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Week In Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter, Esq.

President Assails "Joke" Justice and Seeks Visa Program's End

President Trump used the recent terrorist attack in Manhattan to advance his immigration agenda. The attack on pedestrians walking on a popular bike path caused the death of eight people. The devastating midday attack was decried by many as a cowardly, horrendous act. President Trump took to Twitter, tweeting that the American justice system is "a joke" and that he would send the perpetrator to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He later reversed his position on the military prison, but continued to tweet that the perpetrator should get the death penalty.


Securities Exchange Commission Warns Celebrities Who Promote Virtual Coins

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a statement this week warning celebrities of possible criminality when promoting virtual coins. The SEC's Enforcement Division and Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations stated that "celebrities and others using social media networks" to make endorsements "to encourage the public to purchase stocks and other investments...may be unlawful if they do not disclose the nature, source, and amount of any compensation paid, directly or indirectly, by the company in exchange for the endorsement." Investors are warned to seek additional information before being influenced by persons who may not have the expertise to ensure that the proposed investment is appropriate.


Protecting the Disgraced

There's a term for when high-profile employees benefit from "the willingness of companies' supposed overseers to ignore credible allegations in order to retain a perceived star." The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission calls them "superstar harassers." According to a 2016 EEOC report on sexual harassment, superstar harassers only account for a small portion of reported allegations. However, because of their status, they cast a long shadow. "Superstars are able to evade the consequences of their actions for years, and they exert outsize influence over their organizations." An employer's reasoning that it cannot afford to lose a perceived "high-performer" is often incorrect, because such "toxic employees" tend to drive out other employees, and the costs to keep the superstar, such as settlements and legal fees, far outweigh the benefits of keeping the superstar.


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


Top Producer Faces Harassment Allegations

Brett Ratner, another prominent Hollywood producer, is accused of sexual harassment by several actresses. Ratner, whose films include "Rush Hour" and "The Revenant," stepped away from his projects with Warner Brothers where he has a co-financing agreement. Some of his accusers include Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn. The allegations stem over a period of two decades.


Netflix Halts Production on "House of Cards" Amid Scandal, and Actor Kevin Spacey is Suspended Pending an Investigation

Netflix, the streaming media service, suspended production on its hit series "House of Cards" after allegations against its star, Kevin Spacey. Spacey was accused by actor Anthony Rapp of "unwanted sexual advances toward him in the 1980s, when Mr. Rapp was 14 and Mr. Spacey was in his mid-20s." The show was already scheduled to end this season, according to a Netflix spokesperson. As a result of the scandal, Spacey's online acting lesson videos on MasterClass have been pulled, and a documentary about Gore Vidal in which he was to star and produce is no longer moving forward.


Paralyzed Concertgoer Sues Travis Scott

Travis Scott, a rapper known for his "high-octane punk shows," is being sued by a concertgoer. Kyle Green was paralyzed in April when he was pushed from a third-story balcony while attending Scott's concert at Manhattan's Terminal 5. Videotape from The Bowery Presents concert shows Scott encouraging concertgoers to jump from the second-floor balcony. Green, a 23-year-old student, must now use a wheelchair. The NY State Supreme Court lawsuit was filed in Manhattan and also names Scott's manager, the concert promoter, and the concert's security company.



Artist's Ex-Assistant Charged with Theft

Arturo Rucci, a former assistant of prominent visual artist Sean Scully, was arrested recently for stealing the painter's work. Scully, whose works have sold for over $1 million, discovered that his works were missing by a chance email from an auction house that was attempting to confirm details on three works in its possession. His works were stolen from his storage space by Rucci, who worked for him as an inventory worker. Rucci's arrest is yet another in a series of arrests for theft by artist assistants.


A Scapegoat for the Fashion Industry

Some of the biggest fashion magazines in the industry have begun to cut ties with Terry Richardson after a renewed outcry of his sexual harassment allegations. In 2014, Richardson was accused of "cavorting naked at shoots and forcing his penis on models" and was effectively blacklisted. Charges were never brought forward, and no new allegations have arisen. He has since entered therapy, married, and became a father. He had begun to gain work again in the fashion industry when Elle's editor Nina Garcia commissioned him for work. However, Conde Nast International, Net-a-Porter, and Hearst and brands Valentino, Bulgari, and Diesel recently cut ties with Richardson. Many are speculating that he is being made a scapegoat in light of the recent rash of sexual harassment accusations across the entertainment and media industries.


