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Week in Review

By Anna Stowe DeNicola

Varsity Brands v. Star Athletica Ends in a Settlement... With a Twist

A federal judge let Varsity Brands drop its lawsuit against Star Athletica, who it had accused of violating copyright by illegally copying elements of its designs. The Supreme Court in March ruled that "conceptually separable" design elements were copyrightable. The twist here is that Star Athletica, the defendant in the case, wanted to continue litigating the case. Star Athletica was highly critical of the decision, which was negotiated between Varsity Brands and Star Athletica's insurance company.

https://www.law360.com/ip/articles/953048/cheerleader-uniform-ip-case-ends-with-unusual-settlement?nl_pk=6f0d614e-0db2-4790-97ae-b486a25b66a5&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ip

More Law Schools Move to Accept the GRE in Attempt to Boost Admissions

In an attempt to boost enrollment, two more law schools joined the ranks of those that have changed admissions requirements to make the application process easier. Along with Harvard law and the University of Arizona, Georgetown and Northwestern now have changed admissions criteria to accept the GRE instead of the LSAT. These schools hope the change will encourage a more diverse student body, making it easier for students in the traditional STEM fields (which only require the GRE for graduate admissions) to apply to law school. These law schools have each done comparative studies that have shown that GRE scores are comparative predictors of success in law school. The LSAT has long been the single admissions exam accepted by law schools. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC, creator of the LSAT) is highly critical of this shift, warning that the GRE doesn't test for certain critical predictors of success in law school - analytic and logical reasoning. LSAC announced some changes in the administration of the exam, and it is now offering it six times a year, while removing the limit for the number of times someone can sit for the exam. It also is rolling out a free online exam prep course.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/business/dealbook/law-school-gre.html

Texas Transgender Bathroom Bill on its Last Legs

The controversial "bathroom bill" currently in front of the Texas House appears to be faltering - after a strong effort by Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss, gay rights and business groups oppose the legislation. The bill passed a Senate vote, and would require transgender individuals to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificates or other state-issued ID. The driver of the opposition is big business - actively arguing that the bill would chill business opportunities in Texas. Among those in opposition are IBM, Amazon, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Capital One, Ben & Jerry's, Facebook, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. They are joined by another 650 businesses. North Carolina recently enacted a similar law, and the fallout was wide. The state reported millions of dollars in economic losses, due to boycotts and cancellations of sporting events and concerts. A study in Texas projected billions of dollars in losses, were a similar bill to pass the House vote.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/us/time-is-running-out-on-texas-bathroom-bill.html

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media.

ENTERTAINMENT

Lawsuit Against Taylor Swift Dismissed; Countersuit for Assault and Battery Moves Forward

A federal judge in Denver dismissed DJ David Mueller's claim against Taylor Swift, which stated that Swift falsely accused him of groping her, leading to his termination from radio station KYGO. After four days of testimony, the judge ruled that Mueller presented insufficient evidence that Swift "acted improperly when she reported an assault she truly believed happened." Swift accused Mueller of assault and battery, after an incident where. Mueller allegedly grabbed her underneath her skirt during a photo op at the radio station where he worked. The court heard testimony from Mueller, Swift, Swift's mother, and Mueller's then-girlfriend. On the stand, Mueller stated that he thought he was touching her ribs, and strongly denied groping the star. Andrea Swift, Swift's mother and manager, gave an emotional account of the incident. Swift also gave strong testimony and refused to bend to the line of questioning presented by Mueller's counsel. Swift delivered multiple one-liners on the stand that have been widely shared. Eight jurors (6 women, 2 men) will return to listen to testimony on the remaining claims. Swift's legal team said that it will not present any additional witnesses, but rely on testimony already given to support her case.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/arts/judge-dismisses-taylor-swift-from-groping-case-brought-by-dj.html?action=click&contentCollection=arts®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/arts/music/radio-host-testifies-i-did-not-grope-taylor-swift.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/arts/music/taylor-swifts-mother-confronts-man-she-says-groped-the-star.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/arts/taylor-swift-mueller-groping.html

