Posts tagged with "controversy"

Netflix – Cuties

By Cassandra Yany

One of Netflix’s newest films, Cuties, has garnered much attention and backlash since its Sep. 9 release on the streaming platform. The coming-of-age film depicts a young girl as she tries to navigate her life as a pre-teen growing up in a Muslim family living in Paris.

Many critics have spoken out against the film, which currently holds the no. 7 spot in Netflix’s ‘Top 10,’ for its depiction of 11-year-old girls dancing and behaving in an indecent manner. According to the New York Times, the movie was first deemed controversial in the U.S. in August when Netflix released the promotional artwork. The original marketing for the film displayed an image of four young girls in skimpy dance costumes posing provocatively.

This, along with the trailer, prompted opposers to start petitions online and call for the removal of the film from Netflix’s catalog. Netflix apologized and changed the artwork for the film to a more innocent photo of the same four characters walking down the street with shopping bags, donning bras and underwear over their clothes.

Last week’s release of the film has sparked conversation once again amongst parents, politicians and others, causing #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter. Lina Nealon, the Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has spoken out against the film saying “While we commend Director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.” She called for Netflix to cut the “sexually-exploitive” scenes from the film, or remove the film from the platform altogether.

On Friday, Hawaii Rep. Tulse Gabbard tweeted, “@Netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children… Netflix you are now complicit.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz penned a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr Friday calling for the Department of Justice to start an investigation into the production and distribution of the film to “determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved in the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

Cruz wrote that “the film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial nudity” falsely claiming that there’s a scene exposing a “minor’s bare breast.” The Associated Press reported that one of Cruz’s representatives, Lauren Aronson, said that the senator has not seen the film.

According to the Washington Times, some critics are even calling on the Obama’s— who have a production deal with Netflix— to take action against the film. Deadline stated that “The reality appears to have been lost in the storm, and the truth is very few of the people reacting so strongly will have actually seen the film.”

Netflix told USA TODAY “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up— and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Director Maïmouna Doucouré defends the film, saying that it works to shed light on these issues so they can be fixed. Cuties first premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, where it won the Directing Jury Award for the dramatic film category. According to the New York Times, the movie did not stir up much conversation in France after its theatrical release (as Mignnonnes in French) in August.

Deadline reports that Doucouré did not see the promotional material prior to when it was circulated on the internet. She said that she received death threats as the outrage grew over these images. She told the news site that the film is not apologetic about the hypersexualization of children, but instead is her “…personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home.”

Cuties was Doucouré’s feature directorial debut. Similar to the film’s main character, Amy, Doucouré is of Senegalese descent and grew up in a Muslim culture in Paris. In an interview at Sundance, she said she first had the idea for the movie after attending a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-old girls doing a stage performance of a “sensual” dance. She was shocked to see girls that age dance like that in short clothing. “We can’t continue to close our eyes about that,” she told the interviewer.

Doucouré researched for a year and a half, meeting with hundreds of pre-teens who told her their stories. She learned about their ideas of femininity, and how their self image is affected by the emphasis of social media in today’s society. According to IndieWire, the young actresses’ parents were on board with the project to spread awareness of the issue, and there was a psychologist working with the girls throughout filming who is still helping them throughout the release process.

The film is centered around Amy, an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a housing development in a poor suburb of Paris with her Senegalese, observant Muslim family. She looks out for her brothers, takes care of responsibilities around the house, and is in the process of being taught how to ‘be a woman’ by  her aunt.

One day after prayer, Amy walks by the laundry room and sees a girl her age dancing to music playing from her phone. In a subsequent scene, Amy is seen trying to straighten her hair with a clothing iron, burning part of it off as a result. 

Amy learns that her father, who is still in Senegal, has taken a second wife and will be coming to Paris soon to have the wedding. Her mother, Mariam, tries to hide her reaction to the news, but Amy sees her grow upset and take her frustrations out on herself. This is where Amy’s behavior begins to shift; she starts to reject her culture and identity, and instead tries to conform to fit in with the other girls at school. 

At school, Amy is teased for her clothes and lack of fashion sense, so she begins to wear her younger brother’s t-shirt to match the crop tops that her classmates wear. After seeing a group of girls her age dancing after school, Amy steals her cousin’s iPhone to learn how to dance, herself. She comes across their social media accounts and begins taking selfies, imitating what she sees on their profiles. 

