News Round-Up: April 29, 2021

Ewan McGregor as Halston
Ewan McGregor as Halston
Ewan McGregor as Halston (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

LGBTQ Nation: 17-year-old Jace King has become the first out transgender Eagle Scout in his small town of Splendora, Texas, and may be one of the first in the country. King had always dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout like his brother, but due to the scouts’ ban on transgender boys, he was not allowed to join until 2019.

The Daily Beast: Podcast host Joe Rogan walked back a statement he made on his podcast last week that young, healthy people shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. Rogan conceded, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a fucking moron. There’s some legitimate science behind this…I believe [the vaccines] are safe.”

Instinct Magazine: Actor Ewan McGregor (above) is defending his decision to take on the role of gay fashion design icon Halston in the upcoming Netflix mini-series.

New York Times: Three Georgia men were indicted on federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges in connection with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot to death while jogging through a South Georgia neighborhood last year

American Greatness: Conservative author Peter D’Abrosca is refusing to get a COVID vaccine in an effort to ‘own the libs.’ “It makes them mad when they hear about my refusal. That, in turn, makes me happy.”

Out: The Tennessee CEO of a telehealth technology firm was fired after he was captured on video harassing a teen who was wearing a dress for prom. Sam Johnson, 46, was fired from his position at VisuWell after video of his exchange with Dalton Stevens, 18, at the Harpeth Hotel last Saturday went viral.

News Round-Up: November 13, 2020

‘Map daddy’ Steve Kornacki (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

LA Times: MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki – dubbed ‘map daddy’ or ‘chart-throb’ due to his 2020 election count performance – has so inspired millions his regular go-to khakis have surged 90 percent in sales at the GAP.

Pink News: Poland’s ugly war against LGBTQ people continues with a horrifying new bill that would ban Pride parades throughout the country. The proposed law, entitled “Stop LGBT”, would ban Pride parades as well as any other public gatherings that “promote” queer identities. #StopTheHate

New York Daily News: Donald Trump’s favorite rapper, Lil’ Pump, shared a campaign rally stage with the Donald just before the election to show his support. But it turns out the 20-year-old (who posted a video on Instagram to his 17-million followers declaring “All I gotta say is Trump 2020, b-tch!”) didn’t bother to even register to vote. The video is no longer online.

Christmas Music: Australian pop star Delta Goodrem surprised fans with a new Christmas album titled Santa Only Knows complete with a gorgeous guitar-driven duet with international superstar Olivia Newton-John, “Merry Christmas to You.”

Axios: Donald Trump has told friends he wants to start a digital media company to clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network, sources tell me. Some Trump advisers say Fox News enraged Trump by making an early call (seconded by AP) of a Joe Biden win in Arizona. “He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it” said a source..

The Hill: Prosecutors in the case over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery earlier this year presented the court on Thursday with racist text messages and social media posts from one of the two white men who fatally shot him while he was jogging in Brunswick, Ga.

KDKA: A federal appeals court in Philadelphia on Friday rejected an effort to block about 9,300 ballots that arrived after Election Day. The three-judge panel, led by Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Brooks Smith, ruled “that the lawfully cast vote of every citizen must count.” The ruling involves the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to accept mail-in ballots that arrived by Friday, Nov. 6, three days after the close of polling places.

Witness: Ahmaud Arbery’s Accused Killer Used Racial Slur Following Shooting

L-R Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan (Glynn County Sheriff)

The man who recorded the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, in Georgia told investigators the man who killed Arbery used a racial slur right after the shooting.

From NBC News:

The white Georgia man accused of killing an unarmed black man, Ahmaud Arbery, used a racial slur after the fatal shooting, according to another suspect’s account to an investigator.

The allegation was revealed as the prosecution presented its case at a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning for defendants Gregory McMichael, 64, his son Travis McMichael, 34, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 50.

The defense, which was to follow the prosecution at the hearing, has yet to respond to the allegation of the slur.

