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Warner Media Defends DC Films President Following Accusations From Ray Fisher

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  • Warner Media said it does not believe DC Films President Walter Hamada interfered with misconduct investigations on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
  • Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in DC films, previously alleged that director Joss Whedon created an abusive and unprofessional work environment on set, adding that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
  • He also claimed Hamada tried to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to protect Johns, who is his friend, despite knowing about his involvement in the issues.

Issues on the Set of The Justice League

Warner Media is standing by DC Film President Walter Hamada after actor Ray Fisher claimed the executive inferred with investigations into misconduct on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”

Fisher has played Cyborg in “Justice League” and other DC projects. Back in July, he alleged that director Joss Whedon created a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” work environment during reshoots for “Justice League.”

Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder, who was originally directing the 2017 film until he had to leave because of a death in his family. 

Fisher says that Whedon’s behavior was enabled by Geoff Johns, who was the DC Entertainment president at the time before transitioning to a new role at Warner Brothers, as well as Jon Berg, who was the co-president of production at Warner Brothers until the end of 2017.

Warner opened an investigation into the claims and announced in December that it had concluded. The studio said remedial action had been taken but did not give details. Though, just weeks earlier, news broke that Whedon was leaving his show at HBO and Warner Media, effectively parting ways with the studio. 

The studio and Fisher sparred online throughout the investigation and after it was over. In September, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa showed support for Fisher and also claimed people on set were mistreated. 

“Serious stuff went down,” he wrote on Instagram. “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.”

“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot eventually expressed support for Fisher’s choice to speak out in December. 

Fisher Claims Hamada Interfered in Investigation

Despite the investigation ending, Fisher still lodged complaints at the studio alleging that Hamada had interfered with the investigation in an effort to cover for Johns, who was a friend of his. At the end of 2020, Fisher said he did not want to work on any production involving Hamada. 

On Wednesday, he confirmed that Warner Bros. decided to remove Cyborg from the upcoming film “The Flash.” He said that while he disagreed, he was not surprised. 

“While I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world,” he wrote. 

Fisher said that when he tried to escalate his concerns about Whedon, Johns, and Berg on the “Justice League” set to Hamada, Hamda attempted to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to save Johns. Fisher said that he alerted Hamada that Johns was in fact involved with the issues at hand, but Hamada allegedly responded by asking for names of more witnesses and dismissing the claims. 

“Walter Hamada interfering with the ‘Justice League’ investigation is a completely separate issue than the investigation itself,” Fisher wrote. “And while Walter’s behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the ‘Justice League’ reshoots, his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account.”

“No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse,” he continued before saying Hamada was “unfit” for a position in leadership. 

He said that if ending his tenure playing Cyborg was the price he had to pay to bring awareness to Hamada’s actions, that he would “pay it gladly.”

Warner Media Stands By Hamada

On Thursday morning Warner Media contradicted Fisher’s remarks and stood by Hamada. 

“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”

Warner Media also said that they remain in business with Johns, who produces a number of projects at the studio. 

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (Entertainment Weekly)

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Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him

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“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.


Theater Named Announced

Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title. 

The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. 

A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”

Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.

The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”

Chappelle Defends Controversial Special 

According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students. 

“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.

Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda. 

“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said. 

“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special. 

According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)

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Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”

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The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it. 


Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene

“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film. 

“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion. 

“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued. 

Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”

Evans argued those opinions are outdated. 

“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”

“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.

Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen

According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife. 

Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.

The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.” 

Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard. 

“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”

See what others are saying (Reuters) (Variety) (IndieWire)

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YouTube Shorts Hits 1.5 Billion Monthly Logged-In Users 

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The company says the success of Shorts is bringing more viewers to its long-form content.


YouTube Shorts Reaches Milestone

Less than two years after its launch, YouTube Shorts is reaching 1.5 billion logged-in users every month, according to reports from TechCrunch and Variety on Wednesday.

YouTube launched its Shorts feature to compete with TikTok, the social media app that has taken over the internet with its bite-sized content. Its effort appears to be successful, as these new numbers put YouTube Shorts on track with the Gen Z-beloved app. 

In September 2021, TikTok announced it had reached one billion monthly users. It has not released updated data since, but analysts projected it could reach 1.5 billion sometime in 2022. 

While Shorts were created to rival the trending content on TikTok, YouTube has remained committed to the long-form content that has served as the platform’s bread and butter. In its announcement, the company touted that Shorts served as an entryway for viewers to watch more of this long-form content and discover new creators along the way. 

In a release, YouTube said the synergy built by this expansion has allowed for “the rise of the multiformat creator.”

“Long-form content remains the best way for creators to deeply engage and develop long-term relationships with their audiences,” Tara Walpert Levy, YouTube’s Vice President of the Americas, said in a statement. “But Shorts offer an exciting, new way to be a part of a viewer’s journey and to introduce themselves and their whole portfolio to new audiences. This approach is yielding real results; channels uploading both short and long-form content are seeing better overall watch time and subscriber growth than those uploading only one format.”

The Competition Posed by TikTok

For its part, YouTube put a lot of effort into making Shorts thrive on its platform. Among other measures, the company created a $100 million fund incentivizing creators to make the quick videos. 

The Google-owned video giant is far from the only social media company to try to wrestle with TikTok’s success. Facebook and Instagram began rolling out Reels two years ago while TikTok was experiencing a surge of pandemic users. 

In turn, TikTok has also made changes to its app to keep up with other social platforms. Recently, it extended its maximum video length to ten minutes, meaning its short-form content may not always be so short. 

By using short videos to drive more power behind longer content, YouTube is hoping to cover both bases. Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, said that even though the company is only at “the beginning” of its journey with Shorts, he knows “the product will continue to be an integral part of the YouTube experience moving forward.”

See what others are saying: (TechCrunch) (Variety) (The Verge)

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