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Ryan Murphy Has A Plan To Help Fix Hollywood’s Diversity Crisis

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American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy is creating a foundation and commits to having half of all director slots on his shows filled by women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community.

The Oscars were hit hard earlier this year – again – with criticism about the lack of diversity in their nominees. #OscarsSoWhite started trending across social media platforms because for the second year in a row, every best actor nominee in all categories was white. Many people, including actress Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee, even called for a boycott of the awards show.

Now, screenwriter, director, and producer, Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story, American Crime Story), has announced that he wants to address the issue by tackling the root of the problem: the lack of opportunities for minorities in Hollywood.

Last summer, USC Annenberg completed a comprehensive analysis of diversity in recent popular films and the results painted a complete picture of Hollywood’s undeniable bias against featuring women, people of color, and LGBT characters on screen. Here’s what the study showed:

  • Only 17 of the 100 top films of 2014 featured a lead or co lead actor from an underrepresented racial and/or ethnic group.
  • Twenty-eight women have worked as directors across the 700 top films from 2007 to 2014. Only three were African American.
  • In the 100 top-grossing films from 2014, less than one-third of all speaking characters were female, 26.9 percent were from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group, and less than .5 percent (yes, point five percent) were LGB-identified. No transgender characters appeared in the 100 top grossing films of 2014.

“I personally can do better,” Murphy told the Hollywood Reporter. He recalled former publicist Nanci Ryder’s speech at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast. “Nanci said, ‘People in power, you have a position and responsibility to change the industry,’ and I thought, ‘She’s right.'”

RELATED: The Cult of Whiteness: On #OscarsSoWhite, Donald Trump, and The End of America

Murphy announced that he’ll be launching a foundation called Half and has worked with bosses Dana Walden and Gary Newman to create the infrastructure. While his initial focus was on providing more opportunities to female directors, he has since widened his ambitions to include all minority candidates, and by the end of this year, he is committed to having 50 percent of all director slots on his shows filled by either women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community.

Murphy and his team have come up with a detailed plan for how they are going to diversify Hollywood and increase opportunities for minorities in the industry. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Half will be doing the following:

  • Creating a database of names and contact information to share with other show runners who are also looking to challenge the status quo
  • Begin extensive outreach efforts at colleges and universities
  • Align candidates with mentors within Ryan Murphy Productions, as well as with internships and shadowing opportunities around Hollywood

Dede Gardner, Nina Jacobson, Supergirl’s Ali Adler and American Crime Story director Anthony Hemingway have already committed to assisting in Half’s outreach.

 

EARLIER:

#OscarsSoWhite: Top Ten Tweets Blasting Second Year All Acting Nominees Are White

Whitest Oscars In Decades Spawn #OscarsSoWhite Twitter Backlash

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Catholic Archbishop Defies Vatican by Banning Speaker Nancy Pelosi From Holy Communion – via Twitter

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Calling her stance on abortion a “most serious scandal,” and a “grave evil” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly announced Friday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose district encompasses his diocese, is now banned from taking Holy Communion.

Archbishop Cordileone, a far right activist who repeatedly has challenged Pope Francis, is now in violation of directions from the Vatican to not politicize the Sacraments. Cordileone’s very public decree – made via Twitter – comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on a case that is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone tweeted, an apparent attempt to embarrass to the greatest degree possible the Democrat who is second in line to the Presidency,

“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically [sic] repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in that letter to the Speaker.

Fox News calls it “an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians on abortion,” but in fact other extremist archbishops have taken the same stance against other notable Democrats.

Catholics believe the Pope is God’s infallible representative on earth. Last fall Pope Francis chastised far right Catholic bishops in America who were gearing up to ban President Joe Biden from receiving Holy Communion. In June the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) overwhelmingly voted to move toward chastising Biden for his abortion stance, despite the Vatican issuing a clear warning they were not to do so.

President Biden is a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion but knows as President it is his role to uphold a woman’s right to choose, something has has worked strongly to support and strongly believes in.

“What must the pastor do?” Pope Francis said, The New York Times reported last September when a reporter asked him about President Biden and abortion. “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”

“I have never refused the eucharist to anyone,” Pope Francis told reporters. The Times aded Francis said bishops should be pastors not politicians.

The Pope also told reporters, “communion is not a prize for the perfect,” and “the eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”

The San Francisco Chronicle adds that Pope Francis “welcomed Biden for a private meeting at the Vatican last fall and Biden said the Pope told him he was a ‘good Catholic.’ Biden received Communion at St. Peter’s during that trip.”

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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COMMENTARY

‘Sordid, Corrupt, Lawless’: Experts Call New Ginni Thomas Revelations ‘Breathtaking’ and Ask ‘What Did Her Husband Know?’

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The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.

Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear.”

“Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.

It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.

Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.

Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.

“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.

He adds:

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning:

“Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”

Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:

Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:

“New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”

Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”

Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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BREAKING NEWS

Ginni Thomas Also Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Overturn 2020 Election: ‘Stand Strong’

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Far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Ginni Thomas pressed lawmakers in Arizona to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In emails she urged them to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure,” and send a “clean slate” of electors, falsely claiming the choice is “yours and yours alone.”

“The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear,” reports The Washington Post, which broke the news Friday. “In sending the emails, Thomas played a role in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.”

Thomas also pressed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to overturn the election in an exchange of text messages that spanned several months.

Justice Clarence Thomas has also come under fire for not recusing himself in matters related to his wife’s actions.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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