Special agent Richard Dial with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said during the hearing that Bryan said that he heard Travis McMichael say, “f—ing N-word” after Arbery had been shot.

Attorneys for the McMichaels say Arbery’s death is a tragedy, “but that does not mean a crime has been committed.”

Justice Dept To Launch Hate Crime Investigation In Georgia Shooting

Ahmaud Arbery

From CBS News:

The U.S. Department of Justice is launching an investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed black man in Georgia as a hate crime, according to attorneys for the victim’s family.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot and killed by two white men while jogging in his neighborhood on February 23. Three arrests were made this month after video surfaced of the violent encounter.

Attorneys for Arbery’s family said the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine and his office will look into why Glynn County and the state of Georgia took more than two months to make an arrest and whether the region has historically violated the rights of its citizens. The U.S. Attorney said he plans to file criminal and civil charges.

William Bryan, who recorded Arbery’s killing from his car, was arrested and charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. His footage showed 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his 34-year-old son, Travis, confront Arbery before shooting him.

Gregory and Travis were both arrested May 9. Travis was charged with murder and aggravated assault, and Gregory was charged with party to murder and aggravated assault.

Georgia: Man Who Recorded Fatal Shooting Of Unarmed Black Jogger Arrested

Ahmaud Arbery

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has arrested the man who filmed the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, the unarmed 25-year-old black man who was killed during an encounter with two white men, in connection with the killing.

From the New York Times:

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that the man, William Bryan, 50, was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. The two other men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were charged with murder and aggravated assault this month.

Mr. Bryan, who is white, recorded the confrontation on Feb. 23 as the McMichaels pursued Mr. Arbery while he was running through the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick on the southeastern Georgia coast.

More than two months passed without arrests or criminal charges, and the video, released online this month, has been credited with bringing a surge of attention to the case and mobilizing activists. After the McMichaels were arrested, pressure ratcheted up for the authorities to arrest Mr. Bryan, who is known as Roddie.

Activists have said publicly that Bryan “had been more than a bystander.”

Arbery’s family issued a statement this evening saying they were “relieved” by the arrest.

“His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the G.B.I. as well,” read the statement.

Shooting Video Was Leaked By Friend Of McMichaels Thinking It Would Clear Them

L-R Gregory McMichaels, Travis McMichaels (mug shots)

It turns out the video footage showing Gregory and Travis McMichaels shooting Ahmaud Arbery in the street was leaked by a friend believing it would clear them.

The friend, attorney Alan Tucker, also put the blame for Arbery’s death on Arbery saying if he had ‘just froze’ he wouldn’t have been shot.

From The Daily Mail:

The shocking video that showed two white men shooting unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia was leaked to the press by the assailants’ close friend who believed it would clear them of any crime.

Attorney Alan Tucker told Inside Edition Friday that he was responsible for releasing the footage, which showed his pals Gregory and Travis McMichael engaged in a fatal altercation with Arbery in Brunswick on February 23.

‘I really thought releasing the video would put the truth out to the public,’ Tucker stated.

‘If he [Arbery] had just froze and hadn’t done anything, then he wouldn’t have been shot.’

I see. Two white men in Georgia grab their guns, jump in their pickup truck and chase after a young black man jogging. They stop the young man waving their weapons and yelling at the young man.

Not knowing who they were or what was happening, it was Arbery’s responsibility to just stand there and perhaps let them shoot him???

For over two months, there was little to no response by the local police authorities. It wasn’t until the video was released that public outcry made ignoring the case impossible.

According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson blocked police from arresting them because she was friends with Gregory McMichael, who worked as an investigator in Johnson’s office.

The McMichaels have now been charged with murder and aggravated assault.

Gregory McMichaels reportedly told police he recognized Arbery as a burglary suspect in the neighborhood. But no break-ins were reported in the neighborhood for seven weeks before they killed him.