Podcast: Reactions to Liam Neeson’s racist comments

Luka Kenyon, Linnea Lind and Olivia Hill discuss the public’s reaction to Liam Neeson’s racist comments in another EN4 News podcast.

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Liam Neeson was criticised this week for making racist comments (Credit: flickr)

Behind the music: problematic musicians

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The campaign #MuteRKelly wants the singer removed from Spotify. (Credit: Rachel Lee)

Have you ever felt a twinge of shame when scrolling through your Spotify library? Or tilted your screen so your friends couldn’t catch a glimpse of your throwback emo-phase songs or Pop princess playlist?

You wouldn’t be alone. But in the era of #MeToo – perhaps it’s time we feel ashamed of the musicians behind the music we love.

Like the victims, the fact that admired musicians are sexual predators has been largely ignored. From Elvis’s habit of scanning crowds for ‘cherries’ for his entourage to ‘pick’ (14 year-old girls to you and I) to the Rolling Stones selling T-shirts that boasted the band had survived decades of ‘under-age sex’ with ‘baby groupies’– the revelations are disturbing. And yet, their legendary status remains untarnished.

Over a year since the #MeToo movement became cemented in the public consciousness, the entertainment industry is finally looking behind the talent and fortune of its biggest stars and acknowledging what they really are: predators.

The campaign #MuteRKelly has gained traction in the wake of a revealing documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, which aimed to give a voice to the numerous women whom Robert Kelly preyed upon. It covered Kelly’s 20 years in the limelight – during which he was praised for his singing voice, sold over 30 million albums and eventually called ‘the most important R&B artist of the last 25 years’ – whilst knowingly abusing underage girls.

Why, might one ask, if the abuse was so well known, has it taken so long and a worldwide movement to recognise it?

Professor of Feminist Media studies at Strathclyde University Karen Boyle says,

“The women have got to matter enough for it to be a story. A lot of these stories have been stories for a long, long time but they weren’t stories because the women didn’t matter enough. The men mattered more and so the women weren’t believed.”

“We see it with the R. Kelly case – the abuse of black women is the lowest priority of all and especially black women who are sexualised.”

“With R Kelly, if you look at the intersectionality of it being racism as well as sexism – would it have persisted for as long as it had if it had been young white girls he had been abusing?”

credit to Lean-Op, Flickr

R.Kelly. (Credit: Lean-Op, Flickr)

This week, after protests outside Sony’s New York headquarters, the label has dropped R Kelly. Former collaborators, such as Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper and Celine Dion, have removed their songs with him from streaming sites. But R. Kelly is still touring – and selling out gigs for that matter.

Hannah Daly works for Edinburgh Rape Crisis and visits high schools to teach the definition of consent. She finds that a lot of teenagers believe that, quite simply, being falsely accused of rape is just a side effect of being a celebrity.

“There isn’t actually a lot of evidence that if you are a celebrity and have been proven to have committed sexual violence, that there will be any difference made to your life. Their careers aren’t destroyed by these allegations, and actually, people go on to have very successful careers for decades even when they have convictions.”

“From our experience, there isn’t really a lot to gain by making false allegations of sexual violence. Generally, I think our survivors would think the assumption that the celebrity status or the attention you’ll get in the media is somehow desirable to be very offensive.”

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The #MeToo movement opened up a discussion about problematic musicians. (Credit: Pexels)

Everyone knows that rape is wrong. We abhor rapists in everyday life. So what do you do when you find that your favourite artist has assaulted a woman or child? Do we make a pledge to #Mute all musicians who are sexual predators? Do we separate the rapist from the art and continue listening to their music?

It’s a question actress and presenter Jameela Jamil has offered a solution to. She proposed that we don’t take convicted abuser’s music offline, but instead that all the proceeds from royalties on steaming sites and iTunes should go to rape support charities. This would allow everyone to continue enjoying their favourite problematic artist’s music, innocent songwriters wouldn’t lose money and records companies wouldn’t have to compromise profit for morals. Sounds like a win-win right? Jamil called it ‘recycling without losing the songs’.

In 2019 it’s important we continue the premise of #MeToo by having discussions and asking questions in order to incite change. It’s time we stopped turning up the music to drown out the voices of thousands of young women.

Watch the vlodcast about this issue here.

Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

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Melissa McCarthy & Richard E. Grant. (Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

As the snow falls heavily on the skyscrapers and streets of New York City, writer Lee Israel suddenly finds herself without any financial security when she is fired from her job. Israel has talent but finds it impossible to make money from it, which pushes her towards the criminal activity of fabricating celebrity letters. The film is based on Israel’s 2008 memoir with the same name, in which she explained more about her path towards literary forgery.

Israel’s arrogance is palpable from the very start of the film, something actress Melissa McCarthy portrays genuinely. She doesn’t like anyone except her cat, who she seems to have great affection for. The love of her life. Although she appears in almost every scene of the film, it never gets boring. Her character is fascinating, even more so as it is based on a real writer. Israel doesn’t care about what others think of her, not in the slightest. She is fully herself. As she meets her extravagant drinking partner Jack Hock, played by Richard E. Grant, they explore the world of fabrication together. Grant is very convincing and entertaining and I specifically like their growing friendship that seems to make Israel find a little bit of joy in a world that she normally despises.

The director, Marielle Heller, managed to demonstrate Israel’s journey well – from the moment the downward spiral began with her money issues, all the way to her criminal career’s downfall. Despite its sadness, the film has many humorous moments. I found myself laughing out loud together with other viewers at the cinema at several parts. It was a very enjoyable watch and made me interested in reading the book. I think I will.

Watch the trailer below.

Netflix Vs YouTube: The battle for online views

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Netflix Original Bird Box was watched by 80 million households in its first month. Image: Netflix

Netflix released their earnings report last night, and the most interesting part of it is where they say that they have lost most of their viewership to people watching Fortnite on YouTube, rather than HBO or Hulu. 

Netflix’s quarterly earnings report revealed a bright future for the streaming giant, with Netflix having more than 139 million paying subscribers, adding another 8.8 million over the past three months.

Netflix claims it owes its success to Netflix Originals. Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock,  was watched by 80 million households in its first four weeks after release and Elite, a Spanish drama, was watched in 20 million households within its first four weeks as well. Analysts have estimated that Netflix spent $13 billion on original productions over the past year, and Netflix says that their spending is likely to increase.

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix addressed its competition, saying that it isn’t concerned about rival streaming services such as Disney+ or Amazon Prime, but are trying to win against all entertainment options. They said: “we compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO.”

Netflix added that “when YouTube went down globally for a few minutes in October, our viewing and signups spiked for that time.”

It is no surprise that Netflix feels threatened by YouTube — the Google-owned website rakes in amazingly high watch times, with over 1 billion hours of YouTube being watched every day. This is more than Netflix and Facebook Video combined.

We know that Netflix creates award-winning original content, so why does YouTube give Netflix so much competition?

YouTube is available in 80 languages, which is 95% of the online population and is free to use. Although there are advertisements on YouTube, it does have a premium service that removes ads. YouTube Premium costs £11.99 a month and the price of Netflix in the UK ranges from £5.99-£9.99 a month. YouTube premium is more costly, and in my opinion, the benefits of a subscription do not come close to what Netflix offers. This, however, does not change the fact that standard YouTube comes free.

Although the premise of YouTube is that anyone can upload essentially any video they want, the quality of these videos has increased dramatically. Expertly made documentaries, groundbreaking journalism and hilarious comedy sketches are becoming more and more frequent on the site. The average length for a YouTube video is only around 10 minutes long so a user can ‘dip in and dip out’ with little to no commitment, while most shows on Netflix have 30-60 minute long episodes.

The video creator, the ‘YouTuber,’ has become a phenomenon in itself. These YouTubers have become celebrities in their own right, some earning way above the average salary. People can identify with them because almost all YouTube channels began from humble beginnings, and they have achieved success from little more than hard work and commitment.

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YouTuber PewDiePie currently has over 81 million subscribers, currently the most-followed creator on the website.

A testament to YouTube’s popularity is the Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie, who has more than 81 million subscribers. Although subscribing to a channel on YouTube is free, it is still worth considering that one man has over half the number of subscribers as Netflix.

Netflix also mentioned Fortnite as a competitor, a video game that has achieved stunning and rapid success in the last year. Fortnite has streamers (people who stream themselves playing games to a live audience) and is increasing in popularity incredibly fast. Tyler Blevins, or ‘Ninja,’ became the first person to achieve five million followers on Twitch, and he also has over 250,000 paid subscribers on his channel. It is no wonder that Fortnite caused Netflix concern, it was a totally unexpected phenomenon.

