Thursday, April 19, 2018

News Briefs

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  • Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018
TV ad aims to pressure Trump on transgender military service
In this July 28, 2016, file photo, LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride takes the stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Activist groups are turning to television ads to pressure the White House into allowing transgender people to keep serving in the military. McBride, Human Rights Campaign's spokeswoman, said it's a "critical window of time" to take the fight directly to the White House. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Activist groups are turning to television ads, including on President Donald Trump's go-to network, Fox News, to pressure the White House into allowing transgender people to keep serving in the military.

Trump has pledged to ban transgender troops from serving. He'll be able to see the 30-second commercial as of Friday, when it starts airing on Fox, CNN and MSNBC morning shows. It uses a series of quotes from Trump, a former senior military leader and several Congress members who were in the armed forces to argue that all qualified Americans should be able to serve.

"An impulsive president tweets that transgender Americans won't be allowed to serve," the ad says. "But decorated military leaders say there's no reason to single out these brave heroes." An earlier version described Trump as "unfit," rather than "impulsive."

Sarah McBride, Human Rights Campaign's spokeswoman, said it's a "critical window of time" to take the fight directly to the White House.

The White House had no immediate comment.

The issue has become mired in a complicated string of political statements, court decisions and policy reviews since Trump first stunned his administration with tweets last July declaring that the government would ban transgender individuals from serving in the military. He later asked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to send him a recommendation on how to proceed. That memo was delivered to Trump last week. The White House has said that a quick decision is unlikely.

Three federal courts have ruled against the ban, and the Pentagon responded by allowing those serving to stay in the military. It then began allowing transgender individuals to enlist beginning Jan. 1.

It's unclear how much impact the court decisions will have on Trump's decision. Activist groups worry the administration could enact such strict enlistment and health care restrictions that it would become all but impossible for transgender troops to join or continue serving.

"If they can't access health care, then they won't be able to serve," said McBride. "Then it becomes a ban in and of itself."

McBride didn't provide the exact cost of the ad buy, describing it as "five figures." She said it was the largest media campaign on this issue, with the backing of at least four other activist groups, including OutServe-SLDN, which represents the LGBT population in the military and is a plaintiff in the lawsuits.

In the last two months, several transgender people have visited recruiting stations for the military services and started the process of enlisting. The Pentagon says only one has made it through all the medical reviews, testing and paperwork and actually signed a contract. That person hasn't yet gone to basic training, but will likely do so in the coming months. The person hasn't been identified.

Under guidelines presented in December, the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction. Such recruits could be allowed in if a medical provider certifies they've been clinically stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.

Transgender individuals receiving hormone therapy must be stable on their medication for 18 months.

The requirements make it challenging for a transgender recruit to pass. But they mirror conditions laid out by President Barack Obama's administration in 2016, when the Pentagon initially lifted its ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military.

  • Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018
Pitt, DiCaprio set to star in Tarantino's Manson film
In this Oct. 8, 2016, file photo, director Quentin Tarantino appears at the opening ceremony of the eighth Lumiere Festival, in Lyon, central France. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are set to star in Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Sony Pictures said Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, that the film has been dated for a theatrical release on Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are set to star in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Sony Pictures says Wednesday that the film has been dated for a theatrical release on Aug. 9, 2019.

Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the project has become widely known as Tarantino's Charles Manson film.

Neither DiCaprio nor Pitt will be playing Manson however. Tarantino says they will play a pair of struggling actors. DiCaprio will appear as former Western TV series star and Pitt as his stunt double. Their characters live next door to Sharon Tate.

A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Tarantino has been working on the script for five years. It will mark his ninth feature.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
Top executive behind TV's "Fuller House" is fired
In this June 16, 2017 file photo, Jeff Franklin attends the 30th annual Scleroderma Foundation Benefit in Beverly Hills, Calif. Producers of the Netflix remake "Fuller House" have fired Franklin, the top executive behind the show, amid charges about his behavior on the set. Besides working on the remake, Franklin was the creator of "Full House," the ABC show upon which it was based. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Producers of the Netflix remake "Fuller House" have fired the top executive behind the show amid charges about his behavior on the set.

