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Scandals

USA Today Highlights a Kinder, Gentler Chick-fil-A

ChickfilaLogoFantastic lede and equally fantastic rest-of-story from USA Today marketing reporter Bruce Horovitz. His feature article begins as follows:

ATLANTA — Chick-fil-A is finally crossing the road.

As the company prepares to expand to New York, Chicago and beyond, Horovitz got an exclusive look in Atlanta at the company’s new test kitchen and chatted with CEO Dan Cathy, whose controversial 2012 comments about gay marriage sparked nationwide protests.

Can a company admit its mistake(s), change with the times and be forgiven? We think so. “All of us become more wise as time goes by,” Cathy told the reporter. “We sincerely care about all people.”

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Slate Editor: Please God, Let James Franco Just Be a Creep

As we head into the weekend on the wings of James Franco‘s Live with Kelly and Michael Mea Culpa, FishbowlNY wanted to highlight a favorite bit of media reaction to all this. In case you missed.

Picking up on the suggestion by colleagues that the actor’s Instagram contretemps has some very convenient resonance with Franco’s upcoming theatrical release Palo Alto, Slate assistant editor Katy Waldman posits the equivalent of Dear God… no:

If Franco’s Instagram flirtation is performance, it is deeply, deeply tired. Can celebrities ever really achieve authenticity? Is all the world a stage? What is the value/cost of testing the edges of romantic convention, in a knowing way, for art? What is art? Who am I? God, JF, you were so much more tolerable as the poufy-lipped nothingvillain in Spider-Man.

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Hot 97′s Mister Cee Comes Clean in GQ Interview

MisterCEEGQPhotoFascinating piece from GQ staff writer Zach Baron in the February issue. It starts with a guided drive-through tour of the Brooklyn neighborhood that bore Calvin Lebrun, a.k.a Mister Cee, and progresses to Lebrun candidly explaining the motivations and minutiae of a sordid sex scandal.

The Daily News , a newspaper that was instrumental in bringing said scandal to the fore, got the embargoed advance look; full GQ article is here. The interview is a great primer for those who know little about Lebrun, Hot 97 and-or the lead-up to his messy, protracted downfall:

On the Kane tours, he says, he was “f*cking everything in sight.” The whole time he had a steady girlfriend, too. Once, he says, coming off tour, he gave her gonorrhea. “It was the most horrible thing I ever did to a woman in my life,” Cee says. She called him last year, after Cee had a run-in with the guy she was dating, just to tell him off again. “I mean, cursed me out, just called me all types of fagg*ts and homos.”

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Cartoonist Don Asmussen Nicely Sums Up Duck Dynasty Debacle

From a media insider’s perspective, one of the real mysteries of the Phil Robertson disaster is how his publicists and-or A&E reps could allow the patriarch to head into the woods, unsupervised, with an enterprising GQ reporter. Unless Robertson specifically told this gang to head the other swamp way, there’s just no excuse from a PR-handling point of view for the non-chaperoned nature of that assignment.

More broadly, all kinds of people continue to take shots at A&E for the implicit hypocrisy of being surprised or apologetic for such a predictable, de-facto eventual quagmire. On that front, FishbowlNY thinks one of the best encapsulations comes from cartoonist Don Asmussen, for the latest edition of his bi-weekly San Francisco Chronicle strip “Bad Reporter:”

BadReporterDuckDynasty

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SeaWorld Publishes Open Letter in NYT, WSJ

SeaWorldLogoNow the question becomes: In the shadow of this week’s gigantic A&E PR nightmare, will this separate effort to control the damage to an equally lucrative franchise succeed?

A letter such as this, which appears today in ten U.S. newspapers, is the result of many expensive hours of consulted time. In our humble opinion, SeaWorld got its money’s worth. The tone is just right and the six bulletted information points each offer a solid counter-argument to the CNN documentary Blackfish. For example:

SeaWorld invests millions of dollars in the care of our killer whales. In the last three years alone, we have invested $70 million in our killer whale habitats and millions of dollars annually in support of these facilities. Our habitats are among the largest in the world today. They are state-of-the-art, multimillion-gallon environments of cooled and filtered water that allow for the highest and safest standards of care. We give our animals restaurant-quality fish, exercise, veterinary care, mental stimulation, and the company of other members of their species.

