Six Disney Classics Tagged For Racist Imagery On Disney+ Including ‘Peter Pan’, ‘The Jungle Book’ & ‘The Aristocats’


October 16, 2020 11:45am


‘The Jungle Book’ 1967
Everett Collection

Racist imagery and cultural stereotypes in six Disney animated classics including Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats, Dumbo and Swiss Family Robinson are being flagged on the Disney+ streaming site with warnings and detailed explanations of the “negative depictions” in each title.

“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” reads an explanation on Disney’s Stories Matter website regarding the new advisory notices.

‘The Aristocats’ 1970
Disney/Stories Matter

Accompanying the 1970 film The Aristocats, for example, is the following advisory about the Siamese cat character Shun Gon, voiced by Paul Winchell:

The cat is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. He sings in a poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks. This portrayal reinforces the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture such as “Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookies always wrong.”

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‘Lady and the Tramp’ 1955
Everett Collection

Lady and the Tramp, from 1955, receives a similar warning for its Siamese cat characters Si and Am (voiced by Peggy Lee, who sings the film’s “The Siamese Cat Song,” a musical number that was cut from the 2019 live-action remake), as well as secondary canine characters each depicted with exaggerated ethnic stereotypes.

Peter Pan, released in 1953, is tagged for its stereotypical depiction of Native people “that neither reflects the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions.” In addition to “mockery and appropriation” of Native culture and imagery, Peter Pan repeatedly uses the offensive term “redskins.”

‘Peter Pan’ 1953
Disney/Stories Matter

The Jungle Book from 1967 makes the list due to its King Louie character (voiced by Louis Prima), a jazz-singing, be-bopping ape long considered an offensive caricature that utilizes racist stereotypes of African Americans.

‘Swiss Family Robinson’ 1960
Disney/Stories Matter

Disney’s live-action 1960 feature Swiss Family Robinson is marked for its “yellow face” and “brown face” pirates, while 1941’s Dumbo, flagged last year by the channel, now receives a more detailed explanation and some historical context:

The crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations. The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. In “The Song of the Roustabouts,” faceless Black workers toil away to offensive lyrics like “When we get our pay, we throw our money all away.”

‘Dumbo’ 1941
Disney/Stories Matter

In its explanation for the advisory warnings, Disney+ writes, “These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.

“Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”

The new notices have been implemented with the assistance of an advisory council composed of various organizations including GLAAD, the African American Film Critics Association, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, IllumiNative, National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and RespectAbility, among others.

‘POTUS 2020: Battleground America’ Podcast: Dueling Town Halls From Two Different Planets & Colin Quinn Gets ‘Overstated’


October 16, 2020 11:39am

The focus of Election Night will be on the swing states, the key battlegrounds that will decide who will be the next president. But other states, like Alabama and Massachusetts, will be red vs. blue polar opposites, so different in their thinking about Donald Trump and Joe Biden that it’ll make many wonder, how are we in the same country?

In his new book Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the 50 States, comedian Colin Quinn describes the current state of the union as akin to a couples counseling session. He talks to the Deadline Podcast about his inspiration and his travels, and offers his take on whether the rifts in the country can be mended no matter who wins.

Senior editor Dominic Patten and political editor Ted Johnson also talk about the dueling Biden-Trump town halls, and why skipping a presidential debate may have been a missed opportunity for the Trump campaign. (A single network town hall audience of 13 million vs. 60 plus million for a debate). And they look ahead to next week, when the candidates are scheduled to meet for a second and final debate, albeit even that event is a big if. 

Listen here:

Subscribe to POTUS 2020: Battleground America: Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsAmazon Podcasts

Jim Carrey, Wanda Sykes & Others Support NBC Blackout Of Trump Town Hall, Push Followers To Watch & Amplify ABC’s Joe Biden Event


October 15, 2020 2:06pm


Refresh for updates: Tension between Thursday night’s presidential town halls continues to unfold as hoards of Twitter users are calling to boycott NBC’s coverage of President Donald Trump in favor of ABC’s Joe Biden event. Outrage sparked as NBC announced that its town hall will air at the same time and date as ABC’s. Upset with the competing coverage, notable figures from entertainment, have stood in solidarity against the NBC special and have urged their followers to do the same.

“I’m blacking out NBC and MSNBC today! This does not support democracy, this supports a sideshow,” Wanda Sykes wrote on Twitter.

Skyes also joined Julia Louis-Dreyfus in voicing their support for the anti-NBC strike. Louis-Dreyfus starred in Seinfeld, which originally aired on NBC.

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The Veep actress shared her stance on the network debacle with a simple tweet: “#NBCBlackout.”

“[Every] TV in my house will be tuned into the Biden town hall,” tweeted Patricia Arquette.

Also voicing her stance was This Is Us actress Mandy Moore. The NBC star said that she’s proud of her co-stars for criticizing the network on its choice to air Trump’s town hall. She also added that she will be watching the former Vice President on ABC tonight.

While a handful of stars just used words and hashtags to express their dismay at the situation and support Biden, Jim Carrey took it to another level.

Carrey, who impersonates the Democratic presidential candidate on Saturday Night Live (which airs on NBC), warned his viewers that their time may be better spent watching ABC with an original drawing of Biden.

“There is a black hole on @NBC tonight. Tune in to @ABC at 8pm and watch a decent man deliver a safe way forward for this country,” he tweeted. “You can see the raging howler monkey-in-chief’s delusional and steroid fueled fails later on YouTube and, of course, all white supremacist websites.”

See more Tweets below.

