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Golden Globe

Golden Globes Organizers Under Fire For Lack Of Diversity And ‘Ethical Lapses’ 

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is the group that organizes and votes on all Golden Globe awards every year. After an investigation performed by the Los Angeles Times, the HFPA has been accused of “ethical lapses and of failing to maintain a sufficiently diverse membership.”

The LA Times claims that the nonprofit body of individuals paid certain members large sums of money for serving on committees and watching films meanwhile these members for the most part have only had careers in journalism, not television. The investigation showed these individuals were paid up to $2 million for their services. 

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The HFPA recently responded to the LA Times accusations, claiming that their “compensation decisions are based on an evaluation of compensation practices by similar nonprofit organizations and market rates for such services.” 

The suggestion that many of our members are not serious journalists is outdated and unfair, the organisation has a robust admissions and reaccreditation process and our members write for some of the most reputable publications in the world,” said a representative for the HFPA.

The HFPA has been under fire in the past for similar reasons as well. Their award making process has often been criticised as erratic with constant insider claims that voters on the awards are rewarded with “hospitality in the form of gifts and in-person events with industry stars.” 

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This year’s Golden Globe awards have been riddled with controversy after Michaela Coel’s critically acclaimed series ‘I May Destroy You’ received no nominations but the famously terrible Netflix original ‘Emily In Paris’ did. Additionally, Sia’s controversial feature film ‘Music’ was nominated despite the fact that it’s received a slew of criticism regarding its misrepresentation and “caricature-like” adaptation of individuals with autism. 

According to the LA Times, “while the 87-strong HFPA’s ranks include a number of people of color, there are no black members. A representative of the group said the HFPA is aware of the issue and is ‘committed to addressing’ it. The representative also said that the perception that many members are not serious journalists is ‘outdated and unfair, the organisation has a robust admissions and reaccreditation process and that its members write for some of the most reputable publications in the world.’”

The lack of Black members in the HFPA may be an issue that’s “being addressed” internally, however, for many it’s a “too little too late” situation. The fact that it’s 2021 and some of the nation’s largest corporations, agencies, organizations, etc. still don’t have a substantial amount of Black members, and people of color in general, is seen as unacceptable for most, especially considering a majority of these large bodies are only now hiring people of color and Black people after receiving backlash from the general public and Black Lives Matter movement, not because they’re actually committed to promoting diversity.

Reading Book

JK Rowling’s New Book Faces Accusations Of Transphobia 

JK Rowling’s under fire this week after it was revealed that the main character in her new novel, Troubled Blood, is a male serial killer named Dennis Creed who dresses up in a woman’s coat and wig to get away with entering “female spaces” so he can murder them. The characterization has faced accusations of transphobia due to the fact that Rowling herself has made questionable comments in the past regarding transgender people’s right to enter certain gendered spaces based on how they personally identify. 

Rowling defended her novel’s plot by claiming that the story line is based on two real-life murders. The novel was released this week and after a review from Telegraph, the internet exploded with accusations of transphobia, ignorance, and general disregard for the community Rowling has been adamantly debating with for months. 

In the book, Creed lures his victims into his van by wearing women’s clothing, however, the novel never describes him as trans or as a cross-dresser, so the lines have been blurred for some reviewers. As previously mentioned Rowling also revealed this week that Creed was “loosely based on real-life killers Jerry Brudos and Russell Williams.” 

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Brudos killed four women in Oregon in the 1960’s and was known for stealing female underwear from his neighbours as a child; a characteristic Rowling also gave to Creed. According to past reports from Brudos’ killings, there was evidence of a “large man dressed in women’s clothing in a garage” where Brudos would later kidnap one of his victims. Williams murdered two women and was sentenced to life in prison ten years ago. He also was known for stealing female undergarments.  

According to Rowling, trans issues aren’t even part of the books plotline, and instead the main themes regard personal journeys and struggles with feminist ideals. 

“Change, loss and absence are the biggest themes of the book, but it also explores the changing face of feminism and ideals and stereotypes of femininity … through the cast of characters.”

The novel follows private detectives Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott as they investigate the case of Margot Bamborough, who vanished 10 years prior. Bamborough is described as a feminist who was approaching her 30s, in the midst of a divorce and navigating motherhood. 

“It’s my favorite of the series by far and I think the length is necessary to do the story justice.”

This is the fifth installment in the Strike series and runs just over 900 pages long. According to Rowling, she always knew the book would be lengthy and because the investigation is meant to take place over the course of one year, she wanted to make sure the story was developed enough to read as such. 

Whitney Museum NYC

Whitney Museum Cancels Exhibit Highlighting Work Around ‘BLM’ And Covid-19 Amid Controversy

The Whitney Museum announced this week that they would be cancelling an exhibition that was meant to center around the Black Lives Matter movement as well as Covid-19. They made this decision after the public learned that the museum had taken a lot of the artwork that was done predominately by Black artists without their permission and at an extremely discounted price. 

The many different art pieces were intended to be in a collection titled Collective Actions: Artist Interventions in a Time of Change, and was acquired by the museum at a See In Black print sale. See In Black was a photography fundraiser meant to aid many Black organizations and charities. However, the artists who had their work bought by the museum claim that none of them were properly consulted or paid for the transaction. 

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This came to light after the Whitney director of research resources, Farris Wahbeh, emailed all the artists informing them that the museum acquired their work for its special collection. The collection was going to be scheduled for September 17th to January 3rd, 2021, and in the email Wahbeh also informed the artists that they would receive a lifetime museum pass in exchange for their personal information. 

