Kenyan High Court Lifts Ban on Lesbian Love Story ‘Rafiki,’ Making Film Eligible for Oscars

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Kenyan High Court on Friday temporarily lifted a ban on “Rafiki,” director Wanuri Kahiu’s lesbian coming of age romance, making the film eligible for the 2019 Academy Awards.

“I am not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society that it cannot handle a gay theme. There are Kenyans who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy today,” judge Wilfrida Okwany said in her ruling, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The court ruled that “Rafiki” can be screened until Sept. 30, enough time to for a seven-day theatrical run, a requirement to be considered as the country’s submission for the best foreign-language Oscar. “Rafiki” will now screen daily at Nairobi’s Prestige Cinema and Prestige Plaza theaters between Sep. 23 and 29, according to the film’s official Twitter account.

Also Read: ‘Rafiki’ Film Review: African Gay Romance Is a First for Cannes

“Rafiki” was the first Kenyan film ever to make Cannes’ main selection, during the festival in May and is a rare same-sex romance to come out of Africa, where the majority of countries have outlawed homosexuality.

The Kenya Film Classification Board banned “Rafiki” in April, citing the film’s “homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law and dominant values of the Kenyans.” Same sex relationships are illegal in Kenya, and punishments can include up to 14 years in prison.

In an interview with TheWrap editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Kahiu explained that the film board’s primary objection was that “they felt that the ending was not remorseful enough, they felt it was too hopeful.” She says she refused to change the ending, at which point the board said it would enact the ban. Watch the interview at the top of the page.

Following the Kenyan high court’s decision, Kahiu celebrated the news on Twitter.

I am crying. In a french airport. In SUCH Joy! Our constitution is STRONG! Give thanks to freedom of expression!!!! WE DID IT! We will be posting about Nairobi screening soon. Follow @rafikimovie

— Wanuri (@wanuri) September 21, 2018

From second-time director Kahiu, “Rafiki” follows Kena and Ziki, two friends who long for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, the two girls are forced to choose between happiness and safety.

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Anne Hathaway Denounces ‘Damaging’ Myth ‘That All Races Orbit Around Whiteness’ (Video)

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Actress Anne Hathaway says it’s time to do away with a “damaging and widely accepted myth” that “all races orbit around whiteness.”

Speaking at the 22nd annual Human Rights Campaign national dinner Saturday, the Oscar winner said it’s “important to acknowledge with the exception of [not] being a cisgender male, everything about how I was born has put me at the current center of a damaging and widely accepted myth.”

“That myth is that gayness orbits around straightness, transgender orbits around cisgender, and that all races orbit around whiteness,” Hathaway added.

Also Read: Anne Hathaway ‘Freaked Out’ Over Rihanna Compliment: ‘You Got a Ass Like Me’ (Video)

Hathaway, whose brother is gay, was recognized for her support of the LGBTQ community over the years. The event also included a speech by former vice president, Joe Biden. In 2012, Hathaway sold her wedding photos to benefit organizations fighting for marriage equality and has joined an HRC petition to protest an anti-LGBTQ discrimination bill in Georgia. She also appeared in the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain,” considered one of the first gay-themed movies to achieve mainstream success.

“I really needed this,” Hathaway said as she accepted the award, presented by her “Oceans 8” co-star, Awkwafina.

“I think I’m probably walking around like most people right now. I’m pretty shell shocked by what I see every day, what I hear everyday,” Hathaway said. “And I really don’t like to admit this, but I get scared.”

“I appreciate this community because together we are not going to just question this myth, we are going to destroy it,” she went on to say.

Also Read: Meryl Streep’s Silence on ‘Devil Wears Prada’ Set Threw Anne Hathaway Into a ‘Demonic Pit’ of Anxiety (Video)

“Let’s tear this world apart and build a better one.”

Watch Hathaway’s full speech above.

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China’s Weibo Reverses Decision to Censor LGBT Content

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Mounting online protests have forced Sina Weibo — China’s version of Twitter — to reverse its decision banning all forms of homosexual content from its platform, the company announced on Monday.

Just last Friday, Weibo had said it would spend the next three months purging its platform of unsavory content, lumping in any homosexual posts with pornography and violence. The move sparked a wave of public outcries, with thousands of users sharing pro-gay hashtags and deriding the platform, which has roughly 400 million users, for censoring LGBT voices.

“This time, the cleanup of anime and games won’t target gay content. It is mainly [meant] to clean up content related to pornography, violence and gore,” said Weibo on Monday, according to Whats on Weibo, on its reversal. “Thank you for your discussions and suggestions.”

Also Read: Facebook Isn’t Listening to Your Conversations, Says Mark Zuckerberg

The turnaround was a win for LGBTQ-advocates in a country still grappling with its treatment of homosexuals. Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but there remain signs it is culturally frowned upon. “Call Me By Your Name,” a gay romantic film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this season, was barred just last month from the Beijing International Film Festival.

“I’ve been casting for a new gay film and many actors are worried about being blacklisted if they get involved,” gay filmmaker Popo Fan told CNN. “Censorship leads to self-censorship — and that’s the worst outcome.”

