NYC GLAAD Media Awards Canceled Due To Coronavirus Threat

GLAAD, the world’s LGBTQ media advocacy organization, announced today that the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York will no longer occur next week following new guidance from the New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo around COVID-19.

Rich Ferraro, Chief Communications Officer and an Executive Producer of the GLAAD Media Awards, issued a statement which read, in part:

“Given GLAAD’s long-standing commitment to the safety of our members, sponsors, and guests, the GLAAD Media Awards will no longer take place on March 19th in New York City. The team at GLAAD has been in communication with the City of New York and is following the latest recommendations from Governor Cuomo.

“We were planning to unveil a historic get-out-the-vote campaign at the event because everything is at stake for LGBTQ Americans this election year, and are hopeful that the program and GLAAD’s ongoing work to fight against anti-LGBTQ discrimination will continue to be supported and funded.”

Hollywood producer/director Ryan Murphy (GLEE, Pose, American Horror Story) and Tony/Emmy Award-winner Judith Light (Ugly Betty, Transparent) were to be honored for their LGBTQ advocacy. Lilly Singh was set to host the event while Ben Platt and Adam Lambert were scheduled to perform.

Ferraro noted that nominees for awards will be contacted shortly with plans for how award categories scheduled for the New York show will be announced.

GLAAD is also consulting with public health officials in Los Angeles about the status of the west coast edition of the GLAAD Media Awards scheduled for next month.

The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. Since its inception in 1990, the GLAAD Media Awards have grown to the most visible annual LGBTQ awards show in the world, sending powerful messages of acceptance to audiences globally.

Congress Informed To “Expect 70-150 Million” Cases Of Coronavirus

Axios is reporting Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress, held a closed-door meeting with Senate chiefs of staff, chief clerks, and staff directors for both parties informing them that they “should prepare for the worst” regarding the ongoing coronavirus threat.

According to reports, Monahan said he “expects 70-150 million people in the U.S.” to become infected with the virus. That would constitute roughly a third of the country.

That prediction would align with other health experts even though Donald Trump and the White House have repeatedly told the public there’s little need to worry.

Monahan did share that roughly 80% of those who contract coronavirus eventually recover, according to Axios.

Report: Trump Waits For Son-In-Law Jared Kushner To ‘Finish Research’ Before Declaring Emergency

Donald Trump (image via White House/Public Domain)

Politico reports that Donald Trump is wary of announcing an all-out emergency regarding the coronavirus threat because he’s afraid of escalating fears ramping up even further.

Trump’s concern at this point is that going further could hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu, said the three people familiar with the discussions. The administration is also negotiating with Congress over a stimulus package designed to cushion the coronavirus-hampered economy. But that calculation could change in the coming weeks.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is pushing for the designation but Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump tapped to lead the administration’s coronavirus response, doesn’t want Trump to act until Congress passes a stimulus package, according to two of the people.

There’s no deadline for a decision, but one of the people familiar with the talks said the task force will not give Trump its final verdict until Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, finishes his research and comes to a conclusion himself.

So, Jared is now an expert on the coronavirus…? Or is he doing a cost-benefit analysis trying to figure out an acceptable number of Americans who can die in the pandemic?

The White House cancelled the coronavirus task force briefing today, as well as Trump’s scheduled dinner with the Pences at the Naval Observatory.

The White House has announced Trump will address the nation tonight at 9 pm ET regarding economic and health steps to mitigate the ongoing crisis.

Dow Jones Enters Bear Market Territory After 11 Year Run

The 11-year Dow Jones bull market that began on March 9, 2009, under President Obama has ended under Donald Trump as the stock market has now declined 20% from recent record highs.

We’re now officially in bear market territory.

From NBC News:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 1,400 points on Wednesday, crossing firmly into bear market territory, or a 20 percent decline from a 52-week high. The losses came as the World Health Organization labeled the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

The S&P 500 and the Dow are currently down more than 14 percent from the record highs they hit just last month, making this the fastest drawdown from peak to decline.

Wednesday’s massive sell-off is a response to the lack of concerted policy action from President Donald Trump’s administration, which has been criticized for its mixed messaging about the best ways to address and contain the virus.

In related news, the World Health Organization on Wednesday characterized the coronavirus as a pandemic for the first time.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. Experts say that number that is expected to rise as testing becomes more widely available.

Amid Coronavirus Concerns, Madonna Forced To Cancel Final ‘Madame X’ Dates

Matt Rettenmund's front row ticket to Madonna's Madame X concert
Coronavirus cancels Madonna’s final two ‘Madame X’ dates

Even the Queen of Pop can’t escape the reach of the coronavirus epidemic.

Calm yourselves – no, Madonna hasn’t become infected by the virus. But because the French government is currently prohibiting gatherings of over 1,000 in public, Madge’s last two performances of her Madame X tour have been canceled.

The concerts, scheduled to take place later this week at the 2,800 seat Grand Rex in Paris, could not be rescheduled.

A statement posted to Madonna’s official website read:

Following official notification from the Office of the Police this morning prohibiting all events with an audience attendance of over 1000, Live Nation regrets to announce the final two Madame X performances previously re-scheduled to 10-March and 11-March are forced to be canceled. Tickets are refundable at point of purchase. We regret the disappointment to fans.

