With consideration for the “current circumstances resulting from disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the SEC has adjusted its rules to allow immediate eligibility for players who have transferred within the conference.
With consideration for the “current circumstances resulting from disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the SEC has adjusted its rules to allow immediate eligibility for players who have transferred within the conference.
Securities Litigation Partner James Wilson Encourages Investors Who Suffered Losses Exceeding $50,000 In Fastly To Contact Him Directly To Discuss Their Options New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - October 25, 2020) - If you suffered losses exceeding $50,000 investing in Fastly stock or options between May 6, 2020 and August 5, 2020 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/FSLY or call Faruqi & Faruqi partner James Wilson directly at 877-247-4292 or ...
Like millions of Americans, we students have had our lives turned upside down by COVID-19. As we anticipated a return to campus at our college over the summer, the biggest question was: How do we enjoy the social aspect of college during a global pandemic?In recent months, we’ve seen many colleges adopt a strict approach to get students to follow the rules, and mitigate the risk of campus outbreaks, like suspending students for attending a party or ignoring COVID-19 safeguards. But it’s hard to expect us to come back to campus, be locked in our rooms, and not talk to anyone or socialize at all. And punishing college kids for socializing can be harmful and ineffective.We’ve tried doing things differently at Beloit College, a liberal arts school in Wisconsin. And even though our state is a coronavirus hot spot, we’ve (so far) avoided disaster.Our faculty and administration realized that they don’t experience campus life the same way as students do, and telling college students not to party or to ban everything wouldn’t be safe—or realistic. Instead, it would lead to gatherings that would be very secretive, unregulated, and probably take place inside, without masks.They understood that students needed to be part of the process to help redefine expectations on campus. That’s where we came in.Starting in June, the two of us—as leaders of the Beloit Student Government–and a group of other students got to work. We had honest conversations about how and where people would have social gatherings and parties, rather than pretending they wouldn’t happen at all.The group included student representatives from various aspects of campus life—including Greek Life, athletics, resident assistants, clubs and more—to help ensure a trickle-down effect to all members of our student body.The result was a Student Statement of Culture, with an addendum with detailed Behavioral Expectations for life on campus. It outlines how we, as students, can mitigate the risk of COVID-19 while still hosting gatherings, participating in activities, drinking, traveling, and even dating.COVID-19 Can’t Stop Early Voters in WisconsinAs an example, while parties are traditionally hosted inside, our guidelines outline that all gatherings should be outside as much as possible and allow for physical distancing. The college even created outdoor gathering spaces, with tents and heat lamps, to accommodate these recommendations.It is also the responsibility of the party host and guests, whether it's planned or impromptu, to model the College’s COVID-19 protective practices and encourage them to be followed. These include occupancy rules, ensuring that drinks aren’t being shared, and remaining six feet apart when removing your face covering to eat or drink.At clubs, organizations, meetings, and other larger social gatherings, contact tracing must occur—and a plan must be laid out to ensure that large groups of people are not entering or exiting the space at once.We also included advice on other activities that are frowned upon during these socially distanced times.For instance, while continuing to see friends and significant others who live off campus is permitted, students recognize that they are exposing themselves to a level of risk and must engage in protective practices whenever possible to ensure the health of others.Some slip-ups have occurred. If a student is not following the rules, we hold each other accountable. We tell each other when another student is not adhering to our protective practices and makes us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, this may also mean reporting another student.But we know our college—and other institutions—can only operate in-person if all members of the community are invested in creating a culture where you follow the rules.We’ve been fortunate to be on campus, with a mix of both in-person and online classes, since September, when many college campuses nationwide remain closed. And we believe our efforts have been a major reason why our campus has stayed open.As we see COVID-19 spikes around the country, and especially in Wisconsin, we’re reporting very few or zero new positive COVID-19 cases daily. Our fellow students are really paying attention and doing everything possible to keep everyone safe.A lot of this lands on our shoulders. The behavior of each individual has the potential to negatively impact the whole community.That’s why the fundamental principle behind this initiative is “self-care is community care,” which means we must individually take care of ourselves by wearing masks and social distancing, among other protective guidelines.When we do this, we keep ourselves and the entire community safe.Hopefully, we serve as a national example to other schools of how college kids can still be kids—even during a global pandemic.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The Seychelles elected an opposition candidate as president for the first time since 1977, authorities announced on Sunday, and winner Wavel Ramkalawan reaffirmed a pledge to hike the minimum wage after COVID-19 stifled the tourism-dependent economy. Ramkalawan, a former Anglican priest, defeated President Danny Faure after three decades of unsuccessful runs for the presidency of the East African nation, an Indian Ocean archipelago famed for its natural beauty and rare wildlife. Ramkalawan promised to continue working with Faure - an unusually good-natured transfer of power for the nearby African continent where many rulers are eliminating term limits and cracking down on political opposition.