The Chinese government’s draconian censorship laws often force social media companies to liberally weed out content it believes authorities will find offensive. But on Sunday, the People’s Daily, the government’s mouthpiece news organization, pushed tolerance of homosexuals, in the wake of the blowback over Weibo, but said “vulgar” content wouldn’t be tolerated under any circumstance.

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China’s Weibo Reverses Ban on LGBT Content

Read on: Variety.

Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblogging platform, has reversed its ban of gay content. The decision announced on Monday is a rare instance where a Chinese institution bows to public pressure. The company’s proposed three-month operation to clean up its site, user groups and user-generated comments will “no longer apply to homosexual content,” Sina said on […]

China Bans Gay Content Online (Report)

Read on: Variety.

Gay-themed content has been scrubbed from Sina Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms. The action was reported by state-owned tabloid newspaper The Global Times, which said that the detoxification program is to last three months. Sina said that it had cleaned up over 56,000 unregulated posts, closed 108 accounts and removed other discussion […]

That Time Sean Hannity Got Fired for Homophobic Comments… and Went to the ACLU for Help (Podcast)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Fox News host Sean Hannity’s career began the last place you might expect: on the liberal campus of UC Santa Barbara, where he hosted a shock-jock radio show in which he tore into the news media and offered up flatly wrong theories about AIDS.

It was 1989. Hannity was a 27-year-old college dropout from Long Island when he scored a job on KCSB, UCSB’s radio station. But, as the Washington Post reported, he was soon fired for offenses that included egging on a guest “who claimed that AIDS was spreading among gay men because they consumed each other’s feces,” and telling a lesbian mother he felt sorry for her child.

The details — and what he did next — are the subject of our new “Shoot This Now” podcast, in which we talk about stories that should be made into films or TV shows. You can listen on Apple or Spotify or here:

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After enlisting the American Civil Liberties Union in his fight to return to the college airwaves, Hannity went on to a job in Alabama. The Post reports that Hannity’s official station biography said he “made a proud name for himself by insulting lesbians.”

Also Read: What Facebook Can Learn From the Tylenol Murders (Podcast)

He would later, of course, go on to criticize the ACLU for what he saw as its liberal bias.

Hannity’s past homophobic comments are notable today because of the host’s recent feud with Jimmy Kimmel, in which Kimmel insinuated that Hannity was sexually submissive to President Trump. Kimmel apologized, saying: “By lampooning Sean Hannity’s deference to the president, I most certainly did not intend to belittle or upset members of the gay community and to those who took offense, I apologize.”

Hannity said in 2013 that his views have changed. “Over the years, I have evolved into more of a libertarian when it comes to people’s personal lives,” he said.

During our discussion of Hannity and the ACLU, “Shoot This Now” co-host Matt Donnelly and I also talk about “The Simpsons” recent handling of Apu, Matt tells a great story about Gwyneth Paltrow, and we tell two random stories about “Happy Endings” star Adam Pally.  If you like the episode, check out our archives, and rate us on iTunes.

Oh, and be sure to check out our still very timely episode from last week about what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can learn from Johnson and Johnson’s handling of the 1982 Tylenol murders.

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Billy Baldwin Drags Sean Hannity Over Past Comments Like ‘All Gays Are AIDS Carriers’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Billy Baldwin ripped Sean Hannity over the weekend, tweeting out an old article that described how the Fox News host was fired from his job as a shock jock at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989.

“Santa Barbara has fond memories of @seanhannity’s time here in the 80s,” said Baldwin. “He got the boot here as a shock jock cuz he and/ or his guests spewed such morsels of enlightenment as… “All gays are AIDS carriers”, “Gays eat fecal matter” & “Homosexuals are disgusting people” #ClassAct

The tweet has racked up more than 4,500 retweets since being sent Sunday.

Also Read: Chelsea Handler: ‘Jeff Sessions Is Definitely a Bottom’

Santa Barbara has fond memories of @seanhannity‘s time here in the 80s.

He got the boot here as a shock jock cuz he and/ or his guests spewed such morsels of enlightenment as… “All gays are AIDS carriers”, “Gays eat fecal matter” & “Homosexuals are disgusting people”#ClassAct pic.twitter.com/OVMuqoEUus

— Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) April 8, 2018

The incident has been previously reported in numerous Hannity profiles since his show became Fox News’ top-rated program. In an interview with New York Times magazine last November, Hannity called his comments “ignorant and embarrassing,” and that his removal from the radio station had been “deserved.”

Hannity’s removal from the student radio program provoked a response from the ACLU, which took his case and threatened to bring legal action against the school on First Amendment grounds. The school relented and offered Hannity his old gig back, but the host declined to return unless offered a public apology — something which never occurred, the Washington Post reported.

Also Read: Fox News Cuts Sean Hannity Tirade Against Jimmy Kimmel From Online Broadcast

The unique moment in Hannity history likely received a boost in light of a week-long feud he has engaged in with late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel. The pair traded barbs on social media and their respective television programs after Kimmel joked about Melania Trump’s accent. In recent days Kimmel also took heat from LGBT groups who were displeased with his mocking suggestion that Trump and Hannity were in a gay relationship.

