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Week in Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

Gorsuch Rejects Doubts Over "Rule of Law Today"

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch gave his first public remarks at Harvard University's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. This was his first public statement since his appointment to the Supreme Court by President Trump. During the Harvard talk with the president of the National Constitution Center, Jeffrey Rosen, Judge Gorsuch commented, "There is a lot of cynicism about government and the rule of law today, but I don't share it." Without mentioning a specific case, he made this statement the day after President Trump attacked the courts for ruling against his travel ban. When asked about the burdens of what Justices work through every day, he responded, "Somebody's got to run the zoo."


National Security Agency Contractor Accused of Leak Left a Trail of Clues

Reality Leigh Winner, a contractor at the National Security Agency's Georgia eavesdropping center, was arrested for leaking a top secret report to The Intercept, a national security news outlet. She was charged with violating the Espionage Act.
The FBI discovered from a trail of clues that Winner printed a copy of a May 5th report detailing hacking by a Russian military intelligence agency called GRU. The clues include a visible crease mark on the file scanned by The Intercept and the discovery that she had used a work computer to print the report, with the most notable being that color printers leave almost unnoticeable microdots that identify the serial number of the printer. Ms. Winner is one of 1.3 million people with top secret security clearance. She now represents the first criminal leak case of the Trump era.


Canadian Pirate Joe's Last Booty Is Sold

A settlement was reached in the Trader Joe's 2013 lawsuit against a Canadian-based reseller, Pirate Joe's, who was an unauthorized importer of Trader Joe's products for over five years. Using disguises to buy in bulk at Trader Joe's in Seattle, Mike Hallatt, founder of Pirate Joe's, would sell the goods at inflated prices in Vancouver, which is only three hours away. Trader Joe's "filed suit against Mr. Hallatt for trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false advertising." Due to Trader Joe's having no stores in Canada and failing to prove that Pirate Joe's had affected its business, which includes 450 stores across the U.S., a Washington Federal District Court ruled that the violations occurred in Canada. Trader Joe's appealed, and the case was sent back to the lower court for a November trial. The two companies reached a settlement this week. With mounting legal fees for a protracted battle and a decreasing ability to purchase goods undetected, Pirate Joe's closed its doors on June 8th.


New York Right of Publicity Bill

The New York Assembly introduced a right of publicity bill last week. The bill changes a "right of privacy" into a "right of publicity." It amends New York's right of publicity bill "to make it descendible", and expands liability uses for people's identities, among other changes. Specifically, the bill "establishes the right of publicity for both living and deceased individuals; provides that an individual's name, voice, signature and likeness is the personal property of the individual and is freely transferable and descendible; provides for the registration with the department of state of such rights of a deceased individual; and establishes a 1-year statute of limitations for commencing a cause of action for the violation of such right." There is no Senate version of the bill as of yet.


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


Afrobeat Brings Profit, Mostly for the Pirates

Nigerian music is on the rise; however, many Nigerian artists are plagued with the sting of piracy. Actual record stores are rare even in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. Music fans flock to makeshift markets selling illegal downloads where thousands of CDs are burned daily. Members of Nigeria's music industry are trying to put a stop to the piracy by trying to change the perception about the use of music. According to the Copyright Society of Nigeria, "Music is everywhere, but they don't know music is proprietary." The organization has tried to explain copyright law to local businesses, staged protests, hosted conferences, and even filed lawsuits. It is currently battling the nation's major mobile phone company, MTN, for paying artists unfairly to use snippets of their songs in ringbacks. MTN officials acknowledge that it is renegotiating more favorable artist deals.


