Category: Social Issues

Nicki Minaj Faces Backlash Over New Sex Offender Boyfriend

Nicki Minaj’s new boyfriend has quite an extensive rap sheet. Along with a conviction for attempted rape of a minor, he has also served hard time for murder.

According to the criminal complaint for Kenny “Zoo” Petty from the Queens County District Attorney, Petty pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a man named Lamont Robinson.

The complaint claims on April 27, 2002 at 12:30 AM, Petty shot Robinson “with a loaded handgin (sic) multiple times thereby causing his death.”

A police blotter posted at the time of the shooting also describes an unknown man who was shot three times in the stomach and died at a nearby hospital.

Petty pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge in March 2006 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, for which he served 7. Court records indicate Petty was released in May 2013, and had been on supervised release for 5 years, until May of this year.

Petty remains a registered sex offender in the state of New York. Prosecutors said he used a sharp object when he tried to force the girl to have sexual intercourse. Petty served almost 4 years in NY state prison for the crime.

Minaj responded by saying “He was 15, she was 16 … in a relationship,” she replied. “But go awf, Internet. Y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.”

Minaj was also recently criticized for collaborating and touring with Tekashi 6ix9ine, who was convicted of ‘using a child in a sexual performance’ when videos of him and another man groping and spanking a nude 13 year old girl surfaced.

Minaj was once again the subject of outrage after posting family pictures with her brother Jelani Miraj while he was waiting for his trial to begin. Miraj, 37, was accused of raping a 12 year old girl, who was his steppdaughter. He has since been convicted of sexual assault.

9-Year-Old Commits Suicide After School Bullying

LINDEN, Ala. — An Alabama family is mourning the loss of a 9-year-old girl who took her own life Monday night.

McKenzie Adams’ family members said the fourth-grader had been bullied by a group of classmates since the beginning of the school year. Her grandmother found her in their home in Linden on Monday. She had hanged herself.

Instead of planning where to hide Christmas presents for the girl who loved playing with dolls and riding her bike, her family is now planning a funeral.

“It’s an emotional roller-coaster,” said Edwinna Harris, McKenzie’s aunt. Harris, who is a television host in Atlanta, said she wants to use her platform to spread an anti-bullying message to prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy.

McKenzie attended U.S. Jones Elementary School approximately 15 miles away in Demopolis, where her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 15. She transferred to the school after her mother and grandmother complained to the State Board of Education that she was being bullied at her elementary school in Linden, Harris said.

Linden is a city of 2,100 residents in west central Alabama, roughly 100 miles west of Montgomery.

A lot of the bullying centered on her friendship with a boy, Harris said.

“She was being bullied the entire school year, with words such as ‘kill yourself,’ ‘you think you’re white because you ride with that white boy,’ ‘you ugly,’ ‘black b-tch,’ ‘just die’,” she said.

Navy Officers Death Ruled Homicide; Ex- Fiancé Arrested

The death of a Navy chief petty officer whose body was discovered in her Florida home in September has been ruled a homicide, leading authorities Friday to arrest the man to whom she was engaged, reports said.

Nearly three months after Andrea Washington, 37, was discovered dead in her home on Jacksonville’s Northside, police charged 36-year-old Danny Ray Beard with her murder, First Coast News reported.

 

Beard was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and booked into a Duval County jail on Friday evening, according to his incarceration records. He’s being held without bond.

 

Authorities began probing the death of Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) Andrea L. Washington, 37, shortly after midnight on Sept. 17 when her body was discovered in her Itani Way home. She was assigned to the guided-missile cruiser Hue City, which is homeported in Mayport.

 

A judge had granted the Navy chief a protective order about two weeks before her death due to “domestic violence at her home,” the station reported.

Washington said she was pushed, kicked in the stomach and “had a gun pulled on her by a man she was living with” while arguing over household bills, First Coast News reported, citing the protective order filed Sept. 4.

