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SHOWBIZ: Ellen, Scooby-Doo, 'Survivor,' LGBTQ singers, Andy Cohen
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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The executive producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show are responding to claims that employees experienced a toxic environment while working on the popular daytime talk show, USA Today noted. In interviews with BuzzFeed News, one current and 10 former employees, who all wished to stay anonymous, claimed they faced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the show. Some said they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend funerals, while one claimed she dealt with racist comments, actions and microaggressions. In a joint statement to USA Today, executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner said they were "truly heartbroken and sorry to learn" about the claims. DeGeneres, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Tony Cervone, supervising producer for Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, confirmed that nerdy teenage sleuth Velma was supposed to be a lesbian on the animated series that ran 2010-13, noted. "I've said this before, but Velma in Mystery Incorporated is not bi. She's gay," Cervone responded to a fan on Instagram. "We always planned on Velma acting a little off and out of character while she was dating Shaggy because that relationship was wrong for her and she had unspoken difficulty with the why."

Brice Izyah—the first Black gay man to compete on CBS's Survivor—said the long-running reality franchise needs better representation of diverse people, even behind the camera, LGBTQ Nation noted. Izyah, who competed in 2014 on Survivor: Cagayan, said that being out as LGBTQ can be a liability on the show. J'Tia Taylor—a Black woman who was eliminated in the episode after Izyah—has started a petition that calls for better practices in the franchise for representing minorities, including casting people of color for at least 30 percent of contestants and better vetting contestants for racist, sexist, homophobic and other forms of hatred. Richard Hatch ( a white, gay man ) won the very first season of the show in 2000.

Out gay singer Bob Mould has released "Forecast of Rain," off his upcoming album Blue Hearts, which arrives via Merge Records on Friday, Sept. 25, a press release noted. In a statement, Mould said, in part, "Right now, I'm having a hard time understanding how certain religious sectarians can support the behavior of those who occupy the People's House. How can you endorse their disregard for truth? How can you tolerate the incessant vindictiveness? How can you stand by your man while people are tear-gassed to clear a path to the Lord's House? I'm not good at quoting scripture, but I can manage two words: Jesus wept."

LGBTQ electro-soul singer Cor.ece's music is now on Lena Waithe's Showtime show The Chi, a press release announced. "Get Up"—described as "part cautionary tale, part motivational track"—will be on the season's sixth episode, airing Sunday, July 26. Speaking about Chicago, where the now-Brooklyn-based singer lived at one point, he said, "I came of age in Chicago, I have family there, and it still feels like home; I learned how to be an organizer there and so much of my music is influenced by that city."

The Andy Cohen Diaries debuted on Quibi on July 20, a press release noted. In this dishy, animated inside peek into Cohen's world, he reveals some of his most wild and embarrassing stories with celebrities like Celine Dion, George R.R. Martin, Sarah Jessica Parker and more. The six episode series is the next installment of the New York Times best-sellers The Andy Cohen Diaries and Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries, which documented three years in the life of the producer, TV host and best-selling author in his own words.

Longtime ABC News business affairs chief Barbara Fedida is leaving the division following an internal investigation into racist remarks made about on-air talent, including Good Morning America star Robin Roberts, Yahoo! News reported. "The investigation substantiated that Ms. Fedida did make some of the unacceptable racially insensitive comments attributed to her," Walt Disney Television Chairman Peter Rice said. "It also substantiated that Ms. Fedida managed in a rough manner and, on occasion, used crass and inappropriate language." Fedida has been on administrative leave since June 13 after publication of a HuffPost report that recounted a discussion about the contract of Roberts in which the executive allegedly said the network was not asking Roberts to "pick cotton." Fedida also reportedly used the term "low-rent" to describe Sunny Hostin, a co-host on The View.