Although YouTube may be causing Netflix’s numbers to drop, I don’t think there is any cause for concern. They both cater to different entertainment needs, and I can’t see one putting the other out of business. There will always be a place in the market for television shows and films, and nobody can predict how YouTube will continue to grow in popularity – but I am certain that the two can co-exist in a world where online content is essentially endless.

 

 

How dementia friendly is Edinburgh?

Dementia can be a lonely affliction but it doesn’t have to exile sufferers to the confines of their homes. The wider community can help the 90,000 Scottish people who battle the disease too, by making their area less daunting to tackle.

The fast pace of the big city might not seem like the kind of place to accommodate dementia but there are 7,647 people (as of 2017) in the City of Edinburgh area who live with it every day. And it’s not just a health concern for the elderly, it affects more than 40,000 under 65 in the UK. So, how can the city help make Edinburgh a more welcoming place for dementia sufferers? Simple changes can make a real difference to those living with the disease.

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Infographic designed by Jade du Preez for EN4 news 

Fat Cat Thursday: The worst day of the year?

FTSE 100 CEOs aren’t the most popular people in the UK at the best of time but coining the January 4 as Fat Cat Thursday may repulse people further.

It refers to the fact that only four days into the New Year, the majority of top bosses will have earned the average Brits’ yearly income. The average UK annual salary is £28,758 for full-time employees but some CEOs are making roughly £4.99 a minute, which means they make around 120x that of the average UK full-time worker. Although these big wigs have been facing salary cuts on an annual basis, they are still earning millions. By now (18th January 2019) the majority of CEOs will have earned £129,411 – that’s almost the price of a Lamborghini Huracan (£155,400)! To put it into further context, this is what FTSE 100 CEOs can buy roughly every four days on their salary:

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Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

The Highlands named as top world destination for 2019 by Lonely Planet

The Highlands and Islands have been selected as one of the top places in the world by Lonely Planet.

The beautiful landscape helped place the region in the top 10 of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2019.

The guide named the Highlands “one of the wildest, least inhabited and most scenic parts of Europe”. The “innovative and fast-developing” accommodation across the Highlands is another reason for the area’s high ranking.

Lonely Planet’s guide recommends looking out for a number of animals native to the area including red deer, golden eagles, otters and whales.

The Highlands have long been a popular destination. They are home to Britain’s largest National Park, Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, and a stunning coastline.

We found out where else in Scotland visitors should be sure to check out, by asking the public the most beautiful places they have been.

 

 

Should we have the right to our own image?

A mind-boggling scenario was brought to light in an Instagram post by Gigi Hadid last week. The model was forced to delete a photo from her Instagram page after her manager informed her that she was being “legally pursued” for posting a photo of herself taken by a paparazzi.

Hadid had found the photo uncredited on Twitter and had posted it to her Instagram account. She even said that she would have given credit to the photographer had they come forward and asked her to. Her frustration was clearly directed at the money-making tendencies of the paparazzi.

The model also shed light on the fact that some of her young fans who have Instagram accounts dedicated to her have had their accounts suspended or have been sued for posting images taken by the paparazzi.

View this post on Instagram

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A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

A valiant flock of celebs have rallied by Hadid’s side since her post, describing similar instances where they have been sued for posting their own faces. Kylie Jenner commented: “We’re ‘public figures’ and it’s legal for them to invade our privacy. It’s pretty disappointing. We gotta change this,” whilst Emily Ratajkowski reposted Gigi’s post.

This is a complex issue to come to terms with. The job of the paparazzi is to photograph and circulate images of celebrities in the media, so choosing to sue a celebrity that posts your photo seems backwards and paradoxical. Surely, we should all have the right to post a photo of ourselves no matter who took it, but there is no law in place to make this the case. Anyone, not just the paparazzi, who takes a photo, owns that photo through copyright law and is liable to sue for improper use.

Here is how the law currently stands:

 

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The law surrounding the paparazzi in England changed significantly after Princess Diana’s death in 1997. Despite her death being the result of a car accident, she was being chased by intrusive paparazzi at the time. A Gallup poll from 1997 reveals that 43% of the UK public thought that the photographers were responsible for the collision.

