Should HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ have had more actors of color? Twitter suggestion met with ridicule

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HBO’s hit new series based on the Chernobyl tragedy has divided opinion online, but the oddest reaction yet has come from a budding UK actor wondering why the show’s creators had not chosen more people of color for the cast.

While the docudrama has come under criticism for various historical inaccuracies, until now, the lack of racial diversity among the actors was not one of those criticisms — for the simple reason that 1980s Ukraine was not exactly a thriving hub of modern-day multiculturalism.

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That should have been no reason to leave black and brown actors out though, according to actress Karla Marie Sweet, who tweeted that there are “so many great actors of colour” in the UK who “would’ve been amazing” in the series. Sweet felt “disappointed” to see “yet another hit show with a massive cast” that “makes it looks like PoC don’t exist.”

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Just to clear up any confusion, the show “makes it look” like that to reflect the reality of the time and place — and the producers seem to have been at least trying to create an authentic vibe.

Needless to say, Sweet’s tweet didn’t exactly go down well on Twitter, where she was promptly told to “learn history.”

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“You didn’t see PoC because they’re not there!”

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One user said perhaps the actors were chosen for the same reason that Martin Luther King should probably not be played by a white person — because he was black.

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Another said he was taking a screenshot of the thread because “nobody will believe” something so stupid could have been posted.

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To be fair, Sweet did at least acknowledge the lack of people of color in the USSR in another tweet, but suggested that since the actors spoke with British accents (it was a British production), the creators should have just thrown accuracy completely out the window and hired a more diverse-looking cast. Emotions like fear, panic and sadness can be “communicated just as effectively” by people of color, she added, missing the point entirely.

‘Chernobyl’ is a blast of a TV series – but don’t call it ‘authentic’

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Having actors of another race would “break immersion” for the viewers, another user tried to explain — but ultimately, Sweet didn’t seem open to criticism, later tweeting about the reactions she had received from “racist Twitter.”

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Bilderberg 2019: Who’s going and what will they be discussing?

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Roughly 130 world leaders from 23 countries, ranging from royalty to industry and everything in between, will attend the 2019 Bilderberg Group this week, to discuss topics like Russia, Brexit and the future of AI.

The ultra-secretive meeting will take place from Thursday to Sunday in Montreux, Switzerland. Founded in 1954, the notorious meeting is ostensibly aimed at improving relations between the US and Europe, though the event has long been shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories as attendees are forbidden from disclosing what was discussed.

Many contend it has a far more sinister purpose than mere international relations. Theories range from far-left worries that the group’s aim is to impose eternal capitalist domination, while some on the right have expressed concerns about the establishment of a world government named the New World Order.

Rebelling against ‘globalism’ & a ‘new world order’ doesn’t make Farage an ‘anti-Semite’

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Top politicians, business leaders, financiers and academics usually traditionally rank among the invitees. Among the confirmed 2019 attendees are some powerful titans of the tech industry including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, leading bankers from Goldman Sachs and the Bank of England as well as Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, and notable world leaders and former politicians including former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump adviser Jared Kushner also features on the confirmed guest list while rumors circulate that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might make an appearance, reportedly to discuss the Iran situation with Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, though he does not appear on the official guest list. The Swiss Finance Ministry has denied such reports but Switzerland often represents US interests in Iran as a go-between.

US think tank goes big-game hunting for Russia. Guess who gets shot in the foot?

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The published 2019 talking points include topics such as Brexit, the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI), climate change and sustainability, and the future of space exploration. Russia, China, the future of capitalism, and the weaponization of social media also feature among the loose list of discussion topics. However, meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, meaning participants may use any information gleaned therein but may not disclose its source or their affiliations, so that discussion may take place in a ‘free-fire’ zone away from the scrutiny of public discourse. No votes are taken, no policies set and no statements are made at the meeting.

One of the founders of the group, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, said the extreme secrecy was necessary so that “severe economic dips like the Great Depressions could be avoided if responsible and influential leaders could manage world events behind their necessary public posturing.”

Confirmed past luminaries who have graced the top secret meeting include: Bill Clinton (1991), David Cameron (2013), Bill Gates (2010), Prince Charles (1986), Jeff Bezos (2011, 2013), Margaret Thatcher (1975, 1976 and 1986) and banker David Rockefeller (2008, 2009, 2011).

