- A new report from Variety alleges that production of the Lizzie McGuire revival came to a halt because star Hilary Duff and showrunner Terri Minsky wanted to include adult themes, while Disney wanted to keep it family-friendly.
- Minsky was fired from the production over a month ago, with Disney citing creative differences. She told Variety she wants people to see what Lizzie is up to now and hinted that she wanted the project to move to Hulu, where more mature content is allowed.
- Duff did not comment on the matter but did make a potential jab in her Instagram story. The show Love, Victor was just switched from Disney+ to Hulu because of family-friendly content issues. She shared a headline and said, “sounds familiar.”
Disney at Odds With ‘Lizzie McGuire’ Creator
When fans learned that Disney would be bringing back Lizzie McGuire, they thought it was what dreams are made of. Now, it seems like this picture-perfect plan is in limbo.
Production for the nostalgic revival came to a halt in January when showrunner and original creator Terri Minsky was fired after just two episodes were filmed. Disney cited the need “to move in a different creative direction” at the time. The original Lizzie McGuire series aired on the Disney Channel between 2001 and 2004. Disney+ was set to be the home of the new revival, which would show the character living in New York at the age of 30. The show has not resumed production or found a new showrunner since.
A Wednesday report from Variety alleges that the “creative direction” in question was the exploration of mature themes on the show. They say that Minsky, along with the show’s star, Hilary Duff, wanted to do an adult version of Lizzie, while Disney wanted to keep it family-friendly like the original.
According to Variety, this dispute has put the show’s fate in jeopardy. Duff is reportedly upset with the dismissal of Minsky. While Disney is working to find a new showrunner to replace her, sources close to the matter believe that finding someone who can balance both the desires of Duff and Disney is becoming “increasingly unlikely.” Variety says many in the industry have speculated that “the revival will not move forward” because of the clashing plan on how to approach Lizzie’s new adult life.
Disney+ and Family-Friendly Content
Disney wanting to keep its streaming service squeaky clean is nothing new. On Monday, they announced their original show Love, Victor, an adaptation of the movie Love, Simon, would be switching from Disney+ to Hulu when it makes its debut in June. The show follows a gay teenager in high school, and many cited it not being “family-friendly” as a reason for the move.
The character’s sexuality, however, was likely not the factor behind this. Deadline reported that the show also shows alcohol use and marital issues on top of sexual exploration. Becky Albertalli, who wrote the book that Love, Simon and Love, Victor are based on, also said the decision was based on other content in the show.
“For what it’s worth, it’s not based on the show featuring a gay teen love story. Disney knew what it was when they got it,” she wrote on Twitter.
Many ran away with the issue of family-friendliness, and the news got a lot of attention. It caught the eye of Duff, who posted an article on her Instagram story highlighting a headline that mentioned this and said, “sounds familiar.”
Many interpreted this as Duff breaking her silence on the seemingly mysterious pause in the making of the Lizzie McGuire reboot. She had previously been vocally excited about the show, promoting it at various events and sharing photos of production on Instagram.
Duff did not speak to Variety for their report, but Minsky did. The former showrunner expressed that she wanted fans to see the new Lizzie. She also said that she wished the revival might follow the path of Love, Victor and find Hulu as a home.
“I am so proud of the two episodes we did. Hilary has a grasp of Lizzie McGuire at 30 that needs to be seen. It’s a wonderful thing to watch,” she told the outlet. “I would love the show to exist, but ideally I would love it if it could be given that treatment of going to Hulu and doing the show that we were doing. That’s the part where I am completely in the dark. It’s important to me that this show was important to people. I felt like I wanted to do a show that was worthy of that kind of devotion.”
Disney maintains that this does not mean the reboot is dead in the water.
“We paused production on ‘Lizzie McGuire’ a few weeks ago to allow time for some creative re-development,” the entertainment giant said in a statement to Variety. “Our goal is to resume production and to tell an authentic story that connects to the millions who are emotionally invested in the character, and a new generation of viewers too.”
When the reboot was initially announced, fans were ecstatic to see what Lizzie was up to over 15 years later. Much of the show’s core audience is now in their 20’s and 30’s, and they were excited to see one of their favorite childhood characters all grown up.
