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Dozens Of Former “Ellen Show” Employees Say Executive Producers Engaged In Rampant Sexual Misconduct And Harassment - BuzzFeed News
Ex-employees said one executive producer “had a reputation for being handsy with women,” and that another solicited oral sex at a work party.
Being asked to join the control room inside TheEllen DeGeneres Show is a coveted spot in Hollywood, but according to dozens of men and women who work behind the scenes, the office is a place where sexual harassment and misconduct by top executive producers runs rampant. One ex-employee said head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman asked him if he could give him a hand job or perform oral sex in a bathroom at a company party in 2013. Another said they separately saw Leman grab a production assistants penis. In May 2017, another former employee also said she saw Leman grope a production assistant in a car and kiss his neck. Nearly a dozen former employees, who range from longtime, senior-level employees to production assistants, said it was also common for Leman to make sexually explicit comments in the office, like pointing out male colleagues bulges in their crotches, or ask them questions like, Are you a top or a bottom? Its masked in sarcasm, but its not sarcasm, a former employee said. Many of his targets, employees added, were lower-level and younger employees who felt they lacked any power to speak up. Hed probably do it in front of 10 people and theyd laugh because its just Kevin being Kevin, but if youre in a position of power at a company, you dont just get to touch me like that, a former employee said. In a statement after this article published, Leman said he categorically denied "any kind of sexual impropriety." "I started at the Ellen Show as a PA more than 17 years ago and have devoted my career to work my way to the position I now hold. While my job as head writer is to come up with jokes and, during that process, we can occasionally push the envelope Im horrified that some of my attempts at humor may have caused offense," he said. "I have always aimed to treat everyone on the staff with kindness, inclusivity and respect. In my whole time on the show, to my knowledge, Ive never had a single HR or inter-personal complaint made about me, and I am devastated beyond belief that this kind of malicious and misleading article could be published." BuzzFeed News spoke to 36 former employees, many of whom independently corroborated incidents of harassment, sexual misconduct, and assault from top producers like Leman. All of the ex-employees, many of whom had voluntarily left the show, asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution. Warner Bros. declined to comment on specific allegations, citing an ongoing internal investigation that was launched after an earlier BuzzFeed News report in which current and former employees said they faced racism, fear, and intimidation at work. But in a statement on Thursday, the studio said it "hoped to determine the validity and extent of publicly reported allegations and to understand the full breadth of the shows day-to-day culture." "It was important to both Warner Bros. and Ellen that as many people as possible attached to the program could be heard," Warner Bros. added. "The Ellen DeGeneres Show is, and has always strived to be, a place that brings positivity to the world. And though not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the shows day-to-day management. "We have identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them. In a letter to staff that was obtained by BuzzFeed News, DeGeneres on Thursday apologized, saying that from its inception, the show was supposed to be a place of happiness where everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows its the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show, she wrote. Among the many allegations brought to BuzzFeed News, five former employees said executive producer Ed Glavin touched them in a way that made them uncomfortable by rubbing their shoulders and back, as well as placing his hand around their lower waist. Dozens of former employees also said Glavin had a reputation for being handsy with women, especially in the control room, and managed the team through fear and intimidation. You could definitely see the creep factor and the creepy touching. That was out in the open for everybody to see, one former employee, who said Glavin regularly touched her in the control room, told BuzzFeed News. Obviously, no one wants that and no one wants to be uncomfortably touched by someone but you didnt want to piss them off or you would be fired, so it was just that culture of fear. Another former employee said Glavin would call over producers and assistants to sit near him when the show was filming segments they had worked on and, in front of nearly 30 other people in the control room, would touch them inappropriately. Even though I was being abused [at work] constantly, Ed putting his arm around you in the control room was like the nicest experience you had all day, as messed up as that sounds, she said. But you had been crying last night and now your segment is going well and then you feel like you got credit for something from the executive producer directly. That friendly banter accompanied by a friendly hand. Glavin did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the allegations. In all, 47 former employees who spoke to BuzzFeed News said Glavin led with intimidation and fear on a daily basis. One former employee said when they turned in their notice, Glavin flipped over a table and chair while screaming. Five former employees also said they saw Glavin use a button at his desk to remotely shut his office door as an intimidation tactic during reprimands. It seemed like a power move, more than anything, one former employee said. Ex-workers also said they were uncomfortable when Glavin used his private shower in his office bathroom. Youd be going into his office for an important meeting and the shower door is open and youre like, thats a little weird, a former employee said. The shower is right when you walk in on the right. Before you even see his desk, you see his shower. Hed be openly