Bared Breast Enthralls Future Czar, and Stokes a Culture War

The trailer of the Russian film "Matilda" ignited a firestorm with its scene depicting the young ballerina, Matilda Kshesinskaya, having a wardrobe malfunction during a performance where her left breast was exposed. The film, which is not due to be released until October, is about the famed dancer's life, and includes the torrid affair with Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich in 1890. Several have denounced the film without seeing it, including Bishop Tikhon, reputed to be Putin's personal confessor, Natalia Poklonskaya, a prosecutor from Crimea elected to the State Duma, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Poklonskaya commissioned a four-person panel that included religious studies, literature, and psychology specialists to review the film. In a 40-page report, the panel denounced the film and called the affair a myth, because Matilda was too "ugly" to have attracted Nicholas' attention, seemingly overlooking the well-documented affair in state archives, and notwithstanding the attractiveness of the actress portraying Matilda. The panel also damned Lars Eidinger, the German actor playing Nicholas, as a porn star because he appears naked in an entirely different film. The Russian Orthodox Church's main objection with the movie is that "it is an insult to the faithful," and a crime in Russia, as Czar Nicholas II and his wife were canonized in 2000. According to Poklonskaya, there have been threats by extremists to torch theaters that show the film. The Ministry of Culture and Putin's spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, along with other senior officials, have endorsed Aleksei Uchitel, the film's director, and are waiting to see the finished film before judging it. In addition, a group of prominent filmmakers signed an open letter to the government in support of the film.


Recap of Cosby Trial Thus Far

Bill Cosby, the icon once regarded in high esteem as a television legend and national father figure, begins his trial for sexual assault. Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 when she was an employee at Temple University and informally mentored by Cosby. The trial, held in Norristown, PA, and presided over by Judge Steven T. O'Neill, is expected to last about two weeks. Prosecutors presented Constand's testimony, a second woman's allegations of a 1996 assault by Cosby, and Cosby's 2005 deposition acknowledging his use of quaaludes during his sexual exploits. He has stated that he does not plan to testify. It is expected that his defense team will seek to undermine Constand's and the second woman's testimony. Whether or not the jury finds Constand's testimony credible is critical. The Montgomery county district attorney is Kevin R. Steele. Cosby is represented by Brian J. McMonagle of Philadelphia. Judge O'Neill has already ruled that the jury will not hear from the 40+ women who have made similar accusations against Cosby, nor about the 2005 civil lawsuit brought by Constand against Cosby or the before trial settlement in that case. It is likely that both sides will produce character and expert witnesses, including drug experts and psychologists. It is unconfirmed whether his wife, Camille Cosby, will attend. The jurors are from the Pittsburgh area, and include two African-Americans and 10 Whites, with seven men and five women. They will be sequestered in Norristown during the trial.

Andrea Constand, the leading witness, took the stand for nearly nine hours over a two-day period. Constand, a former basketball star at Temple University, told the jury that in 2004, Mr. Cosby invited her to his Philadelphia home where he gave her three blue pills with wine and then sexually assaulted her. Her trial testimony is her first public account of the incident. Cosby is accused of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, and is facing 10-year prison terms for each count. Cosby's defense attorney raised the inconsistencies in Constand's statements over the 12-year period, including how much time they spent together, the number of times that she telephoned Cosby, and how she stayed in touch after the incident. The prosecution also presented Kelly Johnson, who testified to a similar encounter with Cosby in 1996.

Kelly Johnson, a second woman accusing Cosby of sexual assault, was the opening witness for the prosecution. She testified about a 1996 incident at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, where she says that Cosby gave her a large white pill that made her pass out, and when she awakened, he was performing sexual acts on her. Her account parallels Constand's testimony of the 2005 incident at trial.

During the fourth day of trial, parts of a decade-old deposition by Cosby were read into the record. Jurors heard about the beginnings of wooing by Cosby in pursuit of a romantic relationship, further explaining "romance in terms of steps that will lead to some kind of permission or no permission." Judge O'Neill excluded some parts of the deposition after a long fight by Cosby's lawyers to keep the entire deposition from being introduced. Additional prosecution witnesses, a neighbor to Constand and Sgt. Richard Schaffer of the Cheltenham Township Police Department, corroborated Constand's testimony. Speculation continues on whether Camille Cosby will accompany her husband at any time during the trial. She has been noticeably absent.






"Monday Night Football" Is Reviving a Rowdy Song

Hank Williams Jr.'s song, "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night," and its catchphrase "Are You Ready for Some Football?" will be back on "Monday Night Football". The song was dropped by ESPN in 2011, after Mr. Williams' appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Fox News Channel, where he likened then President Obama and Vice President Biden to the "Three Stooges" and faulted President Obama and Speaker John Boehner for playing golf together. According to an ESPN spokesperson, fans told ESPN that it missed the Williams' song and wanted it back.


