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Disney honors Pride month and keeps some pandemic rules for now

“I was lost, desperate to connect with someone who understood what I was feeling. That all changed when I arrived at Disneyland.”



Graphic via the Walt Disney Company's Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Division

ANAHEIM – The Walt Disney Company’s Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, (DPEP) is celebrating and honoring Pride this year, highlighting its LGBTQ employees as well as supporting a welcoming and embracing work environment where LGBTQ+ cast members are encouraged to be their authentic selves.

Writing for the company’s blog, Michelle Mockler, DPEP’s External Communications Manager profiled  James Heath, a Senior Duty Manager at the Disneyland California Adventure Park. Heath, who has been employed by the Disney company since he was 17, related his personal experiences with Disney that he said shaped not only his career as an employee but as a gay man as well.

In the winter of 2000, Heath applied for a job position in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a cast member, a term that Disney describes it employees as. After several interviews, James was offered a cast member role as a Food & Beverage Host.

According to Heath, he didn’t realise that position working at Disneyland had just given him something far more important than a job… “It gave me a place to belong,” he told Mockler.

Mockler writes that just two years prior, Heath had made the decision to come out as gay. At 15 years old, he found himself as the only openly gay student in his school.

“While I was fortunate to have supportive family and friends by my side, I was missing something truly critical at this time in my life: Other people like me. I was lost, desperate to connect with someone who understood what I was feeling. That all changed when I arrived at Disneyland.”

At Disney, James found himself working alongside other LGBTQ+ cast members. He found people, with whom he could share stories, compare experiences and talk through challenges.

“Being gay was no different to my coworkers and leaders than any of the other countless qualities that make each of us unique.”

Twenty-one years later, the now thirty-eight year old Senior Disney Manager related; “Sometimes I wonder who I would be today had I not had this safe place to grow into my own skin. I was fortunate to have allies who courageously pushed against outdated ideas to give me a safe place to thrive.”

Heath says that he’s found himself in the role of leader, mentor, ally and advocate.

“It’s my turn to give back and help to further our culture of inclusivity. Somewhere out there, a future cast member is looking for a place where they can belong. I’m committed to helping them find it at Disney.”

As Disney celebrates Pride Month, this past week as the State of California lifted most of the restrictions imposed by California state and local health officials and Governor Gavin Newsom. However, Disney officials have decided to keep in place for the time being some of those measures.

“I don’t want to say we are going to go back to the way it was,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said Thursday about managing the parks. “I want to be really smart in the way we do this.”

The parks at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim in Orange County are continuing to reopen in phases, but a handful of the COVID-era changes are going to stick.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times this past week, D’Amaro said that the company is poised to keep “in place a reservation system that was adopted to manage visitor numbers under the state-imposed capacity limits and the continued use of a virtual queuing system that was designed to give all parkgoers a shot at visiting the most popular attractions.”

Currently valid theme park admission as well as a confirmed park reservation about both required if a guest wishes to visit either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. Park Pass Reservations are also currently required at Disney World.


Orange County

Anaheim invites drag group rejected by Dodgers to Angels Pride

Two prominent L.A. groups withdraw from Dodgers event to show support for The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence



Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken (Photo Credit: City of Anaheim)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Just days after being dropped by the Dodgers Major League Baseball team from its Pride Night event, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence nonprofit organization has found an angel of sorts, waiting in the wings, to welcome them. 

As KABC-TV reported, the mayor of Anaheim invited the group to Angels Pride Night in a tweet Saturday that threw shade on the Los Angeles ballclub for its controversial decision.

“I’m inviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to join me for @Angels Pride Night at Anaheim Stadium on June 7. Pride should be inclusive and like many, I was disappointed in the Dodgers’ decision,” tweeted Mayor Ashleigh Aitken.

Anaheim’s mayor is the latest in a growing list of politicians, organizations and everyday people criticizing the Dodgers for caving to pressure from an anti-LGBTQ Catholic group and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, as the Los Angeles Blade reported.

Earlier this week, the team disinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence because of complaints from the Catholic League and Rubio for allegedly “mocking” the Roman Catholic faith. 

“The ‘sisters’ are men who dress in lewd imitation of Roman Catholic nuns,” Rubio wrote. 