Now that even MLK is a ‘sex criminal’, maybe US can stop toppling statues and ‘canceling’ people?

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The long-delayed reckoning for Martin Luther King Jr is a chance for America to step back from immature social justice radicalism, and once again separate people’s personal lives from their public achievements.

Accounts of the civil rights hero’s infidelity and voracious sexual appetite date back to his lifetime, but the latest accusations, presented by his esteemed biographer David Garrow on the basis of FBI surveillance tapes, won’t disappear neatly under the carpet.

They are too graphic, including orgies and boasts about founding the “International Association for the Advancement of Pussy-Eaters.” They are too criminal, cheering a fellow pastor as he allegedly raped a woman in a hotel room. And most importantly, they are the first ones to surface since #MeToo.

‘Time for some statue removals?’ Twitter reacts to MLK sex life claims, rape comments

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Some on the right have called for vengeance, just as for historic figures, some of them dead for centuries like Robert E Lee, who have been punished for failing to adhere to present day liberal views. And celebrities, who have been branded as anything from sex pests to rapists to pedophiles on much thinner evidence.

So, it’s only fair that we cancel Martin Luther King Jr Day, rename all the streets and schools named after him, take down the statues, and rewrite the textbooks. No more biopics.

But what if instead, we break the cycle of cultural violence?

Surely this is the moment when even the most passionate cancel-happy #TimesUp activists can admit that King’s contribution to the civil rights movement, both as a person and a symbol, is such that no amount of private misdeeds will detract from it.

Indians ‘infinitely superior’ to blacks: Gandhi statue removed for racist remarks against Africans

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And perhaps as well as learning not to judge too harshly, Americans will be wary of erecting more idols. After all, we have been here before with Mahatma Gandhi’s naked sleeping with teen relatives, Mother Teresa’s refusal to apply modern medicine that could have saved lives, Nelson Mandela’s role in violent resistance, Aung San Suu Kyi’s rule, and even MLK’s own undeniable plagiarism in academic texts and speeches.

This is an opportunity not only to step back from the Manichean hysteria, but perhaps even a chance to reach across the political divide tearing America apart daily. By treating MLK with humanity and a sense of proportion, the same generosity could then be extended to other “sinners,” even those who do not share the same values.

MLK was flawed, Ronald Reagan was flawed, as were John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Malcolm X, and George W. Bush. Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Brett Kavanaugh and Barack Obama and other recent media punching bags are not personifications of evil, but merely public servants trying to do what they believe is best for the country.

But this reads like a naive fantasy.

This is what will more likely happen: excuses will be made for King – the subconsciously racist lower standards of sexual propriety will be applied to a black man. Or perhaps doubt will be cast on the veracity and provenance of the information; focus shifted to the villainy of the FBI that traced MLK’s every step, but did not protect him or his alleged victims.

At worst, MLK’s reputation will take a battering but retain its overall shape. But most likely of all, the impolitic truths will be double-thought out of existence, both acknowledged and forgotten at the same time. Congress will again keep official full FBI records that should have been long opened – and that could confirm or disprove Garrow’s claims – sealed until 2027 and beyond, prolonging the timer on the bomb.

And the same unyielding standards will continue to be applied from the vanguard of the left to the usual targets on the right. The political imperatives are too strong. Because when the big social confrontations are at stake, the heroes must always be saints, and the enemies devils.

By Igor Ogorodnev

 

Belgian Authorities Clear Migrants From ‘No-Go’ Transit Station

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Dutch Ministry of Justice covered up ‘serious crimes’ by asylum seekers. Rape, battery, murder, etc. listed unspecified as “Other”

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Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reveals attempts by the Ministry of Justice and Safety to obfuscate the amount of crime committed by asylum seekers. In an article published on 16 May, the paper writes that despite promises of openness, the Ministry has attempted to hide serious crimes by misnaming them ‘other incidents’. Those ‘other incidents’ include rape cases and child abuse.

This deliberate attempt at misleading the public comes after De Telegraaf had to resort to legal steps in 2017 to get data on crimes committed by asylum seekers. Then, the Ministry denied keeping a separate registration, claiming it had no figures to release. In reality, the police kept statistics, with De Telegraafclaiming the sheer volume of the files kept the authorities from releasing the information.