Warner Brothers Television said Wednesday that it would not renew Jeff Franklin's deal, without explaining why. Variety reports that there were complaints about him being verbally abusive to staffers and making inappropriate comments to the show's writers. There have been no accusations of sexual misconduct.

Franklin's attorney, Stanton "Larry" Stein, says neither he nor his client have been told about what had been said that was deemed offensive.

Besides working on the remake, Franklin was the creator of "Full House," the ABC show upon which it was based. Netflix says that it hopes to go into production for the show's fourth season in the next few months.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
Pizza Hut replaces Papa John's as NFL's pizza sponsor
This Jan. 24, 2017, file photo shows a Pizza Hut in Miami. The NFL announced a multiyear marketing deal with Pizza Hut on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, one day after the league and Papa John's said that they mutually agreed to cut ties. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

So long Papa John's, hello Pizza Hut.

The NFL announced a multiyear marketing deal with Pizza Hut on Wednesday, one day after the league and Papa John's said that they mutually agreed to cut ties. The league's relationship with Papa John's frayed last year when the pizza maker's founder John Schnatter criticized NFL leadership over national anthem protests by players.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John's says it will remain in football through marketing deals with 22 of the league's 32 teams.

Pizza Hut said its marketing partnership with the NFL will begin with the league's April 2018 draft in Arlington, Texas, just miles from the pizza restaurant's headquarters in Plano.

Pizza Hut is owned by Yum Brands Inc.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
Halle Berry, Quincy Jones, more honor Cheryl Boone Isaacs
Halle Berry and Cheryl Boone Isaacs arrive at the sixth annual ICON MANN Pre-Oscar Dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Quincy Jones, Halle Berry, Kobe Bryant and Common were among the stars paying tribute to former film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs at the sixth annual Icon Mann pre-Oscar dinner.

They lauded her decades of leadership in entertainment and her legacy of bringing more diversity to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as she received the inaugural Legacy Award Tuesday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The celebrity-studded guest list included actors Nia Long, Terry Crews and Dennis Haysbert and Oscar-nominated filmmakers Dee Rees and Yance Ford. Cedric the Entertainer hosted the evening.

Boone Isaacs was the first black woman to run a major studio publicity department and the first African-American to serve as president of the film academy. She was termed out last year.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
Court rules Nike logo of Michael Jordan didn't violate copyright
In this Oct. 17, 2017 file photo, The Michael Jordan "Jumpman" logo is shown on merchandise at the Charlotte Hornets' NBA basketball fan store in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

An iconic Nike logo of a leaping Michael Jordan that the company has used to market billions of dollars of merchandise didn't violate the copyright of an earlier photograph of the basketball star, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The logo was based on a photograph taken by someone Nike hired. That photo was "obviously inspired" by a 1984 photo by Jacobus Rentmeester, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. But the court in a 2-1 decision said the photos are unmistakably different in key elements.

Both show Jordan leaping with his legs extended outward toward a basketball hoop with a ball above his head.

Nike used its photo for the "Jumpman" logo — a silhouetted image of Jordan in the leaping pose in its photograph.

Rentmeester photographed Jordan while he played at the University of North Carolina. His photograph appeared in Life Magazine in a photo essay featuring U.S. athletes competing in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

An email to a law firm representing Rentmeester wasn't immediately returned.

While the poses in Nike and Rentmeester's photos are similar — Jordan in a leaping motion inspired by a ballet move — Rentmeester's copyright does not give him a monopoly on that concept, Judge Paul Watford, writing for the majority, said.

Among the significant differences in the two photos are the position of Jordan's legs, the background and lighting, Watford said.

"Just as Rentmeester made a series of creative choices in the selection and arrangement of the elements in his photograph, so too Nike's photographer made his own distinct choices in that regard," Watford wrote.

