Tag Archives: sexist

Women’s March goes global, 200,000 expected in D.C.

Organizers of today’s Women’s March on Washington expect more than 200,000 people to attend their gathering, a number that could exceed Trump’s swearing-in ceremony.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” the statement says from the march organizers.

Women and other groups were demonstrating across the nation and as far abroad as Myanmar and Australia.

In Sydney, thousands of Australians marched in solidarity in the city’s central Hyde Park. One organizer said hatred, bigotry and racism are not only America’s problems.

The Washington gathering, which features a morning rally and afternoon march, comes a day after protesters set fires and hurled bricks in a series of clashes that led to more than 200 arrests. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades to prevent the chaos from spilling into Trump’s formal procession and evening balls.

About a mile from the National Mall, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses including a Starbucks, a Bank of America and a McDonald’s as they denounced capitalism and Trump.

“They began to destroy property, throw objects at people, through windows. A large percentage of this small group was armed with crowbars and hammers,” said the city’s interim police chief, Peter Newsham.

Six officers suffered minor injuries, he said.

The confrontation began an hour before Trump took the oath of office and escalated several hours later as the crowd of protesters swelled to more than 1,000, some wearing gas masks and with arms chained together inside PVC pipe. One said the demonstrators were “bringing in the cavalry.”

When some crossed police lines, taunting, “Put the pigs in the ground,” police charged with batons and pepper spray, as well as stun grenades, which are used to shock and disperse crowds. Booms echoed through the streets about six blocks from where Trump would soon hold his inaugural parade.

Some protesters picked up bricks and concrete from the sidewalk and hurled them at police lines. Some rolled large, metal trash cans at police. Later, they set fire to a limousine on the perimeter of the secured zone, sending black smoke billowing into the sky during Trump’s procession.

As night fell, protesters set a bonfire blocks from the White House and frightened well-dressed Trump supporters as they ventured to the new president’s inaugural balls. Police briefly ordered ball goers to remain inside their hotel as they worked to contain advancing protesters.

Police said they charged 217 people with rioting, said Newsham, noting that the group caused “significant damage” along a number of blocks.

Before Inauguration Day, the DisruptJ20 coalition, named after the date of the inauguration, had promised that people participating in its actions in Washington would attempt to shut down the celebrations, risking arrest when necessary.

It was unclear whether the groups will be active on Saturday.

The Women’s March on Washington features a morning rally with a speaking lineup that includes a series of celebrities, Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrara, Amy Schumer, Frances McDormand and Zendaya, among them.

Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia’s homeland security director, said he expects the march to draw more than 200,000. He said 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city on Jan. 21, which would mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus.

Friday’s protests spread across the nation, including to Milwaukee and Chicago.

In San Francisco, thousands formed a human chain on the Golden Gate Bridge and chanted “Love Trumps hate.” In the city’s financial district, a few hundred protesters blocked traffic outside an office building partly owned by Trump.

In Atlanta, protests converged at City Hall and a few hundred people chanted and waved signs protesting Trump, denouncing racism and police brutality and expressing support for immigrants, Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement.

In Nashville, half a dozen protesters chained themselves to the doors of the Tennessee Capitol. Hundreds also sat in a 10-minute silent protest at a park while Trump took the oath of office. Organizers led a prayer, sang patriotic songs and read the Declaration of Independence aloud.

In the Pacific Northwest, demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, burned U.S. flags and students at Portland State University walked out of classes. About 200 protesters gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, Washington, carrying signs that included the messages “Resist Trump” and “Not My Problem.”

Study: Sexist men more likely to have mental health problems

Men who behave like promiscuous playboys or feel powerful over women are more likely to have mental health problems than men with less sexist attitudes, according to a study released this week.

The analysis found links between sexist behavior and mental health issues such as depression and substance abuse, said the study which appeared in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

“Some of these sexist masculine norms, like being a playboy and power over women, aren’t just a social injustice but they are also potentially bad for your mental health,” said Joel Wong, an associate professor of counseling psychology at Indiana University Bloomington and lead author of the study.

Its release comes on the heels of the election to the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump, whose comments about women that emerged during the election campaign were condemned by many as sexist and misogynist.

The research synthesized results of more than 70 U.S.-based studies involving more than 19,000 men over 11 years.

This involved looking at 11 norms generally considered by experts to reflect society’s expectations of traditional masculinity including a desire to win, risk-taking and pursuit of status, Wong said.