Trump bails on the Town Hall debate with Biden because he didn’t want another ass whupping so NBC decides to air a special episode of, “The Apprentice.” ? Nah. I’m BLACKING OUT NBC and MSNBC today! This does not support democracy, this supports a sideshow.

— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) October 15, 2020


— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) October 15, 2020

There is a black hole on @NBC tonight. Tune in to @ABC at 8pm and watch a decent man deliver a safe way forward for this country. You can see the raging howler monkey-in-chief’s delusional and steroid fueled fails later on YouTube and, of course, all white supremacist websites.

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) October 15, 2020

Ever TV in my house will be tuned into the Biden town hall.

— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) October 15, 2020

Reasons why I'm watching the @JoeBiden Town Hall tonight:

– I believe Black lives *matter*

– I believe abortion is a personal medical decision

– I believe in wearing a mask to protect myself and others during a pandemic

– I believe we deserve better

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 15, 2020

Tonight, everyone tune in to Democratic nominee Joe Biden's town hall on ABC at 5pm PST/8pm EST!

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) October 15, 2020




Donald Trump Again Attacks “Fake News” NBC Hours Before Appearing At Town Hall – Updated


October 15, 2020 2:03pm



UPDATED, 1:59 PM PT: Hours before he is set to take the stage at an NBC News town hall, Donald Trump again attacked the network, calling it “fake news,” in what was either an effort to work the refs or goose the ratings for the event.

“I will be doing a major Fake @NBCNews Town Hall Forum, live tonight from Miami, at 8:00 P.M. They asked me to do it in place of the Rigged Steve Scully (he is now suspended from @cspan for lying) Debate. I wonder if they’ll treat me as well as Sleepy Joe? They should!”

Trump’s reference to Scully was the announcement that he was being placed on indefinitely leave after lying about his claim that his Twitter account had been hacked. Scully was to moderate the town-hall format debate that was eventually scrapped after Trump refused to participate in a virtual event.

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The town hall will start at the same time that Joe Biden is headlining a similar event on ABC. Critics have said that NBC was giving Trump a platform after he bailed out of the debate, and that the president likely will trumpet the ratings if he scores higher than his Democratic rival.

PREVIOUSLY, 11:50 AM PT: NBC are taking a lot of heat today for scheduling a town hall with Donald Trump tonight opposite Joe Biden on ABC, including from the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host himself.

“So you know I’m being set up tonight,” Trump just told a reelection campaign rally in North Carolina. “I’m doing this town hall with Concast, C-O-N, con, cause it’s a con job,” the former reality TV frontman joked with supporters as NBC and its news division are being heavily criticized for running the incumbent’s event at the same time as ABC has a previously announced event with Biden.

“It’s NBC, the worst,” Trump went on to declare. “Home of Sleepy-Eyed Chuck Todd and some others,” he added to the Greenville audience.

“I figured, what the hell, we get a free hour on television,” Trump arrogantly said, mocking moderator and Today co-host Savannah Guthrie (“she’s always lovely, isn’t she?”), NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt (“he’s a beauty”) and the town hall NBC had with Biden last week. “It was a joke,” the incumbent added of the October 5 event with the ex-VP, figuratively biting the hand that is feeding him tonight.

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“Actually, I’d like to watch him, because I’d like to see if he can make it through the program, the recently COVID-19 infected Trump concluded on the poll leading Democrat and his stint Thursday on the Disney-owned net.

NBC News did not respond to request for comment on Trump’s attacks today, just hours before he is supposed to sit down with Guthrie.

Announced almost right after the second POTUS debate that was set for tonight collapsed last week, the Biden town hall will start at 8 PM ET and run for 90-minutes with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos moderating. As that Philadelphia event occurs, Trump will be on virtually the same socially distanced turf in Miami as Biden was 10 days ago. The NBC town hall with Trump also starts at 8 PM ET, but only runs an hour – meaning the former Veep will get the last word in the figuratively split screen at least on broadcast TV.

However, as is clearly the primary purpose of the President’s appearance tonight, Trump will almost certainly have the greater reach with MSNBC and CNBC simulcasting the NBC airing. Both ABC and NBC have insisted that their respective town halls are being held under COVID-19 health guidelines, with safety recommendations from medical experts.

Earlier today, some of the biggest names in Hollywood and others pleaded with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and NBCU News Group chairman Cesar Conde to move their Trump town hall out of direct competition with Biden on ABC.. “We believe this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy are what have brought our country to this perilous state,” Ava DuVernay, JJ Abrams, Greg Berlantti, Damon Lindelof, Kenya Barris, Phil Lloyd & Chris Miller, Adam McKay, Courtney Kemp and 90 others wrote

In near immediate response, Conde put out a statement that said “we share in the frustration that our event will initially air alongside the first half of ABC’s broadcast with Vice President Biden.” He added: “If we were to move our town hall with President Trump to a later timeslot we would be violating our commitment to offer both campaigns access to the same audience and the same forum.”

A response that not even Donald Trump takes seriously, as he just made clear on the campaign trail. On the other hand, on social media, #nbcblackout is one of the top trending topics in America right now.

Paul Frank Dies: Longtime Entertainment Executive Was 53


October 15, 2020 2:03pm


Amblin Partners

Paul Frank, a entertainment executive who worked on both the creative and business sides of the industry for 30 years, died unexpectedly of a suspected heart attack on September 30 in his home in Los Angeles. He was 53.

Frank started his career as an agent trainee at the Triad agency and became an agent at the William Morris Agency following its acquisition of Triad. He transitioned to the executive ranks with a job as a scripted programming executive at Columbia/TriStar and then went on to head the television department at The Firm and its successor Prospect Park.

