Andrew Lloyd Webber Says CINDERELLA Will Not Open

Andrew Lloyd Webber announced today his new musical 'Cinderella' will not open due to complications with COVID-19

Andrew Lloyd Webber announced today his new musical 'Cinderella' will not open due to complications with COVID-19

Andrew Lloyd Webber announced today that his latest stage musical, Cinderella, will not open due to a cast member testing positive for COVID-19.

This past weekend, the production was forced to cancel both performances set to take place on July 17, 2021, due to “Covid related precautionary measures.”

In his statement released today, Andrew Lloyd Webber shared, “Today, on this ‘Freedom Day’, I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella.”

After mentioning rigorous testing utilized with the cast and crew, he (rather tastelessly) mentions that on Saturday “a member of our cast who has a cameo role” tested positive. Imagine how that makes that cast member feel – “It’s your fault and you don’t even have a big part!”

The statement continued, “My sadness for our cast and crew, our loyal audience and the industry I have been fighting for is impossible to put into words.”

On the show’s future, a spokesperson to BroadwayWorld: “It’s hard to see a route forward under the current rules, but we will do everything we can to come back.”

Thinking best thoughts for the entire cast, crew, and creative team.

Podcast: Country Coming Out Song Goes Viral, UK, Bhutan, And Billy Porter

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s podcast:

• More LGBTQ candidates won elections this year than ever before

• A US Supreme Court decision upholds high school transgender students’ rights

Switzerland is poised to (finally) legalize same-sex marriage

• Adoptions by same-sex couples in the UK has increased for the 3rd year in a row

• Isolated Asian country of Bhutan legalizes same-sex relations

• Emmy/Grammy winner Billy Porter has been announced to help usher in the New Year

• A coming out Christmas song by country artist and LGBTQ ally Aaron LaCombe goes viral ‘Uncle Carl (Came Out On Christmas)’

Click here to watch the video and head over to Aaron’s official website for more info about his music

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

Podcast: A Cowboy Christmas Movie + News From UK, Norway, Poland & Hungary

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s podcast:

• HIV diagnoses in the UK drop to their lowest levels in 20 years

Norway expands hate speech laws to protect all LGBTQ citizens

• Lawmakers in Hungary have drafted a constitutional change that effectively prohibits same-sex couples from adopting

• A citizens’ petition in Poland proposes banning Pride parades

Sarah McBride is set to become the highest-ranking transgender legislator in the country

• Out political journalist Steve Kornacki shines on Election Night on social media as ‘Korsnacki’ and ‘Map Daddy’

• Don’t miss the upcoming gay holiday romance movie Dashing in December on Paramount TV

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

UK Prime Minister Proposes Testing Every Brit Every Week For COVID-19

A man wearing a face mask during the pandemic

The Washington Post is reporting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is proposing testing every citizen of his country every week for coronavirus in lieu of any health precautions like face masks or social distancing.

No masks. No distancing. The ability to go to work or school, the theater or a soccer match, as if living in a virus-free world.

That’s the vision British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pitched this past week, as he unveiled “Operation Moonshot” — a plan to test 10 million Brits every single day, or everyone in the country every week, at a cost of $130 billion.

The prospect of a return to normal has wide appeal, especially at a moment Britain is about to implement a new round of social distancing measures, prompted by rising coronavirus infections.

But many public health experts are dubious. Some say the plan is not a moonshot, but a Jules Verne fantasy.

Such massive population-wide testing for disease would be unprecedented. Though some countries have deployed mass screening during this pandemic, “Operation Moonshot” would go where no public health campaign has gone before — and yet Britain doesn’t have the best track record on coronavirus testing.

For such a plan to work, the government would need inexpensive, quick-result tests readily available on a massive scale. But such tests aren’t available or approved at this time.

Prison Time For Dad Who Beat Son After Discovering Grindr On Phone

Photo of a man's hands cuffed behind his back

Photo of a man's hands cuffed behind his back

A homophobic father in the UK has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for viciously beating his son with a television cable after finding the gay dating app Grindr on the teen’s phone.

Plymouth Live reports the night before the attack, the father had asked to borrow his son’s phone. It was while using the phone the father discovered not only Grindr but several photos the teen had taken of himself.

The next morning, the father (who isn’t being identified in order to protect the boy) confronted his son asking about the app and pics while shouting “You are gay” and “you are a woman.”

After ordering the teen to strip down to his socks and underwear, the father lashed his son about 20 times with the cable.

