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Afternoon Update: The LAPD’s Budget Takes a $150 Million Hit

» Los Angeles City Council voted today to reduce the LAPD’s budget by $150 million, to cut hiring, and reduce the number of sworn officers on the force. According to Councilman Curren Price, two-thirds of the money saved will go toward services for communities of color. [Los Angeles Times]

» D.L. Hughley called himself a “regular Typhoid Mary” for unwittingly exposing his radio show staff to COVID-19. The comedian hadn’t exhibited symptoms until he collapsed during a performance in Nashville last month. [TMZ]

» Apple is temporarily closing a slew of its Southern California stores amid the COVID-19 spike. The locations that are shuttering include popular outposts at Glendale Galleria, the Americana, and the Grove. [Deadline]

» Two years after Norman Pearlstine was tasked with reinventing the Los Angeles Times as executive editor, Vice asks, “What went wrong?” [Vice]

» Not content to not vacation during the pandemic, the superwealthy have apparently adapted by taking road trips in luxury RVs. [Town & Country


RELATED: Orange County Is Still at War with Itself Over the Mask Mandate


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Echo Park’s Iconic House of Spirits Sign Has Been Rescued by the Museum of Neon Art

Folks wandering by Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue this morning may have noticed that the puffy clouds drifting overhead were made of steel and hanging from a crane. The iconic collection of vintage 1950s signage was removed from the House of Spirits today by Glendale’s Museum of Neon Art and will be restored by the museum, which hopes to eventually put them on display near their current location.

The Telis family, who has owned the building for 50 years and ran the neighborhood store for much of that time, donated the storybook house with the crooked chimney, white picket fence, and neon tree after many months of negotiations with the museum.

“They took great pains to protect the sign and put it in good hands,” says museum director Corrie Siegel. “They know that we have the best interest of the community at heart.”

The store closed after a major fire last year and the ruins have been ransacked. A neon liquor bottle that was once part of the composition was stolen and is still missing, so the museum knew it was time to act. “We’re putting up a banner in English and Spanish,” says Siegel. “We wanted to explain where the sign is going and that we hope to return it.”

The bucolic tiny house and streamline “House of Spirits” lettering measures about 50 feet long and fills the entire face of the building. “It’s beaten and weathered,” says museum president Eric Lynxwiler. “But the tubes are intact, and we will clean it up until we find a new home for it in Echo Park.” The museum owns several of the classic signs on display at Universal Citywalk and leases them to the shopping center.

Potential buyers had approached the family, including a developer who wanted the house to promote their business and one with an idea to change the lettering. “We want to put it back in its entirety,” Lynxwiler said. “We don’t want to see it changed to ‘House of Burgers.’”


RELATED: The Happy Foot/Sad Foot Sign Is Safe and Sound Inside a Los Feliz Boutique


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DAILY TRACKER: Updates on L.A. County’s COVID-19 Cases

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Coronavirus Cases Los Angeles, Update 7/1/2020:

Below is the current breakdown of coronavirus cases as of 8 p.m. on June 30. There are now 105,507 total confirmed cases (+2,002 from prior day). Of the cases, 8,378 have been hospitalized and there have been 3,402 deaths (+35 from prior day). The regions with the highest rate of infections per capita are Vernon, Castaic, and Sagus. The most deaths have been recorded in Glendale (108), Westlake (99), Pico-Union (66), and Inglewood (63).