He was following the call of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue to write to the baseball commissioner to protest the Dodgers’ plan to award the Sisters its Community Hero Award. 

The next day, the team changed that plan. 

“Given the strong feelings of those who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honorees,” the team said in a statement it also tweeted

The backlash over that decision keeps growing, as The New York Times reported. The Los Angeles LGBT center and L.A. Pride pulled out of the Dodgers Pride Night celebration scheduled for June 16. 

The Sisters organize fundraisers and volunteer at LGBTQ+ community events, and sometimes dress-up as nuns. But members of the group reject the claim that they are anti-religious. In an interview with KNBC-TV, Sister Unity said the group’s focus is on community service, ministry and outreach for marginalized populations. She said the group uses humor to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt.

KNBC-TV reported Saturday that the Sisters have accepted Mayor Aitken’s invitation to meet in Anaheim on Monday to discuss next month’s Pride Night celebration at Angel Stadium.

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Orange County

Disneyland’s ‘Fantasmic’ massive animatronic dragon catches fire

Due to smoke and wind, attractions near the island were safely cleared of any guests. The cause remains under investigation at this time



Maleficent’s animatronic dragon prop literally exploded in flames Saturday night at Disneyland. (Screenshot via Twitter)

ANAHEIM – In a unexpected twist, the massive fire-breathing Maleficent’s animatronic dragon prop literally exploded in flames Saturday night at Disneyland during the last performance of the Fantasmic nighttime water and fireworks show held on the Rivers of America on Tom Sawyer Island.

Multiple videos shared on social media by park goers shows flames first igniting from the dragon’s face before spreading to the rest of its body fully engulfing it quickly spewing heavy thick smoke into the air.

Several videos also show Disneyland cast members evacuating crowds out of the waterfront viewing area and nearby attractions as responding Anaheim Fire & Rescue firefighters worked to extinguish the fire.

“During the final showing of Fantasmic at Disneyland park on Saturday evening, the dragon caught fire,” a spokesperson for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Inc. explained in a statement. “Anaheim Fire & Rescue quickly responded and the fire was extinguished. All cast members were evacuated from Tom Sawyer Island. Due to smoke and wind, attractions near the island were safely cleared of any guests, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time.”

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Orange County

Knott’s Berry Farm reinstates its chaperone policy this Saturday

Under this policy, all guests ages 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old



BUENA PARK, Calif. – Knott’s Berry Farm, the 57-acre theme park located in Buena Park, California, announced Thursday the park plans to reimplement its chaperone policy this Saturday, April 22, that park officials had enacted last summer after a series of violent altercations.

The Orange County theme park was the twelfth-most-visited theme park in North America and averages approximately 4 million visitors per year. Last year visitors 17 years old or younger needed a chaperone on weekends, although the park removed the Saturday restrictions for the winter.

In a statement published to the park’s website, the Code of Conduct and Chaperone Policy specifies:

The safety of our guests and associates has always been our top priority at Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark. Over the past two years, there have been increasing incidents of unruly and inappropriate behavior across our industry and at other major entertainment venues. 

We are committed to keeping Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark a place where families and friends come together to enjoy a one-of-a-kind park full of fun experiences and immersive entertainment.

As part of that commitment, we are implementing a chaperone policy beginning Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Under this policy, all guests ages 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old in order to be admitted to or remain in the park after 4:00 p.m. local time to close. 

The chaperone must present a valid government-issued photo identification with date of birth at ticket entry. One (1) chaperone may accompany no more than ten (10) guests ages 15 or younger per day. In addition, the chaperone must accompany their party during entry, remain inside the park during their visit, and be available by phone throughout their stay. 

Guests ages 15 years old or younger who are found inside the park unaccompanied by a chaperone will be subject to ejection. This chaperone requirement applies to all Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark ticket and season passholders.

We believe these changes will help ensure that Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark continue to have a positive atmosphere where generations of families and friends can gather for a day of safe, fun, and good food. Millions of guests have counted on us for exactly that, and we will continue to deliver on that promise for generations to come.