The traits, or norms, most closely linked to mental health problems were playboy behavior, or sexual promiscuity, power over women and self-reliance, he said.

“Men who have trouble asking for directions when they’re lost, that’s a classic example of self-reliance,” Wong said.

Also, men who exhibited those attitudes were also less likely to seek mental health treatment, the study said.

The researchers said there was one dimension for which they were unable to find any significant effects.

“Primacy of work was not significantly associated with any of the mental health-related outcomes,” said Wong in a statement.

“Perhaps this is a reflection of the complexity of work and its implications for well-being. An excessive focus on work can be harmful to one’s health and interpersonal relationships, but work is also a source of meaning for many individuals.”

 Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith. Published via  Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org.

San Francisco teachers union offers lesson plan calling Trump racist, sexist

San Francisco’s public schools have been offered a classroom lesson plan that calls President-elect Donald Trump a racist, sexist man who became president “by pandering to a huge racist and sexist base.”

The union that represents city teachers posted the plan on its website and distributed it via an email newsletter to its more than 6,000 members.

The school district has more than 57,000 students.

It is unclear how many teachers have used the plan outlined by a Mission High School teacher, but it appears to have the tacit support of city education officials.

School district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said the plan is optional and not part of the official curriculum.

“Educators are entrusted to create lessons that reflect the California standards, support students’ social and emotional well-being and foster inclusive and safe school communities,” she said in a statement that neither praised nor rebuked the lesson plan. San Francisco schools serve diverse populations and teachers are encouraged to include multiple perspectives in lessons, she said.

The Republican Party in San Francisco reacted sharply.

“It’s inappropriate on every level,” said Harmeet Dhillon, an RNC committeewoman from California. She called it “inappropriate propaganda that unfairly demonizes not only the campaign that Donald Trump, the winner, ran, but also all of the people who voted for him.”

The lesson plan was written by social studies teacher Fakhra Shah, who said she hadn’t planned for it to spread citywide — that was a step taken by the teacher’s union. She wrote it at 2 a.m. Nov. 9, just hours after results came in, to help teachers at her school struggling with how to answer students’ questions and concerns about Trump becoming president.

“I think a lot of people were lost for words, wondering, ‘What do we say? What do we do?’” said Shah, whose Latino, African American, white, Muslim and LGBTQ students are worried about a surge in hate crimes since the election.

“We’re calling him out,” she said. “If he’s our president, I have the right to hold him accountable and ask him to take a stance that is anti-hate and anti-racist.”

The plan encourages teachers to let students express their concerns and to offer them hope and tell students that they can keep fighting. “We can uplift ourselves (and) fight oppression here at school even if we cannot control the rest of the country,” she said.

San Francisco is diverse, with many students whose families are in the country illegally and who are worried by Trump’s calls for deportation. She warned teachers that some students may use inappropriate words to express their fear and anger.

“I know that they might curse and swear, but you would too if you have suffered under the constructs of white supremacy or experienced sexism, or any isms or lack of privilege,” she wrote.

About 2,000 San Francisco students walked out of class last week to protest the new president. Earlier this week, Mayor Ed Lee declared that San Francisco would continue to provide sanctuary for all immigrants, religious minorities and gays and lesbians.

The union that represents teachers, the United Educators of San Francisco, defended the plan.

Union President Lita Blanc said that even House Speaker Paul Ryan had called Trump’s campaign racist and sexist.

“There is a time and a place for using words that match action,” Blanc said. She praised the plan’s advice for students — “to stand up and defend themselves, and speak out for themselves and make a difference.”

Why did Republicans wait until now to dump Trump?

Why now? And why this? For the legion of Republicans who abandoned Donald Trump on Saturday, recoiling in horror from comments their party’s White House nominee made about using his fame to prey on women, there is no escaping those questions.

For months, they stomached his incendiary remarks about Mexicans, Muslims, prisoners of war, a Gold Star military family and a Hispanic judge, along with offensive statements about women too numerous to count. Democratic critics argue that their silence — or the promise to vote for Trump, but not endorse him — amounted to tacit approval of misogyny and racism.

There were no good answers Saturday, and few Republicans attempted to offer any.

Some, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, didn’t say anything at all about the top of the party’s ticket. A steady stream of others revoked their endorsements or called for Trump to drop out of the race, condemning the New York billionaire in emailed statements and carefully crafted tweets.

Those fleeing from Trump may ultimately say it was the shock of hearing and seeing the businessman’s crudeness on video that prompted them to finally walk away. On Friday, The Washington Post and NBC News both released a 2005 recording of Trump describing attempts to have sex with a married woman. His words were caught on a live microphone while talking with Billy Bush, then a host of “Access Hollywood.”

