Things That Matter

Snapchat Tragically Thought Making Users Smile To Break ‘Chains Of Slavery’ Was A Fun Idea

Companies and brands need Black people.

Case in point: recently, an executive from Snapchat’s parent company was forced to apologize for a disrespectful filter that encouraged users to “break the chains of slavery with a smile.”

Snapchat’s latest filter was set against a Pan-African flag and encouraged users to smile to make chains appear and ultimately break them.

The filter was featured as part of Snapchat’s Juneteenth support effort which rose in popularity amid protests over the death of Georg Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people across the United States.

Users on Twitter were quick to condemn the filter as “tone-deaf” and being superficial in attempts to address systematic racism. In response to the backlash, former Snapchat employees have tweeted out about the company’s lack of diversity. “This is what happens when you don’t have any black people on the product design team,” one Twitter user wrote.

In response to complaints, Oona King, the vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Snap, slammed assertions that the company launched the filter without consulting Black staffers.

“The mischaracterization on social media — that White executives at a tech company failed, yet again, to include Black perspectives — is completely untrue,” King, a Black woman told employees in a Saturday letter. “What is true is that regardless of our diverse backgrounds, we are all human, and humans make mistakes.”

King asserted that Black employees had been “fully involved” in creating and approving the filter. In response to complaints, Snapchat pulled the filter and apologized.

“This mistake has taught us a valuable lesson, and I am sincerely sorry that it came at the expense of what we meant to be a respectful commemoration of this important day,” King said in the letter published by The Verge. “We feel it is perfectly acceptable as black people to celebrate the end of slavery — as we do with picnics, BBQs, street parties, and other forms of celebration across America — and say ‘Smile! Happy Juneteenth; we’re no longer enslaved! But we’re not yet really free either! However for a White person to tell a Black person: ‘Smile! You’re no longer slaves’ is offensive in the extreme.”

Unlike other Silicon Valley giants, Snap has yet to share a report on the diversity of its workforce. Recently they announced plans to publicly release diversity data, “along with additional context and our plans for meaningful change.”

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Melania Trump’s Former BFF Calls First Lady’s ‘What About Me?’ Reaction to U.S. Capitol Riots ‘Embarrassing’

Things That Matter

Melania Trump’s Former BFF Calls First Lady’s ‘What About Me?’ Reaction to U.S. Capitol Riots ‘Embarrassing’

Drew Angerer / Staff

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of Melania Trump and employee of the Trump inauguration celebration, authored a book last fall about her friendship with Melania. The book, which detailed the first lady’s reaction to Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape and her relationship with the president’s favorite child: Ivanka came hard on the heels of several other damning memoirs concerning the Trumps. Now, the former friend (and adviser to Melania) is at it again.

In response to Melania’s comments on last Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riots, Winston Wolkoff accused the first lady of being an “enabler” of her husband, Donald Trump.

In a recent interview with CNN, Winston Wolkoff accused Melania of being too little and too late with her response.

Issued five days after the attack on the Capitol, the first lady’s statement was criticized for focusing on issues related to herself rather than the harm done at the Capitol.

“I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me – from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda,” Melania Trump wrote. “This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain… I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin, or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness… We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.”

Addressing Melania’s reaction, Winston Wolkoff noted that “This isn’t the only complicit event that’s occurred throughout these four years. Melania Trump has a voice and she hasn’t used it. She has a platform, she hasn’t used it. As the First Lady of the United States of America … you have the ability to speak loudly, clearly, and for the rest of Americans. She is not just complicit, she is his enabler. And she’s his biggest cheerleader and unfortunately, she’s done nothing but that.”

When asked by CNN if she thought Melania’s statement was directed at her, Winston Wolkoff replied, “Unfortunately, Brianna, if that’s what’s on her mind, then that’s really an embarrassing thing to be thinking about at this moment in time.”

Last fall, Winston Wolkoff published a tell-all book that claimed to reveal what Melania really thinks about the president of the United States.

