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Golden Globes winners include surprises, diversity, and LGBTQ wins

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Taran Egerton took home a win for playing LGBTQ legend Elton John in “Rocketman” (Image courtesy Paramount/Rocket Pictures)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 77th annual Golden Globe Awards are now a matter of history, and in an evening of surprises and upsets, several of the most noteworthy moments reflected the growing significance of LGBTQ voices in the content created by the film and television industry.

Going into the presentation Sunday night, the slate of nominations included nods for several LGBTQ-inclusive films, actors and characters.

In performance categories, several openly LGBTQ performers were nominated, including out actors Billy Porter and Ben Platt for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series in the Drama and Comedy categories, respectively. Porter lost to actor Brian Cox, for HBO’s “Succession,” while Platt’s category was won by Muslim-American writer and actor Ramy Youssef, for Hulu’s “Ramy.”

Out Irish actor Andrew Scott had received a nod as Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series (Comedy) for his role as “Hot Priest” in “Fleabag,” an award which went to Russell Crowe for his performance as Roger Ailes in Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice.”

For Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), out actress Beanie Feldstein was nominated for her portrayal of a high school overachiever in the hilarious sleeper hit, “Booksmart,” but the award went instead to rapper-turned-actress Awkwafina, who made history by becoming the first Asian-American performer to win a Golden Globe in any lead actress film category; she took the prize for “The Farewell,” a film created by Asian-American female filmmaker Lulu Wang.

The performance nominations also included LGBTQ allies playing queer characters:

Taran Egerton, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), scored with a win for playing Elton John in “Rocketman.” Antonio Banderas had received a nod as Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for his role in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” but the award was taken home by Joaquin Phoenix for his electrifying turn as the title character in “The Joker.”

In actress categories, Margot Robbie had been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for “Bombshell,” and Jodie Comer for Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series (Drama) in “Killing Eve.” Those categories were won by Laura Dern (for “Marriage Story”) and Olivia Colman (for “The Crown”), respectively.

In one of the evening’s surprises, the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) went to Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland in the biopic, “Judy.” Though Zellweger is straight (as was Garland) the film is notable for its dramatization of an episode in the life of an undisputed LGBTQ icon.

Several films and television shows with queer-themed content were also nominated going into the evening.

Netflix’s “The Politician” had picked up a nod as Best Comedy Series, but the award ended up being given to the Amazon juggernaut, “Fleabag” – a series which also includes LGBTQ content, and which also picked up the award for Best Actress In A Television Series (Comedy) for its creator and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

“Killing Eve” was also nominated for Best Television Series (Drama). That award went to “Succession.”

In film categories, “Rocketman” received a nod as Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical), but lost to Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” which also picked up a Best Supporting Actor win for Brad Pitt. The Best Foreign Language Film nominations had included two queer films, the period lesbian romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory.” That award went to South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s widely-acclaimed thriller, “Parasite.”

“Rocketman,” the musical fantasy biopic of singer Elton John, nevertheless managed to pull off one of the evening’s biggest LGBTQ-friendly moments, when it snagged a win for John himself in the category of Best Original Song (Motion Picture) for “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” who claimed the prize alongside longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin.

“It’s the first time I won an award with him. Ever,” said the LGBTQ legend while accepting the award. “We never won a Grammy, we never did anything together except for this and I’m so happy, thank you very much.”

Taupin, whose early friendship with John is documented in the film, added, “This isn’t just a song we wrote for a movie; This is a song we wrote for a movie that deals with our relationship.”

The ceremony’s queerest moment was also arguably the most emotionally potent moment of the entire evening; in presenting the Carol Burnett Award to Ellen DeGeneres for her contributions to television, out actress and comedian Kate McKinnon paid tribute to the queer icon by giving her a personal thank you.

“If I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBT people on TV,’” the “Saturday Night Live” star said. “And more than that, I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien, and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here. So, thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot. A shot at a good life.”

For a complete list of the evening’s nominees and winners, click here.

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Travel

July 4 travel woes in flight cancellations, record number Americans driving

A record number of Americans are expected to travel by car this upcoming July 4th holiday weekend, per the Triple A auto club

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – As the 4th of July weekend approaches, Americans getting underway to travel are facing heavy delays and cancellations amid staffing strains, weather, among other issues with U.S. air carriers.

On Friday according to tracking website FlightAware.com as of 7PM Pacific there were 27,544 total delays, domestic flight cancellations were 2,975 and international flight cancellations within, into, or out of the United States were 571.

(See the MiseryMap for a live visualization of flight delays.)

CNBC reported that consumer complaints are piling up. In April, the latest available data, the Transportation Department received 3,105 from travelers about U.S. airlines, up nearly 300% from April 2021, and at nearly double the rate during the same period last year.

The unprecedented number of airline cancelations and delays is causing travelers to choose to drive and fly. Delta, American Airlines and United are all trimming their schedules even further to accommodate staffing shortages, despite passenger levels hitting post-pandemic highs.

Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration have sparred over who’s to blame. Airlines chalk up the disruptions to bad weather, their staffing shortages and staffing problems at the government’s air traffic control.

Yesterday, the FAA’s acting Administrator Billy Nolen and other top agency officials held a call with airline executives to discuss weekend planning, including the agency’s use of overtime to staff its facilities, traffic and routing plans, according to a person familiar with the meeting. The call was in addition to regular planning meetings with airlines.

U. S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks with reporters on Zoom call about flight cancellations and expected delays this July 4th holiday weekend.

U. S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “It is time for the airline industry to deliver.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters Friday that, “passengers have high expectations from an industry that we have supported with tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funding through the pandemic to keep it up and running so that it can serve passengers. Now we need them to deliver.”

Concerned about flight cancellation trends, Buttigieg said he has spoken directly with airlines.

