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Frank Ocean Writes F-Bomb Check to Chipotle for $212,000


Over the weekend Towleroad reported that Chipotle was suing Frank Ocean for the $212,500 advance it paid him, after he backed out of singing "Pure Imagination" for their animated ad that went viral last September. Ocean claimed he was promised final say over the ad and was told it would not contain a logo.

Fiona Apple ended up performing the song. Watch the ad HERE.

Ocean responded to the restaurant chain with a check (above) containing a strongly worded note that he posted to his Tumblr today.


Posted Mar. 10,2014 at 9:06 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (36)

LGBTI Rights and the UN: Where To From Here?


Analysis: If the United Nations builds on steps it has taken on LGBTI rights in the recent past, it may prove to be an antidote to the increased violence and persecution against LGBTI people around the world.

UnIn 2014, one can barely read the news without coming across a story concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) persons. Invariably these stories relate to violence, discrimination or other human rights violations inflicted on individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Occasionally, a good news story creeps in, like the recent legalising of marriage for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand. But more often than not, the story is about gay bashing in Russia, draconian homophobic laws being enacted in various African countries, or the Indian Supreme Court re-criminalising consensual sexual conduct between men, after the Delhi High Court struck down the relevant provision of the criminal code four years ago.

With 81 states still criminalising homosexuality, the plight of LGBTI persons in many parts of the world is dire.

In light of an apparent increase in the intensity and frequency of LGBTI rights violations, it is appropriate to ask: What is the United Nations doing in response? And what more could it be doing?

There are three UN bodies that are particularly useful to consider, namely the Human Rights Committee, the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


As the body responsible for monitoring state parties’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Human Rights Committee has an important role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons.

There are three ways in which it can do this, namely, in its Concluding Observations, in its General Comments and in its Views on individual communications. The degree to which it has succeeded in raising LGBTI rights through these different avenues is variable.

The Human Rights Committee’s approach to raising violations of the rights of LGBTI persons in its Concluding Observations has been patchy. Although it has improved in recent times, there have still been instances where the Human Rights Committee has failed to explicitly address the fact that a state continues to criminalise homosexuality in clear breach of the ICCPR.

In 2014, the Committee will review 18 states. Of those, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Sudan, Burundi and Sri Lanka still criminalise homosexuality.

Of course, many of the states where homosexual conduct is legal also have significant LGBTI rights violations, because, for example, there is no anti-discrimination legislation that protects sexual minorities.

One only has to look at recent events in Russia, where homosexuality was legalised in 1993, to know that decriminalisation is only the start of the journey towards dignity and equality for LGBTI persons, not the end.

Logo_unThe Human Rights Committee should therefore include recommendations not only about decriminalising homosexuality in its Concluding Observations for these 18 states, but also other reform measures necessary to ensure that LGBTI persons can be free and equal.

The Human Rights Committee has a woeful record when it comes to including LGBTI persons in its General Comments. To date the Committee has published 34 General Comments and not one of them has mentioned LGBTI rights. This is in stark contrast to other treaty committees, which have all made explicit reference to sexual minorities in at least one General Comment.

There may be signs that the Human Rights Committee is ready to catch up. General Comment 35 on Article 9 (liberty and security of person) is currently being drafted and does include a reference to sexual minorities. Let’s hope this language is retained in the final version.

The Human Rights Committee has considered five communications from LGBTI persons and in four of those cases found there had been breaches of the ICCPR. Most recently, it found that Russia’s gay ‘propaganda’ laws are inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression, read in conjunction with the right to freedom from discrimination (Fedotova v Russian Federation, 2012).

Thus, while the Human Rights Committee is making good progress with promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons in its Concluding Observations and Views, there is definite room for improvement in its General Comments.


The Human Rights Council is also making a positive contribution to the UN’s efforts to promote and protect the rights of LGBTI persons, most particularly through its landmark resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2011 (SOGI Resolution) and through comments and recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review Process (UPR).