showering and going into meetings with wet hair. Another former employee said co-executive producer Jonathan Norman groomed him over a period of time by taking him to concerts and other work-related perks, and then one night attempted to perform oral sex on him. Three of the employees former colleagues on the show corroborated that he told them about the incident at the time and said they have discussed it in the years since. Were young people who were forming our careers and were unfortunately subjected to a toxic work environment as some of our first jobs out of college, the former employee said. And some of us were sexually harassed and thats what was shaping our careers our first year out of school. In a statement after publication Thursday night, Norman said he is "100% categorically denying these allegations." "I have never had a single complaint against me in my career. I have never 'groomed' anyone," he said. "I have never done anything to harm another staff member. Ever. The person I believe you are referring to has ulterior motives for bringing down the show and has been acting with malice towards the show." Adding to the void of accountability, former employees said there was no formal process to confidentially file complaints, and that senior-level producers pressured them not to go to HR at the shows parent company. There was no such thing as a confidential conversation, a former employee said. There was no clear direction that if something happens to you, you go to this person, it will remain confidential, and you will not be retaliated against. A former Warner Brothers employee who worked with The Ellen Show said the company turns a blind eye to the alleged misconduct because the series is a cash cow. "Warner Brothers has a responsibility not just to the people who work on The Ellen Show, but to its viewers and its shareholders to make sure people are protected on the job, and that they're not harassed, and they're not working in an environment that is toxic and unhealthy, the former employee said. Some former workers said they dont think DeGeneres is aware of the scope of what goes on behind the scenes because she doesnt spend enough time in the office or interacting with the staff to have a strong sense of the culture. They also said executive producers insulate her from details and control the narrative on set. Everyone acted really differently around her, one former employee said. Theres a show thats happening behind the show, the show that the executive producers have us all put on for her when she comes to the offices. In her letter to staff on Thursday, DeGeneres said she had come to rely on others to stay on top of the daily operation, but added: My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. As weve grown exponentially, Ive not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew Id want them done. Clearly some didnt, she added. That will now change and Im committed to ensuring this does not happen again. But other former employees told BuzzFeed News its implausible that DeGeneres hasnt been exposed to the same stories and behavior, particularly when they allegedly involve the senior-level executive producers she spends most of her time with. For someone whos so involved in the show and the creative aspect, and having been in those meetings with her, its very hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that she doesnt hear the same whispers, one former employee who worked closely with DeGeneres said. Unless she really is just in this bubble. Another longtime former employee who also worked with DeGeneres said the talk show host doesnt want to know about what goes on behind the scenes, and nobody wants to rock the boat because she is essentially the shows brand. She knows, the former employee said. She knows shit goes on, but also she doesnt want to hear it. This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.
Disney World Reopened The Same Day Florida Recorded Its Second-Highest Day Of New COVID-19 Cases - BuzzFeed News
Florida has seen a massive surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.
As Florida continues to set new daily records for COVID-19 cases in the state, Disney World forged ahead with reopening plans for its theme parks Saturday, where guests were required to adhere to new coronavirus safety measures. Photos show dozens of visitors lining up outside Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom parks, both of which reopened Saturday. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are scheduled to reopen on July 15. Senior vice president of operations Jim MacPhee announced in late May that parks at the flagship Disney resort in Orlando, were set for a phased reopening beginning July 11. Those plans did not change even as COVID-19 case counts climbed each day and hospitalizations increased, and Florida is now among a handful of states being hit hardest by the virus. There has been massive apprehension from public health experts over Disney World's reopening as the state reports a continued surge in new cases and deaths. Florida has 254,511 COVID-19 cases to date and 4,197 deaths. And hospitals are nearing their breaking point, with state data showing coronavirus hospitalizations on the rise and almost half the ICUs in the state at at least 90% capacity. State officials reported 10,383 new cases on Saturday, the second-highest number of daily cases so far. On Saturday, an official Disney Parks Twitter account posted a video welcoming visitors back to its parks, featuring different groups of cast members and employees saying "welcome home" to soaring music in the background. The video was widely panned as "dystopian," with many pointing out that Florida has recorded its highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks. The account deleted the tweet hours later. Disney World shut down operations in mid-March as the pandemic swept the country, and visitors were told to expect a markedly different experience after reopening. New reopening safety measures now require guests to make a reservation for entry ahead of time, social distance in the parks, and wear masks. Park capacities will also be limited, and parades, fireworks, and character meet and greets are temporarily on pause.
