Showing posts with label Hollywood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hollywood. Show all posts

December 10, 2018

Keith Hart Now Knows What Most Americans Knew: There is No Tolerance to Joke About Pain



While some might view comedian Kevin Hart as a victim of political correctness after being called out for anti-gay jokes he made years ago, others see the response to him as the latest example of how Americans are increasingly intolerant of blatant discrimination.
Not long after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announcedthat comedian Kevin Hart would be hosting the 2019 Oscars ceremony, there was backlash about Hart’s past tweets and comments directed toward the LGBTQ community.
As the backlash grew, anyone who has watched these situations play out in the past knew there was a strong chance that Hart ultimately would not be fulfilling a long-held dream of hosting one of the most prestigious awards shows in entertainment. The comedian announced Friday on Twitter that he was stepping down from hosting the ceremony after the academy asked him to apologize for his past tweets — something he initially refused to do.
This is not the first time the Oscars has made headlines surrounding its relationship with historically marginalized groups. Activist April Reign helped bring attention to the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees in 2015 with her hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. And the academy apologized in 2016 for jokes host and comedian Chris Rock made about Asian children that critics deemed racist. 

And the Oscar for most homophobic host ever goes to...

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I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets 🤔🤔🤔

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 But this might be the first time that conversations about diversity and inclusion involving the Oscars attracted this much attention after the 2016 election, which saw identity politics become a far more common lens through which many view politics and culture.
In many ways, Hollywood is one of the most pro-LGBT spaces in our society. But that Hart may have been hired without a full vetting is still telling.
“The entertainment industry is like any other institution in our country. It’s not perfect,” activist Keith Boykin, who worked on LGBT issues in the Clinton administration, told the Fix. “The industry is still evolving and slowly adapting to demands for inclusion.”
In the current political climate, where seven in 10 Americans think homosexuality should be accepted in society, according to the Pew Research Center, there’s been a growing desire to see LGBT people in greater positions of visibility and influence — especially in politics — leading those conversations. Openly LGBT candidates were elected in record numbers during last month’s midterms.
While one of Hart’s responses to his critics accused them of having “negative energy” by bringing up his past attacks toward a particular community, the comedian previously seemed aware of the real consequences of isolating a segment of the American — and global — audience. He told Variety that he was unwilling to criticize President Trump, in part, to avoid alienating the president’s supporters.
When you jump into that political realm you’re alienating some of your audience. The world today, it’s really not a laughing matter. It’s serious. I don’t want to draw attention to things I don’t have nice things to say about.
When I used the word ‘alienate,’ here’s why. The way that I see it, my job as a comedian is to spread positivity. To make people laugh. And I don’t want to draw attention to what’s already pissing us as a people off.
Everybody’s not going to see things the way I want to see them. And they shouldn’t. That’s what makes us individuals. In that particular realm, I keep my opinions to myself. And like I said, if I don’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say it at all. I’m not in the business of trashing people.
Hart’s apology to the LGBT community, in which he explained that he is evolving, has attracted quite a bit of attention based on retweets. He explained that he is becoming a person who is less interested in disrespecting groups of people. When this controversy fades, as all do, the comedian who built his brand on crossing lines will likely have the opportunity to be more mindful of those on the receiving end of his punchlines.

August 8, 2018

Hollywood City Council Passes Resolution To Remove Trump's Star on Walk of Fame

Samantha SchmidtThe Washington Post

Since before the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star has seen just about everything. It was smashed into pieces — twice. It was vandalized with a swastika, enclosed with a miniature border wall, defaced with profanity and graced with the presence of a gold-painted toilet telling passersby to "TAKE A TRUMP."
Trump supporters have fought back, defending the star. Late last month, hours after a man destroyed the star with a pickax, a fierce brawl ensued, leaving one person kicked in the head and another bleeding from the face. 