The SOGI Resolution was the first ever passed by a UN body on LGBTI rights. It is now imperative that the Council build on this success by adopting a follow up resolution further condemning the ongoing discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and establishing a mechanism or process to ensure that the Human Rights Council can identify and respond to violations of LGBTI rights in a systematic, coordinated and ongoing manner.

(image: vote on SOGI Resolution)

The continuing criminalisation of homosexuality has been raised with a number of states during the UPR and many have accepted recommendations that they repeal these laws, including Mauritius, Nauru and Seychelles. That LGBTI issues are being raised as part of the UPR is pleasing, particularly as 11 of the 47 current members of the Human Rights Council are states where homosexuality is still a crime (Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and United Arab Emirates). It is hoped that in 2014, the HRC will consistently raise LGBTI issues within the UPR, whether it be about the criminalisation of homosexuality, the absence of anti-discrimination legislation or violence against sexual minorities.


PillayThe Free & Equal campaign launched by OHCHR last year is a standout achievement, but by no means does it represent the extent of the Office’s work to promote LGBTI rights. High Commissioner Navi Pillay has been a vocal critic of recent moves to oppress LGBTI people in Africa even further. In relation to new draconian Nigerian anti-gay legislation, she said:

"Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights. Rights to privacy and non-discrimination, rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention: this law undermines all of them."

Another OHCHR achievement is the drafting of the first UN report documenting discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. This 2011 report was prepared pursuant to a request by the HRC in the SOGI Resolution.

Finally, in 2012, OHCHR published a very helpful booklet that sets out the core obligations that states have towards LGBTI persons, and describes how various UN mechanisms have applied international human rights law to LGBTI persons.

Fortunately, we can be confident that OHCHR will continue its work to increase respect for the rights of LGBTI persons, because the high commissioner has said as much in her annual report to the General Assembly.

If the Human Rights Committee, Human Rights Council and OHCHR build on some of the important steps they have taken on LGBTI rights in the recent past, it may prove to be an antidote to the increased levels of violence and persecution we are witnessing being inflicted on LGBTI people in many parts of the world.

Dr Paula Gerber is an Associate Professor at Monash University Law School and Deputy Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.

Posted Mar. 10,2014 at 8:06 PM EST by in GlobalPost, Navi Pillay, News, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (17)

Federal Appeals Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Case Challenging Nevada Gay Marriage Ban on April 9

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has set April 9, 2014 for oral arguments in Sevcik v. Sandoval, the lasuit challenging Nevada's ban on gay marriage, Lambda Legal reports via press release:

Nevada“This is great news for our couples who have been working so long to have their case heard. We’re very excited to make the case for equality at the Ninth Circuit.”

Last month, Gov. Sandoval and  Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover withdrew their arguments in support of the marriage ban after the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories that discriminatory classifications based upon sexual orientation must receive heightened scrutiny and should be presumed unconstitutional. The heightened scrutiny standard is much more difficult to meet and rendered the state of Nevada’s arguments in its original brief defending the marriage ban “no longer tenable in the Ninth Circuit,” as Nevada’s Attorney General conceded in a statement released last week. The withdrawal of the two government defendants leaves only the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which the U.S. District Court had allowed to intervene, defending the marriage ban.

In Sevcik v. Sandoval, Lambda Legal, joined by pro bono co-counsel from O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Snell & Wilmer LLP, represents eight same-sex couples challenging Nevada’s law banning marriage for same-sex couples. The lawsuit argues that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. A U.S. District Court judge granted Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit in November 2012, and Lambda Legal appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit. The State submitted its brief supporting the marriage ban to the Ninth Circuit on the same day as the Court’s ruling in SmithKline.

UPDATE from Lambda Legal:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this afternoon updated its calendar for April 9, 2014 and has removed Sevcik v. Sandoval from the calendar for that date. Oral argument of the appeal will be rescheduled, but no new date has yet been set.

