Entertainment

Ariana Grande And Ellen Pompeo Break Their Silence Over Gabrielle Union’s Firing From ‘America’s Got Talent’

American actress Gabrielle Union has had a 26-year long career in the entertainment industry. As a Black woman, the 47-year old actress has proven to be one of the most successful actors in her industry. She started her carer in minor roles working her way up from teen movies like “10 Things I Hate About You” to lead roles in films like “Bring it On” and “Deliver Us From Eva.” In recent years, she has also put herself at the forefront of activist movements in and outside of entertainment, speaking up for survivors of assault and frequently commenting on events that have sparked Black Lives Matter interests. When it comes to race, the actress has been particularly vocal. That’s why when reports that the actress had been fried from her work on the show “America’s Got Talent” we weren’t too surprised when it was reported that it was because she had vocalized concerns about racist incidents that had occurred on set.

According to recent reports, Union was let go from her role as a judge on “America’s Got Talent” after she spoke out against racism that had occurred on set.

According to Variety, Union’s firing comes at the hands of two incidents out of several in particular. One included a complaint by Union after comedian Jay Leno made a racist joke about Koreans. According to Variety  “in April of this year, former late-night host Jay Leno visited NBCUniversal in Los Angeles to appear as a guest judge on the network’s unscripted program “America’s Got Talent,” a variety show that seeks out undiscovered musicians, performers, and other quirky artists. On the second floor of a production building on the North Hollywood lot, Leno taped an interstitial segment in the presence of show judges including Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough. While taping, Leno made a crack about a painting on display in a hallway of Simon Cowell, the show’s executive producer and judge, surrounded by his dogs. Leno joked that the pets looked like something one would find “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.”

The joke, which perpetuated stereotypes about Asian cultures consuming dog meat, reportedly upset Union who told producers to report the joke to human resources at NBC. Variety says in their report the incident was “never escalated to that department.”

Other outlets have reported that Union had received numerous notes about her physical appearance including criticism of her hair. According to Variety, “Union was subjected to a very specific critique — that her rotating hairstyles were “too black” for the audience of “AGT,” a note she received over half a dozen times, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the exchanges who spoke on the condition of anonymity. One network insider disputed the volume of notes, saying there was only feedback about hair continuity for both judges.”

While Union has yet to give a statement about the incidents, other actors are speaking out on her behalf and SAG-AFTRA has reportedly launched an official investigation into her exit.

According to a report by Deadline, sources within SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) ” take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously. We immediately reached out to Ms. Union’s representatives when these reports came to light. It is our practice to work closely with members who reach out to us and their representatives in instances like this, as that usually affords the best protection and best resolution for the affected member.”

In response to the news, actress such as Debra Messing and Ellen Pompeo and singer Ariana Grande have spoken in defense of Union.

In a seperate tweet about the incident, Pompeo called out white actresses for not standing “with your sisters on the front lines” and “cut side deals.” While she never named any actresses in particular many have speculated that she was speaking about Julianne Hough, who worked with Union on the series and was also fired recently. However in a recent statement to Variety claimed that she “had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC.”

In a seperate tweet of her own, Grande thanked Pompeo for highlighting the incident and encouraged NBC to “be better.”

Hough is set to star alongside her brother in two Christmas specials for the network this month including “Holidays With the Houghs.”

A Black Transgender Woman Was Killed On The Last Day Of Pride

Things That Matter

A Black Transgender Woman Was Killed On The Last Day Of Pride

@astoldbymelly/ Twitter

We’re now almost halfway through 2020 and the statistics tallying the number of murders that have occurred this year in the trans community are alarming. Sadly when it came to the sacred month of Pride the trans community did not receive a break in these numbers, unfortunately.

A community in Dallas, Texas is currently coming to terms with the death of 22-year-old Merci Mack a Black transg woman whose body was discovered in Dallas on the final day of Pride.

Mack, whose body was discovered in a parking lot, is at least the 18th trans person to be killed in 2020.