The site has become a symbol not only of the nation's celebrity president but of the polarization surrounding him. And a nearby city council has had enough of it.
On Monday night, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to ask for the removal of Trump's star, due to the president's "disturbing treatment of women and other actions that do not meet the shared values of the City of West Hollywood, the region, state, and country." It cited President Donald Trump's lewd comments on the Access Hollywood tape, his policy of separating families at the border, and his denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Since the city of West Hollywood does not have any control over the Walk of Fame, the council's resolution simply urges the City Council of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove the star.
"These are the sort of icons and images that define us as Americans," West Hollywood Mayor John Duran told The Washington Post late Monday night. "To think that we would pay tribute to someone who's causing such a horrible disaster to our country's values."
Trump received his star on the Walk of Fame in 2007 for his work as the producer of the Miss Universe Pageant. His is one of more than 2,500 coral terrazzo and brass stars on the two-mile stretch of the popular Hollywood tourist attraction. Each year a committee sifts through about 200 nominations to select 20 to 24 new stars to add to the Walk of Fame.

The city council of West Hollywood, which neighbors Los Angeles, has "never felt compelled to intervene" in decisions regarding the Walk of Fame, Duran said. The council didn't make such calls for star removal when scores of powerful men in Hollywood were accused of misconduct amid the #MeToo movement. It did not pass a similar resolution to eliminate the star of Bill Cosby after the disgraced comedian was convicted of sexual assault.

"They've had their day in court, they've had their trial," Duran said of men like Cosby. But this time is different, Duran said, because Trump is the "leader of the free world." "There's a sense of lawlessness that is occurring that is largely being orchestrated by the president." The council passed the resolution not because Trump is a conservative or Republican, Duran said, but because he has created a "constitutional crisis."
In light of the revelations of the #MeToo movement, the city's resolution also asks that the officials overseeing the Walk of Fame consider revisiting the qualifications for earning a star. West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John D'Amico, who introduced the proposal, thinks the Walk of Fame "needs to do a deep dive into their history" and consider what other stars should be removed, he said in an interview with The Post.
Duran acknowledges that the resolution is, at this point, purely symbolic. Leron Gubler, the president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Walk of Fame, said in a statement to CNN that it will refer the issue to the group's Executive Committee for consideration at its next meeting. "As of now, there are no plans to remove any stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame," Gubler said. 

Despite previous demands to remove Cosby and Trump's stars, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has refused to do so.
"The answer is no," Gubler said in 2015 in response to inquiries about the Cosby and Trump stars. "The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk."
So the council's resolution is not likely to do much in the immediate future. Still, the move drew a rowdy crowd of an estimated 100 people to city hall Monday night, where residents were encouraged to weigh in on the debate.
Emotions ran high. Insults were shouted across the room. At one point, Duran had to remind those in the audience to have a civilized debate, even though today's politics may "seem uncivilized."
Among those who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting was a 24-year-old named Austin Mikel Clay, who introduced himself by saying, "You may know me as the man who actually destroyed Donald Trump's star."
Clay turned himself into police after he swung a pickax at Trump's star at 3 a.m. late last month. He is now facing a felony charge of vandalism and is expected to be arraigned next week.
Wearing a black blazer and white button-down shirt, Clay said he felt Trump's star was a threat to public safety. "With all the violence that's erupting over the star in its current condition, I could see someone getting seriously hurt."
He called Trump "unethical" and "fraudulent," and criticized him for "putting children in cages," and removing them from their parents at the border."He is racist. He's a bigot," Clay said.
"I would like to preserve the integrity of the Walk of Fame as an honorable landmark for the American landscape," Clay said.
A number of Trump supporters at the meeting condemned the resolution. "He earned it," said one woman, who described herself as a Latina supporter of the president. "It needs to be respected. Be proud of that star."
"You want to remove stars? Start with all the pedophilia in Hollywood," she added.
A transgender man, James Wen, stepped up to the microphone to decry the president's move to ban transgender members of the military. "Stars in the military are awarded to great leaders, great generals," Wen said. "This is our commander in chief and when a commander in chief, when a general is not becoming of their position, they are either asked to resign or a star is removed. It is time to have the star removed."
As Wen walked back to his seat, Duran said he heard someone in the audience yell out to Wen, "You're actually a woman. Start acting like a girl."
In a video of the meeting, Duran is seen pounding a gavel on the table in front of him.
"Excuse me. We do not speak to members of the transgender community with such horrible remarks," he said, prompting a round of applause from the audience.
Later in the meeting, Duran said that some of the comments made by Trump supporters in the audience "are a reflection of that anger and angst and divisiveness" in the country right now.
Their behavior "pretty much solidified that what we're doing is right," Duran said.

