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Natalie Portman-Led Group Brings New Women’s Soccer Team to Los Angeles

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  • The National Women’s Soccer League awarded a group spearheaded by actress Natalie Portman the right to form a franchise in Los Angeles. 
  • The new LA team will make its debut in spring 2022 and has not officially announced a name yet, but is being referred to as WFC LA or Angel City.
  • Along with Portman, founders include stars like Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, Lili Singh, as well as former professional players Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, and Lauren Cheney Holiday, among others. 
  • The group hopes a team in LA will help women’s soccer get the attention and celebration it deserves, as well as inspire local youth with heroes of their own.

NWSL Approves LA Team 

Los Angeles is getting a new women’s soccer team thanks to a group lead by actress Natalie Portman.

On Tuesday, the National Women’s Soccer League awarded Portman’s group the right to form a franchise in Los Angeles, a city that is home to the second-largest sports market in the country. 

The team has not officially revealed its name yet and plans to do so later this year, but far, it’s been referred to as WFC LA or Angel City. The franchise will make its debut in spring 2022 and will join the Portland Thorns and OL Reign as the league’s third West Coast team.

Why Did Portman Spearhead the Push for an LA Team?

Portman was reportedly inspired to take a closer took at the National Women’s Soccer Leave after she was introduced to more players by Becca Roux, the executive director of the USWNT Player’s association.

Portman told PEOPLE magazine that she started attending games and became passionate about the sport, but eventually realized it wasn’t getting the “celebration it deserved.”

She cited a study from the University of Minnesota that found women’s sports only receives 4% of sports media coverage and said she believed there was an opportunity to change how women’s soccer is perceived in America. That eventually evolved into the idea to bring a team to a place that is central for entertainment and media.

“After spending time with the USWNT players, their union rep, and getting to know some of the owners of the NWSL and the league’s supporters, it became clear having a team in L.A. could not only elevate the league and players’ exposure, but also bring these incredibly talented women to the city of L.A.—my city,” Portman told Sportico. “We have the ability to engage, promote and support the best players in the world in the most popular sport in the world on a yearly basis, not just every four years.”

The Founders and Public Reactions 

To make this happen, Portman brought on a team of predominantly women to be in the ownership group. Founders include venture capital Kara Nortman, gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who led the investment with his venture capitalist fund Initialized Capital. He also made a personal investment on behalf of his wife, tennis star Serena Williams, and their two-year-old daughter who is likely now the youngest known professional sports team owner. 

Founders also include stars like Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Fererra, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, and Lili Singh, as well as a collection of more than a dozen retired women’s soccer players like Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, and Lauren Cheney Holiday.

Though the team hasn’t debuted yet, it has already partnered with the LA84 Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports girls in sports and increases youth access to sports in underserved communities. 

Portman says part of the reason she wanted to build a new franchise was to inspire youth in the city with female soccer heroes to call their own. “[We want to] expand those sports heroes — and those sports modeling behaviors — to have women in those positions, too,” she said. 

“To celebrate women at the same level as the way we celebrate male athletes is culture-shifting.”

So far, the news has been met with a ton of excitement online, especially since Los Angeles has long been viewed as a potential landing spot for a new NWSL team. On top of that, Southern California, in general, has produced some major soccer stars and is home to top college programs at schools like UCLA and USC, so a team backed by the NWSL could definitely draw in big crowds of fans and give young athletes a new team to set their sights on. 

As of this morning, groups celebrating the news include the LA Rams, the LA Sparks, and UCLA Women’s soccer. 

See what others are saying: (PEOPLE) (Sportico) (Forbes

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The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”

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The group said that by severing ties with Fulmer, it felt like they were losing a friend. 


“That Is Not What We Stand For”

Digital comedy and sketch group The Try Guys posted a video on Monday night explaining the recent removal of member Ned Fulmer. 

Last week, the Internet was filled with speculation that Fulmer, who is married with children, was having an affair with a staffer for The Try Guys. Fulmer confirmed the reports, claiming he had a “consensual workplace relationship.” The Try Guys quickly announced that Fulmer would no longer be working with the group as the result of an internal review. 

In Monday’s video, the remaining three members, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger, explained what led to their decision to remove Fulmer. While the trio noted there were legal issues that prevented them from sharing certain details, they wanted to be as transparent as possible. 

“On Labor Day weekend, multiple fans alerted us that they had seen Ned and an employee engaging in public romantic behavior,” Habersberger explained. “We reached out to check on that employee and Ned confirmed the reports, and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time, which was obviously very shocking to us.”

