The Weekly Wrap: Creative & Freelance News

Suspect charged in freelance rape case. Blogger wins first lawsuit for Frye Festival. A blogger who expected to be body shamed. Changes at 500px and Instagram....AND MORE!!!

Tronc Creates Relief Fund After Newspaper Shooting

The Capital Gazette’s parent company, tronc, set up The Capital Gazette Families Fund after last week’s shooting in the paper’s newsroom, where a gunman killed five people.

The fund is designed to provide immediate and long-term support for those directly and indirectly affected. Individuals can apply for grants to use for counseling, uncovered medical expenses, funeral expenses and other relevant costs.

The fund will be matched up to $1 million by the Michael and Jacky Ferro Family Foundation. The Merrill Family Foundation, which was founded by the Gazette’s previous owner and publisher, has reportedly already committed $100,000.

Donations are being collected through the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. If you would like to donate, go here.

NYT Journalist Reassigned After Property Seizure

New York Times journalist Ali Watkins is being transferred from the Washington DC Bureau to New York where she’ll be “closely supervised” under a “senior mentor,” reports the New York Post.

An NYT investigation revealed that Watkins had a three-year affair with James A. Wolfe, the former head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, who recently charged with lying to the FBI about with contact with reporters, including Watson, during a probe into department leaks.

The relationship between the two reportedly occurred and ended before Watkins came to the Times. But she had covered national security for publications such as McClatchy, BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Politico.

Watkins denies Wolfe was ever one of her sources. And according to Times executive editor Dean Baquet, the accuracy of her work has never been challenged.

She hasn’t been charged but the Department of Justice seized her phone and emails records.

Festival Manager Charged for Raping Freelancer

Minnesota Renaissance Festival manager and performer Carr Leon Hagerman has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly raping a freelance photographer.

According to details in the complaint, Hagerman lured the photographer to a building at the Scott Country Fairgrounds and led her to a drum storage room giving her the impression he was showing her a good location to take pictures.

After he noticed a pink ribbon on her wrist that showed support for the #MeTooMovement, he allegedly became irate and repeatedly beat and raped her, while saying things like “I will do whatever I want with you,” and, “You are my piece of meat.”

Five employees, including two managers, have resigned, and other festival workers report that Hagerman also targeted them. Hagerman denies the allegations, says the New York Post.

Blogger Awarded $2.5 Million for Frye Festival

Seth Crossno, a North Carolina-based blogger who is credited as helping to chronicle last year’s Frye Festival disaster sued the event organizer Billy McFarland and was awarded $2.5 million.

According to reports, Crossno and his friend, Mark Thompson, paid nearly $13,000 for travel, accommodations, and VIP passes for the event, which turned out to be a hot mess. They were each awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages for flights, hotels, and mental anguish plus an additional $1 million in punitive damages.

Although McFarland is currently in jail, Crossno and Thompson’s attorney is optimistic they’ll get paid because there are indications that McFarland has money tucked away, says Billboard.

Blogger Anna O’Brien Hurt By Being ‘Fetishized’

Anna O’Brien, the plus-sized blogger and personality behind the website and social media handles Glitter + Lazers claims when she did a bikini photo shoot in Times Square she was all prepared to be body shamed. But instead, she was extremely hurt and humiliated by the sexual comments men made.

The photo shoot was for the German news channel RTL. In a Cosmopolitan article, O’Brien said she picked the location. But apparently, it never occurred to her that she could get lewd sexual reactions.

She said men told her things like “Twerk for the camera baby, show them how that a** clap.”

Tears began to well up, O’Brien writes. I was prepared to be pointed at, shamed, and called fat. I didn’t expect to be fetishized.

Vietnamese Blogger Arrested for Criticizing Government

Vietnamese blogger and political journalist Le Ahn Hung was arrested for suspicion of “abusing democratic freedom,” Amnesty International reported.

The arrest came after he published an open letter criticizing a government policy that would designate certain economic zones that offer foreign investors special incentives.

Le Ahn Hung will reportedly be held for the next three months for investigation, and he faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Trump’s Writing Claims Contested

On Tuesday President Trump  tweeted:

During the course of his career, Mr. Trump has put his name on as many as 19 books, including one novel, Trump Tower, which was published in 2011, says the Independent. But people who know him fired back, contesting his claim that he’s the author.

“President Trump didn’t write any of his books. Ghostwriters on all of them,” Tim O’Brien, author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald and executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion, tweeted.

Tony Schwartz, who ghostwrote Mr. Trump’s first book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, says Trump didn’t write a word of it. I doubt he wrote a word of any of the other books that carry his name as an author. He doesn’t read books and he doesn’t write them,” Schwartz said.