At The Firm, he executive produced the Emmy-nominated CBS miniseries Comanche Moon, from Oscar & Pulitzer prize winning author Larry McMurtry. The six-hour television event, a prequel to the hugely popular Lonesome Dove mini, starred Val Kilmer, Elizabeth Banks, Karl Urban and Steve Zahn.

At Prospect Park, he developed and executive produced Royal Pains, which became one of USA Network’s longest running series, and offbeat FX comedy series Wilfred, starring Elijah Wood. Frank executive produced both with his father, former President of Walt Disney Studios, Rich Frank. Most recently, Frank served as EVP and head of series development for the BabyFirst TV channel which is the leading provider of kids educational programming, spanning the baby and toddler years.

Born in New York but raised in Los Angeles, Frank was a graduate of Northwestern University. A loving and devoted father, son, brother and friend, Frank is survived by his father Rich; mother Connie; brother Darryl, co-president of Amblin Television; and two sons Lewis and Benjamin. Frank lived in the Los Angeles area and was engaged to be married to his fiancé Tara.

Tony Award Snubs, What Ifs And That Strange Case Of Aaron Tveit


October 15, 2020 2:02pm

Matthew Murphy

Blame the coronavirus for this year’s drastically reduced roster of eligible Tony Award nominees, and Tony nominators for overlooking at least a few possibilities. Even with only 18 Broadway productions in the running for a 2020 award, feelings were bound to be hurt.

Let’s start with the good news: The list of nominees for the 74th Annual Tony Awards is a solid one, with no noticeable contenders – at least to my eye – sneaking in due to the decreased competition. Good luck to voters parsing their choices for one castmate over another – Sea Wall/A Life‘s Jake Gyllenhaal or Tom Sturridge? Slave Play‘s Ato Blankson-Wood or James Cusati-Moyer, and Chalia La Tour or Annie McNamara? Jagged Little Pill‘s Kathryn Gallagher, Celia Rose Gooding or Lauren Patten?

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Mare Winningham, Kimber Elayne Sprawl, ‘Girl From The North Country’
Matthew Murphy

Of course we’ll never know how the list would be different (except that it would, indeed, be different) if Six, West Side Story and Girl from the North Country had been eligible for this year’s cut. I can think of at least half a dozen performers from those three shows alone that would have had a better-than-good shot this year, starting with Mare Winningham and Colton Ryan from North Country, Isaac Cole Powell from West Side Story, and any number of the women who brought to vivid life the wives of Henry VIII in Six. We can only hope to see their names on the next Tony roster, whenever that will be.

That’s not even counting the shows planned for this season that either hadn’t begun performances or hadn’t started inviting critics. The word was exemplary on Laurie Metcalf’s performance in the scotched Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Sharon D. Clarke had already scored an Olivier Award for her lead performance in Caroline, Or Change. And I was especially looking forward to seeing Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse in Paula Vogel’s scorching Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned To Drive, reprising the roles they so memorably created 23 years ago Off Broadway. What these two brilliant actors would have newly brought, after all these years, to the characters of woman and the once-beloved uncle who sexually abused her as a child can only be imagined.

Jonathan Price, Eileen Atkins, ‘The Height Of The Storm’
Joan Marcus

As for performers who did get a chance to show their stuff and still didn’t get a nomination, a few snubs stand out for me, most egregiously Eileen Atkins for her poignant performance The Height of the Storm, Florian Zeller’s drama chronicling the impact of dementia and decades on an elderly married couple. Jonathan Pryce as her increasingly forgetful husband was nearly her equal, but it was Atkins who cut deepest.

Tom Hiddleston was excellent in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, but no more so than that production’s Zawe Ashton, and Charlie Cox, for me, was the stand-out of the entire trio.

Among directors, perhaps no obvious cut could be made among the nominees – David Cromer, The Sound Inside; Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance; Kenny Leon, A Soldier’s Play; Jamie Lloyd, Betrayal; Robert O’Hara, Slave Play – but I would have made room somewhere for
Carrie Cracknell, whose sensitive, subtle guidance of Sea Wall/A Life was exquisite.

Chris McCarrell, ‘The Lightning Thief’
Jeremy Daniel

On the musical side, no snub was harsher than the one Tony nominators gave young Chris McCarrell, whose performance in the title role of the otherwise so-so The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical was outstanding.

Would McCarrell have stood a chance against the always-stellar Aaron Tveit of Moulin Rouge!, the sole nominee in the Lead Actor/Musical category? Doubtful, but it’s hard to imagine who – least of all Tveit – could have begrudged the deserving McCarrell the opportunity.

Perhaps nominators didn’t want to give the appearance of diving to pad a category in a year when the well of eligible offerings was so shallow. Or maybe they just weren’t that impressed with anything Percy (the musical was shut out entirely).

Either way, Tveit’s probably picking up a Tony Award this year. 

Wait, probably? How can he lose? It’s possible. The actor, who played the Moulin role on stage performed in the film by Ewan McGregor and who starred in TV’s Grease on Fox and the 2012 movie adaptation of Les Misérables, still needs to pull 60% of Tony voter ballots.

So could he lose? Technically, yes. Realistically? Nah. Even in this most strange of all Broadway seasons, some things just wouldn’t make sense.


Warner Bros And Universal Bosses Say No Movie Theater Buyouts In The Works, But “We’re Rooting For Them”


October 15, 2020 1:55pm

The AMC in Orange, CA

Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, and Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of Warner Bros had the same reaction Thursday when asked if their companies had any interest in buying movie theaters.

They laughed.

“We have no plans to do that currently,” Langley said, appearing with Sarnoff and CBS CEO George Cheeks on a Milken Institute Global Conference virtual panel about COVID-19’s impact on Hollywood. “We have no plans either,” Sarnoff said with a light chuckle.