With Hannity promising to run anti-Kimmel content until he received an apology, the ABC host finally conceded.

“While I admit I did have fun with our back and forth, after some thought, I realize that the level of vitriol from all sides (mine and me included) does nothing good for anyone and, in fact, is harmful to our country,” said Kimmel in a tweeted statement Sunday.

Also Read: Kimmel Ends ‘Fun’ Exchange of Jabs With Hannity: ‘I Will Give My Words More Thought’

“By lampooning Sean Hannity’s deference to the President, I most certainly did not intend to belittle or upset members of the gay community and to those who took offense, I apologize,”

re. @seanhannity pic.twitter.com/DMtWJTMsDU

— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 8, 2018

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Fox News Column Blasts U.S. Olympic Team: ‘Darker, Gayer, Different’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

FoxNews.com Executive Editor John Moody is none too pleased about the U.S. Olympic Committee’s commitment to diversity in this year’s Winter games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

In a take on FoxNews.com, Moody blasted the USOC, who praised the team’s diversity in this Washington Post story from earlier this week.

“Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger.’ It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work,” Moody wrote of the team’s drive to increase representations for Asian, African-American and gay athletes.

Also Read: Former Fox News Star Rita Cosby Lands New Radio Show

The thrust of the take echoes a longtime conservative critique of affirmative action-type programs on the grounds that looking to create diversity inevitably comes at the expense of choosing the most qualified people.

Moody reached back into history, citing Jackie Robinson and Jeremy Lin as example of athletes who triumphed as a result of their own merit and didn’t take handouts in the name of “diversity.”

“If someone is denied a slot on a team because of prejudice, that’s one thing. Complaining that every team isn’t a rainbow of political correctness defeats the purpose of sports, which is competition,” wrote Moody. “At the Olympic level, not everyone is a winner. Not everyone gets a little plastic trophy to take home.”

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Santa Claus Is a Black Gay Man in New Children’s Book ‘Santa’s Husband’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

I ❤️ Gay Santa pic.twitter.com/wLP8SREWJB

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) December 19, 2017

If you thought the Mall of America’s African-American Santa Claus pushed the envelope, perhaps you haven’t met the jolly elf’s life partner.

In the new children’s book “Santa’s Husband,” author Daniel Kibblesmith depicts Kris Kringle as a black, gay man in an interracial relationship with someone named David.

“This is new,” quipped host Victor Blackwell as he welcomed Kibblesmith and illustrator A.P. Quach on the set of CNN’s “New Day” on Sunday.

Also Read: After Sam Seder Returns to MSNBC, Jeffrey Lord Asks, What About Me?

Kibblesmith — a writer for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” — said that as a professional comedy writer, he wanted to poke fun at the oft-discussed “war on Christmas.”

“It was sort of inspired by the annual tradition we have in this country of pretending that there’s a giant war on Christmas, and that traditional Christmas is under attack,” said Kibblesmith.

“We were reading all of the news about Mall of America hiring a black Santa Claus last year and me and my now wife made a joke on Twitter that if we ever had a child they would only know about black Santa Claus and if they saw a white Santa Claus at the mall we would just explain ‘Well, that’s his husband,’” he added.

Also Read: BuzzFeed Editor: ‘All I Want For Christmas Is Full Communism Now’

The actual book describes how David helps his husband get ready for the big day.

“In the weeks before Christmas, Santa’s husband helps with all the pre-Christmas work, from double-checking lists, to feeding the reindeer (organic gluten-free grains, of course), to negotiating labor disputes with the restive workshop elves,” reads an Amazon synopsis.

“At the height of toy-making season, he even fills in for his busy hubby at the mall to ensure every child can meet the Big Guy in the red suit, and give him their wish list.”

The book is suggested for kids between ages 4 and 8, according to the website.

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Gay Hollywood: 35 Out and Proud LGBT Stars (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

From actress Jane Lynch to actor Matt Bomer to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, stars in gay Hollywood who serve as inspirations on National Coming Out Day
 
From actress Jane Lynch to actor Matt Bomer to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, stars in ga…

Original ‘Dynasty’ Star Gordon Thomson Slams ‘Abominable’ CW Reboot: ‘It’s Utter Sh-t’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Gordon Thomson, best known for playing the villainous and sexy Adam Carrington on the primetime soap “Dynasty” in the 1980s, had some harsh words for the new CW reboot set to premiere this fall.

“I have had a look at the new ‘Dynasty’ and I am appalled,” he said in a sprawling Daily Beast interview on Monday. “What the f— is the CW doing? It’s utter s—.”

He called the acting “dreadful” and the writing “appalling” and noted that while the new series shared character names and general plot points, he was disappointed that the new show is a reboot of producer Aaron Spelling’s original soap in name only.