Novel Coronavirus Cases in Los Angeles County, by Neighborhood
Acton 25
Adams-Normandie 103
Agoura Hills 61
Agua Dulce 13
Alhambra 457
Alsace 151
Altadena 240
Anaverde 4
Angeles National Forest 4
Angelino Heights 24
Arcadia 197
Arleta 498
Artesia 106
Athens Village 72
Athens-Westmont 512
Atwater Village 84
Avalon 6
Avocado Heights 77
Azusa 615
Baldwin Hills 281
Baldwin Park 929
Bassett 245
Bel Air 48
Bell 672
Bell Gardens 715
Bellflower 881
Beverly Crest 56
Beverly Hills 243
Beverlywood 60
Bouquet Canyon 1
Boyle Heights 1768
Bradbury 9
Brentwood 119
Brookside 1
Burbank 586
Cadillac-Corning 49
Calabasas 130
Canoga Park 814
Canyon Country 47
Carson 673
Carthay 128
Castaic 1791
Central 994
Century City 54
Century Palms/Cove 606
Cerritos 230
Chatsworth 289
Cheviot Hills 31
Chinatown 40
Claremont 108
Cloverdale/Cochran 132
Commerce 203
Compton 1490
Country Club Park 147
Covina 575
Covina (Charter Oak) 97
Crenshaw District 126
Crestview 123
Cudahy 463
Culver City 214
Del Aire 29
Del Rey 137
Del Sur 3
Desert View Highlands 8
Diamond Bar 179
Downey 1637
Downtown 314
Duarte 199
Duarte 37
Eagle Rock 323
East Hollywood 337
East La Mirada 35
East Los Angeles 2542
East Pasadena 5
East Rancho Dominguez 195
East Whittier 33
Echo Park 86
El Camino Village 74
El Monte 1556
El Segundo 57
El Sereno 440
Elizabeth Lake 4
Elysian Park 26
Elysian Valley 119
Encino 216
Exposition 34
Exposition Park 504
Faircrest Heights 10
Figueroa Park Square 104
Florence-Firestone 2346
Gardena 520
Glassell Park 306
Glendale 1455
Glendora 344
Gramercy Place 104
Granada Hills 540
Green Meadows 354
Hacienda Heights 363
Hancock Park 130
Harbor City 201
Harbor Gateway 311
Harbor Pines 9
Harvard Heights 235
Harvard Park 604
Hawaiian Gardens 183
Hawthorne 757
Hermosa Beach 77
Hi Vista 1
Hidden Hills 4
Highland Park 474
Historic Filipinotown 220
Hollywood 477
Hollywood Hills 124
Huntington Park 1196
Hyde Park 282
Industry 13
Inglewood 1060
Irwindale 14
Jefferson Park 99
Kagel/Lopez Canyons 9
Koreatown 500
La Canada Flintridge 79
La Crescenta-Montrose 57
La Habra Heights 15
La Mirada 329
La Puente 458
La Rambla 61
La Verne 134
Ladera Heights 32
Lafayette Square 35
Lake Balboa 352
Lake Hughes 1
Lake Los Angeles 60
Lake Manor 5
Lakeview Terrace 248
Lakewood 457
Lancaster 1128
Lawndale 202
Leimert Park 111
Lennox 218
Leona Valley 10
Lincoln Heights 500
Little Armenia 256
Little Bangladesh 242
Little Tokyo 37
Littlerock 24
Littlerock/Juniper Hills 2
Littlerock/Pearblossom 35
Llano 1
Lomita 84
Long Beach 4120
Longwood 51
Los Feliz 83
Lynwood 1347
Malibu 52
Manchester Square 51
Mandeville Canyon 3
Manhattan Beach 137
Mar Vista 130
Marina del Rey 20
Marina Peninsula 20
Maywood 629
Melrose 915
Mid-city 164
Miracle Mile 69
Mission Hills 285
Monrovia 338
Montebello 939
Monterey Park 335
Mt. Washington 189
Newhall 3
North Hills 780
North Hollywood 1275
North Lancaster 7
North Whittier 54
Northeast San Gabriel 102
Northridge 587
Norwalk 1192
Pacific Palisades 73
Pacoima 1316
Palisades Highlands 9
Palmdale 1308
Palms 290
Palos Verdes Estates 52
Panorama City 1256
Paramount 869
Park La Brea 39
Pasadena 1328
Pearblossom/Llano 9
Pellissier Village 5
Pico Rivera 975
Pico-Union 948
Playa Del Rey 6
Playa Vista 47
Pomona 1555
Porter Ranch 146
Quartz Hill 62
Rancho Dominguez 30
Rancho Palos Verdes 140
Rancho Park 28
Redondo Beach 217
Regent Square 16
Reseda 969
Reseda Ranch 40
Reynier Village 22
Rolling Hills 2
Rolling Hills Estates 24
Roosevelt 3
Rosemead 262
Rosewood 9
Rosewood/East Gardena 5
Rosewood/West Rancho Dominguez 39
Rowland Heights 273
San Dimas 155
San Fernando 303
San Gabriel 245
San Jose Hills 206
San Marino 30
San Pasqual 4
San Pedro 1186
Santa Catalina Island 3
Santa Clarita 1207
Santa Fe Springs 168
Santa Monica 414
Santa Monica Mountains 49
Saugus 6
Shadow Hills 20
Sherman Oaks 400
Sierra Madre 30
Signal Hill 101
Silver Lake 302
South Antelope Valley 1
South Carthay 51
South El Monte 301
South Gate 1756
South Park 878
South Pasadena 162
South San Gabriel 87
South Whittier 498
Southeast Antelope Valley 7
St Elmo Village 65
Stevenson Ranch 66
Studio City 112
Sun Valley 546
Sun Village 53
Sunland 226
Sunrise Village 16
Sycamore Square 1
Sylmar 1321
Tarzana 350
Temple City 247
Temple-Beaudry 575
Thai Town 63
Toluca Lake 34
Toluca Terrace 8
Toluca Woods 4
Torrance 594
Tujunga 187
Twin Lakes/Oat Mountain 8
University Hills 20
University Park 362
Val Verde 29
Valencia 13
Valinda 250
Valley Glen 225
Valley Village 303
Van Nuys 1230
Venice 94
Vermont Knolls 352
Vermont Square 164
Vermont Vista 807
Vernon 14
Vernon Central 1347
Victoria Park 89
View Heights 14
View Park/Windsor Hills 66
Walnut 101
Walnut Park 288
Watts 724
Wellington Square 49
West Adams 419
West Antelope Valley 3
West Carson 168
West Covina 1000
West Hills 227
West Hollywood 271
West LA 25
West Los Angeles 200
West Puente Valley 133
West Rancho Dominguez 12
West Vernon 981
West Whittier/Los Nietos 366
Westchester 170
Westfield/Academy Hills 2
Westhills 3
Westlake 1390
Westlake Village 8
Westwood 136
White Fence Farms 20
Whittier 737
Whittier 22
Wholesale District 1196
Willowbrook 585
Wilmington 604
Wilshire Center 477
Winnetka 496
Wiseburn 43
Woodland Hills 308
Under Investigation: 2524