Especially with the 1948 Paramount decree now abolished and major theater circuits on the brink of bankruptcy, the scenario of studios taking a stake in exhibition, whose stocks have plunged, is frequently floated. The entire theatrical model, which has shown signs of wear in recent years but still yielded more than $11 billion in revenue in 2019, is in a suspended state. While major studios have all come to rely on streaming to varying degrees as a replacement for theatrical in 2020, the profit margins many releases enjoy in the traditional model are not yet possible in streaming. Plus, with major media companies on their heels due to the pandemic’s effect on TV advertising, production, theme parks and other revenue sources, earmarking funds for a theater rescue is unrealistic — even laughable.

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Sarnoff and Langley reiterated their companies’ oft-stated public pledge to continue with theatrical releases, but neither did so with much evident passion for the bijou.

“I’m kind of an armchair sociologist and I believe people want to have communal experiences and especially with certain genres,” Sarnoff said, citing horror, action-adventure and superhero films. “We’re big fans of the exhibitors. They’ve been good partners of ours for many decades. We’re rooting for them. I know it’s tough sledding right now. I’m hoping they come out on the other side, probably even stronger.”

Domestic box office is on pace to plummet more than 80% in the U.S., as theaters in New York and LA remain shuttered more than seven months after the pandemic started sweeping across the U.S. As exhibitors have launched a promotional campaign about their safety measures and enlisted top filmmakers for a plea to Congress, a bailout plan — even from private equity firms buying up other 20th century assets like newspapers and radio stations — has not emerged.

Studios also continue to withdraw films from the release calendar, the latest being Soul. The Pixar movie was poised for a holiday season release, the same berth Pixar and Disney films have had for decades, but theater closures prompted Disney to move the release to subscription streaming service Disney+. With control of nearly half of the marketplace, Disney is the most influential theatrical player and its corporate reorganization this week to put a company-wide emphasis on streaming has the industry’s attention.

Langley said Universal remains committed to theaters, citing the studio’s precedent-setting deal with AMC as proof of its support of that element in the business model. The companies earlier this year reached an agreement enabling select titles to leave theatrical after just 17 days, a far cry from the current three-month exclusive window.

“It took Covid to demonstrate that it is not cannibalistic but it is, in fact, additive,” she said. “It will enable us to continue to make movies and put them in theaters.”

Langley mentioned The Croods: A New Age, out November 25, and Sarnoff name-checked spring 2021 title In the Heights as films that would have theatrical as an element of their releases but not in the traditional way. Sarnoff said some preliminary discussions have been held with exhibitors about windows but she had nothing to announce.

With planning for 2021 and beyond well under way, Langley said there’s “no line of sight” on how long the pandemic will linger. She said it could be limited to the first half of next year or it could dominate all of 2021 the way it has this year.

While he hasn’t had to contend with theaters, Cheeks said the task of leading creative business teams in a world of Zoom calls and social distancing has been daunting. The former NBCUniversal exec started his new role at ViacomCBS on March 23, just as the lockdowns and production and business shutdowns were beginning.

“The night before I started the job, I had a full-on panic attack,” Cheeks said. “I couldn’t really figure out how I was going to build trust and transparency remotely. I think what all of is did is that we all just sort of leaned into it. We acknowledged the awkwardness of it.” The other result of the pandemic’s new work norms, he added, was “an equalizing effect,” he added. “A lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily speak up in a room are speaking up.”

Showrunners, especially in animation, have identified efficiencies that will last through to the other side of the pandemic, he said. Similarly, while it’s hard to tell what will survive into the post-pandemic era as a set business method, the turbulence of 2020 has proven to be “an inflection point” for the well-entrenched aspects of the TV business like upfronts and pilot season. New ways to promote shows and connect with advertisers have been positive outcomes from the chaotic period, Cheeks said.

Sarnoff said working through COVID-19 has been “exhausting” for the Warner Bros troops because everything is unprecedented. “There is no playbook,” she said. “What you do all day long is you think about scenarios — ‘What if this happens? What if that happens? What should be our Plan A, Plan B, Plan C?’ Without precedent, it is incredibly mentally taxing to try to think about what the right way to go forward.”

She cited bypassing theaters with Scoob in the spring as one such crossroads, noting that Langley faced a similar decision tree with Trolls World Tour. “It seems easy in retrospect, like, ‘Of course you release your movie digitally!’ But it’s not so easy as it’s happening, because oftentimes these are new moves that you’re making so you have to think about all of the constituents. You have to think about your fans and what they want, and predict what the results are going to be without any market data.”

RedBird Capital Opening LA Office, Sets Longtime Goldman Sachs Media Banker Andy Gordon To Run It


October 15, 2020 1:32pm

Andy Gordon to open RedBird Capital new Los Angeles office.
Redbird Capital

RedBird Capital Partners, the investment firm with stakes in David Ellison’s Skydance Media and the YES Network, is opening a West Coast office in Los Angeles and has hired longtime top Goldman Sachs banker Andy Gordon to lead it.

He starts in February as partner charged with extending the firm’s expertise in media, sports and technology.

Gordon recently retired from Goldman after 35 years where he was global chairman of Investment Banking and global head of media and telecommunications. It’s where he met Gerry Cardinale, who founded RedBird in 2014.

“I have known Andy for over two decades, going back to our time together at Goldman Sachs where he worked on some of the most innovative and transformative transactions in media, entertainment, sports and technology,” Cardinale said. “Andy’s depth of experience and relationships … fit well with our own and will help us continue to source and execute the type of creative investing and business building at the core of the RedBird investment mandate.”