In what the paper dubs a ‘painful affair’, two years later the Ministry is up to its old tricks again. The aim is yet again to obscure: it is the Ministry that grouped a 1000 ‘other crimes’, and yet again De Telegraaf had to resort to police sources to fill in the deliberate blanks.

Of the 1000 ‘others’, 79 were sexual offences, ranging from sexual assault, to sexual abuse of children, to rape, to possession of child pornography. Police were called for 51 cases of battery, 31 cases of murder or manslaughter. There were 5 counts of kidnap or hostage taking, 4 times it was for human trafficking, and 73 times there was a disturbance of the peace.

The Ministry, meanwhile, professes its innocence. A spokesperson blames the police for not giving exact enough data. But the fact that the police has the information, implies that the Ministry could have demanded the information, according to Jasper van Dijk, MP. He concludes that “it is remarkable that the Ministry didn’t report this [want of information], this is a lack of transparency. We need to know what we are debating.”

The 1000 ‘other’ crimes paint a less than sterling picture of the situation in and around asylum locations. In total, the police registered 4600 crimes committed by asylum seekers in 2018. Shoplifting (2030 cases) was popular, followed by pickpocketing, stealing purses, physical abuse and making threats.

read the rest of the article here.

‘Christchurch Call’ is a blueprint for more online censorship — and Zuckerberg is a big fan

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By Danielle Ryan

There is nothing inherently wrong with the new ‘Christchurch Call’ to curb violent and terrorist content online. No one in their right mind wants mass shootings live-streamed online — but it’s what comes next that should worry us.

Drawn up in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque massacre, which was streamed live online, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s ‘Christchurch Call’ is billed as a “roadmap for action” and calls for the “immediate and permanent” removal of “terrorist and violent extremist content” from social media platforms. It has been signed by 18 governments and eight tech companies.

On the face of it, that sounds fine. It’s difficult to argue against removing terrorist content from the platforms so many of us use on a daily basis. The trouble is, Ardern has already admitted that the pledge is simply a “starting point” — and if you were expecting this to be the moment at which social media companies finally began to push back a little bit, sorry to disappoint you, but they’re all in on it together.

ALSO ON RT.COMFacebook ban on Alex Jones and others is a form of modern-day book burning

Endorsing censorship

Lord of social media, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is afflicted with an obvious and ever-worsening God complex, offered a full-throated endorsement of online censorship a few days ago, saying “…the question of what speech should be acceptable and what is harmful needs to be defined by regulation, by thoughtful governments.”

That’s right, Zuck thinks “thoughtful governments” should be deciding what is “acceptable” for us to say online. There’s no ambiguity there. It’s a simple, straight-forward endorsement of the idea that governments should be allowed to regulate our speech. If that doesn’t worry you, then maybe you’re the kind of person who reads dystopian novels and cheers for the wrong side.

Zuckerberg’s comment isn’t exactly out of the blue. Facebook is already under fire for censoring political speech from both the right and left ends of the political spectrum. The company has banned a slew of right-wing commentators and conservative agitators from its platform and taken worrying steps against leftist and anti-war activists around the world.

Just the beginning

So, if social media companies aren’t going to fight back on our behalf (and they clearly are not), who will? The obvious answer is “journalists” — but they don’t appear to be in too much of a rush to halt this creeping censorship either. Some of them appear to be advocating more censorship, rather than less.

ALSO ON RT.COMNo kissing gays or conservative hunters: Overcautious Facebook blocks political ads in SwedenIn an interview with Le Monde on Monday, Ardern was asked why she decided to focus “uniquely on violent terrorist content, and not more broadly on hate speech, which also contributes to the drift in social media?”

Ardern replied that focusing on terrorist content was just the “point of departure” on which everyone could agree. So this is a journey we are on. We’ve departed at ‘terrorism is bad’ — but where will we end? Ardern said she was wary that going any further right now would “open the way for debate” on potential risks to freedom of expression. But in a joint press conference on Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron, she said her hope was that working together, governments and tech companies could “eliminate ideologies of hate.”

That would be lovely — and if only the word were so simple, we could just eliminate all the meanies from the internet and live in an online utopia. Unfortunately, this is completely unrealistic, and when you start talking about eliminating certain ideologies, that’s where things get sketchy. Particularly if we’re going to delegate the task of deciding what is and is not “harmful” (as Zuckerberg said) to “thoughtful governments.”

