News Round-Up: April 15, 2021

Nick Vallejo
Nick Vallejo
Nick Vallejo (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Outsports: A gay surfer started an OnlyFans page to feel sexy, and apparently it’s working. Nick Vallejo (above) finds inner-peace in the ocean and confidence in front of the camera.

Pink News: Arizona Republicans have passed an anti-LGBT+ bill that would allow parents to stop their kids from learning about queer people. The bill would also prohibit schools from providing sex-ed classes which include information about AIDS and HIV without parent’s permission.

Instagram: Ivanka Trump celebrated getting her coronavirus vaccine shot on social media, and Republicans lost their minds leaving ugly comments. I’m still surprised they oppose the vaccines so much considering their lord and savior the Donald says he created them with his own two, itty-bitty hands.

New York Times: While it is rare for the police to mistake their sidearms for their stun guns, it is even rarer for charges to be brought against them in such cases. A Times review of 15 other cases of so-called weapon confusion showed that only five of the officers were indicted. Just three received guilty verdicts.

WIS News10: Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott confirms Sergeant First Class Jonathan Pentland had been arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery after viral video footage showed him assaulting a young Black man on a public sidewalk. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or 30 days in jail.

The Hill: A Minnesota man was arrested Wednesday for assault after he allegedly drove away while a police officer’s arm was trapped in his truck window. An officer was standing on the truck’s running board when Oeltjenbruns is accused of rolling up the window on his arm. The suspect then allegedly drove away at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, leaving the officer hanging off the vehicle. Note: the accused was neither tased nor shot.

Police Officer & Chief Both Resign After Deadly Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott
Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, the officer who shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright, resigned from her position Tuesday, effective immediately.

The police chief, Tim Gannon, also tendered his resignation.

From the local NBC News affiliate KARE11:

In a letter to Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, Acting City Manager Reggie Edwards and Police Chief Tim Gannon, Potter wrote:

“I am tendering my resignation from the Brooklyn Center Police Department immediately. I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

Elliott said the city did not ask Potter to resign, and that it was a decision she made herself. The mayor said he hasn’t officially accepted Potter’s resignation, and that the city is completing its internal process “to make sure we’re being accountable to the step that we need to take.”

Elliott would not comment on whether Gannon gave a reasoning behind his resignation.

Kim Potter, who shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man, resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Dept
No word on if Potter will be arrested for the homicide of Daunte Wright any time soon.

It also came to light today that none of the 49 members of the Brooklyn Center Police Department live in Brooklyn Center.

Police On Latest Killing Of Black Man: Officer Meant To Fire Taser, Not Gun

Stock photo of a crime scene

Stock photo of a crime scene

In the aftermath of a Black man being fatally shot on Sunday during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb, the police chief told reporters the officer meant to fire a Taser – not her handgun.

I kid you not.

From APNews:

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting death Sunday of 20-year-old Daunte Wright as “an accidental discharge.” It happened as police were trying to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant.

The shooting sparked violent protests in a metropolitan area already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.

“I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” the officer is heard shouting on her body cam footage released at a news conference. She draws her weapon after the man breaks free from police outside his car and gets back behind the wheel.

After firing a single shot from her handgun, the car speeds away, and the officer is heard saying, “Holy (expletive)! I shot him.”

Read the full article.

News Round-Up: November 18, 2020

Former President Barack Obama (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

Mediaite: Former President Barack Obama’s newly-released memoir, A Promised Land, sold more than 887,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours putting it on track to be the highest selling presidential memoir in modern history.

Back2Stonewall: The FBI has released its annual report on hate crimes showing that, broadly, hate crimes rose 2.7 percent in 2019. Hate crimes perpetrated against gay men rose for the third straight year from 57.8% in 2017 to 61.8% in 2019.

The Advocate: Ryan Phillippe says his parents “shunned” him for taking on the role on One Life to Live’s Billy Douglas, the first gay character on a soap opera, which he portrayed during the early ’90s. Phillippe is currently starring in ABC’s new drama, Big Sky.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Gov. Tim Walz will impose new restrictions on bars, restaurants and fitness centers starting Friday, closing them down to the public for four weeks as COVID-19 cases surge across the state. Bars and restaurants will still be allowed to offer takeout services during that time.

CNN: The Trump campaign alleged last week that a vote cast by a Georgia woman named Deborah Jean Christiansen was fraudulent because she was reportedly dead. In fact, the vote was legally cast by a living woman who also happens to be named Deborah Jean Christiansen. Christiansen answered the door when CNN showed up on Tuesday evening.

OUT: Schitt’s Creek co-creator and star Dan Levy scored another honor as he lands on PEOPLE’s 2020 ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ List

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Dan Levy (@instadanjlevy)

News Round-Up: May 19, 2020

Joe Blizzard (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Joe Blizzard (above) is giving you boo-boo face over having to deal with home-gym workouts. Don’t worry, Joe, the gyms will open soon. Follow him on Insta here.