Some may draw a distinction between Trump’s outrageous earlier comments about women, minorities and others by noting that this time, the businessman wasn’t just being offensive — he was describing actions that could be considered sexual assault. In the video, Trump is heard saying that his fame allows him to “do anything” to women.

“Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything,” he says.

But with a month until Election Day, and early voting already underway in several states, the truest answer to why Republicans are dropping Trump now — and why they’re dropping him over this — is likely political.

During the Republican primary, GOP officials worried that disavowing Trump would alienate his supporters and hurt the party in congressional races. In the general election, Trump’s crass behavior also seemed easier for Republicans to tolerate when stacked up against Democrat Hillary Clinton, a candidate so reviled by many in the GOP that virtually nothing Trump did seemed worse than the prospect of her becoming president.

But these new revelations come at a time when the White House race seems to be slipping away from Trump. He’s been unable to attract support beyond that offered by his core backers. His performance in the first debate was undisciplined and he followed it up by tangling with a beauty queen whom he shamed two decades ago for gaining weight.

“There were people who were just starting to feel like this ship was going down and now this gives people a good excuse to jump off,” said Katie Packer, a Republican strategist who advised Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and led an unsuccessful effort to prevent Trump from becoming the GOP nominee.

While some Republicans expressed astonishment and dismay over Trump’s 2005 comments, those who steadfastly refused to endorse him throughout the campaign suggested their party knew full well what they were getting with the brash real estate mogul and reality TV star.

“Nothing that has happened in the last 48 hours is surprising to me or many others,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was critical of Trump when he ran against him in the primary and has remained so for months.

Privately, even Republicans who didn’t formally revoke their support for Trump conceded there was little he could do to right his campaign at this point. Early voting is already underway in some key states and the comments aired in the video will likely be unforgivable with independent women, a constituency Trump desperately needs to win if he has any hope of beating Clinton.

The last hope now for many Republicans is that an unimaginable election year will still end with the GOP in control of the Senate. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, both locked in tight races, joined the parade of officials Saturday who said they simply couldn’t stand by Trump anymore.

For Ayotte, the move earned her no quarter from her Democratic opponent, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.

“She has had one example after the next of Donald Trump’s despicable words and his despicable behavior as reasons that she should have disavowed him,” Hassan said. “It took her until now when the revelation of his comments from a decade ago were made to decide that politically she couldn’t stand with him anymore.”

Look for more of the same in races nationwide. Democrats made clear Saturday they would spend the next month trying to ensure they and other Republicans get no credit for walking away now.

Trump was lewd, sexist, say ‘Apprentice’ cast and crew

Donald Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language in his years as a reality TV boss, according to The Apprentice insiders who said he rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he’d like to have sex with.

The Associated Press interviewed more than 20 people — former crew members, editors and contestants — who described crass behavior by Trump behind the scenes of the long-running hit show, in which aspiring capitalists were given tasks to perform as they competed for jobs working for him.

The staffers and contestants agreed to recount their experiences as Trump’s behavior toward women has become a core issue in the presidential campaign. Interviewed separately, they gave concurring accounts of inappropriate conduct on the set.

Eight former crew members recalled that he repeatedly made lewd comments about a camerawoman he said had a nice rear, comparing her beauty to that of his daughter, Ivanka.

During one season, Trump called for female contestants to wear shorter dresses that also showed more cleavage, according to contestant Gene Folkes.

Several cast members said Trump had one female contestant twirl before him so he could ogle her figure.

Randal Pinkett, who won the program in December 2005 and who has recently criticized Trump during his run for president, said he remembered the real estate mogul talking about which female contestants he wanted to sleep with, even though Trump had married former model Melania Knauss earlier that year:   “He was like ‘Isn’t she hot, check her out,’ kind of gawking, something to the effect of ‘I’d like to hit that.’”

The Trump campaign issued a general denial. “These outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false claims fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees, have no merit whatsoever,” said Hope Hicks, Trump’s campaign spokeswoman. “The Apprentice was one of the most successful prime-time television shows of all time and employed hundreds of people over many years, many of whom support Mr. Trump’s candidacy.” She declined to answer specific questions that were emailed and declined an interview request.

Former producer Katherine Walker said Trump frequently talked about women’s bodies during the five seasons she worked with him and said he speculated about which female contestant would be “a tiger in bed.”

