications Act. Facebook released a statement expressing disappointment, but was encouraged by the dissenting judge's support of online privacy.


Bill O'Reilly Thrives as Settlements Add Up

Bill O'Reilly, who has worked for Fox News for nearly 20 years and had a number one program in cable news, has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. Agreements with at least five women have resulted in payouts of approximately $13 million, which comes just a year after Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, was accused of sexual harassment and resigned his position. Fox News declined to answer questions about whether O'Reilly had ever been disciplined for his behavior.


Roger Ailes Faces New Sexual Claims and O'Reilly Loses Several Advertisers

Fox News' bad news continues as it relates to Roger Ailes and claims of sexual harassment targeting Bill O'Reilly. Despite the ouster of Ailes last year, a new lawsuit has described unwanted sexual advances by him. Then, amid the news that O'Reilly has settled sexual harassment claims, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai withdrew their ads from his show, "The O'Reilly Factor", even as the program drew record ratings with those supportive of President Donald Trump.

With the accusations against Bill O'Reilly piling up, more than 50 companies pulled their ads from his popular prime time program. The National Organization for Women called for O'Reilly to be fired and that an independent investigation into Fox News' culture should be conducted. The "pile-on culture" of social media has played a role in this effect, as outrage quickly spreads and puts pressure on companies.

Another example of the social media impact occurred this week, when Pepsi released a tone-deaf ad depicting the cola as a solution for civil unrest. While Pepsi took down the ad, and companies have removed ads from Bill O'Reilly's program, many others continue to advertise on Fox News because it draws some of the consistently highest ratings in cable news.

"The O'Reilly Factor" draws nearly four million viewers a night, and earned more than $446 million in advertising between 2014 and 2016.




President Trump Stands Up for Bill O'Reilly, Calls Him a 'Good Person'

Speaking in the Oval Office, President Trump praised Bill O'Reilly as a "good person", and declared, "I don't think Bill did anything wrong." The president has been known to be a fan of Fox News, giving interviews to its hosts and having private phone calls with the network's chairman, Rupert Murdoch. It is unusual for a sitting president to comment on sexual harassment allegations.


Russia Bans a Not-So-Manly Image of Putin

A Russian court held that a doctored image of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin dressed in drag is "extremist", and dissemination of it could result in a fine of $53 or 15 days of administrative detention. The image is seen as an attack on the hypermasculinity that Putin embraces, and its banning reflects a trend of quashing expression and prolonging homophobia in Russia.


Nivea Pulls 'White is Purity' Ad After Online Uproar

Skincare brand Nivea released an ad on Facebook featuring the phrase "White is purity," generating controversy throughout social media. Nivea has since pulled the ad and apologized, emphasizing that diversity "and equal opportunity are crucial values of Nivea." This comes at a time where social media reactions have shaped how companies market their products, and missteps are highlighted and spread throughout social media platforms.


E!, Red Carpet Mainstay, Buys the People's Choice Awards

E!, a network known for its reality television shows like "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," has acquired the People's Choice Awards from Procter & Gamble. The cable channel's acquisition of the show comes as a surprise, as its correspondents usually stalked the red carpet to interview celebrities and review celebrities' fashion selections. However, it comes at a time when the network's viewership has been dropping and cable subscribers have been dwindling.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 8, 2017 6:07 PM.

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