February 23, 2019

USA Today Editor Apologizes for Publishing Blackface Photo in College Yearbook

She added, “Today’s 51-year-old me of course understands and is crushed by this mistake.”

Ms. Carroll, who became the newspaper’s editor in February 2018 after nearly 20 years at its sister publication The Arizona Republic, said she had dedicated much of her journalism career to increasing diversity in newsrooms and covering diverse communities.

“As journalists, we must hold ourselves accountable as we do others, and it is important to call myself out for this poor judgment,” she wrote.

Arizona State University also apologized for photograph.

“The photo in this student publication is a sad reminder that this kind of insensitivity was all too common in past decades,” the university said in a statement on Thursday. “Things are changing for the better, for which we at A.S.U. are grateful, but that doesn’t take away the possibility that the picture caused or will cause pain. For that we are sorry.”

Blackface has endured in American popular culture for more than 185 years, emerging in the early 1830s at minstrel shows and blackface performances in perverse portrayals of slaves by white people. Blackface survived the Civil War, the emancipation, both world wars and through the civil rights era. Even in recent decades, as shown by Mr. Northam’s yearbook and the USA Today review, the shameful pastime persists in American life.

The pages of the 1988-89 Arizona State University yearbook underscored the continued struggle by people of color in the United States at the time to gain equal footing with their white peers. A local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had opened on campus only the summer before, the yearbook noted.

“The ideal situation would be not to need special clubs, opportunities and scholarships for minority students to get ahead,” a founding member of the student N.A.A.C.P. group was quoted as saying in an article on Page 240. “We will continue to fight until the day that (minorities) are judged by their mental ability and skill, rather than their race.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/us/nicole-carroll-usa-today-blackface.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

It Was the Hottest Oscar Night Party. What Happened?

“Lanyard fatigue,” as one war horse called it, is felt especially keenly in Hollywood during Oscar week, where the social and professional calendar is increasingly packed, with at least 50 significant parties in play. The three major agencies will host bashes on Friday night: WME at a rented house in Beverly Hills, UTA at the Sunset Tower hotel, and CAA at the San Vicente Bungalows, a new private club.

On the night of the awards, there is the Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit and viewing party, now in its 27th year: a seated five-course dinner for 996 people in 50,000 square feet of tent in a West Hollywood Park. Tables start at $55,000, and the Killers will perform. The party was once co-hosted by InStyle magazine; now IMDb, the movie internet database, is the primary sponsor.

Warner Bros., the studio behind “A Star Is Born,” will take over at the Bungalows.

Over at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Byron Allen, the comedian turned media entrepreneur, will host a fund-raiser to benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Jamie Foxx will be the M.C. and John Legend is scheduled to perform. “We have a lot of people on Oscar night all dressed up with no place to go,” Mr. Allen said. “We thought this is a great opportunity to continue the evening and do it for a great cause.”

All the activity and do-goodery can’t mask that the Academy Awards are losing power. In the late 1990s, when the Vanity Fair party was at its peak (some 15,000 people requested invitations in 1999, according to reports at the time), the Oscars telecast attracted more than 40 million viewers. More than 55 million people tuned in for the 1998 ceremony, when “Titanic” won best picture.

Last year, however, the show drew 26.5 million viewers, the lowest in five decades. This year it won’t even have a host, after the invited one, the comedian Kevin Hart, stepped down amid renewed scrutiny on his past anti-gay ramblings on Twitter.

Hollywood is a serious place these days. At last year’s Vanity Fair party, much of the chatter focused on “inclusion riders,” or contract stipulations that may require a cast and crew to, for example, be 50 percent female, 40 percent underrepresented ethnic groups, 20 percent people with disabilities and 5 percent L.G.B.T. people.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/style/vanity-fair-oscar-party.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Jussie Smollett, Upset Over Salary, Staged Assault, Police Say

The report of Mr. Smollett’s being attacked spread quickly and a national outpouring of support quickly followed. Multiple 2020 Democratic presidential candidates weighed in to condemn Mr. Smollett’s purported assailants, as did President Trump, who called the incident “horrible,” and several advocacy groups offered aid.

In the days after Mr. Smollett reported his attack, the police released a surveillance image of two men thought to be potential persons of interest. The actor would later say in an interview broadcast on “Good Morning America” that he was convinced that these two were the men that attacked him.

On Feb. 13, the police detained Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, two brothers and associates of Mr. Smollett’s, believing them to be the men in the images. Their home was raided by law enforcement. Through their lawyer, the brothers initially said they didn’t know why they were of interest to the police, but investigators changed their status from persons of interest to potential suspects publicly. But the story took another twist: The brothers told the police that they had been paid by Mr. Smollett to stage the attack, and detectives released them without charges.