As the coronavirus pandemic really started to rip through America in mid-March, Todd Disotell wondered how he, a biological anthropologist locked down in his central Massachusetts home, could help others through what was shaping up to be a long and brutal crisis.Then, the answer hit him: the six-foot tall bronze Bigfoot statue his father gave him for Christmas.Disotell, a well-known Bigfoot skeptic who is nonetheless cordial with many people who believe in and groups that search for the legendary creature(s), moved the statue to the edge of the road by his house. He then placed a sign in its hand for drivers to read: North American Social Distancing Champion. Every day for about seven weeks, he swapped the sign out for a new, punny public health message, like sasq-wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.Disotell was not alone in co-opting Bigfoot into (corny) PSAs. In late March, parks officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma, introduced the Social Distancing Sasquatch, a pandemic safety mascot. Signs went up in Idaho claiming Bigfoot had tested negative for the coronavirus, and explaining how social distancing helped him do so. On sites like Amazon, Redbubble, and Sasquatch Outpost, retailers are currently selling countless shirts and masks, pillows and mugs, featuring Bigfoot and promoting pandemic safety.Bigfoot’s emergence as a pandemic icon can play a valuable—or at least fun—role in spreading vital information about the resurgent pandemic, public health experts said. But there’s a deep irony at the heart of this trend: Many who actually believe in Sasquatch don’t buy into the science of COVID-19.Some have even continued to hold in-person conventions, raising super-spreader concerns.Cases Skyrocket As Superspreader Church Refuses to Host COVID TestingBigfoot is ubiquitous, so beloved in American culture that someone, somewhere will try to tie the creature into almost anything in the news. Connecting the cryptid to the pandemic was especially easy, explained Bigfoot author and skeptic-enthusiast Joshua Blu Buhs, given the enduring popularity of a meme featuring Bigfoot’s silhouette and reading hide and seek champion, which ported right into social distancing messaging.Many people seemingly made the connection independently, and their new memes took off like wildfire on social media. Local coverage of the theft of Disotell’s Bigfoot in late April, which attracted ample attention online, also likely played a role in popularizing sasquatch messaging. (The statue showed up soon after it went missing, dumped in a yard 30 miles away. Disotell is not sure who stole it, or why.)Cliff Barackman, the host of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot and curator of the North American Bigfoot Center, believes these stunts and memes took off because they bring much-needed levity to otherwise grim pandemic discussions. He’s fine with this trend, because he thinks lighthearted depictions will disincline people to shoot what he believes to be a real—and endangered—creature on sight if they stumble upon one.But “many [self-proclaimed Bigfoot] researchers dislike the use of sasquatch as a cultural icon,” he adds. They find these memes tastelessly silly, or believe they misrepresent what they claim are the hard facts they have uncovered about the creatures.That’s probably why these memes don’t show up often in Bigfoot-believing social media circles. “People who really know about bigfoot understand they do not social distance,” Loren Coleman of the International Cryptozoology Museum told The Daily Beast.(“Uh, show me the data for that,” Disotell responds.)Ryan Howell, the man behind (and inside) Tulsa’s Social Distancing Sasquatch, says that more than two million people viewed their initial bigfoot public health posts alone. The character has been so popular, and the campaign so successful, he adds, he’s been asked to participate in dozens of other efforts.Yet the author Max Brooks argues that earnest belief in Bigfoot corresponds with the fall of shared factual beliefs in America. (Brooks, who has “been studying sasquatch all [his] life,” in large part because he says he’s terrified of the creatures, recently released Devolution, a book about people isolated in their homes by a natural disaster and besieged by Bigfeet.) For many of the roughly 10 to 25 percent of Americans who say they buy into Bigfoot, their belief is nominal at most. But diehard belief usually means rejecting mainstream science, which of course doesn’t support Bigfoot’s existence.The stronger the belief, Buhs and others argue, the more it often dovetails with wider governmental and scientific malfeasance conspiracies—like COVID-19 trutherism.“The issues with trying to prove Sasquatch exists are the same we’ve seen with the pandemic,” Brooks argues. “Too many people are not willing to look at evidence, or try to dismiss it, to ram their agendas through.”This conspiratorial bent doesn’t always translate into pandemic skepticism. This spring, retired baseball star and Bigfoot enthusiast Jose Conseco made headlines with his worries about spreading the virus to the cryptids, with whom he insisted he’d had contact. Sasquatch researcher Tom Sewid also claims that he and others have tried to scare the creatures away from human settlements, and encouraged Bigfoot hunters to mask up—to protect them from cross-species transmission risks.But Bigfoot believer community insiders and observers acknowledge a strong strain of pandemic skepticism in the scene. Recent survey data from the research firm Civic Science suggests Bigfoot believers are far more likely to take epidemiological risks during the pandemic—and to watch Fox News—than others. Barackman buys those results, saying they likely reflect believers’ and hunters’ disproportionately rural and conservative backgrounds.Most of the biggest Bigfoot conventions and festivals were canceled this year, or went all digital. One, in McDowell County, North Carolina, leaned into social distancing champion rhetoric while switching to a new format. But numerous groups still held, or plan to hold, regional conventions in-person. Some are or were entirely outdoors, and some indoors mandated masking. But numerous recent or upcoming entirely or partially indoor events, like the upcoming Boggy Bottom Bigfoot Conference in Coalgate, Oklahoma, which doubles as a fundraiser for a local high school robotics team, have not publicly listed any COVID-19 precautions. (The Daily Beast reached out to the Biggy Bottom Bigfoot Conference organizers, as well as the organizers of other events with no clear COVID-19 information, for comment, but did not receive any replies.)Coleman notes that members of the Bigfoot community have been passing around pictures of unmasked people at events this year and dinging them for recklessness. The Minnesota Bigfoot Conference—which involved about 50 participants at the Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids—ostensibly mandated mask wearing at the venue, but posted several such photos to their official Facebook page on August 15.Abe Del Rio, also known as Elusive1, the founder and director of the Minnesota Bigfoot Research Team, which organized that event, told The Daily Beast that they only took off their masks “briefly, to pose for pictures real quick,” but kept them on for the rest of the event. He added that he personally made sure ample hand sanitizer was available.Denver Riggleman, the Bigfoot Erotica Candidate, Wants You to Know It’s All AnthropologicalDel Rio was curious to know who had told The Daily Beast about those photos, noting that “it’s really nobody’s business, except people who want to stick their nose in somebody’s business.”