Amy finds herself a spot in the girls’ friend group and dance troupe, and as a result, begins to neglect her responsibilities at home. Amy starts to show more self expression, wearing her hair natural rather than pulling it back. She also begins to explore the internet more, finding videos of almost-naked women dancing rather suggestively and moving their bodies in ways that an 11-year-old probably shouldn’t be watching. 

Taking what she found online, Amy practices dancing with her friends and teaches them how to twerk. This is where the movie begins to make viewers slightly uneasy. It was jarring to see these young, innocent girls tainted by this inappropriate content and doing dance moves that they didn’t understand the implications of. It appears that this was the intention of director Doucouré, as she stated in an interview with Netflix that the film is “…a mirror of today’s society; a mirror sometimes difficult to look into and accept but still so true.”

Some of the scenes, frankly, are very disturbing to watch. These include the girls dancing provocatively for two older male workers at a laser tag facility so that they wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking in, as well as Amy beginning to undress for her cousin once he found she had stolen his iPhone in an attempt to smooth over the situation. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when Amy takes a picture of her genitals to post on her social media profile so that people at school would think she’s mature. While there was no nudity shown in this scene, the implied action was horrifying to watch. 

At the end of the film, Amy performs with her dance troupe at a local competition. Dressed in revealing outfits, they dance immodestly in front of a crowd of people who quickly seem unsettled. (This is the scene from which the original promotional photos were taken.) Toward the end of the song, Amy freezes as she begins to think about her mom, then runs off the stage crying. She goes home where she asks her mom not to attend her father’s wedding. Her mom continues to get ready for the event, but tells Amy that she doesn’t have to go.

Instead of going to the wedding, Amy steps outside and begins jumping rope. This scene depicts a mixture of her two identities: she is wearing jeans and a crop top with her hair down, but is surrounded by people of her culture dressed in traditional garments. After suppressing her family’s background for a majority of the movie, Amy is finally able to find the balance where her multiple cultures intersect in order to be her honest self. 

After watching Cuties, it is evident that it is not meant to promote this behavior among young girls, but instead provide commentary on what is happening today and warn the adults who see the movie. The harsh reality is that more pre-adolescents are exposed to this type of content than we think. Any child who has access to a smart device and social platforms have the potential to see a video not meant for them. Take TikTok for example: racy dances to Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as a recent trend where women make “thirst traps” to Beyoncé’s “Rocket” are some of the most popular videos on the app right now. Young TikTok users can easily see creators on their For You Page enjoying themselves while engaging in these trends, causing the young viewer to want to do the same.

When speaking to Deadline, Doucouré said, “What happens is young girls see images of women being objectified, and the more the woman becomes an object, the more followers and like she has— they see that as a role model and try to imitate these women, but they’re not old enough to know what they’re doing.” In a separate interview, she posed the question, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

Overall, Cuties shows the dangers of uncensored media for young children and displays how impressionable they can be. It also shows the journey of Amy’s self-discovery and learning how to blend her multiple cultures in order to shape her identity. Unfortunately, the risqué nature of the film overshadows the storyline and the message is lost for a number of audience members.

In various articles, Doucouré is quoted discussing the meaning of the film in the broad context of femininity and what it means for young girls to enter womanhood in this digital age. During her aforementioned interview with Netflix, she stated “The real question of Cuties is can we, as women, truly choose who we want to be, beyond the role models that are imposed upon us by society?”

Kaelen Felix illustrates Twin Towers for 360 Magazine

Remembering 9/11

By Elle Grant

For any American, 9/11 marks an essential day of reflection and remembrance. September 11, 2020 marks the nineteenth anniversary of the historic terrorist attacks that rocked New York City, shocking the United States and the world.

19 years ago, four passenger jets were hijacked by the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in an effort to strike at American symbols. One was flown into the Pentagon Military Headquarters in Washington D.C. Another two, most remembered of the four, were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as Manhattan looked on in horror. A fourth, upon hearing news of the other hijackings, realized their plane was also under attack and chose to fight back, resulting in their plane plunging into a Pennsylvania field. In sum, roughly 3,000 lives were loss, with 2,700 of them being in New York City. The toll of lives and on the psyche of Americans was hitherto unimaginable, as was the ensuing consequences including the now infamous War on Terror.

