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Natalie Mellor

Trump's Star

Trump’s Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame Voted to Be Removed

West Hollywood City Council unanimously voted to remove Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame due to his “disturbing treatment of women and other actions that do not meet the shared values of the City of West Hollywood, the region, state, and country.”

Trump received his star in 2007 for producing the Miss Universe Pageant. Since then, Trump’s star has been vandalised and destroyed several times.

In 2016 the star was destroyed by James Otis with a sledgehammer. He was sentenced to three years probation, 20 days community service and a $4,400 fine.

The star has also been vandalised with a spray-painted swastika, a mute symbol and has had a wall built around it to symbolise Trump’s plans to build a wall along the border of Mexico.

Most recently, the star was destroyed in July by Austin Mikel Clay with a pickaxe. He then turned himself in to the LAPD. Clay could face up to three years in prison.

The issue of removing Trump’s star was debated in a West Hollywood City Council meeting. Clay spoke at the meeting, explaining why he destroyed Trump’s star. “I believe that it’s a threat to public safety with all the violence that’s erupting over the star,” he explained.

A Trump supporter at the meeting said: “I think it’s appalling to attack any star, much less the president’s star.”

Trump’s star also widely discussed by various celebrities. Jimmy Kimmel on his late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! said: “They didn’t install his star, they didn’t pay for his star. And when the star is damaged, it doesn’t cost them anything. This is none of their business.”

Mark Hamill, on the other hand, took to Twitter to suggest: “How about replacing it with someone who really earned it? Like @carrieffisher.”

Even though West Hollywood City Council voted to remove Trump’s star, they have no authority over the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now, they are calling upon the City Council of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove the star.

Trump is not the only controversial celebrity on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey still have stars despite the numerous allegations of sexual abuse both celebrities have received.

Walk of Fame President, Leron Gubler, after complaints about Cosby’s star in 2015, said: “The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.” Due to this comment, it appears that Trump’s star will not be removed.

Further reading: Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban

Petit Biscuit

Petit Biscuit Announces North American Tour

French DJ Petit Biscuit has announced his first ever North American tour this fall, stopping in Chicago, New York, DC, Nashville and more.

His critically acclaimed album, Presence, was released back in November 2017 on his 18th birthday. Fans are expecting many of the songs from the album to be played on the tour, including singles Wake Up, Problems and Waterfall.

The album has received excellent reviews; Billboard described it as “a 14-track collection of smooth, chilled out house perfect for falling in love or nursing introspective moments into brilliance.”

Petit Biscuit, whose real name is Mehdi Benjelloun, originally trained in classical music, learning to play various instruments including the piano, guitar, cello and more. He started to experiment with electronics at the age of 11, later influenced by artists including Tame Impala, Frank Ocean and Flume.

When he was only 15, his single Sunset Lover reached number six in the French charts and reached number seven in Belgium. The track now has over 350 million streams on Spotify.

His most recent single, Wake Up, features British singer Bipolar Sunshine and American singer-songwriter, Cautious Clay.

Of the artist, YourEDM says: “Petit Biscuit’s strength lies in his future which at this point seems limitless.”

On his tour, Petit Biscuit will be joined by Manilla Killa, Melvv, Wingtip, Hazey Eyes and Super Duper on select dates.

Tickets go on sale August 27 to the general public.

Further reading: Metric Release New Single ‘Dressed to Suppress’ Ahead of Album Release


Netflix’s ‘Insatiable’ to Release Despite Fat-shaming Backlash

New Netflix Original  Insatiable is due to release August 10 despite the growing fat-shaming controversy surrounding it.

Debby Ryan, actress known for her roles in Disney’s Jessie and 16 Wishes, portrays “Fatty Patty”, a teenager who has her jaw wired shut over the summer, causing dramatic weight loss. She then seeks revenge on her peers who previously bullied her.

The show has received a negative reaction from Netflix watchers who suggest that it emphasises the objectification of women and promotes fat-shaming.

A petition has been started on Change.org by Florence Given titled, “Stop the Release of Netflix’s Body Shaming series Insatiable”, which has now gained over 200,000 signatures from fellow protestors. The petition emphasises the effect of the show on young women, suggesting that the show will “perpetuate the further objectification of women’s bodies.”

At the 2018 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, Netflix’s Original Series’ vice president, Cindy Holland, confirmed that the show is still going forward despite the criticism it has received. She states, “Fat-shaming itself, that criticism, is embedded in the DNA of the show.”

A ‘review embargo’ has been issued to critics by Netflix until August 8.