“Lizzie has also grown up, she’s older, she’s wiser, she has a much bigger shoe budget,” Duff said about Lizzie’s growth at D23 in August. “She has her dream job, the perfect life right now working as an apprentice to a fancy New York City decorator. She has the perfect man, who owns a fancy restaurant. She’s getting ready to celebrate her 30th birthday.”
Now, many online were outraged that the revival is in danger. Some called for it to move to Hulu like Love, Victor so that adult themes could be appropriately explored.
Others maintained that the new Lizzie McGuire should not have to be family-friendly since kids today do not have any familiarity with the character. They think it should be geared towards the adults who watched it when they were young.
Some don’t see why Disney+ can’t make room for the reboot, seeing as they already have shows like The Simpsons that contain mature content.
Right now, it remains unclear what will happen next with the reboot. No release date had been set for the project. Original cast members were involved with the show, including Adam Lamberg who played Gordo; and Hallie Todd, Robert Carradine, and Jake Thomas, who played her parents and brother.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Vanity Fair) (Mashable)
Comedian Gives David Beckham Ultimatum: Exit Role at Qatar World Cup Or £10K in Donations Gets Shredded
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded,” Joe Lycett said in a video.
Pressure on Beckham
Comedian Joe Lycett posted a video on Sunday saying he would shred £10,000 if soccer star David Beckham does not pull out of his deal to be an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.
Ahead of the event, which kicks off on Nov. 20, many have been raising concerns about human rights abuses in Qatar. The country criminalizes homosexuality, and it can be punishable by death.
Beckham’s deal to represent the country was reportedly worth £10 million, and many are frustrated that the athlete took such a big check from a country with known anti-LGBTQ laws. In his video, Lycett noted that Beckham has been openly supportive of his gay fans and was the first premiere footballer to do a photoshoot with a gay magazine.
In an attempt to get Beckham to bow out of his role, Lycett, who is pansexual, offered an ultimatum.
“If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this £10,000 of my own money, that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football,” he stated. “However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder.”
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.”
Beckham’s Reputation “Shredded”
Lycett said he would livestream the money shredding if that’s what the situation comes to. If Beckham does not back out of the World Cup, Lycett noted he will be forced to “commit what might be a crime,” as destroying legal tender is against the law in the U.K.
“Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha,” Lycett quipped.
Lycett then linked to a website titled https://benderslikebeckham.com/, which includes a written version of his message, as well as a countdown to when he will either shred the cash or send it to a non-profit.
Lycett is not the only U.K star to raise concerns about issues in Qatar. Singer Dua Lipa shut down speculation that she would be performing at the World Cup over the weekend by saying she has no intentions to visit the country until “it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host” the event.
Other stars, however, including BTS’s Jung Kook, are slated to take the stage.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hollywood Reporter) (BBC News)
Federal Judge Dismisses Dave Portnoy’s Lawsuit Against Insider
The online personality called the decision “disappointing” but not “overly surprising.”
A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed a defamation lawsuit Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy filed against Business Insider, several outlets reported on Monday.
According to a report from The Washington Post, Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV decided that Portnoy did not successfully prove that the news outlet acted with “actual malice” or “reckless disregard for the truth” when it published two articles about his sexual relationships.
The first article, published in Nov. 2021, detailed stories from women who said they had “violent” and traumatizing sex with Portnoy. A second piece was published in Feb. 2022 and includes sources who said Portnoy filmed sexual encounters without consent.
Portnoy has repeatedly denied the allegations and maintained that the sexual encounters were consensual and positive. He sued Insider in February following the publication of the second article.
Per The Post, Saylor tossed the complaint because it did “not allege that Insider’s anonymous sources were fake, or that the articles misrepresented what the women told [Insider’s reporters].”
“Furthermore, plaintiff admits that Insider investigated its first article for months, requested an interview with him, sought his comment before publication, included his denials, and hyperlinked to his news conference and his lawyer’s full denial letter,” the judge’s decision continued.
Saylor also noted that Insider corroborated their sources’ claims with photos, texts, medical reports, receipts, and accounts from their friends.
While Portnoy argued that these stories were an invasion of privacy as they pertained to his private sex life and the women involved were not his employees, Insider held that their claims were relevant.