The victims of 9/11 have been commemorated in numerous ways across the country, including at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum opened on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. The memorial is located where the Twin Towers formerly stood, now marked with design features such as man-made waterfalls, a forest of white oak trees, and the inscribed names of the victims as part of the memorial. This long-awaited memorial site has since been part of the commemorations each year, with 2020 being no exception. Visitors such as Vice President Pence and Democratic nominee for president Joseph Biden were among the attendees today.

New York is especially reflective this year as the anniversary of 9/11 comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, of which the city was an early epicenter, resulting in thousands of lives lost. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was thrust onto the national stage following the New York outbreak, said “This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost and the heroism displayed ‎as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy.” In NYC, the current death count due to coronavirus is placed at 23,000. This year, at the somber moments held at the September 11 memorial in Manhattan, those paying their respects wore face masks while honoring the dead, a new feature in remembering 9/11. New York remains a fixture of American culture, with eyes turned towards them during the tragedy of 9/11, as well as the current tragedy of coronavirus.

Another way victim’s families, including those killed and affected during rescue efforts, is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, currently authorized through 2090 and worth billions of dollars. “Our nation owes each of you a profound debt that no words or deeds will ever repay,” President Trump said during the bill signing ceremony. “But we can, and we will keep our nation’s promise to you.” Certainly, monetary efforts are no replacements for the lives loss and the impacts made, but it represents Congress’ efforts to assist those left in the wake of the tragic attacks.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

Jacob Blake Shot by Wisconsin Police

In the most recent incident to incite protests against injustices across the nation this summer, a Black man has been shot in Wisconsin. Jacob Blake, witnesses said, was attempting to break up an argument between two women. Following this, he walked back towards his silver SUV this past Sunday, August 23rd while being trailed by a police officer involved in the confrontation. As three of his children watched from their vehicle, the police officer proceeded to fire seven times at Blake’s back and close range. One can only imagine the trauma for his sons. As of today, Blake remains hospitalized in serious condition, but is expected to survive.

The incident, caught on video, has gone similarly viral to other violent misconducts by the police over the course of spring and summer 2020. The officers involved in Blake’s shooting have been placed on administrative leave and have shocked the small city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Protests across the city have motivated Governor Evers to call in the National Guard, though he attempted to assure constituents it was not in an effort to mimic clashes between protesters and servicemen in places like Seattle, Minneapolis, or New York. Minor confrontations have occurred over the past two days despite this.

Following George Floyd’s murder this past May, protests against the police and in favor of the movement Black Lives Matter have exploded across the country. Blake’s shooting has added fuel to the fire, inspiring renewed protests and calls to action all across the nation. The incident in Kenosha has furthered the call for cities to cut funding to police departments, restructure their legal practices, amongst other changes.

Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers tweeted in support of Jacob Blake and in condemnation of the actions of police officers involved: “I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and country for far too long. And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.” The Governor also signed an executive order into Wisconsin’s state legislature for a special session to pass legislation and police reforms for August 31st. The reforms are expected to be fought by the state’s Republican leadership.

Calls from the countries Democratic leadership have come again for immediate reform, including the voice of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as he “wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force.” President Trump has not commented directly on the shooting, but Vice President Pence made a statement yesterday emphasizing the administration’s loyalty to their men and women in blue.

The situation involving the shooting of Jacob Blake and ensuing actions in Kenosha, Wisconsin continues to develop.

Vape pen and e-cigarette shot by Vaughn Lowery for 360 MAGAZINE

Do You Vape? How to Prepare for the Upcoming PMTA Deadline

Do you vape? If you do, there’s an important deadline coming up on September 9 – and if you haven’t already started preparing, now is the time. 

Are you left scratching your head after reading that first paragraph? If you have no idea what deadline is coming up or how it’s going to affect the vaping industry, this article is for you. We’re going to explain the upcoming PMTA deadline and describe exactly what you should be doing right now to prepare.