The following behaviors or acts are strictly prohibited at Knott’s Berry Farm:

  • Carrying firearms, ammunition, knives, and weapons of any kind and any other prohibited item. Knott’s Berry Farm reserves the right to prohibit any items at their discretion.
  • Unsolicited photographing or video recording that disrupts a guest’s experience or interferes with park operations
  • Unruly or disruptive behavior that interferes with guests’ enjoyment of the park including running, the incitement of running, and blocking midways and exits.
  • Fighting or physical aggression of any kind, including verbal and physical assaults
  • Acts or behavior that park management determines is a safety concern or that interrupts park operations or guests’ experience
  • Harassing/threatening behavior, sexual misconduct, or lewd behavior including inappropriate interaction with park guests or associates
  • Offensive language or gestures
  • Clothing with offensive language, obscene gestures/graphics, or nudity or clothing that does not sufficiently cover undergarments
  • Intoxication or substance impairment that results in irresponsible behavior
  • Smoking/Vaping is not permitted inside the park
  • Entering restricted areas including but not limited to ride Danger Zones and behind-the-scenes areas
  • Line Breaking- includes leaving and re-entering a line for any reason or place holding in line
  • Theft of any kind
  • Selling park tickets or soliciting and distributing literature not sponsored by the park
  • Refusing to follow verbal or printed instructions or cooperate with park personnel or security

Themed Attire

Family-oriented themed outfits/attire are permitted. Attire must not represent or resemble any official Park character, disrupt regular company operations, or potentially harm another guest or associate. Attire and accessories must meet Code of Conduct dress requirements and may not be offensive or violent and may not disrupt the general safety of guests or associates.

Guests wearing character-themed outfits may not sign autographs for other guests or represent themselves as a park associate. Costumes that conceal identity are prohibited. Rides and attractions may also have additional restrictions on dress attire. Themed outfits/attire may be prohibited during evening Halloween events.

Children/Teens – Notice to Parents & Guardians

Parents or guardians are responsible for the behavior of their minor children. Appropriate behavior and supervision are the responsibility of the parent/guardian and is always expected. In addition to our chaperone policy, we strongly recommend that minors (under 18) be accompanied by an adult. The park does not assume any responsibility or liability for unattended minors. Parents/guardians may be held legally liable for all acts of the children under their care.

Personal Conduct

Conduct deemed by Knott’s Berry Farm to be inappropriate for the peace and good order of the park, guests, or associates, and which may adversely affect the safety of others is not permitted. Anyone who violates the Code of Conduct may be subject to ejection without refund.

Guests are encouraged to report any violations of the Guest Code of Conduct or suspicious activity to the nearest Knott’s Berry Farm associate, Security associate, or call 714-220-5016.

Knott’s Berry Farm reserves the right to revise or modify this Code of Conduct with or without notice.

NOTICE: Knott’s Berry Farm Security personnel utilize surveillance cameras and body-worn cameras as part of their overall security program.

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Orange County

Huntington Beach City Council votes to ban Pride Flag

“The City of Huntington Beach should avoid actions that could easily or mistakenly be perceived as divisive”



SJ, a non-binary resident of Orange County, speaks in opposition to the ban at the Huntington Beach City Council Meeting February 06, 2023 (Screenshot/YouTube)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – After a tense and often heated public comment and debate segment the City Council Tuesday night approved an ordinance/policy to restrict display of flags on city-owned property to only flying the city, state and national flags, along with occasionally flying the county flag and flags supporting prisoners of war and each branch of the military.

The council voted 4-3 approving the ordinance/policy along party lines with Democratic council members Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser and Rhonda Bolton voting against it. 

Republican Councilman Pat Burns, a former Long Beach Police Department Lieutenant, and a publicly proclaimed proponent of “family values” said “Special flags or recognition flags of some sort that aren’t governmental or representative of the community, as one, I don’t believe has a space on our government flag poles.”

Republican Councilman Pat Burns (Screenshot/YouTube)

Burns stated in a staff report explaining his reasoning for the ordinance. “The City of Huntington Beach should avoid actions that could easily or mistakenly be perceived as divisive. [We] are one community with many different cultures and people. All are equally valued members of our community, and none are to be treated differently or discriminated against.”

“People have asked if we can fly other flags, whatever they may be, and I don’t believe that we should fly any other flags but equal flags that represent us all,” Burns added.