“I do think there is something to this pandemic,” he added. “I can name 10 to 15 people I know who have had COVID-19… But they just feel a little bit crummy during it... They say it was really no worse for them then the common flu.” (While some people do only contract mild cases, comparisons between COVID-19 and the common flu are inaccurate and misleading at best, and echo infamous pandemic downplaying claims made in recent weeks by America’s COVID-19 Skeptic-in-Chief.)The Texas Bigfoot Conference, hosted earlier this month in Jefferson, Texas, also openly stated that it would opt for a low-occupancy event and mandate social distancing and mask usage. However, photos from that event appear to show sporadic mask usage by individuals who often were not social distancing, despite ample space. Nor were they, as at the Minnesota conference, apparently posing for photos, as these were candid shots. The Daily Beast reached out to the team behind this event for comment as well, but had not received a response as of publication.Coleman also concedes—and Sewid and others confirm—that some events this year have been organized by pandemic doubters. “But a lot of people don’t show up for those,” Coleman argued.Whether or not they are the norm in the community, Lawrence Gostin, a public-health law expert at Georgetown, warned that “indoor gatherings without masks are a perfect storm for superspreader events.”Sewid goes further, arguing that “all these poorly frontal-lobe-developed hairless humans going to sasquatch-bigfoot conferences now are a bunch of frickin’ idiots.” He sneeringly thanks them for “disrespecting their fellow humans and spreading the plague a little more, a little faster.”Diehard bigfoot believers are not common, and unmasked cryptid conventions are not the most dire health threat facing America now. That honor likely goes to the president of the United States. But if Bigfoot culture plays even a minor role in a new pandemic surge, parodic Bigfoot culture is ready to push back with more constructive health messaging.“My final bigfoot sign was, If you don’t behave, I’ll be back for the second wave,” says Disotell. “Looks like I’ll start making signs again.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Securities Litigation Partner James Wilson Encourages Investors Who Suffered Losses Exceeding $50,000 In Progenity To Contact Him Directly To Discuss Their Options New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - October 25, 2020) - If you suffered losses exceeding $50,000 investing in Progenity stock between June 19, 2020 and September 19, 2020 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/PROG or call Faruqi & Faruqi partner James Wilson directly at 877-247-4292 or 212-983- 9330 ...
Let’s start with the most important fact about The Queen’s Gambit: You do not need to know how to play chess to love it. The real drama lies elsewhere.The premise for the limited series premiering on Netflix is simple enough: the struggles of a female chess prodigy with a serious pill and alcohol problem. In the wrong hands, it could easily be a Lifetime special. But the “hands” here are far more skillful: The lead role is played by the remarkable Anya Taylor-Joy. The script and direction are by Scott Frank, who wrote the screenplays for Out of Sight and Get Shorty. And the source material is a novel by the woefully underrated Walter Tevis, who wrote the books that inspired The Hustler, The Color of Money, and The Man Who Fell to Earth.Still, I have to admit, before watching the new series, I had my doubts. The Queen’s Gambit has been one of my favorite novels for years; it’s not just a book you should read—it’s a book to reread, and it gets better every time. So I was feeling a little protective, and worried. Could anyone do this subtle novel justice? A novel where so much of the action takes place on a chess board and in the minds of the players, and where the issue of addiction is treated with far more subtlety than is usually found in films or television shows about this subject.Oh me of little faith. I didn’t reckon on the formidable talents of either Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays chess champion Beth Harmon, or Marielle Heller, who takes the part of the woman who adopts Beth as a tween. I should add Annabeth Kelly and Isla Johnston, who play younger versions of Beth, particularly Johnston, who carries the first episode, when nine-year-old Beth discovers her affinity for chess and her fondness for the tranquilizers freely dispensed by the orphanage to which she is consigned after her mother’s suicide.Black Struggle, Chess RedemptionWalter Tevis wrote both realistic novels and science fiction, but his obsessions were always the same: alienation, addiction, and the overweening, near fatal pride that, like shadow to light, piggybacks on a natural gift. Beth is a lot like cocky Eddie Felson in The Hustler and, though never so lost, like the alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth. But Beth is a far more complicated and nuanced character. Like Felson, she has to master self-discipline and gain self-awareness to beat her ultimate opponent, and like the alien on earth, she has a serious addiction problem. But the melodrama that taints The Hustler is nowhere to be found in The Queen’s Gambit. Nor is any easy, reductive treatment of addictions, which Tevis suggests can both help and harm (the miniseries is a little more doctrinaire on this point).And anyway, addiction in Beth’s case is not the problem so much as a sign of problems. When one of her opponents turned coach points out that her anger gets in her way, she says, “Anger clears my head.” To which he replies, “Anger is a potent spice. A pinch wakes you up. Too much dulls