FDA Vaping Regulations: A Brief History

Ever since e-cigarettes and e-liquids first appeared in the United States, the FDA has attempted to exert regulatory control over the industry. The agency’s first attempt at vaping regulations ended in failure. In the late 2000s, the FDA began to seize incoming shipments of e-cigarettes entering the United States, saying that vaping products were unregulated drug delivery devices being sold without approval.

The vaping industry sued the FDA. The district and appeals courts involved in the lawsuit both ultimately decided in favor of the vaping industry, ruling that, as long as sellers didn’t claim that e-cigarettes could be used for quitting smoking, the FDA could only regulate those products as tobacco products – not as drug delivery devices.

The FDA finally announced its intention to regulate vaping products as tobacco products in 2016. Subjecting vaping products to the same legal requirements as tobacco products meant that every vaping product on the market had to comply with the U.S. Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which said that, after 2007, all tobacco products must obtain FDA approval before entering the market.

No vaping product being sold today was on the market before 2007. Therefore, every vaping product is a “new tobacco product” that requires FDA approval.

What Is the Vaping PMTA Deadline?

We always knew that this day would come; it was just a matter of when. The vaping industry’s deadline for FDA compliance has been moved from August 2018 to August 2022 before being moved forward to May 2020 and finally pushed back to September 2020. At the time of writing, it appears that September 9, 2020 will be the final compliance date.

To start the process of FDA compliance, the manufacturer of a vaping product must submit an application showing the FDA that the product is beneficial to public health compared to the tobacco products that are already on the market. It costs nothing to file a premarket tobacco product application (PMTA), but the cost of gathering the required data for the application can exceed $100,000. Every e-liquid flavor, every nicotine strength of every flavor, every vaping device, every tank and every coil counts as a “new tobacco product” and requires a PMTA.

What Happens to the Vaping Industry on September 9?

When the PMTA deadline arrives, two things will happen.

  • Many e-liquid makers have the necessary funds to submit PMTAs for some or all of their products. Timely submission of a PMTA means that a product can remain on the market for another year while the FDA processes the application. If the FDA gets behind on processing applications, it’s possible that the grace period will be extended.
  • Many other e-liquid makers do not have the funds and are not planning to submit PMTAs. Those companies are required to pull their products from the market on September 9, although that may not happen all at once. Some companies may just continue what they’re doing now until they hear from the FDA.

What Does the PMTA Deadline Mean for Vapers?

The one certain thing is that, after September 9, there will be fewer vaping devices, tanks, coils and e-liquids on the market than there are today. Since most companies in the vaping industry aren’t talking about their plans for the PMTA deadline, it’s impossible to say exactly which products will and won’t be available. With that in mind, here’s how you need to prepare.

Stock Up on Your Favorite Vape Juice Flavors Now

Unless your favorite vape juice brands have already announced that they’re ready for the PMTA deadline, you shouldn’t assume that those brands’ products will still be around after September 9. There will definitely still be e-liquid available to buy after the PMTA deadline – but if you have a favorite brand or flavor and can’t bear to be without it, you should start stocking up right now.

Get a Vape Mod With Removable Batteries

It’s unknown which of the vaping hardware manufacturers – almost all of which are in China – have submitted PMTAs for their products or which products they’ve applied for permission to continue selling in the United States. Your best bet is to choose a vape mod with removable batteries and buy it right away. A mod with removable batteries can conceivably last for years because you can simply swap out the batteries when they stop working correctly. A mod with a permanent battery, on the other hand, is much more difficult to repair. The FDA doesn’t regulate batteries, so you can buy them freely.

Buy a Rebuildable Atomizer

It’s also unknown which vape tanks and coils will get through the PMTA process. If you have a favorite vape tank and want to ensure that you can continue using it, you should stock up on coils now. In the long run, though, it’s even better to grab a rebuildable atomizer and learn how to build your own coils. The FDA can regulate tanks and coils, but it can’t regulate wire and cotton – just like it can’t regulate batteries. Regardless of how FDA regulation shapes the future of the American vaping industry, you won’t ever have trouble finding coil building supplies.

Consider Learning How to Make Your Own E-Liquid

As mentioned above, you will definitely still be able to buy e-liquid after September 9. Many e-liquid companies have already submitted – or are about to submit – PMTAs for their products. They’ll be able to continue selling their products for at least another year, and it seems likely that many or all of those products will eventually receive full FDA approval.

