Kid Rock Stuns 350 Walmart Customers by Paying $81K in Layaway Accounts

All Walmart customers want for Christmas is Kid Rock.

Taking a page from filmmaker Tyler Perry, the “All Summer Long” rapper got into the holiday spirit Saturday, paying off all 350 of the layaway accounts at a Tennessee Walmart to the tune of  $81,000, according to the store manager.

“Kudos to Kid Rock for making such a gesture in our community,” Walmart manager Tom Meyer told the Tennessean. “I think that’s a pretty Nashville proud moment.”

Also Read: Kid Rock Pulled as Nashville Parade Grand Marshal After Dissing ‘That Joy Behar Bitch’

Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, said he was inspired by Perry, who tweeted Thursday that he had paid off the layaway accounts at two separate Georgia locations.

“@tylerperry Great idea! I followed your lead and paid off the layaway at my local Walmart in Nashville. Merry Christmas and God Bless You!” Rock wrote in a Friday tweet.

According to Meyer, Rock called his store Friday morning saying he wanted to pay off the balances on its layaway accounts. Rock’s manager then delivered the check.

The items on layaway are likely Christmas gifts, according to Meyer, who said the program is only available to customers during the holidays.

Also Read: Watch Joy Behar Take the High Road After Kid Rock Calls Her a ‘Bitch’ (Video)

Customers were shocked as they were handed a card that explained Rock was picking up the tab.

“Merry Christmas from your neighbor!” the cards read.  One customer tweeted Rock saying: “We were gonna have to give up our kids christmas this year because we needed to pay rent but now, because of you, our babies will have a good christmas!! So thank you so much!!”

Kid Rock has property in Whites Creek, a neighborhood in Nashville.

@KidRock We were gonna have to give up our kids christmas this year because we needed to pay rent but now, because of you, our babies will have a good christmas!! So thank you so much!!

— Autumn Nuccio (@IndicaStonerGrl) December 8, 2018

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All Walmart customers want for Christmas is Kid Rock.

Taking a page from filmmaker Tyler Perry, the “All Summer Long” rapper got into the holiday spirit Saturday, paying off all 350 of the layaway accounts at a Tennessee Walmart to the tune of  $81,000, according to the store manager.

“Kudos to Kid Rock for making such a gesture in our community,” Walmart manager Tom Meyer told the Tennessean. “I think that’s a pretty Nashville proud moment.”

Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, said he was inspired by Perry, who tweeted Thursday that he had paid off the layaway accounts at two separate Georgia locations.

“@tylerperry Great idea! I followed your lead and paid off the layaway at my local Walmart in Nashville. Merry Christmas and God Bless You!” Rock wrote in a Friday tweet.

According to Meyer, Rock called his store Friday morning saying he wanted to pay off the balances on its layaway accounts. Rock’s manager then delivered the check.

The items on layaway are likely Christmas gifts, according to Meyer, who said the program is only available to customers during the holidays.

Customers were shocked as they were handed a card that explained Rock was picking up the tab.

“Merry Christmas from your neighbor!” the cards read.  One customer tweeted Rock saying: “We were gonna have to give up our kids christmas this year because we needed to pay rent but now, because of you, our babies will have a good christmas!! So thank you so much!!”

Kid Rock has property in Whites Creek, a neighborhood in Nashville.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Kid Rock Won't Face FEC Action Over Senate Stunt

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Nick Cannon Blasts Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman Over Old Homophobic Tweets

Nick Cannon is calling out Hollywood for what he says is a blatant double standard following Kevin Hart’s Oscars resignation, retweeting old jokes by three female white comedians — Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler — in which they used homophobic language.

Cannon shared a 2010 tweet from Handler that included anti-gay slurs, telling his followers, “Interesting, I wonder if there was any backlash here…”

He also posted another 2010 tweet by Silverman in which she called the new “Bachelorette” a gay slur, as well as a tweet from Schumer from 2012 in which she used a homophobic term, along with the caption, “I’m just saying… should we keep going???”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Couldn’t Have Botched His Apology More If He Tried, Hollywood Crisis Managers Say

When a Twitter user suggested that perhaps Cannon should “audit” his own social media feed, he responded: “Nope!! You know I’ve been saying f–ed up s–t since twitter started! I don’t play that politically correct bulls–t! F–k politics!! Only Truth!”

The posts come a day after old homophobic tweets of Hart’s resurfaced, and he was forced to step down from hosting the 2019 Academy Awards.

Hart drew ire after scrubbing his social media feeds from dozens of old tweets in which he used anti-gay slurs, including one where he seemed to advocate violence against his own son should he exhibit gay tendencies.

“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,” he wrote in 2011.

Last year, Cannon stepped down as host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” after backlash over racially charged jokes about the network in his Showtime special.

And in 2014, Cannon also came under fire for posting a photo of himself wearing whiteface to promote his latest album.

“To me, this was to have fun,” he added. “Yes we have issues with race in this country, this world, but it doesn’t have to be with hatred. There’s a big difference between humor and hatred.”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Steps Down as Oscars Host, Apologizes for Homophobic Tweets

After the backlash over Hart’s homophobic tweets began last week, Cannon came to Hart’s defense, commenting on Hart’s Instagram post: “We with you regardless!!! You know how we feel about people trying to control us anyway!!”

Reps for Schumer, Handler and Silverman did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment

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Kevin Hart Has Deleted Old Anti-Gay Tweets Since Landing Oscar Hosting Gig

Nick Cannon is calling out Hollywood for what he says is a blatant double standard following Kevin Hart’s Oscars resignation, retweeting old jokes by three female white comedians — Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler — in which they used homophobic language.

Cannon shared a 2010 tweet from Handler that included anti-gay slurs, telling his followers, “Interesting, I wonder if there was any backlash here…”

He also posted another 2010 tweet by Silverman in which she called the new “Bachelorette” a gay slur, as well as a tweet from Schumer from 2012 in which she used a homophobic term, along with the caption, “I’m just saying… should we keep going???”

When a Twitter user suggested that perhaps Cannon should “audit” his own social media feed, he responded: “Nope!! You know I’ve been saying f–ed up s–t since twitter started! I don’t play that politically correct bulls–t! F–k politics!! Only Truth!”

The posts come a day after old homophobic tweets of Hart’s resurfaced, and he was forced to step down from hosting the 2019 Academy Awards.

Hart drew ire after scrubbing his social media feeds from dozens of old tweets in which he used anti-gay slurs, including one where he seemed to advocate violence against his own son should he exhibit gay tendencies.

“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,” he wrote in 2011.

Last year, Cannon stepped down as host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” after backlash over racially charged jokes about the network in his Showtime special.

And in 2014, Cannon also came under fire for posting a photo of himself wearing whiteface to promote his latest album.

“To me, this was to have fun,” he added. “Yes we have issues with race in this country, this world, but it doesn’t have to be with hatred. There’s a big difference between humor and hatred.”

After the backlash over Hart’s homophobic tweets began last week, Cannon came to Hart’s defense, commenting on Hart’s Instagram post: “We with you regardless!!! You know how we feel about people trying to control us anyway!!”

Reps for Schumer, Handler and Silverman did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment

Related stories from TheWrap:

Snoop Dogg Gives Kevin Hart a Pep Talk After Oscars Exit: 'Tell the Academy to Suck a D—' (Video)

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Google Employee Found Dead in Company’s New York City Headquarters

A Google employee was found dead inside Google’s New York City headquarters in Chelsea, TheWrap has learned.
A janitor found 22-year-old Scott Krulcik, a software engineer, unconscious on the sixth floor of the building on Eighth Avenue near West…

A Google employee was found dead inside Google’s New York City headquarters in Chelsea, TheWrap has learned.

A janitor found 22-year-old Scott Krulcik, a software engineer, unconscious on the sixth floor of the building on Eighth Avenue near West 16th Street around 9 p.m. ET on Friday, according to the NYPD.

EMS workers tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful. Krulcik was pronounced dead at the scene.

Krulcik’s body did not show signs of trauma, and there did not appear to be foul play.

According to LinkedIn, Krulcik, who lived in the West Village, worked for Google since August.

The city Medical Examiner’s office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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James Gunn-Produced Horror Film ‘Brightburn’ Trailer Shows Alien Child With Sinister Intentions (Video)

The trailer for “Brightburn,” the James Gunn-produced horror project is out.

The movie, directed by “The Hive” filmmaker David Yarovesky, was unveiled Saturday at Comic-Con Brazil and offers the first glimpse at the superhero movie.

Gunn was originally scheduled to talk about the film at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, just hours before Disney fired Gunn as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” in July after some of his old tweets in which he made insensitive jokes about topics like rape and pedophilia resurfaced. (Gunn has since been  writing a sequel to “Suicide Squad” DC and Warner Bros.).

Also Read: James Gunn Horror Project ‘BrightBurn’ Pushed 6 Months to May 2019

The movie was originally slated to come out last week but Sony bumped it to May.

“BrightBurn” is being produced by Gunn, written and produced by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, directed by David Yaroevsky and stars Elizabeth Banks. Dan Clifton, Nic Crawley and Simon Hatt are also producing.

In July of this past year, Gunn was fired from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise for old tweets about rape and pedophilia that the director admitted were “offensive.”

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, in a statement at the time.

Also Read: Fans Pay for ‘Rehire James Gunn’ Billboard Near Disneyland

“Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo,” Gunn wrote in a series of tweets. “As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”

Watch the trailer above.

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The trailer for “Brightburn,” the James Gunn-produced horror project is out.

The movie, directed by “The Hive” filmmaker David Yarovesky, was unveiled Saturday at Comic-Con Brazil and offers the first glimpse at the superhero movie.

Gunn was originally scheduled to talk about the film at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, just hours before Disney fired Gunn as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” in July after some of his old tweets in which he made insensitive jokes about topics like rape and pedophilia resurfaced. (Gunn has since been  writing a sequel to “Suicide Squad” DC and Warner Bros.).

The movie was originally slated to come out last week but Sony bumped it to May.

“BrightBurn” is being produced by Gunn, written and produced by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, directed by David Yaroevsky and stars Elizabeth Banks. Dan Clifton, Nic Crawley and Simon Hatt are also producing.

In July of this past year, Gunn was fired from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise for old tweets about rape and pedophilia that the director admitted were “offensive.”

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, in a statement at the time.

“Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo,” Gunn wrote in a series of tweets. “As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”

Watch the trailer above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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'Suicide Squad' Director David Ayer Says James Gunn Is 'the Right Man' to Take Over Franchise

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams Right-Wing Twitter Troll for Calling Her a ‘Bitch’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman elect from New York, slammed conservative Twitter troll Michael Moates for calling her a “bitch” on Twitter.

“Wow! A Republican journalist calling me the B-word as he deliberately misinterprets my statement,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Awesome job. How many female leaders have you covered in your career? I’m sure your coverage was very fair and not subconsciously biased at all.”

Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a since-deleted tweet by Moates, who according to The Hill, quote-tweeted Ocasio-Cortez earlier Friday, saying that “there is a new standard in Congress. Bitches will subpoena you if you troll them.”