Ryan has responded to the backlash by posting a lengthy response on Twitter. “We’re not in the business of fat-shaming. We’re out to turn a sharp eye on broken, harmful systems that equate thinness with worth”, she writes. Ryan adds that she hopes fans will wait until they watch the show before judging it.

Lauren Gussis, the brains behind the new series, has said that Insatiable is based on her own experiences. “When I was 13, I was suicidal. My best friends dumped me, I was bullied, and I wanted revenge. I thought that if I looked pretty on the outside, I’d feel like I was enough. Instead, I developed an eating disorder… and the kind of rage that makes you want to do bad things.”

Many people have taken to Twitter to express their opinions regarding body shaming on the show. Jameela Jamil, actress popular for her role in The Good Place, tweeted about the show: “Not very into the premise of Fatty Patty… a teenager stops eating and loses weight and then when ‘conventionally attractive’ takes revenge on her schoolmates? This is still telling kids to lose weight to ‘win’. The fat-shaming is inherent and pretty upsetting.”

Further reading: Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes Film Festival


New Policy Ends Marijuana Prosecution

As of August 1, it is now legal in Manhattan to smoke marijuana in public, unless it poses a threat to public safety.

Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, proposed plans to stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases May 15.

In a New York Times report, it was revealed that there is a large racial gap for cannabis-related arrests. 86 percent of people arrested for marijuana cases were people of color: 48 percent being black, 38 percent were Hispanic—only nine percent were white.

This issue was one of Vance’s main reasons for the new policy. “Our research has found virtually no public safety rationale for the ongoing arrest and prosecution of marijuana smoking and no moral justification for the intolerable racial disparities that underlie enforcement.

“Tomorrow, our Office will exit a system wherein smoking a joint can ruin your job, your college application, or your immigration status, but our advocacy will continue,” he goes on to say.

The new policy is expected to reduce marijuana cases by 96% percent, from 5,000 a year to fewer than 200.

This decision has also raised questions regarding total legality of cannabis across the state of New York.

So far, nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis. Recently, Vermont became the ninth state to legalize marijuana, with the effective date of legalization being July 2018.

Earlier this year, a Department of Health (DoH) study commissioned by governor Andrew Cuomo concluded that the use of recreational cannabis should be legalized. Cuomo had previously suggested that he was against the legalization of the drug by saying that it is “a gateway drug”.

His opponent, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon has also expressed her desire for marijuana to be legalized in the state of New York, it being one of her main policies. “We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity,” she says.

Brooklyn has already ended prosecution of the use of marijuana and has seen astonishing results. Low-level marijuana arrests in Brooklyn have decreased by 90 percent, going from 349 cases in January to 29 in June.

Although Manhattan and Brooklyn have ended prosecution on all low-level cannabis cases, the Bronx, Staten Island and Queens are yet to change their policies.

Vance ends his statement: “I urge New York lawmakers to legalize and regulate marijuana once and for all.”

Further reading: Marijuana Arrests in Colorado

3D Printed Guns

Distribution of Blueprints for 3D Printed Guns Blocked by US Judge

A US District Judge issued a restraining order on July 31 preventing the publication of blueprints for 3D printed guns.

Although these guns are illegal to buy or sell, it is still legal to make them. 3D guns are available to anyone who has a 3D printer, a blueprint, and the materials needed to make it, meaning that a background check or documentation would not be needed to own one.

Guns only made out of plastic are currently illegal in the US due to the Undetectable Firearms Act, which states that any gun that cannot be detected by a metal detector is illegal. This means that if a 3D printed gun has a metal plate inserted into the body of the gun, it is legal.

The first ever 3D printed gun is believed to be invented in 2013 by Cody Wilson, a then 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas. After creating the gun, he posted the blueprint on his website, DEFCAD. The US State Department later removed the blueprint from the website.

Since then, Defense Distributed, a Texas gun rights organisation headed by Cody Wilson, along with the Second Amendment Foundation, have attempted to sue the US State Department.

Defense Distributed back 3D printed guns by stating that they are defending the 1st and 2 nd Amendments: freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.

Wilson told CBS, “I believe that I am championing the Second Amendment in the 21st century”.

In June, a settlement was reached that allowed Defense Distributed to publish their gun plans on August 1. The company published the plans five days early, on July 27.

Following the publication of the plans, Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary, nationwide restraining order on the distribution of the blueprints, saying that 3D printed guns have the potential to cause “irreparable harm”. Lasnik organized another hearing on August 10.