Last month, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter assembled a line-up of LGBTQ voices to celebrate the second annual Pride Summit, followed by their first-ever virtual prom, a press release noted. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors kicked off the summit, with singer/activist Shea Diamond, Wilson Cruz, Boy George, Todrick Hall, Lilly Wachowski and Abby McEnany, and Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel among the others featured during the event.

The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation ( OWCF ) donated $3 million to COVID-19 relief efforts in South Los Angeles, California, noted. The donation was presented to South LA Forward, a newly created coalition of three Los Angeles based grassroots organizations: SoLa I Can Foundation, SEE-LA and the Watts Healthcare Corporation. Winfrey's gift is in addition to her previously announced $12 million donation to COVID-19 relief efforts in her "home cities" of Chicago, Nashville, Milwaukee and Kosciusko, Mississippi.

Glee co-star Naya Rivera's body was discovered July 13 in the Southern California lake where she disappeared while on a boat outing with her 4-year-old son, Page Six noted. A body found Monday morning in Lake Piru, about 56 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, was confirmed to be that of Rivera, law enforcement sources told TMZ. She went missing after renting a pontoon boat on the lake—something the California native had done several times previously. An op-ed on her queer legacy is at

Henry Cavill, known for playing Superman, assembled a computer by hand while wearing a muscle-bearing tank top—and the internet couldn't get enough, Page Six noted. Cavill showed off his technical skills, not to mention his body, as he built a new gaming PC while Barry White songs played in the background of a five-minute video posted to Instagram. "All The Parts," the Justice League star captioned the video, adding, "This kind of material isn't for everyone….viewer discretion is advised. You may see a lot of parts that you haven't seen before."

Elvis Duran was slated to host Elvis Duran's Drag Spectacular July 21 to support the drag and LGBTQ communities, a press release noted. Partnering with Born This Way ( BTW ) and The Ali Forney Center, the YouTube show was scheduled to feature Duran and his celebrity guest judges offering commentary on the best drag performances submitted by listeners around the country. Cynthia Germanotta ( Lady Gaga's mother & BTW Foundation founder ), Idina Menzel, RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and Tituss Burgess were among the celebrities confirmed to appear.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, for the Southern District of New York, rejected a proposed $18.9-million class-action settlement for women who have alleged sexual abuse or workplace harassment by convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, NBC News noted. Hellerstein said the preliminary civil settlement would not be fair to the women whom the former film mogul allegedly raped or sexually abused, because it treated them no different from the women who had merely met him, Reuters reported. The judge also took issue with a plan to put aside money to help Weinstein and the board of his former studio, The Weinstein Company, pay legal defense costs.

Actor Idris Elba told the Radio Times he believes in free speech and sometimes that includes speech that might not be widely accepted—including content with racist depictions, USA Today noted. "To mock the truth, you have to know the truth. But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it—wait a second, I think viewers should know that people made shows like this," Elba said.

A group of A-list celebrities called on the Department of Justice to investigate the tragic death of an unarmed Black Pace University junior who was fatally shot by a white Westchester cop in 2010, Page Six noted. The letter, sent to US Attorney General William Barr, urges the Justice Department to reopen the case of Danroy "DJ" Henry's slaying and probe possible police misconduct. Among the celebrities who signed the letter were Rihanna, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Charlize Theron, Taraji Henson, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Williams, Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige and Gabrielle Union.

Several celebrities and activists were arrested July 14 protesting the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor, including Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams and Love & Hip Hop personality Yandy Smith, Page Six noted. Earlier in the day, Williams' fiance, Dennis McKinley, posted a flyer on social media for a peaceful protest taking place at the home of Louisville, Kentucky, attorney general Daniel Cameron.

Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre ( NBT ), founded by the theater pioneer in 1968, was awarded its first Obie Award ( or Off-Broadway Theater Award ), a press release noted. Providing Black creatives with a safe and open space in which to create art that heals, educates and entertains for more than 50 years, NBT's work in the 2019 and 2020 season, which included 125th & FREEdom and 100 Years/100 Women, was highlighted. The honor from the Obie Awards follows NBT's win at the inaugural Antonyo Awards in June—spotlighting the best in Black theater—where the institution took home the Doors of the Theatre Are Open Award.