Also Read: Tucker Carlson Praises Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Criticizing Amazon HQ2 Incentives

In a statement to TheWrap Saturday morning, Moates defended his tweet, calling Ocasio-Cortez a “witch.”

“Alexandra Ocasio Cortez is Congresswoman-elect and her behavior is making her seem like a dictator,” Moates said. “It is against the law to abuse your power and that is what she did when she threatened to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. over a meme.”

He continued: “She also has shared numerous facts that are inaccurate including saying that there are 3 branches of Congress. Also, let’s not forget that she wants to starve America’s children by implementing socialism. She is a witch. She will have an ethics complaint waiting for her when she gets to the House of Representatives. She is not a dictator but she is acting like one. Time to grow up.”

Also Read: Fake Video of Bronx Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Goes Viral: ‘Republicans so Scared of Me’

Moates, whose Twitter bio says he’s written for conservative outlets including, DC Examiner, The Blaze and IJR, also tweeted on Saturday: “Anyone who wants people to starve in this country due to the effects of socialism will always be a b*tch,” the tweet said.

Reps for Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

The entanglement started when Ocasio-Cortez responded to Donald Trump Jr. after he posted a meme on Instagram that insinuated that democratic socialists, and Ocasio-Cortez particularly, eat dogs.

Also Read: Newsmax Host Gets Schooled for False Claims About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘You’re a Know Nothing Shmuck’

Ocasio-Cortez, pictured in Trump Jr.’s post, is captioned asking, “Why are you so afraid of a socialist economy?” Below her, President Donald Trump is seen responding, “Because Americans want to walk their dogs, not eat them!”

In a Twitter post, Ocasio-Cortez politely reminded Trump Jr. that she will be part of a Democratic majority in the House in January, a job that comes with subpoena power.

The exchange prompted Moates to attack Ocasio-Cortezrtez, calling her the B-word in a tweet that has since been taken down.

Wow! A Republican journalist calling me the B-word as he deliberately misinterprets my statement.

Awesome job. How many female leaders have you covered in your career? I’m sure your coverage was very fair and not subconsciously biased at all. https://t.co/FZOsVY92EP

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 7, 2018

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman elect from New York, slammed conservative Twitter troll Michael Moates for calling her a “bitch” on Twitter.

“Wow! A Republican journalist calling me the B-word as he deliberately misinterprets my statement,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Awesome job. How many female leaders have you covered in your career? I’m sure your coverage was very fair and not subconsciously biased at all.”

Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a since-deleted tweet by Moates, who according to The Hill, quote-tweeted Ocasio-Cortez earlier Friday, saying that “there is a new standard in Congress. Bitches will subpoena you if you troll them.”

In a statement to TheWrap Saturday morning, Moates defended his tweet, calling Ocasio-Cortez a “witch.”

“Alexandra Ocasio Cortez is Congresswoman-elect and her behavior is making her seem like a dictator,” Moates said. “It is against the law to abuse your power and that is what she did when she threatened to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. over a meme.”

He continued: “She also has shared numerous facts that are inaccurate including saying that there are 3 branches of Congress. Also, let’s not forget that she wants to starve America’s children by implementing socialism. She is a witch. She will have an ethics complaint waiting for her when she gets to the House of Representatives. She is not a dictator but she is acting like one. Time to grow up.”

Moates, whose Twitter bio says he’s written for conservative outlets including, DC Examiner, The Blaze and IJR, also tweeted on Saturday: “Anyone who wants people to starve in this country due to the effects of socialism will always be a b*tch,” the tweet said.

Reps for Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

The entanglement started when Ocasio-Cortez responded to Donald Trump Jr. after he posted a meme on Instagram that insinuated that democratic socialists, and Ocasio-Cortez particularly, eat dogs.

Ocasio-Cortez, pictured in Trump Jr.’s post, is captioned asking, “Why are you so afraid of a socialist economy?” Below her, President Donald Trump is seen responding, “Because Americans want to walk their dogs, not eat them!”

In a Twitter post, Ocasio-Cortez politely reminded Trump Jr. that she will be part of a Democratic majority in the House in January, a job that comes with subpoena power.

The exchange prompted Moates to attack Ocasio-Cortezrtez, calling her the B-word in a tweet that has since been taken down.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Latina Socialist With 'Broad City' Endorsement, Scores Stunning Upset Win

Kathy Griffin: I Faced a ‘Conspiracy to Assassinate’ President Charge That ‘Comes With a Lifetime Sentence’ (Video)

Kathy Griffin says the day after she posted that now infamous photo of herself holding a bloodied replica of President Donald Trump’s severed head last year, federal investigators had her facing a charge of “conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States.”

“That charge comes with a lifetime sentence,” Griffin told Stephen Colbert on Friday’s “The Late Show.”

The controversial comedian said that at the time “60 million people thought I was a member of ISIS.” She joked, “Oh yes, because they’re recruiting a lot of 58-year-old red-haired female comedians.” But she added that what she went through was no laughing matter.

“A lot of people thought I got a call from the Secret Service or that I got into fake Hollywood trouble,” she said. “This was real-life trouble.”

Also Read: Kathy Griffin Says She ‘Will Not Be Intimidated’ by Bomb Mailings

Griffin said she was also put on a “no-fly” list for two months and was included on an Interpol list, which got her “detained at every single airport” even after she was allowed to fly again.

“I thought this picture was going to be in, like, you know, ‘stars not normal,’” in  Star Magazine, she told Colbert.

“The wall caved in on me,” she said, adding that after Trump tweeted “against her” her 50-city tour was cancelled.

“Within 12 hours I had not one single day of work ahead of me,” she said. “To this day I do not have one single day of pay ahead of me.”

Also Read: Here’s What Happens When You Suddenly Get a Call From Kathy Griffin

The silver lining… wait for it… her neighbors, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

“As a comedian, to be living next door to Kim and Kanye during this whole thing got me through,” Griffin said.

“That alone got me through. Something normal in my life, people I could relate to. I would open the window and see Kim and the Yeezys, and feel better, so American.” Hey, there’s a canto-worthy allegory in there somewhere.

Watch the full interview in the video above.

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Kathy Griffin says the day after she posted that now infamous photo of herself holding a bloodied replica of President Donald Trump’s severed head last year, federal investigators had her facing a charge of “conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States.”

“That charge comes with a lifetime sentence,” Griffin told Stephen Colbert on Friday’s “The Late Show.”

The controversial comedian said that at the time “60 million people thought I was a member of ISIS.” She joked, “Oh yes, because they’re recruiting a lot of 58-year-old red-haired female comedians.” But she added that what she went through was no laughing matter.

“A lot of people thought I got a call from the Secret Service or that I got into fake Hollywood trouble,” she said. “This was real-life trouble.”

Griffin said she was also put on a “no-fly” list for two months and was included on an Interpol list, which got her “detained at every single airport” even after she was allowed to fly again.

“I thought this picture was going to be in, like, you know, ‘stars not normal,'” in  Star Magazine, she told Colbert.

“The wall caved in on me,” she said, adding that after Trump tweeted “against her” her 50-city tour was cancelled.

“Within 12 hours I had not one single day of work ahead of me,” she said. “To this day I do not have one single day of pay ahead of me.”

The silver lining… wait for it… her neighbors, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

“As a comedian, to be living next door to Kim and Kanye during this whole thing got me through,” Griffin said.

“That alone got me through. Something normal in my life, people I could relate to. I would open the window and see Kim and the Yeezys, and feel better, so American.” Hey, there’s a canto-worthy allegory in there somewhere.

Watch the full interview in the video above.

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John Kelly to Leave White House by End of Year

John Kelly, Trump’s White House chief of staff, will leave his job by the end of the year, President Trump said on Saturday.

“John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring.’ But, he’s a great guy,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

The president said that he would announce a replacement in the next day or two.

Also Read: John Oliver Jokes He Landed Megyn Kelly’s ‘Today’ Gig Simply Because He Knows Blackface Is Wrong (Video)

The leading candidate to replace Kelly is Nick Ayers, who currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff.

Kelly’s leaves behind an already tight ship, just as the new congress is about to be sworn with power in the House shifting into the hands of Democrats.

Kelly, a retired Marine general who was tapped last year to bring order to the White House, is the latest in a long string of high-profile departures that have plagued the Trump administration. He was brought on  six months into Trump’s presidency, at first, seemed to bring his military-style discipline to a chaotic White House.

Also Read: White House Blasts Woodward Book’s ‘Fabricated Stories,’ John Kelly Denies Calling Trump an ‘Idiot’

But Kelly was met with resistance by the president, who is averse to being “managed.”

One of the first thing Kelly did was clean house, getting rid several staff members, including White House top advisor Steve Bannon, and  Omarosa Manigault Newman.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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John Kelly, Trump’s White House chief of staff, will leave his job by the end of the year, President Trump said on Saturday.

“John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring.’ But, he’s a great guy,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

The president said that he would announce a replacement in the next day or two.

The leading candidate to replace Kelly is Nick Ayers, who currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff.

Kelly’s leaves behind an already tight ship, just as the new congress is about to be sworn with power in the House shifting into the hands of Democrats.

Kelly, a retired Marine general who was tapped last year to bring order to the White House, is the latest in a long string of high-profile departures that have plagued the Trump administration. He was brought on  six months into Trump’s presidency, at first, seemed to bring his military-style discipline to a chaotic White House.

But Kelly was met with resistance by the president, who is averse to being “managed.”

One of the first thing Kelly did was clean house, getting rid several staff members, including White House top advisor Steve Bannon, and  Omarosa Manigault Newman.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Kevin Hart Couldn’t Have Botched His Apology More If He Tried, Hollywood Crisis Managers Say

Ask three crisis managers what they think of any given scandal, and you’re likely to get five different opinions.

But when it comes to Kevin Hart’s handling of his resurfaced anti-gay tweets, top Hollywood publicists are in a rare agreement: the actor/comedian couldn’t have botched his apology more if he tried.

“His refusal to do the right thing ended up costing him a lot more than it needed to,” Evan Nierman, founder of crisis PR firm Red Banyan, told TheWrap.

Howard Bragman, a longtime Hollywood crisis manager and chairman and founder of La Brea Media told TheWrap Hart’s apology was a case of “too little, too late.”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Has Deleted Old Anti-Gay Tweets Since Landing Oscar Hosting Gig

“One good sincere apology upfront probably would have made this go away,” Bragman said. “I always advise, apologize once and well”

After dozens of Hart’s old homophobic tweets surfaced on Thursday, he announced he would no longer host the 2019 Oscars — one of his lifelong dreams. The apology came only after the comedian twice insisted he would not apologize for the tweets because he had already “moved on.”

Hart’s initial response — addressing the uproar in a grainy black and white Instagram video while still in bed — was so jarring even TMZ, a site known for salacious Hollywood gossip, seemed appalled.

“Kevin Hart is firing back at critics who think he’s unfit to host the Oscars due to old tweets that were extremely homophobic,” the site wrote, “and by firing back, we mean he’s laying in bed and refusing to apologize.”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Responds to Uproar Over Anti-Gay Tweets: ‘Stop Looking for Reasons to Be Negative’

“The message he’s basically sending is, ‘It’s not a big deal,’” Lou Shapiro, a criminal defense attorney who specializes in crisis management, told TheWrap. “If he can’t even get dressed and look his best how can his message be taken seriously?”