RELATED: Gavin Newsom Explains What It Will Take to End Stay-at-Home


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Bars and Restaurant Dining Rooms Must Close as COVID Cases Surge

UPDATE: JULY 1, 2020 – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge locally and statewide, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a pause on activities at certain types of businesses.

In 19 counties, including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange, bar and indoor restaurant service must cease for at least three weeks. Takeout and delivery service will continue to be allowed, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Newsom has referred often in briefings to the idea of a sliding adjustment to reopening activity that may get more or less intense over time, as needed. “It’s not on or off,” he explains. “It’s a dimmer switch.” In this case, things are being lowered just a bit, in hopes of returning to the stabilization trends the state saw as recently as May.

At a Wednesday briefing, Newsom also said there will be a boost in enforcement of existing health orders, with multi-agency “strike teams” investigating factories, food service operations, and other workplaces that are not complying with mandates.


UPDATE: JUNE 18, 2020 – More business categories may be allowed to reopen in L.A. as soon as Friday, county officials announced today.

Among the new wave of businesses will be bars, wine and beer tasting rooms, personal care services, an a group of entertainment venues including card rooms, satellite wagering facilities, and racetracks without spectators.

The personal care category includes nail salons, tattoo and piercing parlors, microblading, electrology, skin care and cosmetology, and massage therapy services. Providers and clients will have to wear masks and follow new health protocols.

Timing of the move to reopen these high-contact businesses has raised some eyebrows. It comes just as both the state of California and the county of Los Angeles log all-time highs in confirmations of new COVID-19 infections.


UPDATE: JUNE 10, 2020 – Los Angeles County will move forward with allowing several categories of businesses to reopen on Friday, June 12. If certain guidelines can be met, the county will allow for the reopening of gyms, museums, zoos, day camps, entertainment industry productions, professional sporting events without audiences, and tourism.

While that moves largely in concert with the state guidelines, it holds back on allowing bars or movie theaters, which will open elsewhere in California. Still not opening anywhere in the state are nail salons, tattoo shops, live performance venues, or theme parks.


UPDATE: JUNE 9, 2020 – Los Angeles County has yet to clarify it if will follow state guidelines on gyms, bars, and other categories, which may begin opening in other counties on Friday. On Monday, the county did allow libraries to reopen, offering contact-free curbside pick-up and drop-off service. A 22-page document detailing protocols for restarting entertainment industry productions has been adopted, and could allow for that work to begin as early as the 12th, but that too will require L.A. County approval.

At a Monday press conference, the Los Angeles Times reports that County Supervisor Kathryn Barger described her general reopening strategy as to follow about a week behind Orange County, San Diego, and other neighboring counties.

“Make no mistake,” she said. “We are doing this in a very deliberate and cautious way, and actually had been one step behind the surrounding counties.”

Some have worried that the county has been pushing to reopen too much, too fast. Last week, hospitalizations for COVID-19 held nearly stable. That number had been dropping each week since the pandemic’s initial peak in April. The weekly number of new deaths, which had been dropping until mid-May, increased in early June as well.

Due to the virus’ incubation period, individuals entering the hospital with cases of the illness may have contracted it around 14 days ago, perhaps around the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Any illnesses resulting from exposure during recent protest marches are unlikely to be reflected in the data yet.

Stay-at-home orders were credited with dropping the “effective transmission rate” of COVID-19 considerably. At peak, one infected person was, on average, responsible for spreading the virus to three other people. On May 21, the Los Angeles Times reported that rate had dropped to less than one, in what was described as a “promising new milestone.” Now, it appears, the trend may be edging back up.

Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of health services for Los Angeles County, told the Times that now, the rate is now back over one and could be growing.

“If transmission has indeed increased,” she said, “then the model predicts that we will have a continued increase in hospital patient volume over the next two to four weeks, and we would anticipate beginning to see that change happening over the coming one to two weeks.”


JUNE 5, 2020 – Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary, announced a big step forward in the state’s reopening process on Friday.

Starting on June 12, schools, bars, gyms, professional sports events, campgrounds, and day camp programs will be allowed to begin to reopen. Guidelines expected later today will also include recommendations for the state’s hotels, casinos, museums, and zoos. The guidelines are also expected to include guidance on the resumption of filming for movies and television.

Schools and day camps can resume in-person sessions on the 12th statewide, CBS Los Angeles reports. But the other sectors will vary based on county-level restrictions. Los Angeles County has been taking a somewhat more conservative approach to reopening than many counties in the state, due to the density of COVID-19 cases confirmed here.

Residents eager for a manicure will still have to wait a bit longer. One category of business that remains specifically excluded from the ability to reopen in this phase is nail salons.


RELATED: Video Appears to Show an LAPD Vehicle Come into Contact with a Protester in DTLA


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Peter Meehan to Resign as Los Angeles Times Food Editor

Peter Meehan, food editor of the Los Angeles Times, issued an apology and announced he’ll step down from that role after a litany of allegations against him hit Twitter on Monday. The grievances include claims that he engaged in conduct that was seen as insensitive toward women and people of color, verbally abused employees, and allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct while at Lucky Peach, a magazine he co-founded with David Chang before joining the Times. One tweet also claimed that he failed to highlight stories that centered or thoughtfully treated diverse chefs or cuisines.

It was also brought up that, despite helming the paper’s food section, Meehan was not living in Los Angeles and would use newspaper resources to make frequent trips here from his home in New York City. His salary, according to estimates in the thread, may have been as high as $300,000, while other Times journalists have been subject to furloughs, work-sharing, and other cutbacks to make financial ends meet.

While the paper has been addressing a widespread problem with race in staffing and content, Meehan’s announcement was directly linked to the series of tweets issued by journalist Tammie Teclemariam on Monday, which she credited to a number of sources who’d reportedly come forward. Teclemariam has become a high-profile figure in the food media world in recent weeks as the individual who came forward with the photo of Adam Rapoport which contributed to his downfall at Bon Appétit and triggered a reckoning across the Condé Nast empire.

Meehan mentions her thread in his apology statement. While he claims to dispute the accuracy of at least some of the claims that appeared in the posts, he also credits the thread for inspiring his own staff to become more open in airing their concerns to him.

“I’m sorry to everybody that I’ve let down directly or indirectly and the last thing I’ve ever wanted to be is some sort of institutionalized problem,” he writes. The apology concludes by saying, “I wish I had seen myself how others did and changed my ways, but this moment is about that: changing, challenging, and making things better.”

 


RELATED:  Black L.A. Times Journalists Are Calling on Management to Address Newsroom Inequities


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California GOP ‘Proud’ to Back QAnon Supporter with History of Racist Social Media Posts

Mike Cargile, the Republican candidate for California’s 35th Congressional District, is a purported QAnon conspiracy adherent whose Facebook page and Twitter account are wastelands of racist diatribes and offensive memes targeted at Black people, immigrants, Muslims, and LGBTQ people, Media Matters reports.

Cargile is running against incumbent Democrat and Trump critic Norma Torres, who has repped the district, which includes parts of eastern Los Angeles County and western San Bernardino County, since 2015. In the March primary, Torres secured 67.62 percent of the vote to Cargile’s 32.25 percent.

In 2018, Cargile posted an anti-Obama meme to Facebook, along with the comment, “Because of your boy, Obama, I now have the freedom to be whatever I want to identify as! Therefore, for the rest of today, I’m going to identify as an angry black man! Call me…Michael Washington. (I think it’s a whole lot easier to change one’s skin color than change their gender, don’t you?) Unlike that twisted reprobate, Obama. But hey, he’s my brotha’ now, right? I’m the angry black man. And I’m going to walk around the house yelling ‘[N-word repeated three times]’ until I get some other words to rhyme around it, then you can call a Rap artist.”

He also advised Black people to, “Quit blaming white folks for your problems. Take your black ass out there and show them kids there’s a better way than husslin’ on the street.”

Still, the California Republican Party said it was “proud” to endorse Cargile in his bid to unseat Torres.