A Muslim Teen Filed A Discrimination Claim After Receiving A Starbucks Cup With "ISIS" Written On It - BuzzFeed News
"I actually couldn’t believe this was happening,” she told BuzzFeed News. Target, which operates the Starbucks location, says it was a mistake.
A Muslim teenager has filed a human rights complaint after a barista at a Minnesota Starbucks gave her a cup with ISIS written on it instead of her name. On July 1, Aishah and a friend were at a Starbucks inside a Target store in St. Paul. The 19-year-old, who asked that her last name not be used due to safety concerns, said the barista had asked her to repeat her name when taking the order. But when Aishah was handed her drink, it came with ISIS written on it instead of her name. I felt a lot of emotions, and shock was the main one because I actually couldnt believe this was happening, she told BuzzFeed News. She said she thinks it happened because she was wearing a hijab and a face mask. This is a reminder that Islamophobia is alive and present in our communities, said Mohamed Ibrahim, deputy director of the Minnesota chapter of Council on AmericanIslamic Relations, at a Monday press conference about the incident. The organization helped Aishah file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights the same day. Aishah said the barista told her they put ISIS on the cup because they hadnt heard her name correctly. A manager then came over and told her peoples names are frequently misspelled on cups. Aishah called these explanations not credible or acceptable. When somebody orders a drink at Starbucks if the barista cant spell the name, then they ask you to spell it, she said, adding that never happened with her order. Aishahs human rights complaint, a copy of which was provided to BuzzFeed News, said a manager offered her a free drink and $25 gift card, and that she was then escorted out by security. Target, which operates the Starbucks location in question, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that it's "very sorry for this guest's experience at our store and immediately apologized to her when she made our store leaders aware of the situation." The spokesperson said its internal investigation found it was not a deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake." The company said it will offer additional training to the barista. A Starbucks spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the location in question is licensed and operated by Target and that the retailer is leading the investigation. Aishah said she has not heard from Target since she called the company to complain after the incident, and neither has CAIR-MN. Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, told reporters he wants the barista and manager fired and for Target and Starbucks to reinvest in training for their employees. In 2018, Starbucks closed all of its US stores to provide antibias, diversity, and inclusivity training to employees. We are hoping that bringing light to this incident will actually transform how Target and Starbucks and many other companies deal with such incidents, Hussein said. This is at least the second time a Muslim customer has had ISIS written on their cup at a Starbucks. Last August, a man dressed in a Middle Eastern tunic told a barista at a Philadelphia Starbucks that his name was Aziz. He was handed a drink bearing the terrorist organizations acronym. "The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly, a Starbucks spokesperson told NBC News. Aishah told BuzzFeed News she keeps reliving the trauma of the incident because its all over social media. As for Starbucks and Target, she said, Long term, I dont think I would go back to either of those outlets.
"The Simpsons" Will No Longer Have White Actors Voice Characters Of Color - BuzzFeed News
The decision comes five months after actor Hank Azaria announced he would no longer be voicing the controversial character Apu.
Popular characters in The Simpsons like Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Dr. Hibbert, and Carl Carlson will no longer be voiced by white actors, producers announced Friday. Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters," the show confirmed to BuzzFeed News. The decision comes five months after actor Hank Azaria announced he would no longer be voicing Apu, a recurring character whose stereotypical portrayal and accent had drawn criticism for years. Apu, a clerk of the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store, had not appeared on the show for months, but it was still unclear if Fox would be bringing the character back with another actor providing the voice. On Friday, the show, which has been on the air for more than 30 years, announced it would be taking wider action in how its other nonwhite characters are voiced. Azaria, for example, also voiced Carl Carlson, a Black character who works at the power plant with his inseparable best friend, Lenny Leonard, and Homer Simpson. Harry Shearer also voiced nonwhite characters in the show like Dr. Hibbert and Sanjay Nahasapeemapetilon, Apu's brother. News of the casting changes came shortly after Mike Henry announced he will no longer voice Cleveland Brown, a Black Family Guy character, saying, "persons of color should play characters of color." On Wednesday, Kristen Bell also announced she would not play a biracial character in the series Central Park and that the role would be recast, and Jenny Slate said she would no longer voice a Black character on the Netflix series Big Mouth. Producers of The Simpsons have for years pushed back against efforts to change the show's characters, many of which have been portrayed with heavily stereotypical personalities. But Apu, whose character speaks heavily accented English and is in an arranged family with eight children, had been highly problematic for years. Comedian Hari Kondabolu raised these issues in his documentary The Problem With Apu, where he argued the lovable but problematic character had helped drive the stereotype of South Asians. The show ended up addressing the controversy during one of its episodes but pushed back at the time against any notion of change. "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect," Lisa Simpson says in an episode while her mother, Marge, reads a children's book that has been updated to remove stereotypical references. Lisa then looks at a framed picture of Apu on her nightstand. "Some things will be dealt with at a later date," Marge tells her. "If at all," Lisa responds.