Skepticism over the story existed from the beginning — particularly from conservative commentators who found Mr. Smollett’s story implausible — because of the lack of evidence. Outwardly, the police repeatedly said they were treating Mr. Smollett as a victim and that they had no reason to doubt his story. Mr. Smollett acknowledged the suspicion in some corners in his first public statement about the incident, which came on Feb. 1, when he said through his publicist: “I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”

In the “Good Morning America” interview, which was broadcast on Feb. 14, Mr. Smollett said to Robin Roberts, “It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more.”

Even so, the Chicago Police Department was still investigating the case as a possible hate crime until late last week, when, Superintendent Johnson said, the police began considering Mr. Smollett as possibly culpable. Mr. Smollett was charged on Wednesday.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/arts/television/jussie-smollett-arrest-salary-letter.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

A Pocket Guide to the Oscars’ Beefiest Controversies

We have gathered here today to discuss not the artistic merits of this year’s Academy Award nominees for best picture (that’s this way), but the controversies, firestorms and outright debacles that cling to them like dog hair to a dropped Tootsie Pop.

Conveniently (and infallibly) labeled for the conscientious consumer, this is your guide to Oscar beef — from extra spicy to mild.

The debate: The long-awaited (some say cursed) Queen biopic is a surprise international smash. Given all the good will toward the band, and Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury, that might have been enough to make it a populist cause célèbre, despite middling reviews from critics. But trouble started before the movie even wrapped.

With two weeks of filming left to go, the director Bryan Singer was fired for what the studio said were unexplained absences. Later, a man filed a lawsuit accusing Singer of sexually assaulting him at a yacht party in 2003. (Singer denied the allegations.) And, in January, The Atlantic published the accounts of four others who said Singer had sex with them when they were underage. The director called the article a “homophobic smear piece,” but in response Bafta removed Singer as a nominee, and GLAAD rescinded a nomination for the film.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/movies/oscar-controversies.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Advertisers Boycott YouTube After Pedophiles Swarm Comments on Videos of Children

“When we learned of this issue, we were — and still are — absolutely horrified and reached out to YouTube to rectify this immediately,” Senka Hadzimuratovic, a spokeswoman for the online grammar tool Grammarly, said in an email. “We have a strict policy against advertising alongside harmful or offensive content and would never knowingly associate ourselves with channels like this. It goes against everything our company stands for.”

In response to the latest concerns, Mrs. Cho said, YouTube disabled comments on tens of millions of videos featuring minors and removed thousands of inappropriate comments on videos with young people in them. She said YouTube had also terminated over 400 YouTube channels for comments that they left on videos and reported illegal comments to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

YouTube has struggled to police children’s content. In late 2017, The New York Times found that disturbing content was showing up in YouTube’s children’s app, which is meant for users under 13. Videos depicted the deaths of beloved cartoon characters and real children in distressing situations.

There have been earlier reports of pedophiles cruising YouTube for videos of minors and leaving lewd or sexual comments. In response, YouTube said in 2017 that it would do more to “protect families” on its platform, pledging to remove videos that endanger children and block inappropriate comments on content featuring minors.

“There are some real questions at this point on whether YouTube is just too big to provide a safe place for children,” said Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

“If you can’t keep pedophiles from trading information in your comment sections of your videos then you shouldn’t have comment sections of your videos,” Mr. Golin said. “It’s a legitimate question to ask — what are the value of YouTube comments, besides to Google’s bottom line, that’s worth the horribleness that occurs there?”

While YouTube has said it deletes hundreds of millions of comments every quarter that violate its guidelines, the lewd remarks on otherwise innocent videos were not flagged.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/technology/youtube-pedophiles.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Post-Gazette Appoints Writer of ‘Reason as Racism’ Editorial as Its Newsroom Leader

PITTSBURGH — Last year, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette chose Martin Luther King’s Birthday as the publication date for an editorial headlined “Reason as Racism.” On Monday, a little more than a year after that piece drew national criticism, The Post-Gazette named its editorial page director, Keith C. Burris, as its newsroom leader.

Mr. Burris was appointed executive editor at a stormy time at the Pittsburgh daily.

Relations between its workers’ union, the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, and the paper’s owner, Block Communications, have been tense. Things came to a head on the night of Feb. 9, when John R. Block, the publisher, subjected staff members to a tirade in the newsroom. According to several journalists who were present, Mr. Block threatened employees’ jobs as his young daughter, whom he had brought with him, sobbed and begged him to stop. Block Communications has disputed the journalists’ version of events.