Academy Announces New President

Cinematographer John Bailey was named the new president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy). Bailey follows the tenure of Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who served four consecutive one-year terms. While largely considered a ceremonial role, the incoming president has some large PR challenges ahead. The Academy's movie museum is under construction, but a significant portion of the funds have yet to be raised, Academy Awards ratings are down, and race and gender issues loom in the industry, all of which Bailey will have to address. Bailey's partner will be Dawn Hudson, chief executive of the Academy. Hudson has been with the Academy for several years and has a contract through 2020. Bailey was seen as an underdog for the post - and many "below the line" industry personnel are thrilled by his election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/business/media/academy-president-john-bailey-cinematographer.html

Disney Announces Upcoming Launch of Dual Streaming Services

Disney this week announced a plan to launch two streaming services over the next two years. One of the services will center on sports programming from ESPN, and the other will center on Disney and Pixar movies and other Disney content (it is undecided whether Lucasfilm and Marvel content will be included). Both platforms will be powered by Bam-Tech, the company that handles streaming services for HBO and various baseball teams. Disney recently exercised a $1.5 billion option to increase its ownership of Bam-Tech to a 42% share, up from the 33% stake it purchased a year ago. The ESPN service will launch in 2018, followed by the Disney/Pixar service in 2019. Disney terminated its contract with Netflix for streaming of its content (although the content will remain available on Netflix for a period of time). Disney is late to the game - but this bold move shows a commitment by the company to keep its programming relevant and accessible to consumers. The announcement has rocked the industry. With Disney now at the table, consumer consumption of television and movie content has the distinct possibility of shifting from a cable network bundle model to streaming services. Industry watchdogs wondered whether consumers will continue to embrace streaming subscriptions, or become frustrated as they are forced to "cobble together" various streaming services in order to access the content they want. While Netflix stocks dipped following the announcement, Disney's new endeavor hardly signals its demise. Netflix has been adding a significant amount of self-produced content, with plans to release as many as 50 movies a year.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/business/media/with-disneys-move-to-streaming-a-new-era-begins.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/media/disney-streaming-service.html

Comedy Streaming Service Announces Cancellation

Comedy streaming service Seeso announced that it will shut down later this year. The service is part of the NBC family, and featured shows such as "Saturday Night Live", "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon", and also included original programming with several prominent comedians. Leadership changes and layoffs lead to the inability to maintain a steady subscriber base.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/arts/television/seeso-comedy-streaming-service-will-shut-down.html

ARTS

Independent Concert Producer Puts Artist Needs at the Forefront

In the concert production world, large conglomerates such as Live Nation and AEG dominated the touring and concert presentation scene for years. The 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster further pushed smaller, independent promoters aside. In Washington, however, Seth Hurwitz and his small concert promotion company, I.M.P., is making waves in the industry. Hurwitz's philosophy is to focus on the artist experience - his goal is "to win the hearts and minds of performers." He is opening a new performance venue, complete with a movable stage, angled balconies, and waterfront views from its outdoor terrace. The venue can hold 6,000 people. Other venues in his portfolio include the Merriweather, which was designed by Frank Gehry, boasts two swimming pools and massage cabanas as part of the backstage suite. Artists in turn appreciate the attention to their experience, especially in an industry that so heavily caters towards the audience experience and corporate partnerships. It is difficult to compete with the Live Nations in the field, but Hurwitz has worked hard to carve out a niche for himself in the ever-narrowing world of concert promotion.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/business/media/anthem-seth-hurwitz-concert-promoter.html

