Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2014 11:47 AM
Sony has gotten itself into a bit of a fine mess by producing a film that was supposed to make people laugh while bringing in a few bucks.
The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a comedy about a TV crew sent to North Korea to assassinate the country’s leader. North Korea, not known for its sense of humor, was not a fan of the film’s concept and sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling the film an “undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war.”
While diplomacy with North Korea was not the goal of the film (otherwise Dennis Rodman would have been cast), its producers surely didn’t predict that the film would end up causing the mighty Sony’s knees to quake. Last month, a hacker group busted into Sony’s global IT network and now the same crew is threatening violence against movie theaters that show the film.
Update: Sony isn’t officially pulling has officially pulled the film, with no plans to release it in theaters, on DVD, on VOD or streaming, while U.S. intelligence officials now believe North Korea was behind the cyberattack.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 25, 2014 07:20 PM
A growing firestorm fueled by social media is brewing around Arizona's proposed bill SB 1062, which would permit businesses to refuse service on religious grounds, a measure activists and a growing list of corporations see as "state-sanctioned discrimination" against gays.
Companies from AT&T and Apple to Marriott, Delta and American Airlines, along with Arizona’s two Republican US Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are now taking a stand and asking Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill. The request from Apple comes as it prepares to open a new sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Mesa which would create about 700 full-time jobs and join its five stores already in Arizona.
Bill SB1062 is similar to measures proposed in Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi and Kansas in response to the growing gay marriage movement that 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized.
Reaction against the proposed bill is growing so strong that the measure passed last week is prompting tourists to cancel travel plans and has companies threatening to relocate.
“There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far,” Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, wrote to Brewer, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “Our economy thrives best when the doors of commerce are open to all,” he wrote.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 4, 2013 12:13 PM
Reddit, Mozilla, Wordpress and 4chan are among dozens of websites planning major July 4th protests against the National Security Agency after its widespread, secret surveillance of telephone records and Internet traffic was revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in June.
Restore the Fourth, a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement is coordinating demonstrations in more than 100 cities across the country demanding the government adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits and respect the Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Mozilla, which was not included among the internet giants named in the PRISM program, started the movement.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 27, 2013 05:08 PM
The beautiful people haven't been coming through very well lately for Abercrombie & Fitch. Or maybe it's just the inventory and supply problems the company cited or the European economy. In any event, the Columbus-based retailer that tries to live on the edge of teen fashion reported a 13 percent drop in same-stores sales at its namesake stores during the first quarter and an 18 percent drop at its Hollister chain.
At the same time, Saturday brought the latest chapter of the renewal of the firestorm from several years ago over Abercrombie & Fitch's exclusionary merchandising and marketing practices—exclusive, that is, of the vast swaths of even the Millennial population who don't fit the rib-rocked, often-headless icons in the brand's none-too-subtle advertising.
Benjamin O'Keefe, an 18-year-old eating-disorder survivor who protested at company headquarters last week and ended up meeting with company executives (but not CEO Michael Jeffries), wrote on Saturday that he was "cautiously optimistic" that the company might take a different attitude than the one displayed by Jeffries several years ago—in a quote recently dug up by Business Insider—about how the brand is only interested in outfitting cool, hip, skinny, "All-American kid(s) with a great attitude and a lot of friends."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 15, 2012 05:05 PM
Avon's board has run out of time to accept a $10.7 billion takeover bid from makeup giant Coty, because the latter is withdrawing its offer and moving on.
Coty has made a few attempts in recent months to purchase Avon, but the struggling company kept telling umming and hawing. Coty, in the press release announcing it had rescinded its offer after Avon refused to call, commented, "While we are disappointed, we wish you success in pursuing your standalone turnaround strategy."
While the pair aren't likely to kiss and make-up, the news didn’t go over well with investors. The Wall Street Journal reports that Avon Products shares took a 9.8% fall Tuesday morning.
”Avon's annual profit has shrank in each of its last three years, and its first-quarter results contained further disappointment, as margins fell yet again and executives warned that results in the U.S. and Brazil will weaken further still,” the Journal adds.
The one positive thing Avon is hanging onto right now is that it has a new CEO, Sherilyn McCoy, who came over from Johnson & Johnson late last month to try and lead the company back to more stable ground.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 16, 2012 02:18 PM
Did Apple just get its biggest break ever in its ongoing PR crisis over its Chinese manufacturing partner Foxconn? It turns out that one the most vocal, most popular critics of Apple's China-side manufacturing arrangements manufactured details of his visits to those very factories.
A Marketplace look into the claims made by Mike Daisey—the former Mac fanboy turned Apple China labor critic and performer of the popular one-man monologue "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs"—reveals numerous inaccuracies between story and truth.
Daisey's detailed stories of meeting teenage and poisoned workers outside the Foxconn plants have been shared and traded around the globe. TechCrunch, HuffPo, HBO's Bill Maher, all retold Daisey's story as fact. As did we.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 21, 2011 11:17 AM
While Burger King is hanging out with Clive Owen, its rival burgermeister, McDonald's, is being egged by the likes of Ryan Gosling over its poultry practices.
The back story: When McDonald’s was informed that one of its egg suppliers was treating its chickens horrendously by shoving them into increasingly crowded spots to live upon the remains of now deceased chickens as well as cutting off their beaks so they couldn’t peck one another, the company immediately got out of the contract.
But protestors and activists want the fast-food giant to do a lot more than that. Celebrities including Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel, Alicia Silverstone, and Steve-O (of Jackass fame) have signed a letter to McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner that asks Mickey D’s to release the birds from their impossibly small cages, according to ABC News.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 19, 2011 02:02 PM
When it was announced in August that Dow Chemical planned to spend $10.8 million to have its name emblazoned in a fabric wrap around London’s Olympic stadium for the Games next summer, there was an angry outcry, particularly by athletes and Olympic organizers in India.
After all, it was there that the Dow subsidiary Union Carbide leaked enough gas and chemicals to kill approximately 15,000 and leave many others sick back in 1984. There was even talk that the Indian Olympic team would boycott the Games, but that was rejected on Saturday.
Dow didn’t own Union then, but Indian residents are feeling the fallout and Dow’s name doesn’t exactly inspire the Olympic spirit in many Indian residents. Now TheHindu.com reports that Dow has “agreed to remove all its branding from the London Olympic stadium.”Continue reading...