For the second consecutive evening, a demonstration was held in Raleigh in response to recent deadly shootings in the Midwest involving police officers.
- Associated Press
Screams and flying debris enveloped Umm Majed al-Rayyes as explosions hurled her from her bed in Gaza City. Groping in the dark, the 50-year-old grabbed her four children and ran as Israeli bombs struck their apartment building Wednesday, shattering windows, ripping doors to splinters and blasting away concrete. While casualties mounted this week in the most severe outbreak of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war, al-Rayyes and other Palestinians in the line of fire faced an all-too-familiar question: Where should we go?
Muslim countries must show a united and clear stance over Israel's conflict with the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza, Turkey's vice president, Fuat Oktay, said on Thursday, criticising world powers for condemning violence without acting. "What we desire is that active measures are taken," Oktay told reporters after morning prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In several days of conflict, Hamas has fired volleys of rockets towards Israeli cities and Israel has launched air strikes against the Islamist faction in the Gaza Strip.
- The Week
George P. Bush applauds Liz Cheney's ouster, claims she doesn't 'stand up for conservative Republican ideology'
George P. Bush, the Texas land commissioner and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), applauded House Republicans on Wednesday for ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her position as the No. 3 House GOP leader. Bush tweeted that "we need leaders in Congress that stand up for conservative Republican ideology, and Liz Cheney is not that leader," over a quote in which he says Cheney should be "reigning [sic] fire" down on Biden, not "the president," presumably referring to former President Donald Trump. Republicans deserve leadership that represents the views of their constituents, not their own personal vendettas. We need leaders in Congress that stand up for conservative Republican ideology, and Liz Cheney is not that leader. pic.twitter.com/oqaoxAMTYQ — George P. Bush (@georgepbush) May 12, 2021 Bush, 45, has broken with the rest of his family by supporting Trump, but the Bushes also have a long, amicable history with the Cheney family, which "has deep ties to Texas," The Texas Tribune notes. "Former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney's father, lived in Dallas between his tenure as President George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense and as President George W. Bush's vice president. In that time, he was the CEO of Halliburton, an oilfield services company." House Republicans demoted Cheney in a voice vote, so there's no record of how Texas Republicans voted, but several GOP House members from the state tweeted that they were proud to kick her out of leadership. "Prior to the insurrection, Cheney was considered one of the fastest rising GOP stars and among the toughest of hard-line conservatives — particularly on foreign policy," the Tribune reports. "She spent much of her career working in the State Department and as a Fox News contributor," before easily winning her House seat in 2016. Cheney now says she's playing a long game to wrest her party from the grasp of Trump's "destructive lies." More stories from theweek.comThe doom-loop of a falling fertility rateThe real reason Liz Cheney lost her jobDemocrats are fiddling while Republicans prepare to burn down Rome
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via GettyThe news snowballed quickly on Wednesday morning: First came the Daily Mail report that Ellen DeGeneres has decided to end her talk show after 19 seasons, thanks at least in part to her ratings downfall (DeGeneres’ rep vehemently denied the report). Less than an hour later, The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with the comedian, who claimed she was leaving the show because it isn’t “a challenge anymore.” In the hours that followed, the interview shot across Twitter, often accompanied by stills of Dakota Johnson moments before she famously gutted the comedian on air with five little words: That’s not the truth, Ellen...According to THR, the decision to end Ellen ultimately came from DeGeneres herself, after years of planning. (DeGeneres told The New York Times in 2018 that she’d been toying with the idea.) Still, it’s difficult to ignore the timing of this release—less than a year after toxic workplace allegations embroiled Ellen in controversy, and months after it was revealed that the show had lost more than one million viewers.DeGeneres addressed her impending exit in a monologue during Wednesday’s taping, which she posted on Twitter in the evening. During her address, as in the THR interview, the comedian emphasized that the decision was a long time coming.“This show has been the greatest experience of my life, and I owe it all to you,” Degeneres said. “The truth is I always trust my instincts; my instinct told me it’s time.” She recalled her fateful decision to come out in 1997, and a dream that she’d had before making the decision of a bird setting itself free from a cage before adding, “Recently I had a dream that a bird, a beautiful bird with bright red feathers, came to my window and whispered, ‘You can still do stuff on Netflix.’ And that was the sign I was looking for.”Today is a big day. Next season is a big season. pic.twitter.com/Ii4m9IDuYv— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 13, 2021 Regardless of whose decision it was to turn out the lights on Ellen, its shuttering in the wake of toxic workplace allegations feels emblematic of a shift in the entertainment industry, as Hollywood continues its work to dismantle the domineering and ultimately demeaning power structures that have defined it for so long. People Are Finally Starting to See the Real Ellen DeGeneres and It Isn’t PrettyBeyond weeding out sexual predators, the #MeToo movement and organizations like Time’s Up have brought Hollywood’s toxic, hierarchical culture to the forefront of public conversation—highlighting abuses of power that have run rampant for too long. It’s not just sexual abusers like Harvey Weinstein who are toppling; in a sign of the times, Scott Rudin, whose allegedly abusive behavior toward colleagues has basically been an open secret for years, is finally being held to account after his former employees spoke out in a recent Hollywood Reporter exposé, followed by a another in New York Magazine. (Rudin has since issued a vague apology, and has produced plays with Barry Diller, chairman of IAC, The Daily Beast’s parent company.) Ellen employees did not accuse DeGeneres of abuse when they came forward in a