- The Department of Justice sent the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a warning about its potential rule change that would limit Netflix and other streaming services from Oscar eligibility
- The DOJ says that the move could be a violation of antitrust law.
The Justice Department warned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that any attempts to prevent Netflix and other streaming services from receiving Oscar eligibility could be considered a violation of antitrust law.
Variety reported the news Tuesday, along with a copy of the DOJ’s message to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. In the letter, dated March 21, 2019, the DOJ’s Antitrust Division chief Makan Delrahim said he was concerned the new rules would be written in a way that would “suppress competition.”
“In the event that the Academy — an association that includes multiple competitors in its membership — establishes certain eligibility requirements for the Oscars that eliminate competition without procompetitive justification, such conduct may raise antitrust concerns,” Delrahim wrote.
Delrahim specifically says that a rule change like this could violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act, which “prohibits anticompetitive agreements among competitors.”
“Accordingly, agreements among competitors to exclude new competitors can violate the antitrust laws when their purpose or effect is to impede competition by goods or services that consumers purchase and enjoy but which threaten the profits of incumbent firms,” Delrahim wrote.
Delrahim’s warning follows reports that Steven Spielberg, an Academy board member, was preparing to propose a rule change that would stop films that debut on streaming services or have limited theatrical releases from obtaining Oscar consideration.
Spielberg has been vocal about his views on streaming services and Oscar eligibility. He told ITV News last year that Netflix and other streaming services have boosted the quality of television. However, he added, “Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. … If it’s a good show—deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar.”
“I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination,” he continued.
Netflix in particular, grabbed a lot of attention at the Oscars this year with “Roma,” which won awards for best director, best foreign language film, and best cinematography. The company responded to word of potential rule changes on Twitter last month, without naming Speilberg.
According to Variety, an Academy spokesperson said, “We’ve received a letter from the Dept. of Justice and have responded accordingly.”
The spokesperson said that the Academy’s Board of Governors will meet on April 23 for its annual awards rules meeting. At that meeting, all branches will submit possible updates for consideration.
Read the full DOJ letter here.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Wall Street Journal) (Rolling Stone)
Facebook to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency Called Libra in 2020
- Facebook announced its plan for a new cryptocurrency called Libra on Tuesday, explaining in detail why it will be different from other cryptocurrencies.
- The social media giant not only helped fund the technology, but also created an independent company that will act as the wallet for Libra.
- With Facebook’s recent privacy and security issues, people are concerned about trusting the company with their financial information.
Facebook Announces Libra
Facebook announced on Tuesday its plan to launch a new cryptocurrency called Libra, hoping to create what they call “the internet of money”, despite high public distrust in the company over privacy and security issues.
Libra, the statement explains, is expected to launch in 2020 and will be built on three main aspects. The first being a secure and reliable blockchain, which is the system that keeps track of cryptocurrency transactions. The blockchain used for Libra “was built from the group up,” the announcement states.
The company said it did this “to prioritize scalability, security, efficiency in storage and throughput, and future adaptability.”
The second main component of Libra focuses on the cryptocurrency being backed by a reserve of assets. This is what Libra says sets it apart from other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which are known for their volatility. With Libra being backed by stable assets actually worth value, it would be a more stable cryptocurrency. However like other cryptocurrencies, Libra is still likely to be affected by some fluctuations when converted to currencies like dollars.
As for the final aspect, the company says it will be governed by an independent group called the Libra Association. The group’s main purpose is to essentially be the administrator of the Libra network and make sure the network is available to other companies that want to take part. The 28 Founding Members, as they’re called, come from a variety of backgrounds and companies. In addition to Facebook, the group includes businesses like Mastercard, eBay, Lyft, Spotify AB, as well as non-profits like Mercy Corps. The members helped fund the reserves that back Libra and hope to have 100 members covering a wide range of organizations as well as academic institutions.