The ruling affirmed a lower court decision dismissing Rentmeester's 2015 lawsuit against Nike.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
Lewis Gilbert, director of 3 James Bond films, dies at 97
In this Sept. 20, 2000 file photo, British filmmaker Lewis Gilbert poses for a photograph. Producers say Gilbert, who directed dozens of movies including three James Bond thrillers, has died at 97, it was reported on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (William Conran/PA via AP, File)

Director Lewis Gilbert, whose dozens of movies included three James Bond thrillers —"You Only Live Twice," ''The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker" — and the Swinging London classic "Alfie," has died at 97, colleagues said Tuesday.

Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson said in a statement that "it is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert." The Bond fan site "From Sweden With Love" said he died Friday in Monaco.

Broccoli and Wilson said Gilbert was "a true gentleman" whose Bond films "are considered classics within the series."

The British Film Institute's filmography lists 33 features directed by Gilbert between 1947 and 2002, making him the most prolific of British filmmakers. But, he acknowledged, most people remembered him for his 007 thrillers.

"When I go around the world now when I'm working it's amazing — they're not interested in any of my films until I say 'James Bond,'" Gilbert told the BBC in 2010. "And the minute I say 'James Bond' they practically genuflect."

Gilbert's first Bond film was "You Only Live Twice" with Sean Connery in 1967. He returned a decade later to direct Roger Moore as 007 in "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker."

Born in London in 1920 into a family of vaudevillians, Gilbert got his start in the movies as a child actor before joining the Royal Air Force during World War II. He made his directing debut making documentaries while seconded to the U.S. Army Air Forces' film unit.

His first postwar credit as director was for "The Ten Year Plan," a documentary about housing; his first feature as director was "The Little Ballerina" in 1947.

Lewis' early output ranged from cheap-and-cheerful British noir dramas such as "Once a Sinner," ''Wall of Death" and "Cosh Boy," to the stirring World War II dramas "Reach for the Sky," ''Carve Her Name With Pride" and "Sink the Bismarck!"

In 1966 he directed a young Michael Caine as a man-about-town in "Alfie," which was nominated for five Academy Awards.

Gilbert was undaunted by the Bond thrillers' scale and special effects. He recalled in 2010 that "The Spy Who Loved Me" featured "the biggest set that had ever been built in England, maybe in the world."

"If I did anything with the Bonds, I think I made the humor work very well with Roger," Gilbert told BBC radio's "Desert Island Discs."

"It's no good trying to make him the great physical thing that Sean was. It's far better that he won everybody over with his sense of humor."

In the 1980s Gilbert changed gear, directing "Educating Rita" and "Shirley Valentine," both character-driven stories of working-class women adapted from stage plays.

British Film Institute creative director Heather Stewart said the two films "gave us funny and real character studies of women we normally never get a chance to see on the big screen."

"Educating Rita" earned Oscar nominations for stars Julie Walters and Caine, while Pauline Collins received a best-actress nomination for "Shirley Valentine."

His last film was "Before You Go," a 2002 family comedy that also starred Walters.

Gilbert received the British Film Institute's highest honor, the BFI Fellowship, in 2001.

  • Monday, Feb. 26, 2018
Appeals court says FTC can police telecommunications cos.
This July 27, 2017, file photo shows an AT&T logo at a store in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

A U.S. appeals court says the Federal Trade Commission can police telecommunications companies like AT&T — a ruling that's important because another agency is dropping its oversight with repeal of "net neutrality" rules governing customer access to apps and websites.

The case is over claims that AT&T misled smartphone customers in offering unlimited data plans, but slowing speeds for heavy users. By law, only the Federal Communications Commission can take action against a common carrier — a provider of essential services such as landline or mobile voice service. Broadband services aren't considered common carrier, but an earlier ruling says the FTC has no jurisdiction over AT&T at all because some of its businesses are common carrier. That ruling potentially left neither agency able to oversee broadband services from many companies.