Concord Bicycle Music Buying Imagem Music

The definition of "indie label" just got bigger. Concord Bicycle Music, once an independent label focused on adult pop with a roster including Paul Simon and James Taylor, has become truly a conglomerate with holdings in Latin, hard rock, children's music and now, with the acquisition of Imagem Music Group, will include theatrical and classical music. Imagem is one of the largest music publishers, with a catalog of over 250,000 compositions, including the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Terms of the acquisition are undisclosed. However, it is speculated that the asking price is less than the $650 million price tag offered by its owner three years ago. With this deal, Concord Bicycle will almost double to $1 billion and increase its overhead by growing to approximately 350 employees. Concord Bicycle's Chief Executive Officer projects that the combined revenue of Concord Bicycle with Imagem will be $290 million this year.



Forever 21 & Urban Outfitters Are Facing A Lawsuit Over Tupac T-Shirts

Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters once again are embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Photographer Danny Clinch filed a federal suit in New York, claiming that his 1993 photos of Tupac Shakur were used on clothing without his permission. The defendants include the shirt manufacturer and two companies who licensed the shirts and Tupac merchandise: Bioworld Merchandising, Planet Productions LLC, and Amaru/AWA Merchandising, Inc. Clinch is seeking the prohibition of future use of his images, destruction of the remaining shirts, and $600,000 in damages. Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters have a litany of copyright infringement accusations, including by the Navajo Nation, a case which resulted in a settlement. The use of Frank Ocean's specially designed typeface, although unprotected by intellectual property law, is another example of Forever 21's infringing uses.



Former Contractor Sues Dale Chihuly, Claiming He Helped Create Artwork

Michael Moi, a former contract handyman, filed suit against glass artist Dale Chihuly, the latter of whom is known for large public exhibitions of blown painted glass, and whose works are in more than 200 museums across the globe (including a display of glass art currently showing on the New York Botanical Garden). Moi claims that he is a co-author of certain works and owns an interest in them for participating in "myriad clandestine painting sessions" at the Chihuly Studio. Claiming that Chihuly used a group of unpaid assistants to create works without any attribution, Moi maintains that Chihuly promised him future compensation that never materialized. Chihuly counterclaimed, stating that he has long used assistants to help him; however, Moi was not one of them, as he was only a handyman. The countersuit goes on in great detail, explaining that Moi seeks only to exploit Chihuly who suffers from bipolar disorder, and that Moi has threatened to expose Chihuly unless he iss paid $21 million for his silence. It's common practice for an artist to employ assistants. According to the Moi lawsuit, Moi, by assisting a mutual friend and Chihuly's assistant Billy O'Neil played a huge role in the creative process of many pieces, including pouring paint and eventually working on plexiglass paintings. At one point, Chihuly no longer participated in the process, and only signed the finished pieces. In 2015, O'Neil was fired, and Moi's contact with the studio tapered off. According to Moi, he was never paid, as he was neither an employee, nor had he signed a work-for-hire agreement. However, he was promised that "at some point Mr. Chihuly would take care of him." Moi took that to mean that he would share in the profits of the works they had created and would be acknowledged.


A Wounded Tribe Weighs a Sculpture's Fate

Sam Durant's sculpture Scaffold was created in 2012 to call attention to "the racial dimension of the criminal justice system in the United States." The wood and steel erection of gallows, installed by the Walker Art Center in its renovated public sculpture garden, brings to light the execution of abolitionist John Brown, the Lincoln conspirators, and 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota. The Dakota people denounced the piece as insensitive to what they recall as mass genocide. After mediation, Durant acknowledged his ignorance about the meaning of the Mankato gallows to the Dakota people by transferring his intellectual property rights of the sculpture to the Dakotas. The Dakota traditional and spiritual leaders, after dismantling Scaffold over a four-day ceremony, are now discussing whether the wood fragments should be burned. There is concern in the arts community that burning the sculpture would be considered an act of censorship.


