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Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media. First, of general interest:

Federal Communications Commission Reverses Net Neutrality Rules

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reversed Obama-era regulations that prevented broadband providers from blocking or charging more for certain content, despite widespread public opposition. Critics warn that deregulation of the broadband service market (which has very limited competition) will drastically and negatively impact consumers' ability to use the Internet. The reversal is being challenged in court by several attorneys general.


Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Race

Democrat Doug Jones beat out Republican Roy Moore in the closely-watched Alabama senate race between the once long-shot Jones and the scandal-ridden Moore, who has been accused of sexual abuse and child molestation. President Trump's controversial endorsement of Moore failed to carry the day.


Texas Attorney General Aide Resigns After Mocking #MeToo

Associate Deputy Attorney General Andrew D. Leonie resigned on Thursday after mocking the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment in a Facebook post.


House Passes Tax Bill

The Republican's sweeping tax bill was approved by the House of Representatives, as expected, and will be voted on by the Senate Tuesday night.



Mouse Buys Fox

The Walt Disney Company reached a deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox in an all-stock transaction valued at over $52 billion. The deal still must receive approval from antitrust regulators.


Over Clerical Opposition, Saudi Prince Brings Back Movie Theaters

After a 35-year ban, as part of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's effort to loosen social restrictions, the Culture and Information Ministry of Saudi Arabia announced that the government would be permitting movie theaters to operate in the country.


Batali Distances Himself from Properties After Accusations of Sexual Misconduct

Celebrity chef Mario Batali will be stepping away from daily operation of his restaurants and other businesses, as well as his ABC television show "The Chew." Four women have alleged that Batali touched them inappropriately. He acknowledged his behavior and offered no excuses.


Russell Simmons Accused of Rape

Four women have come forward with detailed accusations of inappropriate and violent sexual behavior by hip-hop legend Russell Simmons. Three of them say he raped them. Simmons, who recently stepped down from his companies, acknowledging "thoughtless and insensitive" behavior, vehemently denies the allegations. Police are investigating.


Anita Hill to Head Hollywood Harassment Commission

Anita Hill will lead the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, a new initiative whose mission is to "tackle the broad culture of abuse and power disparity" in the entertainment industry.


Royal Court Theater Cancels Play about "Abuses of Power on Young Women"

London's Royal Court Theater canceled a scheduled run of the play "Rita, Sue and Bob Too," about the sexual relationship between two teenage girls and a married man. The Royal Court cited allegations of sexual harassment by the show's co-director, Max Stafford-Clark, and said it felt "highly conflictual" to stage a play with "themes of grooming and abuses of power on young women" given the theater's recent "day of action" in which 150 stories of sexual harassment and abuse were read onstage.


Morgan Spurlock Steps Down, Admitting Sexual Misconduct

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me") announced that he is stepping down from his production company, Warrior Poets. The announcement came one day after Spurlock tweeted that he was "part of the problem," citing past sexual misconduct.


Netflix Executive Fired for "Careless" Comments to Masterson Accuser

Netflix fired Andy Yeatman, formerly director of global children's content, after he told a woman, "[w]e don't believe" the women who have
accused actor Danny Masterson of rape. Yeatman did not know at the time that the woman was one of the accusers. Netflix, who has since fired Masterson, said Yeatman's comments "do not represent the views of the company."


"Rotten Apples" Tags Shows with Bad Actors

This week saw the launch of the "Rotten Apples" website (https://therottenappl.es), which helps users identify films and television shows connected to cast members, screenwriters, executive producers, or directors accused of sexual misconduct.



Painter Forced to Flee Beijing

Hua Yong, a painter in Beijing, published videos online in which he documented officials' campaign to tear down apartment buildings and evict migrants who have come to be known as the "low end population." Hua fled Beijing last week to avoid arrest.



Panthers Investigating Allegations of Owner's Misconduct

The Carolina Panthers announced that they hired the law firm Quinn Emanuel to investigate "allegations of workplace misconduct" by the team's owner, Jerry Richardson. The investigation will be overseen by a minority owner of the team, Erskine Bowles.


Inventor Accuses FIFA of Patent Infringement

Heine Allemagne, inventor of "9.15 Fair Play Limit", a foam spray used by soccer officials to demarcate the distance between a kicker and the nearest defenders on a free kick, sued soccer's governing body for patent infringement. Last week a Rio de Janeiro court ordered FIFA to stop using the spray or risk a fine of $15,000 per game. Allemagne is seeking $100 million in damages.


FIFA Suspends Brazilian Soccer Official

FIFA suspended Marco Polo Del Nero, Brazil's top soccer official, for 90 days. This is the latest development in FIFA's two-year investigation into Del Nero's conduct. Del Nero is one of many soccer officials facing charges of corruption in the United States, has avoided extradition.


