Saturday, November 4, 2017

Slow Saturday Special: The ART of Sexual Harassment

"American Repertory Theater swept up in Weinstein probe" by Malcolm Gay Globe Staff  November 04, 2017

Federal investigators in New York have contacted the American Repertory Theater as part of an investigation into a $600,000 donation the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein arranged to be paid to the theater through a New York-based AIDS charity, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

The inquiry, first reported by The New York Times, is part of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s investigation into whether fraud occurred when a portion of the proceeds from an auction to support the AIDS charity amfAR were sent to the ART, where Weinstein had produced the Broadway-bound musical “Finding Neverland.”

Weinstein has come under investigation after explosive articles in the The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed allegations that he sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women over many years.

The financial investigation comes after revelations that the ART had agreed to repay Weinstein and other investors in “Finding Neverland” for funds they’d earlier spent developing the musical if he could coordinate third-party donations to the theater.

The $600,000 was allegedly meant to help honor that agreement.

The transaction, which has divided amfAR’s board, has already drawn the scrutiny of New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

A spokesperson for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey declined to comment.....

She is busy fighting Eversource.


I'm sorry, what were they whining about?

"NYPD building rape case against Harvey Weinstein" by Colleen Long Associated Press  November 03, 2017

NEW YORK — An actress’ rape allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein are credible, and investigators are gathering evidence for a criminal case, New York City police said Friday.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Friday that investigators have interviewed actress Paz de la Huerta, who publicly accused Weinstein of raping her twice in her apartment in 2010.

Boyce said detectives found the ‘‘Boardwalk Empire’’ actress’ story believable and corroborated portions of her account.

She called police on Oct. 26, he said.

The factors that made her story credible included: ‘‘The ability to articulate each and every minute of the crime, where she was, where they met, where this happened and what he did,’’ he said.

An email message sent to Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister was not immediately returned.

De la Huerta told CBS News that the first rape occurred in October 2010 after Weinstein gave her a ride home from a party, insisted on having a drink in her apartment and forced himself on her. She said the second rape occurred in December 2010 after Weinstein came to her apartment. She had been drinking and was not in a condition to give consent, CBS reported the actress said.

The investigation comes a month after The New York Times published an expose of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, leading to his firing from the company he co-founded and his expulsion from the organization that bestows the Academy Awards.....

This is after they sat on the allegations for over a decade while laughing about it.


I don't even know who she is.

"Female lawmakers allege harassment by colleagues in US House" by Erica Werner Associated Press  November 03, 2017

WASHINGTON — For years, Republican Representative Mary Bono endured the increasingly suggestive comments from a fellow lawmaker in the House. But when the representative approached her on the House floor and told her he’d been thinking about her in the shower, she’d had enough.

She confronted the man, who she said still serves in Congress, telling him his comments were demeaning and wrong. And he backed off.

Bono, who served 15 years before being defeated in 2012, is not alone.

As reports flow almost daily of harassment or worse by men in entertainment, business and the media, one current and three former female lawmakers said they, too, have been harassed or subjected to hostile sexual comments — by fellow members of Congress.


Finally reached there on a Slow Saturday, huh?

The incidents occurred years or even decades ago, usually when the women were young newcomers to Congress.

Most people only care about the what, not the when.

They include isolated comments at one hearing, to repeated unwanted come-ons, to lewd remarks, and even groping on the House floor.

The revelations underscore that no woman is immune, even at the highest reaches of government.

Notice how the HW groping has disappeared entirely? 

I wonder if those women were threatened.

‘‘This is about power,’’ said former California Senator Barbara Boxer, after describing an incident at a hearing in the 1980s where a male colleague made a sexually suggestive comment. The colleague, using the traditional congressional parlance, said he wanted to ‘‘associate’’ himself with her remarks — adding afterward that he also wanted to ‘‘associate with the gentle lady.’’

Boxer said the comment was met with general laughter and an approving second from the committee chairman. She said she later asked that it be removed from the record.

‘‘That was an example of the way I think we were thought of, a lot of us. ... It’s hostile and embarrasses, and therefore could take away a person’s power,’’ she said.

Boxer and the other female lawmakers spoke on the record to tell their stories in the wake of revelations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s serial attacks on women, as well as disclosures from current and former Capitol Hill staffers about harassment by lawmakers and aides.


Kevin Spacey seeking treatment
Netflix boots Kevin Spacey

Did he ever win an Oscar?

The lawmakers declined to identify the perpetrators by name, but at least two of the men continue to serve in the House.

Not so sweet.