‘Hate speech’ or ‘free speech’?

Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis is set to sign a bill that would make it a “hate crime” to “demonize” or“delegitimize” Israel. The bill purports to be about “anti-Semitism” but it’s really just a vehicle to censor and even criminalize political speech. You see, that’s the kind of thing that “thoughtful” politicians get up to if left to their own devices. Then again, the Florida bill probably isn’t something that would ring alarm bells at Facebook HQ, either. Zuckerberg already happily complies with orders from the Israeli government to delete Palestinian activist accounts.

As for the US government, it has refused to sign Ardern’s ‘Christchurch Call’ citing first amendment rights — but declining to sign a vague and non-binding agreement doesn’t mean much. Capitol Hill is still swarming with politicians just dying to enforce more restrictions on free speech.

ALSO ON RT.COMFrance wants more govt regulation of Facebook and Zuckerberg calls it ‘model’ approachDemocratic Senator Chris Murphy tweeted in the aftermath of last year’s Infowars ban that the very “survival of [US] democracy” depends on Facebook’s willingness to “take down” more websites that “tear our country apart.” Sure, why don’t they just get rid of any content that could conceivably be categorized as divisive? Sounds like a foolproof plan.

A US government intelligence report last year highlighted a former RT show hosted by Abby Martin as an example of content that sowed “radical discontent” in society for critically covering controversial issues like US regime change wars, fracking, capitalism and police brutality. Be careful out there, you never know what could be defined as “radical” content next.

As journalist Igor Ogorodnev wrote in a recent oped, the aftermath of an atrocity “is a honeypot for short-sighted do-gooders buzzing about looking to do something, but also opportunist politicians to realize their long-harbored ambitions.”

Trying to distract us

Social media is what the public uses to organize en masse in the 21st century.

Is it any wonder that Macron, facing months of Yellow Vest protests against his government, is helping lead the charge toward more online censorship?

A French government report recently called for the eradication of content that damages “social cohesion” and warned that“false information,”“unfounded rumors” and “individuals pursuing political or financial objectives” can have an impact on “the social order.” But who decides what constitutes “false information” and “unfounded rumors”? Is Macron’s government “thoughtful” enough for Zuckerberg?

ALSO ON RT.COMWhite House posts call for social media censorship stories, triggering hope & cynicismOf course, it’s much easier for governments to pass the blame for social discontent onto companies like Facebook, while arguing that censorship is the only solution. If they didn’t do that, they’d have to admit that what really drives mass discontent are the neoliberal policies that have had a detrimental effect on basic standards of living, wiped out people’s life savings and ravaged the planet.

But maybe that’s all something Ardern and Macron can work on some other day — that is, if we’re allowed to talk about it.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

UK POLICE FORCE RIDICULED FOR CONFISCATING A SPOON

UK Police Force Ridiculed For Confiscating a Spoon

Fighting violent crime one kitchen utensil at a time

A police force in the UK has been ridiculed for bragging about fighting knife crime by confiscating a spoon.

Regents Park Police said that a local charity shop had handed over a collection of potentially dangerous weapons to prevent criminals buying them.

“Yesterday we conducted weapons sweeps, dealt with a person injured from a van reversing on them, reported a burglary and collected all these from @scope charity shop who diligently didn’t want them to get into the wrong hands & disposed of correctly & safely,” said the police force in a tweet.

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Eagle-eyed observers soon noted that amongst the trawl of deadly weapons, most of which were cooking knives and letter openers, was a spoon.

That’s right. With violent crime soaring and street gangs becoming more vicious, police in London are confiscating spoons.

“They CHOSE to include the spoon,” commented journalist Tim Pool. “They could have just left it out. They really do think spoons are dangerous.”

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“Cereal killer,” joked another respondent.

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“If you can’t trust the new Londoners you imported to handle spoons without stabbing someone, perhaps you have a problem which requires more than spoon confiscation to solve?” asks Chris Menahan.

The same police force was also ridiculed last year for confiscating pliers, scissors and a screwdriver.

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The war on spoons doesn’t really seem to be helping reduce knife crime in the UK, which recently hit its highest level since records began.

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There is a war on free speech. Without your support, my voice will be silenced.

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