Mr. Burris, who wrote the “Reason as Racism” editorial, according to Mr. Block, was in charge of the editorial pages at The Post-Gazette and its sibling paper, The Toledo Blade in Ohio, at the time of his appointment. He will continue to serve as editorial page editor of both publications even as he assumes the new role.

In an email to employees on Monday, Mr. Burris asked for the support of the staff.

“I ask you to recognize my pledge and I beseech you to work with me — WORK WITH ME — to uphold the hallowed legacy of The Post-Gazette and to march forward into a future worthy of its past,” he wrote. “It will not be easy. These are perilous times for journalism, in so many ways, and we owe the Block family a tremendous debt for sustaining us and believing in our mission.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/business/media/pittsburgh-post-gazette-executive-editor.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Amazon Resets Its Film Operation After Rough Year at Box Office

“It’s really about creating that right marketing campaign, right distribution plan for each movie, allowing us to break through the cultural noise and really resonating with customers,” said Matt Newman, one of three executives Ms. Salke has named as film co-chiefs. The others are Julie Rapaport, who will focus on wide-appeal movies, and Ted Hope, who has overseen Amazon’s art films since 2015.

That stance could frustrate multiplex chains, which insist on a 90-day period of exclusivity, worrying that moviegoers will be reluctant to buy tickets if they know they can catch the same film just a few weeks later in their living rooms. AMC and Regal, for instance, have refused to show Netflix’s “Roma” because Netflix offered only 21 days of exclusivity.

Amazon’s first foray into the movie business was Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq,” a 2015 comedic drama that received strong reviews but did not sell many tickets. Amazon teamed with an established film company, Roadside Attractions, to release it. Amazon and Roadside reteamed the next year and found an art-house hit in the bleak drama “Manchester by the Sea,” which took in $48 million in North America and received six Oscar nominations, winning two, including best actor for Casey Affleck. “The Big Sick,” a comedy released in 2017 in partnership with Lionsgate, collected about $43 million and received an Academy Award nomination for its screenplay.

Not bad for a newbie.

But Amazon’s track record soured as it pushed toward self-distribution. Its first effort was “Wonder Wheel,” which was undoubtedly hurt by renewed scrutiny of allegations that Mr. Allen molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992. Mr. Allen has steadfastly denied the claims and was not charged. Amazon also financed Mr. Allen’s next film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” but has refused to release it, prompting Mr. Allen to sue.

Amazon’s movie operation has recently shown signs of life. Sitting in her office at the historic Culver Studios, which serves as Amazon’s entertainment headquarters, Ms. Salke noted that the company’s most recent film release, “Cold War,” a foreign-language romance, received three Oscar nominations. “Cold War” has sold $3.6 million in tickets, a decent total for a foreign film. “We really think it’ll also do well when it reaches Prime Video,” Ms. Salke said.

When Ms. Salke arrived at Amazon, her first priority was performing triage on the company’s television business. “Transparent,” the studio’s marquee hit at the time, was in disarray because of the departure of its star, Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired after a sexual-harassment investigation. (He maintained his innocence.) Ms. Salke had inherited another hit, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” from her predecessor, Roy Price, who was ousted after a sexual harassment scandal of his own. But she needed to quickly jump-start the rest of Amazon’s television business to catch up to a fast-moving Netflix, an insurgent Apple and a Disney-powered Hulu.

With Amazon’s television assembly line in much better shape — Ms. Salke has made deals with creators like Jordan Peele to bring shows to the service — she is now looking more intently at the studio’s film operation.

“It’s not about volume and endless scroll,” she said, in a clear reference to Netflix, which unfurls roughly 90 original movies annually, including documentaries. “The curated approach is the only way to go for us. Quality over quantity.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/business/media/amazon-movies-jennifer-salke.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

In Bid to Conquer Oscars, Netflix Mobilizes Savvy Campaigner and Huge Budget

Even so, Ms. Taback is the only one to work for Netflix, which has poured money into its hunt for Emmys and Oscars on a scale that Hollywood executives say they have rarely if ever seen before. Most studios, for instance, sent a couple of movies on DVD to voters for consideration this season. Netflix sent 17.

A Netflix spokesman said this reflected the large number of films the company is now producing, which is why, unlike most Hollywood studios, it decided to bring its entire award effort in-house.

Ms. Taback, who grew up in Los Gatos, Calif., where Netflix is based, previously ran her own company, LT-LA Communications, and in recent years worked for studios like Lionsgate, A24, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. She brought her entire LT-LA staff to Netflix, where the awards department now has roughly 20 people.