“When a rich, famous, and powerful person uses their power in a way that is harmful to other people, it is newsworthy,” Nicholas Carlson, Insider’s Global Editor-in-Chief, previously wrote in an editor’s note.
Saylor largely agreed with that, saying that issues of consent and power are part of “legitimate public interest,” including in instances that arise outside “the employment context.”
An Insider spokesperson told The Post that the outlet is “pleased and gratified that the judge dismissed his complaint.”
“We knew from the start that our reporting was careful, fair, and accurate, but it’s gratifying to see that validated in court,” Julia Black, one of the reporters named in the lawsuit, tweeted in response to the news.
For his part, however, Portnoy has criticized the judge’s decision, calling it “disappointing” but not “overly surprising.”
“Every single lawyer said it was an uphill battle, every legal expert said it was an uphill battle, that it’s almost impossible for a public figure to prove defamation,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “The laws are stacked against me.”
Portnoy said that he turned in texts and other evidence he believed would prove the sexual encounters were positive but claimed “the judge didn’t even really look at the evidence.”
He later read an excerpt from the judge’s decision that said Portnoy “can’t seek to prove actual malice by challenging statements that defendants did not publish.”
“In other words: Business Insider did not publish any of my shit, I can’t talk about it, it’s not part of the case,” Portnoy explained. “It’s inadmissible.”
He said he could appeal the decision if he wanted, but added he was not optimistic about how that would turn out for him. He floated the idea of suing the sources themselves, noting he thinks he would stand a better chance in such a case.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post)
Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, and More Sign Letter in Support of Restricting Rap Lyrics as Evidence
The letter claims the use of this evidence is a “racially targeted practice” that “punishes already marginalized communities and their stories.”
“Protect Black Art”
Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, and a slew of other major artists signed an open letter on Tuesday calling for politicians to restrict the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court.
The letter, titled “Art on Trial: Protect Black Art,” argues that “more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalize Black creativity and artistry.”
It follows statements from other advocates who claim that police and prosecutors are eager to interpret rap literally instead of treating it as a creative form of expression. By doing so, critics say they ignore the storytelling techniques, figurative language, and hyperbole that are often used in the genre, and weaponize those lyrics against their creators.
Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill that aims to limit the use of rap lyrics in court by requiring prosecutors to prove lyrics meet certain criteria and do not display a racial bias before submitting them. State legislators in New York are also weighing a bill with similar goals, and on the federal level, a bill titled the “RAP Act” was introduced in Congress over the summer.
Tuesday’s letter urged state and federal politicians to pass these bills and others like it. It also encouraged prosecutors to drop the practice voluntarily.
Jack Harlow, Future, DJ Khaled, Camilla Cabello, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Normani, Travis Scott, and Christina Aguilera were among the slew of other stars who signed the letter. Record labels like Warner, Universal, and Def Jam joined the list, as did platforms like Spotify, Tidal, TikTok, and YouTube Music.
Rap in Court
According to Warner Music Group, experts have found over 500 cases where rap was used as evidence, and that is likely an undercount as several kinds of cases and proceedings were excluded from that figure. On the other hand, those experts found only four instances since the 1950s where non-rap lyrics were used as evidence, and three of those cases were tossed while the other was overturned after conviction.
The letter used Young Thug and members of the Young Stoner Life label, who are currently facing dozens of charges, including ones that accuse the label of being a criminal gang, as an example of this issue.
“The allegations rely heavily on the artists’ lyrics, which prosecutors claim are ‘overt evidence of conspiracy,’” the letter said. “In the indictment, Fulton County prosecutors argue that lyrics like ‘I get all type of cash, I’m a general,’ are a confession of criminal intent.”
The letter claims that using an artist’s words against them in this manner is “un-American” and “simply wrong.”
“Beyond the obvious disregard for free speech and creative expression protected by the First Amendment, this racially targeted practice punishes already marginalized communities and their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph,” it continues.
Julie Greenwald, Chairman & CEO of Atlantic Music Group, released a statement arguing that the freedom for musicians to form characters and narratives is “essential to the creative process and the role of art in society.”
“The harsh reality is that Black artistic creativity is being threatened at an unprecedented level, and we must make every effort to stop this unethical, discriminatory approach to prosecution,” Greenwald added.