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The Washington Post Comes Under Fire for Suspending Reporter Dave Weigel Over Retweet



A fellow reporter at The Post called him out for reposting the tweet, which prompted a larger wave of backlash.

Suspended Without Pay

On Monday, CNN broke the news that veteran politics reporter Dave Weigel has been suspended without pay from his position at The Washington Post for retweeting a joke some considered sexist.

“Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual,” read the original tweet by YouTuber Cam Harless.

Felicia Sonmez, who is also a politics reporter at The Post, criticized Weigel for his retweet, sparking a controversy that embroiled social media through the weekend.

She tweeted that it’s “fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed.”

She also reportedly tagged Weigel in an internal company Slack channel and asked, “I’m sorry but what is this?”

Kris Coratti, the chief spokesperson for The Post, said that editors at the outlet have denounced the tweet.

“Editors have made clear to the staff that the tweet was reprehensible and demeaning language or actions like that will not be tolerated,” Coratti told reporters.

Weigel removed the retweet, calling it an “offensive joke” and saying, “I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm.”

Meanwhile, Harless said, “It’s weird to see someone else apologize for something you tweeted.”

Another reporter for the outlet, Jose A. Del Real, commented that Weigel’s retweet was “terrible” and “unacceptable” but argued that the highly public condemnations were not necessary.

“Rallying the internet to attack him for a mistake he made doesn’t actually solve anything,” he said. “We all mess up in some way or another. There is such a thing as challenging with compassion.”

Del Real and Sonmez argued about the matter on Twitter until Del Real temporarily deactivated his account.

“When women stand up for themselves, some people respond with even more vitriol,” Sonmez tweeted.

Del Real later reactivated his account, saying the events had caused “an unrelenting series of attacks intended to tarnish [his] professional and personal reputation.”

The Post Responds

On Sunday morning, The Washington Post’s executive editor Sally Buzbee sent a memo to the newsroom staff reminding them to “treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online.”

“When issues arise, please raise them with leadership or human resources and we will address them promptly and firmly,” she added.

Sonmez then tweeted that Buzbee’s comments only provided fodder for more harassment against her. Sonmez also said on Twitter that she had reached out to Buzbee and another editor at The Post to discuss the matter but didn’t hear back.

Several more employees at The Post joined in the discussion on social media, sharing experiences of sexism and racism in the workplace.

After CNN broke the news of Weigel’s suspension, the outlet claimed that The Post was reluctant to comment on the matter because it involved personnel.

When CNN emailed The Post for comment, an out-of-office message said Weigel would return on July 5.

Some criticized The Post for its decision on social media, while others defended it and Sonmez.

“Dave Weigel has now suffered greater consequences for a retweet than anyone who promoted Iraq War WMD propaganda or banker porn about the 2008 global financial crisis,” one user tweeted.

“I’m sad that all of us who subscribe to the Washington Post for their journalism won’t get to read @daveweigel’s coverage of the primaries taking place this month because the paper has put optics and politics before ethics and fairness,” another user said. “It’s a disservice to readers.”

“When I first saw @feliciasomnez criticizing that sexist retweet, I thought that she was right but it wasn’t a big deal,” a user tweeted. “The horrific backlash to her totally justified criticism, including ongoing harassment by her male colleague, proves just how right she was about sexism at wapo.”

“As a young journalist who’s also been extremely open about being a survivor of sexual assault, it means so much to me to see @feliciasomnez standing up for others,” journalist Alison Berg tweeted. “Extremely disappointing but not surprising to see how many men will continue to dig their heels into misogyny.”

Somnez posted a Twitter thread blasting what she calls a sexist culture at The Washington Post.

“For years, Post employees have been raising concerns of unequal treatment of employees from different backgrounds, or of ‘stars’ versus everyone else — not just when it comes to social media use,” she wrote.

Sonmez herself was placed on administrative leave from The Post in 2020 after she shared an article about rape allegations against Kobe Bryant in the wake of his death.