Just in case those products don’t receive FDA approval, though, it’s a good idea to start learning how to make your own e-liquid now. You’re free to buy vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol and flavorings. Unless something changes from a legal standpoint, you’re also free to buy liquid nicotine if you’re an adult. As of right now, there’s nothing preventing you from making your own vape juice.

Rita Azar illustrates US Federal officer story in 360 MAGAZINE.

Federal Agents Move into Multiple US Cities

By Emmet McGeown

On June 29, 4-year old LeGend Taliferro was killed by gunfire in Kansas City, Missouri. He had fallen asleep inside his pillow fort and at around 2am he was murdered in a targeted shooting of his apartment, according to the Kansas City Police Department.

Having been diagnosed with a heart defect shortly after birth, LeGend received his first open-heart surgery at just 4 months old. His mother, Charron Powell, said that her only child “has the heart of a lion” and was always excited to create awareness for conditions similar to his.

As a result of this horrific murder and spiking crime rates in St. Louis Attorney General, William Barr, announced “Operation LeGend” on July 8. This Justice Department initiative has directed agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and US Marshals Service to supplement local law enforcement agencies with the aim of cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and aiding ongoing homicide investigations.

In total, 225 federal agents were sent to Kansas City to help the 400 federal agents already located in the metro area. US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Tim Garrison, announced on July 31 that 97 arrests have been made by federal and local law enforcement since the launch of Operation LeGend. Five arrests were made for homicide, but other offenses cited were drug trafficking, robbery, and child molestation.

However, this has not been the extent of federal intervention in US cities. In a Fox News phone interview, the President stated “We’ll go into all of the cities, any of them. We’re ready.” Such a statement is emblematic of the President’s desire to make federal policing a key part of his Nixonian “law and order” campaign strategy. Undoubtedly, he is hoping to appeal to suburban voters worried about crime spilling into their neighborhoods from urban centers. The President also claimed that he was prepared to dispatch “50,000, 60,000 people” into American cities.

Trump has presented increasing crime rates in cities as a partisan issue whereby Democrat-run cities are the most dangerous places in the country largely due to their leadership’s political affiliation. Overall, out of the 50 largest cities in the US the homicide rate has increased by 25% in cities with Democratic mayors and by 15% in Republican-run cities revealing a decidedly bipartisan issue despite the President’s best efforts.

Operation LeGend’s coordinated law enforcement plan has now expanded into Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. Reasons for this move include a 54% increase in homicides in Chicago from last year, a 7% increase in Detroit’s violent crime compared to the previous year while each of Cleveland’s 5 police districts are coping with an increase in shootings of around 20%.

Such statistics reveal a problem in many US cities, yet the question remains as to whether this problem can or should be solved through federal intervention or whether this, being a local issue, should be remedied via local resources.

U.S. Postal Service In Danger

By Eamonn Burke

The coronavirus has ravaged the United States in the past six months, hitting small private businesses, especially minority -owned, very hard. There is also a major public service that has taken a devastating hit from the pandemic, and now from debates over mail-in voting.

A comprehensive detailing of the damages done to the Postal Service by the New York Times, including a daunting warning that the agency could run out of funds by the fall. The decision of whether to aid the service financially became a partisan one, in which the differing opinions on government interference came into play.

“The Postal Service is a joke,” said President Trump, who’s administration called off a potential $13 billion relief bill for the USPS and believes that the agency is responsible for its own financial issues, unless they comply with a series of alterations that would benefit private competitors.

Democrats were backed by large corporations that benefit from the USPS in their fight to save it. “We are for the public having the Postal Service meet the public interest, not some special interest” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

It may not be as divisive an issue as it seems, however. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka pointed out that the benefit on both sides of the aisle from the USPS would indicate that the fight to save it may not be so evenly split between the two parties.

Delays in mailing have been experienced throughout the country since the pandemic broke, in cities like Philadelphia. Mail workers in the city say that the new pressures to cut spending, staff, and work hours are causing backlogs of mail. These can be a huge problem when the mail contains essential items like food or medicine. “I try to stay by him and pray for life that I have what I need to take care of him,” says Valerie Rice of her young grandson whom she orders medicine for. Meanwhile, a USPS spokesman assures that the agency is “flexing our available resources to match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic” and that they “appreciate the patience of our customers.”