Cargile’s Twitter bio includes #WWG1WGA, a shortened version of the QAnon motto “Where We Go One We Go All.” QAnon adherents believe in a “deep state” plot against Donald Trump and his supporters. Closely linked to Pizzagate, the conspiracy theory involves a cabal of pedophiles, satanists, and cannibals linked to the Clintons and other famous people. Many also think the coronavirus pandemic is part of “deep state” plot as well. In fact, Cargile has called the coronavirus a “Scamdemic” and stated that it is “NOTHING compared to the diseases and plagues headed this way via the rats and the homeless.”

On his campaign website, Cargile credits himself as being “a writer, an actor, a director, a producer, an editor and a marketing director.” And while he did play “Sabrina’s Dance Partner” opposite Julia Roberts in 1994’s I Love Trouble, he still manages to put an astounding amount of energy into spreading offensive memes on Facebook.

“Two illegal aliens having an anchor baby does not equal an American,” reads one. Others are paranoid attacks on LGBTQ people and celebrations of “straight pride.” He’s also shared multiple memes that equate Muslims with terrorists.

According to Media Matters, several far-right QAnon supporters are currently running for Congress in California, including Erin Cruz (the 36th District in Riverside County), Alison Hayden (the 15th District in the Bay Area, which is currently repped by Eric Swalwell), and Buzz Patterson (the 7th District in Sacremento).


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Defamation Suit Against the ‘Shitty Media Men’ List Creator Can Move Forward, Judge Rules

UPDATE: JULY 1, 2020 – A judge has ruled that Stephen Elliott can move forward with his defamation suit against Moira Donegan, the creator of a Google spreadsheet known as the “Shitty Media Men” list.

Under defamation statutes, there are different standards for what you can say about a public figure–say, a celebrity, politician, or other person with a high profile–compared to what is acceptable to say about an unknown private citizen.

While Donegan’s legal team argued that, as an established writer and producer who spoke regularly to media and went on book tours, Elliott must meet the definition of a public figure. In his own filing about his listing in the document, Elliott had argued that even his sexual tastes were “common knowledge.” Nonetheless, a federal judge in New York disagreed.

“Defendant directed the Court to only a few tangential references to sexual harassment or lewd jokes in the workplace in Plaintiff’s writing and interviews,” Judge Hall’s opinion reads. “And the Court is not willing to find that Plaintiff’s more extensive writings and interviews about sex, BDSM, and sexual assault—unrelated to workplace issues—transforms him into a public figure with respect to the controversy here.”

By casting him as a private figure in the context of the case, his team no longer has to prove that Donegan acted out of “malice” toward him.

That means the next chapter in the legal wrangling will pertain to Donegan’s responsibility over an open, online spreadsheet which she allowed anonymous users to update. Specifically at issue, The Hollywood Reporter says, will be Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That section is what big tech companies have relied upon on to say they are neutral platforms, not liable for content that users publish using their tools.

Judge Hall noted that, by creating the spreadsheet but not necessarily creating all the entries on it, Donegan “qualifies as a provider of an interactive computer service.”

However, that might only shield her in the context of Elliott’s suit if she can prove that his specific entry was created by an anonymous third party, something which might expose the identities of other people who have nothing to do with Elliott. If Google complies with the subpeona as it is currently structured, it would out every person who contributed to the sheet. So far, Google has refused to comply.


JANUARY 15, 2019 – According to Moira Donegan, the spreadsheet that became known as the “Shitty Media Men List” was supposed to be a place where women could warn one another about their male colleagues’ bad behavior and protect themselves from potential predators. But what started as a so-called “whisper network” quickly went viral, and Donegan became the target of legal action. Last fall, writer Stephen Elliott, whose name appeared on the list, filed a defamation lawsuit against Donegan.

Elliott’s complaint says that he’s a “submissive male in the BDSM context” and this predilection is well known in the media community. Thus, he argues, the list’s claim that there were “rape allegations” against him must be false, and whoever posted them must have known them to be false at the time. Donegan’s camp sees things differently.

In a letter submitted to the office of U.S. District Court Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall on January 11, Donegan’s counsel, Roberta A. Kaplan, seems to turn Elliott’s submissiveness argument back on him. His complaint claims that whoever posted his entry on the list must have known about his sexual proclivity because it’s something that is “commonly known” about him in the context of his work. The letter takes the position that, if that’s the case, then Elliott falls into the category of a legitimate public figure, subjecting him to a higher burden of proof in a defamation case than that faced by a private individual.

“As a writer and producer who promotes his work at ‘publicity events,’ ‘interviews,’ and ‘panels’–and whose writing and sexual preferences are supposedly ‘commonly known’–Mr. Elliott qualities as a public figure,” Kaplan’s letter says. “The First Amendment therefore requires him to allege plausibly that Ms. Donegan published any defamatory statements with ‘actual malice’–that is, with knowledge that the statements were false or with reckless disregard to their falsity.”

