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Cecile Richards: ‘We Won’t Let Sexist & Racist Attacks On Kamala Harris Go Unanswered’

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The nasty name-calling and false conspiracy theories about Kamala Harris began almost immediately after her announcement, but Cecile Richards and other female leaders are fighting back, hard.

Cecile Richards, the co-founder of Supermajority, and eleven other female leaders, knew long before the historic announcement of Kamala Harris that sexist coverage of Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential choice was coming. They knew, that whichever of the highly qualified women he was vetting was chosen, they would be subjected to an onslaught of insulting, unequal treatment by TV news anchors, print and digital media reporters and, oh yes, by President Donald Trump himself-especially if Biden chose a woman of color.

But Richards and the eleven other co-founders of We Have Her Back were certain that American “women had had it. They wanted none of it.” None of the sexism and racism. Cecile believes that Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s sexist and racist comments and policies “will take this president and vice president down”.

The female leaders of the new organization, ‘We Have Her Back’ were determined that there not be a repeat of the 2016 presidential campaign in which Hillary Clinton endured non-stop and unequal commentary from the media and Trump about her “likability”, her looks, her pantsuits, her backside and her “honesty”: note- did any of the media ever question Donald Trump’s “likability” or honesty ? Instead, they made sure that whoever the female Vice Presidential candidate would be, she would have committed and loudly vocal allies.

Richards, who also leads Supermajority, a female organization mobilizing the female electorate to vote in 2020, joined forces with TimesUp CEO, Tina Tchen, Alexis McGill Johnson, the Acting President of Planned Parenthood, Valerie Jarrett, a Senior Adviser to President Barack Obama and eight other female leaders to fight tooth and nail against sexist media coverage of Kamala Harris. They formed a new take-action group called ‘We Have Her Back’ .

“We aren’t going to let a single racist, sexist article go unanswered. This is how these things metastasize”, Richards tells HollywoodLife in an exclusive interview. “We are in touch minute by minute. We are organized. We will be monitoring and the group already has its hands full. The sexist and racist insults have come fast and as well as subtler bias in the media coverage of Kamala Harris. Donald Trump led the misogynistic attacks immediately. He labeled Harris “nasty” and “nastier” four times in his first press conference after Biden’t much-applauded announcement of her vice presidential candidacy. Trump claimed without evidence that “she left angry, she left mad” after she dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary, invoking the insulting “angry Black woman” trope. Amplifying that trope, he called her a “mad woman” in an interview on his favorite network, Fox News.

Finally, he launched into “birthism” lies, seeking to cast doubt on whether Harris, born in Oakland, California, was an American native. In other words, he fueled a baseless conspiracy theory, exactly like the conspiracy theory he championed about President Barack Obama, who he tried to claim wasn’t a native American, despite the president being born in the state of Hawaii.

The Kamala attacks continued coming from Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, who deliberately mispronounced and mocked her name, from Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana who described her as “like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, but smarter and without bar-tending experience” and from Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, who liked a disgusting tweet, calling Senator Harris a “whorendous pick”!

Cecile Richards
Photo Credit: SplashNews

Tina Tchen, the CEO of TimesUp, and a co-founder of ‘We Have Her Back’, came out swinging in an interview on MSNBC, in response to all of the slurs. “We’re not going to just sit back anymore, this isn’t just about Kamala Harris. We need to call it out. When you hear women leaders being called “nasty” and phony, it trickles down to the idea of who can be a leader in this country… it’s about the aspirations of girls across this country.”

It was exactly to try and head off the media’s biased reporting on female leaders like Harris, and on sexist and racist insults that would be leveled at her, that ‘We Have Her Back’ was founded this summer. The group wrote and sent a letter on August 7, to media organizations warning them not to subject the female vice presidential candidate to “stereotypes and tropes about qualifications, leadership, looks, relationships and experience.” They especially called out the media for amplifying and weaponizing those stereotypes and tropes for Black and Brown women.

“We believe it is your job not just to pay attention to these stereotypes, but to actively work to be anti-racist and anti-sexist in your coverage as this political ticket is introduced”, the letter urges. Richards explains that “all the women involved in the initiative saw what had happened to Hillary Clinton and decided it was time to get organized and tell the media that times have changed and we intended to call out sexist and racist coverage.”

She points out the women comprise a majority of the electorate today. In the 2012 general election, 67% of women were registered to vote and 58.5% voted compared to 63.1% and 54.4% of men. The number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters in every presidential election since 1964. As well, women have been about 15% more likely to support Democratic party candidates than Republican candidates in every election sine 1996.

Now, there is a historic gender gap among 2020 voters. Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump among female registered voters by 59% to 35% as of June, according to New York Times polls. “Women, led by Black women, will decide this election”, asserts Richards, who enthusiastically supports Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his vice presidential candidate. “Women were already ready to defeat Donald Trump. Now, they are ready to elect Kamala Harris.”

Supporters to the Biden/Harris campaign certainly share her excitement. The campaign announced that it raised $48 million in the first 48 hours after Biden announced that Senator Harris was his vice presidential nominee. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll reported on Aug 16, that 54 per cent of Americans approved of Biden’s choice.

Richards believes that the excitement level for the Biden/Harris ticket is so high, is not just because Biden chose a female nominee; after all John McCain did the same thing when he selected Sarah Palin as his VP candidate in the 2008 election, but because Biden presented his choice clearly as an equal. “What came through so loud and clear is that this is a partnership. He wants a vice president who has her own opinions,” she asserts. “We [women] need a political partnership. Women have wanted that for a hundred years, since we got the right to vote.”

Biden himself called Harris “my partner” in his campaign, in an announcement. He wrote “I need someone working alongside me. Harris is smart, tough and ready to lead. Kamala is that person”, in an email to his supporters.

Richards and the eleven co-founders of ‘We Have Her Back’ know that monitoring media bias against Harris in both blatant and subtle ways will be a huge and non-stop task. Valerie Jarrett has already been on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, as he asked her about Trump’s insinuations that Harris falsely isn’t an American citizen, when in fact she was born in Oakland, California. Jarrett wasn’t having it and politely but firmly shut down Blitzer’s efforts to give attention to the lie, by pointing out that it was a distraction, when voters were far more concerned with the pandemic, unemployment and Trump’s disruption of the postal service. In other words, she was pushing back hard on Blitzer spreading the racist conspiracy theory, instead of focusing on actual factual news.

This is exactly what she, Richards, and all other prominent women must do relentlessly. “This is so important”, Richards reiterates to HollywoodLife. “There are time honored ways of taking down women and we won’t let it go uncalled out.” She asks every American woman to do their part to take on the racist and sexist attacks on Harris and other female political and other leaders by also calling them out and disputing them on their own social media channels and in conversations with friends and family.

You can also do that AND make sure to vote in the 2020 election. If you aren’t registered yet, you can do it right now in the Register to Vote module below. Then, make sure to vote early in person or send your mail- in ballot as soon as you receive it, to make sure it is counted.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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