Tag: scandal

‘She Said’ Sheds New Light on Weinstein Scandal

Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who originally broke the Weinstein scandal, tell the story of how it all came to light in their new book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.

Now, Harvey Weinstein faces five felony charges connected to his patterns of sexual abuse, as well as various civil suits. But back when Kantor and Twohey began looking into some of the rumors about Weinstein, he was still an immensely powerful presence in Hollywood.

The book details how the reporters discovered numerous complaints about inappropriate behavior, under-the-table payoffs to keep people quiet about sexual advances, and patterns of threats and abuse of power.

 

 

In a review written for CNN, Melanie Schuman provides some info on what can expect to learn in Kantor & Twohey’s already best-selling account:

The book reveals that Bob Weinstein (Harvey’s brother) and Irwin Reiter (former vice president of accounting for The Weinstein Company) were both major sources for the investigation. Bob consented to multiple interviews for the book, as did Gwyneth Paltrow who Kantor and Twohey describe as a “dead-center source who might know more than anyone yet.” Although Paltrow was initially reluctant to go on record about Weinstein for fear of retribution, it seems she provided some valuable details on the kind of environment Weinstein created.

“It’s the H-bomb, the H-bomb is coming, they would warn before he approached,” Paltrow recounts, describing how employees at Miramax would live in fear of Weinstein.

 

image via Deadline

 

As they began their investigation, Kantor and Twohey reached out to former employees of Miramax and Weinstein. Zelda Perkins, one of Weinstein’s former assistants, spoke to the reporters:

“He was pathologically addicted to conquering women.” She wore parkas to his room for protection. “I always managed to say no,” she said. “On trips to Paris and Rome, ‘he would just hand out cash, which was your blood money,'” Perkins said. “You’d come home from trips with him with a weird comedown of guilt and relief that you’d survived.”

Perkins story is just one of many Kantor and Twohey describe in their new book. Rowena Chiu, another former assistant, talks about wearing two pairs of tights to a meeting for protection and still being harassed by Harvey.

 

 

Because of conversations with Bob Weinstein and Reiter, Kantor and Twohey reporters uncovered evidence of hush money payments and cover-up conducted by high-level executives. The book also recalls how Dean Baquet, New York Times executive editor, advised Kantor and Twohey that Weinstein might turn to “increasingly desperate practices,” to “assume you’re being followed,” and to “talk like every call is being taped.” And apparently as the publication date for the initial exposé drew closer, several of Weinstein’s lawyer tried to stall the investigation, asking for more and more time to respond.

 

Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Image via Vanity Fair

 

Kantor and Twohey’s stunning book describes their journey to bring the reprehensible behavior of one power-mad man to light. It’s definitely one of the most important and pertinent stories of the last few years, and to be able to hear about it from the reporters who first broke the story will no doubt be remarkable.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Elle and Amazon

Rare bird books logo

Publisher Responds to Dropped Author’s $13 Million Lawsuit

After igniting a scandal all her own, Natasha Tynes’ publisher, Rare Bird Books, decided to no longer distribute her latest book They Called Me Wyatt, which was set to release under one of the publisher’s imprints this year.

What was the scandal all about? Well, on her morning commute, Tynes snapped a picture of a mass transit employee having her breakfast on the train and proceeded to use that photo to call out that employee on social media:

When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train. I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was, ‘worry about yourself.’

IMAGES VIA TWITTER

Tynes has since deleted the tweet, but you can’t erase anything from the internet once it is out there. Screenshots of her tweet are still making the rounds, which isn’t surprising considering she was attacking an African American woman on the DC transit. This was the issue the publisher had its qualms with stating “Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them.”

Now after publicly shaming this employee, making herself and her publisher look bad, she is suing Rare Bird Books for $13 million. Rare Bird Books’ attorney, David S. Eisen, has responded on behalf of the company, pointing out that “the complaint filed by Natasha Tynes is baseless for a host of reasons.” The publisher is in no way responsible for her actions, nor did they take any part in defaming Tynes. But can you blame the publisher for not wanting to be associated with her?

The publisher notes that while Natasha Tynes is seeking to be paid for damages, her book only had fifty copies preordered, while about only 100 were set to printed and distributed. They add that the book was not well received through early reviews.

Featured Image Via Bookmate

Oxford Poetry Professor Candidate Under Fire for Misconduct

Getting a prestigious teaching position at Oxford University is a serious accomplishment, but the selection process for the new professor of poetry has generated some serious controversy.