On Wednesday, reporters began noticing that Hart had deleted dozens of old homophobic missives, including one from 2011 in which he wrote: “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.”

The tweet had been addressed by Hart before in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, though critics note it lacked an actual apology.

“What you want to do is distinguish  a comedian’s body of work vs. something that sounds personal,” Richard Levick, chairman of crisis management firm Levick, told TheWrap. “This doesn’t appear to be a joke. It appears to be personal.”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Steps Down as Oscars Host, Apologizes for Homophobic Tweets

Hart made things worse, crisis experts say, by insisting that he had “evolved” past his year-old comments.

“Apologies aren’t just about what you say it’s about what you do,” Levick added. “He had three-quarters of a decade to show us how he’s evolved.”

Levick also put blame on the Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences for picking a host with a known anti-LGBT past.

“Could this have been handled any worse? Hard to imagine,” he said. “Not looking at at an invitee’s Twitter feeds? We’re talking  about a day’s worth of work, if that.”

Also Read: GLAAD: Kevin Hart ‘Shouldn’t Have Stepped Down; He Should Have Stepped Up’ as Oscars Host

Whether or not the incident will have any long-lasting impact on Hart’s career remains to be seen. But one thing that is not in doubt is the likelihood that Hart will be faced with more of these questions in the future.

“He will almost certainly will have to talk about it again,” Levick said. “Whereas had he apologized, he could have actually moved on.”

Ask three crisis managers what they think of any given scandal, and you’re likely to get five different opinions.

But when it comes to Kevin Hart’s handling of his resurfaced anti-gay tweets, top Hollywood publicists are in a rare agreement: the actor/comedian couldn’t have botched his apology more if he tried.

“His refusal to do the right thing ended up costing him a lot more than it needed to,” Evan Nierman, founder of crisis PR firm Red Banyan, told TheWrap.

Howard Bragman, a longtime Hollywood crisis manager and chairman and founder of La Brea Media told TheWrap Hart’s apology was a case of “too little, too late.”

“One good sincere apology upfront probably would have made this go away,” Bragman said. “I always advise, apologize once and well”

After dozens of Hart’s old homophobic tweets surfaced on Thursday, he announced he would no longer host the 2019 Oscars — one of his lifelong dreams. The apology came only after the comedian twice insisted he would not apologize for the tweets because he had already “moved on.”

Hart’s initial response — addressing the uproar in a grainy black and white Instagram video while still in bed — was so jarring even TMZ, a site known for salacious Hollywood gossip, seemed appalled.

“Kevin Hart is firing back at critics who think he’s unfit to host the Oscars due to old tweets that were extremely homophobic,” the site wrote, “and by firing back, we mean he’s laying in bed and refusing to apologize.”

“The message he’s basically sending is, ‘It’s not a big deal,'” Lou Shapiro, a criminal defense attorney who specializes in crisis management, told TheWrap. “If he can’t even get dressed and look his best how can his message be taken seriously?”

On Wednesday, reporters began noticing that Hart had deleted dozens of old homophobic missives, including one from 2011 in which he wrote: “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.”

The tweet had been addressed by Hart before in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, though critics note it lacked an actual apology.

“What you want to do is distinguish  a comedian’s body of work vs. something that sounds personal,” Richard Levick, chairman of crisis management firm Levick, told TheWrap. “This doesn’t appear to be a joke. It appears to be personal.”

Hart made things worse, crisis experts say, by insisting that he had “evolved” past his year-old comments.

“Apologies aren’t just about what you say it’s about what you do,” Levick added. “He had three-quarters of a decade to show us how he’s evolved.”

Levick also put blame on the Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences for picking a host with a known anti-LGBT past.

“Could this have been handled any worse? Hard to imagine,” he said. “Not looking at at an invitee’s Twitter feeds? We’re talking  about a day’s worth of work, if that.”

Whether or not the incident will have any long-lasting impact on Hart’s career remains to be seen. But one thing that is not in doubt is the likelihood that Hart will be faced with more of these questions in the future.

“He will almost certainly will have to talk about it again,” Levick said. “Whereas had he apologized, he could have actually moved on.”

GLAAD: Kevin Hart ‘Shouldn’t Have Stepped Down; He Should Have Stepped Up’ as Oscars Host

GLAAD, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, said it never intended for Kevin Hart to step down as host of the upcoming Oscars after homophobic social media postings resurfaced this week, but instead said the comic should have used the moment to raise awareness.

“Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement to TheWrap Friday. “Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness.”

Ellis said that the organization, which serves as an LGBTQ media watchdog, would “still welcome that conversation with him.”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Has Deleted Old Anti-Gay Tweets Since Landing Oscar Hosting Gig

“The Academy has recently made significant strides in featuring diverse talent onstage and they should now double down on that commitment as they look for a new host,” she said.

Hart drew ire after scrubbing his social media feeds from old anti-gay tweets, including one in which he seemed to advocate violence against his own son should he exhibit gay tendencies.

In an interview with CNN Thursday morning, Ellis said that she was hoping to turn the incident into a “teachable moment.”

“This wasn’t the conclusion I think everyone would have liked,” Ellis told anchor Erica Hill.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis on why she was hoping Kevin Hart wouldn’t step down as Oscars host:

“We were hoping that this was going to turn into a teachable moment … [and] to use the Oscar stage … to help build unity and awareness.” https://t.co/Kt5qT05hAA pic.twitter.com/PNijmSM2Vv

— New Day (@NewDay) December 7, 2018

Also Read: Kevin Hart Responds to Uproar Over Anti-Gay Tweets: ‘Stop Looking for Reasons to Be Negative’

Hart stepped down late Thursday night, apologizing for the homophobic comments after he said the Academy gave him an ultimatum to apologize or give up the hosting gig.

“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” Hart said on Twitter.

“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” he said.

Reps for the Academy have not responded to requests for comment.

Also Read: Kevin Hart Has Deleted Old Anti-Gay Tweets Since Landing Oscar Hosting Gig

The imbroglio started after Guardian editor Benjamin Lee tweeted out screen grabs of some of Hart’s now-deleted messages on Twitter, including one from 2011 in which he wrote: “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.”

A longtime GLAAD board member, Anthony Watson, who noted that he did not speak on behalf of the organization, called for Hart’s firing.

“I’m sick and tired of homophobes who are called out for their vile behavior and instead of apologizing they make light of what is an incredibly dangerous situation,” Watson said. “Literally hundreds of LGBT people around the world are murdered for who they are. Kevin Hart’s lack of an apology and lack of understanding speak volumes, in particular his condoning violence against his own children should they be blessed with being gay.”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Steps Down as Oscars Host, Apologizes for Homophobic Tweets

Chad Griffin, the president of The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the country, responded to Hart’s tweet telling the comedian: “You have a rare opportunity to take responsibility, teach people in this moment, & send a message to LGBTQ youth that they matter & deserve dignity & respect. You say you’ve grown. Show us. Make amends for hurtful things you’ve said & affirm LGBTQ people.”

Meanwhile the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles Executive Director Jonathan Weedman called Hart’s tweets “appalling.”

Also Read: Kevin Hart Will Host 2019 Oscars Ceremony

Hart has a long history of making homophobic jokes. And now, it seems, those jokes seem to be coming back to haunt him.

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed’s Adam Vary tweeted a scrolling video of dozens of Hart’s anti-gay tweets, which he grabbed after seeing Lee’s initial tweet.

“I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “f-g,” “homo,” or “gay,” Vary wrote. “It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit.”

After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “fag,” “homo,” or “gay.” It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F

— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 5, 2018

Also Read: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Trolls Kevin Hart With Get-Out-the-Vote Message (Photo)

In an article for The Guardian, Lee wrote about Hart’s anti-gay history, which includes a 2010 stand-up routine in which the comedian said: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!”

This isn’t the first time the Academy has faced this problem.  In 2011 the Oscars fired Brett Ratner as producer of the 84th Academy Awards after using the word “f-gs.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

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GLAAD, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, said it never intended for Kevin Hart to step down as host of the upcoming Oscars after homophobic social media postings resurfaced this week, but instead said the comic should have used the moment to raise awareness.

“Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement to TheWrap Friday. “Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness.”

Ellis said that the organization, which serves as an LGBTQ media watchdog, would “still welcome that conversation with him.”

“The Academy has recently made significant strides in featuring diverse talent onstage and they should now double down on that commitment as they look for a new host,” she said.

Hart drew ire after scrubbing his social media feeds from old anti-gay tweets, including one in which he seemed to advocate violence against his own son should he exhibit gay tendencies.

In an interview with CNN Thursday morning, Ellis said that she was hoping to turn the incident into a “teachable moment.”

“This wasn’t the conclusion I think everyone would have liked,” Ellis told anchor Erica Hill.

Hart stepped down late Thursday night, apologizing for the homophobic comments after he said the Academy gave him an ultimatum to apologize or give up the hosting gig.

“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” Hart said on Twitter.

“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” he said.

Reps for the Academy have not responded to requests for comment.

The imbroglio started after Guardian editor Benjamin Lee tweeted out screen grabs of some of Hart’s now-deleted messages on Twitter, including one from 2011 in which he wrote: “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.”

A longtime GLAAD board member, Anthony Watson, who noted that he did not speak on behalf of the organization, called for Hart’s firing.

“I’m sick and tired of homophobes who are called out for their vile behavior and instead of apologizing they make light of what is an incredibly dangerous situation,” Watson said. “Literally hundreds of LGBT people around the world are murdered for who they are. Kevin Hart’s lack of an apology and lack of understanding speak volumes, in particular his condoning violence against his own children should they be blessed with being gay.”

Chad Griffin, the president of The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the country, responded to Hart’s tweet telling the comedian: “You have a rare opportunity to take responsibility, teach people in this moment, & send a message to LGBTQ youth that they matter & deserve dignity & respect. You say you’ve grown. Show us. Make amends for hurtful things you’ve said & affirm LGBTQ people.”

Meanwhile the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles Executive Director Jonathan Weedman called Hart’s tweets “appalling.”

Hart has a long history of making homophobic jokes. And now, it seems, those jokes seem to be coming back to haunt him.

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed’s Adam Vary tweeted a scrolling video of dozens of Hart’s anti-gay tweets, which he grabbed after seeing Lee’s initial tweet.

“I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “f-g,” “homo,” or “gay,” Vary wrote. “It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit.”

In an article for The Guardian, Lee wrote about Hart’s anti-gay history, which includes a 2010 stand-up routine in which the comedian said: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!”