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Gordon advised RedBird on its $575 million IPO of RedBall Acquisition Corp, a sports-focused Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC. RedBall is in talks to acquire John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, which owns English soccer team Liverpool and Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.

SPACs are basically publicly traded piles of cash that merge with real companies, which then also become public in a process that’s faster and less complicated than a traditional IPO. They tend to proliferate during periods of instability new ones are popping up every day.

Gordon also worked on RedBird’s investment in Skydance alongside the Ellison family, Tencent and CJ Entertainment. He’s advised enterprises from Walt Disney and AT&T to Netflix, Activision, Live Nation and the LA Rams, among others.

“I am excited to begin the next chapter of my career at RedBird,” said Gordon. “Never has the confluence of rights, content and technology offered such transformative opportunities. I can think of no better place than working with Gerry and RedBird’s distinguished investment team from our new West Coast office to bring this type of entrepreneurial investing and company building DNA to the industries I have been advising for more than thirty years.”

Gordon built up Goldman’s West Region Investment Banking business starting in 1998 and served as the founding head of its media practice in 2002. He’s founding chairman of the Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles and co-chairman emeritus and trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

RedBird has about $4 billion in capital under management. Deadline reported late last month that Kevin Mayer, longtime Walt Disney dealmaker and shorter-lived TikTok CEO, was discussing possible opportunities with the firm.

Kamala Harris’ Travel Plans Canceled After Top Aide, Flight Crew Member Test Positive For COVID-19 — UPDATE


October 15, 2020 1:20pm


(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

UPDATE: Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said that a third individual, a member of the aviation company that charters the former vice president’s aircraft, tested positive.

Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement, “Vice President Biden was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with this individual at any time. In fact, the Vice President did not even have passing contact: this individual was over 50 feet from VP Biden at all times, entered and exited the aircraft from a rear entrance, and both the individual and the Vice President wore masks for the entire flight. Given these facts, we have been advised by the Vice President’s doctor and the campaign’s medical advisors that there is no need for the Vice President to quarantine.”

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Earlier, O’Malley Dillon announced that Kamala Harris was canceling her travel schedule through Sunday after her communications director, Liz Allen, and a non-staff flight crew member tested positive.

O’Malley Dillon said that the third individual traveled on the plane during Biden’s trip to Ohio on Monday and Florida on Tuesday, and was stationed in the last row of the 737 aircraft. That was more than 50 feet away from the vice president, she said.

“No campaign staff members were in close contact with this individual,” she said. “The individual wore a mask throughout their time traveling with the Vice President and his accompanying party. The Vice President and his team wore N95 masks during the flights.”

PREVIOUSLY: Kamala Harris’ travel schedule has been canceled through Sunday “out of an abundance of caution” after Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said that two individuals tested positive for  the coronavirus.

The individuals were Liz Allen, communications director for Harris, and an unidentified non-staff flight crew member, according to a statement from Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. She said that they learned on the positive tests late on Wednesday.

“Senator Harris was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with any of these two individuals during the two days prior to their positive tests; as such, there is no requirement for quarantine,” she said.

O’Malley Dillon said that Harris will continue a schedule of virtual events and return to the campaign trail on Monday.

“Neither of these people have had contact with Vice President Biden, Senator Harris or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results,” she said. Biden will continue to travel, with plans to attend an ABC News town hall this evening in Philadelphia.

O’Malley Dillon said that Allen and the other individual had attended “personal, non-campaign events in the past week.

“Under our campaign’s strict health protocols, both individuals had to be tested before returning to their work with the campaign from these personal events,” she wrote.

O’Malley Dillon said that Allen and the flight crew member were on a trip with Harris on Oct. 8, and all three were wearing N95 masks. Harris has taken two PCR tests since then, including one on Wednesday, and tested negative, she said.

“She was not within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes with either of them,” O’Malley Dillon said. “As such, she does not meet the CDC definition of ‘close contact’ for exposure.  In addition, both before and after the flight both individuals tested negative.”

The campaign also is canceling the travel on Thursday of Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff. He has taken three PCR tests and has tested negative. He did not have exposure to Allen or the other individual, and will return to the campaign trail on Friday, the campaign said.

President Donald Trump has returned to the campaign trail after he was hospitalized for the coronavirus, and will attend an NBC News town hall in Miami on Thursday. A number of his top aides tested positive since an outbreak at the White House. They include his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, as well as Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and top aide Stephen Miller.

‘The Resident’: ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Alum Conrad Ricamora To Recur On Season 4


October 15, 2020 1:02pm


Ricardo Birnbaum

EXCLUSIVE: How To Get Away With Murder alum Conrad Ricamora is set for a key recurring role on the upcoming fourth season of Fox’s hit medical drama The Resident.

Ricamora will play Dr. Jake Wong, a handsome gay plastic surgeon, and amateur singer-songwriter in his off hours. Jake used to be Dr. Bell’s (Bruce Greenwood) stepson half a lifetime ago, but their relationship ended bitterly when Bell divorced his mother.

Created by Amy Holden Jones, Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi, The Resident follows a group of doctors at Chastain Memorial Hospital, as they face personal and professional challenges on a daily basis. Matt Czuchry, Emily VanCamp, Bruce Greenwood, Manish Dayal, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Jane Leeves and Morris Chestnut star.

Holden Jones said in a recent interview with US magazine that the series will tackle the COVID-19 pandemic at the top of season 4, which is slated to premiere in 2021.