A Hamptons Art Fair is Canceled (Again)

Art Hamptons February cancellation of its 2017 season leaves only one art fair standing in the region: Market Art + Design. Citing market conditions such as buyer fatigue, rising operational costs, and local regulatory restrictions, Nick Korniloff, Art Southamptons' art director, stated that a larger art fair, which was needed after 5 years of operations, could not be supported in the crowded Hamptons market.


J. Crew Chief Out After Failing to End Decline

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, nicknamed the "Merchant Prince", will step aside as Chief Executive of J. Crew, an office he has held since 2003 after an 18-year career at Gap. A spokesperson for J. Crew stated that Drexler has been succession planning for over a year. His departure comes after 11 consecutive quarters of decline in same-store sales. He will be succeeded by James Brett, President of the home furnishings brand West Elm. Brett is credited for turning West Elm into a must have for millennials. Drexler stated that it is his responsibility as head of the company to focus on the future leadership of its strategic plan. His departure as Chief Executive signals the end of an era. Fashion retailers struggle to adapt to changing consumer buying habits. Analysts speculate that J. Crew could join the ranks of several other retailers who filed for bankruptcy, including Payless ShoeSource, The Limited, BCBG Max Azria, and Wet Seal.


China Rejects U.S. Call to Free Activists at Factory Making Trump Shoes

Three labor activists from an activist group called China Labor Watch who were investigating the conditions at Huajian International factories were detained. Huajian manufactures footwear for a number of brands, including Ivanka Trump. Labor experts stated that this is the first time there has been a detention of undercover labor activists investigating the supply chains of Western companies. According to China Labor Watch, this is the first time in its 17-year history that any of its investigators have been detained. The United States called for their release. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it was an internal Chinese matter.



Ex-Penn State Officials Get Jail Terms in Sandusky Case

The three Penn State officials convicted in the Sandusky child molestation scandal were sentenced by Judge John Boccabella of Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. Spanier, the former President of Penn State, was found guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to 4 to 12 months' confinement, including a mandatory two months' actual jail time, plus a $7,500 fine. Curley, the former Athletic Director, and Mr. Schultz, the former Senior Vice President, pleaded guilty to related charges. Curly received 7 to 23 months' confinement, including a mandatory three months in jail, plus a $5,000 fine. Schultz was sentenced to 6 to 23 months' confinement, including two months' jail time, plus a $5,000 fine. All received two years' probation. Jerry Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.


Oakley Rejects Plea Bargain and Demands Day in Court

Charles Oakley, former Knicks star who was ousted from Madison Square Garden on February 8th after a confrontation with Knicks owner James Dolan, would like his day in court. Rejecting a plea offer from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Oakley stated that he wanted to have a public airing of the evidence at trial. After passing on a prosecutor's offer to dismiss Oakley's charges of misdemeanor assault, trespassing, and harassment if he stayed out of trouble for six months, a trial date was set for August 4th.


An Ugly Word. A Catalyst for Change

Kevin Pillar, the Toronto Blue Jays player who shouted an antigay slur during a game, is using the ugly four letter word as a catalyst for sensitivity of gay pride. Last month while playing against the Atlanta Braves, Pillar shouted the 4-letter word at reliever Jason Motte after latter struck out the former. With almost immediate condemnation on social media, Pillar was suspended for two games, participated in public events celebrating gay pride, and was mandated to spend a day in sensitivity training. The money he lost from his suspension was donated to You Can Play and Pflag. At one public event, the Blue Jays commemorated the start of Pride Month by having an officer of Pride Toronto throw out the first pitch to Pillar. Pillar has apologized to the LGBT community and posted an apology on Twitter. He hopes that people learn to be mindful of what they say.


Lawsuit by Boogaard's Parents Is Dismissed

Derek Boogaard, who played for the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers hockey teams, died from an accidental overdose of pain medications and alcohol. His parents brought a wrongful death suit against the National Hockey League (NHL) for their son's brain damage and addiction to prescription drugs. They argued that the NHL was negligent, as it knew or should have known that their son was not complying with the treatment from team physicians, dentists, trainers, and staff. U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman dismissed the suit in a 20-page opinion, stating that Boogaard's parents did not prove negligence.