This isn’t the first time the Academy has faced this problem.  In 2011 the Oscars fired Brett Ratner as producer of the 84th Academy Awards after using the word “f-gs.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Gay Conversion Therapy Survivors Describe Horrors: Listen to 'Boy Erased'-Inspired Podcast

'SNL': Kate McKinnon's Laura Ingraham Wants You To Know That 'If You Have Less Than Five Guns, You're Gay' (Video)

Why Kosovo's Gay Rights Film 'The Marriage' Shocked Its Own Director When It Was Released

Kevin Hart Responds to Uproar Over Anti-Gay Tweets: ‘Stop Looking for Reasons to Be Negative’

Kevin Hart has responded to the uproar over dozens of old homophobic tweets that resurfaced Wednesday, after the comedian was named the host of the 2019 Academy Awards.
“I swear man, our world is becoming beyond crazy,” the comedian said in…

Kevin Hart has responded to the uproar over dozens of old homophobic tweets that resurfaced Wednesday, after the comedian was named the host of the 2019 Academy Awards.

“I swear man, our world is becoming beyond crazy,” the comedian said in a grainy black and white video posted to his Instagram account Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not going to let the craziness frustrate me.”

“My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, this world is upset about tweets you did years ago,'” he went on to say. “Oh my God. Guys, I’m almost 40 years old, if you don’t believe people change, grow evolve as the get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past, then do you. I’m the wrong guy, man.”

In a caption under the video, Hart wrote: “Stop looking for reasons to be negative.Stop searching for reasons to be angry…I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people.”

“There is nothing that you can do to change that,” Hart went on to say. “NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all…with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me.”

“I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love…Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please…What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY….ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you…Have a beautiful day,” he concluded.

Hart has been under fire for scrubbing his Twitter account of dozens of old anti-gay tweets since he was tapped as Oscar host earlier this week.

The imbroglio started after Guardian editor Benjamin Lee tweeted out screen grabs of some of Hart’s now-deleted messages on Twitter, including one from 2011 in which he wrote: “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.”

In another tweet, Hart said someone looked like “a gay bill board for AIDS” and called another person a “FAT F-G.”

GLAAD, the country’s largest LGBTQ media watchdog, told TheWrap in a statement: “GLAAD reached out to ABC, The Academy and Kevin Hart’s management to discuss his rhetoric and record as well as opportunities for positive LGBTQ inclusion on the Oscars stage. They have not yet responded.”

Reps for the Academy did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

View this post on Instagram

Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry….I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people….there is nothing that you can do to change that…NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all….with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love….Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please….What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you….Have a beautiful day

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

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Kevin Hart Has Deleted Old Anti-Gay Tweets Since Landing Oscar Hosting Gig

Kevin Hart has been busy scrubbing his Twitter account of his old anti-gay tweets since he was tapped as Oscar host earlier this week.

And just hours after deleting the tweets, Hart broke his silence in a post to Instagram, saying in part, “Stop looking for reasons to be negative.” Read his whole statement here.

Hart has a long history of making homophobic jokes. And now, it seems, those jokes are coming back to haunt him.

The imbroglio started after Guardian editor Benjamin Lee tweeted out screen grabs of some of Hart’s now-deleted messages on Twitter, including one from 2011 in which he wrote: “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.”

Also Read: Natalie Portman Apologizes to Jessica Simpson for ‘Virgin’ in a Bikini Comment

In another tweet, Hart said someone looked like “a gay bill board for AIDS” and called another person a “FAT F-G.”

Reps for Hart and the Academy did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

A person with knowledge of the situation who asked to remain anonymous tells TheWrap that Kevin Hart’s team is currently in talks with GLAAD. It’s unclear what that entails, but in 2007, when actor Isaiah Washington used an anti-gay slur against co-star T.R. Knight on the set of “Grey’s Anatomy,” GLAAD worked with the disgraced actor on a series of PSAs about the power of hateful words. 

Also Read: ‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Kaley Cuoco Artfully Ignores Her Director in Behind-the-Scenes Pics (Photos)

Hart’s old tweets include a flurry of anti-gay slurs, including “homo,” “fat faced f-g”, “man bitch” and “f-g boy.”

When someone tweeted that Hart, George Lopez and Sarah Silverman were the “worst comedians ever,” Hart responded with “I bet ur in a gay gang and u do drive by d— sucks.”

In another tweet, he responded with “thanks f-g boy.”

Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Email Leaked: ‘I’ve Had the Worst Nightmare of My Life’

“I’m willing 2bet that u got hit in the back of your head w/ ‘soft peaches’ in high school,” he responded to another person, “they probly gave ur gay ass wedges lol.”

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed’s Adam Vary tweeted a scrolling video of dozens of Hart’s anti-gay tweets, which he grabbed after seeing Lee’s initial tweet.

“I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “f-g,” “homo,” or “gay,” Vary wrote. “It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit.”

After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “fag,” “homo,” or “gay.” It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F

— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 5, 2018

Also Read: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Trolls Kevin Hart With Get-Out-the-Vote Message (Photo)

In an article for The Guardian, Lee wrote about Hart’s anti-gay history, which includes a 2010 stand-up routine in which the comedian said: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!”

This isn’t the first time the Academy has faced this problem.  In 2011 the Oscars fired Brett Ratner as producer of the 84th Academy Awards after using the word “f-gs.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Gay Conversion Therapy Survivors Describe Horrors: Listen to ‘Boy Erased’-Inspired Podcast

‘SNL’: Kate McKinnon’s Laura Ingraham Wants You To Know That ‘If You Have Less Than Five Guns, You’re Gay’ (Video)

Why Kosovo’s Gay Rights Film ‘The Marriage’ Shocked Its Own Director When It Was Released

Kevin Hart has been busy scrubbing his Twitter account of his old anti-gay tweets since he was tapped as Oscar host earlier this week.

And just hours after deleting the tweets, Hart broke his silence in a post to Instagram, saying in part, “Stop looking for reasons to be negative.” Read his whole statement here.

Hart has a long history of making homophobic jokes. And now, it seems, those jokes are coming back to haunt him.

The imbroglio started after Guardian editor Benjamin Lee tweeted out screen grabs of some of Hart’s now-deleted messages on Twitter, including one from 2011 in which he wrote: “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.”

In another tweet, Hart said someone looked like “a gay bill board for AIDS” and called another person a “FAT F-G.”

Reps for Hart and the Academy did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

A person with knowledge of the situation who asked to remain anonymous tells TheWrap that Kevin Hart’s team is currently in talks with GLAAD. It’s unclear what that entails, but in 2007, when actor Isaiah Washington used an anti-gay slur against co-star T.R. Knight on the set of “Grey’s Anatomy,” GLAAD worked with the disgraced actor on a series of PSAs about the power of hateful words. 

Hart’s old tweets include a flurry of anti-gay slurs, including “homo,” “fat faced f-g”, “man bitch” and “f-g boy.”

When someone tweeted that Hart, George Lopez and Sarah Silverman were the “worst comedians ever,” Hart responded with “I bet ur in a gay gang and u do drive by d— sucks.”

In another tweet, he responded with “thanks f-g boy.”

“I’m willing 2bet that u got hit in the back of your head w/ ‘soft peaches’ in high school,” he responded to another person, “they probly gave ur gay ass wedges lol.”

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed’s Adam Vary tweeted a scrolling video of dozens of Hart’s anti-gay tweets, which he grabbed after seeing Lee’s initial tweet.

“I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “f-g,” “homo,” or “gay,” Vary wrote. “It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit.”

In an article for The Guardian, Lee wrote about Hart’s anti-gay history, which includes a 2010 stand-up routine in which the comedian said: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!”

This isn’t the first time the Academy has faced this problem.  In 2011 the Oscars fired Brett Ratner as producer of the 84th Academy Awards after using the word “f-gs.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Gay Conversion Therapy Survivors Describe Horrors: Listen to 'Boy Erased'-Inspired Podcast

'SNL': Kate McKinnon's Laura Ingraham Wants You To Know That 'If You Have Less Than Five Guns, You're Gay' (Video)

Why Kosovo's Gay Rights Film 'The Marriage' Shocked Its Own Director When It Was Released

Why This Muslim Director Has Been Screening His Movie in Secret Locations Across Middle East

When Egyptian-American filmmaker Sam Abbas debuted his first feature film, “The Wedding,” in the Middle East, he barred himself from attending his own screenings.

It’s not that Abbas didn’t want to go, he did. But his movie, which tackles the issue of same-sex attraction in the Muslim community, had already caused a stir in the Arab world, where homosexuality is considered a sin and, in some cases, an illegal act punishable by death.

“The film was receiving an incredible amount of press and it was becoming very clear there would be a chance that I may be followed,” Abbas told TheWrap. “And that wouldn’t be good for my safety or the safety of anyone else.”

Also Read: How Hollywood Can Help Overcome Negative Perceptions of Muslims (Guest Column)

“The Wedding” follows Rami (Abbas), a young closeted Muslim man from Brooklyn who, while getting ready to marry his American fiancée (Nikohl Boosheri), is having affairs with other men.

The film — which is based in part on Abbas’ own experiences grappling with his sexuality in a Muslim household in Central New Jersey — has so far screened in Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt in secret speakeasy locations by invitation only. Abbas also banned reporters and film critics, usually a hot commodity at any movie premiere, from attending.

In fact, no cell phones were allowed anywhere near the venues, for fear someone might take a picture and accidentally divulge the theater’s location. Attendees were also required to sign non-disclosure forms and submit to an I.D. check (“to ensure that no one would talk about the screenings or where they were”) before seeing the film.

Finally, once the movie started, there was no leaving the theater until the credit scene.

“We had to make it as safe as possible to allow people to come without a sense of fear,” Abbas said.

Also Read: ‘The Looming Tower’ Star Tahar Rahim on Playing a Muslim FBI Agent Instead of a Terrorist (as Usual)

LGBTQ people have faced intense discrimination across the Middle East over the years. In January, police arrested 10 people in Alexandria, Egypt, accusing them of “debauchery,” according to Human Rights Watch. The arrests were just the latest in a major crackdown on LGBT people, which was triggered after rainbow flags were waved at a rock concert outside Cairo last year.

In fact, all 13 countries in which being gay or bisexual is punishable by death are either Arab or Muslim, according to a 2016 study published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. The list includes Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE, parts of Nigeria, parts of Somalia, parts of Syria and parts of Iraq.

The idea for the film, Abbas said, came after watching Iranian-American actress Nikohl Boosheri during a screening of “The Persian Connection” at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, where he worked as a staffer.

“I was like, ‘I’m going to write a movie and she’ll be in it,’” he recalled thinking. “After that, I would wake up at 6 a.m., write for a couple of hours and do my shift at the festival, catch a movie and then write again. It took me a week to finish.”

Last year Abbas made a splash at the Berlin Film Festival when he announced the launch of his Egypt-based ArabQ Films, the first-ever Arab production company whose projects require either the director or lead producer to be LGBTQ.

Mirroring his movie plot in many ways, Abbas’ own parents are still unaware of their son’s success. He says he hasn’t told them about his movie.

“They’re very against homosexuality and very against sex before marriage,” Abbas said.  “It’s just like the movie where you learned to live somewhat a double life in a way.”

Also Read: Rami Malek, ‘Mr. Robot’ Creator Sam Esmail Team Up for ‘American Radical’ Movie

“They don’t know about any of the press I’ve done, which I find very sad,” he added. “I’d love to share this with them but they’re very religious.”

Hopefully they won’t Google him anytime soon.