The Resident is produced by 20th Television. The series’ executive producers include showrunner Todd Harthan, Andrew Chapman, who has been upped to EP/co-showrunner, co-creator Amy Holden Jones, Rob Corn, Antoine Fuqua, David Boorstein, and Oly Obst. Peter Elkoff has also joined the staff as executive producer/co-showrunner.

Ricamora recently wrapped six seasons as Oliver Hampton in How To Get Away With Murder, opposite Viola Davis. He is the voice of the character Houyi in the upcoming Netflix animated film Over The Moon, which is currently in post-production. He’s repped by A3 Artists Agency and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.

‘Doc McStuffins’ Creator Chris Nee Unveils New Slate Of Inclusive Animated Preschool Series For Netflix


October 15, 2020 1:00pm

Courtesy of Netflix

Chris Nee and her production company Laughing Wild are best known for creating all-inclusive children’s programming such as Doc McStuffins and Vampirina in bringing more representation to Netflix. The Peabody, Emmy, and Humanitas Prize-winning producer and writer has unveiled her first slate of series heading to the streaming giant — all of which are part of her overall deal.

“I am so excited to finally get to talk about the work I’m doing at Netflix,” said Nee. “As a writer and creator, I have so many stories I want to tell. I could easily fill my slate with my own voice. But one of the reasons I chose Netflix is that they afford me the opportunity to not only tell my stories but shine a spotlight on other talented creators and help them tell theirs.”

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Nee added, “I know what it’s like to grow up not seeing myself represented in the shows I loved. I know that it matters not only who is on screen, but who is behind it. The mix of shows announced today perfectly represents what matters to me. I want to reach the next generation of kids, yes, but I also want to embolden and teach the next generation of diverse and underrepresented creators. At Laughing Wild I’m able to build a company that reflects my values, and work at every turn to change the ‘who and how’ of making content for kids.”

“In the realm of children’s television, Chris and her team are pioneers,” said Melissa Cobb, Vice President of Original Animation, Netflix. “Their upcoming projects certainly reflect that — they’re designing worlds that kids and families can escape to, creating characters that reflect diverse cultures and backgrounds and redefining the
possibilities of what children can be inspired by on screen.”

Read the complete slate of programming below.

Courtesy of Netflix

Ridley Jones
Creator/Executive Producer: Chris Nee
Composers: Chris Dimond, Michael Kooman
Animation Studio: Brown Bag Films

An action-adventure preschool series following six-year-old Ridley Jones who, alongside her mother and grandmother, is a protector of the museum she calls home. Keeping the exhibits safe takes a real hero, especially since every night when the lights go out and the doors lock shut, the exhibits — stampeding elephants, astronaut chimps, Egyptian mummies — come to life! Throughout her many adventures, Ridley will find that being a good protector – and leader – is about finding common ground and respecting others, no matter what our differences might be.

“This is the first show I brought to Netflix,” said Nee. “I really wanted to do a series where a girl was the action-adventure star I always wanted to see (or be) when I was growing up. Like so many of my shows, this world is a perfect canvas upon which to create a community of oddball characters and model what it means to take care of each other, even if you aren’t from the same era of time or wing of the museum. With music, comedy, heart and a true heroine’s story, Ridley Jones is a worthy successor to Doc McStuffins and Vampirina. Can’t wait for you to meet

Courtesy of Netflix

Spirit Rangers
Executive Producer: Chris Nee
Creator/Executive Producer: Karissa Valencia (Vampirina)
Animation Studio: Superprod Animation

Created by Chumash tribal member, Karissa Valencia, Spirit Rangers is a fantasy-adventure preschool series following Native American sibling trio Kodiak, Summer and Eddy Skycedar, who have a shared secret—they’re “Spirit Rangers!” Spirit Rangers can transform into their own animal spirit to help protect the National Park they call home. With the blessing of the Chumash and Cowlitz tribes, we’ll join the Skycedar kids on their magical adventures with spirits inspired by indigenous stories.

“I am so proud that Spirit Rangers has found its home at Laughing Wild,” said Valencia. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from Chris Nee since I was a coordinator on Vampirina. Looking back, I now realize I was in an unofficial showrunner bootcamp the whole time. From coordinator, to staff writer, to Showrunner, she’s been my mentor from day one. I was able to witness firsthand the groundbreaking preschool shows she would lead and now I strive to do the same.”

Valencia continued, “Spirit Rangers is native led with a team of native writers, native artists, native actors
and native composers. As a Native Storyteller, I’ve rarely come across the opportunity to tell my own story. I am forever grateful to be given the chance at Laughing Wild and can’t wait for everyone to meet our funny modern native family in Spirit Rangers.”


Courtesy of Netflix

Dino Daycare
Executive Producer: Chris Nee
Creator/Executive Producer: Jeff King (Vampirina)

In a world where the dinosaurs never went extinct – and now live alongside humans – we follow a six-year-old human boy named Cole as he helps out at Dino Daycare, a nursery for baby Dinos of all shapes and sizes. Though Cole might not be as big and strong as his dad, Teddy, or his T-Rex “aunt” Dinah who runs the daycare, he shows us that he’s got what it takes to care for Earth’s mightiest creatures. Proving that kindness and caring are powerful forms
of strength, and that the toughest muscle in our body… is our heart.

“As with most of the defining moments of my life, as soon as I came up with Dino Daycare, I spilled hot coffee all over my desk. I knew this idea could be something special, and I knew the only person to pitch it to was my friend and mentor, Chris Nee,” said King. “Chris immediately embraced my vision for a show that was about both dinosaurs and emotions, in equal measure.”