your senses.”Walter Tevis loved games, or at least the games he wrote about, and few authors have ever written as well about pool or chess. Both the novel and the miniseries scoff at the idea, proposed to Beth by a clueless reporter, that the game is some kind of metaphor, where the queen symbolizes her lost mother and the king her missing father. No, Beth replies, it’s a game. And beautiful for its own sake and no other. Tevis even loves it well enough to kid it a little. When a slightly abashed Beth says to one of her former opponents, “You think I’m a prima donna, don’t you?” he replies, “We’re all prima donnas. That’s chess...”Books and films play by different rules. There are no swelling soundtrack moments in Tevis’ prose, which is deliberately quiet and pokerfaced. He gives you the situation and lets you decide what it means. Frank’s filming of the novel is more dramatic—there is a soundtrack—but he respects his source material enough not to stray too far. And when he does improvise on the book, he’s smart about it, as when he imaginatively finds visual equivalences for Tevis’ narration: Without anything being said explicitly, we recognize Beth’s maturity, and her growing sense of self-worth, in the way her hair styles change, the increasing sophistication of her wardrobe (she has great taste), and most important, the way she carries herself. Even as a child, Beth is a force to reckon with. The gruff janitor who teaches her to play chess in the basement of the orphanage has all he can do to contend with her talent, her anger, and her pride. By the time she grows up, nothing can stop her, not even her own shortcomings.But it is Anya Taylor-Joy, playing Beth from the age of 13 to 22 in a seemingly effortless metamorphosis, who makes Frank’s film work, particularly in the way she beautifully articulates the inwardness, the fury, and the intelligence of Tevis’ creation. She does it mostly with her face, where subtle emotions register like a flicker of light or wind on a still pond. This is especially remarkable because Beth is often sullen, never acts out, and speaks with the economy of a miser hoarding gold. Taylor-Joy is one of those actors who make you watch by holding back. There’s something so secretive and private about her character, a withholding that could distance us but instead makes us greedy to know more. And Frank and Taylor-Joy pace the revelations about Beth so well that we’re captivated by her mystery right to the end.It does not hurt that Frank has surrounded his star with an extraordinary cast, and no one more extraordinary than Marielle Heller as her adoptive mother, Alma Wheatley, a Lexington, Kentucky housewife lost in a bad marriage (Mr. Wheatley is a traveling salesman so ghostly that when he finally disappears, it was almost like he was never there). Awash in tranquilizers and alcohol—the toxic combo so popular in the ’50s and ’60s where the story is set—Alma is a frustrated pianist who never fulfilled her promise, and hardly a role model for her adopted daughter. But where other stories might play up her predatory actions—Alma uses Beth’s tournament winnings as an income supplement—The Queen’s Gambit gives us instead a pitiable but ultimately likable woman. Beth and Alma are more friends and conspirators than mother and daughter, and watching Alma drink herself to death is the saddest part of the story.Part of the reason that the Beth-and-Alma thread rings so true is that neither actor overplays. Their affection is conveyed in little things—a hand on an arm, a wan smile. Likewise, Alma’s foolishness, and her fear when her husband abandons her, are subtle things. Even her drinking never gets an ah-ha moment, resulting in a jolt for the viewer when she dies suddenly: You realize that her drinking problem was there all the time, but, like Beth and everyone around them, you ignored it. Thus does this powerful story implicate even its viewers, with the result that we are quite reluctant to pass judgment even as we double down and pay closer attention.Beth’s trajectory from ugly duckling orphan to world-class chess champ is not unchecked. She loses some of her matches. And the first loss is the most bitter, almost derailing her. But not quite. Again, no melodrama. Somewhere along the way, I began to count the plot setups that in many movies would produce big scenes or end in cliche. For example, there’s the moment when the popular girls in high school finally invite her over after school—only after she’s been profiled in Life magazine! Beth goes but she lasts only long enough to realize how boring these mean girls are. But there’s no big showdown, no payback. She just slips away, after stealing a bottle of liquor.And of course there’s the fact that Beth is a girl and then a woman playing a game dominated by men. The story doesn’t slight this fact, but neither does it dwell on it. Beth is too strong, even as a little girl, to ever indulge the idea that she’s a victim. Instead, she uses to her advantage the way she’s dismissed on account of her sex. And no one does that for long anyway.As she makes her way toward her ultimate goal of whipping the Russian grandmaster Borgov, she learns, not least through losing to him twice, that she’s her own most dangerous opponent. Self-discovery is this story’s heart: Beth’s belated awareness that no matter how gifted she is, she needs other people to complete herself. That’s what I meant when I began by saying that an ignorance of chess is no impediment to pleasure for the viewer: The drama that matters most is played out not on a board but on Beth’s face and in her body language, and in her heart. And thanks to the stunning collaborative skill of Scott Frank and Anya Taylor-Joy, there’s never any doubt about what that heart holds.To that silly reporter in the story who tried to coax Beth into saying that chess pieces symbolized people, that the queen was her missing mother, I want to say, maybe you got it half right after all. But the queen is not Beth’s mother, you fool. The queen is the most powerful piece on the board. The queen is Beth.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