Posted Mar. 10,2014 at 7:40 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Nevada, News | Permalink | Comments (3)

Honey Maid Graham Crackers Celebrates 'Wholesome' Gay and Interracial Families in New Ad: VIDEO


Honey Maid, the nearly 100-year-old graham cracker brand, salutes a diverse group of families in its new ad, which declares:

"No matter how much things change, what makes us wholesome never will...Honey Maid...Everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family."

In an ad that feels designed to make the heads of conservative AFA group One Million Moms explode, a gay family, an interracial family, and a tattooed punk rock musician and single father represent the iconic brand.

Said Gary Osifchin, senior marketing director for biscuits at Mondelez, in a statement printed by AdAge:

"We recognize change is happening every day, from the way in which a family looks today to how a family interacts to the way it is portrayed in media. We at Honey Maid continue to evolve and expand our varieties to provide delicious, wholesome products so they can be a part of everyday moments of connection in a world with changing, evolving family dynamics."

Watch the ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Mar. 10,2014 at 7:09 PM EST by in Advertising, News | Permalink | Comments (48)

Michele Bachmann is Tired of the Gay Community 'Bullying' the American People: LISTEN


Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) gave an interview to talk show host Lars Larson at CPAC and expressed her anger about the failure of Arizona's anti-gay 'religious freedom' bill, saying that the gay community has been getting their way by intimidating politicians, Right Wing Watch reports.

Said Bachmann:

“There’s nothing about gays in there, but the gay community decided to make this their measure. And the thing that I think is getting a little tiresome is the gay community have so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere. Well, not with the Constitution you don’t."

She added:

"If you want take away my religious liberties, you can advocate for that but you do it through the constitutional process and you don’t intimidate and no politician should give away my religious liberties or yours."

Listen, below:

Posted Mar. 10,2014 at 6:50 PM EST by in Arizona, Michelle Bachmann, News | Permalink | Comments (55)

What To Watch This Week on TV: 'Real Housewives' Returns To NY - VIDEO


Check out our weekly guide to make sure you're catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won't admit you watch when no one's looking.

— Hold on to your lace-fronts, because tonight's RuPaul's Drag Race promises to be hair-raising. Guest judges Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Linda Blair (The Exorcist, duh) are guest judges on the third episode of season six, titled "Scream Queens," tonight at 9 p.m. on Logo.

More picks and clips, including TV's funniest family and some young love on Modern Family, AFTER THE JUMP ...


— Uncork the pinot (or, if you're classy like us, open the box), and get ready for the long overdue return of The Real Housewives of New York City. Follow along with all of Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan's antics and just try not to want Carol Radziwill to be your new bestie. (She gives Lisa Vanderpump a run for her most likable-Housewife money.) Model Kristen Taekman joins the cast this season, kicking off Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

— We're happy to see Adam DeVine from Workaholics and Pitch Perfect getting more screentime on Modern Family. Wednesday's episodes seems to hint that the eldest Dunphy child, Haley (Sarah Hyland) might be getting a little crush on her uncle's manny (not to be confused with her Uncle Manny). Plus, Claire (Julie Bowen) and Gloria (Sofía Vergara) take Lily shopping for a flower girl dress, Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC.

— If this video is any indication, Pawnee is in desperate need of a new slogan. Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Leslie (Amy Poehler) and the gang face some new branding for their beloved hometown on NBC's Parks and Recreation.



— We've already made our case for why you should be watching the hilarious Bob's Burgers, starring out comedian John Roberts. The show's been bumped to an earlier timeslot (is 7 p.m. Eastern even considered primetime?) to accommodate Cosmos, but you should make space on your DVR for the quirky animated comedy. On Sunday, Tina (Dan Mintz) convinces TV's funniest family to cater a friend's super sweet bat mitzvah.

What will you be watching this week?

Posted Mar. 10,2014 at 6:15 PM EST by in Amy Poehler, Bravo, Film and TV, Modern Family, RuPaul, Television | Permalink | Comments (4)


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