Deadline: In surprising news, Ruby Rose, the star of the CW’s freshman drama series Batwoman, is leaving the Warner Bros. TV/Berlanti Prods. drama after one season. The series, which already has been renewed for a second season, will continue with the title role getting recast. Rose, an alum of Orange is the New Black, returned to the small screen with Batwoman, playing the first gay lead character — male or female — of a live-action superhero series.

ABC News: After nine homes over five years, 17-year-old Michael was adopted by Chad and Paul Beanblossom of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Despite the coronavirus pandemic shutting down court proceedings, 80 people including friends, family and adoption specialists witnessed the special moment unfold over the Zoom teleconferencing app.

The Gaily Grind: Matt Belanger, an Emmy-winning news anchor in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was viciously attacked in what police believe was a hate crime fueled by homophobia. He suffered an eye injury which could result in permanent vision damage. Vennie Jerome Williams, 39, was arrested in connection to the assault. While in police custody, authorities said Williams “made statements indicating that he assaulted [Belanger] because he perceived that [he] was homosexual.”

Politico: More vetting of Tara Reade’s allegations of sexual assault by former Vice President Joe Biden reveals those who have tried to help her in the past were left with an unsavory impression. A number of those who crossed paths with Reade say they remember two things: She spoke favorably about her time working for Biden, and she left them feeling duped.

The Advocate: CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last Thursday, that along with his newborn son Wyatt, he considers being gay “one of the great blessings” of his life.

Minneapolis City Council Bans So-Called ‘Conversion Therapy’

(stock photo via Depositphotos)

Minneapolis will become the first city in the state of Minnesota to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ which claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The new ordinance, authored by Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, was passed unanimously by the Minneapolis City Council.

According to the Star Tribune, the only step left is for Mayor Jacob Frey to sign the ordinance into law.

The ban will prohibit any licensed mental health professional from providing or attempting conversion therapy on minors. Violations will be subject to fines of up to $1,000.

Members of the clergy who are “acting in their roles as clergy or pastoral counselors” will be exempt from the regulation.

Cunningham, the first transgender man of color to be elected to public office in the U.S., called the harmful practice “tantamount to torture.”

And he speaks from personal experience having been subjected to conversion therapy as a child in his church.

Speaking to the local NBC News affiliate, Cunningham said succinctly, “It tries to convince people that they are not who they are.”

Conversion therapy, also known as ‘ex-gay therapy,’ has been widely denounced as discredited pseudoscience by leading professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.

Studies have shown that the controversial practice can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 18 states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this harmful practice.

This week the American Medical Association announced its support for a federal ban on the dangerous practice.

News Round-Up: July 10, 2019

Anthony Bowens (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Pro wrestler and InstaHunk Anthony Bowens (above) points out that “Summer is heating up…” One look at that pic and you know why 😉

ABC News: Thanks to a police tip line, authorities say they have apprehended a suspect, 20-year-old Tyresse Singleton, who allegedly set fire to a rainbow flag outside of a Harlem gay bar. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had directed the State Hate Crimes Unit to assist in the investigation

USA Today: Posters featuring U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe were vandalized with homophobic slurs at a New York City subway station Monday evening.

FOX9: The mayor of Columbia Heights, Minnesota, is facing calls of homophobia because she won’t sign-off on a Pride event proclamation. The mayor claims the local LGBTQ organization failed to follow (brand-new) guidelines for proclamations.

• NBC News: Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath raised more than $2.5 million in the first 24 hours of her campaign against Mitch McConnell. McGrath campaign manager Mark Nickolas said it’s the most ever raised in the first 24 hours of a Senate campaign.

The Advocate: Michael Johnson, convicted in 2015 for one felony charge of “knowingly” transmitting HIV to one man and four charges of exposing four other men to the virus who didn’t contract it, was released this week 25 years early. His lawyers won an appeal after showing that prosecutors failed to turn over significant evidence. Because the charges he pleaded to fell under health statutes, Johnson will not be required to register as a sex offender.

• Out artist Billy Winn says the songs on his new EP, Dreamland II, are based on the idea that “it’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.”

The first single from the EP, “Another Broken Heart,” an EDM/dance track, was inspired by circumstances in his own life, adding, “It’s a dance track with a strong, relatable message about something we’ve all been through at least once.”

Check out the new single below, and for more info head to BillyWinn.com.

Man Pulls Gun On Four Young Women At McDonalds, Manager Attempts To Throw Victims Out

A white man, who grew impatient as four black girls were paying for their food at a Minnesota McDonalds, harassed the women to the point of pulling a gun on them.

To make things worse, the manager of the McDonalds attempted to throw the women out of the restaurant where the man was waiting for them.

Watch below.

My jaw literally dropped upon watching that video.

