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SHOWBIZ Trans movie, Diana Ross, GLAAD study, celebrities take stand
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-06-01

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The Netflix original documentary Disclosure will launch Friday, June 19, a press release noted. Directed by Sam Feder and executive produced by Laverne Cox, Disclosure shows how the fabled stories of Hollywood deeply influence how Americans feel about transgender people, and how transgender people are taught to feel about themselves. The film world-premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was also a selection of the Tribeca, CPH:DOX and Hot Docs festivals.

Legendary musician/producer Nile Rodgers claimed that Diana Ross "didn't understand" the LGBTQ association in her 1980 anthem "I'm Coming Out," Metro Weekly noted. Rodgers, who co-wrote and co-produced the song with Bernard Edwards, told the New York Post that Ross didn't make the connection between the song and gay people coming out of the closet. Ross was eventually clued into the song's inspiration after radio DJ Frankie Crocker thought "I'm Coming Out" was "Diana saying that she was gay," Rodgers said. The singer reportedly returned to the studio in tears and demanded to know why Rodgers wanted to ruin her career. Rodgers added that he came up with the "I'm coming out" hook after visiting GG's Barnum Room, a club for transgender people, in Manhattan—and met a group of Ross impersonators.

GLAAD announced findings of the "LGBTQ Inclusion in Advertising and Media" study, conducted in partnership with Procter & Gamble ( P&G ), a press release noted. The study details how non-LGBTQ Americans respond to TV, films and ads featuring LGBTQ representation. Results demonstrated high comfortability around viewing LGBTQ images in the media, favorability toward brands with LGBTQ-inclusive advertising, and overall greater acceptance and understanding. The full report is at GLAAD.org/inclusion.

Celebrities took action against inequality and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, USA Today reported. Among them, Beyonce urged her 147 million Instagram followers to sign several petitions to seek justice for Floyd in a rare Instagram statement; Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx flew to Minneapolis, where he joined community leaders and social justice activists; and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda announced he's donating to the Louisville Community Bail Fund to aid arrested protesters, and encouraged his followers to do the same. ( The Louisville protests were also connected to the death of Breonna Taylor. ) Also, Chrissy Teigen pledged $200,000 to bail out "rioters and criminals" arrested in protests springing up in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd; and Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Janelle Monae and Don Cheadle were among the stars donating to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, People.com noted.

WarnerMedia's streaming platform HBO Max officially launched May 27, featuring content curated from across WarnerMedia's catalog and a roster of new Max Originals, plus fan-favorite acquired franchises and films, a WarnerMedia press release announced. This new direct-to-consumer experience features 10,000 hours of premium content including the entire HBO service; motion picture and TV series from Warner Bros.' 100-year content collection; highlights from New Line; catalog titles from DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes Cartoons; and more. HBO Max is available starting at $14.99/month, from WarnerMedia, at HBOMax.com .

Speaking of which, HBO Max announced the greenlight of Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020, a press release noted. Inspired by Tony-winning actress Laura Benanti's online movement #SunshineSongs—in which she offered to be an audience for the students around the country whose spring musicals were cancelled because of COVID-19—this television event will give students the opportunity to sing and dance from the safety of their homes. "Homeschool" is executive-produced by Benanti along with Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder Productions; Golden Globe-nominated composer Leland will write and produce the original songs and score.

The LGBT movie The Surrogate will open in virtual theaters Friday, June 12, a press release noted. Jess Harris ( Jasmine Batchelor, of The Good Fight ) is ecstatic to be the surrogate and egg donor for her best friend, Josh ( Chris Perfetti, of the shows Looking and What We Do in the Shadows ), and his husband, Aaron ( Sullivan Jones, of Slave Play ). Twelve weeks into the pregnancy, a prenatal test comes back with unexpected results that pose a moral dilemma. As they all consider the best course of action, the relationship between the three friends is put to the test. See MonumentReleasing.com/the-surrogate.