A former crew member who signed a non-disclosure agreement and asked not to be identified, recalled that Trump asked male contestants whether they would sleep with a particular female contestant, then expressed his own interest.

“We were in the boardroom one time figuring out who to blame for the task, and he just stopped in the middle and pointed to someone and said, ‘You’d f… her, wouldn’t you? I’d f… her. C’mon, wouldn’t you?’”

The person continued: “Everyone is trying to make him stop talking, and the woman is shrinking in her seat.”

Other cast and crew interviewed said they had positive, professional experiences with Trump, and added that they had never heard comments that made them uncomfortable.

“He was extremely supportive. You could tell there was so much respect there on all sides, especially with the female athletes,” said contestant and U.S. softball star Jennie Finch, a two-time Olympian. “Obviously, he was complimentary, but never in an inappropriate way.”

Contestant Poppy Carlig, who performed the twirl, said she considered Trump’s request “playful banter.” She added: “I don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that people are having bad intentions with what they are saying. He said I reminded him of his daughter and I thought that was really touching because I know how much he values his family.”

Twelve former contestants or members of the crew spoke on the record about what they described as Trump’s inappropriate behavior. Another nine spoke to the AP about their concerns regarding Trump’s treatment of female colleagues but said they did not want to be identified because they signed non-disclosure agreements, or were concerned about wrecking their careers or retaliation from Trump.

Most offered no opinion on the November election in the course of their interviews, but the majority of those who did said only that they were not supporting Trump.

Trump points to his record of hiring women, but he has often been accused of sexist behavior; at the first Republican debate, in August 2015, Fox anchor Megyn Kelly asked whether a man who has called women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals” has the temperament to be president. After that debate, Trump attacked Kelly and her questioning, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”

The remarks of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who said Trump called her “Miss Piggy” because she’d gained weight during her reign, became campaign fodder last week following the first presidential debate. Trump used to own the pageant.

NBC, which broadcast the hit series, referred questions to executive producer Mark Burnett, whose studio referred calls to a public relations firm. The public relations firm did not respond to multiple voicemails and emails seeking comment. AP previously asked Burnett to provide original footage for review, but those calls were not returned.

Debuting in 2004, The Apprentice and a spinoff, Celebrity Apprentice, propelled Trump to national stardom following a string of bankruptcies and bad business deals in the 1990s that had splintered his New York-based real estate empire. The series, meant to showcase Trump’s business acumen, became a major hit and Trump’s name became a global brand that helped launch his political career.

But on the set, usually inside Trump Tower, the former cast and crew members say, the businessman’s treatment of women was sometimes far from professional.

Walker, who said she was the only high-level female producer during the first season, said Trump turned to her during a break outside of the control room to ask who he should fire. Walker demurred, she said, but noted that team members had told her one contestant had caused her team to lose their business task. Trump raised his hands and cupped them to his chest to ask whether it was a contestant with large breasts, she said.

“He said, ‘You mean the one with the’ _ and he puts his hands out in a gesture to signal the girl with the giant boobs. He didn’t even know her name,” Walker said, adding that the contestant, Kristi Frank, was fired at the end of the episode.

“I thought he noticed my hard work, but I guess he didn’t,” said Frank, a former restaurant owner who studied industrial engineering.

She said that after Trump delivered his punch line “You’re fired!” he told her fiance that “of all the girls,” she was the contestant he would have chosen to marry.

“It makes me a little sick,” Frank said. “It’s kind of sweet, but it makes me feel like ‘OK, he’s checking me out again.””

In portions of boardroom sessions never broadcast, Trump frequently would ask male contestants to rate the attractiveness of their female competitors, former crew members and contestants said.

“If there was a break in the conversation, he would then look at one of the female cast members, saying ‘you’re looking kind of hot today, I love that dress on you,’ then he would turn to one of the male cast members and say ‘wouldn’t you sleep with her?’ and then everyone would laugh,” said a former crew member who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a non-disclosure agreement. “There would be about 10 or 12 cameras rolling and getting that footage, which is why everybody was like, this guy just doesn’t care.”

Trump would carry on with the questions even if all involved were married, said Gene Folkes, who appeared on the program in 2010.

“If you didn’t answer, he would dig in and say, ‘Do you think so and so is attractive? Would you sleep with her? Well, what about if you really had to, would you?’” Folkes said. “It was so bizarre, because he (otherwise) seemed so professional.”

Folkes said he also remembered that Trump “asked one of the women their breast size at one point, or said, ‘are those real or natural?””

