Entertainment

Here’s The Reason Why This Novela Star Drives For Uber

Pablo Azar understands the highs of acting in telenovelas.

The 34-year-old from Mexico has appeared in Reina de Corazones and Bella Calamidade, and he has amassed a large number of fans. But when he’s not on camera, Azar earns his money like other up-and-coming actors. He drives for Uber to make ends meet. “At first, I was ashamed of this,” Azar told the New York Times, “Our fans from Latin America who watch novelas, they think we are millionaires and that we drive Ferraris and live in Beverly Hills.” Azar’s story is not unique either. When they are between jobs, those who act for Telemundo are often out scrambling to pay rent.

“In telenovelas,” Katie Barberi told the New York Times, “they can kill your character off in the middle of the shoot and you are paid that day, and it’s over.”

Most actors who work for Telemundo, the Miami-based Spanish-language network owned by NBCUniversal, do not fall under the protection of SAG-Aftra, the television industry’s union. Because the shows are in Spanish, Telemundo has been able to argue that their programming does not meet the union’s requirements. So far this loophole has worked to Telemundo’s benefit, keeping the network exempt from the costs of employee-related health insurance, potential residuals, or to cover any accident on set, which is not an uncommon experience. The company and the unions are currently in talks, but what happens next remains to be seen. For more coverage out the entire story at the New York Times.

[H/T] NYT: He Stars in a Spanish-Language Soap. Why Is He Driving for Uber?


READ: 10 Reasons Eduardo Yañez Is The All-Time Greatest Telenovela Hunk

Uber Says There Were More Than 3,000 Sexual Assaults Reported In Its App Last Year And Here’s What They Plan To Do

Things That Matter

Uber Says There Were More Than 3,000 Sexual Assaults Reported In Its App Last Year And Here’s What They Plan To Do

Pixabay

Uber has been grappling sexism and sexual assault controversies for years now. After revealing its first safety report, the car service disclosed that users reported 3,045 sexual assaults, of those 235 were rapes, during rides last year. There were also nine murders and 58 people were killed in car accidents. 

The number of outright tragedies reported is less than one percent of total Uber rides, which reached 1.3 billion rides in the United States in 2018, according to the company. Nevertheless, officials at Uber were unsettled by the number of crimes and tragedies. 

Uber relies on the fact that it is accessible and ubiquitous to drivers and riders.

Like other ride-hailing apps, including Lyft and Via, the lynchpin of Uber’s business model is an egalitarian approach to who can use it. This means regulations are often ditched in favor of allowing any driver with a car to work for the company. It means these drivers aren’t screened, and in New York City they don’t require a Taxi medallion like traditional yellow cab drivers. 

When employees (and customers for that matter) aren’t properly audited, sexual assaults, attacks, and murders can become all too common. Uber maintains that the crimes and tragedies aren’t a reflection of Uber’s policies but of society’s. 

“The numbers are jarring and hard to digest,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer told the New York Times. “What it says is that Uber is a reflection of the society it serves.”

When the New York Times checked Uber’s safety record against the New York Police Department’s registery of sex crimes and rapes on the city’s transit systems, 553 assaults were reported in 2018. 

There were trends among which crimes drivers committed and which were committed against them. 

While 92 percent of rape victims were riders, murder victims tended to be drivers, riders and other parties. However, both drivers and riders reported other forms of sexual assault at about the same rate, according to Uber’s report. The report categorizes sexual assault into 21 categories that range from unwanted touching to attempted rape to rape. 

“Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society,” the company’s chief legal officer, Tony West, said in the executive summary of the report. “The moment is now for companies to confront it, count it, and work together to end it.”

In April a woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against Uber claiming she was sexually assaulted by her driver and as a result is suing the company for negligence and consumer protection violations, according to The Verge. At least 31 drivers have been convicted of various related offenses like assault, rape, false imprisonment and other crimes, according to CNN. Last year, a pedestrian was killed after being hit by a self-driving Uber car. In 2017, an engineer at the company exposed Uber’s corporate culture as sexist leading to an investigation where dozens of employees were fired. 

Uber has begun implementing more steps to protect passengers and drivers.

Uber’s reputation has been overshadowed by seemingly countless incidences of sexual assaults and the report has not pacified all of their critics. Nevertheless, many are praising the company for disclosing such information warts and all. 

“The more that the public is aware, the more the company and everyone else has to respond,” Jeanne Christensen, whose law firm represented rape victims in cases against Uber, told the New York Times. “It’s such a part of daily life that everyone is going to take it. We’re already at that point. So now they just have to make it as safe as possible.”