Madonna posted her own message to fans via Instagram, writing, “A Bittersweet Farewell. One of the most magical experiences of my life. I take nothing for granted. Thank you Paris.”

According to news outlet France 24, France’s tally of coronavirus cases has reached 1,412 including the country’s Culture Minister, Franck Riester. There have been 25 coronavirus-related deaths in France reported.

Madonna wasn’t alone in canceling her shows. Pearl Jam has postponed its North American tour due to coronavirus concerns, and Pentatonix has postponed the European leg of the World Tour.

While she may deem her tour a ‘magical’ experience, Madge has trudged on city by city despite injuries sustained in rehearsal.

She’s been forced to cancel over a dozen performances due to “unbearable pain,” and has seen two class-action lawsuits filed against her for shows that began hours late.

Along the way, she’s shared videos of post-show ice baths and walking with the assistance of a cane on days off.

Take a bow, Madonna. Well-earned.

RuPaul’s DragCon Canceled Due To Coronavirus Concerns

(image via Instagram/RuPaulsDragCon)

RuPaul’s DragCon has been canceled thanks mainly to safety concerns in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

DragCon posted on their website:

DragCon’s first priority is always the health and safety of everyone involved and we’ve been actively tracking the situation around the coronavirus. The situation in California (and the world) is rapidly changing, with new information coming out everyday.

Unfortunately, there’s no way for anyone to know what the situation will be like in May. Due to that uncertainty, and out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided that it’s in the best interest of the talent, staff, and attendees to cancel RuPaul’s DragCon LA 2020.

DragCon LA will return in 2021, better than ever.

We will be working with Eventbrite to issue refunds over the next 7 days.

Thank you for your support. If you have any questions email help@rupaulsdragcon.com.

Several major convention events have been canceled as well including the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) festival which has been held in Austin, TX since 1987. They plan to carry on and prepare for 2021, but they are seeing major financial difficulties and had to lay-off 175 year-round employees.

And E! News reports that the 2020 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is likely to be postponed in light of ongoing concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

No official announcement has been made yet, but several outlets have reported that the music festival is looking to push the dates until October.

Dow Drops 2,014 Points – Biggest Plunge Since 2008

(graphic via NY Times)

The Dow closed down more than 2,000 points today marking the worst point decline ever, and the worst percentage decline since December 2008.

So. Much. Winning.

From the Washington Post:

The stock markets suffered stunning declines Monday — with the Dow Jones industrial average losing 2014 points — as the threat of a coronavirus-fueled oil war and ongoing panic about the spreading disease grew and triggered a rare forced halt to trading early in the session.

The Dow Jones industrial average cratered 7.8 percent to close at 23,851. The S&P 500, a broader measure of stocks, shed 7.6 percent by the close and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 7.3 percent.

The New York Stock Exchange tripped the so-called “circuit breaker” at a time of relentless volatility for global markets, which have been battered for weeks as the coronavirus outbreak continues to unfold. The forced 15-minute break initially appeared to have a stabilizing effect, but selling resumed before the end of the regular trading.

The oil industry had a terrible day as ten oil producers were the worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500 thanks, in part, to the ongoing price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Oil prices fell 30 percent marking the biggest slide since 1991.

By the way, remember: there’s a tweet for everything:

Donald Trump, who has taken ALL the credit for the stock market’s performance for the past three years, was predictably defensive on Twitter. Live by the market, die by the market.

Italy Expands Travel Restrictions To Entire Country Due To Coronavirus

St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City in Rome

ABC News reports:

Officials in Italy have expanded emergency anti-coronavirus restrictions to apply to the whole country. The Italian government is directing all residents to remain at home and not to travel unless required by their work.

All public gatherings in open air or public places are being banned. Schools in the entire country are to remain closed until April 3.

The decree, which affects all 60 million people living in Italy, will go into effect tomorrow, according to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

As of Monday, Italy had 9,172 coronavirus cases and 463 deaths, according to health officials.

Also, from Reuters: “Pope Francis has canceled his regular appearances in public to stop crowds gathering to see him and will stream them on the internet from inside the Vatican because of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.”

News Round-Up: March 6, 2020

Jim Newman (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Jim Newman (above) can wear a flannel plaid onesie like no one. Totally giving us lumbersexual in the pic above. #amiright?

NowThisNews: Donald Trump continues to spread dangerous misinformation on COVID-19 to millions of Fox News viewers.

Washington Blade: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday signed three pro-LGBTQ measures into law ranging from ensuring transgender students are treated fairly, expanding the definition of a hate crime to include sexual orientation and gender identification, and allowing localities to ban discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, or education based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

KIT212: Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the what’s what in local LGBTQ publications like the latest issue of South Florida Hot Spots featuring Bar Mizrahi.

The Advocate: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit just upheld a preliminary injunction against the Air Force, which appealed the decision of a district court in order to continue the discharge of personnel simply because they are living with HIV.

Netflix: The streaming platform has canceled RuPaul’s scripted series, AJ and the Queen, after only one season.