On May 29, VH1 reality-competition series RuPaul's Drag Race crowned its Season 12 winner during an hour-long virtual finale, where queens were asked to get creative and perform three distinct lip-sync challenges from their homes during lockdown, USA Today noted. The finalists were Crystal Methyd, Gigi Goode and Jaida Essence Hall, with Hall earning the win. Her victory capped a somewhat troubled season for the show: In March, drag queen Sherry Pie ( real name: Joey Gugliemelli ) was disqualified from the competition following multiple catfishing allegations. Despite reaching the Top 4, she did not compete in the finale and was largely edited out of the season's episodes, the majority of which were taped last year.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season will be out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, Sept. 22, on Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, a press release noted. DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season is priced to own at $24.98 SRP for the DVD ( $29.98 in Canada ) and $29.98 SRP for the Blu-ray ( $39.99 in Canada ), which includes a digital copy ( U.S. only ). DC's Legends of Tomorrow stars Brandon Routh ( Arrow; Superman Returns ), Caity Lotz ( Arrow; Mad Men ), Jes Macallan ( Mistresses; Shameless ), Tala Ashe ( The Flash; The Carrie Diaries ), Nick Zano ( The Final Destination ) and Dominic Purcell ( Prison Break; The Flash ), with a special appearance by Matt Ryan ( Constantine ) reprising his popular role as John Constantine.

NYX Professional Makeup launched a new yearlong campaign initiative, revealed a $50,000 donation and announced an impending virtual march all in celebration of and in honor to the LGBTQ+ community, Out.com noted. Titled "Proud Allies for All," the campaign features queer and trans folks like Pose's Jeremy McClain alongside allies. For the campaign, Hennessy Carolina, Kameron Leston, Erika LaPearl, and Jeremy McClain are all featured. McClain is featured alongside friend and ally Shamari.

Netflix let go of Fran Tirado—the streaming giant's "brand and editorial strategy lead for LGBTQ content"—after 10 months, Page Six noted. Tirado announced he was leaving a week after The New York Times profiled him in "The Pandemic Work Diary of Netflix's Queer Champion." The piece outlined his workweek, from meetings about a Ryan Murphy project to daily meals and music likes. He also revealed thoughts on rivals and Netflix itself—and there are questions if Netflix knew about the interview beforehand—and if Tirado was axed because of it. A rep for Netflix only confirmed Tirado is no longer there.

Actor John Boyega ( Star Wars ) delivered an uncompromising message against racism after fielding praise and backlash for Twitter posts about the subject, BBC.com noted. Sparked by the death of George Floyd—who was shown in a video groaning "I can't breathe" as a white policeman knelt on his neck—in Minnesota, Boyega posted about his hatred of racists. After getting mixed feedback, he said on Instagram Live, "A Black man was just murdered in cold blood in the street Stateside again, while saying he can't breathe. That's a continuous cycle going on. Although I don't live in the States, I'm Black."

NBC, Fremantle and Syco issued a statement about the results from an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the firing of former America's Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union, Deadline noted. The statement said, "Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union's appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time. The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract." During her time on the show, Union reportedly had voiced concerns about a "toxic" culture on the show, including her hairstyle choices being called "too Black." America's Got Talent recently premiered its latest season with new judge Sofia Vergara.

The Good Doctor co-star Hill Harper apologized for misgendering Zaya Wade in a birthday message to her in which he used as an opportunity to promote his book, according to PinkNews. Zaya, the transgender daughter of former NBA star Dwyane Wade, turned 13 on May 29. Her stepmother, Gabrielle Union, marked the occasion with a celebratory post on Instagram. Harper's plug ( in which he wrote, "Happy Birthday young man!! Read Letters to a Young Brother!!!" ) was condemned by more than a hundred commenters, who called his words "disgusting," "Blatantly disrespectful," and "full of malice."

Megan Thee Stallion achieved another huge career milestone—with her single "Savage Remix," featuring Beyonce, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a press release noted. This is following the news that the track has also officially reached the top at US Rhythmic radio, alongside its three weeks at number one on urban radio. The song has had two remixes—one by Beyonce to benefit The Bread of Life, Inc., and the other featuring Diplo's Major Lazer collective taking "Savage" in a more dance-focused direction.

Halsey is apparently studying constitutional law while quarantined, according to Page Six. The "You Should Be Sad" singer, 25, included a close-up of a book of constitutional law studies by Erwin Chemerinsky in a recent Instagram update. Replying to a fan who asked about the book, Halsey responded, "I'm studying to take the bar exam!" Halsey could be intent on following the Kim Kardashian route to a law degree, wherein, after passing a "baby bar" exam, she will be allowed to continue for three more years of study.

