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Taylor Swift Donates to Tennessee LGBT Group

Taylor Swift donated $113,000 to an LGBT rights group in Tennessee. The group is specifically fighting several bills that are currently floating in various stages of the state’s government and that will impact the rights of the LGBT community. Taylor’s Donation Pop star Taylor Swift donated $113,000 dollars on Monday to an LGBT rights group […]

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  • Taylor Swift donated $113,000 to an LGBT rights group in Tennessee.
  • The group is specifically fighting several bills that are currently floating in various stages of the state’s government and that will impact the rights of the LGBT community.

Taylor’s Donation

Pop star Taylor Swift donated $113,000 dollars on Monday to an LGBT rights group in Tennesse.

Swift’s donation was given to the Tennessee Equality Project, which fights to stop anti-LGBT legislation from passing within the state, and aims to educate the community on equality.

TEP’s Executive Director, Chris Sanders, posted news of Swift’s charitable contribution to Facebook. He thanked her for being a long-time ally and said, “she sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people.”

With his post, he also shared a hand-written letter Swift addressed to him, where she said she was “inspired” by TEP’s work, specifically noting their stance against the “Slate of Hate.”

Anti-LGBT Bills in Tennessee

The “Slate of Hate” Swift mentions in her letter refers to a series of bills proposed in Tennessee’s General Assembly that could negatively impact the LGBT community. TEP created “The People’s Petition Against the Slate of Hate” to fight against them.

These bills include HB1152 and HB836, which both aim to allow adoption agencies to deny services based on religious beliefs, which TEP called “state-sanctioned discrimination.”

The slate also includes HB1369, which is known as “The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.” This act defines natural marriage as between a man and a woman and allows courts to void the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized gay marriage.

There are also two pieces of legislation that TEP specifically believes will target the transgender community. The first being HB1151, which is an amendment to the state’s indecent exposure rules that expand it to specifically include incidents in restrooms, fitting rooms, and locker rooms. The TEP called this bill a “devious attempt to criminalize transgender and gender nonconforming people” in these settings.

Then there is also HB1274, which some refer to as the “bathroom bill.” This would require the state’s Attorney General to defend schools that mandate that students and faculty use the bathroom of their “biological sex.” This bill also just passed through Tennesee’s House on Monday.

TEP released a statement on these bills, that was also backed by over 100 religious leaders in the state, ranging from pastors to rabbis.

“As residents of Tennessee, we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly,” the statement reads. “They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state.  We call on people of good will to join us in speaking out for basic fairness.”

Reactions to Swift’s Donation

The “Shake it Off” singer’s donation trended online, and was met with positivity.

Ellen Degeneres tweeted her praise.

The Human Rights Campaign thanked her for supporting their “incredible partners.”

Taylor’s Past Political Actions

This hefty donation is not Swift’s first jump into Tennessee politics. Back in October, she made a long post on Instagram about her choice to use her voice for politics and endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen.

Photo via Instagram, @taylorswift

She also encouraged her followers to head to Vote.org to register before the upcoming midterms, which lead to a surge of registrations. The site said they received 65,000 new registrations in the 24 hours after she posted, which is more than they received throughout the whole month of August.

See what others are saying: (Tennessean) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Jezebel)

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Recording Academy CEO Defends Nominations After Controversial Nods to Marilyn Manson and Louis C.K.

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CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said the Academy is not “in the business of restricting people” from getting nominated.


Recording Academy CEO Defends Nominations

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. defended Tuesday’s Grammy nominations after artists like Marilyn Manson and Louis C.K. received nods for their work. 

Manson was nominated for his appearance on Kanye West’s album “Donda,” which landed in the Album of The Year category. Earlier this year, Manson was accused of sexual assault, rape, and psychological abuse by multiple victims.

C.K., who previously admitted to sexual misconduct, was nominated for Best Comedy Album. 

While speaking to The Wrap, Mason argued that the Recording Academy should not consider an artist’s personal life in its nomination process. 

“We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration,” he told the outlet when specifically asked about Manson’s nomination. “We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record, we won’t look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria. If it is, they can submit for consideration.”

Even though Mason believes artists with serious accusations levied against them should not be excluded from nominations, he did say the Academy will consider those factors when it comes to performances and other on-camera appearances. 

“What we will control is our stages, our shows, our events, our red carpets,” he explained. “We’ll take a look at anyone who is asking to be a part of that, asking to be in attendance, and we’ll make our decisions at that point. But we’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.”

Other Controversial Nods

Manson and C.K. were not the only controversial figures who received nominations. Comedian Dave Chappelle was nominated in Best Spoken Word Album for his special “8:46.” Last month, he faced severe backlash for transphobic comments he made in a separate special titled “The Closer.” Chappelle was slammed by several major LGBTQ+ organizations over the special but has defended himself against criticisms. 

Rapper DaBaby was also condemned by LGBTQ+ groups this summer after he made homophobic remarks during her performance at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami. He received Grammy recognition for his work on “Donda” and Justin Bieber’s “Justice.”