According to the prosecutor, Francesca Whebell, “He hit him multiple times across his body, particularly his arm, breaking the skin there” while continuing to question the boy.

The teen was only able to escape after his father allowed him to get a glass of water. The boy grabbed his school uniform and ran out of the house.

Arriving at school, though, staff members noticed something was amiss, and the teen began to cry leading the staff to call the police.

The father eventually pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm last September.

At his sentencing, a lawyer for the father tried to argue his client is a “loving father” who became angry, not due to his son’s sexuality but for posting photos on the dating app.

Since the incident, the lawyer claimed the father’s remorse “is genuine,” and added, “the fact that he has now lost contact with his own son has broken his heart.”

The defendant’s wife also appeared in court having written a character reference for her husband.

But Recorder Marcus Pilgerstorfer wasn’t having it telling the lawyer, “On the basis of the photographs, [the teen] is likely to be left with some scarring on his arm and he will inevitably suffer some psychological consequences.”

“You asked him about photographs of lots of boys on his phone and shouted: ‘You are gay’ and ‘you are a woman,” continued the judge. “You hit him again and again, some 20 times, with the television cable. You caused him ‘loads of pain,’ to use his words.”

Pilgerstorfer added, “I have no doubt that part of the reason you became angry is that you saw material which you thought indicated he was bisexual.”

(source: Plymouth Live)

News Round-Up: June 2, 2020

The number of senior LGBTQs is expected to double in the next 10 years

Some news items you might have missed:

LGBTQ Nation: Experts say there are 2.4 million LGBTQ seniors in the U.S. and that number is projected to reach seven million by 2030. Check out this list of organizations that offer valuable resources for aging LGBTQ people.

Instinct: The British government has announced that strangers (or couples living apart from each other) are no longer legally allowed to have sex for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The text of the legislation outlaws indoor gatherings “when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other or to undertake any other activity with each other.”

Pink News: Levi’s has released a pair of denim chaps for Pride Month which are apparently “inspired by the resilience and beauty” of the LGBT+ community. The Pride offering is described as a “classic Levi’s silhouette, reimagined as a pair of unapologetically bold chaps.” #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmm

(image via Levi’s)

The Advocate: The state of Minnesota has filed a human rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died last week while being pinned him to the ground by a white police officer. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights will begin an investigation into the MPD’s conduct over the past decade to determine if officers “engaged in systemic discriminatory practices.”

New York Times: The ongoing protests across the country have spurred political campaign donations to Democrats via their ActBlue website. Between Friday and Monday, the online donor platform processed over $60 million in donations.

NowThis News: Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the bishop who oversees St. John’s Episcopalian Church in Washington DC, was outraged over the use of force on peaceful protesters and church clergy by Donald Trump. Bible in hand, Trump posed awkwardly for a photo and then walked away from the chaos, but many are calling this an abuse of power and a dangerous stifling of the 1st Amendment right to peaceful protest.

AstraZeneca Aims For 30 Million UK Vaccine Doses By September

Top health officials say the U.S. will begin making booster shots for COVID vaccines available for folks 8 months after they become fully vaccinated

AstraZeneca plans to make as many as 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccine available to the U.K. by September and has committed to delivering 100 million doses this year.

The U.K. would be the first country in the world to get access to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

From Bloomberg News:

The vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford will get 65.5 million pounds ($79 million) of funding, U.K. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said today in a statement.

The inoculation is already being studied in humans and could reach late-stage trials by the middle of the year. Another 18.5 million pounds will go to Imperial College London as trials accelerate.

Drugmakers are scaling up to make a Covid vaccine before the shots are fully tested, so inoculations will be ready as soon as possible. No vaccine exists yet for Covid-19, which has killed more than 312,000 people globally and infected 4.7 million.

The U.K. has the second-deadliest outbreak after the U.S.

Video: Sassy Firefighters Shade Anti-LGBTQ Twitter Trolls

When firefighters in the UK added a Pride flag to its Twitter profile last year, the first responders received several ugly, homophobic comments.

In response, the South Yorkshire firefighters have clapped back with a cheeky video reciting many of the actual hate tweets they received while rainbow flags, socks, and hats are surreptitiously included in the background.

A hunky fireman recites in a droll tone, “I don’t see or understand why you feel the need to celebrate,” as Pride flags wave and confetti rains down.

Another fire official tells the camera, “Constantly going on and on about who wants to shag who shouldn’t be a fire service priority,” while an eggplant emoji floats on a TV screen in the background.