June 11, 2018

Actor Jackson Odell Dead at 20 [Ari at The Goldbergs]

Jackson Odell

Jackson Odell has died at the age of 20.
The musician and actor, best known for his role as Ari Caldwell on ABC’s The Goldbergs from 2013 to 2015, was found unresponsive at his Tarzana, California, residence on Friday, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE. His cause of death is pending an autopsy.
“The Odell family has lost our beloved son and brother, Jackson Odell, on Friday,” his family in a statement posted to his Twitter page. “He will always be a shining light and a brilliant, loving and talented soul. He had so much more to share. Our family will always carry that truth forward. Our wish is that the rest of the world who knew and loved him does as well.”
The family continued, “We are now going to try to make sense of our immeasurable loss privately. We will not be making any more statements.”
The actor’s career also included small roles on Private PracticeModern Family, iCarly and Arrested Development. 
He was also a singer-songwriter who contributed several original songs to the soundtrack for the 2018 movie Forever My Girl.  
Actress Ariel Winter mourned his loss on social media, writing about their time together on Modern Family.
“Devastated to hear about the passing of Jackson Odell,” she wrote. “I knew Jackson since we were 12 years old, and he even appeared in an episode of Modern Family. We didn’t talk much as we entered our high school years, but I’m glad I got to spend time with him before his end. Very hard for me to hear about anyone passing away, but someone so young really saddens me. Sending love to his family and friends.”

May 25, 2018

Sir Ian McKellen Says Hollywood Bemoans LGBT When Half of Them Are Gay

 Anti Gay Gays= Many times referred to, as 'Homophobic' 🦊

Screen and stage star Ian McKellen has taken aim at Hollywood’s inclusion problems, asserting that “half of Hollywood is gay” but you’d never know it based on the dearth of LGBTQ projects being produced.

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The 78-year-old actor, who’s the subject of the new documentary “McKellen: Playing the Part,” railed against the industry when recently asked by Time Out London what he thought of so few gay characters appearing in blockbusters. He took particular issue with the controversy around Jude Law’s Professor Dumbledore not being “explicitly gay” in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” film. 
“That’s a pity. Well, nobody looks to Hollywood for social commentary, do they?” quipped the actor, who was approached for the wizard’s role in the previous “Harry Potter” films. Then he tore into the industry.
“They only recently discovered that there were black people in the world. Hollywood has mistreated women in every possible way throughout its history. Gay men don’t exist,” he continued.
The Englishman said that Bill Condon’s 1998 Frankenstein feature, “Gods and Monsters,” in which he starred, was “the beginning of Hollywood admitting that there were gay people knocking around, even though half of Hollywood is gay.”
Nobody looks to Hollywood for social commentary, do they? They only recently discovered that there were black people in the world. Hollywood has mistreated women in every possible way throughout its history. Gay men don’t exist.