Doctor in Running Project Is Focus of Doping Inquiry

Dr. Jeffrey Stuart Brown, an endocrinologist to the Nike Oregon Project, was issued an official notice of rules violations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (the Agency). The Nike Oregon Project develops a team of elite athletes financed by Nike "to make American distance running relevant again on the international stage." It is led by Alberto Salazar, who trains some of the top track athletes in the world. The Agency has been pursuing the elite team with a broad investigation since last year, when it sought to compel a deposition from Brown. The Agency was unsuccessful in that effort. This week's official notice is the first signal that that it is seeking sanctions. Upon this notice, "the recipient has an opportunity to respond in writing. Then the case goes to a review board, which acts as a grand jury. If charges are made, the recipient has 10 days to accept or contest them in arbitration. Sanctions would be issued after that," reported the New York Times. Brown vowed to defend himself against any allegations.


Brothers Competed Despite Investigation

Steven Lopez, a 38-year-old three-time Olympic medalist, and his brother Jean Lopez, a 43-year-old veteran coach, were allowed to compete in the Rio Olympics despite being under investigation for sexual misconduct. According to USA Today, USA Taekwondo had been investigating sexual assault allegations from multiple women against the brothers. However, after consulting with the U.S. Olympic Committee, it stopped the investigation so that the Lopez brothers could compete. The investigating lawyer, Donald Alperstein, notified the FBI.



Summer Games Grow, Adding Mixed-Gender Events

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced 15 new events that will be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics. Some of the events will be mixed-gender relays, including a swimming 4x100 mixed medley relay, a track 4x400 mixed meter race, archery and judo mixed-teams, and table tennis mixed doubles. Other new events in swimming include an 800-meter freestyle for men and 1,500-meter freestyle for women. In addition, freestyle BMX cycling, a two-person cycling race, fencing team events, and 3-on-3 basketball for men and women are also new. These, plus the events added last year, such as karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and baseball/softball, promise to make the 2020 Tokyo games "more youthful, more urban and will include more women," according to Thomas Bach, IOC Committee Chair.


A Jilted Paris Has Pined for the Olympics but the Long Wait May End in 2024

Paris, who lost bids to host the Summer Olympics in 2008 to Beijing and in 2012 to London, looks forward to the 2024 Games. The IOC is scheduled to decide the 2024 Games and possibly the 2028 Games this week. Tony Estanguet, Co-President of the Paris bid, is hopeful that Paris will be designated one of the Olympic games. He competes with Los Angeles, who has bid for both games. It is anticipated that the IOC will designate both games with possibly 2024 to Paris and 2028 to Los Angeles.


Win-Win: Let Paris and Los Angeles Play Host

The IOC Executive Board approved a proposal to award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games concurrently. The proposal is expected to be approved by the full committee on July 11th and 12th, and if so, the bids will be awarded by a final vote in September. Paris and Los Angeles, the only cities bidding to host the Games, are now poised to host an Olympic Game in the next decade. Recently, several cities withdrew their bids to host the Olympics, including Rome, Hamburg, Budapest, and Boston, citing financial concerns and doubts over the long-term value. 2024 would be ideal for Paris, as it coincides with the centenary of the last Games it held. Los Angeles positioned itself as ready to host in 2024, yet "publicly expressing more openness" to host the 2028 Games. The IOC Executive Board's decision establishes the probability of a win-win for both for Paris and Los Angeles.



Trial to Decide if ABC News Defamed Meat Processor with Report on Pink Slime

Beef Products Inc. produces lean, finely textured beef, an ingredient once popular in ground beef back in the 1990s. The beef is produced by "placing trimmings in centrifuges to separate lean meat from fat. The lean meat is then treated with ammonia to remove pathogens." The product was used by McDonald's, Burger King, schools districts, and supermarkets throughout the U.S. Although approved by the Agriculture Department in 1993, a former scientist of the Department, Gerald Zirnstein, questioned the product in 2002, calling it "pink slime". Concerns about the product continued to mount, with the New York Times winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for its report on food safety, which included concerns about Beef Products' process and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver stating that the process showed "no respect for food" on his show in 2011. Before ABC News reported on the pink slime in 2012, the top fast food chains had committed to eliminating the ingredient from their foods. Beef Products sued ABC for defamation, "arguing that the news segment and subsequent reports 'were rife with inaccuracies...and had a devastating backlash' on its bottom line." It is seeking $1.9 billion in damages, claiming that ABC acted "with reckless disregard" for the truth by "falsely suggesting that the product was 'pink slime'." ABC counters that its reporters had not acted with actual malice, which is the central question of the case. The upcoming trial is expected to last eight weeks.