In between the mini-scenes, the firefighters make their point with the statement:

LGBT+ people still face prejudice at home and at work. We celebrate LGBT+ pride in solidarity with all those we serve and employ. Fires don’t discriminate, neither do we.

In a statement on the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue website, Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson wrote, “We fully expect the video will have a mixed reaction but some of the comments we received last year were awful and totally unacceptable.”

Johnson explained the heroes had a couple of reasons for producing the video.

“Firstly we wanted to support the month and let our staff, and communities, know that we are proud to employ and serve them, regardless of those comments,” said Johnson.

“Secondly, we wanted to demonstrate that we are a genuinely inclusive organisation that values the contribution of all our staff, whatever their LGBT+ status.”

Crew Manager Rebecca Savin, who acts as the South Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union LGBT rep said she was “really pleased with the video.”

“It’s great that, as an employer, SYFR wants to challenge these comments and stand up for its staff and the people it serves.”

Check out the deliciously defiant video below.

UK Sees Dramatic Decline In New HIV Infections

A new report from Public Health England shows HIV infection rates in the UK have taken a steep decline since 2012.

According to the figures released today, new infections among gay and bisexual men have dropped from 2,800 in 2012 to 800 in 2018, which represents a 71% decrease.

Health authorities attribute the decrease to a number of factors.

For one thing, encouraging the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has become a focus for health officials. Studies show the once-a-day pill is almost 99% effective in preventing HIV infection.

PrEP is currently available for high-risk patients in Wales and Scotland, but the BBC reports “many in England have had to wait until they can gain access to an impact trial that first began in September 2017.” That trial is scheduled to end later this year.

Also aiding in reducing new infections is a public campaign encouraging people to get tested regularly for HIV.

And when new infections are discovered, those patients are immediately placed on HIV medications to bring their viral load down to undetectable levels, which means the virus can’t be passed on to others.

Of the estimated 103,800 people believed to be living with HIV in the UK in 2018, 93% of those had been diagnosed and 97% of those diagnosed were receiving treatment.

Among the HIV patients on medications, 97% were found to have undetectable viral loads.

Contrast that with the United States where the Centers for Disease Control estimate 83% of folks living with HIV have been diagnosed and just 63% have been deemed to be virally suppressed.

However, Debbie Laycock, head of policy at the Terrence Higgins Trust, noted the new report isn’t all good.

Laycock told BBC News that 43% of new diagnoses are being discovered at a late stage, particularly with men who identify as straight and those over 50 in age. Late-stage infections result in a much higher risk of death compared with early detection.

And, there have been slight increases in new HIV infections among black people and south Asian men.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC he feels the UK is on track to reach its goal of ending HIV transmission by the year 2030.

“HIV has brought untold hurt and suffering to so many, so it is encouraging to see transmissions continue to fall across the UK,” said Hancock.

First UK Chick-Fil-A Location Set To Close One Week After Opening

Following the opening of the first UK branch of Chick-fil-A restaurants last week, the eatery is already facing closure.

The controversial fast-food chain, which has attracted negative attention for years due to donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations, opened its first outlet at The Oracle shopping center in Reading, Berkshire.

When the news was announced on a local Facebook page, the comments got pretty heated with many familiar with the restaurant’s history of supporting homophobic organizations chiming in.

“Not a company I would want to support regardless of what their food tastes like!” wrote one commenter. “Shame they are choosing our fabulously diverse town to ‘test’ in!”

“I totally agree with you!” added another. “I’m American and cannot support this business. It is anti-gay… anti-LGBT.”

“You have literally got to be kidding me,” declared a Reading resident. “You do know just how blatantly homophobic they are? I’m ashamed of all involved in allowing this to happen, honestly. Utterly unacceptable.”

“Vile won’t be eating there sadly until they stop their discriminatory and hate-filled policies!”

A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A issued a statement following the opening:

“We opened a pilot licensed location at The Oracle Centre of Reading on October 10 and we are pleased by customer response. Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on serving great food and hospitality. We are represented by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs and welcome everyone.”

But today, the BBC is reporting a spokeswoman for The Oracle shopping center says “the right thing to do” was to not extend the fast-food outlet’s lease past the “six-month pilot period.”

“We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further.”

After statements in 2012 by CEO Dan Cathy who responded “Guilty as charged” when asked about opposing marriage equality resulted in much unwanted bad press, the company shared on its Facebook page it would change course and focus on chicken leaving the “policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

But ThinkProgress reports the company has continued to donate to anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

(source: BBC, ThinkProgress – image via Depositphotos)