King points out that this is a show that celebrates the fact that there are different ways for a boy to become a man. “We want to show that boys can be vulnerable, and show feelings, and that strength isn’t just a physical marker… all while giving everyone what they want, mainly dinosaurs. Really, really cute dinosaurs,” he said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Laughing Wild lineup, and can’t wait to introduce the world to a non-traditional boy lead and a daycare full of adorable baby dinos.”

Courtesy of Netflix

The newly announced films join the animation slate that includes Ada Twist, Scientist from Kerri Grant (Doc McStuffins, Nella the Princess Knight) and Executive Producers Mark Burton (Water, Tallula, The Indian Detective), Tonia Davis and Priya Swaminathan (American Factory, Crip Camp, Becoming), author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts. The Brown Bag Films series follows the adventures of the titular eight-year-old Ada Twist, a pint-sized scientist with a giant-sized curiosity, who aspires to discover the truth about absolutely everything. With the help of her two best friends, Rosie Revere and Iggy Peck, Ada unravels and solves mysteries for her friends and family. But solving the mystery is only the beginning because science isn’t just about learning how and why and what… it’s about putting that knowledge into action to make the world a better place.


C-SPAN Places Steve Scully On Indefinite Leave After He Admits To False Claim About His Twitter Hack


October 15, 2020 12:45pm



UPDATED, with comment from Debate Commission co-chair, Trump: Steve Scully, the longtime C-SPAN anchor who was to moderate the second presidential town hall debate this evening, is being placed on leave after he admitted that he falsely claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked.

Last week, in the face of attacks from President Donald Trump, Scully posted a public message on Twitter directed at Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, asking him how he should respond. Although many speculated that Scully mistakenly posted the tweet when it should have been a private message, the next day he claimed that his account had been hacked. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which was organizing the events, said that it was investigating.

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In a statement, C-SPAN said, “Steve Scully made us and the Commission aware of this new information late Wednesday (10/14). By not being immediately forthcoming to C-SPAN and the Commission about his tweet, he understands that he made a serious mistake. We were very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions.”

The network added, “During his 30 years at C-SPAN, Steve consistently demonstrated his fairness and professionalism as a journalist. He has built a reservoir of goodwill among those he has interviewed, fellow journalists, our viewers, and with us. Starting immediately, we have placed Steve on administrative leave. After some distance from this episode, we believe in his ability to continue to contribute to C-SPAN.”

In a statement, Scully said, “For several weeks, I was subjected to relentless criticism on social media and in conservative news outlets regarding my role as moderator for the second presidential debate, including attacks aimed directly at my family. This culminated on Thursday, October 8th when I heard President Trump go on national television twice and falsely attack me by name. Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a new controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked. These were both errors in judgement for which I am totally responsible. I apologize.

He added, “These actions have let down a lot of people, including my colleagues at C-SPAN, where I have worked for the past 30 years, professional colleagues in the media, and the team at the Commission on Presidential Debates. I ask for their forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself.”

C-SPAN, and Scully himself, have gone to great lengths in their programming to not show a partisan bias or affinity. But the message to Scaramucci, who is now a vocal Trump critic, quickly drew attention.

The Commission on Presidential Debates was forced to cancel the town hall event last week after Trump declined to participate in a virtual event. Instead, he is planning to participate in a town hall for NBC News tonight while Joe Biden does a competing event for ABC News.

Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, told Deadline that “we were all shocked” by the news about Scully and said that he always viewed the C-SPAN anchor as a journalist with high integrity. “We believed it when he told us” about the hack, Fahrenkopf said. “I am sorry for the position that he is in and for his family,” he said.

Scarmucci wrote on Twitter, “Brutal outcome for a silly non political tweet. Nothing objectionable. Cancel culture going too far.”

Trump tweeted, “I was right again! Steve Scully just admitted he was lying about his Twitter being hacked. The Debate was Rigged! He was suspended from @cspan indefinitely. The Trump Campaign was not treated fairly by the ‘Commission’. Did I show good instincts in being the first to know?”

How Sacha Baron Cohen’s Plan To Use ‘Borat’ Sequel To Combat Facebook & Twitter Holocaust Denier Policies Evolved With Abrupt About Face & Surprise Lawsuit


October 15, 2020 12:27pm


EXCLUSIVE: You could tell from Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2019 ADL speech and his just-published Time magazine guest column that an edgy criticism of social media platforms Facebook and Twitter for allowing Holocaust deniers free run was going to be a major thrust of the promotional appearances he is about to start making for the Borat sequel that Amazon premieres October 23. It will be an evolving discussion, because of an abrupt about-face from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook platform to ban Holocaust-denial messaging from its platform, with Twitter following with its own ban shortly after.


The topic will still be top of mind for Baron Cohen, who delivered a blistering speech against Facebook and Twitter and the impact of allowing deniers of the Holocaust a free pass to spew anti-Semitic information under the guise of free speech. Sources said that while the new movie satirizes anti-Semitism in the equally edgy fashion used by Taika Waititi in Jo Jo Rabbit, the Borat followup illuminates this hatred for a specific constructive reason near to his heart.

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A surprise byproduct of all this is a lawsuit filed in Georgia. Reports say it was from the estate of Judith Dim Evans, who appears in the film and who bears witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust, during which her family members were killed. The suit claims Evans participated not knowing she was in a satire, one the suit claims was done to “mock the Holocaust and Jewish culture.” While the lawsuit might well reverberate in the press, sources close to the filmmakers tell me that there might well be a change of heart after the movie is seen because the whole point of including Dim Evans was to do exactly the opposite. And she was clued in on the gag after it was shot and there is footage of it.

