Entertainment

Charges Dropped Against Four Social Workers In Gabriel Fernandez Case

Update: Charges against the social workers who were connected to the Gabriel Fernandez case have been dropped. After years of litigation, news coverage, and a Netflix special, the case has come to an end with the social workers cleared of any wrongdoing.

Gabriel Fernandez was tortured and killed by his mom and her boyfriend in May 2013.

Fernandez was 8 years old when he was murdered and his mother and her boyfriend were eventually convicted of his murder. After their conviction, the focus was placed on the social workers who handled Fernandez. Charges were brought against four of the social workers and a community waited to hear their fate.

The dismissal was expected after an appellate court ruled that the social workers should not face charges. The decision was well-received by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Yet, some members of the community, and Fernandez’s family, are disheartened by the decision by the court.

Original: In their latest documentary series, Netflix asks the question just how eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, an so many other abused children like him, slip through the cracks of our systems?

The emotional and deeply harrowing story of how the Los Angeles boy was found naked with shattered ribs and a cracked skull horrified readers back in 2013 when reports of his death were published. The boy had been found at his family’s home in Palmdale, California and died two days later on May 22, 2013 and what remained sparked investigations into how an entire system meant to protect him sorely let him down.

The series, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez comes from documentarian Brian Knappenberger, and focuses on the child’s death and the arrest of his mother and her boyfriend.

The documentary, whose trailer dropped early this week, is set to focus on the role of the government systems that failed to protect Gabriel. By the time of his death, multiple reports of abuse had been filed and various warning signs became apparent. Soon after his death Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Fernandez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and admitted she’d intentionally meant to murder her son by torture. For her part, Fernandez was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, was later sentenced to death after being convicted of first-degree murder with “the special circumstance of intentional murder by torture.”

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Knappenberger highlighted the series most prevalent questions. Including if there will be a season 2.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly Knappinger says he hopes to have a second series so that audiences can hear from Aguirre or Fernandez who were not featured in the series.

“Yes, I still want to hear from them,” Knappenberger said. “It’s not like we created this television series and now we’re on to the next thing, moving on with our lives. This is something that is lodged in the heart of everybody that worked on it. Part of it is a mystery. Like, who are these people? How did this happen? Why did this boy’s life get taken like this? There are still so many unanswered questions. So if they wanted to talk to me, I would absolutely talk to them on the record.”

According to Knappinger, Fernandez’s death has brought about change in Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services 

According to a statement released by the department to the WRAP after the docuseries, they have hired more than 3,500 new social workers since 2013 and carried out a five-to-one ratio of supervisors to social workers. 

“It should never take the death of a child to address weaknesses and make investments in improvements for child protection; it is in his memory and in pursuit of the safety of Los Angeles County’s two million children that we have reformed how child protection work is done,” the statement said. “This new era of reform began immediately following Gabriel’s death and continues on today with Director Bobby D. Cagle who joined the Department in December 2018.”

During Aguirre’s trial, prosecutors claimed that Gabriel had been forced to eat cat feces and cat litter.

He’d also been forced to sleep while bound up and gagged in a small cabinet and he’d been struck by his mother’s boyfriend with metal hangers, a bat and a club. According to the Los Angeles Times, Gabriel had been brutally beaten up by his mother and Aguire after he didn’t clean up his toys. Prosecutors alleged that Aguirre abused and killed Gabriel because he thought he was gay.

Speaking to People in an interview about the new series, Knappenberger said, “What we do know is that he called him gay when he was beating him. And it’s one of the first things he told the first responders when the first responders entered the house and were trying to save Gabriel’s life. So take from that which will, but it certainly played a role.”

At the heart of the 2013 trials were questions related to how all of this started and how it continued to play out for so long.

According to Knappenberger Gabriel came from a struggling home environment and spent much of his life being passed between relatives before returning to his mother’s home who “took him back for welfare money, that she wanted extra welfare money.”

At their 2018 sentencing,  Los Angeles Judge George G. Lomeli called the violence the boy suffered “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil.”

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez” is set to start streaming on Netflix on Feb. 26.

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Here’s What We Know So Far About The ‘Rebelde’ Reboot Coming To Netflix

Entertainment

Here’s What We Know So Far About The ‘Rebelde’ Reboot Coming To Netflix

contodonetflix / Instagram

Nostalgia has a way of taking us right back to who we were when we saw and heard some of our favorite things. “Rebelde” is definitely one of the top nostalgic moments in most Latino childhoods. Well, get ready because Netflix is bringing “Rebelde” back so you can dive back into the stories that will forever hold a special place in your heart.

“Rebelde” is coming back and this is definitely not a drill.

After years of being off the air, the historic and iconic show “Rebelde” is back and people cannot wait. The original cast has been good at keeping our love for them alive as they toured and created music. Most recently, RBD, the surviving band of original Rebelde members, dropped a new single to make the pandemic a little more tolerable.

We already know who is reprising their role in the reboot.

Celina Ferrer, played by Estefanía Villarreal, is coming back as the principal of the school. The official announcement letter was signed by the Elite Way School alumna.

“EWS is renowned for the excellence of its illustrious student body, young people ready to dazzle the world. In these halls, we have shaped icons who have gone on to entertain millions with their talent, and our classrooms have turned students into stars, ready for the big stage,” reads the letter. “Today, our Board of Directors is proud to present the next generation of young people who will become part of our prestigious institution in the upcoming 2022 school year. We welcome our future students Azul Guatia, Sergio Mayer Mori, Andrea Chaparro, Jeronimo Cantillo, Franco Masini, Lixeth Selene, Alejandro Puente, and Giovanna Grigio, who have been selected from an impressive list of applicants. The new students will start wearing the EWS uniform during orientation, which will start on March 1 of this year, thus preparing themselves for the upcoming 2022 school year at this institution, always committed to educating the leaders of tomorrow.”