“Something I’ve asked them to do so that if you’re selling a ticket, you know you can back that up, that you have the staffing to do it,” he added.

A record number of Americans are expected to travel by car this upcoming July 4th holiday weekend, per a new report from the Triple A auto club.

Screenshot/NBC News

Just in time for that Fourth of July travel, gas prices are continuing to drop from their record high points of two weeks ago as the Energy Information Administration reports that gasoline stockpiles across the country have increased, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.

Since Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by four cents to $4.85.

Despite the highest 4th of July gas prices on record, 42 million Americans are driving this holiday.

Travelers Driving This 4th of July Weekend To Avoid Airport Chaos:

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Sports

Welsh Olympic distance swimmer Dan Jervis comes Out

Jervis, who placed 5th in distance swimming at the Olympics in Tokyo said he was inspired by Blackpool FC soccer player Jake Daniels

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Dan Jervis (Screenshot via British Swimming Livestream-archive)

NEATH, Talbot County Borough, Wales – In a recent interview with BBC Radio Cornwall, 26-year-old British Olympian distance swimmer Dan Jervis revealed that he had given considerable thought before announcing to the world that he is gay.

Jervis told the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast; “I was adjusting to everything else, just trying to fit in — until I thought, Just be you.”

Jervis, who placed 5th in distance swimming for the British team at the Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan, told the BBC he was inspired by 17-year-old Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels, the professional soccer player who made history as only the second person in the past 30 years to acknowledge their sexual orientation publicly in that sport in the United Kingdom.

The swimmer also told the BBC it was important to be seen as a role model as he readies to compete in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Jervis has previously competed winning a 1500m freestyle silver and bronze at the 2014 and 2018 Games in Glasgow, Scotland and Australia’s Gold Coast respectively.

“It took me 24 years to be who I am,” he said and added, “You know, we’re just before the Commonwealth Games and there are going to be kids and adults watching who will know that I’m like them, and that I’m proud of who I am.”

The Olympian reflected on his decision to announce he was gay: “For so long, I hated who I was – and you see it all the time, people who are dying over this. They hate themselves so much that they’re ending their lives.

“So if I can just be that someone people can look at and say, ‘yeah, they’re like me,’ then that’s good.”

Jervis then said he revealed his sexuality to a close friend when he was 24: “At that point, I’d never said the words out loud to myself.”

“I said to her: ‘I think I’m gay.’ I couldn’t even say: ‘I’m gay.’ I was basically punching the words out.

“She was quite shocked but great, and it was exactly the reaction I wanted. I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person.

“Everyone’s journey is different, but I think I’ve always known.

“It was something in the back of my mind, bugging me. I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved – but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this.

“It wasn’t affecting my swimming, but me as a human being. It sounds quite drastic, but I wasn’t enjoying my life. Yeah, I was smiling, but there was something missing to make me properly happy.

“I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now.”

The Commonwealth Games open in Birmingham, UK on July 28.

Listen: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0chqfhn

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Online Culture

FCC asks Apple & Google to remove TikTok app from their stores

Its pattern of surreptitious data practices that are documented show TikTok is non-compliant with app store policies and practises

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Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

WASHINGTON – In a series of tweets Tuesday, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr disclosed a letter sent to both Apple and Google’s parent company Alphabet asking the two tech giants to remove TikTok from their app stores over his concerns that user data from the wildly popular social media platform is disclosed and used by bad actors in China.

In his letter dated June 24 to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Carr noted that because of its pattern of surreptitious data practices documented in reports and other sources, TikTok is non-compliant with the two companies’ app store policies and practises.

“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or meme. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” he said in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”

Carr stated that if the companiest do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they should provide statements to him by July 8.

The statements should explain “the basis for your company’s conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies,” he said.

Carr was appointed by former President Trump in 2018 to a five-year term with the FCC.

In March of this year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a nationwide investigation into TikTok for promoting its social media platform to children and young adults while its use is associated with physical and mental health harms to youth.

The investigation will look into the harms using TikTok can cause to young users and what TikTok knew about those harms. The investigation focuses, among other things, on the techniques utilized by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including strategies or efforts to increase the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform.

TikTok’s computer algorithms pushing video content to users can promote eating disorders and even self-harm and suicide to young viewers. Texas opened an investigation into TikTok’s alleged violations of children’s privacy and facilitation of human trafficking last month.

TikTok has said it focuses on age-appropriate experiences, noting that some features, such as direct messaging, are not available to younger users. The company says it has tools in place, such as screen-time management, to help young people and parents moderate how long children spend on the app and what they see, the Associated Press reported.

“We care deeply about building an experience that helps to protect and support the well-being of our community, and appreciate that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of younger users,” the company said. “We look forward to providing information on the many safety and privacy protections we have for teens.”

TikTok has also had a problematic relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. Recently The Washington Post confirmed that the ‘Libs of TikTok,’ an influential anti-LGBTQ account regularly targets LGBTQ individuals and their allies for harassment from its more than 640,000 Twitter followers while serving as a veritable wire service for Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media to push anti-LGBTQ smears.

Libs of TikTok regularly targets individual teachers and their workplaces – releasing their personal information that includes school and individual names as well as social media accounts, and leading its audience to harass the schools on social media.

A year ago, an investigation by Media Matters found that TikTok’s “For You” page recommendation algorithm circulated videos promoting hate and violence targeting the LGBTQ community during Pride Month, while the company celebrated the month with its #ForYourPride campaign. 

Numerous LGBTQ+ content creators have shared stories with the Blade about TikTok’s seemingly arbitrary algorithms that target otherwise benign content that is not listed outside of the platform’s polices and removed the content. In many cases restoring the posts after appeals or in the worst case scenarios banning the users.

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