Jenna Marbles Said She’s Quitting YouTube Over Past Racist Videos - BuzzFeed News
“I want to make sure the things that I put into the world are not hurting anyone,” she said a new video.
YouTube star Jenna Marbles announced on Thursday that shes quitting vlogging after fans asked her to apologize for racist videos she's made, saying there are things in her past she's not proud of. I want to make sure the things that I put into the world are not hurting anyone, said Marbles, whose real last name is Mourey. In a new YouTube video, Mourey said fans requested that she address problematic videos from her past, which include her in blackface, and she feels like were at a time where we are purging ourselves of anything and everything toxic. Ive tried my best to grow up and to be a better person. And first and foremost, I want everyone to know that Ive always been a two-way street, and that anytime that you criticize me and tell me that you would like me to do better or to do something differently, that I always try to do that. And I try to make fun content, inclusive content, things that dont offend people or upset people, and thats kind of where I am," she said. Offensive past videos include when she dressed in blackface imitating Nicki Minaj, when she shamed women who slept around, and when she made a racist joke about Asian men in her Bounce That Dick music video. "It's awful, it doesn't need to exist, it's inexcusable, it's not OK," Mourey said about the racist videos. "I'm incredibly sorry if this offended then, now, whenever, it doesn't need to exist. It shouldn't have existed. I shouldn't have said that ever. It's not cool, it's not cute, it's not OK, and I'm embarrassed that I ever made that, period." Not only is Mourey giving up her platform of 20 million subscribers on YouTube, but shes also making the offensive videos on her channel private. Im sorry if any of [my old content] holds any nostalgia for you, but Im literally not trying to put out negative things into the world. I think there was a time when having all of my old content exist on the internet showed how much I have grown up as a person, which Im very proud of. I think now its hard for that content to exist at all because I think people watch it and dont bother to look at when it was posted or care about what path I took to get to where I am, Mourey said. It offends them now, and, if thats the case, where people will watch something and be offended now, I dont want it to exist. Despite her announcement about quitting vlogging, Mourey, who started rising to prominence on YouTube in 2010, did leave open the door that she may return to the platform, saying her decision was only for the foreseeable future. I dont know if thats forever, I dont know how long its going to be, she said. I want to make sure the things that I put into the world are not hurting anyone. Fans have mixed reactions to Moureys departure from vlogging. Many were saddened, tweeting jokes about deleting the YouTube app and staring at a tombstone. Twitter user @miss_katie_rae wrote, Jenna Marbles has consistently made me smile and laugh even on the days when Im at my lowest, darkest places. I fall asleep listening to her videos because I dont get nightmares when they play. Shes such a bright light and beautiful person. Another Twitter user, @btdjareau wrote, im devastated. i watch jenna marbles videos every night. i rewatch tons of times. the fact that she may never return to her channel/post content there anymore breaks my heart. i look up to this woman so much. Another, @marblesthoughts, wrote: jenna marbles may have quit youtube for now but remember why she did it. hold social influencers accountable. hold public figures accountable. do not let people get away with problematic things just because theyre famous or rich.
At Least 18 Members Of One Family Have The Coronavirus After A Surprise Birthday Party - BuzzFeed News
"Everybody says, 'Oh, it's my family. I'm going to go see my brother. I’m going to see my cousin,' and they think that’s a safe word."