May 24, 2018

A Record Low of LGBT Characters in Homophobic Hollywood

The number of Hollywood films featuring LGBTQ characters plummeted nearly 40 percent in 2017 compared to the year prior, an annual survey of the major movie studios by GLAAD said on Tuesday.
The group found that just 14 wide releases from the majors, as well as offerings from their indie divisions, were inclusive of queer identities in 2017, a drop from 23 films in 2016.
Only 12.8 percent of studio films contained characters who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer — the lowest percentage of LGBTQ-inclusive major studio releases since GLAAD began tracking in 2012. Trans characters were absent entirely from wide releases (though the report does contain praise for the Oscar-winning trans story “A Fantastic Woman,” released by Sony Pictures Classics). 
“On screen, record-breaking films like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ prove that not only does inclusion make for great stories — inclusion is good for the bottom line. It is time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories to be included in this conversation and in this movement,” said GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a fiery introduction the survey, called the Studio Responsibility Index (SRI).
Now in its sixth year, the SRI applies a secondary test to the films that rate as inclusive. Called the Vito Russo Test, it’s a set of parameters that vets a given film for the quality of its depiction of queer people (often in mainstream commercial fare, gay people are used as punchlines or provoke anxiety in straight characters).
Universal Pictures got the highest score of any studio but was still labeled “insufficient,” by the SRI. Of fourteen wide releases. four of the studio’s films made the grade. The highest praise was for Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.”
It’s a blink-and-miss moment, but there’s a revelation that Allison Williams’ character Rose also recruited at least one woman (Betty Gabriel) to bring home to her family, who conduct a sinister procedure that implants the brains of white people into able black bodies.
Glaad charts
Behind Universal was 20th Century Fox (whose touching coming-out movie “Love, Simon” was released in 2018 and did not count for this survey) which merited inclusion for a gay male couple in “Alien: Covenant” and the creative and crucial deployment of Elton John in the plot of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” Fox was dinged for a portrayal of platonic female friendship in Amy Schumer’s “Snatched.”
Paramount received a “poor” rating, with just two inclusive films (Ruby Rose’s character in “XxX: The Return of Xander Cage” being one), along with Lionsgate.
Disney’s eponymous label and portfolio studios Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar tied for the last place with Sony Pictures — with both studios only releasing one inclusive film and both earning a “poor” rating.
There was a small silver lining — while depictions of queer people are still overwhelmingly stories of gay men, people of color counted for 57 percent of those characters last year. None among them were Asian or Pacific Islander, however.
Ellis and leadership from GLAAD hosted a breakfast at the Beverly Hills offices of agency WME on Tuesday morning, where they presented the SRI to industry players. Lena Waithe and TK sat for a panel discussion afterward to discuss how Hollywood can increase quality representation in film.

April 10, 2018

A Friend of Bill Cosby Says "Sometimes The Devil Makes Good Art" ~~Evil Must Be Identified



With the disgraced star's second trial underway, THR's columnist admits he can't watch his former friend's shows "without anger, guilt or shame" as he confronts what offenses are "great enough to condemn the art along with the artist."