And then there’s the matter of Eliott’s sexual preferences. Kaplan argues that the claim that he could be too sexually submissive to commit harassment or assault is suspect.

“Mr. Elliott’s principal allegation is that, because he is a well-known BDSM submissive, he ‘could not physically participate’ in the alleged misconduct,” the letter says. “As a factual matter, this ‘too submissive to rape’ defense is obviously absurd.”

Full text of the letter was posted online by Eriq Gardner, who wrote about it for The Hollywood Reporter. Gardner’s previous reporting on the list is also referenced in the letter’s text, in a portion arguing that moving forward with the plaintiff’s claims would trigger complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation.

Elliott is a filmmaker, the former editor in chief of The Rumpus, and the author of eight books, including the memoir After Adderall (the basis of the 2015 James Franco film The Adderall Diaries) and My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up, a collection of short stories centered around BDSM themes. The anonymous post about him that appeared on the Shitty Media Men list read, “Rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion, unsolicited invitations to his apartment, a dude who snuck into Binders???” and “Multiple women allege misconduct.”

Women have made other public allegations against Elliott, outside the context of the Google doc. As the New York Times reported, novelist Claire Vaye Watkins wrote about him being a “tone-deaf misogynist,” and two female staffers from The Rumpus, Lyn Lenz and Marisa Siegel, shared stories of times they felt he acted inappropriately. When asked by the Times about those incidents, Elliott responded that, “I’ve certainly been unaware of boundaries and transgressed them without realizing.” However, he has repeatedly asserted that the claims made against him on the Shitty Media Men list are entirely false.

Created by Donegan in late 2017, the Google spreadsheet in question could be secretly updated and edited by anyone with the URL, which was soon shared more widely than its inventor expected. “Fundamentally, a whisper network consists of private conversations, and the document that I created was meant to be private as well,” Donegan wrote in an essay for The Cut. “It was active for only a few hours, during which it spread much further and much faster than I ever anticipated, and in the end, the once-private document was made public.”

In October 2018, Elliott filed his initial lawsuit, alleging libel and emotional distress, and seeking at least $1.5 million in damages. In addition to suing Donegan, Elliott’s complaint also includes other, unnamed defendants (officially referred to as “Jane Does (1-30)”) who participated in editing the doc. His counsel intends to use the discovery process of the lawsuit to get their identities, even stating that they intend to subpoena Google itself–something which the company stated it would fight.

“We do not believe that Stephen Elliott should be able to issue subpoenas and otherwise burden Moira and the Jane Doe defendants until the Court decides that his complaint states a valid cause of action,” Kaplan stated in an email when reached for comment about the letter. “In other words, a plaintiff cannot use an improperly-pleaded complaint as a basis to use the civil discovery system to obtain information he would not otherwise be entitled to.”

If his case proceeds, some fear that it could have a chilling effect on reporting of sexual harassment and misconduct. In his interview with the New York Times, Elliott himself says, “This might be like a 500-person RICO case,” if the men named on the list were to expose and legally pursue each of the women that participated in the doc.

The women who entered info on the Shitty Media Men List, including our client Moira, did so for one reason and one reason only,” Kaplan says. “To help and protect other women and make sure that no further harassment or abuse occurred.”


RELATED: The Story Behind Time’s Up, Hollywood’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Movement


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The Best Things to Watch, Read, and Do in July

It’s another month in the bunker, L.A. Despite our collective eagerness to rejoin society, we’re still very much in the midst of a pandemic, and staying in (or going outdoors but avoiding crowds) whenever possible is still the best policy. The good news? There are plenty of ways to stay entertained.


TV/Streaming

For those who couldn’t get their hands on a ticket to Hamilton, the blockbuster musical debuts July 3 on Disney+. On July 8, CBS’s new competition show, Tough as Nails, puts people who work physically demanding jobs to the test. In the streaming world, Mucho Mucho Amor, the critically acclaimed doc about the life of extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado, hits Netflix on July 8. The next day, The House of Ho, a Crazy Rich Asians-inspired docuseries about a wealthy Taiwanese family in Houston, premieres on HBO Max. Plus, NBCUniversal’s streamer, Peacock, launches July 15 with faves like Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and (eventually) The Office as well as original shows like a Saved by the Bell reboot and a series that looks at L.A.’s own Angelyne.

Music

On July 10, English pop outfit Glass Animals serve up dreamy, nostalgia-tinged escapism on their third album, Dreamland, while Rufus Wainwright offers up Unfollow the Rules, featuring songs that he says “bubbled up” during his opera years. All The Time, the third album from Canadian avant-pop songstress Jessy Lanza, drops July 24 with effervescent beats, while beloved R&B icon Brandy—who was raised in Carson and famously went to prom with Kobe Bryant—returns with B7 (July 31) after an eight-year hiatus.

