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New Diversity Initiative From British Channel 4 Tackles Need For LGBT Minority Representation In Television

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A new diversity charter put into effect by the British Channel 4 will require that the channel become significantly more diverse in both its staffing and programming by 2020. Going forward scripting shows that air on Channel four will have to prominently feature characters that are women, Black, Asian, minority, or other ethnicity (BAME) according to the organization’s new diversity guidelines.

20 percent of Channel 4’s staff will be required to be BAME and 6 percent of its workforce will have to be LGBT identified. The new guidelines are a part of a larger effort to ensure that Channel 4 more accurately reflects “the experiences of under-represented groups” in Britain, whose population is becoming increasingly diverse in terms of ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The new rules also call for similar boosts in on-screen characters and staff who are differently abled.

Executives who are currently in position to make hires and craft casts to meet the new guidelines will be held accountable for their compliance. The annual bonuses to company executives are now tied directly to their efforts at maintaining Channel 4’s diversity standards.

The new initiative was drafted by Oona King, a former member of Parliament under the British Labour Party who now serves as Channel 4’s head of diversity. King championed the proposal after seeing that the numbers of women and minorities working in British television had plummeted in the past five years, despite other pushes for diversity. According to King, other plans had failed primarily because there were little to no financial incentives (or repercussions) in place.

“It will be a black mark against that person,” said Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham. “It is positive action, not positive discrimination.”


The Latest 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer Is Here To Pump Up The Hype: WATCH

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Slowly, but surely, the May 1st release date for Marvel’s next ‘Avengers’ film draws ever-nearer, and the film studio is hell-bent on keeping the hype going with its latest trailer. If you’ve been paying attention the trailers leading up to this, some of the details are going to sound a little familiar. Ultron, voiced and motion-captured by James Spader, raids the Avengers’ Tower with a squad of Ultron drones warning Tony Stark that “Everyone creates the thing they dread.”

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Of course, there are lots of Chris Evans glamor shots and a few glimpses of Mark Ruffalo chewing up the scenery, but the most interesting tidbits in this trailer happen at the 0:32 and 0:53 second marks. We’re briefly given a glimpse of a muscular black woman with a shaved head along and a much clearer shot of Andy Serkis, who is rumored to play Ulysses Klaw, arch nemesis of the Black Panther.

Who the black woman is exactly isn’t clear, though her hairstyle and build hint at the possibility of her being one of the Dora Milaje the Black Panther’s sister. Naturally, this is all speculation, but 'Age of Ultron' would be the ideal time to begin setting up characters for Marvel’s recently announced 'Black Panther' film.

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Geek out for yourselves and check out the latest trailer here AFTER THE JUMP...

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Openly Gay Actor-Comedian Taylor Negron Dies Of Cancer At Age 57

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Openly gay actor and comedian Taylor Negron, known for his part with Sean Penn in the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, died of cancer at the age of 57 on Saturday reports ABC NewsHis cousin and former Three Dog Night musician Chuck Negron announced Taylor's death in an emotional video posted on YouTube. Before his death, Taylor wrote a piece about his life, starring in bit roles and being "That guy," for XO Jane. 

Said Negron:

"Instead, I am the Alternative Everyman. I have been your postman. I am the man who delivered your pizza. I was the gang member who kidnapped your daughter at gunpoint. I’m a nanny for children. I am a stylist for Stuart Little. I am your shrink. I direct porn films. I am the groom and the maid of honor ...

"I look at my alternative everyman predicament this way. By letting go of what you thought was going to happen in your life, you can enjoy what is actually happening...That is what I do. I'm That Guy."

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.10.31 PMTaylor's movie credits include Stuart Little, The Last Boy Scout, Angels in the Outfield, Bio-Dome and Vamps where he reprised his pizza delivery scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Negron got his start in comedy and Hollywood working as Lee Strasberg's assistant in a work-study program and interned under Lucille Ball, who was a guest teacher, at Sherwood Oaks Experimental College in 1977 at the age of 19. Negron also wrote the critically acclaimed The Unbearable Lightness of Being Taylor Negron – A Fusion of Story and Song, which debuted in the Green Room at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and later ran at the SoHo Playhouse and Barrow Street Theater. Negron is also an accomplished painter and was featured in solo exhibitions at venues such as Los Angeles' Laemmie Royal Theater and the Hotel de Ville Lifestyle. 

Negron's final film roles include the short film H., in a narrator role, and upcoming film Alienated, where he plays a character named Griffin alongside actor George Katt and actress Jen Burry. You can watch Negron's scene with Sean Penn's Spicoli, who orders a pizza in the middle of class, in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, AFTER THE JUMP...

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A Disturbing Look at the Role Western Anti-Gay Activism Plays In Stirring Up Hate in Uganda: VIDEO

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A new documentary will examine Western-backed homophobia in Uganda, an issue detailed last year in Human Rights Campaign’s report “The Export of Hate.”

Daniel B. Law, a first-time filmmaker, is currently seeking backing for the project on GoFundMe.

Law promises that he already has a interviews lined up with high profile members of the gay community in Uganda as well as some international figures.

His ultimate aim is to “highlight the fact that the homophobia that exists there has been brought there by western evangelicals whose views are no longer tolerated in the west."

Watch a short exposé on Western anti-gay activism in Uganda starring vile homophobe Scott Lively, who compares gay activists to Nazis, serial killers and those responsible for genocide in Rwanda, AFTER THE JUMP

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Trailer For Second Half Of 'Walking Dead' Season 5 Debuts: VIDEO

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AMC debuted a new trailer for the remaining eight episodes of The Walking Dead's fifth season featuring Rick Grimes and his group of survivors traveling through a mist enshrouded forest facing off against unseen enemies. Rick's children, Carl and Judith, and new character Father Gabriel Stokes are curiously missing from the trailer. Daryl Dixon is present, but don't expect any man-on-man action from him this season

Watch the group of survivors on the offensive, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, Feb 8.

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From Will and Grace to Modern Family: The Global Effect of Gay Characters on American TV - VIDEO

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In a new video for BBC News, Tom Brook reports on the ubiquity of gay characters in American TV shows and the effect these characters have worldwide.

The short video segment profiles two men: one with a more optimistic outlook on the issue, and one who is more pessimistic.

WillandgraceThe former is activist Omar Sharif Jr.,  who spent his youth in Egypt. He didn't know any gay people growing up, but he was familiar with characters like Jack from "Will and Grace." Said Sharif:

By seeing these characters on TV, youth across the world — myself included — learned that we weren't alone, that different isn't bad. That there's a community out there (even if it's across vast oceans sometimes) that supports them and loves them for who they are.

Russian-born pianist and journalist Oleg Dusaev has a different take. He now lives in New York, but he has experienced homophobia in Russia. Dusaev says he once "had hope these shows and films could change society in a more tolerant way."

Unfortunately, he worries that shows like "Modern Family" could make people "resistant" to new attitudes; he believes homophobic people "hate gays" point blank, and that these shows "could increase the hatred." 

Sharif makes a similar point, noting that gay characters are sometimes used "as a tool to propagate hate," but that in terms of net effect, these shows are doing much more good than bad to change the cultural tenor.

Head to BBC, or check the video out embedded AFTER THE JUMP...

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