Jim Dowd, who did public relations for Trump, NBC and The Apprentice shows between 2003 and 2009, said Trump was a “lover of women” and a “guy’s guy.”

“Was he complimenting the women? Of course. Was he behind closed doors with just the guys rating the women, who were the hotter ones on the show? Yes, he certainly was prone to that,” Dowd said.

“I never heard him say anything about women’s bodies, but he was definitely unscripted,” said former producer Michael Dietz.

Eight former crew members said Trump took a fancy to a particular female camera operator, and frequently gave her attention that made many on the set feel uncomfortable. Two former crew members said the woman made it clear to them privately that she did not like Trump’s comments.

Walker, the former producer, said it was clear Trump was attracted to the camera operator as far back as 2003.

“He said something like she was cute and she had a nice ass, and it was brought to my attention by someone else that he had a crush on her,” Walker said. “We all knew, so that’s uncomfortable in and of itself. I remember it being too much, that he made it obvious.”

Rebecca Arndt, a camera assistant who worked on the show following Trump’s 2005 marriage, said Trump would stop production to make comments about the camera operator’s looks in front of the crew.

“I remember being in the foyer once with eight or 10 cameras set up and he said something about her being so pretty,” Arndt said. “He would make it about his line of sight, like ‘There is a beautiful woman behind that camera, so I only want to look at that.’ It was supposed to be considered a compliment, but of course it was inappropriate.”

German Abarca, another former camera operator, said most of the camera crew knew that Trump was attracted to their colleague.

Abarca said the woman was the frequent subject of ribbing by others in the crew, almost all of whom were much younger than Trump. “I think she mostly tried to ignore it.”

Arndt said that Trump would publicly discuss the woman’s beauty and how her blue eyes and blonde hair compared to his daughter Ivanka’s looks.

“He would just mention it all the time. I remember him comparing Ivanka to her and saying that only Ivanka was prettier,” she said.

The woman did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment. The AP spoke in person twice with her husband, who said his wife did not wish to be interviewed, “doesn’t have a problem with Donald Trump” and denied she had been subjected to repeated, unwanted attention from Trump.

One former contestant, Tyana Alvarado, said she wasn’t offended when Trump told her she was attractive — but noted that he played by his own rules.

“Most men have to behave because they are in a workplace, but he could do what he wanted,” Alvarado said. “In all jobs, people have to sign sexual harassment paperwork, but Mr. Trump was putting on a TV show so he got to do it.”

CEO quits after sexist comments about women tennis pros

The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women’s pro tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men” resigned on March 21, ending his 29-year association with the event.

Tournament owner Larry Ellison said in a statement that Raymond Moore was quitting as chief executive officer and tournament director of the $7 million event featuring men’s and women’s players in the California desert. Moore informed Ellison of his decision when they spoke earlier in the day.

“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and tournament director effective immediately,” Ellison said. “I fully understand his decision.”

A tournament spokesman could offer no further details on Moore’s resignation, citing only Ellison’s statement.

CEO apologizes

Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women’s and men’s pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments Sunday.

The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa had been CEO of the tournament since 2012. He was involved with the event for 29 years as a former owner and managing partner before assuming his most recent post. He oversaw the operations of the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which Ellison also owns. Years ago, Moore and fellow ex-player Charlie Pasarell started PM Sports Management, which oversaw the tournament as it expanded.

“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” Moore said. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

He also referred to women’s players as “physically attractive and competitively attractive.” Moore later apologized, calling his comments “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.”

“I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole,” the statement said. “We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

Moore clearly had no intention to leave his post based on comments he made to reporters Sunday on the last day of the two-week tournament. Before the backlash over his controversial comments began, he was asked how long he planned to remain in charge.

“Firstly, I love what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy it,” Moore said. “Who knows who the face of the tournament will be down the road. But I don’t think that, oh, I’m going to stop next year or three years.”

Ellison, a billionaire and co-founder of Oracle Corp., credited Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Serena and Venus Williams, as well as other female athletes, for their leadership in treating women and men equally in sports.

“I’m proud to say that it is now a decade-long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men,” Ellison said in his statement.

Ellison thanked the “great women athletes” who fought so hard in pursuit of equal prize money in pro tennis.

“All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” he said.

Statement from the tennis tournament

“Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore,” said BNP Paribas Open Owner, Larry Ellison. “Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”

“Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally. Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved. I’m proud to say that it is now a decade long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men.”

“I would like to personally thank all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success. All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” concluded Ellison.