Also Read: How ‘Dynasty’ Reboot Deals With ‘Homophobic’ Elements of Original Series

“Why call it ‘Dynasty?’ It’s nothing to do with ‘Dynasty’ at all. It’s insulting. If the afterlife exists — it doesn’t, but if it did — Aaron would be having major fits in his grave,” he said. “And the audience the CW is aiming for is going to think it’s s— because it is such s— that a cretinous 6-year-old would not be interested. It’s abominable.”

Elsewhere in the interview, the 72-year-old  discussed his homosexuality, a fact that he’s kept under wraps up until now. “It’s not something I’ve ever announced,” he said. “I’m assuming that people know, and now that I’m my age that’s fine. I don’t go out of my way because it’s my generation, I think. I’m probably as homophobic as any gay man alive because of my background.”

Thomson, whose character Adam was actually homophobic, said that he didn’t come out earlier due to cultural attitudes at the time, which included the AIDS panic of the 1980s. He also mentioned that he had self esteem issues that stemmed from him growing up.

Also Read: Watch Trailers for ‘Dynasty,’ ‘Black Lightning,’ More New CW Shows (Videos)

“I wasn’t out, are you kidding?” Thomson said. “The show, the time, the fact I was a leading man to look at. No. No. No. Rock [Hudson] only came out when he got sick. This was an utterly different time.”

“Dynasty” featured gay characters — including Adam’s brother, Steven, played by Al Corey and Jack Coleman — but wasn’t always kind to them in its storylines and in how it handled their sexuality.

In the CW reboot, Steven, played by James Mackay, is out of the closet and, at least in the pilot, accepted by his family.

Thomson said he regretted how the original series handled the issue. “It was appallingly handled. They opened a can of worms and weren’t true to it, and they could have been,” Thomson explained. “They had good actors playing the parts. It was a big shame. I’m very sorry.”

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Twitter Shreds #NashvilleStatement for Gay-Bashing During Hurricane Harvey

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Twitter critics have a message for the more than 150 Evangelical leaders behind a document called “The Nashville Statement”: Please hold off on your gay bashing until after Hurricane Harvey.

Or, you know: Knock it off altogether.

The “Nashville Statement” emerged from a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference in Nashville. It consists of 14 statements of affirmation and denial relating to human sexuality.

Also Read: Joel Osteen Slammed for Not Opening Megachurch to Hurricane Victims

“It is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism,” said the statement, issued in the year of our Lord 2017.

“WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture,” read one affirmation.

“WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption,” read another.

Among critics of the Nashville Statement is Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who tweeted that it is “poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.”

The Twitter critiques of the Nashville Statement came just hours after famed televangelist Joel Osteen was slammed for not opening the doors of his Houston megachurch to Harvey’s victims. (He eventually did.)

“Joel Osteen: No way anyone can top how tone deaf and Biblically blind I’ve been during Harvey,” wrote one person on Twitter. “NashvilleStatement: hold my BEER!”

Also Read: Joel Osteen Opens Megachurch Doors to Hurricane Victims After Harsh Criticism

“I have other thoughts on the #NashvilleStatement, but my first was, ‘Don’t they know we’re still trying to rescue people from Harvey?’” asked another.

Hurricane Harvey, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, has ravaged Houston, flooding roadways and forcing an estimated 30,000 people out of their homes.

See more Twitter reactions to the Nashville Statement below.

Joel Osteen: No way anyone can top how tone deaf and Biblically blind I’ve been during #Harvey #NashvilleStatement: hold my BEER! ????????

— ⚖The Justice Team⚖ (@robyns323) August 29, 2017

Millions have lost everything to Harvey, many have died, so the religious right decides to lecture about LGBT people. #NashvilleStatement

— David Badash (@davidbadash) August 29, 2017

Also Read: Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Says: ‘We Have Never Closed Our Doors’

Jesus didn’t say the #NashvilleStatement. Instead, he said the greatest commandment is to love God & 2nd greatest is to love your neighbor. https://t.co/7KzKbQloqk

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 29, 2017

1) These evangelical leaders signing the #NashvilleStatement, but won’t sign a check to help Hurricane Harvey victims or open their churches

— Joshua White (@blackjoshwhite) August 29, 2017

The pastors who created the #NashvilleStatement could be helping victims of #Harvey right now. But they chose to attack the LGBT+ community.

— Repeal&Replace Trump (@Sha_Elise24) August 29, 2017

The #NashvilleStatement sounds like @CBMWorg planned for a post-gov’t world, in the off-chance Hurricane Harvey was actually God’s wrath.

— Andres Chavez (@prqls) August 29, 2017

Also Read: Is Trump Using His Public Office to Sell Hats?

I have other thoughts on the #NashvilleStatement, but my first was, “Don’t they know we’re still trying to rescue people from Harvey?”

— Elizabeth Drouillard (@ThingsBright) August 29, 2017

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FCC Can’t Fine CBS for Stephen Colbert’s Sex Joke About Trump and Putin, Experts Say

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Federal Communications Commission has no basis to sanction CBS for late-night host Stephen Colbert’s gay sex joke about President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, experts say.