She also filed a separate police report against Beard on Sept. 2 for aggravated assault after encouragement from a friend, the media outlet reported.

Washington was slated to appear in court on the protective order against Beard just hours after she was found dead, First Coast News reported. Beard appeared in court to defend himself and the order was dismissed because Washington, who was dead, did not attend.

Phantom McClendon, a family friend of Washington, told First Coast News that the mother of three was newly “pinned” as a Navy CPO.

“The goal of making chief is a major accomplishment and for her to make it after all these years,” McClendon said, “and the simple fact (is) that she can’t even enjoy it.”

Indian Sex Workers Fight For The Right To Refuse Rescue

MUMBAI, INDIA — Reports of forced labor at a shelter for abused women run by a charity in India sparked fresh fears on Monday that the country’s long-awaited anti-trafficking bill could lead to consenting sex workers being locked up and treated like victims.

The Lower House of the Indian Parliament cleared the anti-trafficking bill in July this year and it is expected to be tabled in the Upper House in December.

India’s women’s minister has said it aims to unify existing anti-trafficking laws, prioritize survivors’ needs and prevent victims such as those found in brothel raids from being arrested and jailed like traffickers.

But sex workers’ organizations say it does not distinguish between victims of trafficking and women doing sex work out of choice, and could lead to the latter being held in shelters.

“There is a concern among sex workers’ rights movements about adult consenting sex workers being incarcerated in protection homes,” said Aarti Pai of the India-based National Network of Sexworkers.

Prajwala houses 600 women in its shelter in Hyderabad. Joshua Caroll, based in Myanmar, and who works for The Guardian, was in the city for six weeks and met seven survivors from Prajwala and reported on the conditions at the home.

Caroll reported that the seven women he interviewed told him that they were ill-treated, exploited and felt caged. The women preferred staying at a prison over the home.

Caroll reported that his request to visit shelter was rejected by Sunita Krishnan who runs the shelter.

One of the survivors as saying: “I was pulled out from a sex work by Hyderabad police and housed at Prajwala. For about a year, I was made to sew and clean bathrooms for money that I never received. It would have been better to be in a prison, at least you can meet with your family there.”

Another survivor described the atmosphere inside Prajwala as being one of fear and despair. Those who rebelled against their detention were beaten, she alleged. The inmates have no contact with the outside world. There are several instances of inmate self-harming and suicide attempts at the shelter, according to the women.

A 26-year-old Uzbek national, who was rescued from the flesh trade and lodged at the Prajwala home in Ranga Reddy district for rehabilitation allegedly committed suicide in April this year.

Women who had stayed at the home said that they were forced to work under the “life skills” program, which Prajawala describes as part of its “rescue and rehabilitation”strategy. The women said if they resisted, the police would be called and they received a severe beating, a woman said.

Another woman who stayed at the home two years ago said she had beaten up and her belongings confiscated. “They hit my head with a stick,” she recalled.

Of the seven former residents, five said they witnessed staff beating other detainees or were subjected to violence themselves.

Asked about the report, Krishnan alleged that the seven witnesses were paid off.

“I met this journalist at an awards function and he asked me about my grants. I know he was commissioned to damage my identity. I wrote about this on my blog,”  Krishnan said. “He spoke to seven survivors and has named none. What about the 20,000 girls I have rescued?”

She said the entire story is judged on the experience of the seven residents. “He has not visited my shelter but sent me a mail asking four questions, like ‘Do you beat up inmates’. How do I answer such questions,”  Krishnan said,

She said she “knew the lobby backing him (Mr Caroll).”

“These are girls were sent to my home by the court, and I am responsible till they stay there. If the survivors were mistreated, they would have told the court and not a journalist,” she said.

Brett Favre Duped Into Making Anti Semitic Video

Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre was duped into filming a video message for a hate group over the weekend. The Hall of Famer said in a Facebook post Saturday that he was “sickened” to discover what the recording was actually for.

