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Snapchat Apologizes and Removes Juneteenth “Smile” to Break Chains Filter

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  • Snapchat has removed a Juneteenth filter that placed people in front of the Pan-African flag and asked users to “smile” to break the chains that floated up in the background.
  • Before the filter was taken down, many people called it an insensitive way to honor Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in America.
  • Snapchat released a statement claiming that this filter was not reviewed before it was posted and went live on the app in error.
  • The company apologized and said it is investigating how the mistake was made.

Filter Leads to Outrage

Snapchat has removed its Juneteenth filter that asked users to “smile” to break chains after it drew criticism online from those who called it tone-deaf and offensive. 

The filter placed Snapchat users in front of the Pan-African flag, alongside a logo that says “Juneteenth Freedom Day.” When a user smiled, a common request for filters on the app, chains would float up in the background, break, then disappear. The filter generated attention when journalist and digital strategist Mark S. Luckie posted a video of him using it. 

Many shared Luckie’s video and condemned Snapchat for releasing the filter. Among other critiques, users called it an insensitive way to honor Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. 

“This is what happens when you don’t have any black people on the product design team,” wrote Ashten Winger, a multimedia designer who used to work for the social media company. “As a Snap alumni, this is extremely embarrassing.”

“Do we need to get into this or do you think snapchat knows why this is fucked up?” one Twitter user asked. 

“I rather Juneteenth go back to being an obscure holiday if this is what is going to happen. This is ridiculous,” another person said. 

Snapchat Removes Filter and Apologizes

As criticism began to pour in, Snapchat removed the filter and issued an apology for ever posting it. The company claimed it went on the app in error. 

“We deeply apologize to the members of the Snapchat community who found this Lens offensive,” a Snapchat spokesperson told CNBC. “A diverse group of Snap team members were involved in developing the concept, but a version of the Lens that went live for Snapchatters this morning had not been approved through our review process.”

We are investigating why this mistake occurred so that we can avoid it in the future,” it added.

This comes just a week after Business Insider reported that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was withholding the company’s diversity reports and statistics from the public because that data “only reinforces the perception that tech is not a place for underrepresented groups.

According to a transcript from an all-hands meeting at Snapchat obtained by Business Insider, Spiegel is trying to come up with a “new version of a diversity report.” This version would focus more on giving context and “helping people understand our strategy and approach for driving change, and holding ourselves accountable to that. “

Releasing statistics and data on diversity within tech companies is a common practice. Despite Snapchat’s decision to not do this, the company has pledged its support to fight against racial injustice and inequality in the country. In a tweet on June 1, Snapchat wrote: “We condemn racism. We must embrace profound change. It starts with advocating for creating more opportunity, and for living the American values of freedom, equality and justice for all.”

See what others are saying: (CNBC) (Business Insider) (The Verge)

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Michael B. Jordan Is Renaming His Rum Brand Amid Cultural Appropriation Criticism

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Our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture we love and respect,” Jordan said after backlash from fans and even fellow celebrity Nicki Minaj.


J’Ouvert Rum Sparks Outrage

Actor Michael B. Jordan apologized Tuesday and said he is renaming his rum brand after backlash he received since its launch over the weekend

The brand originally debuted under the name J’Ouvert, but fans quickly expressed their disappointment on social media, accusing the brand of cultural appropriation and exploitation.

The majority of the outrage stemmed from the fact that J’Ouvert is the name of an annual festival held in Trinidad and Tobago, along with other Caribbean islands, during Carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture and emancipation from slavery.

Though Jordan’s business partner on the project is reportedly from Trinidad, Jordan has no ties to the culture, so many accused him of seemingly treating it as an aesthetic.

Others also worried about the name being trademarked, fearing that it could erase J’Ouvert’s history as people come to associate the name with his drink. Some even compared it to Kim Kardashian wanting to name her brand Kimono.

Concerns Reach Officials and Fellow Celebs

At one point, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon told Newsday that the issue was “of extreme concern.”

“The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so. Then working together with the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, we’ll do the necessary investigation and, as always, seek to support anything that is Trinidad but at the same time protect what is ours.

“This is of keen interest, not only to the Ministry of Trade and Industry but also to the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. We all have an interest. Trinidad and Tobago is our interest.”

On Tuesday, rapper Nicki Minaj, who is Trinidadian, called for Jordan to address the issue.

She shared a comment detailing the significant cultural history of the festival, adding in her caption, “I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive. But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.

Jordan Apologizes

A few hours later, Jordan did just that, with a statement on his Instagram story.

“I just wanna say on behalf of myself and my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture we love and respect and hoped to celebrate and shine a positive light on.”

“Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations…We hear you. I hear you and want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologize and look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of,” he concluded.

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (Newsday)(CNN)

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Amazon UK Destroys Millions in Unsold Stock a Year, Including MacBooks, Face Masks, TVs, and iPads

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Amazon claims the unused products aren’t being dumped in landfills, but an investigation by ITV shows otherwise. 


Amazon Destroying Unused Products

A probe by British news outlet ITV has found that one Amazon warehouse in Scotland destroys millions of unsold products every year.

It’s not just perishable items being dumped. The list of discarded products includes Macbooks, iPads, Dyson fans, unopened face masks, TVs, jewelry, unread books, and more.

One anonymous former employee told ITV that the warehouse’s target was to get rid of roughly 130,000 items per week, and on average, about 50% of the items destroyed are still unused and in their shrinkwrap.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to what gets destroyed,” the employee said.

In its investigation, ITV received documents that appeared to back up the employee’s information, with one showing 124,000 items marked to be destroyed in a single week. Meanwhile, ITV noted that only 28,000 items were labelled “donate” during that same week. 

Where Are the Discarded Products Going?

It also tracked where the items went after leaving the plant. There, it found Amazon taking some electrical items to a nearby waste management system, but it says the rest was tracked to a landfill site. 

Despite that, in a statement, Amazon told ITV, “We are working towards a goal of zero product disposal and our priority is to resell, donate to charitable organisations or recycle any unsold products. No items are sent to landfill in the UK. As a last resort, we will send items to energy recovery, but we’re working hard to drive the number of times this happens down to zero.” 

Whether it’s telling the truth or not, what Amazon is doing isn’t illegal. In fact, the reason why it’s throwing so much out seems to be connected to its highly successful business model.

“Many vendors choose to house their products in Amazon’s vast warehouses,” ITV explained. “But the longer the goods remain unsold, the more a company is charged to store them. It is eventually cheaper to dispose of the goods, especially stock from overseas, than to continue storing the stock.”

Climate Concerns

As climate activist Sam Chetan-Welsh told ITV, “It’s just an unimaginable amount of unnecessary waste. It’s absolutely shocking. Each of these items requires natural resources and carbon emissions and human labor to make.”

“That is why as long as Amazon’s business model relies on this kind of disposable culture, they’re just going to expand, things are only going to get worse, and that is why we need the government to step in and set legislation immediately.” 

The report has raised questions about how prevalent this destruction practice is and continues to be at other warehouses — especially given past reporting. In fact, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “It sounds incredible to me and an indictment of a consumerist society. If it’s as you say, we will look into it.” 

“Obviously, we don’t like stuff going to landfill under any circumstances that’s why we have the landfill tax and landfill credit scheme, and everything else,” the prime minister added. “I’m afraid it’s one of those things we’re just going to have to look into and get back to you.”

See what others are saying: (ITV) (CNET) (The Verge)

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Europe’s Soccer Championship Ends Investigation Into Whether Player’s Rainbow Armband Is “Political”

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The Union of European Football Associations will continue a probe into potential discrimination at its matches in Hungary, which passed a major anti-LGBTQ+ bill last week.


Pride Armband Isn’t Political, UEFA Says

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has agreed that a rainbow armband worn by German soccer player Manuel Neuer is not political in nature, according to the German Football Association (GFA).

Neuer wore the band at two official matches during UEFA’s Euro 2020 Championship and once during a friendly match with Latvia to show support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month.

Sunday, multiple outlets reported that UEFA was investigating Neuer’s armband as potentially political, possibly because LGBTQ+ rights have become somewhat of a flashpoint topic since the start of the tournament. Since UEFA does not allow players and teams to participate in “political demonstrations” at events, there were concerns the GFA could be hit with a fine. 

Later Sunday, the GFA said UEFA would consider the armband “a sign of support for diversity and thus for ‘good cause,’” and because of that, the team would not face any disciplinary action.

Discrimination Investigation at Hungary Games

The same day outlets reported the investigation into Neuer’s armband, they also reported that UEFA was investigating two matches in Hungary for potential discrimination.

At the first match, an anti-LGBTQ+ banner was spotted in the crowd. At the second, Hungarian fans marched with banners that called on players to stop kneeling to protest racism. 

Both events come as Hungary passed a bill against “LGBT propaganda” last week. Notably, that law bans the promotion or portrayal of homosexuality and gender reassignment. 

In protest of Hungary’s new law, Munich’s mayor has asked the UEFA to allow the city to light up its stadium in rainbow colors on Wednesday when the German and Hungarian teams square off.

See what others are saying: (ESPN) (The Athletic) (Mirror)

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