BuzzFeed News has reporters around the world bringing you trustworthy stories about the impact of the coronavirus. To help keep this news free,become a member. Ron Barbosa's family has always been close. Members of the Dallas-area family see each other practically every day, and when the coronavirus pandemic struck, many of them thought it would be OK to continue spending time together. But after more than a dozen family members threw a surprise birthday dinner party for one of Barbosa's nieces last month, at least 18 members of the extended family have become sick with COVID-19. Three have become so ill that they have been hospitalized: Barbosa's 88-year-old dad, his 86-year-old mom, and his sister, who is going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. "Everybody says, 'Oh, it's my family. I'm going to go see my brother. Im going to see my cousin,' and they think thats a safe word," Barbosa told BuzzFeed News. While they aren't certain if the virus started spreading among the family at the May 30 party, Barbosa, 53, who did not attend the gathering, said that based on the time they started to see symptoms, it seems like the initial transmission among family members happened that weekend. "Its a big loving family that gets together all the time and they have dinner and this just happened to be a surprise birthday dinner," Barbosa said. He said he believes his nephew, who hosted the party for his wife, was first exposed to the disease at work and that he had a cough on the day of the gathering. Earlier in the day, some of the men in the family went golfing together. "Next thing you know, the two nephews that basically live next door to him, they get the same cough and diarrhea, body aches, and they start getting sick," Barbosa said. "By the 6th [of June], there was a lot of symptoms. And by the 9th, people are getting really, really bad. And by the 13th, I had to take my sister and my mom to the hospital." The rapid spread of the coronavirus among the family comes as cases explode in Texas, prompting officials there to scramble to bring things under control. As of Thursday, the state has recorded nearly 73,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,200 deaths. Due to recent increases in case numbers and hospitalizations, Gov. Greg Abbott said on Thursday the state will pause any further reopening. "The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," Abbott said in a statement. "This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business." Public health experts have advised people to avoid any close contact with those outside of their immediate household, wear face coverings, and keep a safe distance from others when they leave home to protect those who are at higher risk of severe illness. Barbosa, who is a volunteer EMT and photographer, said he and his wife, a doctor, have not been spending much time with family outside of their own household and that they wear masks and keep their distance when they do see them. But he knows not everyone in his family has been doing the same. "The kids feel like theyre bulletproof," he said. "[They say], 'Were safe. Were going to keep living. Were going to take trips, even. The airfares are down. We're blasting off!' And I said, 'You know what? If you come back and kill one of us, youre going to feel bad' and then it almost happened." Barbosa said while his sister has been discharged and he expects his mother to be able to go home soon, his father is still very sick. He initially reached out to local news outlets on Wednesday after his father's doctors were having trouble locating a convalescent plasma match for him. Local TV station WFAA was the first to report on the family cluster. Just before the story aired, his dad finally got the plasma transfusion. Barbosa said while his father is still very sick, his condition has improved slightly, adding that he wanted to urge those who have antibodies to donate their blood for convalescent plasma therapy. "My message is that if youre going to see family and they don't live with you, mask up and keep your distance," Barbosa said. "I want everyone to be with their loved ones. I just want everybody to be cautious and not try to take pictures and selfies with a group of 20 people."
Unilever Is Dropping The "Fair And Lovely" Name From Its Skin Lightening Products - BuzzFeed News
“This product has built upon, perpetuated and benefited from internalized racism and promotes anti-Blackness sentiments amongst all its consumers.”