“The Wedding” screens at New York’s Cinema Village from December 14-20.

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When Egyptian-American filmmaker Sam Abbas debuted his first feature film, “The Wedding,” in the Middle East, he barred himself from attending his own screenings.

It’s not that Abbas didn’t want to go, he did. But his movie, which tackles the issue of same-sex attraction in the Muslim community, had already caused a stir in the Arab world, where homosexuality is considered a sin and, in some cases, an illegal act punishable by death.

“The film was receiving an incredible amount of press and it was becoming very clear there would be a chance that I may be followed,” Abbas told TheWrap. “And that wouldn’t be good for my safety or the safety of anyone else.”

“The Wedding” follows Rami (Abbas), a young closeted Muslim man from Brooklyn who, while getting ready to marry his American fiancée (Nikohl Boosheri), is having affairs with other men.

The film — which is based in part on Abbas’ own experiences grappling with his sexuality in a Muslim household in Central New Jersey — has so far screened in Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt in secret speakeasy locations by invitation only. Abbas also banned reporters and film critics, usually a hot commodity at any movie premiere, from attending.

In fact, no cell phones were allowed anywhere near the venues, for fear someone might take a picture and accidentally divulge the theater’s location. Attendees were also required to sign non-disclosure forms and submit to an I.D. check (“to ensure that no one would talk about the screenings or where they were”) before seeing the film.

Finally, once the movie started, there was no leaving the theater until the credit scene.

“We had to make it as safe as possible to allow people to come without a sense of fear,” Abbas said.

LGBTQ people have faced intense discrimination across the Middle East over the years. In January, police arrested 10 people in Alexandria, Egypt, accusing them of “debauchery,” according to Human Rights Watch. The arrests were just the latest in a major crackdown on LGBT people, which was triggered after rainbow flags were waved at a rock concert outside Cairo last year.

In fact, all 13 countries in which being gay or bisexual is punishable by death are either Arab or Muslim, according to a 2016 study published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. The list includes Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE, parts of Nigeria, parts of Somalia, parts of Syria and parts of Iraq.

The idea for the film, Abbas said, came after watching Iranian-American actress Nikohl Boosheri during a screening of “The Persian Connection” at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, where he worked as a staffer.

“I was like, ‘I’m going to write a movie and she’ll be in it,'” he recalled thinking. “After that, I would wake up at 6 a.m., write for a couple of hours and do my shift at the festival, catch a movie and then write again. It took me a week to finish.”

Last year Abbas made a splash at the Berlin Film Festival when he announced the launch of his Egypt-based ArabQ Films, the first-ever Arab production company whose projects require either the director or lead producer to be LGBTQ.

Mirroring his movie plot in many ways, Abbas’ own parents are still unaware of their son’s success. He says he hasn’t told them about his movie.

“They’re very against homosexuality and very against sex before marriage,” Abbas said.  “It’s just like the movie where you learned to live somewhat a double life in a way.”

“They don’t know about any of the press I’ve done, which I find very sad,” he added. “I’d love to share this with them but they’re very religious.”

Hopefully they won’t Google him anytime soon.

“The Wedding” screens at New York’s Cinema Village from December 14-20.

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‘Smoking Saw’: GOP Senators Condemn Saudi Crown Prince for Khashoggi’s Murder After Briefing

Following a special briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel Tuesday on the murder of Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, GOP senators said they were convinced that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the brutal killing.

“It’s not a smoking gun, it’s a smoking saw,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters, referring to the bone saw investigators believe was used to dismember the journalist dissident. “I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.”

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, a Republican, said he had “zero question” that the crown prince, known colloquially as MBS, ordered the killing and monitored it.

Also Read: Trump Defends Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi Murder: ‘We May Never Know All of the Facts’

“If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes,” Corker said.

Haspel’s briefing came about a week after Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly failed to stave off outrage among leading lawmakers with their own briefing on U.S.-Saudi relations, urging them to vote down a resolution that would end support for the war against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Senators were outraged that Haspel did not show for the meeting last week, blaming the White House for her absence and voting to advance that Yemen resolution.

Khashoggi disappeared in October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. After denying any knowledge of his whereabouts (and insisting Khashoggi left the consulate on his own accord), the Saudi government eventually admitted that he was murdered by a team of Saudi officials with close connections to the government.

Also Read: CIA Says Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Killing of Jamal Khashoggi (Report)

The CIA concluded that the Saudi crown prince likely ordered the killing, basing their assessment on intercepted communications, according to the Washington Post.

Haspel’s closed briefing comes days before the Senate is expected to begin debating the Yemen resolution, which calls on the U.S. to withdraw its support for the Saudi’s war in Yemen.

Tuesday’s briefing was limited to the Republican chairmen and top Democrats on the Senate’s Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committees and the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, which drew ire from some rank and file lawmakers, who were excluded from the meeting.

“I can’t even ask to be included in it because I didn’t know it was going to happen, except for reading about it in the media,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. “That’s not the way it should be.”

The vote on the Yemen resolution could come as early as Thursday and is expected to pass.

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Following a special briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel Tuesday on the murder of Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, GOP senators said they were convinced that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the brutal killing.

“It’s not a smoking gun, it’s a smoking saw,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters, referring to the bone saw investigators believe was used to dismember the journalist dissident. “I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.”

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, a Republican, said he had “zero question” that the crown prince, known colloquially as MBS, ordered the killing and monitored it.

“If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes,” Corker said.

Haspel’s briefing came about a week after Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly failed to stave off outrage among leading lawmakers with their own briefing on U.S.-Saudi relations, urging them to vote down a resolution that would end support for the war against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Senators were outraged that Haspel did not show for the meeting last week, blaming the White House for her absence and voting to advance that Yemen resolution.

Khashoggi disappeared in October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. After denying any knowledge of his whereabouts (and insisting Khashoggi left the consulate on his own accord), the Saudi government eventually admitted that he was murdered by a team of Saudi officials with close connections to the government.

The CIA concluded that the Saudi crown prince likely ordered the killing, basing their assessment on intercepted communications, according to the Washington Post.

Haspel’s closed briefing comes days before the Senate is expected to begin debating the Yemen resolution, which calls on the U.S. to withdraw its support for the Saudi’s war in Yemen.

Tuesday’s briefing was limited to the Republican chairmen and top Democrats on the Senate’s Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committees and the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, which drew ire from some rank and file lawmakers, who were excluded from the meeting.

“I can’t even ask to be included in it because I didn’t know it was going to happen, except for reading about it in the media,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. “That’s not the way it should be.”

The vote on the Yemen resolution could come as early as Thursday and is expected to pass.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Canadian Officials Have Heard Tape of Jamal Khashoggi Murder, Justin Trudeau Says

Saudi Crown Prince Calls Khashoggi Death a 'Heinous Crime That Cannot Be Justified'

Turkish President Calls Khashoggi Death 'Premeditated Murder,' Challenging Saudi Account

Tim Cook Tells White Supremacists They ‘Have No Home’ on Apple Platforms

Apple CEO Tim Cook has a clear message for white supremacists looking to spew their hate on his platforms: Take a hike.

Receiving the first “Courage Against Hate” award from the Anti-Defamation League, Cook took what could be deemed as an unveiled swipe at Facebook and other tech companies currently under fire for being too slow to eradicate hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.

“At Apple, we believe technology needs to have a clear point of view,” Cook said in an acceptance speech. “This is no time to get tied up in knots. We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division or violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here.”

Also Read: Apple Chief Tim Cook Calls Out ‘Data-Industrial Complex’

Cook went on to say: “From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today we have always prohibited music with a history of white supremacy. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And as we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.”

In August, Apple yanked several podcasts from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones off of iTunes. Facebook, YouTube and Spotify soon followed suit. Twitter, which resisted the move at first, eventually joined the ban.

“We believe the future should belong to those who use technology to build a better, more inclusive and more hopeful world,” Cook said. “I believe the most sacred thing that each of us is given is our judgment, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong. Choosing to set that responsibility aside in a moment of trial is a sin.”

Also Read: Microsoft Bumps Apple as Most Valuable Company in the World

Last year, Cook blasted President Trump’s response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in an email to employees and pledged to donate $2 million to organizations battling hate groups.

“What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country,” the email said, according to BuzzFeed, which obtained a copy. “Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.”

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Microsoft Bumps Apple as Most Valuable Company in the World

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has a clear message for white supremacists looking to spew their hate on his platforms: Take a hike.

Receiving the first “Courage Against Hate” award from the Anti-Defamation League, Cook took what could be deemed as an unveiled swipe at Facebook and other tech companies currently under fire for being too slow to eradicate hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.

“At Apple, we believe technology needs to have a clear point of view,” Cook said in an acceptance speech. “This is no time to get tied up in knots. We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division or violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here.”

Cook went on to say: “From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today we have always prohibited music with a history of white supremacy. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And as we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.”

In August, Apple yanked several podcasts from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones off of iTunes. Facebook, YouTube and Spotify soon followed suit. Twitter, which resisted the move at first, eventually joined the ban.

“We believe the future should belong to those who use technology to build a better, more inclusive and more hopeful world,” Cook said. “I believe the most sacred thing that each of us is given is our judgment, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong. Choosing to set that responsibility aside in a moment of trial is a sin.”

Last year, Cook blasted President Trump’s response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in an email to employees and pledged to donate $2 million to organizations battling hate groups.

“What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country,” the email said, according to BuzzFeed, which obtained a copy. “Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Microsoft Bumps Apple as Most Valuable Company in the World

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Edward Norton, Alan Alda, Mariska Hargitay Join Nat Geo’s 6-City ‘Paris to Pittsburgh’ Screening Blitz (Exclusive)

Activists and environmentally conscience celebrities, including Edward Norton, Alan Alda and Mariska Hargitay, will join former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg this week for a special nationwide screening blitz of Nat Geo’s environmental documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Six U.S. cities will simultaneously screen the film Monday night — many with their mayors introducing the film — in an effort to shine a light on the need for cities, states and citizens to come together to fight climate change. Charleston, Des Moines, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Orlando will get a sneak peek at the doc ahead of its global release on Dec. 12 at 9pm ET/PT on National Geographic, with additional screenings scheduled in Puerto Rico, London and Poland.

“With Washington asleep at the switch, local governments, states, businesses, and citizens from across the political spectrum are taking steps to tackle climate change and build a bright future for our country,” Bloomberg, who produced the movie through his Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in a statement. “We need more leadership from Washington on climate change, but Americans aren’t waiting around for it.”

Also Read: Pittsburgh Mayor Pounds Trump for Climate Claim He Backs ‘Pittsburgh, Not Paris’

Other attendees expected to attend: Peter Hermann, Walt Disney Chairman and NRDC Board Chair Alan Horn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Zero Hour’s Iris Fen Gillingham and Jamie Margolin, Katherine Oliver, Joe Berlinger, Emmy Award winning directors Michael Bonfiglio and Sidney Beaumont, Radical Media’s Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma, among others.

The announcement comes on the heels of a federal climate change report last month focusing on the dire threat that human-made global warming poses to the United States. It also comes as world leaders are heading to Poland on Dec. 3 for the COP24 to try and salvage the 2015 climate change Paris Accord, after President Trump reneged on the deal last summer.