After the decision was made, Wilson tweeted: “By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, DEFCAD.com is going dark.”

Bob Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington state, had filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday and sought a restraining order against the distribution of the blueprints. Ferguson called Lasnick’s decision “a complete, total victory”.

Donald Trump has weighed in on the situation, tweeting: “I am looking into 3D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, has stated: “The president is glad these efforts were delayed to give more time to review the issue. This Administration supports the decades-old legislation already in the books that prohibits the ownership of a wholly plastic gun.”

Further reading: Dick’s Sporting Goods to No Longer Sell Assault-style Rifles

Zombie Boy

Rick Genest ‘Zombie Boy’ Dies Aged 32

Canadian model, Rick Genest, died Wednesday August 1 due to apparent suicide.

The model, popularly known as ‘Zombie Boy’, was found dead in his apartment in Montreal, six days before his 33rd birthday.

Genest, labelled “icon of the artistic scene and the fashion world” by his management, rose to fame in his modelling career for his completely tattooed body, including his skull face tattoo. He starred in Lady Gaga’s 2011 Born This Way music video, which now has over 230 million views on YouTube.

Nicola Formichetti, director of the video, gave Genest the opportunity to star alongside Lady Gaga, whose face was painted to replicate Genest’s skull face tattoo.

Formichetti also helped to initiate Genest’s modelling career. Genest has worked with worldwide brands such as Thierry Mugler and he was the first male spokesperson for L’Oreal.

He held two Guinness World Records for having the most insect tattoos and human bones tattoos, and he had also appeared in several movies, including ‘42 Ronin’ alongside Keanu Reeves.

Gaga tweeted her respects for Genest, saying, “The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring Mental Health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it. If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other.”

She then added in another tweet: “Science tells us that it takes 21 days to form a habit, if you are suffering from Mental Health issue I beckon for today to be your first day or a continuation of the work you’ve been doing. Reach out if you’re in pain, and if you know someone who is, reach out to them, too.”

Formichetti also tweeted about Genest, writing, “Absolutely heartbroken. Rest in Power, Zombie Boy. Sending all my condolences and love to Rico’s family and friends. If you ever need help, reach out. 1-800-273-8255 is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You’re not alone.”

Genest’s management, Dulcedo Management, took to Facebook to acknowledge his death, saying, “The whole dulcedo family is shocked and pained by this tragedy. Zombie boy, Rico, was loved by all those who had the chance to meet him and know him.”

When asked if the death was a suicide, Dulcedo responded: “at this point we cannot confirm nor deny, there are no witnesses and we must wait for the coroner. One thing is for sure, he was not a drug user, and he was sober at the time of the accident.”

Further reading: Linkin Park Frontman Chester Bennington Dies Age 41


Metric Release New Single ‘Dressed to Suppress’ Ahead of Album Release

Canadian band Metric have released the video for their new single Dressed to Suppress from their seventh album which is set to release September 21.

In July, Metric released the single Dark Saturday, their first release since their 2015 album ‘Pagans in Vegas’. Noisey describes the single as “one of Metric’s scuzziest and most immediate songs since ‘Fantasies’.”

The Dressed to Suppress music video, directed by Justin Broadbent, captures the band in a live performance, filmed on an iPhone X. The black and white visuals of the video give the song a dark feel, reflected in lead singer, Emily Haines, repeating the lyrics, “Dressed to suppress all kinds of sorrow.”

Haines explains, “Lyrically, the song explores the maze of conflicts we encounter in our attempts at finding and holding onto love; the absurd mating rituals we routinely perform; and the vast divide between the desires our appearances can imply and the way we actually feel inside.

“Sonically, it’s one of the most intense songs on the album. We’re already playing it live and it’s getting stronger every night. The contrast between the delicate, dreamy opening and the heavy riffs of the verse and chorus match the dramatic emotional shifts we all go through when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, the push and pull of retaining our own identities in love.”

The band has collaborated with Justin Meldal Johnson, who has previously worked with M83 and Nine Inch Nails, to produce their album. “Justin was just what we needed in a producer for this album,” says Jimmy Shaw, the band’s guitarist. “Making this album brought us together in a way we hadn’t been for quite some time and I think you can hear it in the music.”

The currently unnamed new album is available for pre-order and fans who pre-order the album will receive a signed Dark Saturday seven-inch vinyl.

Metric fans can see them currently supporting for Smashing Pumpkin’s Shiny and Oh So Bright tour. They are also going on an overseas tour in October 2018, kicking off in Moscow, Russia, and travelling around Europe.