On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the FTC can indeed punish telecommunications companies for deceptive practices. The FTC still must prove that AT&T was deceptive.

After the FCC repealed net neutrality in December, the FTC and FCC said they would coordinate online consumer protection efforts.

  • Monday, Feb. 26, 2018
CBS launching a 24-hour streaming sports news network
This May 10, 2017, file photo, shows the CBS logo at their broadcast center in New York. CBS Corp. is rolling out a 24-hour streaming sports news network that will feature the day's top news, highlights and analysis. The company said Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, that the network will have a DVR-like functionality that allows viewers to watch previous segments and jump back into live programming seamlessly. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

CBS Corp. is rolling out a 24-hour streaming sports news network that will feature the day's top news, highlights and analysis.

The company said Monday the network will have a DVR-like functionality that allows viewers to watch previous segments and jump back into live programming seamlessly.

CBS Sports HQ is available on; the CBS Sports app for key connected TV devices including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku; the CBS Sports mobile app for iOS and Android; CBSN and the CBS All Access subscription service.

The announcement comes as ESPN continues to struggle, cutting staff as it shifts its focus to digital. The 38-year-old network has been squeezed by rising fees to broadcast live events. ESPN also has lost about 10 million subscribers during the past six years, based on estimates by Nielsen Media Research.

  • Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018
"Great Performances": AARP Movies For Grown-Up Awards Makes On-Air Debut
Kristin Scott Thomas (l) and Gary Oldman in a scene from "Darkest Hour." Oldman won the Best Actor honor from the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards (photo by Jack English/courtesy of Focus Features)

Broadcast and streamed for the first time, AARP The Magazine’s Annual Movies for Grownups® Awards, now in its 17th year, celebrated 2017’s standout films with unique appeal to movie lovers with a grownup state of mind and recognizes the inspiring artists who make them. The awards ceremony made its on-air  debut on Friday (2/23) as part of PBS’ Great Performances presentation.

“The Movies for Grownups Awards is an exciting new way for Great Performances to recognize outstanding achievement in the performing arts,” said executive producer David Horn. “Adding contemporary cinema is a natural fit for the series and we are happy to share this exceptional talent with viewers on all PBS platforms.”

The awards were taped live on February 5 at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif., with host Alan Cumming performing musical parodies of Get Out, Lady Bird, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Cumming spoke to the heart of Movies for Grownups, saying that “these awards are special, they recognize compelling movies and dynamic performances that appeal to a mature state of mind.”

Great Performances--Movies for Grownups Awards with AARP the Magazine features a moving tribute to Career Achievement honoree Helen Mirren, whose award is presented by her Winchester co-star Jason Clarke. The show also includes Mark Hamill and Kelly Marie Tran presenting director Rian Johnson with Best Picture/Best Movies for Grownups honors for Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Ben Mendelsohn presenting Gary Oldman with the Best Actor award for his role as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, and Alfre Woodard presenting Best Actress honors to Annette Bening for her role as Gloria Grahame in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

Here’s a full rundown of AARP Moves For Grown-Up Awards winners:

Career Achievement Award
Helen Mirren’s memorable performances have spanned decades in movies, on television and on the stage.

Best Actor
Gary Oldman won for his portrayal of Winston Churchill for Darkest Hour

Best Actress
Annette Bening as Gloria Grahame in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Best Supporting Actress
Laurie Metcalf plays the protective mother of a teenage girl in Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor
Richard Jenkins plays a kind-hearted illustrator who helps his neighbor, a mute janitor, rescue a creature with whom she’s fallen in love in The Shape of Water

Best Movie for Grownups
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

Best Screenwriter
Aaron Sorkin for Molly’s Game

Best Intergenerational Film
The Florida Project

Best Documentary
I Am Not Your Negro

Best Director
Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water

Best Ensemble
The cast of Get Out

Best Grownup Love Story
The Greatest Showman

Best Time Capsule

Readers’ Choice
Wonder Woman