Unilever will no longer use the name "Fair and Lovely" for one of its signature international skin whitening brands following a BuzzFeed News investigation. In a statement, the consumer products giant said: Were committed to a skin care portfolio that's inclusive of all skin tones, celebrating the diversity of beauty. Thats why were removing the words fairness, whitening and lightening from products, and changing the Fair & Lovely brand name. BuzzFeed News identified various companies that had publicly declared support for the Black Lives Matter movement and made commitments to support the anti-racism effort but continued to sell skin lightening products. The products are aimed at nonwhite consumers with large demand in countries like India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, and Ghana. Among them was Unilever, which initially posted on its Instagram: We have a responsibility for racial justice, saying it had pledged more than $1 million to date in donations to social justice organizations and activists. The post was immediately met with criticism as users online accused the company of hypocrisy given its legacy of marketing skin whitening products primarily at women. In response, Unilever unveiled its vision to evolve its skincare portfolio after admitting that the current language used reinforces colorism in various communities, a worldview that suggests that lighter skin is better, because of its proximity to whiteness. Sunny Jain, president of beauty and personal care at Unilever, said: We recognize that the use of the words fair, white and light suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we dont think is right, and we want to address this. As were evolving the way that we communicate the skin benefits of our products that deliver radiant and even tone skin, its also important to change the language we use. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a representative for the company confirmed that the change to the brand will be across all markets where the brand is sold as Fair & Lovely but there would be no changes to formulation. The decision to drop the name "Fair & Lovely from the brand but keep the product has been met with criticism. One user online wrote: The problem isnt the name of the product. Its the fact that skin whitening products exist. The idea that having white skin is the highest of beauty standards is saying that all other skin tones are lesser. The company responded by clarifying that their products did not contain hydroquinone or bleach, two of the most commonly used ingredients linked with skin bleaching and various side effects including thinning of the skin, and damage to vital organs. There are presently two petitions calling on the product to be discontinued, with one saying: This product has built upon, perpetuated and benefited from internalized racism and promotes anti-blackness sentiments amongst all its consumers. Another expressed how the brand had set the bar for beauty standards. Organizers wrote: Fair & Lovely tells us that there is something wrong with our color, that we have to be light in order to feel beautiful. In order to feel worthy. Unilever confirmed that it had no plans to alter the formulation or remove the product from the market, instead insisting that it would continue to serve consumer needs responsibly and offer a safe and effective product for healthy glowing skin.
Twitch Streamers Are Going Dark On Wednesday To Fight For Change After Allegations Of Sexual Abuse - BuzzFeed News
Dozens of streamers have come out with allegations that they were abused by men on the platform.
Dozens of Twitch streamers have pledged to go dark on Wednesday in protest after widespread allegations of sexual abuse against some of the platform's top personalities. Over the last few days, numerous allegations have surfaced, mostly from women, saying that they've been sexually harassed, assaulted, or faced sexism at the hands of powerful streamers. Amid the reckoning, several of the accused have issued apologies or gone dark on social media, and the CEO of Online Performers Group, a talent agency that works with streamers, has resigned. Frustrated by a lack of action from Twitch itself, some streamers have chosen to suspend their stream for a day as part of a #TwitchBlackout. The idea was the results of several people, but the first public tweet came from SirKatelyn, a Twitch streamer from Northern California. "Me and a friend of mine kind of both simultaneously had the idea that what might happen if a lot of us didnt stream for a day, if we just opted out," Katelyn told BuzzFeed News. "It was the idea to get eyes on how were feeling about the platform with now." Katelyn said she has not faced abuse from other Twitch streamers herself, but has seen the story after story of abuse as well as racism and sexism on the platform, with little action from Twitch. "When someone brings up sexual assault allegations against a partner and Twitch doesnt do anything to punish that partner, thats part of the cycle of abuse," she said. "Conversely there are the really good partners who are using their platforms to combat that and thats something we need to have more of." Katelyn is an Affiliate on Twitch, a tier of membership that allows creators to make money and opens up other options on the platform. The step after that is to become a Partner, which opens more opportunities for revenue and greater support from Twitch. Many of the men who have been accused of misconduct are Partners, and many of the allegations involve those men using their status as a way to abuse women. One of the women who came forward is Erin Marie Hall, know as YourStarling on Twitch. She is also an Affiliate and usually streams using Twitch's karaoke platform, Twitch Sings. She said she was once in an abusive relationship with a fellow streamer who would degrade her with insults, saying she was only good for sex and disclosed her previous sex work to her religious family. She said he also would tell her to kill herself. "The number of times I fell asleep after having a panic attack on the bathroom floor, alone in the dark, not knowing how I could get out, I cant even count," she said. Her alleged abuser told BuzzFeed News that their relationship was "wonderful," that he's not abusive, and "Im not this monster that shes