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Sports Illustrated terminates most of staff in mass layoff

Employees were notified by publisher that they were terminated. It’s unknown if the 70-year-old sports magazine will cease publication



Openly gay American Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon being interviews by Sports Illustrated in 2019. (Screenshot/YouTube Sports Illustrated)

NEW YORK – In an abrupt move Friday, Sports Illustrated employees were notified by publisher The Arena Group that they were terminated. It is unknown if the venerable 70-year-old sports magazine will cease publication.

The union representing the editorial employees posted in part to X formerly Twitter:

“This is another difficult day in what has been a difficult four years for Sports Illustrated under Arena Group (previously The Maven) stewardship,” the staff union said in a statement. “We are calling on ABG to ensure the continued publication of SI and allow it to serve our audience in the way it has for nearly 70 years.”

Fort Myers, Florida-based political journalist Brian Krassenstein noted that The Arena Group, which is the publisher for Sports Illustrated, has missed a $2.8 million payment to SI’s license holder, Authentic Brands Group, and will be forced to lay off the majority of their staff.

Deadline reported:

Following through on a warning earlier this monthAuthentic Brands Group has revoked Sports Illustrated‘s license to publish due to a missed payment.

As a result of the move, the entire staff of the 70-year-old print and online publication was notified on Friday that their jobs were being eliminated.

“We appreciate the work and efforts of everyone who has contributed to the SI brand and business,” SI operator The Arena Group wrote in a memo to employees that set off outrage on social media.

Deadline also noted that The Arena Group, which has operated the venerable brand under a license agreement since 2019, said in an SEC filing earlier this month that it did not make a quarterly payment of about $3.75 million.

Authentic “issued the company a notice of breach with the intent to exercise its right of termination,” Arena said in the filing, adding that they are “in discussion” with the licensor.



Time’s 100 most influential people of 2024: LGBTQ+ honorees

The list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2024 includes several LGBTQ celebrities & activists who champion queer rights



Actor Elliot Page said that "[It's] a tremendous honor to be featured in TIME’s 2024 #TIME100 list." Page was among several LGBTQ+ honorees. (Photo Credit: Time magazine)

By Amber Laenen | WASHINGTON – Time magazine on Wednesday unveiled its highly anticipated list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2024, and it includes several LGBTQ celebrities and activists who continue to champion queer rights.

Among the notable figures that Time recognized is actor Coleman Domingo, who portrayed civil rights activist Bayard Rustin in the biopic “Rustin.” Domingo, among other things, is the second openly gay man nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a gay character.

Other people on the list are:

  • Actor Elliot Page, known for his roles in “Juno” and “The Umbrella Academy.” His recent memoir, “Pageboy,” sheds light on his journey as a transgender man, inspiring audiences amid ongoing challenges to trans rights.
  • Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson.
  • Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a Ugandan LGBTQ rights group.
  • Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, an LGBTQ activist in Sri Lanka who led the effort to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations in her country.

Time’s list also includes other LGBTQ influencers, such as fashion designer Jonathan Anderson, reproductive biologist Katsuhiko Hayashi, chef Dominique Crenn, and healthcare advocate Ophelia Dahl.


Amber Laenen is a senior at Thomas More Mechelen University in Belgium. She is majoring in journalism and international relations. Amber is interning with the Blade this semester as part of a continued partnership with the Washington Center.

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Star Trek stars back striking WGA writers, queer actors picket

The writers & actors walking the picket lines represented the entire franchise from the original series of Star Trek to Star Trek Picard



Star Trek actors and writers posed for a group photo on the picket line Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by JW Hendricks/Twitter)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Members of the Writers Guild of America are getting some bicoastal star support in their strike, now three weeks old, from actors, producers, writers and fans of Star Trek

LeVar Burton, Jeri Ryan, Scott Bakula, Denise Crosby, Todd Stashwick, Ethan Peck, Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Robert Picardo, Tawny Newsome, Celia Rose Gooding, Santiago Cabrera, Chase Masterson, Jess Bush, Cirroc Lofton, Armin Shimerman, Anthony Montgomery and Star Trek Prodigy voice actor Jason Mantzoukas were among the stars who joined out LGBTQ+ actors Anthony Rapp, Blu del Barrio, Stephanie Czajkowski, Jonathan Del Arco and Mary Chieffo on the picket lines outside Paramount studios in Hollywood and New York City. 