“It’s decentralized,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook when announcing Libra. “Meaning it’s run by many different organizations instead of just one, making the system fairer overall. It’s available to anyone with an internet connection and has low fees and costs.”
Facebook has said once Libra is launched, the company will no longer have authority and will be considered an equal member to the other organizations in the association.
In addition to Facebook’s help funding the technology that makes Libra possible, it also created an independent subsidiary company, Calibra. This company will function as the first wallet for Libra, allowing users to transfer Libra between each other, and eventually pay for items with it. Simply put, it is more-or-less like Venmo and Google Pay put together.
Calibra has already launched a website which is letting people sign up for early access. The website explains that users do not need a Facebook profile to access Calibra, just a government-issued ID. And while Calibra will be available as a stand-alone app, it will also be accessible on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Libra Association says they will try to ensure that the Libra infrastructure will be available to companies other than Calibra so in the future there can be other payments systems that can use the Libra freely.
Many are quick to point out if it is safe to trust Facebook. The company has had numerous issues with privacy and data, making people question if they should be trusted with financial information
According to Reuters, Neil Campling, the head of TMT Research in London, said that “given its history of managing our data, it shouldn’t take much to convince people that Facebook managing our money is probably a terrible idea.”
People on social media have voiced their concerns as well, some even commenting on Zuckerberg’s Facebook post.
On their website, Calibra addresses the privacy and security issues.
“Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook, Inc. or any third party without customer consent. For example, Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook, Inc. family of products.”
Noting that only certain cases, such as criminal activity or preventing fraud, would data be shared.
See what others are saying: (Quartz) (Business Insider) (CNN)
Seattle Brewery Apologizes for Crips and Bloods Inspired Beers
- Mirage Beer announced the release of its Crips and Bloods themed beers, with bandana-designed cans and names like “Snitch Blood” and “Where you from.”
- The Seattle-based brand was quickly met with backlash online, with many calling the concept offensive and in poor taste.
- The company deleted the post and issued an apology saying that it would rename the beers and donate the proceeds to the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with other organizations recommended by the public.
A Seattle-based brewery apologized for its Crips and Bloods themed beers on Tuesday after facing much backlash online.
Mirage Beer initially announced the released in an Instagram post on Sunday by sharing a photo of the bandana-designed cans. One can was labeled “Snitch Blood,” while the other was labeled “Where you from.” The caption on the post included descriptions of the beers and said they would be available for sale starting Tuesday, May 28.
But the launch was quickly canceled after a number of people called the products offensive.
Most of the backlash came after a tweet from the account Beer Kulture, which describes itself as a brand that merges beer and urban culture. The account called Mirage Beer “entitled,” and said, “people have died over that shit you’re trying to use to be down & kool.”
Others chimed in with similar responses.
This is so fucked up. Knowing all the CHILDREN that died because of that, I fail to see the quirkiness of these cans.— Robin LeBlanc, from work (@TheThirstyWench) May 27, 2019
This is just awful. Absolutely horrified but sadly not surprised as the deaths of POCs have been treated as entertainment for so bloody long that to some, using them as a marketing tool must seem perfectly acceptable. How much longer are we going to be dehumanised like this?!— Amethyst Heels (@amethyst_heels) May 27, 2019
Many also called for the brand to support communities heavily impacted by gang violence.
I hope the proceeds are going to inner city youth programs to keep kids off the streets.— te-nice-ah (@MzTemenah) May 27, 2019
This is not a game! What’s up with this? Your intentions would be really nice to try to understand.— Kristine Gauthier (@kgauthier7) May 27, 2019
This is serious shit for many people.
You want to be cute? Sponsor a 3 on 3 or an art event in an inner city (and stay for the entire event).
Mirage Beer’s owner, Michael Dempster, apologized for the products with a brief statement posted on Instagram.
The post reads: “Full agree those lables were a dumb idea. Still going to release the beers, but obv with new names, and all proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
The caption below that post was later updated to say that a more in-depth apology was linked in the account’s bio. “I deeply regret the obvious element of appropriation, and further, that they trivialized the impact of gang violence on marginalized communities. I’m embarrassed and ashamed to find myself here,” the longer statement reads.