Here’s a quick look at the new class.

Azul Guaita

Guaita is best known for her impressive TikTok account. She also starred in telenovelas ‘Mi marrido tiene familia” and “Soltero con hijas.” The 19-year-old Mexican actress has garnered more than 2 million followers on TikTok.

Sergio Mayer Mori

Mayer Mori is son of Mexican actor and producer Sergio Mayer and Uruguayan-born Mexican actress, model, producer and writer Bárbara Mori Ochoa. The young actor was in “Un padre no tan padre” in 2016.

Andrea Chaparro

Andrea is the daughter of famed Mexican actor Omar Chapparo. Hopefully the actress brings her unapologetic grunge vibes to the set in her role.

Jeronimo Cantillo

Cantillo is best known for his role in Verdad Oculta and Los Morales as well as his reggaeton music. The actor is bringing his award nominated acting chops and musical stylings to the highly anticipated Netflix reboot.

Franco Masini

Masini is one of the biggest names attached to the new “Rebelde” reboot. With several projects under his belt and more than 1 million Instagram followers, Masini is definitely bringing a large following to the Netflix show.

Lizeth Selene

Selene has made a name for herself as a musician and model. It is pretty impressive that her first acting job is going to be as part of the newest Rebelde class.

Alejandro Puente

Puente is an actor, writer, and director with a lot of success in Mexico. He is best known for his role as Todd Anderson in the Mexican stage adaptation of “Dead Poets Society.” He also stars in “El Club,” a crime drama television show in Mexico.

Giovanna Grigio

Grigio comes to the Elite Way School with 6 million Instagram followers and a lot of experience. The Brazilian actress has starred in several television shows and movies and will definitely bring some strong talent to the show.

READ: RBD Is Back With A New Single And This Is Not A Drill

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All The Things We Learned From Netflix’s New “Pelé” Documentary

Entertainment

All The Things We Learned From Netflix’s New “Pelé” Documentary

Pelé / Netflix

Netflix continues to churn out powerful films in countries around the world and their latest venture, a look into the life of Brazilian footballer Pelé is another hit. Sure, Pelé may be considered the world’s best soccer player ever but his place in Brazilian history is less clear – at least according to the new doc.

Filmmakers David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas spent hours in Pelé’s company interviewing him on everything from a childhood spent in poverty to his numerous affairs and his controversial relationship with the authoritarian regime that ruled Brazil during his playing career. Here are some of the key takeaways from this must watch documentary.

Pelé was criticized for not taking a political stance during Brazil’s authoritarian regime.

In 1964, the Brazilian military staged a coup, which led to a dictatorship being established in the country that lasted until 1985. The military government relied on torture and repression to maintain power.

In the film, Pelé is asked whether he knew about these practices at the time.

“If I were to say now that I had never been aware of it, that would be a lie,” he says. “There was a lot we never got to find out, but there were many stories too.”

However, the film paints him as taking a neutral stance throughout, never criticising the regime. Former team-mate Paulo Cezar Lima – aka Caju – doesn’t forgive him.

“I love Pele but that won’t stop me criticizing him. I thought his behavior was that of a black man who says ‘yes sir’,” said Caju. “A submissive black man. It’s a criticism I hold against him until this day, because just one statement from Pelé would have gone a long way.”

The government may have interfered with the Brazilian team.

A dejected Pele leaves the field at Goodison Park after being beaten 3-1 by Portugal, 1966.

The film paints a picture of how national team’s exploits were used to launder the reputation of the military regime during the 1960s. Before the 1970 World Cup, a journalist and friend of Pelé’s describes how it became very important for the regime’s international image that Brazil win the World Cup again. And that meant Pele had to play.

“Winning the World Cup became a governmental matter,” Kfouri says. “The team staff were almost entirely made up of military personnel.”

Manager Joao Saldanha appears to have been fired in the lead-up to the 1970 World Cup for criticizing the Brazilian president, telling a reporter: “I don’t pick his ministers and he doesn’t pick my team. That way we understand each other well.”

Pelé wanted to quit after the 1966 World Cup.

Credit: Pelé / Netflix

In the 1966 World Cup, Brazil was considered a favorite to win, having won the competition four years earlier in Chile. However, there was a massive shock when they were knocked out in the group stages.

“Getting knocked out of the World Cup in England was the saddest moment of my life,” Pelé says. In the film, he tells a reporter: “I don’t intend to play in any more World Cups, because I’m not lucky in them. This is the second World Cup where I have been injured after only two games.”

He played one more World Cup – the 1970 tournament in Mexico, which Brazil won. He’s still the only player to have won three World Cup trophies.

And he admits it was hard for him to stay faithful.

Stores of Pelé’s alleged infidelities and wild romances were common in the tabloids. By 1958, he was a global icon and football’s first millionaire while still only a teenager. And his fans followed him everywhere so it’s hardly a secret that Pelé did not show the same faithfulness to everyone in his life as he did to his club Santos.

At one point in the film, a journalist asks Pelé whether he found it difficult to remain faithful with the amount of women flirting with him.

“In all honesty, it was,” he says, “I’ve had a few affairs, some of which resulted in children, but I only learned about them later. My first wife knew all about it, I never lied to anyone.”

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