portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

 The Big O Newsletter highlights today included the following and include the wonderful set from Laura Marling from the BBC Proms concert that I for one missed this time around . . . . . . so this is most welcome


Michael Jackson's estate has won an appeal that allows it to pursue arbitration after claiming the creators of 'Leaving Neverland' violated a non-disparagement clause. The estate had sued HBO for US$100 million, arguing that its 2019 documentary, which details accounts by Jackson's alleged victims of child sex abuse, breaks a 27-year-old confidentiality clause. By contrast, HBO accuses the Jackson estate of seeking to silence victims of sexual abuse. The media giant argues that the non-disparagement clause from a 1992 concert film from Jackson's 'Dangerous' tour is irrelevant to the present dispute, Variety reports.

HBO appealed, however, on December 14 a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the lower court ruling. The judges said the suit may be "frivolous," as HBO has claimed, but concluded that it would be for an arbitrator to decide.

The truth hurts but what a jackpot.

"Like being dosed with a vitamin I had been leaving out of my diet."


London 2002

BBC Proms. Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK. September 6, 2020. Very good digital broadcast.


ANYWAY, ANYHOW, ANYWHERE (All the news this week)


BBC Radio will celebrate the life and work of David Bowie next month with a series of programmes titled 'Bowie Five Years On'. The special series will mark the five-year anniversary of Bowie's death. He died at the age of 69 on January 10, 2016 following a battle with cancer. Two special Bowie programmes - Soul Music - Life on Mars and Archive on 4: Bowie Verbatim (a repeat) - will be broadcast on Radio 4 on January 9, 2021. The following day will see 6 Music dedicate its entire schedule to celebrating Bowie, with shows hosted by the likes of Radcliffe and Maconie, Elbow's Guy Garvey and Cerys Matthews all set to focus on the late star. BBC Four will also screen an evening of Bowie programmes on January 8, 2021, while BBC Radio 2 will air a Bowie-centric edition of Sounds of the '70s at 3 pm on January 10.

The two-hour 'Bowie: Dancing Out In Space' show, which will be broadcast on both BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 4 simultaneously at 8 pm on January 10, 2021 will explore "the impact of David Bowie on their lives and how he always managed to be ahead of the curve".


Kanye West is facing two class-action lawsuits from workers at his live Christian opera 'Nebuchadnezzar', detailing various grievances surrounding their treatment and pay on the show. The rapper is accused of owing "unpaid wages", failing to pay minimum wage and overtime, and refusing to provide appropriate meal and rest breaks when he hosted a series of shows at The Hollywood Bowl last year. According to new details obtained by Vice, the first lawsuit stems from crew members hired for 'Nebuchadnezzar', while the second arrives from the performers themselves. The legal action could reportedly amount to US$1 million in damages against the rapper.




Visa and Mastercard have cut ties with Pornhub

Rolling Stone reported that "(a)t the start of the pandemic, Alex and Cassie, a same-sex, nonbinary, multiracial couple based in Canada, were laid off from their full-time jobs. Scrambling for income, and unable to leave the house because of Alex's preexisting conditions, Alex and Cassie, who asked to be identified only by their first names to protect their privacy, decided to start selling pornographic content through Pornhub.

On December 10, credit card processors Visa and Mastercard made a shocking announcement: they would be terminating their relationships with Pornhub. It was part of a series of reforms surrounding the porn behemoth, following an exposé in the New York Times by journalist Nicholas Kristof regarding the presence of videos depicting rape and child sexual abuse on the website.

Alex and Cassie reacted to the news with "complete horror and fear". "There's absolutely no work in our area and without paid content on these sites, we'll lose more than 50 per cent of our income," they tell Rolling Stone. For the first time since the pandemic started, they wondered if they might become homeless. "No other industry cuts someone's salary in half overnight," they say. "And it feels terrible, because we have done nothing wrong."

...Although it is largely known as a free porn website, many sex workers use Pornhub to sell their content and depend on it for their income, and they were outraged and terrified by the news. "It's a huge blow to us as sex workers and models. It will not hurt Pornhub as they have always made money off of stolen content," says Dee Siren, a content creator and director. "This will only hurt models."

...Alana Evans, president of the adult performer union APAG, sees it as "the tip of the iceberg in the war on porn," in the same vein as anti-trafficking legislation like FOSTA/SESTA. The legislation was intended to curb trafficking on the internet but had the end result of endangering sex workers by shuttering networks like Backpage, which sex workers relied on for both income and as a vetting resource.

Credit card processors severing their relationship with a giant tube site like Pornhub is "not keeping kids safe. This doesn't stop kids from being molested, or stop people from shooting the content of people being raped and abused," she says. "This is no different from shutting down Backpage." She suggests that as a result of Visa and Mastercard cutting ties with Pornhub, many content creators will see their income dwindle. Some even may turn to street-based sex work during the pandemic.

...As an additional blow, Sen. Josh Hawley proposed a bipartisan bill on December 9 in response to the Kristof piece that would enable victims of sex trafficking or sexual assault to sue Pornhub if their videos show up on the platform. While such a bill is clearly well-intentioned, and "providing economic incentives and relief for victims is always smart. I just worry about SESTA/FOSTA-like implications," says Kaytlin Bailey, a sex worker rights activist and host of the Oldest Profession Podcast. "I would hate to see a reaction to this as just a blanket erasure or overreaction that makes it harder for sex workers to survive and protect themselves on the internet."

Ultimately, sex workers believe that Visa and Mastercard severing ties with Pornhub may potentially signal just that. "The question a lot of us have is, what is the threshold here? What level of illegal content needs to be sold on a platform before the payment processors leave?," says Siri. "How many people are we helping versus how many people's livelihoods are we completely destroying?"

Read in full at Rolling Stone (click here).

Read Nicholas Kristof's The Children of Pornhub (click here).

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