After nearly 14 years, the 13-time Grammy-winning, multi-platinum selling act The Chicks ( formerly The Dixie Chicks ) released their highly anticipated fifth studio album, Gaslighter, via Columbia Records, a press release touted. The 12'-track record's release also brings the trio's second single off the album, "Sleep at Night," with a new music video shot in the Mojave Desert. Also, The Chicks announced the "For Her Alliance"—a collection of female visual artists who collaborated with the band to create visualizers for select tracks off the album.

After many attempts to carry on, organizers behind the Telluride Film Festival announced they are cancelling the 2020 edition slated to run Sept. 3-7, Deadline reported. The great majority of almost weekly summer festivals in Telluride have cancelled those gatherings this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has collaborated with Napa Valley winery Ashes & Diamonds to create 18 individual, hand-painted magnum rose bottles, a press release noted. Each bottle will sell for $250, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The Okra Project, which helps Black trans people. See

Makeup retailer Morphe has parted with YouTuber Jeffree Star after weeks of public acrimony in the YouTube beauty community, The Verge noted. Star has been accused of using racist and offensive language, as well as manipulating other creators and people close to him. A statement posted on Jeffree Star Cosmetic's Instagram account stated the team was "shocked and extremely saddened by the decision" to part ways.

A portrait of Hollywood and the dark side of fame, the acclaimed and enduring classic film Sunset Boulevard celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. According to a Paramount Home Entertainment press release, the Gloria Swanson/William Holden classic is available now to rent or buy on Digital platforms including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, FandangoNOW and more; the film is also available on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Netflix posted on social media that the Charlize Theron/Gina Prince-Bythewood Skydance movie The Old Guard could easily become one of the streamer's top 10 original movies, Deadline noted. The streamer is estimating that the pic will be seen by 72 million households within four weeks. Should those numbers hold up, Prince-Bythewood will become the first Black female director on that list. The movie—based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka, who also wrote the screenplay—follows a covert team of immortal mercenaries who are suddenly exposed and must fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered.

Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will not return to host the 29th season of Dancing with the Stars, Deadline noted. Long-time host Bergeron, who has been on the show since 2005 and over 400 episodes, revealed the news on social media, calling the show the "most unexpected gift of my career." Last month, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe became the first star lined up to waltz over to the show. Tyra Banks ( now also an executive producer ) will now host the show.

After the success of Grown-ish on Freeform and Mixed-ish on ABC, creator Kenya Barris said another spinoff is currently in the works, TheJasmineBrand noted. When asked about one more spinoff, he told Deadline, "We're brewing it, yeah… It's something I'm really super-excited about it … and hopefully it gets done, and adds to that world in a really special way."

Nick Cannon will continue in his role as host of Fox's The Masked Singer—one of the most high-profile hosting jobs in broadcast TV—after he issued a lengthy apology over controversial anti-Semitic comments he had made recently on his podcast, saying that he feels "ashamed of the uninformed and naÃŻve place that these words came from," Deadline reported. In light of the apology, Fox is standing by the host. In addition to his hosting job on The Masked Singer, Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury has Nick Cannon, a new nationally syndicated daytime talk show hosted by Cannon, slated for a Sept. 21 launch. ViacomCBS fired Cannon after he made the comments.

Viola Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of 1960s housemaid Aibileen Clark in 2011's The Help—a role she's publicly regretted since its release due to the marginalization of Black maids and its "white savior" narrative, noted. The period drama tells the story of a white journalist in the south ( played by Emma Stone ) and her relationship with two maids, Clark and Minny Jackson ( Octavia Spencer ) during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in 1963.

Grant Imahara—a former MythBusters and White Rabbit Project host who earlier worked as a modelmaker for Industrial Light + Magic—died at age 49, Deadline noted. Imahara co-hosted more than 200 episodes of Discovery's MythBusters starting with Season 3 in 2005 and remained with the show until 2014.