Favre said he received a request on Nov. 22 to record a shout-out supporting what seemed to be a U.S. veterans organization on Cameo, a company that allows fans to book personalized video greetings from celebrities for a fee. Days later, Favre, who supports various military causes, recorded the script, which contained coded anti-Semitic references.

The group used “Cameo”, an app that allows users to pay celebrities to record short video messages. Favre was paid to read the message which was intentionally written not to raise Favre’s suspicions but still appeal to members inside those anti-Semitic groups.

In the video he said: “Brett Favre here with a shout-out to the Handsome Truth and the GDL boys. You guys are patriots in my eyes. So keep waking them up and don’t let the small get you down. Keep fighting, too, and don’t ever forget the USS Liberty and the men and women who died on that day. God bless and take care.”

The term “waking up” is used by anti-Semitic, men’s rights, and right-wing extremist groups to espouse red-pill ideology. This ideology claims there are groups trying to assert control over white men, and that white men can take part in a resistance against them by “waking up.”

“Don’t let the small get you down,” is another coded phrase. “The small” is an anti-Semitic reference to Yarmulkes.

Finally the script Favre read referenced the USS Liberty, a dog whistle for anti-Semites. The U.S. research ship was attacked by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, killing 34 U.S. soldiers, when it was mistaken by Israeli forces for an Egyptian ship.

The “GDL boys” who commissioned the video turned out to be an anti-Semitic group going by the name Goyim Defense League or GDL. (“Goyim” is a Hebrew or Yiddish word for someone who is not Jewish.)

Other celebrities, including rapper Soulja Boy and comedian Andy Dick, were also tricked into doing recordings for the group, which claimed responsibility on YouTube and Instagram.

Upon learning the intent of the video, Favre said he would donate the $500 Cameo fee to charities combating hate and bigotry.

“I was distressed to learn that the request came from an anti-Semitic group that reposted my video with comments implying that I endorsed their mission,” he wrote Saturday. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“Like most Americans, I am sickened by what these groups stand for and concerned about their role in fueling today’s negative political climate,” he added. “Had I understood the source of the request, I never would have fulfilled it.”

Cameo CEO Steven Galanis told CBS News on Monday that his company would match Favre’s donation to whatever anti-hate group he chooses. He said that this was the first time Cameo had to pull down videos.

“We’ve had over 93,000 videos and these are literally the first three we’ve had to pull,” Galanis said. “This hasn’t been a problem.”

Galanis said Cameo hasn’t had a vetting process because celebrities can accept or decline a request, but they’ve created an early warning system to detect terms flagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which track hate groups. Therefore he says they’ll be able to notify talent in the future.

“We stand by what we built here,” he said. “It was built for talent to connect with their fans.”

Man Won’t Face Hate Crime Charges Due to Legal Loophole

A man who attacked a Latino father and son after claiming they were part of the Mexican mafia has been charged with aggravated assault, but a Utah state law prevents him being charged with a hate crime.

Alan Dale Covington, 50, faces four felony counts of aggravated assault, as well as several weapons and drug charges, according to Salt Lake County jail records. He allegedly beat Jose Lopez, 51, and his son Luis, 18, with a 5-foot metal pole outside the family’s tire shop last week, the Salt Lake Tribune reported

Covington reportedly said, “I’m going to kill someone” before swinging the pole at the two men, according to police logs. Luis was struck in the head and later transported to a local hospital in serious condition. His father sustained a laceration to his forearm.

Veronica Lopez told the Tribune that her father, Jose, and brother, Luis, felt targeted by the attacker who also shouted “I hate Mexicans” and “I’m here to kill a Mexican” before asking if they were part of the “Mexican mafia.” Her father, who immigrated to Utah from Mexico, has owned a tire business for four years.

“I came out to ask if he needed anything and the first thing he said to me was, ‘You guys killed my f—— daughter,'” Luis Lopez said.

Covington later told police that the Mexican mafia has been “after him since 2008” and that he went to Lopez Tires to see if they knew people in the gang because “all of them know each other.”