Since the Oct. 5 New York Times article detailing the atrocities of Harvey Weinstein, a growing tsunami of outrage has washed through American culture. From celebrities, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey and Charlie Rose to political powerhouses Trent Franks, Roy Moore and President Trump, the list of infamy grows daily. But when that list includes names of beloved artists associated with social progress, such as Bill Cosby, Sherman Alexie, and Al Franken, we are shaken on an even deeper level. Our initial anger and sense of betrayal makes us want to purge their artistic footprints from our cultural identity, and we are forced to ponder: What do we do with good art from bad people?
On her Hulu show, I Love You, America, Sarah Silverman, in response to the accusations of sexual harassment against close friend Louis C.K., posed the question, "Can you love someone who did bad things?" Most people eventually have to come to some decision about that question in their personal lives. But when the offense is widely known and the offender famous, we struggle with that question in a public forum that doesn't allow much room for nuance or forgiveness. Instead, as Silverman said, "Some of our heroes will be taken down, and we will discover bad things about people we like or, in some cases, people we love." Despite our personal feelings, we must paint them with the scarlet letter for the good of the community.
In the aftermath of this public outcry, positive changes have blossomed, from more female-centric stories in entertainment to formalizing sexual harassment regulations to a general awareness of what we as a society have been doing wrong and how to stop doing it. But along with those overdue gains, American culture has had some serious losses. 
In 1965, when I was 18 and a senior in high school, I was struggling to find my identity as an African-American during one of the most tumultuous times in U.S. history. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed to violent protests, three civil rights workers registering voters in Mississippi were murdered, race riots swept the country, and I had just been called the N-word by my high school basketball coach. I felt not just marginalized in this country I grew up in, but actively hated. I saw a glimmer of hope appear in mainstream American culture when the 1965 fall TV season brought a new NBC show called I Spy, featuring a couple of buddy spies: one white, one black. Black? Never before had there been a black person in a starring role on a TV drama.
The black spy was played by comedian Bill Cosby. Improbably, he portrayed the smart one: a Rhodes Scholar who spoke numerous languages knew all kinds of science and was an expert in fine arts and martial arts. I was buoyed watching him week after week, knowing that many Americans were seeing all blacks with more respect. The show was popular, and Cosby went on to receive three Emmys as an outstanding lead actor in a drama series. His response to winning was defiant and exhilarating: "Let the message be known to bigots and racists that they don't count!"
When I moved to Los Angeles to play basketball for UCLA, Cosby was my friend and mentor. I ate at his home, listened intently to his advice, discussed racial politics and laughed with him over small things. The accusations by 59 women that he drugged, groped and/or raped them was a punch in America's collective gut. Yet, it was even harder for African-Americans because, for 50 years, Cosby had been our totem to white America that we were just like you. Now that friendly, fatherly face had morphed into that of a sexual predator, and we had to share his shame for having paraded him around so proudly.
His fall from grace was America's fall from innocence. But was I that innocent? Were any of us? Because, even though we find his actions despicable, we have to recognize that most men — and many women — colluded to maintain a social order corrupted by gender disparity. That disparity made women afraid to speak out whenever they were harassed. Every joke ever told about female drivers or ditzy blondes or man-eating businesswomen weighed them down in the eyes of society and made them afraid to speak out. We made Cosby and Weinstein possible by creating the environment in which they could thrive.
I'm confident that almost every male over the age of 20 can remember at least one incident from his past in which he made an inappropriate joke designed to embarrass a woman, an aggressive move meant to intimidate a woman or a physical insistence disguised as seduction. If you don't think you have, you're probably lying to yourself and have learned nothing from the society-altering #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
Cosby (left) and Robert Culp in the NBC series<em> I Spy</em>, which ran from 1965-68.
Everett Collection
Cosby (left) and Robert Culp in the NBC series I Spy, which ran from 1965-68.
I Spy and the even more popular Cosby Show have been exiled to a cultural Phantom Zone where we are in the process of sentencing the artworks of offenders deemed unworthy. But what we're all wrestling with is what constitutes an offense great enough to condemn the art along with the artist. And how should we judge whether an accused person is really guilty or the victim of a vendetta or a sincere misunderstanding? Jennifer Lawrence articulated all of our struggles when she responded to a question asking if she would talk to accused sexual harasser Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars: "I don't know. I think it is scary, you know. He has not been to trial for anything. I am not a judge. I am not a jury … that is where this stuff gets tricky."
It is scary and tricky because shunning art for the actions of the artist opens a door to the kind of malevolent censorship that undermines democracy. We might soon include unpopular political positions, religious beliefs and social opinions. And what about art from accused people who deny wrongdoing and the evidence is inconclusive? Or collaborative art that supports numerous innocent people? We've come to some sort of social consensus that for the most part accepts the transgressions of dead artists — maybe because of a lack of urgency or laziness or because if we banned every sexist male artist, we'd have few men in our artistic canon.
The attempt to punish the art for the sins of the artist is not a one-size-fits-all remedy for bad behavior. Other factors have to be considered, including cultural and historical context and whether the art form is collaborative. Right now, we have dysfunctional and inconsistent criteria for punishing perceived wrongdoers — and for determining who they are. Jay Asher, the author of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why, and James Dashner, the author of the Maze Runner novel series, have been accused of sexual harassment and have faced a harsh backlash. Should we also not go to the movies based on those books, even though that choice damages all the people whose livelihood depends on those movies? 
What should we do? We definitely cannot rely on good intentions or the kindness of strangers. History confirms that every step of progress in a social movement is eventually met with a backlash to erode those gains. To prevent that, firm rules and definitions regarding sexual harassment must be in place in private business and government. Free legal aid must be available to accusers. Internal investigations must be conducted in a way that protects the privacy of the accuser and accused. More important, we have to continue to raise awareness, especially among our children, about what is appropriate and respectful behavior.
I can no longer watch I Spy without anger, guilt, and shame. There are other shows, movies, books, artworks, comedians and musicians I can no longer enjoy. In addition to the horrendous devastation to the individual women, we as a culture are severely damaged, afraid to embrace any art or artist lest they eventually are tainted by bad behavior. We are all trapped in this necessary but exhausting j'accuse cycle of condemnation and punishment, denouncing and renouncing.
Yes, it must be done. Injustices must be identified as a mandatory step in eliminating them. What makes those who speak out about abuse — whether women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants or others — so heroic is that the act of speaking out traps the accuser with the accused. It reminds me of the closing lines of The Line-Up, a poignant poem by Joan Swift in which a woman at a police lineup to identify her attacker ponders the double assault of the crime and being the accuser:
The walls come in. I am
captured him 
locked in this world forever 
unable to say run
be free
I love you
having to accuse
and accuse.
This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine

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