Also Read: Al Gore and Bill Maher Talk Climate Change and ‘Losing Florida’ – in Both Senses (Video)

“Paris to Pittsburgh” looks at how states, businesses and citizens are taking action and delve into the social and economic impacts of climate change in the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The premise of the documentary is based on a Twitter response from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to President Trump the moment he pulled out of the Paris Agreement.

In his speech announcing the U.S. would withdrawal from the agreement, President Trump said in a press conference last June that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

“I’m sitting in this room, I’m looking over at my phone and I get an alert,” Peduto says in an exclusive clip of the doc obtained by TheWrap. “Read it twice, went into my chief of staff office and yelled, ‘Pittsburgh?!’”

Peduto said that’s when he composed his now famous response telling the president that Pittsburgh was going to stay in the Paris Agreement.

“On the heels of the recent federal report on climate change, we believe it is more critical than ever to create a global conversation about climate and to provide people with tangible ways they can help make a difference,” Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Networks, said in statement. “For us, it is not enough to just create this type of important, thought-provoking content. We need to be equally committed to ensuring it reaches the widest audience possible.”

Also Read: Elon Musk Quits Trump Advisory Role Over Paris Accord Exit: ‘Climate Change Is Real’

“Paris to Pittsburgh” is produced RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and is co- directed by Emmy Award winners Sidney Beaumont and Michael Bonfiglio. Beaumont also produced the film. Executive Producers are Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger, Jon Kamen and Katherine Oliver. Co-producers are Lindsay Firestone and Katie Dunn. Antha Williams of the Bloomberg Philanthropies environment program served as a consulting producer.

Watch an exclusive clip of the movie above and the trailer below.

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Activists and environmentally conscience celebrities, including Edward Norton, Alan Alda and Mariska Hargitay, will join former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg this week for a special nationwide screening blitz of Nat Geo’s environmental documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Six U.S. cities will simultaneously screen the film Monday night — many with their mayors introducing the film — in an effort to shine a light on the need for cities, states and citizens to come together to fight climate change. Charleston, Des Moines, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Orlando will get a sneak peek at the doc ahead of its global release on Dec. 12 at 9pm ET/PT on National Geographic, with additional screenings scheduled in Puerto Rico, London and Poland.

“With Washington asleep at the switch, local governments, states, businesses, and citizens from across the political spectrum are taking steps to tackle climate change and build a bright future for our country,” Bloomberg, who produced the movie through his Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in a statement. “We need more leadership from Washington on climate change, but Americans aren’t waiting around for it.”

Other attendees expected to attend: Peter Hermann, Walt Disney Chairman and NRDC Board Chair Alan Horn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Zero Hour’s Iris Fen Gillingham and Jamie Margolin, Katherine Oliver, Joe Berlinger, Emmy Award winning directors Michael Bonfiglio and Sidney Beaumont, Radical Media’s Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma, among others.

The announcement comes on the heels of a federal climate change report last month focusing on the dire threat that human-made global warming poses to the United States. It also comes as world leaders are heading to Poland on Dec. 3 for the COP24 to try and salvage the 2015 climate change Paris Accord, after President Trump reneged on the deal last summer.

“Paris to Pittsburgh” looks at how states, businesses and citizens are taking action and delve into the social and economic impacts of climate change in the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The premise of the documentary is based on a Twitter response from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to President Trump the moment he pulled out of the Paris Agreement.

In his speech announcing the U.S. would withdrawal from the agreement, President Trump said in a press conference last June that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

“I’m sitting in this room, I’m looking over at my phone and I get an alert,” Peduto says in an exclusive clip of the doc obtained by TheWrap. “Read it twice, went into my chief of staff office and yelled, ‘Pittsburgh?!'”

Peduto said that’s when he composed his now famous response telling the president that Pittsburgh was going to stay in the Paris Agreement.

“On the heels of the recent federal report on climate change, we believe it is more critical than ever to create a global conversation about climate and to provide people with tangible ways they can help make a difference,” Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Networks, said in statement. “For us, it is not enough to just create this type of important, thought-provoking content. We need to be equally committed to ensuring it reaches the widest audience possible.”

“Paris to Pittsburgh” is produced RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and is co- directed by Emmy Award winners Sidney Beaumont and Michael Bonfiglio. Beaumont also produced the film. Executive Producers are Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger, Jon Kamen and Katherine Oliver. Co-producers are Lindsay Firestone and Katie Dunn. Antha Williams of the Bloomberg Philanthropies environment program served as a consulting producer.

Watch an exclusive clip of the movie above and the trailer below.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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Rigger Falls to His Death at Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg

A Global Citizen Festival rigger accidentally fell to his death during preparation for the event in Johannesburg, TheWrap has learned.

The worker, a veteran local subcontractor who has not yet been identified, died Saturday at FNB Stadium after falling from the roof as he was working on lighting, according to a person with knowledge.

“This afternoon in Johannesburg, a rigger working on behalf of a production partner for the Global Citizen Festival, suffered fatal injuries arising from a fall at the site,” Andrew Kirk, Global Citizen’s director of public relations told TheWrap in a statement. “Global Citizen has been advised that the deceased was an experienced rigger and was wearing all appropriate safety gear and equipment.”

Also Read: Beyonce, Jay-Z ‘On the Run II’ Show Interrupted as Drunken Fan Storms Stage, Chases Them

“Global Citizen extends our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased and all of his colleagues and friends,” the statement went on to say.

According to Global Citizen, the circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated in partnership with local authorities.

This year’s event, titled “Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100,” honors Nelson Mandela’s 100 birthday. Oprah Winfrey will deliver a keynote address at the event, which will include performances by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, Black Coffee, Usher and Kacey Musgraves, among others.

“The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah will host the event, along with Naomi Campbell, Dave Chappelle, Gayle King, Sir Bob Geldof, Bozoma Saint John and Forest Whitaker.

Also Read: ‘The Daily Show With Trevor Noah’ to Go International With ‘Self-Deportation’ Special From South Africa

The Global Citizen Festival is an annual music festival which was founded in 2012 and organized by Global Poverty Project.

Since its start,  the organization has secured over $30 billion, which is set to affect the lives of one billion people suffering from extreme poverty, according to its site.

You can watch the festival Sunday night on MSNBC, starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

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A Global Citizen Festival rigger accidentally fell to his death during preparation for the event in Johannesburg, TheWrap has learned.

The worker, a veteran local subcontractor who has not yet been identified, died Saturday at FNB Stadium after falling from the roof as he was working on lighting, according to a person with knowledge.

“This afternoon in Johannesburg, a rigger working on behalf of a production partner for the Global Citizen Festival, suffered fatal injuries arising from a fall at the site,” Andrew Kirk, Global Citizen’s director of public relations told TheWrap in a statement. “Global Citizen has been advised that the deceased was an experienced rigger and was wearing all appropriate safety gear and equipment.”

“Global Citizen extends our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased and all of his colleagues and friends,” the statement went on to say.

According to Global Citizen, the circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated in partnership with local authorities.

This year’s event, titled “Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100,” honors Nelson Mandela’s 100 birthday. Oprah Winfrey will deliver a keynote address at the event, which will include performances by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, Black Coffee, Usher and Kacey Musgraves, among others.

“The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah will host the event, along with Naomi Campbell, Dave Chappelle, Gayle King, Sir Bob Geldof, Bozoma Saint John and Forest Whitaker.

The Global Citizen Festival is an annual music festival which was founded in 2012 and organized by Global Poverty Project.

Since its start,  the organization has secured over $30 billion, which is set to affect the lives of one billion people suffering from extreme poverty, according to its site.

You can watch the festival Sunday night on MSNBC, starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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Grindr President Forced to Defend Same-Sex Marriage Remarks Amid Fierce Backlash

It’s not every day that the president of the world’s most popular gay dating app is accused of making homophobic remarks.

But on Friday, Scott Chen, Grindr’s top boss, was forced to defend comments he made on a Facebook post last week, in which he said marriage was a “holy matrimony between a man and a woman.”

“The reason I said marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman is based on my own personal experience,” Chen wrote in the comments section of an Into article that first picked up the story. “I am a straight man married to a woman I love and I have two beautiful daughters I love from the marriage. This is how I feel about my marriage.”

Also Read: Gay.com, LGBT ‘North Star’ Worth Millions, Donated to Charity

“I am a huge advocate for L.G.B.T.Q.+ rights since I was young,” he added. “I support gay marriage and I am proud that I can work for Grindr.”

The imbroglio started last week after Chen posted a lengthy message on Facebook — which was originally written in Chinese and translated to English — in response to the crushing defeat of a same-sex marriage referendum in Taiwan. In the post, Chen criticized Taiwanese consumer electronics HTC, which he perceived as anti-gay, vowing to never buy its products for “the rest of my life.”

But one line, in particular, seemed to stand out.

“Some people think that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman, I think so too, but that’s your own business,” he wrote.

Also Read: ‘4 Days in France’ Review: Sex-App-Based Road Trip Loses Direction

After the story was first reported by Into, a publication owned by Grindr, it was later picked up by major news outlets, including Out Magazine, headlined: “The President of Grindr Just Said He’s AGAINST Gay Marriage.”

British LGBT site The Gay UK proclaimed: “If you need a reason to delete Grindr, this might be it.”

Chen responded in the comments section, saying the article was “unbalanced and misleading” and excoriated his own publication for not reaching out to him for a comment before publication. (Into insists it did reach out to Grindr for comment but did not get a response).

Zach Stafford, the editor of Into and Grindr’s chief content officer, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But on Thursday he told The Guardian that Chen’s comments did not match the app’s core values: “Grindr’s goal as a company is to help seek the full equity of all LGBT people’s rights around the world, especially when it comes to dating and love. And marriage for many is an end goal to our app.”

Also Read: Daily Beast Pulls Grindr-Baiting Reporter From Rio, Olympic Committee Says

Stafford, a former Guardian reporter, added that the publication stands by its reporting.

Here is Mr. Chen’s full post, translated from Chinese:

Some people think that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman, I think so too, but that’s your own business.

Some people think that the purpose of marriage is to bring up children with your own DNA, but that’s your own business.

But there are people who aren’t the same as you, and desperately hope that they can also get married; they have their own reasons for wanting that.

Getting married is personal. If you have money, can’t you donate to people suffering from poverty, hunger, war or natural disasters, those who are truly in need of it? Why do you spend so much money to prevent people in love from getting married? Aren’t there other important things in your life?

It’s true, I won’t buy HTC products for the rest of my life, and I won’t donate any money to Taiwan’s Christian groups ever again for the rest of my life!

Chen was tapped as Grindr’s chief technology officer in January after the company was sold to Kunlun Group, a Chinese gaming company. He became Grindr’s president in August.

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It’s not every day that the president of the world’s most popular gay dating app is accused of making homophobic remarks.

But on Friday, Scott Chen, Grindr’s top boss, was forced to defend comments he made on a Facebook post last week, in which he said marriage was a “holy matrimony between a man and a woman.”