The new book reveals that that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former close friend of Melania recorded the first lady speaking about the president and his children. “Wolkoff takes you into Trump Tower and the White House to tell the funny, thrilling, and heartbreaking story of her intimate friendship with one of the most famous women in the world,” says a preview of the book which is being published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books 

The book titled “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady” hit shelves on September 1. It has tons of reveals.

Wolkoff says that she feels “stabbed in the back” by Melania.

“I witnessed the transformation of Melania from gold plate to 24-karat gold,” Wolkoff wrote befoe adding “Watching her now, and seeing that only the gold shell remains, I have to wonder if that’s all she ever was, and I was the sucker who bought the fake watch on the street corner.”

When it came to the Hollywood Access Tape, Melania was apparently glowing.

Wolkoff wrote about how Melania reacted in 2016 to the Access Hollywood tape in which her husband could be heard bragging about “grabbing” women by their vaginas.

“She was radiant, she was smiling,” Wolkoff wrote. “It was as if nothing happened… She knows who she married… She knew what she was getting into, and so did he.”

It’s yet to be revealed when and where the alleged recordings of Melania were done but there’s no doubt Trump likely already has a legal team on it.

After all, recording someone without their consent is illegal in many states. However, in New York and some others, only one person taking part in a conversation needs to legally consent to be recorded.

According to the book’s description, Wolkoff (also the former director of special events at Vogue and a producer of Met Galas) “met Melania Knauss in 2003 and had a front-row seat to the transformation of Donald Trump’s then-girlfriend from a rough-cut gem to a precious diamond. As their friendship deepened over lunches at Manhattan hot spots, black-tie parties, and giggle sessions in the penthouse at Trump Tower” the author “watched the newest Mrs. Trump raise her son, Barron, and manage her highly scrutinized marriage.”

Once friends, Wolkoff and Melania experienced a breaking point in their relationship over her handling of the $107 million inauguration. The spending on the inauguration prompted various questions and a federal investigation. In the book, Wolkoff claims that she became Melania’s scapegoat for the decisions of President Trump and his aides.

In response to Wolkoff’s book, a spokeswoman for Melania said “The book is not only full of mistruths and paranoia, it it is based on some imagined need for revenge… Sadly, this is a deeply insecure woman whose need to be relevant defies logic.”

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Survey Says Support For Abortion Has Risen In Mexico

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Survey Says Support For Abortion Has Risen In Mexico

Cyndi Monaghan/ Getty

Abortion rights have been long-debated issues for countries across the globe. Always, when it comes to conversations about women’s reproductive rights, is the debate that decisions like these should be decided solely by the people directly affected. You know, the ones with uteruses. Surprisingly, the president of Mexico agrees.

Last Thursday, the president declared that he believed that the decision about whether the country should legalize abortion should be left up to women.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stressed last week that the legality of abortion should be up to Mexico’s women to decide.

While López Obrador avoided revealing his actual position on the issue, he did say that a public consultation should be considered in the decision. In Mexico, the issue of abortion remains controversial and is still rejected by many Mexicans.

“It’s a decision for women,” Lopez Obrador explained one day after the Argentine Senate voted to make abortion legal. “It’s just that matters of this nature should not be decided from above.”

Lopez Obrador’s comments came soon after the Argentine vote was made and journalists in a news conference asked him whether he thought Mexico should take similar action.

Mexico, a majority Roman Catholic nation, is changing in its perception of abortion restrictions.

According to Reuters, “At the end of November, support for abortion stood at 48% in a survey, published by the news organizations El Financiero and Nación321 – a steep rise from the 29% recorded in March. The poll, based on telephone interviews with 410 participants, asked if respondents agreed that “the law should permit a woman the right to abortion.”

While abortion is legal in Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca, it remains illegal in most of the country with the exception of special circumstances.

According to Reuters, a “nationwide poll published in September 2019 by newspaper El Financiero showed that a woman’s right to abortion only had majority support in Mexico City and Baja California state.”

Sixty-three percent of people who took part in the survey said that they were against abortion rights while 32% were in favor. Fifteen thousand adults took part in the survey.

Various nations in Latin American ban abortion in totality. El Salvador, has in the past sentenced women to up to 40 years in prison. Until recently, only Cuba and Uruguay have allowed women to recieve elective abortions.

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