Uber has been taking steps over the past 21 months to document and prevent more safety violations. In the app, they added a panic button so that passengers can directly call 911 and provide them with their location. Riders can also use check-ins if their driver appears to be taking a suspicious route. 

“All of those steps are starters because these ride-hailing companies have been abjectly failing in their duty to protect against predators or criminals,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal told the New York Times

The company has partnered with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to determine its best course of action. Since 2017, the company has tripled the staff of its safety team with continued expansion expected. In 2020, it will roll out a hotline with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. 

“The numbers in the report are not surprising because sexual violence permeates all aspects of our society, whether that’s ride-share or Metro or taxi or a workplace,” Allison Randall of the National Network to End Domestic Violence told Washington Post. “This is definitely the start of a conversation.”

Idan Matalon Is The Gay Israeli Man Behind The Hilarious Telenovela Lip Sync Videos

Entertainment

Idan Matalon Is The Gay Israeli Man Behind The Hilarious Telenovela Lip Sync Videos

idanmat / Instagram

In Israel, Idan Matalon is regarded as a gay icon, but in the queer telenovela fandom subculture, Matalon is a superstar. Matalon rose to fame within Israel as an online lipsync star, after he created a YouTube channel dedicated to displaying his pop song lipsyncing skills when he was just 16-years-old. Matalon rose to fame while lipsyncing Korean pop, but, soon, he fell in love with Spanish language telenovelas. The queer Latino community is living for his reenactments of some of the most dramatic moments in telenovela history, this time, with a gay man playing the hypersexualized and distressed female interest. 

Lipsyncing in Spanish soon inspired a passion to learn to speak Spanish, and, now, Matalon nearly exclusively speaks in Spanish on his social media platforms.

Matalon went viral in the Latino community after reenacting the embarazada scene in “Tierra de Pasiones.”

CREDIT: IDANMAT / INSTAGRAM

On this year’s International Coming Out Day, Matalon shared his story and how social media and the Internet has helped him come to terms with his sexuality. “For years I thought [homosexuality] was a sin. I didn’t have YouTube or social networks to watch stories, videos and thoughts of other kids who were like me, and that’s why I felt very lonely and scared with my feelings. In school, the word ‘gay’ was like an insult to the boys,” he shared in an Instagram post. While serving in the Israel Defense Force, he came out as gay to his parents. He was 19-years-old and was met with full support. 

Since then, Matalon has become a columnist for Moovz to discuss LGBT issues and has even made an appearance on the cover of Mexico’s Betún Magazine. Today, he’s using his social media to reimagine telenovelas as acted out (and lipsynced) by the gays, and it’s hilarious. Back in 2015, he and his friend Sachin Bhatt lipsynced the novela scene when Gabriela Spanic and Catherine Siachoque got into a physical fight during the moment the fake-pregnancy gig was finally up. When Matalon grabs the pillow out of Bhatt’s shirt, he takes off his shirt to reveal the kind of six-pack that only the gays can create. This is the content we deserve.

Matalon just announced that he’ll be embarking on a comedy tour in Mexico next year.

CREDIT: IDANMAT / INSTAGRAM

Matalon learned Spanish for his love of novelas, and that overly emoted passion has landed him an entire comedy career in Latin America. Matalon will be returning to Mexico to deliver his “I Live in a Telenovela” comedy show to nine major cities. Will you be there?

Matalon was born in Rishon LeZion, Israel, but has lived all over the Spanish-speaking world.

CREDIT: IDANMAT / INSTAGRAM

Matalon just moved back to his home in Israel, but he spent the last four years appreciating Mexican and American values (and puppies). Matalon moved to Los Angeles about four years ago, and during that time, he spent a year living in Mexico City. In an Instagram post in Spanish, Matalon said, “I already feel like Mexico and LA are my home, but I love my country Israel, I feel relaxed in Tel Aviv, and happy with my family and friends.” While he was living in Mexico, he adopted three adorable chihuahuas and embarked on a two-month process to ensure he would be able to safely bring his beloved babies back to Israel. We love a committed rescue dad!

His telenovela videos are beloved around the world and his Spanish-language skills are pretty remarkable.

The gay YouTuber has spent his life traveling around the world and creating videos for social media. He was a YouTube lipsync artist when he was 16 years old then joined the Israeli military. In April 2012, Matalon was named Shalom Life’s 20 hottest of the 50 hottest Jewish men. His impact in the queer community is massive and his growing among the Latino community is quickly catching up.

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