damning report for BuzzFeed last summer; it was producers whom they alleged perpetuated the toxic environment. But as one source put it, “If [DeGeneres] wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on.” The rumblings from The Ellen DeGeneres Show first began back in 2014 when, as The Daily Beast reported, former Ellen head writer Karen Kilgariff shared with Marc Maron “that she was fired from the show after refusing to cross the picket line during the 2008 writers’ strike. DeGeneres has allegedly not spoken to Kilgariff since.” But the dam truly started to break last April, when a viral thread garnered an alarming number of unconfirmed anecdotes about DeGeneres’ allegedly mean behavior—including, perhaps most perniciously, the suggestion that DeGeneres refused to make eye contact with interns. That month, Variety reported that the show’s top-level producers had failed to properly communicate with employees about how the pandemic would affect their working hours and pay, and had hired a non-union company to film the show from DeGeneres’ home. (A representative for Warner Bros. Television told Variety at the time that crew members’ hours had been reduced, but that they had been paid consistently. As for the communication issues, the rep “cited complications due to the chaos caused by COVID-19.”) In July, the situation intensified when former employees told BuzzFeed that the show’s behind-the-scenes environment was rife with racism and intimidation. A follow-up story that month highlighted allegations of sexual misconduct among top-level producers. After an investigation, Warner Bros. dismissed producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and Jonathan Norman. A representative said in a statement that in addition to the staffing changes, the studio had also identified “appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them.”DeGeneres apologized to her staff in a memo when the allegations first emerged, and addressed the controversy in an apology monologue when her show returned to air in September. “I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realized that with that comes responsibility,” she said at the time, “and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.” (She broadly denied the Twitter allegations in her THR interview Wednesday.) But DeGeneres’ brand already had a few blemishes by the time her staffers began speaking out—and even before that Johnson bit went awry in late 2019. In January of that year, DeGeneres had tried to help Kevin Hart rehabilitate his reputation after his past homophobic tweets had resurfaced online. Hart initially doubled down rather than apologize, although he would later issue a mea culpa when he announced that he was stepping down from the gig.) Throughout their interview, DeGeneres defended Hart and even allowed him to argue that he’d repeatedly apologized for the tweets, a claim that did not stand up to scrutiny. She further revealed that she had personally called the Academy to lobby for his reinstatement. “There are so many haters out there,” DeGeneres added. “Whatever’s going on on the internet, don’t pay attention to them. That’s a small group of people being very, very loud.”“They can’t destroy you because you have too much talent,” DeGeneres told her guest before lamenting that those speaking out against his homophobic remarks were attempting “to stop you from your dream—from what you wanted to do and what you have a right to do, what you should be doing.”It was both jarring and disheartening to see DeGeneres—a trailblazer for queer people on screen who once lost her job after coming out—working so hard to help Hart evade accountability for his homophobic remarks. But it wouldn’t be the last vexing choice she’d make that year. Months later, in October, she waved away criticism for palling around with George W. Bush at a football game.DeGeneres addressed the photograph of her and Bush on air, telling her audience, “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay.”“Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna be friends with them,” DeGeneres added. “When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. It doesn’t matter.”That statement perfectly distilled the confused ethos underpinning DeGeneres’ brand as it exists today. (Video of her Bush monologue was later posted to YouTube with the title, “This Photo of Ellen & George W. Bush Will Give You Faith in America Again.”) Those who grew up watching DeGeneres’ rise know that her success is hard-won; she came out on television and real life in 1997, only to watch her show get canceled and become the target of fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell, who smeared her as “Ellen DeGenerate.” It took her three years just to make it back on air. It’s easy to imagine that for some, DeGeneres’ legacy will always begin and end with that fight.But the brand DeGeneres has built now feels almost disconnected from that past. When given the opportunity to hold Hart accountable for tweeting things like, “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay,’” DeGeneres chose instead to classify his critics as “haters,” and to allow him to characterize their concerns as “malicious attacks.” When asked to reflect on why it might be bad that she was making nice with the guy who ran on a platform of “compassionate conservatism” before backing a constitutional amendment to restrict gay marriage to help secure his re-election—to say nothing of, say, Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War—DeGeneres chose instead to defend her right to hang out with whoever she wants. In other words: When given the opportunity to choose between power and accountability, she once more sided with power. That approach to celebrity feels increasingly out of step.It was easy to imagine when Ellen’s toxic workplace allegations first emerged that DeGeneres might be able to move on from the controversy after a quick apology tour. Now that the comedian has ended her daytime vehicle—her fans’ primary contact point for decades—her path forward is a little less clear. But that’s not to say that DeGeneres will disappear from our screens any time soon; she still has multiple series on the way with Warner Bros., and a rich development deal with Discovery+. The question now is simply whether she’ll embrace these vehicles as a venue to cultivate a new brand. One could argue, and many likely will, that DeGeneres doesn’t need to rebrand. After all, ending her show was a totally voluntary decision. But if she’s looking for a “challenge,” it might be a good place to start.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- LA Times
Does it matter that Dakota Johnson's tense Ellen DeGeneres interview didn't bring about the end of the host's talk show? Not to folks on social media.