According to The Guardian, three candidates have been selected for the role of professor of poetry at the internationally-renowned university: Alice Oswald, Andrew McMillan and Todd Swift. While Oswald and McMillan have seen relative success within their campaigns for the position, Swift has come under fire for conduct concerns… and the conduct is concerning.

 

Todd Swift. Image Via Poetry Foundation

 

Specifically, critics have referenced Swift’s behavior while running the independent publishing company Eyewear Publishing. A report from The Bookseller said that Eyewear mistreated its poets by locking them in contracts that didn’t allow them to communicate with trade unions, specifically the Society of Authors. Bookseller journalist Heloise Wood elaborated on the nature of these troubling allegations:

To prohibit authors from contacting the SoA is to prevent them from taking independent advice from their trade union. Not only is this unenforceable, it constitutes an unwarranted interference with their civil rights. The termination clause is also extraordinary – the fact that it explicitly mentions the possibility of the publisher sending ‘rude emails’ that cause ‘hurt feelings’ speaks for itself.

 

Swift, and other poets who chose to remain nameless, defended the contracts:

Each contract we have signed since 2012 is bespoke, we try and base on industry standard templates,” he said. “They are all discussed with the authors. We are very short on resources and usually if authors object to a clause we delete.

 

Another complaint surfaced from Vida about Swift’s old tweets where he allegedly attacked emerging poets. Both the tweets and Swift’s entire Twitter page were deleted, and soon after, Eyewear released a tweet condemning Swift:

 

Image Via Vida

 

Swift did not respond to these complaints directly.

As of right now, Oxford does not have any plans to remove Swift from consideration for the position. The incoming professor will be decided on June 21, and we’ll have to wait and see whether or not Oxford University offers him the role. 

 

Do you believe Swift should be out of consideration for the position?

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via British GQ.

Joshua Jackson Joins Cast of ‘Little Fires Everywhere’

Dawson’s Creek‘s Joshua Jackson has been cast in a leading role in Hulu’s adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. Published 2017, written by Celeste Ng’s second novel is about two families living in 1990s Shaker Heights who are brought together through their children. Shaker Heights is Ng’s hometown and she described writing about her hometown as “a little bit like writing about a relative. You see all of the great things about them, you love them dearly, and yet you also know all of their quirks and their foibles.

 

Little Fires Everywhere

Image Via Amazon

The Kenyon Review wrote that the novel “shows a particular place and time that makes us reflect on the limits of our own views and consider the spiderwebs of connection, conflict, privilege, and exclusion that we, too, create,” and, despite not liking the novel overall, The Guardian still described it as “well crafted”, saying that “[t]he characters are vividly drawn. The author manages a large cast, multiple points of view, and all three rings of her circus with grace and authority”.

 

Celeste Ng

Image Via The TLS

 

The book was voted as the winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for fiction in 2017The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the long history with the adaptation, despite the book barely even being two years old. Before the book was even published, “[Reese] Witherspoon’s company, Hello Sunshine, snatched up the rights…and brought it to fellow star and exec. producer Kerry Washington”.

 

Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington

Image Via Deadline

Reese Witherspoon, June Carter-Cash in Walk The Line and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, and Kerry Washington, who portrayed Broomhilda von Shaft in Django Unchained and Olivia Pope in Scandal, then went to Liz Tigelaar, who agreed to adapted the novel and serve as series showrunner.

Soon afterwards, ABC Signature agreed to executive produce “the series alongside Hello Sunshine and Simpson Street” and Tigelaar, Lauren Neustadter, Pilar Savone, producer of Django Unchained and associate producer for Inglourious Basterds, and Lynn Shelton, director of We Go Way Back and Humpday, all came on board as executive producers.

Streaming platform Hulu ended up winning a bidding war for the whole package.

 

Joshua Jackson

Image Via Disney Wiki – Fandom

Now joining this all star team is Joshua Jackson, perhaps best known as Pacey in Dawson’s Creek, who is set to portray Bill Richardon.

As of today, the cast list is as follows:

Joshua Jackson will play Bill Richardson, an attorney and husband to Elena.

Elena an engetic and strong willed 3rd generation resident of Shaker Heights who writes for the local paper, will be portrayed by Reese Witherspoon.