Speaking of Halsey, she also took part in George Floyd protests—and said she was hit by a rubber bullet in the process, LGBTQ Nation noted. The singer attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles and documented alleged police brutality in a series of tweets. Police "fired rubber bullets at us," she wrote. "We did not breach the line. Hand were up. Unmoving. And they gassed and fired." In another tweet, Halsey said that she wasn't arrested and encouraged her fans to donate to bail funds.

Solo singer and Spice Girl Melanie C released her brand-new single and music video for "Blame It On Me," a High Rise PR release noted. The song calls out the toxicity in a relationship, and follows the release of "Who I Am." The Sylvie Weber-directed music video for "Blame" is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SQcsGbRNYY&feature=youtu.be.

Continuing the fight against COVID-19, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/activist/actress, Andra Day unveiled a song from her catalog entitled "Make Your Troubles Go Away," a press release noted. Day will donate proceeds to GiveDirectly to benefit families affected by the global pandemic. She partnered with GiveDirectly—a leading global non-profit specializing in digital cash transfers—as a lead ambassador.

Republic Records and Focus Features released The High Note Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, a press release announced. The film ( starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson ) is also now available on at-home-on-demand and VOD streaming across platforms. Prior to The High Note's arrival, listeners everywhere experienced the first single "Love Myself ( The High Note )," as performed by Ross, the daughter of the legendary Diana Ross.

Ellie Goulding announced the details of her forthcoming double album Brightest Blue, which is set to feature collaborations with Diplo, the late Juice WRLD and more, NME.com noted. Brightest Blue'is set to arrive Friday, July 17, via Interscope Records, and will feature 18 tracks over two sides, including pre-release singles "The Brightest Blue," "EG.0" and "Power." In addition to Diplo and Juice WRLD, the newly released tracklist also has Goulding collaborating with serpentwithfeet; Swae Lee, of Rae Sremmurd; and Lauv and blackbear.

And Diplo has released his new country album on Columbia Records, Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil, a press release noted. He also unveiled the video for "Dance With Me ( feat. Thomas Rhett & Young Thug )." Featuring additional new collaborations with Zac Brown and Danielle Bradbery, Noah Cyrus, Orville Peck and more, the album also includes double platinum-certified single "Heartless," with Morgan Wallen ( and its alternate version with Julia Michaels ); "Lonely," with Jonas Brothers; "Do Si Do," with Blanco Brown; and "So Long," with Cam.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Boston Marathon was canceled, and it will become a virtual race for the first time in the event's history, CNN.com noted. The event had previously been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14. All registered participants will be offered a full refund for their entry fees, and the race will be replaced by a virtual event in which participants can earn their finisher's medals by verifying that they ran 26.2 miles on their own within a six-hour time period. People are able to participate virtually Sept. 7-14, and all athletes that complete the virtual race will receive a T-shirt, medal and runner's bib.

Sources confirmed to Variety that Man of Steel actor Henry Cavill is in talks to return as Clark Kent in an upcoming DC Comics movie. In addition to Zack Snyder's Superman origin story Man of Steel in 2013, Cavill played the iconic hero in 2016's Batman v. Superman and 2017's Justice League. The British actor's most recent big-screen appearance came in 2018's Mission: Impossible —Fallout, alongside Tom Cruise. Cavill currently stars in Netflix's The Witcher and plays the role of Geralt of Rivia.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a discrimination suit against Disney and CBS Studios, alleging the companies allowed Criminal Minds cinematographer Greg St. Johns to get away with sexual harassment for 14 years, Variety reported. According to the suit, St. Johns habitually touched men on the groin and butt, and kissed and caressed their necks and shoulders. The suit alleges that, over the years, more than a dozen men were fired for complaining about his behavior. St. Johns left the show after Variety reported in 2018 that crew members had repeatedly complained about his behavior, but that management had done nothing about it.

The Los Angeles Police Department has issued a warning directed to Hollywood Hills residents after seeing an "increase in loud house parties" during the coronavirus pandemic, Variety noted. With the Los Angeles night club and bar scene currently shuttered due to shelter-in-place and social distancing regulations, cops are more frequently answering house calls over loud disturbances in the ritzy neighborhoods, while some people have turned to short-term rentals to host get-togethers. Gatherings of any size are currently prohibited under orders issued by both Los Angeles county and the state of California.