Carrying signs and chanting “No wages, no pages, no contract, no scripts,” a large contingent of Star Trek actors marched outside Paramount offices on both coasts Friday, calling for public support of the unionized writers. 

As Trek Movie reported, the writers and actors walking the picket lines represented the entire science fiction franchise, from the original series of Star Trek to The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery as well as Strange New Worlds, Lower Decks, Prodigy and Paramount’s most recent streaming hit series, Star Trek Picard. 

The writers on hand ranged from the famous, such as out gay writer David Gerrold, who wrote the famous “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode broadcast in 1967, to the still struggling, like out transgender writer and author Tilly Bridges, who also marched in the “Trans Takeover” protest outside Netflix on Thursday. 

WGA captain Carlos Cisco, one of the organizers of Friday’s gathering, revealed in a tweet how it all came together.  

Other creative types who toiled behind the scenes of Star Trek came out to show support, including legendary art supervisor, graphic designer and Picard consultant Michael Okuda, writers Mark Altman, Mike Sussman, Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr, showrunner of Voyager and Enterprise, Brannon Braga, Prodigy showrunners Kevin and Dan Hageman as well as Picard showrunner Terry Matalas. 

Friday’s turnout was so large for this “Star Trek Day” protest that picketers lined the entire block of Melrose Avenue outside Paramount. 

On Monday, more stars came out to walk the picket line, specifically in support of the writers of Picard. That show’s writing room included queer writers and assistants.

Walking the picket lines outside the studios alongside the writers and the actors — who are voting in their own union’s strike authorization ballot – are members of the Producers Guild of America, animators, IATSE teamsters and politicians, from the mayor of Burbank to Congressman Adam Schiff. Trans WNBA star Layshia Clarendon of the Los Angeles Sparks has also joined the picket line. 

Out trans journalist Melody Maia Monet of Orlando, Fla.  joined this reporter, a 36-year member of the Writers Guild, on the picket line Monday. We were thrilled at the opportunity to show support for the union as well as to meet Matalas and several Star Trek writers and actors.

Terry Matalas/Instagram 
Jeri Ryan, left with Dawn Ennis
Photo by Melody Maia Monet
Jonathan Del Arco, Jeri Ryan, Kyle Fritz and Todd Stashwick
Photo by Dawn Ennis
Jeri Ryan, left, with Melody Maia Monet
Photo by Melody Maia Monet
Dawn Ennis, left, with LeVar Burton
Photo by Dawn Ennis
Writer Matt Okumura
Photo by Dawn Ennis
Melody Maia Monet, left, with Todd Stashwick
Photo by Melody Maia Monet
Dawn Ennis, left, with Stephanie Czajkowski
Photo by Melody Maia Monet
From L to R: Melody Maia Monet, Stephanie Czajkowski and Dawn Ennis
Photo by Dawn Ennis
Melody Maia Monet, left, with Dawn Ennis / WGA Photo

For more pictures, check out the photo galleries assembled by Brittany Woodside and JW Hendricks

If you’d like to know who else was in that “Star Trek family photo” Hendricks snapped on Friday, watch this video by Larry “Dr. Trek” Nemecek:

Find out how you can show support for the striking writers by visiting the Strike Hub website or their Amazon Wish List. They are marching on the picket lines on weekdays. The schedule of picketing can be found here. 

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Google ‘Doodle’ honors Native American lesbian activist

A Google ‘Doodle’ is a temporary alteration of the company’s logo to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, & notable historical figures



Screenshot, Google dot com, May 22, 2023.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The Google ‘Doodle’ for Monday May 22, honors Barbara May Cameron on what would have been her 69th birthday. Cameron, who died on February 12, 2002 at age 48 was a well known lesbian Native American photographer, poet, writer, and human rights activist in the fields of lesbian/gay rights, women’s rights, and Native American rights.

A Google ‘Doodle’ is a temporary alteration of the company’s logo on its homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures.