Books

Charlie Kaufman’s debut novel, Antkind—filled with the same surreal humor as the Oscar-winning screenwriter’s movies—tells the story of a film critic’s quest to re-create a lost stop-motion masterpiece in order to save humanity (July 7). In You Again by Debra Jo Immergut, a 46-year-old woman begins stalking the spitting image of herself at 22 (July 7). Utopia Avenue, from best-selling Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell, chronicles a British band’s rise to fame and struggles with stardom (July 14). In Lauren Beukes’s post-pandemic thriller Afterland, a mother tries to protect her 12-year-old son—one of the last human males on Earth (July 28).

Outdoors

It’s more important than ever to get some fresh air, and there are plenty of parks and trails around the city that offer less-crowded alternatives to Lululemon-swarmed faves like Runyon Canyon. Head to Debs Park near the Arroyo Secco in Pasadena for sweeping views and a serene lake with ducks and turtles. Or, for a more leisurely outdoor experience, pack a picnic and park yourself in the pastoral meadows of the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Baldwin Hills. Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, famous for its lush floral arrays, is open for visitors in a limited fashion, as is the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia.

Kids

Camp canceled? Conga Kids—a local nonprofit dance program—has been producing free interactive videos with dance and music lessons, arts activities, and more. Check out the California Science Center’s website to take advantage of Stuck at Home Science, a series of experiments for families using household supplies. Once it’s TV time, bond with your kid over Netflix’s nostalgic series reboot of the beloved The Baby-Sitters Club (July 3), in which Alicia Silverstone plays the mother of one of the tweener girls.


RELATED: Los Angeles County Now Has More COVID-19 Cases than Any Other County in the U.S.


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The Socially Responsible Weed Shopper’s Guide

The “war on drugs” is inextricably linked to racist policies and policing in America–and while attempts to liberalize marijuana laws in several states were meant in part to help correct some of those disparities, there is still much work to be done. Cannabis may be booming, but the industry is rife with inequities and discrimination. Less than five percent of cannabis businesses nationwide are Black-owned, while more than 80 percent are white-owned, one study found.

Even programs specifically designed to promote entrepreneurs of color who want to enter the industry have been criticized for falling short. L.A.’s social equity cannabis program has left many would-be business owners waiting in lengthy, complicated queues, and racking up debt paying for storefronts and other expenses even before they can open their new dispensary’s doors.

“The war on drugs destroyed so many families. We should at least get to come out on the other end and create some wealth out of it,” South L.A. resident and would-be dispensary owner Lanaisha Edwards told The Guardian. “But it’s not gonna happen the way this is going.”

LAPD data shows that Black and Latino residents have been as much as seven times more likely to be stopped, arrested, and serve prison time for marijuana charges than their white counterparts.

“How the hell is the face of cannabis white now, how could that even be possible when you see who did all the time in jail?” Edwards, who was herself arrested on a marijuana charge as a teenager, asked. “How could L.A. get this so wrong?”

Before products even reach retail dispensaries, there are growing concerns about who is getting rich off cannabis production. A small group of very large corporations has been hard at work consolidating the industry. Even Altria Group (owner of the Philip Morris cigarette companies and an investor in Juul) has spent big bucks to get a share of the cannabis business.

It can be challenging for a consumer who wants to buy cannabis products that give back to the community or support diversity within the industry, so we’ve attempted to pull together a list of some places to start.


Viola

L.A.-based Viola, founded by ex-NBA player Al Harrington, puts social equity and investing in communities most impacted by discriminatory drug enforcement at the core of its mission. The brand produces a line of cannabis flower, pre-rolls, and concentrates widely available in local dispensaries.


California Cannabis

California Cannabis has three local dispensaries–Crenshaw, Melrose, and Boyle Heights–founded by Compton native and longtime cannabis activist Virgil Grant. In addition to running his shops, Grant has been a visible figure in policy development and regulation, and cofounded the California Minority Alliance which advocates for diverse businesses in the industry.


The Give Back Kit by Sweet Flower

Stylish retail chain Sweet Flower has launched a group of kits curated by the chain’s senior buyer, Michelle Mendoza. All proceeds from the sale of the Give Back Kit are being donated to the Equity First Alliance and the Black Cooperative Investment Fund.


Foria

Foria produces CBD- and THC-infused products that focus on wellness and intimacy. The brand uses sustainable cannabis and packaging, embraces diversity, and has been staging online conversations with experts, mostly Black women, discussing sexual health, diversity in cannabis, body positivity, and other topics. Currently, the brand is donating a portion of some sales to the L.A. LGBT Center and the Audre Lorde Project.