“I was blind, and stupid, and I wish I could take it back — not for my benefit, but to prevent anyone from feeling like this industry is any more hostile and/or insensitive than it already is. This was not my intent, and that’s part of the problem: I hadn’t thought this through,’ the post continues.
“I hope to further demonstrate my remorse in a way folks find meaningful, emphasizes the importance of inclusivity in beer, or otherwise helps prevent anyone from making similar mistakes.”
Dempster closes the apology by asking the public to offer suggestions of organizations that the brand can donate proceeds to, aside from the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also said he didn’t want to “just throw money” at the issue, but called it a “reasonable step.”
Tomi Lahren Criticizes Gillette Ad That Features a Father Showing His Transgender Son How to Shave
- Gillette’s latest viral advertisement shows a father teaching his transgender son how to shave for the first time.
- Many applauded the razor brand for its inclusivity and for choosing to feature a transgender man, despite any anticipated backlash.
- Meanwhile, others took issue with the campaign like conservative commentator Tomi Laren, who called the ad “a little much” and said it promotes “undergoing hormone therapy and gender reassignment” to young people.
A new advertisement from the razor brand Gillette that shows a father teaching his transgender son how to shave for the first time has been met with mixed reactions online.
The video features Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, a Toronto-based artist who opens up about his first experience shaving after his transition.
“I always knew I was different. I didn’t know there was a term for the type of person that I was,” Brown said. “I went into my transition just wanting to be happy. I’m glad I’m at the point where I’m able to shave.”
The video cuts to Brown and his father in front of a bathroom mirror. “Now, don’t be scared,” his father encourages. “Shaving is about being confident.”
Brown explains that his transition is not just about him, but also about those around him. The ad then includes text that reads: “Whenever, wherever, however it happens — your first shave is special.”
The video closes on the company’s tagline, “the best a man can get.” The ad is a part of Gillette’s #MyBestSelf campaign and is being shown at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival in Toronto.
The video received mixed reactions from viewers. Many LGBTQ supporters applauded the company for its inclusiveness. Some even said the video brought them to tears.
Others found the ad insincere and accused the company of pandering. Some even argued that the video exploits transgender people for monetary gain.
Gillette: Here's some blatantly cynical marketing ploy using crass pandering disguised as wokeness….— Darknook (@DarkNookShop) May 29, 2019
The Left: pic.twitter.com/LEa7MVmVN8
However, some users recognized the ad as a marketing strategy but still respected the brand for the subject choice.
Others took issue with the brand supporting the transgender community in general. Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren even chimed in, calling the ad “a little much” and saying it promotes “undergoing hormone therapy and gender reassignment” to high-school-aged children.
Gillette and Brown Proud of Ad
After the ad was posted Brown took to Facebook to say that he was overwhelmed by the positive responses.
“I’m keenly aware of how blessed I am to be able to exist in this world being supported by my family in ways that all too often many of my trans brothers, sisters, and siblings who exist outside the binary are not always as fortunate,” Brown wrote.
“I am confident that this ad will encourage many of my trans siblings and fill them with the knowledge that our existence in this world can be filled with the love and support we deserve.”
The company also seems pleased with the ad campaign. “We anticipated there would be some negative response to this video, however we’re thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive responses we’ve seen, from both consumers as well as organizations,” the brand said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“As a brand committed to helping men look, feel and act their best, it’s important to us to embrace inclusivity in how we portray masculinity. This is especially true for Samson and others in the trans community, which is why we created ‘First Shave.’”
This is not the first time the razor brand’s ads have made headlines. In January, Gillette faced backlash over a campaign that discussed toxic masculinity, harassment, and more. While many praised the brand for calling on men to do better in the wake of the #MeToo movement, others found the ad insulting and called it “anti-men.”