He emphasized that the rest of the group “had no idea this was going on.” 

After this, The Try Guys reached out to a variety of lawyers and HR professionals to make sure they handled the situation correctly. 

“This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are, and that is not what we stand for.” 

Removing Fulmer From Content

They decided to immediately remove Fulmer from work activities and hired an HR rep to conduct a review. Fulmer was also withdrawn from releases pending the results of that review. 

As part of this, his video section was erased, he was digitally taken out of some content, and he was not included in merch drops. The Try Guys said this was a long and tedious process. 

“Honestly, I want to give major props to our editing staff for how deftly they handled that,” Kornfeld said. “There are several videos that we have deemed as fully unreleasable, you will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that is a decision that has cost us lots of money.” 

“We will not be able to recoup that money,” he continued. “But it’s a decision we stand by proudly.” 

The group declined to share details of the review but claimed it found that Fulmer engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of the team. Because of this, Yang, Kornfeld, and Habersberger gave written consent on Sept. 16 to ax Fulmer as a manager and employee of The Try Guys company. 

The three said they were always planning to make a public statement about their decision, but were initially waiting out of respect to the families and employees involved. As online speculation arose, they chose to deal with it sooner. 

“We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with, we just made a TV show together,” Kornfeld said. “I’m sure many of you feel the same way.” 

According to the group, some upcoming videos featuring Fulmer will be edited to remove him. They said they are currently taking time to reimagine their channel. 

See what others are saying: (USA Today) (People) (Deadline)

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Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use

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Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.


Willis Debunks Rumors

Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake. 

Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects. 

However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.

“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.

Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise. 

Deepfakes Online

This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful. 

“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”

Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise. 

See what others are saying: (BBC) (Mashable) (The Telegraph)

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Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts

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The cut in revenue share has ignited severe backlash on Twitch, where users argue pay for creators should be increased, not slashed. 


Revenue Share Shake Up

Twitch users are criticizing the company for hiring artist Megan Thee Stallion to perform at TwitchCon just one week after announcing cutbacks to top creator pay.

Last week, the video and streaming platform said that starting in June of next year, some creators will receive less revenue from their subscriptions. While the standard split for subscription revenue is 50/50, some major streamers previously received a more favorable 70/30 share in premium agreement terms. 

Many creators have long argued that everyone should get that 70/30 share, but Twitch took a step in the opposite direction. In the future, streamers with premium terms will only get the 70/30 slice for their first $100,000 from subscription revenue. After that, they will get bumped down to the regular 50/50 cut. 

The company argued the move was necessary as the premium terms previously lacked transparency and consistency, insisting it tried to modify the policy in a way that impacted the least amount of creators. According to Twitch’s statement, 90% of streamers on standard agreements will not even be impacted by the change.

Still, this move outraged Twitch users who were furious the company was not investing more in the creators that bring so many viewers to its platform. Those frustrations were exacerbated on Wednesday when the company announced Megan Thee Stallion would make an appearance at TwitchCon, a weekend-long event set to take place in San Diego in early October. 

Backlash Continues to Mount

While no details of Megan Thee Stallion’s agreement to perform have been disclosed, one can assume she charges a pretty penny to book at an event of this nature. Critics argued that if Twitch is willing to spend money on her, it should be willing to spend it on its own streamers. 

“So Twitch can’t afford to pay their creators 70/30, can’t fix their media player that crashes after each ad, can’t enforce their policies so people aren’t doing inappropriate things on stream, but they can afford paying celebrities to promote their streaming site?” one person wrote. 

“It’s weird that a company that just announced a bunch of budget cuts due to infrastructure costs goes out and grabs an A-list musician instead of promoting their own musicians that run on their platform,” another person claimed.

“Instead of giving your creators a cut they deserve when they do so much work, this is what you do…?” one user asked. “Maybe give your creators a better deal instead of wasting their hard earned money on things we don’t even want.”

Twitch has not responded to the outrage, but Megan Thee Stallion was not the only music act the Amazon-owned service booked for the event. Kim Petras and Meet Me at the Altar will also take the stage at TwitchCon. 

The backlash comes as concerns have been mounting against Twitch for a plethora of reasons including creator pay, gambling streams, and more. 

In recent months, some of the platform’s biggest names have left Twitch in favor of rival services like YouTube Gaming. 

See what others are saying: (Dexerto) (The Verge) (Metro)

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