Controversy Over Conservative Guest Conductor in Santa Monica

The Santa Monica Symphony jumped when the opportunity to play at Disney Concert Hall presented itself - it was a rare opportunity for it to host a gala fundraising event that the ensemble sorely needed. The ensemble is an all-volunteer orchestra, comprised of professional and semiprofessional musicians. Donations are down this season, and in a recent email to musicians, the orchestra's conductor Guido Lamell shared that the orchestra faced a "serious shortfall". The upcoming fundraiser was vital. In an attempt to raise as much as possible, Lamell invited conservative talk show host Dennis Prager to guest conduct the event. The response was immediate - musicians threatened to boycott the concert. An open letter was circulated among the musicians that denounced the choice to invite Prager to conduct, and asked the musicians to "urge your friends not to attend this concert." Prager is a divisive, conservative personality who often speaks out against same-sex marriage, calls the heterosexual AIDS crisis a "manufactured" conspiracy, and has been critical of non-Christian religions. Santa Monica is as liberal as liberal cities come, so the decision to invite Prager to conduct is causing many to scratch heads. He is not a trained conductor, but a self-described classical music aficionado. He has guest conducted other Southern California orchestras, including the Brentwood Westwood Symphony Orchestra. Despite the outrage and response, Lamell stands by the invitation and the Orchestra's Board has stood firm behind the choice. Prager squarely places blame on the musicians and community for politicizing his appearance in front of the ensemble - stating that in his view, "great music should transcend political differences."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/arts/music/santa-monica-symphony-dennis-prager-conservative-guest-conductor.html

"Chicken Don" Makes Appearance Across from the White House

For a few days last week, a giant 10'x30' inflatable chicken made an appearance in the Ellipse, the park directly south of the White House. It was the brainchild of artist Taran Singh Brar, who planned the installation for four months - from designing the inflatable balloon to working with the National Park Service to acquire the necessary permits and First Amendment waivers to the height limits for the park. There was no question who the chicken resembled - with its golden, perfectly coifed hair to its signature red wattle. Chicken Don, as it has been aptly named, was a "statement about the president being a 'weak and effective leader.'" Brar already has Chicken Don's next appearance in the works - he is planning a mock military parade with dozens of Chicken Dons wielding "Russian armaments." President Trump unfortunately was not in residence at the White House to see his doppelganger.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/us/politics/trump-giant-inflatable-chicken.html

Kesha Releases New Album, Despite Ongoing Legal Battle with Dr. Luke

Kesha released her latest album, "Rainbow", last week, the first since she commenced an embroiled legal battle with her producer Dr. Luke three years ago. The singer accused Dr. Luke of abusing her sexually, physically, and emotionally, but has been unable to extricate herself from the web of contractual ties she has with him. Many of her contract claims were dismissed or withdrawn, but she still faces defamation and breach of contract lawsuits from Dr. Luke. He has adamantly denied her allegations of abuse. "Rainbow" was released by Kemosable Records, a subsidiary of Sony that is under the control of Dr. Luke. There are conflicting accounts as to whether Kesha was barred from releasing new music over the past few years. She claims that he threatened to railroad her career, while his representatives state that she has been free to release music and that they have tried to help her find other affiliate labels for her. Dr. Luke's claims against Kesha are in the early phases of discovery, and trial prior to 2018 is unlikely. Kesha appealed the dismissal of her claims and requested a preliminary injunction (allowing her to release music with a non-Sony label). Neither her appeal nor motion have been addressed by the court. Under the terms of her contract, she owes Dr. Luke two more album releases after "Rainbow".

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/arts/music/kesha-rainbow-dr-luke-lawsuits.html

Settlement Deal on the Horizon for Monkey Selfie Case

The case involving whether the work of an animal can be copyrightable is close to a settlement deal. Several years ago, a monkey took the camera of a photographer and snapped a few selfies. The photographer later published a book that included those works. A self-appointed lawyer argued on behalf of the monkey that the monkey's selfies enjoyed copyright protection, and therefore the photographer violated the monkey's copyrights when he published the photos without permission. The 9th Circuit ruled against the monkey, stating that animals cannot own U.S. copyrights. The monkey's lawyer this week told the court that a settlement was likely, and asked the court to refrain from issuing an order in the case.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/08/monkey-selfie-animal-rights-brouhaha-devolves-into-a-settlement/

SPORTS

New Sexual Violence Policy Announced by NCAA

The NCAA announced that it will require member universities to provide sexual violence education for all collegiate athletes, coaches, and administrators. Athletic administrators and participant institutions will be required to attest that the required people received sexual violence education each year. The policy also requires that universities must declare that their athletic departments are knowledgeable of campus sexual violence policies and remedies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/sports/warriors-to-host-rockets-in-an-nba-opener.html

88% Registration Rate in National Football League Concussion Settlement Case leading up to Registration Deadline