- Business Insider
The Voyager 1 probe left our solar system nearly a decade ago. It recently detected a faint hum made by interstellar gas.
- Business Insider
Trump's defense secretary confirms he didn't approve plan to deploy National Guard until after Pence called him - over 3 hours after the Capitol riot began
Ex-Acting Defense Sec. Chris Miller testified about the Guard's response during questioning by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a hearing Wednesday.
The vaquita marina in Mexico is threatened by a clash of interests between fishing and conservation.
'The Ellen Show' is ending, prompting dozens of jokes about Dakota Johnson and her iconic appearance on the talk show
The actress' 2019 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" went viral after she called out the host for skipping her 30th birthday party.
Chris Hemsworth shares throwback behind-the-scenes 'Thor' photo with a baby-faced Tom Hiddleston for the movie's 10th anniversary
"It's been a hell of a ride and we clearly haven't aged a day," Hemsworth wrote in his Instagram post.
- Business Insider
Joe Manchin says he won't support extending the $300 federal weekly unemployment benefit from Biden's stimulus
Manchin cited the availability of vaccines in explaining his opposition to renewing federal jobless aid once it expires September 6.
- Business Insider
More than 100 Republicans, including former governors and lawmakers, are threatening to form a third party if the GOP doesn't split from Trump
The group plans to release a letter outlining its threat on Thursday, The New York Times and Reuters reported.
- Business Insider
GOP leader claims no one 'is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election' just hours after ousting Liz Cheney for refusing to support Trump's election lies
In May alone, Trump has released eight statements falsely claiming the election was "rigged," "stolen," or corrupted by widespread voter fraud.
- Associated Press
Israel on Wednesday pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures and toppling a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in airstrikes. The Islamic militant group showed no signs of backing down and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities. The fighting has triggered the worst Jewish-Arab violence inside Israel in decades.
Zack Snyder says Netflix saved his zombie heist movie 'Army of the Dead' after it sat on the shelf for over 10 years - and 'mind-boggling' sequels could be coming
After stalling creatively at Warner Bros., Zack Snyder tells Insider how "Army" landed at Netflix and what fans can expect from his newest franchise.
- Associated Press
For pro-Trump Republicans, removing Rep. Liz Cheney from House GOP leadership was relatively easy. The rush to punish Cheney for her criticism of former President Donald Trump and his loyalists is drawing a cast of Wyoming primary challengers so big it could ultimately help her win again next year. Another boost for Cheney is a pile of campaign money and a family legacy that has helped her before.
- Associated Press
The Biden administration on Wednesday took aim at China and a number of other countries for repressing religious freedom as it forges ahead with its aim of restoring human rights as a primary focus of American foreign policy. The condemnation was similar to that lodged by the Trump administration, which had been criticized for prioritizing religious freedom over other rights, and reflected continuity in the U.S. position that China’s crackdown on Muslims and other religious minorities in western Xinjiang constitutes “genocide.” Much as his predecessor did, Secretary of State Antony Blinken used the release of the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report to lambaste China for severe restrictions on its citizens’ ability to worship freely.
- Business Insider
Netanyahu says Israel will strike Hamas 'like they've never dreamed possible': 'This is just the beginning'
At least 56 people in Gaza and six people in Israel have been killed amid violence between Israel and Hamas.
- Miami Herald
A Miami businessman was sentenced to more than six years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to fleecing millions from a federal COVID-19 relief program and buying luxury items with the money, including a $318,000 Lamborghini Huracán Evo.
- Business Insider
GOP Rep. Paul Gosar said police 'executed' Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot and that the feds are 'harassing peaceful patriots'
Gosar criticized the Justice Department, which has charged hundreds in the attack, and called Babbitt a "young lady, a veteran wrapped in a US flag."