Arkansas judge comes out as anonymous poster of racist comments

An Arkansas judge has admitted that he posted a series of anonymous online comments that critics say are racist, sexist and otherwise inappropriate, including one in which he revealed alleged details of confidential proceedings involving actress Charlize Theron’s adoption of her son.

Circuit Judge Mike Maggio acknowledged this week that he posted the comments on a Louisiana State University fan message board, Tiger Droppings, under the pseudonym “geauxjudge.” He also ended his campaign for a seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

“I take full responsibility for the comments that have been attributed to me,” Maggio said in a statement. “I apologize deeply for my lapse in personal judgment and for that, I have no excuse. The comments posted were not acceptable. These comments are not a reflection of who I am.”

The state’s Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission is investigating Maggio’s postings, said its executive director, David Sachar.

Maggio, whose term as a 20th Judicial District judge expires at the end of the year, asked for privacy for his family. He didn’t immediately respond to an email or phone message left at his office seeking comment.

Political blogger Matt Campbell first suggested that “geauxjudge” was Maggio in a Monday posting on his website, Blue Hog Report. He included screen grabs of “geauxjudge” postings from the past few years, including some that dropped biographical hints or that many would find racist, sexist or homophobic.

In a Jan. 17, 2012, posting, “geauxjudge” disclosed what he said were details of Theron’s adoption proceedings. He wrote that a “judge friend” handled the case, but it wasn’t immediately clear if Maggio, himself, was involved. Such proceedings are confidential in Arkansas, and there are no cases in the state’s online court records that mention Theron’s name. Her publicist, Amanda Silverman, declined to comment about the matter.

Theron announced in March 2012 that she had adopted a boy from South Africa named Jackson.

In a June 2011 posting, “geauxjudge” suggested that women who seek divorces after their husbands cheat may be better off financially by staying married. In Arkansas, circuit judges like Maggio handle divorce cases, among other civil and criminal casework.

“I see it everyday. A woman makes (an) emotional decision to divorce because the husband stepped out. When otherwise he was a good provider, father, and husband,” the posting says. “Then a year or two later realizes uh oh I am worse off financially, emotionally and relationship wise but hey they showed that SOB. Too many times the women get their advice from other divorced women.”

In a posting from last December about baby names, “geauxjudge” wrote about the effect a name can have on an individual’s success, the website reported.

“How many Doctors do you hear named Dr. Taneesha or HaHa?” he wrote, apparently referring to Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix, a black University of Alabama football player. “How many bankers do (you) hear named Brylee? So stick with something close to normal. Or come sit in criminal court any day and see the `common names.'”

Responding to a story about a woman who was arrested for allegedly having sex with a dog, “geauxjudge” wrote that it was “just a small step” from having “TGGLBS” sex, an apparent reference to transgender, gay, lesbian or bisexual sex.

Cracker Barrel returns ‘Duck Dynasty’ products to stores

Cracker Barrel late last week removed some “Duck Dynasty” products to avoid offending some customers, the company announced on its Facebook page.

But then the company returned the products to its stores after getting hit with complaints, including one Fox News celebrity Mike Huckabee and another from right-wing Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins.

Cracker Barrel, in a statement to customers, said, “When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain ‘Duck Dynasty’ items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done. You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong.…We listened.”

The company apologized for removing the items amid the controversy over homophobic, racist and sexist statements Phil Robertson, star of “Duck Dynasty” made to GQ magazine. Cracker Barrel then restated a commitment to respecting “all individuals” and their “right to express their beliefs.”

Cracker Barrel was long the target of a boycott by LGBT consumers and allies — and many people have yet to return to the restaurants with the faux-country atmosphere. In 1991, Cracker Barrel instituted a short-lived policy banning the hiring of gay people and allowing for the firing of some employees. Not until 2002 did shareholders force the company to adopt a policy banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The company also has been in trouble for racial discrimination and sex discrimination.

Today Cracker Barrel Old Country Store/Wholesome Fixin’s has a rating of 45 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Buying for Equality guide.

The company earned 15 points for a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation, five points for some spousal benefits,  15 points for engaging in “appropriate and respectful advertising” and 10 points for having an LGBT resource group.

The company does not have a policy that includes gender identity, domestic partner health insurance or equal health coverage for transgender individuals.

Poll: ‘Just kidding’ doesn’t make online slurs OK

In a shift in attitude, most young Americans now say it’s wrong to use racist or sexist slurs online, even if you’re just kidding. But when they see them, they don’t take much personal offense.