As of this week, 18,400 of the 21,000 retired National Football League (NFL) players eligible for NFL concussion settlement payouts registered for benefits. Four years ago, the NFL agreed in a settlement deal to pay ex-players who accused it of concealing the dangers of concussions from the players. Over the course of the 65-year deal, the NFL will like play out upwards of $1 billion. Originally limited to $765 million, the NFL later agreed to pay an unlimited amount to former players. In order to qualify for a payment, eligible players must first register. The registration window closes next week. It hasn't been easy to find players to register for the settlement, due to incomplete team records kept decades ago, and the stigma associated with illness among players. Many players fear that registration - even if they currently are healthy - will hurt their business interests or even cause them to develop concussion-related illnesses.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/sports/football/nfl-concussion-settlement-player-registration.html

Hyperandrogenism Again in the Forefront at the Court of Arbitration for Sport

In 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport temporarily suspended an international track and field rule that prohibited women with naturally-elevated testosterone levels from competing against other women. The rational was that it presented an unfair advantage - and in order to compete with women they had to take hormone-suppressing drugs or have surgery to limit testosterone production. In the wake of the temporary suspension, female athletes, like Indian track and field star Dutee Chand, could compete freely and without having to undergo therapy or surgery. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IIAF), the governing body for track and field, spent two years compiling data about competitive advantage and naturally-elevated testosterone levels in women. Its report, due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, shows that the competition advantage associated with elevated testosterone varies according to the event. The largest advantage was in the hammer throw, where a 4.53% advantage was shown. Other events where elevated testosterone created an advantage include the pole vault, 400-meter hurdles, and the 400-meter and 800-meter sprints. However, all were well below the 10-12% threshold generally recognized as the natural performance difference between men and women. The Court also said in 2015 that the IAAF should reconsider its ban on women with hyperandrogenism if the advantage was found to be "well below" 12%. Experts in the 1990s suggested that women with hyperandrogenism should compete as women if they were raised as women - and that it should be considered a natural genetic advantage, like Usain Bolt's long stride or Michael Phelp's large feet. This issue, however, will continue to challenge the sports world as gender continues to become a more fluid concept with "nuanced distinctions".

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/sports/olympics/gender-dutee-chand-india.html

U.S. Treasury Department Accuses Soccer Start Rafael Márquez of Aiding a Drug Trafficking Organization

The U.S. Treasury Department this week froze the assets of Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez, accusing him of using his multiple business as fronts for the "Flores drug trafficking organization." Marquez's soccer school and charitable foundation were placed on a Specially Designated Nationals list, along with 21 other people and 41 other entities. The assets were frozen under the Kingpin Act, which allows the Treasury Department to freeze assets of foreign nationals suspected of being involved in international narcotics trafficking. Additionally, those designated as Specially Designated Nationals are isolated - they are prohibited from dealing with "U.S. persons". While the Kingpin Act has aided the U.S. in reigning in organized crime and drug trafficking rings, defense attorneys often claim that the system is fraught with errors and that many reputations end up tarnished, without due process and often with scant evidence. One of Mexico's best soccer players, Marquez was captain of the Mexican team at the last four World Cups, won four league titles and two Champions League trophies while playing in Europe, and played on the Red Bulls here in the States. He currently is the Captain of the Mexican club Atlas, based in Guadalajara.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/sports/soccer/rafa-marquez-mexico-drugs.html

Greek Club Match Against Israeli Team Leads to Lifetime Ban for Two Iranian Soccer Players

Iran's deputy sports ministry announced a lifetime ban for Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Haji Safi, two of the country's top soccer stars, after they participated in a match against an Israeli team. Shojaei and Safi are members of a Greek club team, Panionios, which played in Athens recently against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Iran does not recognize Israel, and there is a "longstanding rule" that prohibits Iranian athletes from competing against Israeli athletes, including in the Olympics. The rule has caused several prominent Iranian athletes to pull out of competitions at the last minute for "personal reasons", which many believe are ground in a fear of retribution by the Iranian government if they compete against Israelis. Critics of this decision are vocal - and hope that FIFA intervenes. FIFA rules prohibit political interference in countries' national teams. FIFA has not yet reacted to the ban.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/world/middleeast/iran-soccer-masoud-shojaei-ehsan-haji-safi.html