According to reports, Mack’s body was discovered at 6:15 a.m and had sustained gunshot wounds. She was found in a parking lot of the Rosemont Apartments located in South Dallas. After her body was discovered, residents at the apartment claimed to police that they heard shots fired an hour beforehand. According to the Dallas Police Department, they never received a 911 about the incident. By the time an emergency response team came to the scene, Mack was dead.

Despite being an openly trans woman, reports by law enforcement and the local media deadnamed her.

The lack of support in using the deadnames of trans people has earned the ire of The Associated Press Stylebook  GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). AP urges reporters to use “use the name by which a transgender person now lives” and HRC has published trans reporting guidelines for police and members of the media. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the department has said that their “hearts go out to the grieving family who are trying to cope with the loss of their love one… Our detectives, as with all murders, are working diligently to find the perpetrator to this horrible crime.”

In response to Mack’s tragic death, LGBTQ+ groups have released statements honoring her life and legacy.

“Another Black transgender woman has had her life stolen from her,” Tori Cooper, a director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative stated an interview. “We cannot become numb to the fact that our community has learned of more killings of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the past few weeks than HRC has ever tracked in the past seven years.”

Mack is at least the 11th trans person to die since 2017 in Texas because of violence. Almost all of them have been Black women. Most recently, in May of this year, Helle Jae O’Regan was stabbed to death while at a barbershop in San Antonio.

A Group Of Women Who Sued Harvey Weinstein For Misconduct Have Reached A Nearly $19 Million Settlement

Entertainment

A Group Of Women Who Sued Harvey Weinstein For Misconduct Have Reached A Nearly $19 Million Settlement

Spencer Platt / Getty

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein might be in prison but his legal woes continue.

The former film producer and convicted sex offender who founded the entertainment company Miramax and was toppled by allegations of sexual assault amid the early days of the #MeToo movement is still paying big time for his depraved acts of sexual assault and harassment. This week, Weinstein was successfully sued for sexual misconduct by a group of women and reached a nearly $19 million tentative settlement.

Late Tuesday evening, New York Attorney General Leticia James announced that the settlement, which is part of a class-action lawsuit against, meant the women would also be released from confidentiality and NDA agreements.

Speaking about the suit which was filed two years ago, Caitlin Dulaney one of the plaintiffs involved described the lead up to the decision as a “long and grueling battle.”

“Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice,” she said in a statement. “Knowing that we will help so many women who are long overdue for relief gives me hope that this settlement will continue to empower others to speak.”

If the lawsuit is approved by bankruptcy and US district courts, the settlement will give Weinstein victims between $7,500 and $750,000 each.

The suit also accuses Harvey Weinstein’s brother Robert Weinstein who co-founded the entertainment company Miramax with him as well as and other administrators of the Weinstein company of failing to prevent predatory sexual misconduct.

According to reports, the suit says Weinstein “created a hostile work environment by repeatedly and persistently sexually harassing female employees, including frequently remarking on female employees’ physical appearances, berating female employees, and requiring female employees to perform work while he was naked or only partially dressed.”

The suit also says Weinstein made employees help him with his erectile dysfunction injection. On top of this, women employees were also often forced to engage in sex to continue working for him or advance their careers. Some were even made to clean up for him after he had sex.

In 2017, The New York Times reported the first allegations of misconduct against Weinstein which ultimately helped spark the #MeToo movement. As a result, dozens upon dozens of women came forward to accuse Weinstein of rape and harassment.

The announcement comes three months after Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping Jessica Mann.

He was also charged with engaging in a criminal sexual act against Mimi Haley. Currently, he is being held in prison at the Wende Correctional Facility in Buffalo, New York.

Still, not everyone involved thinks the settlement is enough. Attorneys for six other women who have sued Weinstein for misconduct have called it a “complete sellout.” They also underlined that the settlement does not hold Weinstein accountable.

Speaking about the decision, Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, two lawyers in a case against Weinstein said in a statement that they “are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels. While we do not begrudge any survivor who truly wants to participate in this deal, as we understand the proposed agreement, it is deeply unfair for many reasons. We are completely astounded that the Attorney General is taking a victory lap for this unfair and inequitable proposal, and on behalf of our clients, we will be vigorously objecting in court.”