A majority of teens and young adults who use the Internet say they at least sometimes see derogatory words and images targeting various groups. They often dismiss that stuff as just joking around, not meant to be hurtful, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV.

Americans ages 14 to 24 say people who are overweight are the most frequent target, followed by gay people. Next in line for online abuse: blacks and women.

“I see things like that all the time,” says Vito Calli, 15, Pennsylvania. “It doesn’t really bother me unless they’re meaning it to offend me personally.”

Even then he tries to brush it off.

Calli, whose family emigrated from Argentina, says people tease him online with jokes about Hispanics, but “you can’t let those things get to you.”

He’s typical of many young people surveyed. The majority say they aren’t very offended by slurs in social media or cellphone text messages — even such inflammatory terms as “bitch” or “fag” or the racist N-word.

Yet like Calli, most think using language that insults a group of people is wrong. The high school sophomore says he has tried, with difficulty, to break his habit of calling anything uncool “gay” or “retarded.”

Compared with an AP-MTV poll two years ago, young people today are more disapproving of using slurs online.

Nearly 6 in 10 say using discriminatory words or images isn’t all right, even as a joke. Only about half were so disapproving in 2011.

Now, a bare majority say it’s wrong to use slurs even among friends who know you don’t mean it. In the previous poll, most young people said that was OK.

But the number of people who say they’ve come across slurs online has held steady. More than half of young users of YouTube, Facebook and gaming communities such as Xbox Live and Steam say they sometimes or often encounter biased messages on those platforms.

Why do people post or text that stuff? To be funny, according to most young people who see it. Another big reason: to be cool. Less than a third said a major reason people use slurs is because they actually harbor hateful feelings toward the groups they are maligning.

Some slurs are taken more seriously than others. Racial insults are not that likely to be seen as hurtful, yet a strong majority of those surveyed — 6 in 10 — felt comments and images targeting transgender people or Muslims are.

Almost as likely to be viewed as mean-spirited are slurs against gays, lesbians and bisexual people, and those aimed at people who are overweight.

Maria Caprigno, who has struggled with obesity since childhood, said seeing mean images on Facebook stings. But she thinks the online world reflects the rest of U.S. society.

“It’s still socially acceptable to comment on someone’s weight and what someone is eating,” said Caprigno, 18, of Massachusetts.

In the poll, young people said they were less likely to ask someone to stop using hurtful language on a social networking site than face to face.

Alexandria Washington, a 22-year-old graduate student from California, said she’s accustomed to seeing men who wouldn’t say offensive things to her in person post pictures of “half-naked women in sexual positions,” followed by demeaning comments and slurs like “whore” and “ratchet.”

Context is crucial, too. Demeaned groups sometimes reclaim slurs as a way of stripping the words of their power — like the feminist “Bitch” magazine or gay rights activists chanting “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”

Jeffrey Bakken, 23, a producer at a video game company in Chicago, said the bad stuff online, especially slurs posted anonymously, shouldn’t overshadow what he sees as the younger generation’s stronger commitment to equal rights for minorities and gays than its elders.

“Kids were horrible before the Internet existed,” Bakken said. “It’s just that now it’s more accessible to the public eye.”

The AP-NORC Center/MTV poll was conducted online Sept. 27–Oct. 7 among a random national sample of 1,297 people between the ages of 14 and 24. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Funding for the study was provided by MTV as part of “A Thin Line” campaign to stop digital abuse.

The survey was conducted by GfK using KnowledgePanel, a probability-based online panel. Respondents are recruited randomly using traditional telephone and mail sampling methods. People selected who had no Internet access were given it for free.

Poll: ‘Just kidding’ doesn’t make online slurs OK

In a shift in attitude, most young people now say it’s wrong to use racist or sexist slurs online, even if you’re just kidding. But when they see them, they don’t take much personal offense.

A majority of teens and young adults who use the Internet say they at least sometimes see derogatory words and images targeting various groups. They often dismiss that stuff as just joking around, not meant to be hurtful, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV.

Americans ages 14 to 24 say people who are overweight are the most frequent target, followed by gay people. Next in line for online abuse: blacks and women.

“I see things like that all the time,” says Vito Calli, 15, of Reading, Pa. “It doesn’t really bother me unless they’re meaning it to offend me personally.”

Even then he tries to brush it off.

Calli, whose family emigrated from Argentina, says people tease him online with jokes about Hispanics, but “you can’t let those things get to you.”