Further reading: Good Charlotte Announces New Album and Tour Dates

Carr Fire

Carr Fire Burns Over 100,000 Acres in California

The Carr Fire, one of many wildfires across the state of California, has been burning for over a week and is now considered one of the top 10 most destructive wildfires in California’s history.

The fire, which is mainly based in Redding, California, was ignited by the mechanical failure of a vehicle. Over 100,000 acres have been burned and 3,300 fire fighters, 17 helicopters and 334 fire engines are attempting to reduce the flames. The fire is now 23 percent contained, which has increased from 5 percent, but authorities are unsure when it will be fully contained.

Since July 23, the fire has killed six people. Melody Bledsoe, a 70-year-old woman, and her two great-grandchildren, Emily and James, were not able to escape their home in Sacramento and died in the fire. Ed Bledsoe, Melody’s husband, said that their family did not get an evacuation warning so they were unaware of the severity of the fire. He tried to return to save his family but the roads were blocked with cars.

Fire inspector Jeremy Stoke and Don Ray Smith, a private bulldozer operator, died on Thursday while fighting the fire, and several fire fighters have since been injured.

Shasta County, Redding, and Trinity County are under mandatory evacuation, and it has been estimated that 38,000 evacuees have now been displaced. 818 homes have been destroyed in the fire and over 5,000 structures have been threatened. Redding Police Chief, Roger Moore, has said, “This fire is scary to us. This is something we haven’t seen before in the city.”

Ken Pimlott, CalFire chief, described what he saw as “fire whirls—literally what can be described as a tornado”. Many fire fighters have been calling these “firenados”.

The Carr Fire has created its own weather system, producing pyrocumulus clouds, caused by evaporating moisture from trees. The strong winds caused by this make it harder for experts to predict where the fire will spread, and the lightning created by these clouds could create new fires. However, it could also produce rain that could reduce the fire.

Meteorologists have predicted high temperatures, strong winds, and no rain, causing a heat wave in California that would exacerbate the current situation.

There are many other disastrous fires spreading across California, including the Ferguson fire that has caused Yosemite National Park to close its southern section. Yosemite is set to reopen on August 3.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on Saturday in California and has approved federal aid due to the large number of wildfires across the state.

Anne Hathaway Calls out White Privilege

Anne Hathaway calls out white privilege after posting a powerful Instagram post discussing the death of black teenager, Nia Wilson, in Oakland, California.

Nia Wilson was stabbed to death on Sunday July 22 2018. Wilson and her sister, Latifa, were changing trains when approached by John Lee Cowell, 27, who repeatedly stabbed Wilson in the neck and wounded Latifa.

As the attack was unprovoked, Anne Hathaway cites race as the motivation for the attack, stating, “She is not a hash tag; she was a black woman and she was murdered in cold blood by a white man.”

She then goes on to discuss the issue of white privilege: “White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence.” Although the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police are unsure if the attack was racially motivated, Hathaway and Wilson’s family believe that it was.

Cowell had previously been convicted of assault and was on parole at the time of the murder. Cowell’s family released a statement saying that he has a history of mental health issues, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Wilson’s sister, Malika Harris, argued with this excuse, saying, “He wasn’t mentally ill,” and suggesting, “It is a hate crime.”

Hathaway urges her 12 million Instagram followers to check their privilege and “ask our (white)selves- how ‘decent’ are we really? Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action?”

Hathaway is not alone in the protests against Wilson’s death. Thousands have taken to Twitter to mourn the death of Wilson. The hashtag #Sayhername has been trending and several celebrities have used it to voice their opinions on Wilson’s death. Actress Viola Davis stated, “I’m getting tired of the heartbreak. Tired of needing to organize to convince people that our lives matter.”

Following her previous post, Hathaway posted another Instagram picture with the caption: “I am still heart sick over the murder of Nia Wilson and it feels wrong to post something else so soon… I want to hold the space for Nia for longer.” Fans have flocked to Twitter to show support for Anne Hathaway’s message, describing her as “an ally to BLM” and “a strong example of white solidarity.”

Following Nia Wilson’s death, 1,000 people showed up for a vigil in Oakland in her memory, chanting “Say her name”. The mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, has also given her support to Nia: “The fact that his victims were both young African-American women stirs deep pain and palpable fear in all of us who acknowledge the reality that our country still suffers from a tragic and deeply racist history.”

Further reading: Controversial Rapper XXXTentacion Shot Dead in Florida Aged 20