During the public comments session several individuals who spoke in favor of banning the flag echoed Burns telling city council members along with LGBTQ people and supporters in the audience that display of the Pride flag should not be given preferential treatment.

Former Huntington Beach Mayor and City Councilmember Connie Boardman argued that the proposed ordinance/policy item would prevent the city from flying the Olympic flag, which she pointed out as the City is hoping to host the Olympic surfing competition for the Los Angeles games in 2028 would look bad.

“The Olympics stress diversity and inclusion,” Boardman said. “This item is the opposite of that.”

Councilmember Moser told the council and the audience removal of the Pride flag sends out a negative message and would reinforce the city’s reputation as the “Florida of California.” 

“It makes us look like the city everybody expects us to be. I don’t believe we are that city, I believe we’re better than that,” Moser said.

Last year far-right media outlet OAN contributor Alison Steinberg had ranted on social media attacking the display of the Pride Flag after returning home to Huntington Beach to find the city flying it.

In their report to the council the city staff noted that over 275 plus people had sent letters to on the issue of the flag, with 228 in support of the Pride flag remaining up while 46 endorsed the shift in the flag ordinance/policy.

Voice of OC reporter Noah Biesiada noted Councilmember Kalmick pointed out how the city already had a flag policy, and that if the concern was over the Pride flag then the council members should just vote against flying that flag but leave the overall policy unchanged. 

“Creating this as an ordinance removes our ability as council members to make decisions,” Kalmick said. “We already have the ability to fly these flags. If you don’t want to fly the Pride flag, just make a motion…to eliminate the previous resolution to fly the Pride flag.”

“The Greater Los Angeles area is for everyone and yet Huntington Beach officials landed on a cliche and reductive approach to making headlines: marginalizing queer Californians (and potentially, millions of tourists) in one fell swoop. It’s alarming and embarrassing that in 2023, on the heels of 150+ anti-LGBTQ legislations ravaging the country, this is what municipal employees are focusing on– not the unhoused, gun safety or the care of our seniors,” said Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “For a city that prides itself on exercising its rights, it’s abhorrently inexcusable to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of the LGBTQ tax-payers; they’re sending us a clear message of hate and shamelessly putting young, queer lives at stake. Huntington Beach’s officials are taking a cue from the political playbooks of extremist politicians across the country—using their hatred of queer and trans people as launching pads for their careers. We will not be relegated to a closeted existence as those days are long behind us, and our people will always find a way to fly our flag loud and proud. I hope the elected officials who voted in favor of the flag ban remember that representation matters, and that the LGBTQ+ community will work tirelessly to elect representatives who champion our rights.

The new rules for display of flags on city property are set to come back at the council’s February 21 meeting for official adoption.

Huntington Beach City Council Meeting February 06, 2023:

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Orange County

Huntington Beach could ban Pride flags on city property

The new rule would only allow the American flag, California state flag and the city of Huntington Beach flag to be flown



The city first hoisted the Pride flag on May 22, 2021 (Photo Credit: City of Huntington Beach)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – A new ordinance that would only allow the American flag, California state flag and the city of Huntington Beach flag to be flown or displayed on city property has been proposed by Councilmember Pat Burns to be heard Tuesday at the regular city council meeting starting at 6 p.m..

The Republican councilman, a former Long Beach Police Department Lieutenant, told KABC 7 Eyewitness News: “Special flags or recognition flags of some sort that aren’t governmental or representative of the community, as one, I don’t believe has a space on our government flag poles,” he said.

Burns said the only exception would be the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action flag that honors those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country. “So many of the men gave all to give us the rights we enjoy today,” Burns said.

Although he did not specifically call out the Pride flag, Burns stated in a staff report explaining his reasoning for the request. “The City of Huntington Beach should avoid actions that could easily or mistakenly be perceived as divisive. [We] are one community with many different cultures and people. All are equally valued members of our community, and none are to be treated differently or discriminated against.”

 “People have asked if we can fly other flags, whatever they may be, and I don’t believe that we should fly any other flags but equal flags that represent us all,” Burns added.