Robert Corn-Revere, former FCC chief counsel and a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington D.C., said that late-night shows like Colbert’s fall outside the FCC’s rules banning indecent speech, which only apply between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Colbert’s “cock holster” joke aired Monday during Colbert’s “The Late Show” opening monologue that began at 11:30 p.m. ET/ 10:30 p.m. CT.

“Broadcasts after 10 p.m. are not actionable under the rules” for indecency, Corn-Revere told TheWrap.

Also Read: Stephen Colbert Stops Short of ‘Cock Holster’ Apology, Says He’d Insult Trump Again

Corn-Revere, who worked as chief counsel to acting FCC Chairman James H. Quello, said the FCC can’t cite CBS for violating its anti-obscenity rules, either.

“Obscenity is illegal any time,” Corn-Revere said. “But there is no legitimate obscenity claim here.” (Disclosure: I worked at the same law firm as Corn-Revere a decade ago but we worked in different offices on different cases.)

Corn-Revere said that Colbert’s joke is not obscene because it had serious political value and did not show or describe a sex act.

Also Read: Stephen Colbert Plans ‘Daily Show’ Reunion with Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, John Oliver and More

Marjorie Heins, a First Amendment lawyer and founder for the Free Expression Policy Project, agreed with the FCC’s finding.

“Colbert’s brief off-color joke, which was broadcast late at night and, in any event, was bleeped, would be unlikely to result in any indecency finding even given the agency’s wide-ranging discretion,” Heins told TheWrap.

Also Read: Read Stephen Colbert’s Complete Comments on Trump ‘Cock Holster’ Joke

“On the other hand,” Heins said, “one can never really predict what the FCC will do in this area: there have been so many changes of policy over the years.”

Colbert joked during his Monday night opening monologue that, “The only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster,” but CBS bleeped the audio for “cock” and blurred Colbert’s mouth.

Critics said the joke was homophobic, too crude for broadcast television and disrespectful to any president, and started a public campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #FireColbert.

Also Read: ACLU Mocks Trump’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Order – But Isn’t Suing

The FCC bans “indecent” and “profane” speech on broadcast television and radio between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. “when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience,” the FCC website says.

Indecent content “portrays sexual or excretory organs or activities in a way that does not meet the three-prong test for obscenity. Profane content “includes ‘grossly offensive’ language that is considered a public nuisance,” the FCC says.

If Colbert had made his joke on his former show on Comedy Central instead of CBS, the FCC’s indecency rules would not apply because they don’t apply to cable, no mater what time of day the joke was aired.

Also Read: Stephen Colbert Attacks Trump’s Health Care Bill: ‘The GOP Just Kicked America in the Balls’ (Video)

Obscenity is prohibited on broadcast TV and radio, as well as cable and satellite radio, according to the FCC.

Obscene content “appeals to an average person’s prurient interest; depict or describe sexual conduct in a “patently offensive” way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value,” the FCC website says.

Anyone can file a complaint with the FCC about a radio or TV station.

If the FCC finds a station violates its rules, it has the authority to revoke a station license, impose a fine, or issue a warning.

Also Read: FCC Chair Responds to Stephen Colbert Joke: ‘It’s a Free Country’ (Video)

One of the FCC’s most notable indecency prosecutions was against a radio station for broadcasting comedian George Carlin’s mid-afternoon monologue mocking the FCC’s rules banning the use of “seven dirty” words on TV and radio by using the words in his jokes.

The Pacifica radio station claimed the FCC indecency rules violated the radio station’s right to free speech. But the Supreme Court rejected that argument and ruled that the FCC’s indecency rules are constitutional in its 1978 decision called F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation.

More recently, the Supreme Court again was asked to rule that the FCC’s indecency rules violated the First Amendment, but the court majority sidestepped the issue in its 2012 decision called FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc.

Also Read: Bill Maher to John Kasich: Would You Challenge Trump for Presidency in 2020? (Video)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dissented, saying that the seven dirty words decision by the Supreme Court “was wrong when it issued.”

“Time, technological advances, and the commission’s untenable rulings in the cases now before the court show why Pacifica bears reconsideration,” Ginsberg wrote.

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Barry Manilow on Coming Out: ‘I Have Not Read One Negative Response’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Pop icon Barry Manilow spoke out about his sexuality for the first time in a series of interviews where he talks about his nearly 40-year relationship with his manager and his hesitation to come out as gay.

The 73-year-old crooner, who has been known for keeping his private life separate from his professional one, is the subject of a People cover story in which he opens up his home and talks about his relationships.

His manager, Garry Kief, has been by his side for decades, but the two kept their relationship secret. Kief and Manilow got married in a surprise private ceremony in 2015, but Manilow still didn’t officially come out. He told People that he never planned to make his marriage public due to potential response and to his own personal preference.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’ Star Daniel Newman Publicly Comes Out as Gay: ‘It Was Just Time’ (Video)

“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,” Manilow told People.