making me out to be." He said they broke up amicably. "Those allegations against me are absolutely not true," he said. Hall said she managed to get out of the relationship but, as she gained popularity on Twitch, he sent a tweet about her that she says was a bid to incite harassment. She reported this all to Twitch but never got a response. Her former boyfriend said the tweet was a "kneejerk" mistake that was deleted within five minutes and that he told Twitch himself that it had been a mistake. He blames Hall for circulating it herself and said Twitch's guidelines about "witch hunts" made it so he could not respond. "Im deeply, deeply hurt by all of this. I want it to end, Im considering going to law enforcement," he said. Hall said a Twitch employee confirmed her case had been discussed, but ultimately gone nowhere. She also heard that in an all hands meeting, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear had outright dismissed allegations. Twitch declined to comment on Hall's specific allegations, but pointed to an email Shear sent to staff and shared on Twitter in which he said he does care about harassment allegations. "If at some point youve heard my comments and felt that they were dismissive or that Twitch doesnt care, Im sorry that happened and I want you to know that in no way was that my intent," he said in the email. "I also know the teams of people who are responsible for assessing and investigating accusations of this nature care deeply and make every possible effort to be thorough and make the right calls." Twitch also released a Twitter statement saying it takes "accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct extremely seriously" and that they are actively looking into accounts of abuse. Hall said it's bittersweet to see the conversation now happening on Twitter. "Its both vindicating and frustrating because I stopped trying to talk about it for a long time specifically because I reported it to Twitch the way I was supposed to," she said. "Eventually I just stopped because it felt like I was screaming into the void." Gemma, known as KawaiiFoxita on Twitch, is another driving force behind the call for a blackout. She said she found Hall's account particularly agitating. "I knew that I could no longer stream knowing that even their CEO doesnt care about this. How can I in good conscience keeping funding them?" she said. Gemma said she plans to carry on the blackout beyond the one-day action. "Ill be doing this until we see real change on the platform," she said. "At a minimum, I want to see an action plan presented of how they are going to address this. How they plan to move forwards, how they intend to hold those accountable. I want to see bans." Hall said she is grateful to see people speaking out and taking action and has received private messages from other women who have experienced rape or harassment by Twitch Partners with no justice. "Its a colossal problem and not one that I necessarily have a solution for short of a major cleaning of house," she said. "Its going to be impossible to fix if the people at the time dont care about creators more than the bottom line."
Hollywood Producer David Guillod Has Been Charged With Sexually Assaulting Three Women - BuzzFeed News
The Atomic Blonde producer faces 21 years to life in prison if convicted.
Hollywood producer and talent agent David Guillod has been charged with sexually assaulting three women. Guillod, who was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, faces 21 years to life in prison if convicted of the 11 felony charges, which include kidnap to commit rape, rape of an unconscious person, and rape of a drugged victim. Authorities did not identify the three women who allege Guillod raped them in separate incidents in 2012, 2014, and 2015. However, in October 2017, actor Jessica Barth accused Guillod in a blog post for the Wrap of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2012 when he was her manager. Barth reported her allegations to Los Angeles police in 2012 but ended up dropping the case. She said the #MeToo movement years later inspired her to again pursue criminal charges. After Barth went public, Guillod stepped down as cochief executive of Primary Wave Entertainment, a talent agency. Guillod also served as a producer on Atomic Blonde, the 2017 film starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, as well as the 2020 Netflix film Extraction. His lawyer, Philip Cohen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, he said his client denies all of the allegations. Mr. Guillod has been vilified for eight years without being afforded the opportunity to examine under oath his accusers," Cohen said. He also claimed that evidence that disputes the charges had been collected. "Justice is rarely swift and often does not come easy; but Mr. Guillod very much looks forward to clearing his name in the appropriate forum," Cohen said. Guillods bail was set at $3 million.
Beyoncé Drops Surprise New Single "Black Parade" For Juneteenth - BuzzFeed News
"Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right."
Beyoncé dropped a surprise single to celebrate Juneteenth on Friday that will benefit a new initiative she has started to support Black-owned businesses. The singer announced on Instagram that her new single, "Black Parade," "celebrates you, your voice and your joy and will benefit Black-owned small businesses." "Happy Juneteenth Weekend!" she wrote. "I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle. Please continue to remember our beauty, strength and power." The singer directed people to her website, where she outlined how the song will benefit the BeyGOOD Black Business Impact Fund. The fund, she said, will be "administered by the National Urban League to support Black-owned small businesses in need." "Being Black is your activism," Beyoncé wrote on the website. "Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right." The website also features a directory of Black-owned businesses across industries, from art, to beauty, to restaurants and bars. The directory was created and curated by Zerina Akers, an LA-based stylist who created "Black Owned Everything," an online directory of Black-owned businesses. Akers also happens to be Beyoncé's personal stylist and wardrobe curator, a role she has held since 2014.