FX renewed It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for a record 15th season, making it the longest-running live-action U.S. sitcom, according to the network, CNN.com noted. ( The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet ran 14 seasons. ) The series, about a group of friends who run an Irish pub in South Philadelphia, premiered on FX in 2005 and moved to FXX for its ninth season.

Urban Cowboy arrived on Blu-ray for the first time ever on June 2, from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Starring John Travolta and Debra Winger, the movie ( which has its 40th anniversary this year ) chronicles the rocky love story of Bud and Sissy, set against the backdrop of Houston's famous honky-tonk bar, Gilley's.

Also celebrating 40 years is the classic comedy Airplane!, which will have a brand-new Blu-ray as well as a limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook both arriving July 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Robert Hays stars as an ex-fighter pilot forced to take over the controls of an airliner when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning. The all-star cast also includes Julie Hagerty, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The comedy spoof skewers airplane disaster flicks, religious zealots, television commercials and more.

John Krasinski ( A Quiet Place ) is back as Tom Clancy's CIA analyst in Jack Ryan: Season Two, out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, Aug. 4, a Paramount Home Entertainment release noted. Joining Krasinski and Wendell Pierce ( The Wire ) in the second season are Michael Kelly ( House of Cards ), Tom Wlaschiha ( Game of Thrones ), Noomi Rapace ( The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ), Jordi Molla ( Riddick ) and Cristina Umaña ( Narcos ).

Woody Allen spoke out against son Ronan Farrow, whose journalism recently faced criticism from The New York Times, USA Today noted. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the director said, "Up until a couple of days ago I would have said 'Gee, this is great, he's done some good investigative journalism and more power to him, I wish him all the success in the world. But now it's come out that his journalism has not been so ethical or honest."

The woman behind a virtual philanthropic conference that promised George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey and other A-listers—but allegedly turned out to be a sham—reportedly has been claiming she worked with Clooney for years, Page Six noted. In an email seen by Page Six, Stephanie Lapensee claimeds she has worked alongside Clooney on numerous charity projects since 2006. But a rep for the actor said, "It's not true." When asked for comment Lapensee said, "I have never worked" with Clooney or "any of his charities." Lapensee hired Wunderlich Kaplan Communications to publicize her Thrive Philanthropy digital Connect Summit with tickets going for up to $1,799; however, the PR firm's Dara Kaplan said that after press materials went out, the firm got a call from Clooney's rep saying he was not involved in or aware of the summit.

Kylie Jenner's lawyer is demanding Forbes take down its story accusing the reality TV star and makeup mogul of lying her way to billionaire status, Page Six noted. Forbes published a bombshell report stripping Jenner of the title of youngest-ever self-made billionaire, claiming she used fake draft tax returns to boost her net worth.

Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein was hit with a new lawsuit Thursday from four anonymous women who say he sexually abused them over the last four decades—including a victim who said she was just 17 at the time, Page Six noted. The suit also names as defendants Weinstein's brother, Robert Weinstein; Miramax; and Disney, which bought Miramax in 1993. The filing alleges that the defendants were aware of Weinstein's sexual misconduct and actively hid it.

Sylvester Stallone recently put his La Quinta, California, mansion on the market for $3.35 million, TopTenRealEstateDeals.com noted. La Quinta, in suburban Los Angeles, is famous for its abundant golf courses and where Frank Capra wrote the screenplay for Lost Horizons in 1937 while lounging poolside at the La Quinta Resort & Club. Stallone's four-bedroom, five-bath, 4,889-square-foot home choice was likely influenced by his Italian ancestry with its Old World Mediterranean style and Caribbean Island touches including double-wooden front doors; walled patio entry; inside rooms that open to the outdoors; vaulted foyer; and more.

Bachelor couple Colton Underwood, 28, and Cassie Randolph, 25, called it quits, according to Extra. Randolph announced their split, calling it "one of the hardest things" to share since neither is ready to discuss it yet. She added, "Colton and I have broken up, but have decided to remain a part of each others lives." Underwood recently talked about his questioning his sexuality in his new book, The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, CNN.com noted. "[The show taught me] that I'm straight and I'm very, very attracted to Cassie [Randolph] and women—but it would have been OK if it would have been the other way too," Underwood told Entertainment Tonight.


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