Many Republicans and conservatives view the display of the LGBTQ flag as divisive, some stating moral objections to affirming LGBTQ+ people as “represented” by display of the flag. According to Huntington Beach Public Affairs Manager Jennifer Carey, the Pride flag was previously approved is the only other banner approved by members of the council for civic display.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Carey told the Times that the city first hoisted the Pride flag on May 22, 2021— the birthday of former San Francisco supervisor and civil rights activist Harvey Milk, fatally shot in 1978 — after the City Council voted 6-0 in a May 3 meeting to keep the banner flying throughout the month of June to mark LGBTQ Pride Month.

Defending his proposed ordinance Bruns said: “We’re one community with different cultures, different people, and if anything, it’s a unifying measure.” 

KABC also reported that in a letter, Peter Levi, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League of Orange County/Long Beach, asked the Huntington Beach City Council to reject the proposed ordinance to limit flag displays.

“Celebrating the rich diversity of the Huntington Beach community is not a political statement and prohibiting the display of pride flags because they are allegedly ‘divisive’ sends a dangerous message to the LGBTQ+ community and allies,” said Levi.

From KABC 7:

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Orange County

Costa Mesa police arrest suspect in Latina mural vandalism

The mural is well known in the community and spans over 70 feet of a block wall and honors immigrant Latina women



Alicia Rojas in front of her defaced “Poderosas” mural October 2022 (Photo courtesy of Alicia Rojas)

COSTA MESA, Calif. – On Oct. 31, 2022 Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) officers were dispatched to the 3000 block of Killybrooke and upon arrival officers found that the Poderosas mural, a local landmark that commemorates Latina heritage, was vandalized with white supremacy language.

The mural is well known in the community and spans over 70 feet of a block wall and honors immigrant Latina women. The mural was created in October 2020 by an all women crew and was led by artist Alicia Rojas.

Individuals in the area observed the suspect vandalizing the mural by spray painting a hate crime message on it. Witnesses reported the crime and also provided video of the incident to CMPD investgators.

(Photo courtesy of Alicia Rojas)

During the investigation, Daniel Alec Hotte, 27, of Dana Point was identified as the vandalism suspect. Shortly thereafter, CMPD Gang Investigators checked numerous locations in Orange County and Riverside County but Hotte could not be located. Investigators then learned Hotte had a pending court date on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023.

On Monday morning, Hotte was located at the Harbor Justice Center and arrested. Hotte was then booked at CMPD Jail on an outstanding warrant, vandalism, and hate crime. CMPD will file the case with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for charges.

“Costa Mesa is a great city known for its inclusivity. We celebrate our diversity and are proud of our various backgrounds,” said Mayor John Stephens. “This type of crime flies in the face of what we have achieved as a multi-cultural community. I’m grateful for the witnesses who came forward to help identify him and thankful the police stayed on the case and captured the suspect.”

“I represent a community rich in culture,” said Councilmember Loren Gameros. “This suspect came from another city into Costa Mesa to commit this crime and hurt the identity of some of our neighbors. That is unacceptable and now he will have to face justice.”

“Vandalism crimes like this can often go unsolved,” said Police Chief Ron Lawrence. “I commend the quick action of the witnesses to capture evidence of the incident and the great police work of the Costa Mesa Police Department that solved this case.”

Anyone who may have been a witness in this incident and has not spoken to CMPD is asked to contact Investigator Eric Molina at 714-754-5694, or Sergeant Matt Selinske at 714-754-5093.

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Orange County

Accused killer of gay U of Penn student found competent for trial



Blaze Bernstein (Center) with his parents Jeanne Pepper and Gideon Bernstein in this undated photo (Courtesy of the Bernstein family)

SANTA ANA – The accused killer of Blaze Bernstein, 19, a gay Jewish University of Pennsylvania student brutally stabbed to death four years ago has been found competent to stand trial Assistant Orange County Public Defender Ken Morrison told a Superior Court judge on Friday morning.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward of Newport Beach, who was 21 at the time of the murder, had the criminal court proceedings first procedurally delayed and then again after his previous defense lawyer raised the issue over his mental competency.

On Nov. 9, 2018, Woodward had entered a plea of not guilty to murder  in Orange County Superior Court. Judge Kimberly Menninger denied bail, saying she thought Woodward posed a danger to the community after seeing troves of evidence linking Woodward to anti-gay, anti-Semitic messages and propaganda from the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, which apparently reveled in Bernstein’s brutal murder.