She received criticism for it, but The Post reversed her leave after Weigel and many others signed a letter defending her.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (Fox News) (The Daily Beast)


Disney Renders DeSantis-Appointed Oversight Board Powerless



The board is looking into avenues for potential legal retaliation, but Disney maintains its actions were “appropriate and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums.”

The Fight For Disney’s Special District 

Disney has stripped powers from the board Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) installed to oversee its theme parks, board members claimed. 

According to the Orlando Sentinel, board member Brian Aungst Jr. said Disney’s action “completely circumvents the authority of this board to govern.”

DeSantis has been waging a war against the House of Mouse ever since the company condemned his controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, which heavily restricts the discussion of sexuality in classrooms. To retaliate against the company, he took control of Disney’s special status that allowed it to operate as a self-governing district with autonomy over the land encompassing and surrounding Walt Disney World. 

Disney operated under that special status for decades under the Reedy Creek Improvement District, but after DeSantis took over, it was changed to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. DeSantis appointed all members of the board, prompting concerns that it could be used to silence and sway Disney on social and cultural issues, including its content. 

The oversight board gets control over infrastructure, property taxes, issue bonds, road and fire services, and other regulations. When DeSantis seized it, it was considered a big loss for the entertainment giant, but now, board members say the company may have lost little to no power at all. 

As first reported by the Sentinel, Disney and the previous board signed an agreement allowing Disney to retain control over much of its land on Feb. 8, the day before Florida’s House signed the bill that gave DeSantis power to stack the board. Disney now holds veto powers over changes to the park, and any changes must be subject to the company’s “prior review and comment” to ensure thematic consistency. 

The agreement also bars the board from using Disney’s name or trademarked characters like Mickey Mouse.

The Board’s Plan to Fight Back

Board members reportedly did not become aware of this until recently and discussed the issue at a Wednesday meeting. 

“This essentially makes Disney the government,” board member Ron Peri said, via Click Orlando. “This board loses, for practical purposes, the majority of its ability to do anything beyond maintain the roads and maintain basic infrastructure.”

The subject of the agreement that has perhaps caught the most public attention is its staying power. The declaration says it will remain “in effect until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England living as of the date of this Declaration.” That means that so long as direct members of the royal family are alive, so is this deal. 

According to BBC News, this is known as a “royal lives” clause and its use dates back to the 17th century, though it is rarely used in the U.S.

The board, however, already has plans to push back against Disney and has voted to hire outside legal counsel to evaluate their options.

“We’re going to have to deal with it and correct it,” Aungst said. “It’s a subversion of the will of the voters and the Legislature and the governor. It completely circumvents the authority of this board to govern.”

A spokesperson for DeSantis released a statement claiming that “these agreements may have significant legal infirmities that would render the contracts void as a matter of law.”

Disney maintains everything was above board. 

“All agreements signed between Disney and the district were appropriate and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law,” the company said. 

See what others are saying: (Orlando Sentinel) (Click Orlando) (The Washington Post)

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White Supremacist Propaganda Reached Record High in 2022, ADL Finds



 “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.

White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. reached record levels in 2022, according to a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism.

The ADL found over 6,700 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, which marks a 38% jump from the nearly 4,900 cases the group found in 2021. It also represents the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the ADL. 

The propaganda tallied by the anti-hate organization includes the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic flyers, banners, graffiti, and more. This propaganda has spread substantially since 2018, when the ADL found just over 1,200 incidents. 

“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans with their propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.” 

The report found that there were at least 50 white supremacist groups behind the spread of propaganda in 2022, but 93% of it came from just three groups. One of those groups was also responsible for 43% of the white supremacist events that took place last year. 

White supremacist events saw a startling uptick of their own, with the ADL documenting at least 167, a 55% jump from 2021. 

Propaganda was found in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, and events were documented in 33 states, most heavily in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, and Florida.

“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL’s Center on Extremism said in a statement. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear.”

“We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully,” Segal continued. 

See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (The New York Times)

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Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades



Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

Yeezy Surplus 

Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years. 

Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.

According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes. 

On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.

“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press. 

However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.

The Numbers 

Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million. 

If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.

Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.

As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval. 

Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”

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

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