“The reason I said marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman is based on my own personal experience,” Chen wrote in the comments section of an Into article that first picked up the story. “I am a straight man married to a woman I love and I have two beautiful daughters I love from the marriage. This is how I feel about my marriage.”

“I am a huge advocate for L.G.B.T.Q.+ rights since I was young,” he added. “I support gay marriage and I am proud that I can work for Grindr.”

The imbroglio started last week after Chen posted a lengthy message on Facebook — which was originally written in Chinese and translated to English — in response to the crushing defeat of a same-sex marriage referendum in Taiwan. In the post, Chen criticized Taiwanese consumer electronics HTC, which he perceived as anti-gay, vowing to never buy its products for “the rest of my life.”

But one line, in particular, seemed to stand out.

“Some people think that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman, I think so too, but that’s your own business,” he wrote.

After the story was first reported by Into, a publication owned by Grindr, it was later picked up by major news outlets, including Out Magazine, headlined: “The President of Grindr Just Said He’s AGAINST Gay Marriage.”

British LGBT site The Gay UK proclaimed: “If you need a reason to delete Grindr, this might be it.”

Chen responded in the comments section, saying the article was “unbalanced and misleading” and excoriated his own publication for not reaching out to him for a comment before publication. (Into insists it did reach out to Grindr for comment but did not get a response).

Zach Stafford, the editor of Into and Grindr’s chief content officer, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But on Thursday he told The Guardian that Chen’s comments did not match the app’s core values: “Grindr’s goal as a company is to help seek the full equity of all LGBT people’s rights around the world, especially when it comes to dating and love. And marriage for many is an end goal to our app.”

Stafford, a former Guardian reporter, added that the publication stands by its reporting.

Here is Mr. Chen’s full post, translated from Chinese:

Some people think that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman, I think so too, but that’s your own business.

Some people think that the purpose of marriage is to bring up children with your own DNA, but that’s your own business.

But there are people who aren’t the same as you, and desperately hope that they can also get married; they have their own reasons for wanting that.

Getting married is personal. If you have money, can’t you donate to people suffering from poverty, hunger, war or natural disasters, those who are truly in need of it? Why do you spend so much money to prevent people in love from getting married? Aren’t there other important things in your life?

It’s true, I won’t buy HTC products for the rest of my life, and I won’t donate any money to Taiwan’s Christian groups ever again for the rest of my life!

Chen was tapped as Grindr’s chief technology officer in January after the company was sold to Kunlun Group, a Chinese gaming company. He became Grindr’s president in August.

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Bustle Buys Mic for Less Than $5 Million

Bustle Digital Group has agreed to buy Mic, the millennial-focused digital news site, for less than $5 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“We have acquired Mic and I am pleased to welcome them into the BDG family,” Bustle founder Bryan Goldberg said in a statement Thursday.

The bargain price is a fraction of the $60 million the startup raised from investors, which valued the site at hundreds of millions of dollars. Bustle plans to reinvest in Mic’s editorial staff next year, the Journal reported, citing a “person familiar with the matter.”

Also Read: Mic Announces Mass Layoffs Ahead of Possible Sale to Bustle

“There has been a lot of news about Mic today,” Goldberg said. “They have navigated some tough waters in the last year, and today was an especially difficult one.”

The announcement came just hours after Mic announced it was laying off the majority of its editorial staff ahead of the sale.

The news was first revealed by Mic CEO and co-founder Chris Altchek in a staff meeting this morning. Among those leaving included the website’s publisher, Cory Haik, who also emailed the staff this morning to announce her departure.

“It is with great sadness that I write to you this morning to resign my position as Publisher,” she wrote. “Our business models are unsettled and the macro forces at play are all going through their own states of unrest.”

Also Read: Gawker Media Sold to Bustle Founder Bryan Goldberg in Bankruptcy Auction

One of those macro forces was an overreliance on traffic from Facebook, and the social network’s decision to cancel Mic’s Facebook Watch program.

Reps for Bustle did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap, but reports yesterday suggested that any acquisition of the company would come with a significantly reduced staff.

In September, Altchek, categorically denied that anything was wrong. In a tweet, Altchek berated Columbia Journalism Review’s Matthew Ingram for suggesting it wasn’t.

Well, the news is out: Today is my last day @Mic. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here, me over the past 2.5 years. If anyone is looking for a snarky political junkie and reporter, my personal email is cahn.emily@gmail.com. And hire my amazing colleagues, too.

— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) November 29, 2018

Surprise: I no longer work at Mic! Here’s my resume. https://t.co/MZE0NfTSuu

— ????????‍avier Harding (@iamxavier) November 29, 2018

Me leaving the Mic newsroom today for the last time https://t.co/NH2UgmSp9M

— Brianna Provenzano (@bri_provenzano) November 29, 2018

After raising $60 million, growth stalled at the millennial-focused website, which suffered from many of the same problems that have plagued other media companies that were too reliant on social media traffic.

Also Read: Washington Post Media Critic Calls on Mark Zuckerberg to Step Down

This is the latest in a string of bad news for Mic. In September, longtime reporter Jack Smith IV was forced out in the wake of a #MeToo scandal just weeks ago.

“Because of the multiple, disturbing allegations made in this story against Jack Smith, we have terminated our contract with him, effective immediately,” executive news director Kerry Lauerman said in a note shared to staff in September.

The accusations against Smith were reported by Jezebel — which you can read here. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Disney Digital Network Hit With a New Round of Layoffs

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New York Post Offers Condolences to Daily News After Layoffs: ‘We Want to Beat the News, But Not Like This’

Bustle Digital Group has agreed to buy Mic, the millennial-focused digital news site, for less than $5 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“We have acquired Mic and I am pleased to welcome them into the BDG family,” Bustle founder Bryan Goldberg said in a statement Thursday.

The bargain price is a fraction of the $60 million the startup raised from investors, which valued the site at hundreds of millions of dollars. Bustle plans to reinvest in Mic’s editorial staff next year, the Journal reported, citing a “person familiar with the matter.”

“There has been a lot of news about Mic today,” Goldberg said. “They have navigated some tough waters in the last year, and today was an especially difficult one.”

The announcement came just hours after Mic announced it was laying off the majority of its editorial staff ahead of the sale.

The news was first revealed by Mic CEO and co-founder Chris Altchek in a staff meeting this morning. Among those leaving included the website’s publisher, Cory Haik, who also emailed the staff this morning to announce her departure.

“It is with great sadness that I write to you this morning to resign my position as Publisher,” she wrote. “Our business models are unsettled and the macro forces at play are all going through their own states of unrest.”

One of those macro forces was an overreliance on traffic from Facebook, and the social network’s decision to cancel Mic’s Facebook Watch program.

Reps for Bustle did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap, but reports yesterday suggested that any acquisition of the company would come with a significantly reduced staff.

In September, Altchek, categorically denied that anything was wrong. In a tweet, Altchek berated Columbia Journalism Review’s Matthew Ingram for suggesting it wasn’t.

After raising $60 million, growth stalled at the millennial-focused website, which suffered from many of the same problems that have plagued other media companies that were too reliant on social media traffic.

This is the latest in a string of bad news for Mic. In September, longtime reporter Jack Smith IV was forced out in the wake of a #MeToo scandal just weeks ago.

“Because of the multiple, disturbing allegations made in this story against Jack Smith, we have terminated our contract with him, effective immediately,” executive news director Kerry Lauerman said in a note shared to staff in September.

The accusations against Smith were reported by Jezebel — which you can read here. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Disney Digital Network Hit With a New Round of Layoffs

Layoffs Hit AwesomenessTV 3 Weeks After Acquisition By Viacom

New York Post Offers Condolences to Daily News After Layoffs: 'We Want to Beat the News, But Not Like This'

Stormy Daniels Says Michael Avenatti Filed Trump Defamation Lawsuit ‘Against Her Wishes’

In a statement Wednesday, Stormy Daniels said that her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, filed a defamation lawsuit against President Trump on her behalf “against my wishes.”

Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — said also that Avenatti has launched a crowdfunding campaign for her legal defense without her knowledge, and that she hasn’t decided if she will continue to retain his legal services.

“For months I’ve asked Michael Avenatti to give me accounting information about the fund my supporters so generously donated to for my safety and legal defense,” Daniels said in her statement, provided to The Daily Beast. “He has repeatedly ignored those requests. Days ago I demanded again, repeatedly, that he tell me how the money was being spent and how much was left. Instead of answering me, without my permission or even my knowledge Michael launched another crowdfunding campaign to raise money on my behalf. I learned about it on Twitter.”

Also Read: Michael Avenatti Avoids Felony Charge in Domestic Violence Case

“I haven’t decided yet what to do about legal representation moving forward. Michael has been a great advocate in many ways,” Daniels continued. “I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice. But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.”

Daniels also said that Avenatti has not treated her with “the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.”

Asked for comment, Avenatti referred TheWrap to an October 8 interview Daniels gave to CNN, in which she told anchor Don Lemon she was in contact with her lawyer “almost three or four times a day sometimes,” and that Avenatti “always puts me first.”

Also Read: Michael Avenatti Shreds TMZ Over ‘Purposely Malicious and False’ Report About His Arrest

Avenatti added a written statement saying: “I am and have always been Stormy’s biggest champion. I have personally sacrificed an enormous amount of money, time and energy toward assisting her because I believe in her. I have always been an open book with Stormy as to all aspects of her cases and she knows that. You need only look back at her numerous prior interviews where she states we talk and communicate multiple times every day about her cases.”

Avenatti continued: “The retention agreement Stormy signed back in February provided that she would pay me $100.00 and that any and all other monies raised via a legal fund would go toward my legal fees and costs. Instead, the vast majority of the money raised has gone toward her security expenses and similar other expenses. The most recent campaign was simply a refresh of the prior campaign, designed to help defray some of Stormy’s expenses.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Stormy Daniels Says She’ll Fire Michael Avenatti if Domestic Violence Accusations ‘Prove True’

Kathy Griffin Flips out on Trump Over Stormy Daniels ‘Horseface’ Dig: ‘F— You Mushroom D—’

Trump Vows to ‘Go After’ ‘Horseface’ Stormy Daniels After Judge Tosses Defamation Suit

In a statement Wednesday, Stormy Daniels said that her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, filed a defamation lawsuit against President Trump on her behalf “against my wishes.”

Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — said also that Avenatti has launched a crowdfunding campaign for her legal defense without her knowledge, and that she hasn’t decided if she will continue to retain his legal services.

“For months I’ve asked Michael Avenatti to give me accounting information about the fund my supporters so generously donated to for my safety and legal defense,” Daniels said in her statement, provided to The Daily Beast. “He has repeatedly ignored those requests. Days ago I demanded again, repeatedly, that he tell me how the money was being spent and how much was left. Instead of answering me, without my permission or even my knowledge Michael launched another crowdfunding campaign to raise money on my behalf. I learned about it on Twitter.”

“I haven’t decided yet what to do about legal representation moving forward. Michael has been a great advocate in many ways,” Daniels continued. “I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice. But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.”

Daniels also said that Avenatti has not treated her with “the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.”