“This is my life, we’ve been together for all these years,” Manilow said to Entertainment Tonight. “Everybody knows that we’re a team. Everybody that I know knows. So it never really dawned on me to say anything about it. I mean, I’m a very private guy.”

Of course the news seeped out via unnamed sources to People and by friends, such as Suzanne Somers who confirmed the wedding on “Watch What Happens Live.” However, according to him, the fan response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I have not read one negative response,” Manilow told Entertainment Tonight. “To me it is so moving, it is so deep for me, that these strangers were so happy that I was happy, that I wasn’t alone.”

Also Read: ‘Doctor Who’ Gets First Openly Gay Companion; Fans React on Twitter

The response on Twitter has also been positive (for the most part. It is Twitter after all), with a lot of being claiming not to be surprised by the news.

Happy Coming Out Day to Barry Manilow at 73, showing us it’s never too late! Shouldn’t be an issue, but we don’t live in a perfect world ???? ????

— Kevin Maxwell (@kevin_maxwell) April 5, 2017

People laughing at Barry Manilow for coming out when we all knew anyway should consider the political climate. He’s being brave as hell. ✊

— Alex Paknadel (@AlexPaknadel) April 5, 2017

Manilow is also ready to get back to work. His new album, “This is My Town: Songs of New York” is due to be out April 21, and he’ll be going on tour in a limited series of concerts.

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Kathy Griffin on Donald Trump: ‘You Know He Pissed on Those Whores’ (Video)

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Talk to any reporter who’s ever interviewed Kathy Griffin and they’ll tell you the hardest thing about it is keeping a straight face.

Griffin, who is receiving the Vanguard Award from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on Sunday for her LGBTQ advocacy, had TheWrap’s newsroom in stitches from the moment she walked into our studio. And she kept on going for the entire interview, insisting that she has no problems calling the leader of the free world “an idiot,” as she told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a recent interview.

“I had no problem with him being a game-show host,” Griffin told TheWrap, “with the orange and the raccoon eyes and the whores pissing on him. You know he pissed on those whores.”

Also Read: Kathy Griffin Says There’s a ‘Lot of Collusion’ Between Trump and NBC (Video)

Griffin then went for the kill: “And he made them say, ‘Nastrovia!” referring to the Russian cheer used to thank someone for meal or a drink.

For the record: The “golden showers” allegations that Griffin is referring to have been flatly denied by Trump, and have not been substantiated. They were included in an unverified dossier released by Buzzfeed in January. The dossier does not accuse Trump of urinating on anybody. Griffin is a comedian.

Check out the entire video, in which Griffin talks Anderson Cooper, Joan Rivers and why she came up with the phrase, “My gays.”

Enjoy! (or should we say, Nastrovia?)

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‘When We Rise’ Is ‘Appallingly Timely,’ Says Gay Rights Activist Cleve Jones

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Cleve Jones has seen a lot. In the early 1970s he fought alongside gay-rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. In the 1980s, he turned to the AIDS crisis as the founder of both the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the iconic Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. And now, he says, it’s time for another fight, one against President Donald Trump.

That fight, Jones told TheWrap, has given a newfound urgency to ABC’s new mini-series, “When We Rise,” which premieres tonight and is largely based on Jones’ memoir of the same name. It chronicles five decades of the gay liberation movement.

“Every issue I care about is at stake right now,” Jones said. “It’s turning out to be appallingly timely.”

The Dustin Lance Black-created series — spread over four nights — follows Jones and two other real-life LGBT pioneers: Roma Guy (played by Emily Skeggs and Mary-Louise Parker), a prominent feminist activist; and Ken Jones (Jonathan Majors, Michael K. Williams), an African-American Vietnam vet-turned community organizer.

Jones was portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch in the 2008 Oscar-winning biopic, “Milk,” about the San Francisco politicians who was shot and killed in a homophobic attack.

Also Read: ABC Orders Gay Rights Miniseries From ‘Milk’ Writer, Director

TheWrap spoke with Jones and Austin P. McKenzie, who plays him in part of “When We Rise.” McKenzie, best know for the Deaf West Theatre’s 2015 Broadway revival of “Spring Awakening,” plays the young Jones, while Guy Pearce plays him later in life.

TheWrap: Fifty years ago, CBS aired a special called “The Homosexuals,” in which Mike Wallace warned viewers the subject might be “disturbing.” What is it like to see this project air on a broadcast network?

Cleve Jones: It’s certainly a milestone and it’s very exciting, and I think for all of us real characters who were a part of this, we see this as an opportunity to move things forward. There are parts of it that are not exactly accurate, but it remains truthful to the movement and that’s what counts.

Why did you decide to take this on?

McKenzie: I remember reading the script for the first time in my apartment in New York City, and there are just some scripts you get, and the second you read it you just know you have to play the role. I didn’t really know why. I think maybe there was something about the way Cleve’s vulnerability was written. I was really connected to it.

Also Read: GLAAD Beefs Up Staff Over ‘Rising Threats’ to LGBTQ Community in Trump Era (Exclusive)

Cleve, what is it like to have these actors portray you and figure out your mannerisms?