A federal judge denied Netflix's second motion to throw out Mo'Nique's racial and gender bias lawsuit against the company, Deadline reported. The comic and Precious Oscar winner, real name Monique Hicks, said the $500,000 she was first offered by Netflix in 2017 for a stand-up special was not just an insult but illegal. Her filing of last November over pay for a potential comedy special cites the tens of millions reportedly paid to comics such as Amy Schumer, Ricky Gervais, Ellen DeGeneres and Dave Chappelle for their Netflix specials.

DJs David Guetta and MORTEN unveiled their new four-track EP, New Rave, via Warner Records, a press release noted. In a statement, Guetta said, "I felt like there was a choice between underground which was cool but maybe more adapted to clubs rather than festivals, or EDM that was still killing the dancefloor but was sounding the same for the last four years and was not satisfying anymore. We wanted to make music that would be sexy, have the cool factor of techno, the energy of edm and why not the emotion of trance." The EP's tracks include "Kill Me Slow," "Nothing," "Bombardment" and "Odyssey."

Lee Greenwood, known for his anthem "God Bless the U.S.A," earned the top position on Billboard Magazine's Digital Song Sales Chart for the first time ever, a press release noted. The decorated single rose from number 50 to number one on the July 18-dated ranking with a 366-percent surge to 15,000 units sold in the week ending July 9.

Survivor will no longer be part of CBS' fall schedule as a result of the COVID-19 production shutdown, as S.W.A.T moves up from midseason as part of the network's revamped schedule, Deadline noted. Producers had hoped to get Survivor up and running to hit the fall deadline, but will not make it in time.

Fyre Festival event producer Andy King, 58, is off the market, thanks to a man 32 years his junior, Page Six noted. King—who became famous for declaring he would "suck d—k" to provide Evian water to patrons at the disastrous music fest, as revealed in a documentary—introduced his new 26-year-old boyfriend, Craig McBlain, on Instagram. McBlain, who stated on his Instagram bio that he is from Ayr, Scotland, said he met King at Miami's Ultra Music Festival in April 2019.

Singer Tamar Braxton was rushed to a local Los Angeles hospital after being found unconscious, Extra reported. The outlet added that, without confirming her identity, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told Us Weekly, "There was a medical emergency call generated related to a possible overdos. The person was then transported to a nearby hospital." According to The Blast, Braxton's boyfriend David Adefeso found her "unresponsive" in her hotel room at the Ritz Carlton Residence in downtown L.A. Weeks before, Braxton sent an excoriating email to her network's bosses, accusing them of destroying her family and making her "suicidal," Page Six reported.

MacGyver star Lucas Till discussed the toxic work environment on set allegedly created by showrunner Peter Lenkov, noted. Till, 29, told Vanity Fair that Lenkov's mistreatment made him consider taking his own life. Till added that when he brought up Lenkov's behavior to executives at CBS, he was dismissed. Lenkov's attorney Dale Kinsella told Vanity Fair that Till's allegations are "100-percent false and untrue."

Lindsay Lohan reminisced with her The Parent Trap co-stars in a video, re-enacting some lines with her on-screen dad, Dennis Quaid, and reflecting on the making of her first film, USA Today noted. "I just felt so lucky and really blessed," Lohan said in the reunion video, posted to Katie Couric's Instagram account. Director Nancy Meyers announced y that she and Couric reunited the Disney film's "entire" cast "for the first time since we made our movie" in 1998.

Hallmark Channel will debut 23 new movies over the holidays, with Hallmark Movies & Mysteries premiering an additional 17, bringing the total to 40 films, noted. That ties last year's record-setting output. Several movies already wrapped production earlier this year, and pre-production is ramping up on many other films that are slated to shoot in the second half of 2020 ( with the schedule dependent on the ever-changing situation ).

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