In a Jan 28, 2021 article, San Francisco’s NPR public radio and PBS television KQED wrote in a profile of Cameron, a Hunkpapa Lakota born on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, in North Dakota:

“In 1963, when Barbara May Cameron was just 9 years old, she read an article about San Francisco. At the time, Cameron, a Hunkpapa Lakota, lived on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota with her grandparents. As soon as she read about the far-away California city, she confidently informed her grandmother that, one day, she would live there. “And save the world too,” she added.”

Just over a decade later, Cameron made it to San Francisco and got to work. First, she co-founded Gay American Indians (GAI) alongside her friend Randy Burns. Cameron viewed GAI as both a support group for Native lesbians and gay men, and a means to carve out space for them within the wider (and whiter) LGBTQ+ community.” 

KQED also noted:

“Cameron’s passion, resilience and dedication allowed her not only to become a beacon and a voice for marginalized groups in the Bay Area, but also to act as a bridge between them. Chrystos, a Native American poet and activist, once said that Cameron had given her, “a sense of dignity about my place in the world, and my right to be in that place.” Cameron did that for countless Indigenous and LGBTQ+ people like her. Inspired by that, last year, (2020) the Pride is a Protest project honored her life with artwork displayed just across from the Ferry Building in San Francisco.”

Screenshot, Google dot com.

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WGA Strike: “Trans Takeover” trans writers at Netflix Hollywood

“Trans people are workers too. We’re in solidarity with labor around the world & we are showing up in ways that we are often not depicted”



Sydney Baloue hosts Writers Guild of America West #TransTakeover at Netflix Thursday, May 18, 2023. (Photo Credit: Writers Guild of America West)

HOLLYWOOD – On Thursday, Writers Guild of America West picket lines were joined by at least 200 transgender and non-binary writers in a featured “Trans Takeover” led by WGA members Sydney Baloue, and Kam, & Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey in front of Netflix’s Los Angeles corporate offices on Sunset Blvd.

The “Trans Takeover” was staged to address concerns about trans employment and how the transgender and non-binary community is portrayed in contemporary pop culture.

“Trans people are workers too. We’re in solidarity with the labor movement around the world and we are showing up in ways that we are often not depicted,” said writer Jacob Tobia speaking to Variety. “Strikes are moments where you redefine who is at the table, and we want to be sure that we’re sending a really strong message to the world that we’re at the table now and we want to stay at the table.”

Tobia and others speaking with the entertainment trade magazine noted that the hostile backlash to LGBTQ+ rights, particularly for trans and nonbinary people, in states including Texas and Tennessee has come on the heels of a number of TV series and movies focused on this marginalized but emerging community.

“If you want to stand with us, you need to stand with us. You can’t just put us in a few TV shows and then, when things get hard and when people are paying attention, stop greenlighting our projects,” they said. “You have to commit to us as a community and show that you really care about our dignity, our lives and our economic vitality,” Tobia said.

The future of queer representation in film and television could be at stake in the ongoing negotiations between the Writers Guild of American and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, many people are saying at the WGA strike enters its third week.

The WGA is broadly demanding better pay and better working conditions for film and television writers, alleging that studios are increasingly demanding unpaid labor from writers and reducing writing jobs in television. They’re also demanding limitations on the use of artificial intelligence in drafting scripts. The WGA says these developments are making writing in Hollywood unsustainable for the vast majority of writers.

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ABC News names Out Gio Benitez “GMA” weekend co-anchor

Gio has notably covered the Pulse nightclub shooting, El Chapo’s underground escape from a Mexican prison and the Boston Marathon bombing



Gio Benitez (Photo Credit: ABC News)

NEW YORK – ABC News President Kim Godwin announced Thursday that the Disney-owned network had named openly gay Gio Benitez, 37, as the permanent weekend co-anchor for the Good Morning America’s Saturday and Sunday Broadcasts.

Benitez joins current co-anchors Whit Johnson and Janai Norman.  He has been ABC News’ transportation correspondent since 2020, covering aviation during the industry’s near-total collapse in the pandemic and space at the onset of America’s private space race, plus the auto industry and railroads.

Since joining ABC News in 2013, Gio has notably covered the Pulse nightclub shooting, El Chapo’s underground escape from a Mexican prison and the Boston Marathon bombing. He has a long history of breaking exclusive investigative stories, and some of these investigations have led to important safety recalls.

Before joining ABC News in 2013, he was a reporter for WFOR-TV in Miami.

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