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Jim DeRogatis on Why ‘Monster’ R. Kelly Keeps Getting Free Media Pass

RKellyBlackPantiesThere’s some powerful history bonding Village Voice contributor Jessica Hopper to Jim DeRogatis, the journalist who some 15 years ago as a music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times exposed R. Kelly‘s shocking indiscretions with underage girls. The rapper was later acquitted.

Hopper recalls her feuding with DeRogatis and what it led to:

DeRogatis approached me offline and told me about how one of Kelly’s victims called him in the middle of the night after his Pitchfork [festival] review came out, to thank him for caring when no one else did. He told me of mothers crying on his shoulder, seeing the scars of a suicide attempt on a girl’s wrists, the fear in their eyes. He detailed an aftermath that the public has never had to bear witness to.

DeRogatis, now a teacher at Columbia College and host of a public radio show, remains steadfast. The media has and continues to ignore a story that is right under their noses:

“Rapes, plural. It is on record. Rapes in the dozen. So stop hedging your words, and when you tell me what a brilliant ode to pussy Black Panties is, then realize that the next sentence should say: ‘This, from a man who has committed numerous rapes.’ The guy was a monster! Just say it! We do have a justice system and he was acquitted. OK, fine. And these other women took the civil lawsuit route.”

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The Toronto Sun Sets on Mayor Rob Ford

Last night, the media boom fell on Toronto mayor Rob Ford. The Toronto Sun, a paper that had been one of the embattled politician’s staunchest supporters, shifted their opinion page strategy. And this morning, they followed that op-ed jab with a front-page upper cut:

TorontoSunFront_12_5

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Toronto Tabloid Bemoans Rob Ford ‘Bad Ink’

Today’s edition of the Toronto Sun, Hogtown’s version of the New York Post, promises “8 Ford Pages Inside.” Above a headline and great illustration combo that hates on the city’s “extremely, extremely inebriated” mayor for continuing to attract a mountain of sordid international media coverage.

TorontoSun_Front_118

Earlier this week, before that crazy new video of Ford surfaced, the paper was leading with: ‘The world is cracking up at Toronto’s expense.’ We are indeed, although interestingly, in one of the more thoughtful bits of coverage, Washington Post columnist Clinton Yates – who was eight-years-old in 1990 at the time of the Marion Barry scandal – suggested today’s social-media-buttressed mocking Merry-Go-Round will actually mean this has less of a damaging impact on Toronto’s collective psyche than the Barry episode did on D.C.’s.

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Times-Union Reporter Reveals Major Crimp in Penn State Plans

LVB JIM ODATO HSThe online version of Albany Times-Union political reporter James M. Odato‘s (pictured) big scoop went up Tuesday night. There was no comment from SUNY beforehand, but a half-hour after the item was posted, the school turned around and provided Odato with a statement.

According to Odato’s report, Penn State trustees were all set last Friday to announce as their 18th president David R. Smith, the current president of SUNY Upstate Medical University. Instead, Smith has been put on paid leave Tuesday as SUNY continues to investigate some alleged additional, sideline compensation:

Smith, a pediatrician, became president of Upstate Medical in 2006 after five years as chancellor of Texas Tech University. SUNY pays him $625,000, including $315,000 in salary plus a $60,000 housing stipend approved by the SUNY trustees, plus $250,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation. Smith is a member of the Research Foundation’s board of directors…

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Breaking Bad vs. Judging Bad

The only thing more shocking this weekend than the “Ozymandias” episode of Breaking Bad was boxing judge Cynthia J. Ross‘ 114-114 scorecard for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. beatdown of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

New York Daily News sports reporter Mitch Abramson had a good summary Sunday of the astounded reaction to this latest “black eye” for the sport of boxing. TMZ Sports meanwhile, to their credit, beat out everyone else to Ross’ first on-the-record comments (she “stands” by her decision).

But it’s fightnews.com contributor Robert Closter who delivers the knockout punch with his reminder that Ross’ wacky ringside ways date back to long before the Bradley-Pacquiao contest. Does any of this seem familiar?:

November 12, 2011: Juan Carlos Burgos vs. Luis Cruz:
Ross was the only judge not to score heavily in favor of Burgos. Scored it a 95-95 draw.

August 13, 2011: Abner Mares vs. Joseph Agbeko I
She was the only judge not to see Mares as the winner. She scored a 113-113 draw.

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