“I love this,” one member wrote of the killing, according to copies of the online chats obtained by ProPublica, which exposed Woodward’s involvement with Atomwaffen on Jan. 26. “Sam did something stupid,” wrote one member. “Not that the faggot kike didn’t deserve to die. Just simply not worth a life in prison for.”

Many of Bernstein and Woodward’s classmates from their former Orange County high school thought it was odd that the two were together because, Bernstein’s best friend Raiah Rofsky told CBS News “48 Hours,” Woodward “was literally known as being a crazy, homophobic, racist guy.”

Woodward’s social media post showing him giving a Nazi salute (Screenshot/CBS News 48 Hours)

The Orange County Register reported Friday two mental health experts who evaluated Woodward — one chosen by the defense, the other by the prosecution — determined that Woodward is competent to stand trial. 

The Register noted that the reports from the mental health experts who evaluated Woodward were filed under seal, and their contents were not discussed during the brief hearing on Friday morning. For a defendant to be considered competent to stand trial, they must be capable of understanding the proceedings and able to assist with their own defense.

A previous defense attorney in mid-July raised unspecified concerns about Woodward’s mental competency. The competency decision was delayed in early-September after Woodward refused to meet with one of the experts assigned to evaluate him. It isn’t clear whether such a meeting ultimately took place before the experts submitted their reports to the court.

Bernstein, 19, a brilliant gay Jewish University of Pennsylvania student was home for the holidays and disappeared January 2, 2018. His body, with 20 stab wounds to the face and neck, was discovered in a shallow Borrego Park grave a week later. DNA evidence led authorities to Woodward, Bernstein’s Orange County high school classmate, who was arrested on Jan. 12. Bernstein’s blood found was in Woodward’s car.

When Orange County investigators first went to meet with him, Woodward was apparently cooperative, telling them and Blaze’s parents “that he and Blaze went to Borrego Park to hang out.” According to Woodward, after awhile Blaze walked down a path alone and disappeared into the brush. Later OC investigators say that Woodward claimed Bernstein tried to kiss him while they both sat in a car at Borrego Park and then he told investigators that he pushed Bernstein away.

Prosecutors allege that Woodward actually stabbed Bernstein to death and buried him in the dirt at the edge of of the park, where the body was discovered six days later.

A pretrial hearing was set for Jan. 27 , 2023 and a date for the jury trial has not yet been scheduled.

After their son’s murder, Gideon and Jeanne Pepper Bernstein established a scholarship fund for foster care and at risk kids at Blaze’s former Orange County high school.

Additional Los Angeles Blade archival reporting from Karen Ocamb

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Orange County

Orange County gay teen has had it with homophobia

Lauren & Nathan Jones said they hope their son’s story give more people voices & show “no one should ever have to go through this alone”



Landon Jones/Instagram

LAKE FOREST, Ca. – An openly gay senior at El Toro High School in this wealthy conservative enclave of Orange County has had it with homophobia, especially when it appears at his front door, literally. Earlier this month 18-year-old Landon Jones posted video captured from his family’s surveillance camera that displayed the homophobic abuse that occurred, which has now gone viral.

In the TikTok post Jones says “I have been called ‘faggot’ countless times at school, and it literally doesn’t bother me at all,” but he adds, “The fact that they came to my house does.”

In his Instagram post, Jones noted; “a group of boys from @eltorohs most of them being on the @eltoro_football team have repeatedly harassed me and called me slurs. i usually don’t let these things bother me, in fact i laugh because they say they hate me yet continue to go out of their way to give me their attention. but last night i was visited by one of these kids at my house. my family and i are angry. we are done.”

An Orange County sheriff’s spokesperson told NBC News that a school resource officer at El Toro High School was able to speak to “individuals that may or may not have been involved in this incident” or “possibly have knowledge of the incident.” The officer said the person who walked up to the Jones home hasn’t been identified, adding that the “investigation remains ongoing.” 

While Jones still attends El Toro High School, he transitioned to virtual schooling at the start of the school year because of “bullying and a rough experience with the school,” he told NBC News.