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Baron Cohen dedicates the movie to Evans, who died after filming. I’m told that he for the first time while making one of his movies — where most everyone but him is an unwitting participant — out of respect he had someone tell Evans and the friend who shares the scene with her that Baron Cohen himself is Jewish and playing an ignorant character as a means of Holocaust education, by featuring a Holocaust survivor who ends up challenging the anti-Semite by charmingly telling her own story. The filmmakers separately helped other family members of Dim Evans to create a website in her honor, and I’ve heard that Baron Cohen and Amazon Prime created a way through its X-Ray bonus content for viewers of the film to hear Evans tell the story of what happened to her family during WWII.

Whether the timing of Facebook and Twitter’s Holocaust-denier ban had anything to do with Baron Cohen’s plans to vilify them in public appearances that start Friday, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told Deadline that Baron Cohen’s relentless efforts to shine a light on the practice, both onscreen and in public appearances, has helped keep the pressure on sites that are being more closely scrutinized than ever in election season.

“We closely track anti-Semitic incidents and law year saw the highest totals we’ve seen in the four decades we’ve been doing this work,” Greenblatt said. “I wish they had done this ban sooner, but I’m glad they have, and we will follow up to make sure they keep their word. Sacha’s evangelism and his follow through — I’m certain it was helpful. It kept the issue in the public eye.”

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As Donald Trump Blasts Twitter And Facebook, FCC Chairman Says He Will Move Forward With Plans To ‘Clarify’ Section 230


October 15, 2020 12:06pm


(Alex Wong/Pool via AP)

The chairman of the FCC issued a statement on Thursday saying that he plans to move forward with efforts to clarify Section 230, the provision of a 1996 law that gives immunity to internet companies like Facebook and Twitter over the way that they moderate content.

Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement as President Donald Trump and his allies have blasted Twitter and Facebook for steps they have taken to restrict the sharing of a New York Post story on Hunter Biden. Twitter has disabled links to the story, and the Trump campaign said that its account was briefly locked after it tried to share it.

“As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains:  What does Section 230 currently mean?” Pai said in a statement. “Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230.  The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230.  Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning.”

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He added, “Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory parity, transparency, and free expression.  Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech.  But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”

In May, after Twitter slapped a label on two of Trump’s tweets out of concern that they were election disinformation, the president issued an executive order to instruct federal agencies to move to modify Section 230, which was passed in 1996 as part of the Communications Decency Act. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration then petitioned the FCC to review it.

“Members of all three branches of the federal government have expressed serious concerns about the prevailing interpretation of the immunity set forth in Section 230 of the Communications Act,” Pai said. “There is bipartisan support in Congress to reform the law.  The U.S. Department of Commerce has petitioned the Commission to ‘clarify ambiguities in section 230.’  And earlier this week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that courts have relied upon ‘policy and purpose arguments to grant sweeping protections to Internet platforms’ that appear to go far beyond the actual text of the provision.”

Twitter said that the Post story included materials that violated its hacked materials policy. The story included images of emails that allegedly came from Hunter Biden’s laptop, dropped off to a technician in Delaware. But the emails have not been verified as authentic.

Some Democrats also have called for modifying Section 230 — but for opposite reasons. As Trump and his allies claim that Section 230 have given platforms license to stifle content from the right, something social media giants deny, Democrats believe that Silicon Valley should be taking greater steps to curb misinformation.

But Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic appointee to the commission, criticized Pai for the statement.

“The timing of this effort is absurd. The FCC has no business being the president’s speech police,” she said in a statement.

The commission is made up of three Republicans and two Democrats. Two GOP appointees, Pai and Commissioner Brendan Carr, favor moving forward. The third, Michael O’Rielly, expressed some skepticism over such an effort, only to have his renomination to the FCC pulled. Trump then nominated telecom attorney Nathan Simington, a senior adviser at NTIA, to fill the slot. A hearing has not yet been scheduled on his nomination, even though Trump tweeted last week, “Republicans need to get smart and confirm Nate Simington to the FCC ASAP!”

On Thursday, Trump wrote on Twitter, “If Big Tech persists, in coordination with the mainstream media, we must immediately strip them of their Section 230 protections. When government granted these protections, they created a monster!”

‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’ Announces Broadway Return, Premiere Date


October 14, 2020 1:41pm

David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’
Matthew Murphy

David Byrne’s American Utopia will return to Broadway next fall. Producers announced today that the critically lauded production will hit the stage Sept. 17, 2021.

The show, filmed by Spike Lee for an HBO adaptation that launches this weekend, had initially planned its Broadway return for fall 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown axed that.

The Broadway return was announced today via Twitter. Tickets are already on sale. No mention was made of a venue, but the announcement was retweeted by Broadway’s Hudson Theatre, where Utopia played its initial Broadway run last year and where Lee filmed the HBO special.

The booking raises questions about an arrival date for Plaza Suite, the Neil Simon revival starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. That twice-postponed production had initially been set for the Hudson in spring 2020 and then spring 2021. No announcement has been made about the production since Broadway’s most recent shutdown extension through May 2021.

The initial run of Utopia closed out its first limited engagement at the Hudson last February, having recouped it’s initial $4 million investment in mid-December just ten weeks after opening. The production was initially scheduled to return to the Hudson on September 18 2020 and run through January 17 2021.

Since the most recent shutdown extension announcement, various pending productions have reset their sights on fall 2021 or 2022. 

Lee’s HBO film of David Byrne’s American Utopia premieres Oct. 17 on HBO and will stream on HBO Max.

"The BEST musical experience on the planet," (NME) David Byrne's #AmericanUtopia returns to Broadway on September 17, 2021! Tickets available now at

— David Byrne's American Utopia on Broadway (@americanutopia) October 14, 2020