Salt Lake City police detective Greg Wilking told the Tribune that it appears Covington was under the influence of drugs during the attack and may also have “some mental health issues” that “clouded his judgment.”

As for whether this was a hate crime or not, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill,  said that because there is no legal remedy in place “we will never know because we will never get to that analysis.

 Gill told NBC News that it would not be possible to charge Covington with a hate crime due to a Utah law that limits hate crimes to misdemeanor assaults.

“Is there a statute on the books that says hate crime? Yes is it applicable? No,” said Gill. “It’s a false hope.”

Jose Lopez received eight stitches in his arm and had his back severely bruised due to the assault while Luis “had a three hour surgery to place a titanium plate from the right side of his face to his nose to be able to attach the bones and keep his eyeball in place,” according to a GoFundMe set up for the family. The online fundraiser has received more than $35,000 for the cost of their medical expenses.

Tumblr to Ban All Adult Content

Social media platform Tumblr will institute a total ban on adult content starting December 17, 2018, according to a new report in The Verge.

The new policy will target stills, GIFs, and videos depicting “explicit sexual content and nudity” including “female-presenting nipples,” genitals, and sex. Permitted media under the new guidelines include media of breastfeeding, birth, “nude classical statues” and political protests containing nudity, and adult-targeted Illustrations that do not show sex acts. Written erotica will be allowed.

The new policy’s announcement comes just days after Tumblr was removed from Apple’s iOS App Store over a child pornography incident, but it extends far beyond that matter alone. “Adult content will no longer be allowed here,” the company flatly states in a blog post set to be published on Monday.

After December 17th, any explicit posts will be flagged and deleted by algorithms. For now, Tumblr is emailing users who have posted adult content flagged by algorithms and notifying them that their content will soon be hidden from view. Posts with porn content will be set to private, which will prevent them from being reblogged or shared elsewhere in the Tumblr community.

Starbucks Plans to Ban Access to Pornography Websites on Free WiFi

Starbucks will start blocking pornography viewing on its stores’ Wi-Fi starting in 2019, the company announced amid renewed public pressure on the coffee giant by an internet-safety group.

A Starbucks representative told NBC News that the viewing of “egregious content” over its stores’ Wi-Fi has always violated its policy, but the company now has a way to stop it.

“We have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our U.S. locations in 2019,” the company representative said.

The announcement was first reported by Business Insider and comes after a petition from internet-safety advocacy group Enough is Enough garnered more than 26,000 signatures.

The nonprofit launched a porn-free campaign aimed at McDonald’s and Starbucks in 2014, and it says that while McDonald’s “responded rapidly and positively,” Starbucks did not.

Starbucks said in 2016 that the company was “in active discussions with organizations on implementing the right, broad-based solution that would remove any illegal and other egregious content,” according to a statement Monday by Enough is Enough CEO Donna Rice Hughes. But they didn’t act, she said.

In a letter that Hughes said she received from Starbucks over the summer, the company vowed to address the issue “once we determine that our customers can access our free WiFi in a way that also doesn’t involuntarily block unintended content.”

Starbucks has not released details about how it plans to restrict the viewing of pornographic sites or illegal content over its Wi-Fi.

Pornhub is developing a plan work around the ban. The site is launching a new subdomain that promises to offer nudity-free “Safe for Work” content.

The page, www.pornhub.com/sfw, launched on Thursday to give Pornhub users a potential workaround when the Starbucks ban rolls out next year.

“To comply with Starbucks’ new policy, we’ve created an option that allows fans to still enjoy great content to which they are accustomed, but that is appropriate for consumption in public places,” the adult video-sharing site said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the vice president of YouPorn, a free pornographic video-sharing site and one of the 200 most-visited websites worldwide, responded by sending a memo to staff banning Starbucks products from company offices starting Jan. 1, 2019

Drug Company Raised Price of Opioid Overdose Antidote by 600%

As the nation struggled with the rising number of opioid deaths, a private drug company increased the price of an overdose antidote more than 600 percent, a Senate subcommittee says in a new report.