It’s an odd experience… I’ve been very fortunate to have three extremely talented actors portray me and could not be happier.

The Trump administration just rolled back protections for transgender students. The timing seems almost impeccable…

Jones: When we started working on the screenplay we certainly had no clue that any of this could have happened… If this series helps people figure out how to fight back, that’s good. But I’m not a single-issue person, and every issue I care about is at stake right now. So, it’s turning out to be appallingly timely.

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Austin, do you consider yourself part of the LGBTQ community?

McKenzie: I consider myself a part of any movement that ‘s moving towards love and freedom and equality.

What did you learn from working on the series?

You don’t have to know the history of the movement or see the television show to want to fight for justice. I didn’t know any of this specific history. I didn’t know who Cleve Jones was or Roma Guy or Ken Jones, and I felt so privileged to have learned the history and to feel embraced by a community that is really rooting for this television show… Cleve was a big part of that learning process. When I first met him, he took me around the Castro. I call him the Jesus of the Castro Street… Cleve is so intimidating and then I met him, and he was like — I’m not sure I’m allowed to say it…

Jones: Watch it Austin!

McKenzie: He was rambunctious. I’ll say that much. I’m a big believer that you are as old as you act, and when when I met Cleve I felt like he was the youngest person I’d ever met. When I met him in San Francisco we walked around the Castro and he would point to the windows of an apartment he used to live in… He told me so many of  the windows of the Castro were splattered with blood from the riots, and he showed me the camera shop that Harvey [Milk] used to own… I think from then on, I really thought, I have to do this role the best that I can for Cleve. That was the end goal for me. I wanted to do justice by Cleve and that’s sort of what I woke up to on set every day.

Cleve, what was it like for you, knowing there’s a whole generation of gay people who have no real connection to this struggle, whether because they weren’t born yet or because there are so few people alive from that time?

I don’t blame younger generations for their lack of awareness. Americans in general are not interested in history. As I’m approaching 60, I was given so many death sentences over the years, that I realize I owe that to the movement and that’s not hyperbole, that’s not rhetoric. I would be dead if it weren’t for the movement.

Also Read: Jennifer Holliday Pulls Out of Trump Inauguration, Apologizes to LGBT Community (Exclusive)

Why a mini-series?

Jones: It’s all about the reach, of course. Even best-selling novels don’t have the reach of ABC. That’s just amazing. I think that it was smart for ABC to do this. They’re competing against very edgy boundary-pushing products out of Amazon and Netflix and Showtime and HBO and the rest. There’s an audience for it and I think the audience is huge.

Are you ready for what’s about to happen once this airs?

McKenzie: Am I ready for it? I’m too young to know anything about life. I’m trying to take it day by day.

Cleve: I don’t anticipate that my life is going to change much as a result of this. I’m not a celebrity. I work for a a labor union. I’m an organizer. I live in a rent-controlled apartment in the Castro, trying to hang on here.

What do you think of the explosion in social engagement we’re seeing across the country these days?

Jones: I think it’s unlike anything this country has ever experienced, at least since the Great Depression or World War II. I think that’s how deep the crisis is. I believe we are entering into a period of political chaos. Out of that chaos is the potential for great evil, but there is also the possibility of great good.

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Do you feel like Trump’s win has forced you out of retirement? 
Jones: Oh, who wants to to retire? What will I do? I don’t golf. I imagine I will drop dead on some picket line.

Austin, how has this changed you?

McKenzie: It’s going to sound strange, but I’m not really someone who likes to be in the spotlight. I’m not looking for fame. There’s a comfort in playing a real person because in a way, it takes the attention off me and puts it on this real person’s life.

Jones: I think I have to add something here. I don’t know Austin well, but I’ve paid attention to him for a while and this was an extremely difficult thing for him… He was subjected to a lot of pressure and real intense challenges and he had to struggle and he’s grown a lot as a man and is a stronger person because of this experience. I think he was profoundly changed by this experience in a very positive way and I’m proud of him.

Austin, that’s a nice compliment. How does that make you feel?

McKenzie: Wow. I feel known. I feel more respect for him. I’m just happy to hear that.

Cleve, what was it about Austin that made you and Lance think he was the right guy for the role?

Jones: We viewed videos of people reading the script. It was a bit different than my experience with “Milk” where I actually was aware of Emile [Hirsch] before. With Austin, his reading was good but then also there was this YouTube video of him performing. What’s the name of the song, Austin?

McKenzie“Brother” by Matt Corby.

Jones: The quality of the video wasn’t great, but the performance gave me goosebumps.

Austin: I felt very happy that I could write that song for episode 3. I pitched a song called, “Thinking of You,” to Lance for the show and they took it. And when we first showed it to Cleve, that was a really good moment. I had written with the thought of some of the things Cleve went through, one of his lovers in particular, and they ended up using it and that was really satisfying for me.

Also Read: A Complete List of Donald Trump’s Pro-LGBT White House Appointments (Updating)

You didn’t know each other before this project. How would you describe your relationship today?