In addition to the incident at his home, Jones in the same TikTok post also shared a homophobic bullying incident at a Starbucks near his home. Jones told NBC News that he decided to share both incidents on TikTok, where he has nearly 700,000 followers, because “I’m sick of being silent about it. So I finally spoke up.”

A spokesperson for the school district said the “unconscionable acts committed against Landon Jones do not reflect the feelings or values of Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) and El Toro High School (ETHS).”

“ETHS and SVUSD administration, together with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), immediately launched a comprehensive investigation to uncover the facts of the incidents,” Wendie Hauschild, the director of communications and administrative services for the school district, said in an email to NBC.

“We can confirm that the person seen in the surveillance video of the incident that took place at a private home is not a student in SVUSD. Due to the confidentiality that we are required by law to uphold for our students, as well as other minors, SVUSD is unable to share further information regarding the results of the investigation. SVUSD remains steadfast in its commitment to create inclusive, supportive, and safe environments for all students on our campuses.”

The TikTok video has generated more than 1.3 million views and over 11,000 comments including some celebrities and social media influencers. Jones, reflecting on the outpouring of positivity said, “One of the last things that I had expected was the amount of support from the community that I would have gotten.”

@allclearforlandon #lgbt #fyp #hatecrime ♬ original sound – Landon Jones

His parents, Lauren and Nathan told NBC they hope their son’s story will give more people voices and show “that no one should ever have to go through this alone.”

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Teen inspires his community recovering after horrific accident

The 17-year-old Trabuco Hills High School senior said that his focus is to get up and walk, run and be active again as soon as possible



Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Ca. – The summer between year 11 and year 12 is often marked by a flurry of activities many in anticipation of the final year of high school for most young people. But for 17-year-old Cruz Melendez, his senior summer was spent recovering from at least 16 operations including amputation of his right foot after a horrific accident.

KTLA 5’s John Fenoglio reported Saturday that after the 88 days spent in CHOC Children’s Hospital in Mission Viejo as a result of being seriously injured when he was hit head-on by another vehicle at the intersection of Antonio Parkway at Tijeras Creek Road in Rancho Santa Margarita, the teenager was discharged to go home.

According to KTLA, the driver of the other vehicle was killed in the crash. Their passenger, as well as Cruz, were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Cruz’s mom, Rahnee Melendez, described the moment she realized something was wrong on that May night.

“When I got a call at 2 a.m., I just knew, I knew something was wrong,” she said. “I didn’t even answer the phone. I just went straight to his room and he was not there.”

Speaking with KTLA, the 17-year-old Trabuco Hills High School senior said that his focus is to get up and walk, run and be active again as soon as possible expressing thanks for all of the support he’s received while in hospital.

“I am just so grateful for my friends and family. Everyone else who has reached out and giving me donations and stuff. It’s just amazing.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the costs of Cruz’s medical treatment and rehabilitation. To read more, click here.

KTLA 5’s John Fenoglio reports:

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Orange County

Right-wing news anchor delivers obscenity-laden homophobic rant

“Guess what I came home to be greeted with? This fucking bullshit. [points to Rainbow Pride flag] What the hell is that?”



Alison Steinberg (Screenshot/Twitter-Ron Filipkowski)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Ca. – Alison Steinberg, an anchor and contributor for right-wing extremist media outlet One America News, launched into an obscenity-laden rant captured in a now viral video over an LGBTQ+ Pride flag flying in the beachfront business district of Huntington Beach commemorating Pride Month.

Steinberg had originally posted her video to her Instagram account but it was later removed.

In the rant Steinberg is heard saying: “And guess what I came home to be greeted with? This fucking bullshit. [points to Rainbow Pride flag] What the hell is that? Huntington Beach is the town of good old-fashioned hard-working American people, much less human. People who worked all through the COVID lockdown. Yes, that’s right. Huntington Beach never shut down through any of the COVID nonsense fuckery. And now we’re peddling this garbage?”

“What the hell is this? The only flag that should be up there is that American flag. This is a disgrace to our city and it should be taken down immediately. Whoever the hell is running this town needs to be fired. Make America great again. Make Huntington Beach great.”

Ron Filipkowski, a defense lawyer and former Assistant United States Attorney had captured the video and uploaded it to his Twitter account where many of his 402.9K followers retweeted it:

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