The increase has cost the federal Medicare and Medicaid health programs more than $142 million since 2014, according the Homeland Security permanent subcommittee on investigations.

Richmond, Virginia-based Kaleo  increased the price of its auto-injectable overdose-reversal drug EVZIO from $575 to $4,100, the subcommittee reported.

The company also changed its sales strategy and encouraged doctors to complete paperwork identifying it as a medically necessary drug, allowing them to bypass potentially cheaper generic versions of naloxone, the subcommittee reported.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who chairs the subcommittee, blasted the price hike.

“The fact that one company dramatically raised the price of its naloxone drug and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in increased drug costs, all during a national opioid crisis, is simply outrageous,” Portman said in a statement.

Kaleo  defended its pricing Monday. The company said its donated kits have saved thousands of lives. It also said it has never turned a profit.

“We believe patients and physicians should have meaningful choices,” the company said in a statement. “There is no doubt, the complexity of our healthcare system has had unintended negative implications for everyone involved, but most importantly, for patients. To this end, we explored viable paths within the current healthcare system to make EVZIO available to patients in a responsible, meaningful and affordable way.”

Naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversal drug available since the early 1970s, has been in great demand to slow an epidemic that kills more Americans every year than motor vehicle crashes. The U.S. Surgeon General and states across the nation have encouraged policies to widely distribute the drug.

Private drug companies have responded to the crisis with newer, easier-to-use versions of the drug.

EVZIO was launched in 2014 at a wholesale price of $575 per kit.

Adapt Pharma gained approval the following year to sale a nasal version of naloxone called Narcan, and set the wholesale price at $125 per kit.

The subcommittee focused on the price of EVZIO because it increased so sharply and because the sales strategy that relied on reimbursement from private and government insurance plans.

The subcommittee said the company relied on a private consultant to implement the new sales strategy, which included dropping contracts with private Medicare plans and Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for low-income and disabled residents.

That decision freed the company from administrative costs and rebate payments.

The company collected an average payment of $609 per kit in 2015. After raising the price and adapting the new sales strategy, the company collected from Medicare an average of $3,854 per kit.

The company paid $10.2 million to the private consultant who suggested the new approach, the subcommittee said.

Amazon Accused of Asking Spanish Police to Force Workers Back to Warehouse Floor and Monitor Productivity

Amazon asked police in Spain to intervene in a mass strike at a warehouse on the outskirts of Madrid, according to local reports.

Close to 90 percent of the workers — almost 1,600 employees — participated in the walkout at Spain’s largest Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares near Madrid, and will continue to strike, Reuters reported.

Amazon is accused of requesting that local police forces stop the strike and force workers back on to the warehouse floor. According to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, supervisors at Amazon even asked police to stay on site during the day to ensure that worker productivity levels remained high.

A source at Spanish union CCOO, which helped coordinate the strikes, told Business Insider that Amazon “wanted to send the police inside the warehouse to push people to work.”

Amazon’s request “dumbfounded” police, according to El Confidencial. “The request was  rejected by the police, who maintained that controlling labor productivity doesn’t fall within its powers,” a police source said.

Amazon denied that it had asked police to intervene in the strike. A spokeswoman told Business Insider:

“Amazon is a responsible business that puts its customers and associates first. We always work with public authorities, including the police, to ensure the safety of our people and our operations.

“However any suggestion that we have used this relationship in an improper way is categorically wrong. Anyone who understands the way businesses and local authorities work will know that these ludicrous suggestions are the worst kind of misinformation.”

However, this is not the first time Amazon has asked police to intervene in Amazon warehouse protests in Spain, El Confidencial notes. When workers went on strike on Prime Day in July, Amazon asked police to guarantee workers access across the picket line and to trucks carrying merchandise. The strikes in July resulted in clashes with police, including some arrests.