Tiger Woods Plea Deal in D.U.I. Case

Tiger Woods, who was arrested in May for driving under the influence, agreed to enter a guilty plea at a hearing that will take place on October 25th. Woods will plead guilty to reckless driving and enter a diversion program. Prosecutors agreed to drop the D.U.I. charges against him, and if he completes the diversion program, he may petition a judge to expunge the reckless driving conviction. As part of the deal, Woods will be on probation for one year, attend "D.U.I. school" and do 50 hours of community service. He also will have to pay a $250 fine and court costs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/sports/golf/tiger-woods-dui-plea.html

Police Skirmish and Riot Leads to Arrest of Zach Randolph

An encounter with police that turned into a mini-riot in Southern California last week led to the arrest of Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph. He was arrested on a marijuana charge. Police attention was drawn to a crowd that had gathered outside to drink, smoke marijuana, and listen to music. Among those gathered was Randolph, who police observed reaching for his waistband before they ran away. After a few people were arrested, the crowd threw bottles and rocks, and smashed the windows and slashed the tires of five police cruisers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/sports/basketball/zach-randolph-arrested-on-marijuana-charge-amid-skirmish-with-police.html

Medal Reallocation Ceremonies - Attempting to Right a Wrong in Track and Field

Track and Field is riddled with doping scandals, to the point that fans and athletes are no longer shocked by doping revelations. Retroactive testing of samples, now with better technology to detect banned substances, has caused many athletes to be stripped of their medals. In an effort to make things right, IIAF, track and field's governing body, has been conducting medal reallocation ceremonies to finally recognize the achievements of those athletes that have engaged in clean competition. Many athletes who are just now receiving medals have described the ceremonies as "awkward and bittersweet". Athletes are grateful for the recognition, but note that the ceremonies serve as a reminder of doping's pervasiveness throughout the sport. In addition to these ceremonies serving to bring the doping conversation back to the forefront, sprinter Justin Gatlin's surprise win over Usain Bolt last weekend also sparked debate. Gatlin served two suspensions for doping violations and was seen (perhaps unfairly) as an athlete representative of the problem. As for addressing the systemic problem, the IAAF has been firm in its resolve to address the problem and enforce suspensions. It continues to re-write the record books and retroactivly acknowledge clean athletes for their achievements.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/sports/track-and-field-medalists-.html

Tony Granato Named Coach of U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

Newly-named coach Tony Granato has a tough road ahead of him. He must build a stellar Olympic team without players from the National Hockey League (NHL), which announced several months ago that it will not participate in the 2018 Olympics. Players from the American Hockey League will participate, and Granato is hoping to recruit several veteran NHL players who are set to retire. Thirty players will represent the U.S. on the team roster in early training sessions and tryouts, which will include the Deutschland Cup tournament in November. Tough competition for former NHL players is coming from the north, where Canada has been actively recruiting for its Olympic team, looking to former NHL players as well. Former Olympians Chris Chelios and Scott Young, Yale Coach Keith Allain, and Ron Rolston, a longtime coach with USA Hockey, will assist Granato as members of the coaching staff. Jim Johannson will serve as the general manager.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/sports/olympics/usa-hockey-tony-granato-olympics.html

An Accident with Soup and Tortellini Blamed for Sara Errani's Doping Suspension

Sara Errani was suspended for two months and retroactively disqualified from earlier tournaments after she tested positive for the banned substance Letrozole back in February. Errani blames her mother's cancer treatment for the contamination. Her mother is taking Letrozole as part of her cancer treatment, and she believes that she accidently dropped some of the medication into some soup and tortellini while cooking. Errani's ban commenced on August 3rd and ends on October 2nd, and will preclude her from participating in the United States Open.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/sports/tennis/sara-errani-doping-suspension.html