After Diana’s death, the Protection from Harassment Act became an important way for celebrities to arm themselves against the paps; as did the Press Complaints Commission, who carefully reviewed its press regulations.

There have been many more examples of safety being a key worry, both for celebrities and for the paparazzi. In 2013, a paparazzi was killed when he was run over whilst trying to photograph Justin Bieber in his car.

There are also some bizarre examples of copyright law which are now being questioned. In 2015, PETA attempted to sue a photographer for posting a ‘selfie’ that a monkey had taken. They argued that publishing and selling the photographs that the monkey had taken infringed his copyright. Earlier this year it was decided that, as a monkey, Naruto couldn’t own the copyright for the pictures.

However, the issues brought up last week pose a new, contemporary set of problems. These are issues that arise as products of the internet era. They have raised the question of whether traditional copyright rules are perhaps outdated in the time of platforms like Instagram and other photo sharing sites.

The issues raised by Hadid prove that there is a flaw in the law if we don’t even own the rights to photos of our own faces. Perhaps the law now actually acts in favour of paparazzi rather than the subjects of their taunting. The question is, can we fight for the right to have control over unsolicited pictures of our own faces, and what will protect us when fighting for this right?

 

 

 

 

Hate crime has no place in Scotland

With “Leith Stands Up To Racism” planned for the 27th of October, Michaella Wheatley takes a look at the latest campaigns to combat hate crime.

Scotland is known for many things such as kilts, whisky and haggis. It’s even known for providing some of the greatest talent – Billy Connolly, Ewan McGregor, and Karen Gillan. People come to see Edinburgh Castle, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and even the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

However, on the 24th of September, Scotland added one more attraction to the list, and this one seems to buck the trend.

The country is putting a stop to hate crime. It will no longer be home to hatred.

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The “Letters from Scotland” campaign hopes to end hate crime in the country. Credit to One Scotland.

It’s been declared on walls, radio, and TV, that no type of hate is allowed in the country. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, Scotland will not stand for hate against anyone.

The “Letters from Scotland” campaign, founded by One Scotland, is the latest force to put a stop to the hate crime that has increased throughout the country. With so much uncertainty, last year’s terrorist attacks and the country’s vote on Brexit are still fresh in people’s minds and there is a concern that hate crimes could flare drastically.

In Edinburgh, only one type of aggravated crime was reported to have decreased, as stated by the Procurator Fiscal Office. Below are the statistics of hate crimes reported:

Edinburgh's aggravated crime

But One Scotland has faith in its country, as the website reads:

“Scotland believes in equality for all. No one should be denied for opportunities because of age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.”

It’s only been a month since the message was first displayed, but the campaign has already made a large impact. It would be no surprise if the campaign becomes one of the strongest against hate crime in Scottish history.

There is almost no escaping the words on the letters,  as soon as you read “Dear…” or hear a strong Scottish tone, you know what’s about to happen.

Following One Scotland’s lead, the Scottish Government and Police Scotland have also shown support for the campaign.  In the last year, more than 5,300 charges of hate crime were reported to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. However, it is believed that several incidents go unreported. The campaign is hoped to raise awareness, as well as the need to combat the issue in a positive manner.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, said, “As somebody who has faced Islamaphobic and racial abuse over the years, I know how upsetting being a victim of hate can be. Hate crime and prejudice are completely unacceptable and we are absolutely committed to tackling it.

“We all have a role to play in stamping out prejudice and I would ask anyone who witnesses a hate crime to play their part and report it.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice also commented specifically on the campaign on Twitter last month:

The trend to stand up against hate crimes goes further than this campaign, with “Stand Up To Racism Edinburgh” organising a march to take place on the 27th of October. The event, which will start at 11am on Balfour Street, will be in response to recent hate crimes in the city.

“Leith Stands Up To Racism” will declare that migrants and refugees are welcome in the capital.

Stand Up To Racism Edinburgh stated on Facebook that “Last month, over 300 people came out to support a peace vigil in response to the firebombing of the Sikh temple in Leith, which the police are treating as a hate crime.

“Earlier this year, two young Polish men were physically attacked in Davidson Mains, and Shabaz Ali, a young Syrian refugee, was stabbed six times in a racially motivated attempted murder attack in the Fountainbridge area.”