As a magazine, Town & Country has been in circulation longer than the institution of slavery has been abolished in America. In the past few years, the 174-year-old Hearst publication has made it a point to assert itself as an important voice in our country’s national reckoning with race, equity, and social justice.The “advancing conversations” featured at the affluent heritage brand’s annual event, the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit, for example, have tackled issues from mass incarceration to police violence, and have featured a who’s who of Black powerhouses from Valerie Jarrett, Darren Walker, John Legend, and Ava DuVernay, to Michael B. Jordan, Robert F. Smith, Yara Shahidi, and the Exonerated Five.Behind the scenes, however, in the company’s offices and hiring practices, a very different story emerges—one that has all the hallmarks of deep-seated systemic racism and bias.Despite an outward commitment to “upholding a diverse and inclusive point of view,” as outlined in a recent company statement, there are exactly zero people of color, including no Black/African Americans, on the Town & Country top executive team. Under that team, the virtually all-white full-time staff, contractors, and suppliers are perpetuated by biased recruitment, hiring, and procurement processes that suppress opportunities for Black/African American people.I know this first-hand, as a Black woman, because I was denied opportunities for advancement at Town & Country. (“While there are current full-time Town & Country staffers with diverse underrepresented identities on both the editorial and sales and marketing teams, we are actively working to have more proportionate race and ethnic representatives supporting our brands,” a Hearst Magazines spokesperson said in a statement.)* * *I first walked into the Town & Country office in 2016. My company, production by HUMAN INTONATION, was contracted as an event supplier, and I took on a support role to manage guest relations for the magazine’s Philanthropy Summit. Stellene Volandes had just been appointed as T&C’s new editor-in-chief.I was immediately and acutely aware that I was the only visible Black person contracted on the project. Not only that—I then realized I was the only visible person of color contracted on the project, and I saw no other contractors or suppliers of color over the next four years.During this period, each time I became aware of newly filled positions at Town & Country—whether full-time or contractors—I observed the magazine had consistently hired a white candidate (frequently, but not exclusively, female and blond), with few exceptions. When the magazine’s publisher Jennifer Levene-Bruno was in need of a new executive assistant, a blonde white woman was hired. A new senior marketing coordinator: blonde white woman. A new brand marketing director: blonde white woman. And so on.Following the 2017 Philanthropy Summit, the full-time staff member who led the event’s annual production—with whom I worked over the previous two years—prepared to leave Town & Country that September. The magazine decided to transition that vacant lead producer role from an on-staff position to a contract-based one. Knowing the job would become outsourced, before leaving the magazine, the departing staff member directly recommended my company to Town & Country’s branding executive Jennifer Orr and her team for the contracted role. With over a decade of event production experience as the executive producer of conferences, panels, and large-scale fundraising galas, I was qualified to lead the charge, and gladly accepted her recommendation. I was excited to explore the opportunity with Orr and her team.Over the next five months, however, my emails and calls to inquire about the guidelines to submit a formal proposal, or to schedule a meeting regarding my business leading the production of the Philanthropy Summit, were met with vague, coldly corporate emails like: “…[We] aren’t clear yet about activations.” Each time I reached out, I was asked to follow-up again in a few months. By January 2018, I received an offer to continue in the same support role for guest relations. When I inquired once again about the lead producer opportunity, it was expressed to me, “We already have a plan in place for the workload for the rest of the Summit but if anything changes, we will let you know.” That plan? The full-time staff producer role previously filled by a blonde, white woman—who recommended my company—was replaced with a contracted producer, who you may have guessed is… a blonde, white woman.* * *Let’s take a pause. The incident described here is not only about me being passed over without consideration and not getting the business. Instead, what it illustrates is something that many heritage media brands like Town & Country are now forced to reckon with: systemic recruitment and procurement practices that routinely exclude or ignore qualified Black applicants, while effectively prioritizing the maintenance of a homogenous, white-centric organizational culture.Too often Black/African American candidates or suppliers are denied the opportunity to apply, or to even submit a proposal, for jobs. While the New York State Human Rights Law protects contractors from unlawful discrimination, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that “An employer may not refuse to give employment applications to people of a certain race,” such practices continue today under many guises including closed referral networks, discriminatory “preferred vendor” programs, and other forms of institutional biases.The Partnership for New York City released a June 2020 open letter calling for united efforts to achieve racial equity, including “helping racially diverse entrepreneurs and small businesses survive.” The letter was signed by 191 of the city’s top business leaders from all sectors of the economy. While Hearst President & CEO Steven R. Swartz, co-chair of the Partnership for New York City, supported the letter as a signatory, I question how many other qualified suppliers and contractors of color have been passed over without full consideration throughout Town & Country’s 174 years (Swartz did not respond to a request for an interview when I reached out in August).Not receiving full or serious consideration for a project is a scenario faced by many Black-owned event suppliers and contractors. In a June 2020 article for BizBash, seasoned events producer and chief experience officer Yvonne McNair wrote: “The meeting and events industry accounts for over $325 billion of direct spending, yet Black event professionals are often overlooked. We are not seeing representation when it comes to the leadership positions at top brands or when it comes to hiring event agencies or freelancers. Additionally, when hired, we are often provided lower event budgets and tasked with creating the same level or better experiences as our white peers.”This last line rings particularly true.Prior to the current movement for racial equity and economic justice, marked by the police killing of George Floyd, I remained quiet when pressured by Town & Country to perform my services a solid $5,000 below my standard consulting rate, whereas I was paid my full rate for similar projects I produced at peer publications and comparable media organizations in New York City. As recent as 2019, I was told by Town & Country’s brand marketing director, Sarah Ryan Clausen, that there are ”so many people interested in taking your spot who would be happy to do it for less.”Systemic racism in this country has taught me and many others to swallow discriminatory slights—including pay inequity—and that I am supposed to feel lucky that a brand like Town & Country would even entertain working with me at all. I often worked outside of my contracted hours throughout my four-year experience with the magazine; I did so as a courtesy, including several hours of my time that I gave pro bono when called upon to assist Clausen with guest-relations details in the final weeks leading up to the 2020 Philanthropy Summit, for which my company was not contracted this year. When I originally reached out regarding the summit this past February, I was told by Clausen that my services were not needed.