The “Roma” campaign started in some ways on Aug. 13, when Ms. Taback and Netflix’s film publicity chief, Julie Fontaine, got buzz started by inviting a handful of film reporters (this one included) to an off-the-record cocktail party and screening of footage. Mr. Cuarón was on hand to chat afterward.

Then came screenings for the film at a string of important festivals. As the campaign intensified, Netflix had celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron host “tastemaker” screenings in Hollywood for Oscar voters. There were parties at restaurants like Spago in Los Angeles and the Pool in New York.

Additionally, mailers went out to voters of awards groups that are important stops on the route to the Oscars: an elaborate pamphlet containing a digital player that ran the “Roma” trailer on loop; Mexican chocolates with a note (“!FELICES FIESTAS!”) from one of the film’s actresses; a six-pound, $175 book of stills.

A barrage of ads in Los Angeles — in trade publications, on Netflix-owned billboards — continued for months.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/17/business/media/netflix-movies-oscars.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Inside the Scramble to Make the Oscars Shorter

Gigliotti, who won an Oscar for producing “Shakespeare in Love” and has been nominated three other times (“Hidden Figures,” “The Reader” “Silver Linings Playbook”), said that there were no plans to incorporate regular people into the show, as Kimmel did in recent years. “I love everyday people,” said Gigliotti, who lives in Manhattan. “I ride the subway with them every day in New York. Everyday people don’t get me ratings.”

Stars like Angela Bassett, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Momoa, Chris Evans, Awkwafina, Charlize Theron, Chadwick Boseman and Daniel Craig have been lined up as presenters. Jennifer Hudson, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Bette Midler, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings will perform nominated songs.

Oscar viewers will also notice a very different stage design. Instead of the over-the-top jewel box look of recent years, the proscenium is one color — gold — and curves and swoops like a Frank Gehry building, extending out into the theater. It was designed by David Korins, who is best known for his work on Broadway (“Hamilton,” “Dear Evan Hansen”).

“We wanted it to feel different,” Weiss said from Row C in the theater, gazing upward.

“It almost comes out and hugs you,” Gigliotti said.

Work to revamp the telecast so that all of the 24 Oscars are presented live started immediately on Friday afternoon, Gigliotti said. A couple staffers were “running around with their heads spinning around,” she said. “But mostly we just got to work. It’s just about rebalancing the flow.” The four categories were cinematography, live-action short film, editing and makeup and hairstyling.

Gigliotti and Weiss returned to the theater at 9 a.m. on Saturday. He headed to the stage to work on camera angles. She holed herself up in the bowels of the theater to keep tinkering with the telecast master plan, which was laid out on a colossal whiteboard, every minute mapped out using color-coded magnets. “Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” she said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/17/movies/academy-awards-broadcast.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Patrick Caddell, Self-Taught Pollster Who Helped Carter to White House, Dies at 68

“I set up at the courthouse and called all the elections early with great abandon, with no idea what I was doing,” he said. “And they all turned out right.”

That was the extent of his formal academic training in public opinion research.

He was still an undergraduate at Harvard, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972 and started a thesis on “the changing South,” when he started polling professionally for Senator George S. McGovern’s fledgling presidential primary operation.

McGovern lost in a landslide; Mr. Caddell’s political acumen and polling expertise, translating data into tactical strategy, were among the few creditable outcomes of the campaign.

He established his own firm, Cambridge Survey Research, to conduct political campaigns. Although he spun off another company, Cambridge Reports, to advise corporate clients, he was criticized for capitalizing on his Washington connections — representing, among other clients, nuclear energy companies and the Saudi Arabian government — especially when, during the Carter administration, he became known as the president’s pollster.

Campaign staffs are not known for sharing credit, but in June 1976, when Mr. Carter had secured the Democratic nomination, his campaign manager, Hamilton Jordan, confidently told a reporter: “You know why Jimmy Carter is going to be president? Because of Pat Caddell — it’s all because of Pat Caddell.”

Mr. Jordan said that in helping Mr. Carter defeat Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama in the Florida primary, Mr. Caddell had reaffirmed the campaign’s overall strategy but had also pinpointed where to concentrate its resources.

Before Mr. Carter was inaugurated in January 1977, Mr. Caddell advised him to stick to broad themes and issued a warning: “Too many good people,” he wrote in a 56-page memo, “have been beaten because they tried to substitute substance for style.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/obituaries/patrick-caddell-dead.html?partner=rss&emc=rss