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BAFTA Under Fire After Actress Says She Faced Racist Remarks in Its Diversity Program

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  • BAFTA’s Elevate program, aimed at promoting diversity, is under scrutiny following claims from an actress who said she experienced racism while participating in it.
  • India Eva Rae told BBC News that the program is just a “PR exercise” and that participants were being used to “clean up” the British Academy of Film and Television Art’s image.
  • Rae, who has an auditory processing disorder, said a casting director called her “exotic talent” and claimed they could not “understand the English coming out [her] mouth.” Rae also said she was advised to take English and pronunciation lessons.
  • A representative for BAFTA said the academy is taking the allegation very seriously and will investigate.

Actress Says She Experienced Racism in BAFTA Elevate

A program established to promote diversity in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts is under fire after a member said she experienced racist comments while participating in it. 

The program, called BAFTA Elevate, is “designed to support people from underrepresented groups in the screen industries progress their careers and encourage inclusion across the industries,” according to BAFTA’s website.

However, actress India Eva Rae, who is part of the initiative’s 2019-2020’s class of actors, told BBC News that the program is just a “PR exercise.” She also said that it did not provide the opportunities it claimed to and that participants were merely recruited to “clean up” BAFTA’s image.

Rae starred in Channel 4’s “On the Edge.” She has an auditory processing disorder, and actors with disabilities are among those encouraged to participate in Elevate. 

She told BBC that during a meeting, a casting director called her “exotic talent” and told her, “I can’t understand the English coming out your mouth.” Rae said she was also advised to take English and pronunciation classes. 

When she tried to ask a BAFTA mentor for guidance, they allegedly told her to not say anything about the incident. 

“This mentor told me and other members of the group that we will never work again if we speak up,” Rae told BBC. 

Rae also said that when she tried to raise a formal complaint, she was told her role in the program could be in jeopardy. However, a BAFTA representative told BBC that Rae misunderstood the situation. They said that if a “formal complaint is launched, it might pause participation to ensure a complainant was supported, but that they would consider extending their place on the programme.”

BAFTA Responds

A BAFTA spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that the academy plans to investigate these allegations. 

“In one isolated incident, an Elevate participant has voiced some concerns over comments made to her,” they said in a statement. “BAFTA condemns bullying, harassment, racism and discrimination of any kind and we take allegations of this nature incredibly seriously and will investigate urgently.”

However, BAFTA maintained that the program has had an overall positive impact on those involved. 

“We know firsthand from very many people who have been part of the initiative that they have really benefited from it, and for some it has been truly career-changing,” the statement continued. 

BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry told BBC that every Elevate participant is asked about their needs in paperwork and during conversations prior to starting. She said that while they don’t have in-house disability advisers, a slew of experts help out. If someone does not have the support they need, Berry said that BAFTA steps in to offer it. 

“It is a matter of great sadness and regret for me that anyone would feel this way, and our door remains completely open to find a solution, and to ensure that every participant benefits from the scheme,” Berry told the outlet. 

Rae said that she is not from the world of entertainment and when she was cast by Channel 4, she was homeless. Now that she has found herself in a position to enact change, she feels a responsibility to do so. 

“I’m very conscious of my privilege of being in these rooms and my duty of care to speak up,” she explained to BBC. 

See what others are saying: (BBC News) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Deadline)

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Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation

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Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.


Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence

A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson. 

On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.

Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.

Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe. 

“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”

About the Home

The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.

The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.

Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple. 

In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)

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Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians

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The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans. 


Name Change Announced

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.

The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.

“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”

This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans. 

Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.

Why Guardians?

Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.

It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history. 

“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release. 

“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”

“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”

Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).

See what others are saying:(ESPN)(Axios) (Cleveland)

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor Slams Megyn Kelly for “Bullying” Naomi Osaka

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Editor M.J. Day said Kelly’s attacks against Osaka are “part of the problem” when it comes to mental health discussions.


Megyn Kelly and Naomi Osaka’s Heated Twitter Exchange

The editor of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue slammed former TV news anchor Megyn Kelly Tuesday for mocking cover model and tennis star Naomi Osaka.

“It’s such bullying and it’s so unnecessary,” editor M.J. Day told People Magazine’s Every Day” podcast. “And [Osaka] did nothing wrong.” 

Osaka made history Monday by becoming the first Haitian and Japanese woman on the cover of the iconic issue. The athlete has been making headlines over the last few months for speaking openly and vulnerably about her mental health. In the spring, she said she was not going to participate in French Open press events because of the toll it takes on her as an introvert who has struggled with depression. She later withdrew from the tournament after that choice sparked backlash and likewise opted out of Wimbledon to take some “personal” time. 

Some — conservative pundits, in particular — slammed Osaka for stepping back from these roles because of her mental health, but still opting to work on other projects, including the release of a Barbie doll, a Netflix docuseries, and a handful of magazine covers. Kelly joined that bandwagon, noting that Osaka has been featured in the likes of Vogue and TIME.

“Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year,” Osaka tweeted in response, though she later deleted the post.

“Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan.”

M.J. Day Says Kelly is “Part of the Problem” With Mental Health Conversations

Kelly later tweeted that Osaka blocked her on Twitter, lashing out at the tennis champion for that decision as well.

People online have been largely defending Osaka and criticizing Kelly. Many argue that it is unfair for Kelly to attack a young woman who has been vocal about dealing with mental health issues; though it’s a practice the former Fox and NBC host has made a recent habit of, likewise attacking Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry.

Day said that remarks like Kelly’s are the reason it is so hard for people to have open and honest conversations about mental health.

“I’m like, ‘You know what, you’re journalists,’” Day added. “How about you do your job and you fact check instead of jumping all over this woman for attention, for ratings, for whatever it is that they’re doing? Which is, by the way, part of the problem. It’s part of the reason why mental health is such an issue.” 

“How about we do our due diligence and make sure we know what the reality of a situation is before we come for people,” Day continued. “It broke my heart to see someone who is really living her life for the betterment of others while also trying to pursue her own passion.”

“Let her live. Let her make decisions for herself that protect her own wellbeing. It’s at no cost to anyone.”

See what others are saying: (People) (Huff Post) (The Hill)

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