The public has started to act, helping to fund the service indirectly through purchases of stamps and other USPS goods from the UPS gift shop. Hashtags like #SaveUPS and #DontDefundUPS have gone around Twitter.

The latest development surrounding the USPS is the controversy over mail-in voting, which Trump has sworn will rig the outcome of the election in November, even though evidence has proven this claim wrong. The new guidelines imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are opposed by the union as they slow down mail and have been criticized as a way for Trump to impair mail-in voting.

As a public service that cannot conserve funds by decreasing production, the agency is in a tough spot and faces an uncertain future.

Lebanon explosion illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Huge Explosion In Beirut

By Vaughn Lowery × Rita Azar

According to CNN, there was a massive explosion in Beirut just now. Shattering glass and debris followed by monstrous amounts of smoke.

A Massive explosion hit an ammunition storage in the port of Beirut. Many Lebanese civilians have been affected, houses have been burned down, glass has been shattered and there has been fatalities.

This blast has not just hit Beirut’s Eastern areas next to the port but has destroyed many key infrastructure building like hospitals, infrastructure buildings, kilometers away, including the headquarters of former prime minister Saad Hariri. The explosive could be heard all the way to the Bekka valleys capital Zahle 56 kilometers away. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut stated, “The explosion was felt across the city.” She added, “There is chaos in the streets.” Tensions are higher than ever.

The source of the explosion is still unknown.

Actual footage can be seen here.

Check out coverage by BBC.

Beyonce – Black Is King

By Eamonn Burke

Last week, Beyonce released the second trailer for her upcoming film Black is King, set to release on July 31. The production is a visual album that will feature multiple celebrity cameos including Jay-Z and Lupita Nyong’o, as seen in the trailer. Coming one year after Disney’s lasted adaption of the The Lion King, the film spins the old story into a tale of a young kings ascendence into power that represents the journey of black families worldwide. Although the new trailer is not much longer than the previous teaser, it offers a deeper look into the story: “Life is a set of choices. Lead, or be led astray. Follow your light, or lose it” Beyoncé’s opening voiceover says.

Beyonce called the project a “labor of love” and adds that “The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant.” However, the film has not gone without controversy. Many have criticized the film for cultural appropriation and for “romanticizing Africa.” One such critic is black feminist Jade Bentil at the University of Oxford, who tweeted this statement:

“The repeated tropes/symbolic gestures that homogenise & essentialise thousands of African cultures in service of securing the terrain for Black capitalist possibilities & futures is tired.”

Other criticisms include glorifying African cultures inappropriately and creating false aesthetics. Scenes from the trailer such as Beyonce riding a horse dressed in animal hide and her excessive jewelry have created controversy about how she is portraying African culture.

Women Suing Fox News for Rape, Misconduct

By Eamonn Burke

Ed Henry, long time Fox News anchor who was fired under accusations of sexual assault this month, is now being sued by two women named Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu. Eckhart, a former associate producer for Fox, alleges that Mr. Henry offered promotions in exchange for a sexual relationship with her. Co-plantiff Areu also accuses him of harassment in the form of inappropriate messages and also mentions Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kirtz in other “sexual charged” instances.

Fox News responded by acknowledging Eckhart’s claims and assuring that they fired Henry as soon as they heard of them. As for Areu’s allegations, they dismissed them as “false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit” as determined by a law firm they hired. Mr. Henry’s lawyer, Catherine Foti, does not accept the allegations from either party: “The evidence in this case will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship” she asserted.

Ms. Eckhart’s account of her interactions with Mr. Henry do not suggest something consensual, instead something far from it. The suit, filed on Monday, says that Henry “sexually assaulted her on office property, and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees.” Additional information says that Eckhart was handcuffed, and Henry took photos of her afterwards.

The suit also claims that Fox News knew that Henry was engaging in this behavior as far back as 2017, and only did something about it now in order to “get ahead of this suit.” This accusation has major implications, and suggests perpetuation of the misogynistic culture that is rumored to exist at Fox News, which came to the forefront when news tycoon Roger Ailes faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

The women are suing for sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, and violation of sex trafficking laws, and are seeking damages.