Usain Bolt Defeated in His Career Farewell

Usain Bolt, in his career farewell, concluded his final 100-meter sprint with a bittersweet final bow. Bolt won the bronze, conceding his signature event to Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman. The crowd was shocked and booed Gatlin's win. Bolt has been a seminal figure in the track and field world, astonishing crowds not only with his incredible record and slate of wins, but also his magical personality on the field. He swept the 100 and 200 at the past three Olympic Games, and won four world titles in the 200. And for a sport riddled with doping scandal after doping scandal, Bolt has had a clean record his entire career. Last week's world track & field championships also served as a moment in the sun for Gatlin, who has served two doping suspensions. The first was a one-year ban starting in 2001, the second a four-year ban starting in 2006. Gatlin and Bolt have had a healthy rivalry, and the two greeted each other on the track last week with a warm embrace. Bolt's departure from the sport will leave a large void that will be difficult to fill.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/sports/usain-bolt-100-meters-justin-gatlin.html

MEDIA

Right- and Left-Wing News Media Finds Common Ground in Fight Against Sinclair Acquisition

Sinclair Broadcast group is attempting to acquire Tribune Media. The merger/acquisition would give Sinclair ownership of 233 local television stations, and would reach more than 70% of households across the country. The combined company would also generate a major "toehold" in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York markets. Sinclair is a conservative company that requires its local affiliates to broadcast "must-runs". These segments often include conservative commentary. Intuitively, liberal media outlets harshly criticized the proposed merger, but also joining in the opposition are conservative media outlets who are crying afoul - arguing that any merger would "limit competition and wipe out independent voices." Newsmax founder Christopher Ruddy, a close associate of Trump, filed a petition with the FCC opposing the merger. One American News Network, The Blaze, and Dish Network also joined in opposition, as has the consumer advocacy group Free Press. The fear on both sides is that the merger would leave "unbalanced power in the marketplace," and potentially "homogenize" available content in the U.S., leading to a reduction in press diversity and unique viewpoints.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/media/sinclair-bid-to-acquire-tribune-media-draws-opposition.html

Fox News Turned Down $60 Million Joint Settlement Offer

Fox News spent millions of dollars in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal that rocked the network from the top down. It was revealed this week that the network turned down an offer to settle multiple lawsuits that had been filed by a single lawyer against the network, on behalf of more than 20 individuals. Attorney Douglas H. Wigdor publicly disclosed the suits after mediation efforts broke down. In addition to the sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims, Wigdor also filed a defamation and racial discrimination suit on behalf of Rod Wheeler, a private detective, against Fox News and 21st Century Fox, centered on an article about the death of Seth Rich. Wheeler claims that Fox fabricated quotes from him that were included in the initial version of the article (which were later retracted). Wigdor claims that it is not uncommon for lawyers handling multiple cases against a single party to try to resolve them collectively. Fox is in the middle of an attempt to acquire Sky, a European satellite company. The sexual assault scandal has played a big role in the investigation into the acquisition, and a British authority charged with examining the deal has looked closely at the scandal and the company's response. Wigdor apparently also sent a letter to the British oversight authority, accusing Fox of lack of transparency in its efforts to acquire Sky and for failing to adequately clean its ranks in the aftermath of the scandal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/media/fox-is-said-to-have-declined-to-settle-suits-for-60-million.html

Eric Bolling Controversy: a Suspension Followed by a Lawsuit

Accusations that Fox News host Eric Bolling sent sexually graphic text messages to his female colleagues several years ago lead to his suspension this week. HuffPost broke the story, citing a "dozen" anonymous sources that supported the accusation. The law firm Paul, Weiss is conducting an investigation into the accusations. Bolling, who recently signed another long-term contract with the network, in a statement said that he does not recall sending the messages. In a quick response, within a few days Bolling initiated a $50 million defamation lawsuit against HuffPost author Yashar Ali, who penned the article. Bolling is represented by Michael J. Bowe of Kasowitz Benson Torres (the firm also represented Bill O'Reilly during his ouster). Ali vowed to protect his sources in a statement made via Twitter, and HuffPost has publicly supported him and the story.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/business/media/fox-news-suspends-eric-bolling.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/business/eric-bolling-fox-news-lawsuit-lewd-photo-article.html