* * *As I watched all four days of the virtual 2020 Town & Country Philanthropy Summit from July 7 to 10, I listened to the likes of Ava DuVernay and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker call on each of us, attendee and host, particularly those in positions of privilege, “to engage in the concrete work of reconciliation.”After hearing this, I finally woke up. Recognizing the depth of the disparity between what I was hearing and the reality of my experience with Town & Country, I found myself searching throughout the event for some form of proactive dialogue about the internal changes and actions the magazine would undertake to address its internal racial inequity and biases, whether conscious or unconscious. I heard none.Feeling moved not only to write about my experience, but also to explore the challenges of achieving reconciliation, I reached out to the magazine’s current Editor-in-Chief Stellene Volandes on July 22 with the opportunity for us to collaborate on my unpacking—in article form—the chasm between Town & Country’s outward commitment to racial equality and the brand’s actual, internal racial disparities. I sought to understand what material action the brand was taking.Our first (and only) follow-up phone call took place the next day, which shockingly was the same day The New York Times reported on allegations of a culture of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace under Troy Young, then-president of Hearst Magazines, T&C’s parent company—in addition to accusations of racial discrimination at publications under his watch, specifically Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire.During our call, my idea was initially met with enthusiasm from Volandes, who seemed to exude a willingness for her and the Town & Country team to self-examine in ways that would perhaps be unprecedented for the brand, and for the larger media industry. Volandes suggested I write the article for Town & Country.The Hard Numbers Behind Juneteenth in a Racist AmericaOur conversation ended with Volandes putting me in touch with the Town & Country PR team, Randi Friedman, executive director of public relations, and Gabriel Ford, then the senior PR director for Hearst Magazines, to schedule interviews for my article with various executives at the magazine while she was on vacation. I had a call with Ford where I reiterated my intention to produce an article about the disparities in Town & Country’s commitment to racial equity. Ultimately, the PR team gave little attention or priority to the task. Instead, upon the top editor’s return, I received several vague corporate statements reaffirming the magazine’s “commitment” to racial equity, with Volandes expressing, “I am proud of the ways in which we have examined and evolved conversations around the urgent topics our nation faces in the magazine and at our events as well as within the editorial team I have built and continue to build.”Our interviews went unscheduled. I was eventually given a final corporate statement, attributed to a Hearst Magazines spokesperson, reading: “As a company, we are examining our culture, practices and products, with a focus on respecting, protecting and representing diversity and inclusion, and improving the pipeline for diverse talent through augmented recruiting initiatives, more accountability during the hiring process and partnerships with organizations including YearUp, AdCOLOR and the T. Howard Foundation. Town & Country advances important conversations around philanthropy and its staff is deeply committed to the social causes the brand champions. Through allyship, education and action, the team is always working to represent the values they believe in so strongly.”I was—for all intents and purposes—blown off.* * *The presence of white privilege and white supremacy delusion are seemingly so insidious and ingrained in Town & Country, one cannot forget its multi-century success is built on the generational wealth of white American families in the landed aristocracy. Descendants of slave traders and plantation owners with recurring appearances on the Social Register, have long been the subject of society-news-turned-philanthropic-pageantry predating the early 1900s. Former President of Hearst Magazines, David Carey, referred to it as Town & Country’s “illustrious history.” Meanwhile, Town & Country’s exploitation of Black celebrities, contributors, and influencers, has long been a strategy to bring new life to the outdated, white-centric, heritage brand.Black people are the definitive hot sauce on an otherwise bland white America. In the 1990s and early 2000s, former Editor in Chief Pamela Fiori turned to increasing diversity to revitalize Town & Country’s waning circulation and stale societal commentary. On diversity, Fiori stated in a 2003 interview, “I don’t want to change the world, but I would like to change the magazine. And change the universe that our readers live in. I think it’s a much more interesting world. I think it’s a lot more fun. I think it’s certainly a lot more fascinating.”This fascination without interest in real, substantive action for change is still being exploited by Town & Country today. As proof of the magazine’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Volandes referenced to me in our email exchange that “this commitment is one I hope is evident in our September issue,” an issue featuring stunning images of actress Kerry Washington as its cover story, and a number of Black/African American-focused editorials.Corporate America Has a Big Blind Spot on Institutional RacismWhat I found evident in the September 2020 issue, however, is a history of exploitation much like the one depicted by Washington’s 2012 role in Django Unchained. Town & Country preyed on the artistic feat that