Kathy Griffin Is Under Investigations for Photo

Kathy Griffin's online photo of a seemingly decapitated President Trump ignited a Secret Service investigation. According to her attorney, Dmitry Gorin, the investigation should not have been initiated; however, they will cooperate fully. He stated that Griffin had exercised her First Amendment rights. The Secret Service routinely investigates threatening statements that could bring harm to the President.


Telemarketers Fight to Get Into Phones Without Ringing

Frank Kemp, a video editor in Dover, Delaware, experienced a new technology called ringless voicemail, which allows a telemarketer to leave a voicemail message without the phone ringing and without the recipient's consent. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received a petition from All About the Message, the ringless voicemail provider, who would like to avoid regulation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. Running on technology developed by Stratics Networks, the company would like the FCC to rule that its voicemail messages are not actual calls, and are therefore exempt from the consumer protection laws that prohibit calling cellular phones with automated dialing and artificial or prerecorded messages without consent. The public comment period is open. The National Consumer Law Center, which represents over 12 consumer groups, drafted a comment letter to the FCC. According to its senior counsel, Margot Freeman Saunders, if the ringless voicemail messages go unregulated, "debt collectors could potentially hijack a consumer's voicemail with collection messages. And, consumers will have no way to limit, control or stop these messages." All About the Message recently settled a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by a consumer who received repeated messages from an auto dealer who is one of All About the Message's customers. Should the FCC rule against All About the Message, the company would like a waiver to relieve the company from any liability and "potentially substantial damages" to be retroactive for voicemails already delivered.


Dismissed Breitbart Editor Blames Anti-Muslim Tweets

Katie McHugh, a Breitbart News editor, claims that she was fired due to her anti-Muslim tweets. According to McHugh, it was her tweet after the London attacks that caused her dismissal. She tweeted that "there would be no attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn't live there." Breitbart, known for being far right, has often defended writers who have been criticized from the left. It declined to provide a comment on McHugh's dismissal.


Journalists Fear Affects of an Arrest

The arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, the intelligence contractor charged with leaking top-secret documents, raised concerns among journalists. Winner was arrested within hours after the publication of an intelligence report by The Intercept, an online news outlet known for its expertise in operational security in journalism. Typically, the measures taken to protect confidential informers by news organizations include establishing secure channels for sensitive news tips and documents. Oddly, The Intercept did not use the basic tenets. According to a statement from The Intercept, the FBI's account of how it came to arrest Winner should be met with skepticism. Another concern is scaring potential informants. The tweet, "If you leak, you will be caught," by Trump confidant Corey Lewandowski is sure to have a chilling effect on potential sources.


China's Censors Target Celebrity News

China's top online regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, held a meeting at the Beijing bureau's office with China's leading Internet companies. The regulator called for the companies to "actively promote socialist core values" and create a "healthy, uplifting environment for mainstream opinion." Since that meeting, many sites have shut down, particularly celebrity gossip sites, now considered a threat to public order (including Tencent, Baidu, and Jinri Toutiao). One closed site is affiliated with Harper's Bazaar. David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project, stated: "It's no longer enough for media content to avoid the negative. It must be adequately positive." The Cyberspace Administration's new cyberspace law and regulations that took effect this week require that "all online publishers including websites, apps, blogs and social media accounts must obtain permits from the authorities in order to publish news or news commentaries." The China Media Project, cautioning that the regulations could dramatic impact on the broader online space, will monitor the regulations' effects.


