DaBaby Apology Disappears
A new wrinkle in the neverending saga of rapper DaBaby’s homophobia and HIV/AIDS-phobic comments emerged Sunday when the loosely defined apology to the LGBTQ community he posted to Instagram last week vanished from the internet.
DaBaby released the apology last Monday as several top music festivals dropped him from their lineups. While his apology was criticized as focusing more on taking shots at people who responded negatively to his hateful comments at Rolling Loud last month, some took it as a chance to advance the conversation. 11 HIV/AIDS organizations released an open letter to DaBaby Wednesday that focused on providing education and resources to the rapper. The apology’s deletion conjures further doubt as to whether DaBaby’s comments were genuine and if any further conversations with advocacy groups will occur.
Ariel Nicholson’s Historic Vogue Cover
Model Ariel Nicholson will become the first out transgender model ever to grace the cover of US Vogue when the magazine’s September issue releases. Themed as “Generation America,” Nicholson joins seven other cover models in a pictoral that reflects an increased focus on diversity.
“Obviously it’s a big deal being the first trans woman on the cover of Vogue,” Nicholson told Insider. “But it’s also hard to say exactly what kind of big deal it is when the effects are so intangible … I’ve been put in this box – trans model. Which is what I am, but that’s not all I am.”
Kansas Lawmaker Seeking Treatment After Battery Charge
Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel forfeited his substitute teaching license and said he is undergoing mental health treatment after unleashing a religious tirade that tread into homophobia and discussion of sexual acts in a Wellsville, KS classroom in April.
Samsel, who hasn’t resigned from his elected position, was charged with battery after students recorded him telling them to have sex so they could make babies, asking students if they masturbated and allegedly kneeing a student in the groin while substitute teaching an art class. He also claimed that he knew a sophomore student at the school that had attempted suicide multiple times because his parents were lesbians.
Samsel claimed that his actions that day were an “isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” that were a product of “extreme stress, pressure and agitation.” The recent statement from Samsel stands in contrast to previous accounts from Samsel about the incident. including previous statements that the entire situation was premeditated by himself and the students. “The kids and I planned all this to send a message about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators and one another,” Samsel said on Snapchat in May.
Activision Blizzard Issues Grow
Multiple changes have occurred at gaming giant Activision Blizzard following the ground-shaking allegations of sexual abuse and discrimination contained in a state of California lawsuit against the company released last month. In response to demands made by over 2000 current and former Blizzard employees, including many that staged a walkout in protest of the company, Activision Blizzard has hired WilmerHale, a law firm with a reputation for union-busting, to help review the company’s policies to build a more inclusive workplace.
Notable names in top positions have departed the company as well. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, one of the few individuals directly named in the lawsuit, stepped down from his position last week. Blizzard’s Senior VP of HR, Jesse Meschuk, left the company around the same time. Activision Blizzard EVP Fran Townsend deleted her Twitter account after a tweet from her on “The Problem with Whistleblowing” elicited backlash from Activision Blizzard employees.
Townsend previously argued in favor of the military’s use of torture during the Bush administration, where she worked as a homeland security advisor.
The lawsuit has also led to major sponsors, including T-Mobile and Coca-Cola, pulling out of deals with Activision Blizzard-owned esports league Overwatch League and Call of Duty League. A separate class-action lawsuit has spawned from the first one as well. The filing alleges that Activision Blizzard misled investors and artificially inflated its stock price by intentionally failing to disclose the allegations detailed in the California lawsuit.