The See In Black fundraising began on Juneteenth this year with its first print sale. Each piece for that fundraiser was priced at $100, and helped get the world out on what the organization was doing. The Whitney museum then acquired works from 79 different artists for its collection. Antwaun Sargent is an art critic who helped expose the Whitney for their lack of communication and compensation with the artists. 

She noted that museums normally take months to go through the process of acquiring new artwork as it has to go through several committees before receiving approval. However, the Whitney can technically skip all those steps when curating pieces to be in a limited collection. See In Black responded to these actions by the Whitney with extreme disappointment and claimed they completely went against their mission of “investing materially in Black communities.” 

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“The Whitney’s use of the works acquired through See in Black constitutes unauthorized use of the works to which the artists do not consent and for which the artists were not compensated. Furthermore, See in Black is not affiliated with the Whitney’s exhibition.”

Many of the artists also took to Twitter to express their extreme frustration in the Whitney’s use of an acquisition loophole to get out of properly paying Black artists for their work, while also using it to profit off potential ticket sales. Shortly after See In Black made their public statement the Whitney responded by announcing the preemptive closing of the exhibition. 

The statement claimed that the museum would be careful in the future when it came to giving artists their proper dues for their work, however, many of the artists and museum-goers in general aren’t so convinced, as this is not the first time the Whitney has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. 

Last year, the Whitney was under fire for its association with Warren B. Kanders, who was a former board member for the museum. Kanders ran a company that also manufactures tear gas to be used by federal police and border control. The museum also is one of many culture institutions that received a PPP loan between $5-$10 million, despite laying off 76 staff members the same month. 

As of right now the Whitney is expected to reopen on September 3rd.

McDonalds Sign

McDonald’s Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook Fired Over Relationship With Colleague

Fast food giant McDonald’s has fired its Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook following revelations of an affair with one of his colleagues, with the successful businessman admitting that he had made a ‘mistake’ regarding his conduct.

Despite both parties consenting to the relationship, the company deemed that Mr. Easterbrook had violated their company policy. It has been disclosed that he is likely to receive around 26 weeks pay against an estimated $16m annual salary and additional bonuses could see him pocketing somewhere in the region of $35m. As part of the exit arrangement, Mr. Easterbrook is not permitted to work for a competitor for a minimum of two years.

News of his departure was circulated to McDonald’s staff via an email in which the 52 year old admitted that he had made a mistake with regards to his conduct. The personally written email also said that he agreed with the board and that it was ‘time to move on’.

British-born Mr. Easterbrook first began working for the company back in 1993, taking up the position of manager in London. After working his way through the ranks, he left in 2011 to head up the popular restaurant chain Pizza Express, before moving on to Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama. However, in 2013, he returned to McDonalds to undertake the position of Head of UK and Northern Europe before becoming Chief Executive in 2015.

Mr. Easterbrook stepped down after the board voted on the matter, also relinquishing his roles as president and member of the board. Their view is that the company has long upheld rules regarding conflict of interest which were clearly ignored by Mr. Easterbrook when he decided to embark on a relationship with a fellow colleague. He was immediately replaced by McDonald’s USA president Chris Kempczinski.

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Many companies have such rules in place regarding relationships or at the very least require parties to disclose any romantic relationships that are occurring within the workplace. Experts say that the main driving factor is to avoid litigation caused by disgruntled partners if the relationship ends badly.

Observing the story unfolding, successful businesswoman and relationship expert Stephanie Tumba, author of ‘100 Dates and a Wedding’ commented:

“When you think how difficult it is to find love nowadays and that 1 in 5 couples meet at work, my view is that this decision was perhaps a little harsh and old-fashioned. Bear in mind that Bill Gates met his wife in the working environment, this stuff happens all the time. People shouldn’t lose their jobs and livelihoods over it.

Today, we live in a much freer world, a far cry from William Shakespeare’s forbidden love stories. Over the years, many taboos surrounding love and relationships have been lifted in most industrialised countries, and it would be naive to think that relationships are not blossoming between colleagues on a daily basis.

Embarking on a romantic relationship within the workplace means maintaining discretion and etiquette as a given. However, I think that sanctioning against such relationships can no longer be the default position. Employers should invite the employees to discuss this situation and then decide how to best deal with it. Whether it’s making them work in different departments and/or legally framing the situation.

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Of course, one can understand that an employer would be concerned that the behaviour of the couple could cause reputational damage to the organisation and create tensions between individuals, teams or departments. Even more so when one of the parties is in a prominent leadership position.

Whilst it is essential that a certain level of conduct is maintained in the working environment, I do not think that organisations can continue to contractually prevent people from nurturing romantic relationships with their colleagues.

Naturally, some inter-work relationships have ended badly. The relationship between President Bill Clinton and his intern Monica Lewinsky lasted for over 18 months and almost led to him losing his job. Several other politicians have found themselves in similar circumstances, all having potentially damaging implications for both the individual and the organisation, country or party they represent.

However, Stephanie’s comments appear to be mirrored in a growing number of people who appear to have no problem with an office romance. A recent survey revealed that 75% of those questioned believed that romantic relationships at work were not problematic. This view was also supported by research which reveals that over 30% of office romances lead to marriage.

In fact, Barack and Michelle Obama first met at a Chicago law firm, after Michelle was given the task of mentoring the firm’s new summer intern, Barack. Despite rejecting his advances at first, over fear that the only two African-Americans in the office dating would appear ‘tacky’, she eventually relented, getting married just four years later.