 

Jade Pettyjohn

Image Via Justine Magazine

Jade Pettyjohn, who played Shelby in Destroyer, will play Lexie Richardson, the oldest Richardson child and a senior in high school. Jordan Elsass, who played Kyle in People with Issues, will be Trip Richardson, the second oldest Richardson child who is a jock.

 

Jordan Elsass

Image Via Indieactivity

Gavin Lewis will be Moody Richardson, a well-meaning child who introduces Pearl to his family and develops a crush on her.

 

Gavin Lewis

Image Via IMDB

 

Megan Stott will be Izzy Richardson, a black sheep of the family who rejects the Richardsons upper-middle class lifestyle.

 

Megan Stott

Image Via IMDB

 

Kerry Washington will be Mia Warren, a photographer and single mother. Lexi Underwood will be Pearl Warren, a kind child who doesn’t know who her father is and is the same age as Moody.

 

Lexi Underwood

Image Via IMDB

 

Rosemarie DeWitt, who played Laura Wilder in La La Land, will be Linda McCullough, a childhood friend of Elena’s, whose adoption of a Chinese baby causes controversy in the close-knit community.

 

Rosemarie DeWitt

Image Via The Hollywood Interview

 

 

No word yet on who has been cast as Bebe Chow, Mia’s co-worker who wants her abandoned baby back from the McCulloughs and ends up in a custody battle with them, or who has been cast as Mirabelle McCullough/May Ling Chow, the daughter at the heart of the custody battle, but we’ll keep you updated!

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon, Bustle and Vox

Kindle eBook graphic.

‘Book-Stuffing:’ The Self-Publishing Crime You’ve Never Heard Of

There’s a scam going on in the eBook industry, and, as with most high-dollar missteps, no one is stopping it.

Before we get into the details of these legal evasions, it’s critical to understand that eBook authors make money per pages read. When authors fill their works with special features to drive the page count into the thousands, eBook readers feel like they’re getting a steal: extra content for the same price. But, for the author, ‘steal’ isn’t that far off.

 

Image Via David Gaughran

 

There have been a number of tactics to stop self-publishing abuses designed to arbitrarily inflate eBook profits, but few have actually been effective. Authors are banned from directly incentivizing reviews, but some have found a workaround: Chance Carter, a self-described “bad boy who writes about bad boys,” created a giveaway in which reviewers would earn the chance to receive a Tiffany ring. It’s clear he really is a bad boy: he nested six extra books in the back of his Mr. Diamond (the precious gem is as hard and desirable as the protagonist’s, well, you know).

This is how authors game the system: filling their publications with bonus content to artificially inflate the length of each book. It’s called ‘book stuffing,’ and it’s no game—the top scammers are making $100,000 per month.

 

Chance Carter's proposal to his followers

Image Via Medium

 

There’s some measure of justice, even if that measurement is more an inch than a mile. Bad boy Carter was banned after #tiffanygate made its way into the public consciousness… but not for long. Many suspect Carter now writes under the pseudonym Johanna Hawke, who writes about “bad boys and hotties.” He’s back with a different name… and the same game.

Well, how bad could it be if an author includes a few bonus chapters? Given that it’s far more than just a dozen extra pages: pretty bad.

 

Self-published Kindle Unlimited authors receive their income from a ‘communal authors’ fund,’ the distribution of which is largely dependant both on what percentage of a book readers complete AND how many total pages readers turn. Amazon has made limited attempts to stop this abuse of the system, enacting a rule that no more than 10% of a book can be bonus content. But many authors have circumvented this system with ‘compilations’ or ‘collections,’ allowing them to hit that 3,000 upper page limit.

This bit of ingenuity is hardly the end of these scammers’ tricks. Many such eBook authors engage in ‘mosaic book stuffing,’ the practice of repackaging previous releases into one new (and derivative) work. While some authors engage in active plagiarism, others will re-use passages of their own works, stitching together some botched Frankenstein’s monster and re-selling it to the public. Others use false links in their novel, which trick readers to skip directly to the end. These authors then get a bonus upon the novel’s completion.

It’s a cheap trick, but the consequences are costing authors who don’t engage in such deceptive policies. The communal fund is, as you may have imagined, communal. Amazon may benefit from the increased sales, and readers may appreciate the extra content. But the authors don’t—at least, not the ones who are honest.

 

Featured Image Via ElegantThemes.com