Charges in Threats to Lawyers Suing Fox

Joseph D. Amico, a 46-year-old repairman, threatened to blow up the Fifth Avenue office of New York law firm Wigdor LLP and shoot its partners for suing Fox News. Representing 11 African-American employees in an anti-discrimination suit, the firm is suing Fox News. Amico made the threatening calls to the firm, apparently disturbed by an earlier press conference held by the firm with regard to the class-action suit. Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne M. Christenson appeared in the press conference with the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges that Fox News executives tolerated "abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination in the workplace", but took no action against it. Apparently infuriated by the press conference, Amico took to the phones, calling Wigdor and threatening to kill him and his family for representing the Black employees. The police were able to track down Amico via phone records, locating him in Nevada. In an attempt to arrest Amico at his house, he barricaded himself inside and SWAT was called in. After a five hour standoff, SWAT was able to retrieve Amico from his attic. Amico is represented by Todd Spodek, who stated that "words can be misinterpreted", and that he will fight the charges.


Maher Apologizes for Use of Racial Slur on "Real Time"

Bill Maher publicly apologized for his use of a racial slur during his HBO late night show "Real Time", that aired on June 2nd. His racial epithet, using the N-word while referring to house slaves, was made during an interview with Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. He expressed his regret in a written statement, stating, "the word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry." HBO also issued an apology, calling the joke "completely inexcusable." The call for his removal was almost immediate on social media, while some commentators expressed that his remarks were distasteful but did not rise to a firing offense. Others have questioned why Senator Sasse did not interject when Maher made the comment. Senator Sasse reflected on Twitter that he wished he had.


CNN Severs Its Ties With a Host After His Vulgar Criticism of Trump

Reza Aslan, host of Believer, a show on global religion, was cut from CNN where it had aired weekly since earlier this year. The removal of the show stems from remarks Aslan made on Twitter regarding President Trump after the terrorist attack at the London Bridge. In his tweet, Aslan, along with calling the President "an embarrassment to humankind", used profanity to compare him "to a piece of excrement." CNN moved swiftly to sever ties, making it the second time in less than two weeks that the network removed an on-air talent due to political commentary. Recently, the comedian Kathy Griffin was released from hosting its New Year's Eve program after posting a photograph of a fake severed head of President Trump. Its parent company, Time Warner, is still dealing with the effects of Bill Maher's racial slur on his HBO show Real Time.


MSNBC Surges to an Unfamiliar Spot: No.1

MSNBC, the cable news channel often stereotyped as the liberal news channel, reached No. 1 in prime-time cable news. Up 118% from last year, it garnered the highest viewership on prime-time weeknights for the coveted 25 to 54 age demographic, largely bolstered by the Rachel Maddow Show. The last time MSNBC was No. 1 in this category was 17 years ago, when Bill Clinton was president. According to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, who joined in 2015, the investment in straight-news reporting had allowed the channel to compete during last year's presidential race, leading viewers to feel more comfortable turning to MSNBC for breaking news.


Pandora Gets New Partner in Sirius XM

Pandora, one of the earliest providers of free Internet radio service, will be receiving an infusion of cash from its new partner Sirius XM, the satellite radio provider, to the tune of $480 million. The investment comes at a much needed time, as Pandora has been hemorrhaging, losing $343 million last year. Streaming music providers are facing the same obstacle because of the extreme expense to acquire music rights and marketing. Pandora's Internet radio ad revenue, although a respectable $1 billion annually, is not enough to compete with Apple and Spotify's pick any song on-demand services. Pandora countered with its own premium on-demand service. However, it needs financial support to bolster the new product. Sirius XM's deal will provide the much needed cash for a "company that has never reported an annual profit". As part of the deal, Sirius XM will receive three Board seats and a 19% stake in the company. Both companies will work together on future streaming opportunities in mobile and in cars. According to Sirius XM's Chief Executive, James E. Meyer: "This strategic investment in Pandora represents a unique opportunity for Sirius XM to create value for its stockholders by investing in the leader in the ad-supported digital radio business, a space where Sirius XM does not play today." Having made several missteps, such as purchasing Ticketfly for $335 million (taking a $135 million loss with its sell to Eventbrite for $200 million), and replacing its backer, KKR, at a loss of $22.5 million, hopefully its new partner will help Pandora navigate a highly complex business environment.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 11, 2017 8:20 PM.

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