Elevate Farmz

The founder of Elevate Farmz identifies herself as a Latina mom from South Central. Her luxury cultivation operation aims to grow cannabis “like our ancestors,” with an emphasis on tradition and environmental sustainability.


Bloom Farms

Bloom Farms is a California marijuana brand on a mission. Structured as a socially responsible business from the get-go, Bloom Farms donates to meals to L.A. food bank World Harvest for every product sold and gives employees time off to volunteer in their communities. The brand sources from small, sustainable California farms; the Headband strain comes from Garden Society, one of the small number of female-helmed growing operations.


Kush and Cute

Describing her entry into the business, founder Iyana Edouard says, “I very quickly became aware that the cannabis industry lacked two things, women and especially black women.” Her SoCal based brand encourages women to integrate CBD into their self-care routines with infused skin and body products.


Besito

Los Angeles brand Besito makes superchic vape pens, but the queer-owned company focuses on substance as well as style. Besito partners with Equity First Alliance, and donates a portion of all profits to causes that work for expungement of marijuana-related criminal records, and toward providing health care, legal, and other wraparound services to those in need. In June and July, an additional portion of sales will go to the L.A. LGBT Center.


The Peakz Co.

Green Peakz is the project of young founder Jesse Grundy, who identifies as Black/Latinx, who worked with Oakland’s cannabis social equity program to launch his business, and has become an expert in the field, helping other entrepreneurs learn how the system works. His line of flower can be purchased locally at California Cannabis in Crenshaw.


RELATED:  How to Get Your Cannabis Delivered in L.A.


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Morning Brief: More SoCal Beaches Announce 4th of July Weekend Closures

» More SoCal counties and cities are announcing that their beaches will be closed over the 4th of July weekend. Ventura County beaches are closing from 5 a.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. In Orange County, Laguna Beach officials have decided to close their shores, while Huntington Beach opted to keep the beach open (Newport is reportedly mulling its options). [VC Star] [Daily Pilot]

» Governor Newsom is expected to rein in reopening in response to California’s surge. The state may reinstitute tighter stay-at-home orders. [KTLA]

» A class action civil case against Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein company has resulted in the creation of an $18.875 million settlement fund. Attorneys repping six women who’ve accused the predatory producer of misconduct are unhappy with the deal. [The Hollywood Reporter]

» California is considering releasing around 3,000 people from prison early in an attempt to control raging outbreaks of coronavirus inside the institutions. Individuals eligible for the program would be ones with sentences already due to end in the coming six months. [ABC Fresno]

» Acrobatic innovator Cirque du Soleil has filed for bankruptcy. The company laid of nearly 3,500 workers this week. [Vulture]

» The parents of Andres Guardado are calling for an independent autopsy of their son. The sheriff’s deputy who shot Guardado on June 18 has reportedly not yet been interviewed by investigators. [CNN]

» COVID-19 testing capacity may not be able to keep up with demand. Around 550,000 tests are being administered daily across the country, and test-makers warn they may run out. [The Atlantic]

» Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary, one of the region’s biggest annual Halloween events, has been canceled for 2020. Organizers say they hope to return to Long Beach next year. [NBC Los Angeles]

» Kellyanne Conway’s 15-year-old daughter is using TikTok to spread anti-Trump, anti-racism messages. Claudia Conway says she considers herself a ‘leftist’. [Insider]


TOP STORIES FROM L.A. MAG

» L.A. County Beaches Will Be Closed Over 4th of July Weekend The temporary shutdown lasts from July 3 through 6

» Democratic Officials Revive the Push to Get John Wayne’s Name Off Orange County Airport Resurfaced comments the actor made in a Playboy interview have sparked outrage

» Hollywood Says Goodbye to Comedy Legend Carl Reiner The director behind ’The Jerk’ and cocreator of ’The Dick Van Dyke Show’ was 98


ONE MORE THING

lesbian bars los angeles

How Did L.A. Become a City Without Lesbian Bars?

When Adriana Gordon first came out as a lesbian, she was 21 years old and living in West Hollywood. It was the ’90s, and lesbian life in Los Angeles was at its peak: women proudly marched through the streets for Lesbian Visibility Week, celebrities were coming out, and lesbian bars thrived as places for women to meet up, hook up, and find community.

Today, L.A. is a much different place—especially when it comes to nightlife. While there are 20 bars for gay men in West Hollywood alone, the last lesbian bar in WeHo, the Palms, ended its historic 56-year run in 2013. The Oxwood Inn, a Van Nuys lesbian joint, followed not long after. When it shuttered in 2017, Los Angeles County was left without a single lesbian bar.

 [FULL STORY]


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