Twitter Horrified By Will Smith’s Surprise Appearance in Aladdin Trailer at Grammys: ‘Straight, Nightmare Fuel’


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Remember when Disney released photos of their live-action ‘Aladdin’ remake with actor Will Smith as a Genie, and fans hated that he wasn’t blue? And remember how Smith reassured fans that he was, in fact, going to be blue in the final movie? Well, they hadn’t seen Smith as a blue Genie until a Sunday night Grammys commercial… and the internet is going bonkers. “You really don’t know who I am? Genie, wishes, lamp… none of that ringing a bell?” says a portly, blue Smith, who looks like a nightmarish Smurf. Twitter didn’t hesitate to drag Smith’s character all the way to Agrabah, reactions spanning from laughs and mockery to sheer horror.

National Geographic Hit With New Round of Layoffs


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National Geographic Partners laid off 12 full-time staffers last week, Mediaite has learned, the latest round of cuts that comes as parent company 21st Century Fox is expected to be sold to Disney in the coming months. All of the staffers laid off by National Geographic Partners — owner of the storied yet recently troubled National Geographic magazine and television channel — worked for the company’s digital newsroom and digital operation. A source told Mediaite the magazine’s editor in chief, Susan Goldberg, tried to cast the cuts as indicative of a move to emphasize the digital operation of National Geographic, even though all terminated employees worked in digital, and no magazine staffers were laid off. In a statement a National Geographic spokesperson told Mediaite: “Two months ago, we announced structural changes to the organization to drive growth. Changes last week were a continued effort to evolve our organization as Continue reading "National Geographic Hit With New Round of Layoffs"

Tamron Hall Strikes Deal With Disney, ABC to Host New Daytime Talk Show


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Former NBC anchor Tamron Hall is putting the finishing touches on a deal to host a new syndicated daytime talk show for Disney and ABC. Hall teased her social media followers last night when she suggested on Instagram that she had a new project in the works.

We all have “one more round” in us…#signs #motivation

A post shared by Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) on

ABC has now confirmed in a public statement that they’ve entered into a pending agreement with Hall for a new show. “We are incredibly excited to partner with Tamron and look forward to bringing a fresh, new daytime talk show to stations across the country that will showcase her enormous talent and dynamic personality,” said Janice Marinelli, the president of Disney/ABC Home Entertainment & Television Distribution. Hall issued a prepared statement of her own, which was picked up by The Continue reading "Tamron Hall Strikes Deal With Disney, ABC to Host New Daytime Talk Show"

Dave Bautista Threatens to Quit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Calls Firing of James Gunn ‘Nauseating’


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Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista is threatening to walk away from the franchise in his latest comments on the firing of director James Gunn. Gunn was fired amid controversy last month after alt-right bloggers dug up several old tweets of his containing jokes about pedophilia. Shortly after this happened, Bautista and the other stars of the Guardians films released a joint statement showing solidarity with Gunn and asking for a reversal of his termination. Last night, Bautista got on Twitter and told people that he’s still legally obligated to play Drax the Destroyer again when Vol. 3 comes out. However, he also says its “nauseating” to work for Disney when they’re playing into a “smear campaign” led by fascists and “cybernazis.”

Kurt Russell Thinks It’s ‘Sad’ Disney Fired James Gunn: ‘We’re Getting a Little Too Sensitive’


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Guardian of the Galaxy actor Kurt Russell thinks director James Gunn‘s firing from Disney is “sad.” Speaking to Variety on Saturday night, Russell defended Gunn, who was fired after a decade old tweets joking about pedophilia and other controversial topics surfaced. “It’s sad. But it’s a part of our fabric now, and I get it,”  Russell said during an Emmy celebration event. “But I do think we’re getting a little too sensitive on maybe some of the wrong people.” He added that he hopes Gunn is forgiven. “You have to realize that when you are in that world as a comedian, a writer, whatever you’re always stretching the boundaries and trying to find something which leads him to something that the world loves, which is Guardians of the Galaxy,” Russell said, noting Gunn has a “wonderful heart.” Earlier this week, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt Continue reading "Kurt Russell Thinks It’s ‘Sad’ Disney Fired James Gunn: ‘We’re Getting a Little Too Sensitive’"