CNN Fired Jeffrey Lord Over Twitter Tirade That Invoked Nazi Propaganda

CNN fired one of its prominent reporters, Jeffrey Lord, after Lord unleashed a Twitter tirade that evoked a Nazi salute. Lord is a staunch advocate of President Trump, and has been heavily criticized by his colleagues. His demise, however, came from a Twitter exchange with Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group. Lord criticized Carusone for calling for sponsors to boycott Sean Hannity's show on Fox News, accusing Carusone of emulating fascists. CNN demonstrated no tolerance for the Nazi reference that followed the exchange. Even as a Trump advocate and defender, he was criticized by the White House for being too gentle and analytical in his approach - they wanted someone to more combatively represent the president's views. In an interview following his ouster, he indicated that he already has received calls about potential employment and is close to finalizing a book deal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/business/media/jeffrey-lord-fired-trump-cnn-nazis.html

New York Times Editorial Board Member Must Testify in Palin Defamation Lawsuit

Southern District Court Judge Jed Rakoff ruled this week that the author of a June 2017 New York Times editorial column that linked Sarah Palin to a mass shooting in 2011 must testify in a hearing to determine whether to dismiss the newspaper's motion to dismiss the case. The New York Times corrected the story and issued an apology to Palin. The New York Times previously reported on Palin, and denounced any links between her political rhetoric and rampage violence. She claims that the June 2017 editorial was in conflict with the previous reporting. Judge Jed Rakoff ordered the testimony, as it will be essential in determining whether the author acted with actual malice and whether the author was aware that prior reporting conflicted with the column.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/business/media/sarah-palin-new-york-times-defamation-lawsuit.html

Google Town Hall Diversity Meeting Cancelled in Response to Harassment Fears

In response to the Google memo situation, in which an employee wrote and published a memo that suggested innate biological differences between men and women were to blame for gender disparity in the top echelons of tech, a company-wide town hall meeting was called to discuss the response and address questions and concerns. Google uses a system called "Dory" to facilitate internal communication. Employees use Dory to submit feedback to management, and for this particular meeting, employees were asked to submit their questions and concerns via Dory in advance of the meeting. However, someone published several of the employee comments and concerns publicly, along with the employees' names. The employees whose comments and questions were made public were subjected to online harassment. In response, Google Chief Sundar Pichai cancelled the meeting 30 minutes before its scheduled start time. The debate over the memo itself and Google's response (to fire its author) have caused divisions within the company. Pichai returned early from his vacation to address the crisis. While he chose to cancel the first meeting, he stated that the company will reschedule when sure that everyone can feel safe and included in the meeting process.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/technology/google-gender-diversity-memo-damore.html

Op-Ed - Class Action as a Means to Address Gender Discrimination in Big Tech

Anita Hill, in an Op-Ed piece published this week in the New York Times, starkly laid out the gender disparities in compensation and leadership roles in the tech industry. Women under 25 earn up to 29% less than their male counterparts, 63% of the time women receive lower salary offers for the same job at the same company, only hold 11% of executive positions in the industry. Eighty-two percent of men working in the industry believe their companies devote enough time addressing diversity concerns, 40% of women say the effort is inadequate. Hill suggests that the best approach would be a class action discrimination case against employers. This was done on Wall Street in the 1990s, and while the results were not perfect, women enjoy much better advantages due to their collective stance for equality. Hill views the leaked Google Memo as a wake-up call for all who have come to believe progress has been made. The memo only served to highlight the deep-rooted nature of anti-equality attitutes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/opinion/anita-hill-women-in-tech-should-take-sexism-to-court.html

FX and Comcast Announce Ad-Free Service Deal

The latest offering of an ad-free viewing experience comes from FX, in a deal with Comcast announced last week. The service will be called FX+, and will include currently-airing shows, as well as tap into the networks older shows. Content that already offered through other providers will not be available on FX+. Networks like FX are navigating a new world of content consumption, and this new venture signals a shift in the network's thoughts about long-term rights vs. the short (albeit often large) gain of negotiating deals with outside streaming services. Comcast also has a similar deal with AMC, which was announced in June.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/business/media/fx-comcast-ad-free-service.html

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 14, 2017 9:28 AM.

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