He’s typical of many young people surveyed. The majority say they aren’t very offended by slurs in social media or cellphone text messages — even such inflammatory terms as “bitch” or “fag” or the N-word.

Yet like Calli, most think using language that insults a group of people is wrong. The high school sophomore says he has tried, with difficulty, to break his habit of calling anything uncool “gay” or “retarded.”

Compared with an AP-MTV poll two years ago, young people today are more disapproving of using slurs online.

Nearly 6 in 10 say using discriminatory words or images isn’t all right, even as a joke. Only about half were so disapproving in 2011.

Now, a bare majority say it’s wrong to use slurs even among friends who know you don’t mean it. In the previous poll, most young people said that was OK.

But the share who come across slurs online has held steady. More than half of young users of YouTube, Facebook and gaming communities such as Xbox Live and Steam say they sometimes or often encounter biased messages on those platforms.

Why do people post or text that stuff? To be funny, according to most young people who see it. Another big reason: to be cool. Less than a third said a major reason people use slurs is because they actually harbor hateful feelings toward the groups they are maligning.

“Most of the time they’re just joking around, or talking about a celebrity,” Jeff Hitchins, a white 24-year-old in Springfield, Pa., said about the insulting references to blacks, women and gays that he encounters on the Vine and Instagram image-sharing sites. “Hate speech is becoming so commonplace, you forget where the words are coming from, and they actually hurt people without even realizing it.”

Some slurs are taken more seriously than others. Racial insults are not that likely to be seen as hurtful, yet a strong majority of those surveyed — 6 in 10 — felt comments and images targeting transgender people or Muslims are.

Almost as likely to be viewed as mean-spirited are slurs against gays, lesbians and bisexual people, and those aimed at people who are overweight.

Maria Caprigno, who has struggled with obesity since childhood, said seeing mean images on Facebook stings. But she thinks the online world reflects the rest of U.S. society.

“It’s still socially acceptable to comment on someone’s weight and what someone is eating,” said Caprigno, 18, of Norwood, Mass. “We need to change that about our culture before people realize posting stuff like that online is going to be offensive to someone.”

Erick Fernandez of West New York, N.J., says what people share online reflects the influence of song lyrics and music videos and movies.

Fernandez, 22, said he was “probably very loose” about that himself before he was chosen for a diversity summer camp in high school that explained why phrases like “That’s so gay” are hurtful. Now a college student, he routinely sees insulting language for women and people of color bandied about online.

“I try to call some of my friends out on it but it’s really to no avail,” Fernandez said. “They brush it off and five minutes later something else will come out. Why even bother?”

In the poll, young people said they were less likely to ask someone to stop using hurtful language on a social networking site than face to face.

Alexandria Washington said she’s accustomed to seeing men who wouldn’t say offensive things to her in person post pictures of “half-naked women in sexual positions,” followed by demeaning comments and slurs like “whore” and “ratchet.”

“They’ll post anything online, but in person it’s a whole different story,” said Washington, 22, a graduate student in Tallahassee, Fla.

There seems to be a desensitizing effect. Those who report more exposure to discriminatory images and words online are less likely to say it’s wrong than those who rarely or never encounter it.

Context is crucial, too. Demeaned groups sometimes reclaim slurs as a way of stripping the words of their power — like the feminist Bitch magazine or gay rights activists chanting “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”

Washington, who is African-American, said that on most days she doesn’t come across racial slurs on social media. But she stumbles upon bigoted words when race is in the news, such as surrounding President Barack Obama’s re-election, and finds them hurtful in that serious context.

Likewise, Calli, the high school student originally from Argentina, said he could stomach almost any name-calling but gets upset when someone uses a falsehood to denigrate immigrants.

Jeffrey Bakken, 23, a producer at a video game company in Chicago, said the bad stuff online, especially slurs posted anonymously, shouldn’t overshadow what he sees as the younger generation’s stronger commitment to equal rights for minorities and gays than its elders.

“Kids were horrible before the Internet existed,” Bakken said. “It’s just that now it’s more accessible to the public eye.”

The AP-NORC Center/MTV poll was conducted online Sept. 27-Oct. 7 among a random national sample of 1,297 people between the ages of 14 and 24. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Funding for the study was provided by MTV as part of “A Thin Line” campaign to stop digital abuse.

The survey was conducted by GfK using KnowledgePanel, a probability-based online panel. Respondents are recruited randomly using traditional telephone and mail sampling methods. People selected who had no Internet access were given it for free.