FIFA Trial Over

The trial of three former FIFA officials accused of racketeering, money laundering, and wire fraud ended with 54 pages of jury instructions. In their closings, defense counsel tried to shift blame away from their clients, arguing variously that they had been unfairly tainted by the "theory that everyone in soccer is dirty," and that the responsible party is actually Marco Polo Del Nero, Brazil's now-suspended top soccer official.


Tour de France Champion Tests Positive

Tests show that Chris Froome, four-time Tour de France winner, had twice the permitted level of asthma drug salbutamol in his urine during the Vuelta a España. Froome, who had asthma since childhood, claims that his asthma worsened during the Vuelta, and that a team doctor told him to take more salbutamol.


Former National Football League Network Stylist Sues for Sexual Harassment and Assault

Jami Cantor, who worked as a wardrobe stylist for NFL Network, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against six current and former NFL Network employees claiming they sexually harassed and assaulted her. Defendants Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans, and Ike Taylor have been suspended as NFL Network analysts pending an investigation into the allegations. ESPN also suspended defendants Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis from their shows on ESPN Radio. Defendant Eric Weinberger, president of the Bill Simmons Media Group, was suspended as well.


Pistorius Popped over Prison Public Phone

Oscar Pistorius, former track star convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, reportedly suffered bruising in a fight over the use of a public telephone in prison. Pistorius is reportedly notorious for hogging the phone.


National Football League and Verizon Communications Announce Mobile Streaming Agreement

The National Football League (NFL) announced a new digital rights deal with Verizon Communications (Verizon). Verizon will pay over $2 billion over the next five years for the rights to stream NFL games to mobile devices, regardless of carrier.


NFL May Strengthen Concussion Protocol

On Sunday, Houston Texas Quarterback Tom Savage showed signs of concussion after being tackled, but was back in the game minutes later. The NFL says that it is looking into how Savage was evaluated, and may strengthen the protocol used to assess possible concussion.


USA Gymnastics Bans Coach for Sexual Misconduct

USA Gymnastics announced that it permanently banned one of the top Olympic gymnastic coaches in Illinois for having a sexual relationship with an athlete.


City Ballet Master Accused of Physical Abuse

Five dancers, including one who was 12 at the time, have accused Peter Martins, ballet master in chief of the New York City Ballet, of physical abuse going as far back as 1993. Martins already is on leave from the City Ballet pending investigations into a sexual harassment claim against him.


Louisville Files Counterclaim Against Rick Pitino

The University of Louisville filed a counterclaim against former basketball coach Rick Pitino, who sued the university for breach of contract and seeks $38.7 million in damages. The counterclaim alleges that Pitino tarnished the school's reputation. The school fired Pitino after he was implicated in a scheme to funnel money from Adidas to high school prospects.


New Golf Rules Rescind "Scorecard Penalty"

The United States Golf Association and R&A have promulgated a local rule pursuant to which a player no longer would be penalized two shots for an incorrect scorecard if he/she waa not aware of the inaccuracy when he/she signed the card. The rule also states that officials will not monitor or review calls from viewers.



Trump Attacks Accusers, Gillibrand on Twitter

Amidst the deluge of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men, three women came forward to repeat their accusations that Donald Trump sexually assaulted them, prompting Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand to call for Trump's resignation. Trump responded with a tweet calling Gillibrand a "lightweight" who "would do anything" for campaign contributions. That tweet ignited a storm of criticism, and by Tuesday night dozens of Democratic women in Congress were demanding an inquiry into the allegations against the president.


PBS Host Accused of Misconduct

PBS has stopped distributing Tavis Smiley's nightly talk show pending investigation of "credible allegations" of unspecified misconduct, which reportedly involved sexual relationships with co-workers. Shortly after PBS made the announcement, production company Mills Entertainment announced it was suspending production of a stage adaptation of Smiley's book about Martin Luther King, Jr., Death of a King. Walmart has pulled out as a sponsor of Smiley's shows, and Smiley's book publisher has put all smiley products "on hold."




Autocrats Adopt Trump's "Fake News" Mantra

From Syria's Bashar al-Assad to Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro, from Myanmar to Russia, political leaders around the world -- particularly those whose regimes are less democratic -- have taken up President Trump's cry of "fake news" against speech they view as critical or threatening.


Younger Sulzberger Takes Reins at New York Times

A. G. Sulzberger, son of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., will take over from his father as publisher of The New York Times on January 1, 2018.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 19, 2017 6:18 PM.

The previous post in this blog was FCC December Meeting on Net Neutrality and Television Ownership Rules.

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