According to the website MuslimGirl, the four girls (Farida Osman, Jihan Abdullahi, Amal Mohammed, and Zainab Hassan) had been studying a few blocks away but grew hungry.

Heading down to McDonalds, they ordered their food and wanted to try using their Apple Pay. They weren’t too familiar with the process and after some time gave up trying to use it.

I’ll let MuslimGirl take it from here:

“Jihan heard the man say, ‘You’re probably using EBT’, and she immediately turned to him and said “Just because I’m Black, doesn’t mean I use EBT.”

Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT, is an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefit payments.

In Farida’s vivid recollection, this outrageously racist comment and the ensuing retort was immediately followed by the man “cussing them out,” and advancing aggressively towards the defenseless teens. He continued advancing, forcing Amal to call her friend Amin, who was seated in a booth nearby, for help, “because the man was so close she believed he was going to physically hurt her.”

“Amin and his friends came over and that’s when…the man pulls out the gun,” concluded Farida. The rest of the incident plays out in its entirety on video. The patron is seen aiming the gun at the teens as they scatter, while he swiftly backs out of the restaurant in a cowardly attempt to escape from the consequences of his obvious overreaction. 

The manager of the McDonalds in question

In the aftermath of this horrifying episode, the video depicts a McDonald’s employee screaming at the astonished teenagers, in an expletive-laced frenzy, insisting that they get out of her store. Equally incensed, another gentleman at the restaurant jumped to the aid of the teenagers in distress, vehemently protesting the idea that the victims of this heinous attack should be thrown out into the streets, along with the gun-toting lunatic.

The staff of the McDonalds was reportedly hesitant to call the police, but eventually did after extreme pressure from the frightened young women.

Paul Ostergaard, owner of the franchise in question, responded to MuslimGirl about the incident:

“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our customers and employees. We take this matter seriously and are working with local law enforcement while we investigate the situation.”

News Round-Up: October 3, 2018

Some news items you might have missed:

• Look at that concentration, look at that beefy bicep. Fitness guru Ramses Principe (above) is getting over Hump Day like a boss!

• After traveling to San Francisco, a gay man contracted bacterial meningococcal meningitis which resulted in the permanent loss of his hearing, temporary inability to walk, and his vision for a period. Still coping with the hearing loss, the man was recently fitted for cochlear implants. The first thing he heard when the device was turned on was his longtime boyfriend proposing to him.

• Folks in Minnesota now have a non-binary option when specifying gender on their driver’s license. Along with “M” for male and “F” for female, Minnesotans will also have “X” to choose from representing non-binary.

• After the New York Times’ bombshell investigation into Donald Trump’s wealth, New York state tax officials are looking into allegations that Trump may have committed tax fraud over the years.

• Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke leads GOP incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz by three points in a new poll tracking the senatorial race down in Texas.

• Check out the trailer for Reach starring Garrett Clayton (Hairspray Live!) as “Steven Turano,” a socially awkward band geek who shares with a pro-suicide group that he’s planning on killing himself due to bullying by his father and a school bully.

However, when Clarence, the new kid in school, befriends him, Steven’s plans are sidetracked and he forms stronger relationships with his father, friends, and teachers.

Reach will be in limited theaters and VOD October 19.

Minnesota Judge Kicks Lawsuit By Wedding Videographers Who Wanted Only Straight Clients

Angel and Carl Larsen

A Minnesota couple wants to go into the wedding video business, but don’t want anything to do with gay or lesbian weddings due to their deeply held religious beliefs.

In fact, they took the extraordinary pre-emptive step of suing the state over Minnesota’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, saying the law was “unconstitutional.”

Mind you, the couple didn’t even have any gay or lesbian customers.

From the Star Tribune:

In a 63-page ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim wrote that a provision of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibiting discrimination by businesses was not unconstitutional. Tunheim rejected the couple’s argument that the law amounted to “a state effort to stamp out expression opposing same-sex marriage.”

Carl and Angel Larsen sued the state’s commissioner of human rights and attorney general in December in an pre-emptive effort to avoid penalties for turning away same-sex customers.

The Larsens, who use their Telescope Media Group to promote their Christian beliefs, want to go into the wedding film business, but serve only heterosexual couples.

The Larsens had wanted to post a notice on their website saying that they serve heterosexual couples only but the judge was not having it and kicked the lawsuit to the curb.

Judge Tunheim said that was “akin to a ‘White Applicants Only’ sign.”

“Posting language on a website telling potential customers that a business will discriminate based on sexual orientation is part of the act of sexual orientation discrimination itself,” Tunheim wrote. “As conduct carried out through language, this act is not protected by the First Amendment.”

Judge Tunheim suggested that the plaintiffs post language on their site expressing opposition to same-sex marriage, but not say they wouldn’t serve gays.

Expect these folks to appeal the ruling to the 8th Circuit. Bet on it.