McKenzie: The first day I met Cleve, and he’d spoken about “Milk” and Emile Hirsch, I remember him saying, “From this day forward we’re going to have a connection forever because you’re playing me and we’re going to have this connection regardless if we talk again or not.” I think that’s definitely true. I feel like I know him intimately now.

Jones: We’ve gotten to know each other and there will be a connection forever. It’s just how it is. The people that I met during “Milk,” those relationships are still evolving.

“When We Rise” premiers at 9/8c on ABC.

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Jennifer Holliday Pulls Out of Trump Inauguration, Apologizes to LGBT Community (Exclusive)

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Jennifer Holliday has canceled her appearance at Donald Trump’s inauguration event next week, calling her decision to perform a “lapse of judgement.”

In an open letter, provided exclusively to TheWrap, the “Dreamgirls” star apologized to the LGBT community, saying she was “uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.”

The Tony and Grammy winner came under fire from some of her fans on Friday after it was announced that she was set to perform at a concert as part of Trump’s inauguration festivities.

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Holliday, considered a longtime LGBT ally, explained that she changed her mind after reading a Friday Daily Beast story titled, “Jennifer Holliday Will Perform at Trump’s Inauguration, Which Is Heartbreaking to Gay Fans.”

The article argued that the singer’s decision to participate in the inaugural event was “an act that seems to defy everything her most passionate supporters stand for, and even issues she herself has supported throughout her career.”

“My only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!”

Holliday ends her letter telling her gay fans: “Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.”

On Friday, Trump’s inauguration team announced that she would perform, along with Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, Lee Greenwood and other entertainers, in a Jan. 19 event at the Lincoln Memorial called the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration.”

Also Read: Jennifer Holliday Blasted for Trump Inauguration Gig: ‘So Disappointed’

Many fans were surprised by the inclusion of Holliday, best known as the original Effie White in Broadway’s original production of “Dreamgirls.”

Holliday told the New York Times that she had been “startled and disheartened” by the “venom that greeted the news of her participation.”

According to the Times, Holliday “sounded certain about her choice.” But her publicist Bill Carpenter later told TheWrap that she had not yet committed to the event, eventually confirming her participation a few hours later.

Read Holliday’s full letter below.

TO MY BELOVED LGBT COMMUNITY:

Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a “bi-partisan songbird” having sung for Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush.

I was asked to sing a song for what was presented to me as the “Welcome Concert For The People”– in my mind I was reflecting on the past times of being asked to sing for presidents and I only focused on the phrase “For The People”… I thought, For America!

I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country… Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

In light of the information pointed out to me via the Daily Beast article on yesterday, my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!

I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgement, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.

Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.

Thank you for communicating with me, I had no idea that I still meant so much to all of you.

Thank you for your posted comments both the good supportive ones as well as the ugly hurtful ones.

With LOVE & Appreciation,

JENNIFER  HOLLIDAY
“The Original DreamGirl”

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A Complete List of Donald Trump’s Pro-LGBT White House Appointments (Updating)

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Keep refreshing for TheWrap’s complete list of Donald Trump’s pro-LGBT appointees:

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‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Star Comes Out… as Straight

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After years of dodging questions about his sexuality, “How to Get Away With Murder” star Jack Falahee is coming out of the closet… as a straight man.

And it’s all because of Donald Trump.

The 27-year-old actor plays gay law student Connor Walsh on Shonda Rhimes‘ juggernaut procedural drama. But until now, he has never openly discussed his own sexuality.

“While I’m not gay, on HTGAWM I play a character who’s in an interracial relationship with an HIV positive man,” Falahee wrote in a lengthy Twitter post Monday. “In the past I’ve declined to discuss my own sexuality in an attempt to try and dismantle the closet. Opponents to my ambiguous answers to questions surrounding my sexuality argued the importance of visibility. Ultimately I think my stance has been unhelpful in the fight for equality.”

Also Read: ‘How to Get Away With Murder’s’ Jack Falahee Won’t Reveal His Sexuality: ‘It Seems Reductive’

He explained: “Now more than ever, I want to offer my support to the community as an ally.”

Falahee says he felt the need to finally come out after seeing his gay friends’ reactions once it became clear that Trump had won the presidential election.

“I spent election night with a few of my close friends, glued to the television,” Falahee wrote.
“By the end of the night a friend of mine, who is gay, was sitting on the floor under a table crying.”

In an interview with Out magazine last year, Falahee skirted a question about his sexuality, saying: “I don’t think answering who I’m sleeping with accomplishes anything other than quenching the thirst of curiosity.”

Also Read: 11 Funny Things We Learned From ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ Star Jack Falahee’s Twitter Q&A

You can read Falahee’s full message below.

(1/2) sorry for the small font, but I wanted you all to read this. pic.twitter.com/9BAKHJMTdJ

Jack Falahee (@RestingPlatypus) November 15, 2016

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From actress Jane Lynch to actor Matt Bomer to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, stars in gay Hollywood who serve as inspirations on National Coming Out Day
 
From actress Jane Lynch to actor Matt Bomer to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, stars in ga…