Washington, stylist Law Roach, and photographers AB + DM achieved with their creative genius, like puppeteers pulling the strings of marionettes for the entertainment of the Town & Country reader, not much unlike the white oppressors exposing Broomhilda von Shaft’s whipped-keloid back at the dinner table. Without the eradication of its systemic practices internally, Town & Country’s outward championing of racial equity—and the public promotion of Black talent, contributors, and influencers—is nothing more than a well-crafted, exploitive marketing strategy with no commitment or actionable investment in the Black/African American community.The “advancing conversations” over the last five years of the Philanthropy Summit have made no impact in Town & Country’s own contribution to ending the racial injustice that requires these conversations in the first place. It gives all others in white media a green light to gloss over difficult conversations and substantive, systemic change with curated images of Black/African American talent, contributors, and influencers across their pages. This is not anti-racism.* * *From the outset of my time contracted with Town & Country, I received a familiar unspoken message. Like many predominantly white corporate offices in America, Town & Country is a place where I, as a Black person—particularly the only Black contractor—can stay, as long as I make everyone else feel comfortable with my being there. Whether I belonged at Town & Country would be determined by how I presented myself, and whether I dressed and spoke in ways that the virtually all-white team deemed a “cultural fit.” There was no space for me to simply be myself. It was my responsibility to assimilate, and I obliged.For the first two years I consulted on the Philanthropy Summit, I felt invisible. By year three, Levene-Bruno, the magazine’s publisher, was still re-introducing herself to me as if it was the first time we had ever met regardless of the number of one-on-one meetings she and I had had over the previous two years. Bias revealed itself in the form of condescending tones from team members and the other consultants on the project. I felt it when I was being overly scrutinized or it was suggested that I was not capable of doing the work, continuously having to prove myself year after year. Almost immediately, the contracted lead producer who had been brought in began to address me, both verbally and in email, with a condescending tone, demanding information outside of my contracted scope, as if I was her personal assistant. I watched as the team interacted with the freelance graphic artist who had replaced the in-house creative director (both blond, white women) very differently and in a much gentler manner than they did towards me.At this point, it became evident I could not possibly be the only one who had these types of experiences.There were no Black/African American-owned production partners publicly listed for the 2020 Philanthropy Summit. In my last year as a contractor, I met one lone Black male editorial assistant on Town & Country’s full-time staff. I immediately wondered: What investment is Town & Country making to ensure this young professional has an equitable opportunity for mentorship and growth that levels the playing field for advancement in his career? As it turned out, the answer to this question is none.For seven of the eight-and-a-half years of his tenure, the former editorial assistant—who spoke on the condition of anonymity—was the one and only full-time Black employee at Town & Country. A graduate of Howard University, he expressed an understanding of the importance of a strong work ethic, often coming in early, doing more work than he was being paid for, receiving positive performance reviews, and continuing to take on more responsibilities including tasks and markets that would normally comprise the role of an associate, full-time, or senior editor. The former editorial assistant expressed that part of him really loved working at the magazine, particularly at the beginning of his career. In fact, from 2011 to 2015, he found there were editors who supported his ideas and talked about his growth. He recalled developing positive relationships with former Editor-in-Chief Jay Fielden and former Creative Director Alexandra Kotur. However, as the leadership of both Town & Country and Hearst Magazines changed in the latter half of the 2010s, there was an insidious energy shift, the ex-staffer expressed.He recalled watching white team members who started jobs at the magazine after him be promoted before him; hearing from colleagues that he was being paid less than his white counterparts; and feeling the pressure of representing the entire Black race—both in the office and with external T&C partners. With the exception of a lateral move as a fashion assistant, he never once received a promotion himself over the near-decade he spent at the magazine. When he inquired about being promoted or receiving a pay raise, he recalled being consistently told “just wait a few more issues” or “we’re already planning to bring someone [else] in.” He said he was never given concrete reasons for why he was not being promoted. During his time, the former editorial assistant never saw any Black editors at Town & Country. In his role, he pushed for Black/African American fashion and jewelry designers to be shown in the magazine—while knowing they often would not be picked, he was doing his part to give exposure to Black brands.Over time, the demoralization took its toll. The Black ex-staffer recalled coming to terms with having been conditioned to the inherently racist construct of “at least I am in the room” and “at least Black stories are being told” at the virtually all-white magazine. He knew something was holding him back from advancement other than the quality of his work or his experience, reflecting that “because I wasn’t a white woman, I didn’t get the same opportunities.” Once he saw no upward trajectory for himself at the company, he resigned in 2019. “It just wasn’t fair, and you could not show me or prove to me how it was,” he said of his experience at Town & Country.Perhaps some will conclude that this former staffer should have done more to make his case known, voicing his concerns about bias to his supervisor or to Hearst’s human-resources team. But that more than likely would not have helped.Supreme Court: Institutional Racism Is RealAnother Black ex-Hearst staffer, who spoke with me on the condition of anonymity, recalled how raising issues of bias to their supervisor was met with indifference, and inappropriate responses from Hearst’s HR team. The ex-employee, once an associate director of events at the mass-media giant, expressed