BREAKING: Shareholders Approve Disney/Fox Merger For $71.3 Billion


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In a historic move, shareholders have approved Disney’s acquisition of Fox assets in the amount of $71.3 billion, the companies have confirmed Friday. According to Disney, 99 percent of shareholders approved the move, but Fox simply said that a “majority” had agreed, Deadline reports. Both companies anticipate a close in the first half of 2019. “Combining the 21CF businesses with Disney and establishing new ‘Fox’ will unlock significant value for our shareholders,” Fox’s Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “We are grateful to our shareholders for approving this transaction. I want to thank all of our executives and colleagues for their enormous contributions in building 21st Century Fox over the past decades. With their help, we expect the enlarged Disney and new ‘Fox’ companies will be pre-eminent in the entertainment and media industries.” “We’re incredibly pleased that shareholders of both companies have granted approval for us to move Continue reading "BREAKING: Shareholders Approve Disney/Fox Merger For $71.3 Billion"

Ted Cruz Says James Gunn Should Be Prosecuted Over Old Tweets Joking About Rape


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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said director James Gunn should be prosecuted for old tweets joking about rape and pedophilia that were recently resurfaced. Disney fired Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, after his tweets were unearthed by Pizzagaters Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, sparking a debate over whether the star director should have been fired as a result of a bad faith social media crusade. Then Ted Cruz weighed in. “Wow,” he tweeted, along with a nice collage of the offending tweets. “These #JamesGunn tweets are just horrible. Child rape is no laughing matter. As Texas SG, I handled far too many child sexual assaults. Truly evil.” “I’m glad Disney fired him, but if these tweets are true, he needs to be prosecuted,” Cruz added.

James Gunn Issues Apologetic Statement After Getting Axed by Disney for Past Offensive Tweets


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Director James Gunn is speaking out after being fired from Disney for his past offensive tweets. After a series of tweets — some making light of rape and pedophilia — were unearthed, Disney fired the Guardians of the Galaxy director. “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Walt Disney Company Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement on Thursday after the tweets were revealed. Gunn had also previously addressed the tweets, writing on Twitter, “I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today.” However, after he was fired, the director called the tweets “stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive.” “My Continue reading "James Gunn Issues Apologetic Statement After Getting Axed by Disney for Past Offensive Tweets"

Disney Severs Ties With Director James Gunn After Unearthed Offensive Tweets


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Disney has severed ties with director James Gunn after offensive tweets referencing pedophilia and rape and other controversial topics were unearthed. According to Deadline, which reported on theGuardians of the Galaxy director’s Disney demise:
In the latest shocking #metoo development in the entertainment industry, Gunn was severed from the Marvel Comics Universe after a slew of social media posts he wrote before getting Guardians of the Galaxy surfaced. According to Fox News, they were posted because Gunn is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and the effort was to knock him down a few pegs.
“I like when little boys touch me in my silly place,” one tweet read, according to Deadline. Another one read: “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!’” “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed
Continue reading "Disney Severs Ties With Director James Gunn After Unearthed Offensive Tweets"

Comcast Makes $65 Billion Offer to Fox, Setting Up Potential Bidding War With Disney


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You very likely heard a few months ago about Disney’s bid to acquire the vast majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets, but now Comcast has jumped into the fray. Comcast has made an all-cash offer of roughly $65 billion to acquire Fox’s assets. Per their letter to the Murdochs:
Dear Rupert, Lachlan and James, We have long admired what the Murdoch family has built at Twenty-First Century Fox. After our meetings last year, we came away convinced that the 21CF businesses to be sold are highly complementary to ours, and that our company would be the right strategic home for them. So, we were disappointed when Continue reading "Comcast Makes $65 Billion Offer to Fox, Setting Up Potential Bidding War With Disney"