None of the female lawmakers interviewed reported what happened, and some noted it was not clear where they would lodge such a complaint. At least three of the four told friends or aides about the incidents, which in some cases were witnessed by other lawmakers.

‘‘When I was a very new member of Congress in my early 30s, there was a more senior member who outright propositioned me, who was married, and despite trying to laugh it off and brush it aside it, would repeat. And I would avoid that member,’’ said Representative Linda Sanchez, a Democrat from California.

She added that she would warn other new female members about the lawmaker in question, but she declined to identify him, while saying he remains in Congress.

I'm sorry, but scum need to be outed and I'm beginning to feel this whole agenda is going nowhere.

‘‘I just don’t think it would be helpful’’ to call the lawmaker out by name, Sanchez said. ‘‘The problem is, as a member there’s no HR department you can go to, there’s nobody you can turn to. Ultimately they’re employed by their constituents.’’

Let us know and we will string 'em up, 'er, vote 'em out!

Sanchez also said that a different male colleague repeatedly ogled her, and at one point touched her inappropriately on the House floor, while trying to make it appear accidental. She declined to identify the lawmaker but said he was no longer in Congress.

Bono, who arrived in the House at age 36 to replace her husband Sonny Bono after he died in a skiing accident, said she ultimately confronted her colleague on the House floor after he had made repeated harassing comments.

Bono declined to identify the lawmaker, saying the behavior stopped after she finally challenged him. He still serves in Congress, she said.

Former Representative Hilda Solis, now a Los Angeles County supervisor, recalls repeated unwanted harassing overtures from one lawmaker, though she declined to name him or go into detail.

‘‘I don’t think I’m the only one. What I tried to do was ignore it, turn away, walk away. Obviously it’s offensive. Are you supposed to be flattered? No, we’re adults. Not appropriate,’’ said Solis, who left Congress in 2009 to join the Obama administration as labor secretary.

‘‘It’s humiliating, even though they may have thought they were being cute. No, it’s not. It’s not appropriate. I’m your colleague, but he doesn’t see me that way, and that’s a problem,’’ Solis said.


The problem runs from the kitchen to the ball field to the boardroom and only the Globe knows how to prevent it.


UK’s May replaces defense chief as harassment scandal widens

See what happens when you criticize Israel?

The play is the thing:

"Brandeis cancels play amid protests over racism — and gets more backlash" by Mark Arsenault Globe Staff  November 03, 2017

The notion that the staging of a play about comedian Lenny Bruce would be held up over incendiary content seems too ironic to be true. Or like the setup for a scorching joke Bruce would have told.

But half a century after Bruce’s death, the social satirist and free-speech champion is a character in a drama unfolding at Brandeis University, where theater and arts faculty decided to postpone the planned fall staging of a script by a distinguished graduate, playwright Michael Weller, after some students and alumni complained the work vilified its black characters and the Black Lives Matter social movement.

Free speech klaxons have sounded over the decision.

The fact that the play will not go forward at Brandeis got a mention Wednesday on Steve Bannon’s right-wing website Breitbart News, which regularly features stories deriding what it sees as liberal, politically correct campus culture.

Students, however, said they are not are delicate snowflakes bubble-wrapping themselves against artwork that might hurt their feelings. They just don’t believe this particular play is worth staging.

Andrew Child, a Brandeis theater student who read a draft of the script and led opposition to the play, said its black characters are “ridiculous and vicious.” Weller’s portrayal of Black Lives Matter read like an angry, Breitbart-esque caricature, which struck students familiar with the movement as silly and ignorant, he said. On top of that, he said, the play seems like it was slapped together and is simply not very good.

“We can do bad plays,” Child said. But at a time when live theater is trying to expand its traditional audience beyond the white and affluent, “Why would we want to elevate something like this? Why do we need to put time and resources into something like this?”

The controversy over the play has roots in 2016, when the Brandeis Department of Theater Arts said it intended to honor Weller, an accomplished playwright and a 1965 graduate, with its Creative Arts Award. In what seemed like a coup, the school announced that Weller would be writing a play “about the student protest culture on college campuses — and specifically Brandeis.”

Weller spent time in residency at Brandeis, conducting research for the play by speaking to students and exploring the school’s Lenny Bruce archives, which Brandeis acquired in 2014 from Bruce’s daughter, Kitty. The intention was for Weller’s play to premiere at Brandeis.

Kitty Bruce said by phone that she is still looking into what happened with the play, and did not want to comment until she felt fully informed.