Asked for comment, Avenatti referred TheWrap to an October 8 interview Daniels gave to CNN, in which she told anchor Don Lemon she was in contact with her lawyer “almost three or four times a day sometimes,” and that Avenatti “always puts me first.”

Avenatti added a written statement saying: “I am and have always been Stormy’s biggest champion. I have personally sacrificed an enormous amount of money, time and energy toward assisting her because I believe in her. I have always been an open book with Stormy as to all aspects of her cases and she knows that. You need only look back at her numerous prior interviews where she states we talk and communicate multiple times every day about her cases.”

Avenatti continued: “The retention agreement Stormy signed back in February provided that she would pay me $100.00 and that any and all other monies raised via a legal fund would go toward my legal fees and costs. Instead, the vast majority of the money raised has gone toward her security expenses and similar other expenses. The most recent campaign was simply a refresh of the prior campaign, designed to help defray some of Stormy’s expenses.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Stormy Daniels Says She'll Fire Michael Avenatti if Domestic Violence Accusations 'Prove True'

Kathy Griffin Flips out on Trump Over Stormy Daniels 'Horseface' Dig: 'F— You Mushroom D—'

Trump Vows to 'Go After' 'Horseface' Stormy Daniels After Judge Tosses Defamation Suit

Sinclair Forces Local Stations to Air ‘Must-Run’ Segment Defending Tear-Gassing Migrants (Video)

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns about 200 local news outlets across the country, required its stations to air a segment defending the Border Patrol’s use of tear gas against migrants crossing the border on Sunday.

“The migrant crisis on our southern border has greatly escalated,” Sinclair political analyst and former Trump administration official Boris Epshteyn says in the “must-run” segment. “Dozens of migrants attacked U.S. border enforcement by throwing rocks and bottles. Ultimately, American authorities had to use tear gas to stop the attacks.”

On Sunday, a migrant “caravan” march escalated at the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, as desperate asylum seekers attempted to cross the border en masse. US Border Patrol agents responded by firing tear gas that spread into the crowd that included children.

Also Read: Sinclair Attacks ‘Liberals’ Over Child Detention Coverage in ‘Must-Run’ Segment

During the segment, Epshteyn slammed “some on the left, such as Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Waters” who “were immediately up in arms about our president and his team standing up for our men and women in uniform and for our national security.”

“The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country, period,” he went on to say. “Our border must remain intact and secure. It is not a partisan position to believe that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. However, it unfortunately appears that there are many on the left who believe it is wrong to defend our country and abide by the rule of law. I would bet that many of those same people live behind walls and locked doors but do not want to afford the same benefit to our country as a whole.”

“Here’s the bottom line,” Epshteyn concluded.  “The notion that a caravan of migrants can be allowed to break through our borders is ludicrous and dangerous. The United States of America should not and cannot be intimidated by those willing to use force to get into our country illegally.”

In July, Epshteyn used his commentary “must-run” segment to defend the administration’s family-separation policy, telling viewers that, “many members of the media and opponents of the president have seized on this issue to make it seem as if those who are tough on immigration are somehow monsters. Let’s be honest: While some of the concern is real, a lot of it is politically driven by the liberals in politics and the media.”

Also Read: Sinclair Broadcasting Hires Trump White House Alum as New ‘Executive Political Producer’

In April, Sinclair was criticized for forcing its anchors to read a scripted promotion aimed to sow distrust in media.

NEW: Sinclair stations are now airing a Boris Epshteyn “must-run” segment defending tear-gassing children at the border. https://t.co/Xo78RMHzZV pic.twitter.com/wWaBlHO7Wc

— Pam Vogel (@pamela_vogel) November 27, 2018

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sinclair Countersues Tribune Media Over Failed Merger

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Tribune CEO ‘Disappointed’ by FCC’s ‘Serious Concerns’ Over Sinclair Merger

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns about 200 local news outlets across the country, required its stations to air a segment defending the Border Patrol’s use of tear gas against migrants crossing the border on Sunday.

“The migrant crisis on our southern border has greatly escalated,” Sinclair political analyst and former Trump administration official Boris Epshteyn says in the “must-run” segment. “Dozens of migrants attacked U.S. border enforcement by throwing rocks and bottles. Ultimately, American authorities had to use tear gas to stop the attacks.”

On Sunday, a migrant “caravan” march escalated at the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, as desperate asylum seekers attempted to cross the border en masse. US Border Patrol agents responded by firing tear gas that spread into the crowd that included children.

During the segment, Epshteyn slammed “some on the left, such as Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Waters” who “were immediately up in arms about our president and his team standing up for our men and women in uniform and for our national security.”

“The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country, period,” he went on to say. “Our border must remain intact and secure. It is not a partisan position to believe that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. However, it unfortunately appears that there are many on the left who believe it is wrong to defend our country and abide by the rule of law. I would bet that many of those same people live behind walls and locked doors but do not want to afford the same benefit to our country as a whole.”

“Here’s the bottom line,” Epshteyn concluded.  “The notion that a caravan of migrants can be allowed to break through our borders is ludicrous and dangerous. The United States of America should not and cannot be intimidated by those willing to use force to get into our country illegally.”

In July, Epshteyn used his commentary “must-run” segment to defend the administration’s family-separation policy, telling viewers that, “many members of the media and opponents of the president have seized on this issue to make it seem as if those who are tough on immigration are somehow monsters. Let’s be honest: While some of the concern is real, a lot of it is politically driven by the liberals in politics and the media.”

In April, Sinclair was criticized for forcing its anchors to read a scripted promotion aimed to sow distrust in media.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sinclair Countersues Tribune Media Over Failed Merger

Tribune Media Spikes $3.9 Billion Deal With Sinclair Broadcast Group, Sues for Breach of Contract

Tribune CEO 'Disappointed' by FCC's 'Serious Concerns' Over Sinclair Merger

‘Atypical’ Star Keir Gilchrist on How Show Dealt With Early Criticism And What’s Next for Sam in Season 3 (Video)

“Atypical” star Keir Gilchrist is looking forward to audiences seeing more actors who are on the spectrum in Season 3 of the show, after the series addressed early criticism that it lacked representation of people living with autism.

Gilchrist said creators of the show took the feedback to heart, hiring more actors on the spectrum to play both autistic characters as well as your run-of-the-mill “neurotypical” teenagers.

“There are actually quite a few actors sprinkled throughout the show who are on the spectrum,” Gilchrist told TheWrap. “It was super cool to have them on set.”

Also Read: Here’s Everything Coming to and Leaving Netflix in September

“You get really jaded,” he said, “It kind of reinvigorated my excitement about what we do.”

Created by Robia Rashid, “Atypical” revolves around Sam Gardner (Gilchrist), a “highly-functioning” 18 year-old living with autism. The series has been lauded for its unflinching portrayal of life on the spectrum and the affect it has on family and loved ones.

Perhaps the one criticism came from members the adult autistic community, who thought the show was playing into stereotypes.

During the show’s first season, creators hired Michelle Dean, an assistant professor of special education at California State University Channel Islands as its consultant. For Season 2, the show added autistic author David Finch to make sure Gilchrist and the rest of the cast got it just right.

Finch came on board after he heard that Gilchrist used his memoir about life on the spectrum as his “bible.”

“He actually contracted me, saying, ‘I had no idea that you used my book,’” Gilchrist said of Finch. “Next thing we knew, he was on our season, consulting on all the scripts… If we’re unsure about something we can call up and ask questions.”

Also Read: Michael Rapaport Gives Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio Advice on Voter Outreach: ‘You’re Being Too Calm’ (Video)

Finch, it seems, was just what the doctor ordered. Last month Netflix announced it was ordering a 10-episode third season, in which Sam heads to college.

Actors are notoriously tight-lipped about any upcoming plot twists. But here’s what we were able to extract from Gilchrist during out sit-down.

Will Casey and Izzie get together in Atypical season 3?

“I don’t know if I can say that… but if you’ve seen the season the chemistry is pretty huge right there… My guess would be that they might have some romance going on in Season 3.”

What happens to Casey’s boyfriend Evan?

“I don’t really know what’s going to happen but I think everybody is kind of rooting for her and Izzy.”

Will Sam find a new therapist?

“I don’t know if he’ll find a new therapist But i don’t think he’ll be going back to Julia though, to be honest.”

Also Read: Michael Rapaport Celebrates Alex Jones’ Removal From YouTube, Facebook: ‘No Freedom of Speech for You’ (Video)

And just to be sure we put him on the spot we also tested his knowledge of penguins. See Gilchrist’s interview above and our penguin rapid fire questions below.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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“Atypical” star Keir Gilchrist is looking forward to audiences seeing more actors who are on the spectrum in Season 3 of the show, after the series addressed early criticism that it lacked representation of people living with autism.

Gilchrist said creators of the show took the feedback to heart, hiring more actors on the spectrum to play both autistic characters as well as your run-of-the-mill “neurotypical” teenagers.

“There are actually quite a few actors sprinkled throughout the show who are on the spectrum,” Gilchrist told TheWrap. “It was super cool to have them on set.”

“You get really jaded,” he said, “It kind of reinvigorated my excitement about what we do.”

Created by Robia Rashid, “Atypical” revolves around Sam Gardner (Gilchrist), a “highly-functioning” 18 year-old living with autism. The series has been lauded for its unflinching portrayal of life on the spectrum and the affect it has on family and loved ones.

Perhaps the one criticism came from members the adult autistic community, who thought the show was playing into stereotypes.

During the show’s first season, creators hired Michelle Dean, an assistant professor of special education at California State University Channel Islands as its consultant. For Season 2, the show added autistic author David Finch to make sure Gilchrist and the rest of the cast got it just right.

Finch came on board after he heard that Gilchrist used his memoir about life on the spectrum as his “bible.”

“He actually contracted me, saying, ‘I had no idea that you used my book,'” Gilchrist said of Finch. “Next thing we knew, he was on our season, consulting on all the scripts… If we’re unsure about something we can call up and ask questions.”

Finch, it seems, was just what the doctor ordered. Last month Netflix announced it was ordering a 10-episode third season, in which Sam heads to college.

Actors are notoriously tight-lipped about any upcoming plot twists. But here’s what we were able to extract from Gilchrist during out sit-down.

Will Casey and Izzie get together in Atypical season 3?

“I don’t know if I can say that… but if you’ve seen the season the chemistry is pretty huge right there… My guess would be that they might have some romance going on in Season 3.”

What happens to Casey’s boyfriend Evan?

“I don’t really know what’s going to happen but I think everybody is kind of rooting for her and Izzy.”

Will Sam find a new therapist?

“I don’t know if he’ll find a new therapist But i don’t think he’ll be going back to Julia though, to be honest.”

And just to be sure we put him on the spot we also tested his knowledge of penguins. See Gilchrist’s interview above and our penguin rapid fire questions below.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Netflix Sets Meg LeFauve, Alex Woo, Jorge Gutierrez Animated Projects

You Can Be the Next Lana Condor: Netflix Widens Search for Star of High School Movie 'Tall Girl'

Netflix's 'The Christmas Chronicles' Trailer: Kurt Russell Will Make You Believe in Santa Claus (Video)