Valerie Jarrett Speaks Out About Roseanne Tweet, Call From Disney CEO Bob Iger


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Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett appeared on an MSNBC special Tuesday night, and spoke about the racist tweet leveled at her earlier in the day by Roseanne Barr. The highly-anticipated special, titled “Everyday Racism in America” and hosted by Joy Reid, Al Sharpton and Chris Hayes, came the night that Barr, a comedian and actress, had her hit show cancelled by ABC over a racist tweet she wrote early Tuesday morning about Jarrett. Jarrett revealed that Disney CEO Bob Iger reached out to her to apologize before ABC, which is owned by Disney, pulled the plug on Roseanne. “I do and I want to mention that Bob Iger, who’s a CEO of Disney called me before the announcement,” Jarrett said. “He apologized. He said that he had zero tolerance for that sort of racist, bigoted comment, and he wanted me to know before he made it public that Continue reading "Valerie Jarrett Speaks Out About Roseanne Tweet, Call From Disney CEO Bob Iger"

SPOTTED: Bob Iger and Michael Bloomberg Dining Quietly in NYC


This post is by Caleb Ecarma from Mediaite


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In a confirmed tip, Mediaite has learned that Walt Disney Company chief executive Bob Iger was spotted dining with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While, of course, we did not hear the conversation, we’re told the multimillionaire and billionaire — respectively — enjoyed an Italian dinner at Gabriel’s near the Time Warner building on Columbus Circle in Manhattan at a quiet table. Iger is coming down from the massive success of — both in pop-culture and at the box office — Disney-owned Marvel’s Black Panther, recently saying the film “obliterated expectations, broken records & shattered myths.” “Powerful storytelling that touches hearts, bridges cultures, opens minds,” Iger said in a tweet last weekend. As for Bloomberg, the tenth richest man in the world has taken up the mantle of the #Resistance in opposing President Donald Trump and his administration on multiple fronts. He went after the White Continue reading "SPOTTED: Bob Iger and Michael Bloomberg Dining Quietly in NYC"

Turns out people really like podcasts after all (and now we have numbers to prove it)


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


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Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 149, published January 30, 2018. One month in. When Apple rolled out its long-awaited in-episode podcast analytics last month, part of the anxiety (and excitement, really) was finding out whether, essentially, the world would end. Which is to say, whether this whole podcast thing was a bubble, a house of cards; whether perhaps many of the metrics the industry had been using to articulate, extract, and transact its value was nothing more than inflated abstraction, like the hollow vitality of a viral tweet lifted up by a golemnic army of stolen identities. You can scratch that particular anxiety off the list. Over at Wired, Miranda Katz checked in with a few publishers one month in and wrote:
Though it’s still early days, the numbers podcasters are seeing are highly encouraging. Forget those worries that the podcast bubble Continue reading "Turns out people really like podcasts after all (and now we have numbers to prove it)"

Bonjour! Watch This Incredible Performer Sing Every Part of ‘Belle’ From Beauty and the Beast


This post is by Joseph A. Wulfsohn from Mediaite


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If you’re not familiar with the opening number from the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast, it involves an entire village welcoming viewers to the “poor provincial town” while at the same time introducing us to the “peculiar” heroine Belle. And if you’ve seen Beauty and the Beast either on-screen or on Broadway, then you’d know the song literally involves dozens of performers, many of whom have solos. Now imagine taking on the entire song all by yourself. Well, you don’t have to imagine it at all… because someone already did it. Earlier this month, Brian Esposito took it upon himself to perform every single role in “Belle,” from the baker, Gaston, LeFou, and even Belle herself during a live performance in a NYC diner. Esposito, a self-desribed “actor, singer, and waiter extraordinaire” works as a server at Ellen’s Stardust Diner and has apparently given numerous live performances. But his recent Continue reading "Bonjour! Watch This Incredible Performer Sing Every Part of ‘Belle’ From Beauty and the Beast"

Madame Tussauds Trolls the Hell Out of Disney’s New Trump Animatronic


This post is by Ken Meyer from Mediaite


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Madame Tussauds, the famous franchise museum of wax figurines, has joined the widespread online ridicule of President Trump’s depiction in Disney’s Hall of Presidents. Disney’s Magic Kingdom attraction is about to reopen after an eleven month closure, and they will introduce the world to their new Trump animatronic. However, shortly after the Trump robot was unveiled, pictures made their way onto the Internet, and there were massive levels of mockery for how…odd the thing looks. There were a lot of great reactions to the new robot in chief, but Madame Tussauds’ commentary on the animatronic takes the cake:

Disney’s Hall Of Presidents Set to Reopen, Unveiling New Trump Figure


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Disney announced today that the iconic Hall of Presidents will reopen to include President Donald Trump. Following a yearlong refurbishment, the attraction will open its doors to guests and fans on Tuesday marking Trump’s animatronic debut. The grand opening was originally supposed to be just in time for the Fourth of July but was later pushed back to “Late 2017.” Disney said the robotic lookalike includes some of the latest advancements in technology:
“An Audio-Animatronics figure of President Donald J. Trump has been added to the show and features the latest advances in technology that enable smoother and more lifelike movements. President Trump personally recorded remarks exclusively for The Hall of Presidents, just as each sitting president has done for the attraction since the early 1990s.”
In addition to the light and sound updates, the waiting area outside the theater has also been updated to include additional presidential memorabilia. Continue reading "Disney’s Hall Of Presidents Set to Reopen, Unveiling New Trump Figure"

MediaShift Podcast #251: Net Neutrality Rollback Could Hurt Local News; Disney Bulks Up to Take on Tech Giants; Nieman Lab’s Laura Hazard Owen


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“The Collaboration of the Week” is a new podcast segment highlighting one important media collaboration and explaining how they did it. The series is sponsored by Airtable, the all-in-one collaboration platform for creative teams. Receive $50 in credit by visiting airtable.com/mediashift. In the news this week, the FCC voted to roll back net neutrality rules, which could hurt local and independent news publishers, while giving ISPs cover to throttle and censor content. Disney bought most of 21st Century Fox in a bid to take on the growing strength of tech giants like Netflix, Amazon, Google, Facebook and even Apple in original content. Google spends €20 Million on 102 innovation journalism projects across Europe as part of its Digital News Initiative. Our Collaboration of the Week, presented by Airtable, is Documenting Hate, an effort by 100+ newsrooms to create a database of hate crimes across the country. Our Metric of
Continue reading "MediaShift Podcast #251: Net Neutrality Rollback Could Hurt Local News; Disney Bulks Up to Take on Tech Giants; Nieman Lab’s Laura Hazard Owen"

Disney/Pixar’s John Lasseter Taking Leave of Absence Amid Report on Alleged Sexual Misconduct


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Disney/Pixar executive John Lasseter is taking a leave of absence from the company in an announcement made before a bombshell report on alleged sexual misconduct dropped. The Hollywood Reporter‘s report out today says that Rashida Jones departed from working on Toy Story 4 after Lasseter made “an unwanted advance.” And per other sources, this was not an isolated incident:
One longtime Pixar employee says Lasseter, who is well-known for hugging employees and others in the entertainment community, was also known by insiders for “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” Multiple sources say Lasseter is known to drink heavily at company social events such as premiere parties but this source says the behavior was not always confined to such settings… Sources say some women at Pixar knew to turn their heads quickly when encountering him to avoid his kisses. Some used a move they called “the Lasseter” Continue reading "Disney/Pixar’s John Lasseter Taking Leave of Absence Amid Report on Alleged Sexual Misconduct"

Almost Everyone in the Disney/LA Times Feud Was Wrong…But Result Was Mostly Right


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


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A huge dustup broke out between media giant Disney and news media outlets which review films over Disney’s initial decision to ban The Los Angeles Times from previewing their movies. This was in retaliation for a piece the newspaper ran which was critical of the sweetheart arrangement Disney has with the city of Anaheim, where Disneyland is located.  Now, after many major media outlets rallied to their defense and pledged solidarity, Disney has caved in order to end the controversy. I find myself in the unique position of having a special loathing for nearly everyone involved in this story. My first documentary film was highly critical of Disney/ABC for censoring a mini-series about 9/11. As a former Los Angeles radio talk show host, I spent years attacking the very liberal LA Times. Now, as a father of two young girls and the husband of a huge Disney fan, Continue reading "Almost Everyone in the Disney/LA Times Feud Was Wrong…But Result Was Mostly Right"