An Ancient Limestone Relief Is Confiscated at an Art Fair

The European Fine Art Fair was disrupted last week when prosecutors "seized an ancient limestone bas-relief of a Persian soldier with shield and spear" from the Park Avenue Armory where the fair was in session. London antiquities dealer Rupert Wace was selling the artifact valued at $1.2 million. The Manhattan district attorney's office handled the seizure. No arrests were made.


Where Mice Are Underfoot, Some Call It Cruel

"The Social Network," an art exhibit featuring live mice in clear Plexiglas boxes designed to be stepped upon, drew criticism that calls into question cruelty of animals. The artist Joseph Grazi, who keeps the mice well fed, says the animals are feeder mice that were bred to be eaten. Critics protested the exhibit. Natasha Millikan, a rodent activist, explained that the mice "have the instinct to be terrified by anything up above them. Even shadows." The Guggenheim dismantled exhibitions with live animals recently. The Castle Fitzjohns Gallery owner, where "The Social Network" may be viewed and stepped on, sees things differently, stating, "the public response has revealed the challenge of weighing criticism against artistic repression."



Judge Reinstates Elliott's Six-Game Suspension

Ezekiel Elliott has 24 hours to appeal a U.S. District Court Judge's decision to deny the player's union request for a preliminary injunction. Without an appeal, Elliott will be out beginning on Sunday, November 5th with eligibility to return on December 17th. National Football League Commissioner Goodell initially issued his suspension, stemming from allegations of assault in 2016.


Astros' Yuli Gurriel Banned From Five Games for Racist Gesture, but Not During the World Series

Yuli Gurriel, the Houston Astros' first baseman, was caught on camera in the dugout pulling his face back to slant his eyes. He also appeared to say "Chinito" toward Yu Darvish, from the Los Angeles Dodgers, from whom he had just homered. This racially insensitive gesture went viral and cost Gurriel a five-game suspension starting at the beginning of the 2018 season. The Major League Baseball Players Association decided on the punishment start date in consideration of Gurriel's teammates and a financial penalty that could only be applied in the new season.



Fiery Exchanges on Capitol Hill as Lawmakers Scold Facebook, Google, and Twitter

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee took the tech giants to task for "failing to better identify, defuse and investigate Russia's campaign to manipulate American voters over social media during the 2016 presidential campaign." Facebook, Google, and Twitter each sent its general counsel to testify at the ire of committee members on both sides of the aisle, who were expecting to hear from the high-profile CEOs who were noticeably absent.


Russian Content on Facebook, Google, and Twitter Reached Far More Users Than Companies First Disclosed, Congressional Testimony Says

Testimony at recent congressional hearings revealed how far and vast the Russian content was on social media during the 2016 campaign period. Facebook, Google, and Twitter disclosed that the numbers reported earlier were considerably low. Many speculate that the tech companies purposely under reported the numbers so as not to raise scrutiny. Facebook now reports that as many as 126 million people were exposed to the Russian content, up from its original 10 million figure. Google and Twitter also increased their earlier reports.


Top Editor at National Public Radio Forced Out Amid Harassment Accusations

Michael Oreskes, National Public Radio's (NPR) senior vice president for news and editorial director, was placed on leave due to allegations of sexual harassment. Multiple women accuse him of the offenses while he was the Washington bureau chief at the New York Times in the late 1990s. Oreskes joins the ranks of Mark Halperin, Leon Wieseltier, Hamilton Fish, Roy Price, and Harvey Weinstein who have all fallen due to similar allegations.


Filmmaker Seeks to Redo Documentary on Weinstein

Barry Avrich, a Canadian filmmaker who produced a 2011 documentary on Harvey Weinstein titled "Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project," would like to remake the film. Avrich claims that the online movie distributed by IFC Films was not only "sanitized," but held back from theatrical release in favor of Weinstein. IFC Films refutes these claims. Avrich may proceed with a new film without IFC Films.


Publisher Under Fire for Blocking Article Access

Springer Nature, a leading academic publisher whose publications include Scientific American, International Politics, and Nature, has bowed to the Chinese government's pressure to censor articles on its Chinese websites. Chinese president Xi Jinping has cracked down on publishers who provide content relating to human rights, politics, and other subjects that the Communist Party considers sensitive. Springer Nature defended its actions by stating that it did so to avoid even greater censorship by China.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 5, 2017 7:24 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Keitel v E*TRADE Fin. Corp., 2017 NY Slip Op 06624, (September 26, 2017 App. Div. 1st Dept.).

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