how they too found the expectation to adjust—as the only Black person on an otherwise all-white Hearst strategic marketing team—was placed solely on them. Even as their supervisor acknowledged the examples they provided of racial bias and a lack of inclusivity, they recalled being told, “you seem intimidated by us” and “I was hoping to hire someone just like me.” They too received dismissive, demoralizing emails including one that bluntly read: “I disagree with your assessment that our team is not inclusive, collaborative, efficient.”Further exemplifying the organizational culture operating not only at Town & Country, but Hearst at large, this ex-staffer felt judged not by whether they did the job well, but by how great was their ability to assure their white team members that they as a Black person would uphold the department’s status quo—to not interrupt its culture of white privilege.Ultimately, after multiple attempts to find resolution with Hearst human-resources about their increasingly challenged experience at the company, the HR team concluded there was, “no evidence of unconscious bias or that [you are] being treated unfairly or differently because of [your] race, gender, or any other reason.”And so this Black staffer, too, resigned from the company in order to—as they expressed—maintain their mental health and overall wellbeing. “I had to identify very early on (within 6 months) that I needed to move on and that I would be ok,” the ex-Hearst employee said.* * *The challenges of reconciliation are not unique or singular to Town & Country. Even when an organization believes itself to be well-intentioned, the resistance to the work required to achieve reconciliation is first and foremost rooted in systemic racism. While the opportunity for my collaborative work with the magazine has been deferred, perhaps not all is lost.There is opportunity for the Town & Country team and countless other media leaders to begin the process of reconciliation to achieve racial equity now. As the Black Lives Matter movement continues, I am calling on Town & Country to truly become anti-racist. As Darren Walker called out at the 2020 Town & Country Philanthropy Summit: “This is no longer time for amelioration, or token approaches at systemic challenges.” I am calling for Town & Country’s internal leadership, editors, staff, contractors and suppliers to become a reflection of the Black talent placed on its covers, the Black figures that dominate the speakers roster selected for their events, and the messages of racial equity the magazine consistently uplifts on its platforms.One concrete step would be for Town & Country to be transparent about its specific employee demographics, and to publicly share the magazine’s action plan to address its racial inequities as other Hearst publications have done, such as Cosmopolitan’s “Cosmo Can Do Better—Here’s Our Action Plan” published in June 2020. We are calling for Town & Country to make a true, accountable investment in Black/African Americans and level the playing field with equitable compensation and spending; a redistribution of decision-making power through leadership roles; and opportunities for advancement in hiring and promotions. This is a level of public accountability that not only requires brands like Town & Country and others to hold themselves accountable, but each of us—white, Black, indigenous, and all people of color—to understand and recognize our empowerment and responsibility going forward to end the exploitation of Black/African Americans in the media and events industries.I thought long and hard about the risk I would be taking by putting pen to paper to share my experience at Town & Country. It is with a fear for my safety, wellbeing, and career sustainability that more than one of my mentors, primarily Black, cautioned: “You can’t speak your truth, they won’t hire you again.”In the end, I am taking the risk of speaking up not for myself but for all the editorial staffers, suppliers, consultants, and serially untapped, underutilized team members who look like me to have a different experience going forward.My only choice was to press on with the fortitude of the Black suffragettes, the inspiration of Kamala Harris’ unprecedented run, and John Lewis’ iconic final words held tightly to my chest. I am answering the highest calling of my heart and standing up for what I truly believe, Mr. Lewis—let’s get in good trouble.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
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Jill Scott will make her 150th appearance for England against Germany on Tuesday and is likely to go on to become her country’s most capped international player.Telegraph Sport spoke to those that know her best ahead of her 150th England cap to learn what makes her so special, on and off the pitch. Lucy Bronze, England right back “She has probably been one of the most influential players of the last decade in terms of what she brings to the team. When people talk about Jill, they tend to focus on what she is like off the pitch and how she is dead funny and always keeping the team entertained and giving good vibes. They talk about how much energy she has got and how much she runs. “But she cares so much about the team and has worked so hard to stay on top of her game. To get 150 caps, it is absolute madness. She’s got so much more to her game. She does so much of the stuff other people do not want to do but she does it with such enthusiasm. “It’s quite funny because, we’re good friends, but we didn’t really used to talk much. We didn’t start off best friends, we didn’t dislike each other, it’s just our personalities are complete opposite. We have more conversations now we are older and it’s like we have recognised that our different personalities balance things out perfectly. We’re like an old married couple. “I’m straight to the point, be serious, logical and be honest. Jill is like be nice, be fun and remember people’s feelings. It’s just funny as we have got older, we have learned to appreciate each other and what they can add. “That was something I needed to add to my game. I didn’t really think I needed to be nice to people, that emotions play a part in stuff. She’s the player that I’ve learnt that from, to appreciate the people that are around you. “I was always I can do this and Jill reminds you that you need everyone around you to be on the same page. She has been like the captain of the team for the last decade without having that title. Everyone would say that about her. “She has not realised how much influence she has had on people. She’s always too quick to give the praise to someone else. She can’t take praise, which just makes everyone like her even more.”