The Grammy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2022.

See what others are saying: (The Wrap) (Pitchfork) (Rolling Stone)

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Kevin Spacey Ordered To Pay “House of Cards” Studio $31 Million for Losses After Sexual Misconduct Claims

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The studio argued that Spacey cost it millions after multiple sexual harassment and abuse claims against the actor forced it to suspend production, fire him, and shorten the show’s final season.


Arbitration Between MRC and Spacey Becomes Public

Actor Kevin Spacey and his production companies have been ordered to pay nearly $31 million dollars for breach of contract to MRC, the studio behind the Netflix series “House of Cards.”

The ruling was actually made by an arbitrator more than a year ago but was only made public Monday when MRC’s lawyers petition a California court to confirm the award.

Spacey was a centerpiece of the hit series and also served as one of its executive producers. However, during filming for its final season in 2017, an actor named Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance towards him when Rapp was 14 in 1986.

Netflix suspected production in the wake of Rapp’s claims, but soon after, others came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Spacey, including several former and then-current crew members of “House of Cards.”

Netflix eventually fired Spacey, whose list of accusers grew to at least 15 people.

MRC Blames Spacey for Production Losses

In the secret arbitration last year, MRC argued that Spacey “repeatedly breached his contractual obligations.” It added that he and his companies are liable for his behavior, which allegedly caused the studio to lose millions given what it had already invested in developing, writing, and shooting the final season.

MRC also said the Emmy-winning series brought in less revenue when it finally aired because it had to be shortened from 13 to 8 episodes to write out Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood.

According to Variety, Spacey filed a counterclaim, alleging that he was owed money after he was dropped from the series and did not breach his contract. That claim was later rejected and the arbitrator ultimately agreed with MRC, issuing the massive reward, which includes compensatory damages and lawyers’ fees.

Spacey and his team have not commented on the news as of Tuesday, though the studio has since issued a statement saying, “The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability.”

See what others are saying: (Variety) (CNN) (The New York Times)

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Netflix Staffers Who Criticized Dave Chappelle Rescind Labor Complaint, One Resigns

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Two employees previously accused Netflix of trying to stop staffers from speaking out against the company.


Employees Rescind Labor Complaint

Two former Netflix employees who were critical of Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special have rescinded a labor complaint that they filed against the company, according to a statement released by their lawyer on Monday.

Terra Field and B. Pagels-Minor were outspoken about their issues with Chappelle’s special “The Closer,” which was widely accused of transphobia. Both protested the company’s decision to support Chappelle amid the controversy. They were also members of a resource group for transgender employees that staged a walkout in which staffers took to the streets of Los Angeles to call on Netflix to do more to support its LGBTQ+ employees. 

Field and Pagels-Minor filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in October claiming that Netflix was punishing its staffers for speaking up about Chappelle and LGBTQ+ related issues at the company. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the two staffers accused Netflix of attempting “to quell [them] from speaking up about working conditions including, but not limited to, seeking to create a safe and affirming work environment for Netflix employees, speaking up about Netflix’s products and the impact of its product choices on the LGBTQ+ community, and providing support for employees whom Netflix has treated in an unlawful and disparate manner.”

On Monday, Netflix released a statement saying the complaint had been rescinded. 

“We have resolved our differences in a way that acknowledges the erosion of trust on both sides and, we hope, enables everyone to move on,” the statement said. 

A lawyer representing Field and Pagels-Minor confirmed that the complaint was voluntarily withdrawn. 

Terra Field Resigns From Netflix

Both Pagels-Minor and Field were subject to some level of disciplinary action during the Chappelle controversy. Pagels-Minor was fired from Netflix for allegedly leaking internal information, though Pagels-Minor denies ever doing so. Field was suspended from the company after reportedly attending a meeting she was not invited to. That suspension was quickly lifted after it was revealed that a miscommunication led to the incident. 

On Monday, Field released a statement announcing that she had resigned from Netflix. 

“This isn’t how I thought things would end, but I am relieved to have closure,” Field wrote. “Shortly after B. was fired for something I did not and do not believe they did, I made a decision: sink or swim, I was going to walk side by side with B. as they had for so many of us while they led the Trans* ERG.”

In a tweet, she added that she was “not happy that this is how things turned out” but believed “this outcome is best for all parties involved.”

Why Did Dave Chappelle Spark Backlash?

Chappelle faced backlash for defending author J.K. Rowling, who was previously accused of being a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) after releasing a series of statements many found to be transphobic. 

“I’m team TERF,” Chappelle said during “The Closer.”

“I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact,” he added.

Chappelle made a series of other jokes aimed at the transgender community in the special, including one about Caitlyn Jenner and another comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.

The comedian has defended himself against criticisms. According to The Daily Beast, he also recently continued to make transphobic jokes at screenings of his new documentary. The outlet reported that while Chappelle aired the film in New York, he made jabs about pronouns and “said the f-slur.” 

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (NBC News) (NPR)

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