In Weller’s script, the protagonist is a student who repeats what he hears in recordings of Lenny Bruce, including the n-word and other racial slurs, according to The Brandeis Hoot, a campus newspaper that obtained Weller’s script.

Related: "Six Florida police officers fatally shot a 71-year-old man who fired a gun into the air and shouted racial slurs at his neighbors Thursday night several hours before a confrontation with law enforcement outside his home. The incident unfolded Thursday night in Lakeland, which is between Orlando and Tampa in central Florida....."

The character quotes Bruce’s argument that repeating the words over and over would take away their power to hurt people and render them “meaningless noise.”

Like the charges of antisemitism that are constantly being hurled by a chosen few.

Weller did not respond to e-mails from the Globe. He told WBUR his play “was trying to show a broad cross-section of people under a lot of pressure.”

Bruce, who was born in New York as Leonard Alfred Schneider, was famed for stream-of-consciousness rants, filled with uncomfortable allusions and obscenities, though his language would be unremarkable for a comedy act today. He was an early free speech crusader, who faced obscenity charges that could have sent him to prison.

No Seinfeld he!

“Famed for his ‘sick humor,’ Bruce was in courts in California and Illinois nearly as often as he appeared on nightclub stages,” United Press International wrote in Bruce’s 1966 obituary. Bruce was convicted of obscenity after a 1964 performance at a New York nightclub, but was posthumously pardoned in 2003 by Governor George Pataki. Bruce died at age 40 of a drug overdose.

The LA Times published at the time of his death: “At his best he was received as a tonic antidote to what his admirers saw as a stifling status quo, as a kind of stand-up varnish remover, cutting through society’s gloss to reveal the ugliness below.”

In the play, The Hoot reported that the main character asks Brandeis administrators, “If Lenny Bruce came to life right now, for one day, and he was booked for a gig on campus, how would the administration react?”

The school’s intention in postponing the play, a school spokesman said, was to stage it as part of a spring course on the sort of “difficult art” that makes people uncomfortable. The course is scheduled to go on.....


Think I will just watch some TV:

"WBZ-AM’s would-be owner tells employees to re-apply for their jobs" by Danny McDonald Globe Staff  November 04, 2017

The company acquiring local radio news titan WBZ-AM has indicated employees at the station will have to re-apply for their positions, and that it does not plan to honor two union contracts.

In a letter sent Thursday to a union official, an attorney for iHeartMedia said that the company “will interview and consider for employment the on-air announcers and off-air production staff currently employed by CBS at WBZ-AM.”

The letter goes on to say that iHeartMedia “will not be assuming the two collective bargaining agreements between CBS Radio” and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, SAG-AFTRA.

No love lost there.

Tom Higgins, a Boston-based national director for SAG-AFTRA, said he hoped the letter represented a “misstep.” A handful of iHeartMedia managers who visited the station Thursday said they wanted the station’s transition to new ownership to be seamless.

“And a couple of hours later, I get that letter,” he said in a phone interview Friday night. “This sure doesn’t sound like seamless.”

Higgins said he forwarded the letter to WBZ staff on Friday. The station’s employees, he said, were in “total disbelief.”

How many perverts in your shop?

Representatives from iHeartMedia did not immediately respond to messages Friday night.

Higgins said his union plans to meet with iHeartMedia brass early next week.

“They should honor our union contracts,” he said. “They should not disrespect people by having them re-apply for jobs that they’ve had for decades in some cases.”


It's all part of the game, and at least no drugs were involved:

"A fugitive from Tennessee wanted on drug charges and two men allegedly possessing guns and drugs were arrested in an early morning raid on a Plymouth motel Friday morning, State Police said. State Police and Plymouth police executed three search warrants at the Blue Spruce Motel around 4 a.m. Friday after receiving information that someone there was selling methamphetamine, according to police....."

Here is who they were hoping to hire:

"Central Americans, Haitians may lose protected status" Washington Post  November 04, 2017

WASHINGTON — More than 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians living in the United States under a form of temporary permission no longer need to be shielded from deportation, the State Department told Homeland Security officials this week.

The statement was issued a few days ahead of a highly anticipated DHS announcement about whether to renew that protection.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to acting DHS secretary Elaine Duke to inform her that conditions in Central America and Haiti that had been used to justify the protection no longer necessitate a reprieve for the migrants.

Some of the migrants have been allowed to live and work in the United States for 20 years under a program known as Temporary Protected Status.

Tillerson’s assessment, required by law, has not been made public, but its recommendations were confirmed by several administration officials familiar with its contents. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.


Also seeJustice Department accuses ACLU of misconduct in abortion case

And here I thought she just went on a diet.