A number of film screenings were held across Edinburgh between October 2017 and March 2018. “Syrian Voices”, a short film focusing on three refugee families living in Edinburgh, was also shown at Edinburgh University on the 10th of October.

There is no question that Scotland wants to put an end to hate crime, and these campaigns and events might be the turning point to make it happen.

So, if you witness an act of hate, do what’s right and report it – because as One Scotland said:

“There’s no place for hate crime in Scotland. It’s everyone’s responsibility to challenge it.”

EN4News were lucky enough to chat with Steve West, who was promoting the Leith Stands Up To Racism march. Watch the video below:

 

Are we living in a “Peter Pan Generation”?

Every year I would get excited about my birthday. When I was 12, I couldn’t wait to turn 13 so I could class myself a teenager. When I was 15, I counted down to my 16th birthday because 16 sounded so grown up. I wanted to get a job, earn money, and be able to vote; I was in a rush to get on with my life. I was excited to turn 17 so I could learn to drive and then, finally, to be 18 so I could go out for drinks, leave school and go to university.

However, that changed the year I was turning 22.

As a teenager, I looked at people in their twenties and thought of them as adults, who had everything figured out and knew what they wanted in life. I was dreading turning 22 because I knew I didn’t exactly have a “life plan” – I didn’t know what I wanted to be doing at 40, and although I had my stuff together, it wasn’t a fit “long-term” solution.

The day after my 22nd birthday – after celebrating, of course – I was thinking to myself “Right, you need to get your life together now.” I made a list in my head of all the things I felt like I needed to do as a woman in her twenties. That list included things like saving money, enough to look at moving out; decide if I wanted to have kids and start a family or not; make a plan on finding a career job after graduating university;…

In short: I was thinking of everything that I considered proper-grown-up decisions that would set the course for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until I was talking to my friend about it, and she told me I was acting like a 35-year-old, not like a girl aged 22, and that I should enjoy being young while I am.

I instantly felt better and assured, so I relaxed. But I did remind her that when my parents were in their early-to-mid twenties, they were married, living in a house and paying a mortgage with a one-year-old and another baby on the way.

“Relax,” she said. “That was a totally different era.”

That could not have been a truer statement – enter the Peter Pan Generation.

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Do we live in a Peter Pan Generation? Credits to Lalelu2000

The Peter Pan Generation is how people label today’s society and its millennials and tricenarians. It argues that people are in denial about their age and, as a result, behave in much the same way as they did ten years ago, like spending money today rather than putting it aside for the future.

This may sound reckless, irresponsible and even immature, but also very recognisable. It represents a group of 25-to-40-year-olds, who exist in a state of extended adolescence and avoid the trappings of responsibility — marriage, mortgage, children — for as long as possible.

Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist at the University of Kent, who has been studying this phenomenon, said: “Our society is full of lost boys and girls hanging out at the edge of adulthood.”

Currently, the average age at which people marry is 30 for women and 32 for men, whereas back in in the 1970s, women typically married at 22 and men at 24.

Rather than starting a family at 23 (as it was in the 1970s), women are now starting a family at 34, and more than ever at 40 because of fertility treatments and IVF.

As for taking on the commitment of buying a house, the age of first-time buyers has gone from an average of 29-years-old in the 1980s to on average, 38, before they buy their first home. A report from LV Insurers suggests that by 2025, the average age of a first-time home-buyer will be 41.

Three million people aged 20 to 34 still live with their parents, and many others still rely on their parents. According to a report earlier this year, more than 13 million parents paid out over £34 billion in loans to their children who were well into their forties.

So you could say our parents’ generation is a totally different era. But why?

Today’s economy could be to blame. Moving out and buying your own place are considered the first steps of growing up, but in today’s society, that is harder than ever. We constantly hear stories of those who need to move back home just to save for the insurmountable deposits needed to buy a property.

People growing up in our generation can be afraid to do these things — scared to think of themselves as proper adults. Or it could simply be that people in their twenties and thirties feel like they don’t need to grow up (or settle down) just yet.

Some people of our generation don’t feel they need to start work and start a family as soon as they hit their twenties the way previous generations used to. That little window of opportunity means we can play around with our youth a little longer.

 

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