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Paramount Sues Insurer Over COVID-19 Shutdown Costs During “Mission: Impossible 7”

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The studio claims Federal Insurance Company has refused to cover the majority of the project’s pandemic-related losses.


Paramount Sues Insurer

Paramount is suing Federal Insurance Company, alleging that the group has refused to cover the majority of the losses the studio suffered due to production delays with “Mission: Impossible 7.”

According to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in California, production for the Tom Cruise-led flick has halted seven times, with almost every pause stemming from local COVID-19 shutdowns or outbreaks on set. In at least one of these instances, a “covered person” within Paramount’s cast coverage policy became sick. This policy is meant to cover up to $100 million in losses in the event a person deemed “necessary to complete the production” cannot film due to a multitude of reasons, including injury or illness. 

Paramount claims that between the several shutdowns, its “aggregate losses are well within the $100+ million limit for each single loss.” According to the lawsuit, though, the studio has only received roughly $5 million. 

The complaint states that FIC does not believe that most of Paramount’s losses are covered by the cast coverage policy, and instead are only covered by a smaller civil authority policy meant to compensate $1 million in losses for events like government shutdowns. 

“Federal stated that the $100,000,000 Cast coverage was not available for most of the remaining portions of Paramount’s losses,” the lawsuit reads. “Federal claimed that Paramount’s losses arising from the pandemic, orders of civil authorities, and the need to mitigate could only be covered under the Policy’s Civil Authority coverage, and then that all the losses would be subject to a single $1,000,000 limit of liability.”

Paramount argues the cast coverage policy should apply to its losses. The studio also cited other instances where FIC was disagreeable when it came to COVID coverage, claiming the company refused to pay for losses after members of the cast and crew tested positive for the virus. According to Paramount, FIC argued “that there was no evidence that those cast and crew members could not continue their duties” despite clearly “posing an undeniable risk to other individuals involved with the production.”

Paramount did not specify how much it is seeking in damages from the lawsuit but made it clear it feels it was initially owed the nine figures promised by the cast coverage policy. 

COVID Disputes on Film Sets

This lawsuit is far from the first of its kind. Last year, the production company behind a Ben Affleck film also sued its insurer for refusing to extend coverage amid COVID-19. As production delays continue to be an issue on Hollywood sets, rifts between studios and insurance companies will likely only grow. 

Because “Mission: Impossible 7” is filming on location in Europe, the shoot has faced no shortage of issues amid traveling during the pandemic. Those issues made national headlines in December when Cruise went on an expletive-laden rant after spotting two crew members allegedly violating one of the social distancing guidelines on set. 

“We are not shutting this fucking movie down,” the Academy Award nominee is heard shouting in the clip. “If I see it again you’re fucking gone — and you are — so you’re going to cost him his job.”

“I’m on the phone with every fucking studio at night, insurance companies, producers, and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies,” he added. “We are creating thousands of jobs you motherfuckers.” 

“You can tell it to the people that are losing their fucking homes because our industry is shut down. It’s not going to put food on their table or pay for their college education.” 

Currently, “Mission: Impossible 7” is not expected to come out until May 2022.

See what others are saying: (The Wrap) (Variety) (The Guardian)

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Joe Rogan Holds Spot As Top Podcaster on Spotify in 2022

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Earlier this year, some threatened to boycott the platform over Rogan and the health misinformation he shared on his show. 


For the third year in a row, “The Joe Rogan Experience” was the number one podcast on Spotify, the company revealed in its yearly “Wrapped” feature on Wednesday. 

“The Joe Rogan Experience” became exclusive to Spotify in 2020 after the host signed a lucrative deal with the audio streaming platform. “Call Her Daddy” by Alex Cooper, also a Spotify exclusive, followed Rogan on the charts. “Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain,” which will become exclusive to the service next year, came in third.

Rogan’s podcast has made several headlines over the last year as the podcaster faced backlash from medical professionals and major musicians for touting COVID-19 misinformation. Niel Young asked to have his music removed from Spotify in protest of the company’s deal with Rogan, and several other artists soon followed. 

Just a few days later, several clips resurfaced of Rogan using a racial slur. Many called to boycott Spotify for platforming Rogan, but his popularity did not seem to fade by the year’s end. 

There are over four million podcasts available to stream on Spotify and over the last year, the platform has expanded into new markets. 

It also has started launching podcasts from several high-profile figures, including Kim Kardashian’s “The System,” and Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes.” Both of those debuted mid-year and did not crack the annual top-five list.

See what others are saying: (Spotify) (Variety) (Forbes)

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Comedian Gives David Beckham Ultimatum: Exit Role at Qatar World Cup Or £10K in Donations Gets Shredded

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“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)

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Federal Judge Dismisses Dave Portnoy’s Lawsuit Against Insider

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The online personality called the decision “disappointing” but not “overly surprising.” 


Lawsuit Tossed

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.”

Portnoy Responds

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)

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