Lawsuit Dismissed Against Emma Cline

Author Emma Cline’s ex-boyfriend filed a lawsuit against her alleging that her best-selling novel, The Girls, stole from his screenwriting. A judge has dismissed the case, clearing her of copyright infringement.

According to The Guardian, after Cline and Chaz Reetz-Laiolo broke up, she landed a $2 million book deal. He filed a lawsuit and claimed Cline used spyware on a computer she sold to him to steal his work for her book, and he had his lawyers press Penguin Random House to stop printing the book.

The judge found that “there are undeniable similarities between the works” but added that “they are predominantly isolated to a few intermittent scenes and general plot ideas.” The works “vary significantly in detail, breadth and texture,” and “the commonalities are merely “familiar stock scenes and themes that are staples of literature and are not protected,” the judge added.

If Reetz-Laiolo can gather sufficient evidence to support his claim, he will be allowed to amend his copyright claim.

University of Illinois Wants Free Speech Lawsuit Dismissed

The University of Illinois wants a U.S. District Court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by three student journalists alleging violations of free speech.

According to WQAD 8, Tariq Khan, another student at the university, confronted the journalists at an anti-Trump rally, grabbed a phone from one of them whose name is Joel Valdez, and threw it.

After the incident, the university issued no-contact orders to the journalists ordering them to stay away from Khan. The trio of journalists filed a lawsuit claiming the restraining orders violate their First Amendment rights by barring them from further reporting on the story.

They say the move was meant to silence their political views.

The university claims the case should be dismissed on the grounds of jurisdiction, arguing that the 11th Amendment protects the university, which is a state institution, from a federal lawsuit waged by civilians. The university also says the no-contact order doesn’t prevent additional reporting on the incident.

Instead of having a hearing on the matter, a judge will read arguments from both sides and make a decision on the dismissal.

Khan was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property but the charge was dropped after he completed a diversion program.

Hip Hop Photographer Talks Studio Growth

 It has been one year since hip-hop photographer Cam Kirk opened his self-titled studio, a space designed to help nurture Atlanta’s creative community. Last July, he had less than 10 appointments. This July, the studio had about 300 appointments, he tells Complex.

Kirk says artists such as Lil Baby,  Yo Gotti, and Moneybagg Yo have shot album covers there. And even though companies like Adidas use the space too, it’s also a place accessible to budding creatives.

Cam Kirk Studios serves as an art gallery. They’ve launched creatives talks and created an event that brings influencers and creatives from around the world to talk to the community.

They curate a monthly playlist, highlighting and independent and up-and-coming artists. And the spot has a retail space called DTOUR.

500px Makes Major Changes

If you’re a photographer who uses 500px or you’re thinking about it, you should know they’ve made two major changes.

First, the company shut down the 500px Marketplace Saturday. It has been replaced by distribution partnerships with Getty Images and Visual China Group, a Chinese stock photo distributor that bought 500px in February.

According to TechCrunch, the company axed the Marketplace because it wasn’t performing and they were faced with the choice of investing in it or going with the distribution-only model. Although the company chose the distribution model, they say royalty rates will stay the same and they expect to serve “a broader cohort of visual media customers.”

The second change is 500px will no longer allow users to upload or download under a Creative Commons license, and the company doesn’t have any plans to offer another public copyright licensing option. Photographers can select a royalty-free 500px license for the images that are distributed through Getty and VGC.

500px reportedly got rid of Creative Commons because they weren’t seeing enough activity with CC images to justify keeping them, says Verge.

Instagram & Facebook Efforts to Fight Overuse

This week Instagram began rolling out the You’re All Caught Up feature, which notifies users when they have seen all the new posts in their feed from the past two days. The idea is to help people avoid wasting unnecessary time scrolling through the feed trying to figure out if they missed anything. (Is it really that serious?)

Also, TechCrunch revealed that Instagram and Facebook are tinkering with Do Not Disturb features. These would let users turn off notifications for a set amount of time, such as 30 minutes, eight hours, or a day.

Facebook is also considering allowing users to turn off sound or vibration for notifications.

Although the features aren’t live, they are reportedly buried in the code of both apps.

Maya Angelou Product Line is Coming

African American Expressions, a gift and greeting card company, is slated to launch a curated line of products honoring Dr. Maya Angelou. The line was created in collaboration with her son Guy Johnson.

The collection will include the “Still I Rise” calendar, journals, home décor and a Christmas card quoting Dr. Angelou’s Amazing Peace poem.

Greg Perkins, CEO of AAE says the company created products that not only reflected the beauty of her remarkable spirit but products that allow everyone the chance to give that special someone the gift of her words.

The line will preview at America’s Mart in Atlanta from July 10 to July 16. Products will be available on black-card.com and will be distributed to stores around the world.


Schedule It

July 11 – August 9

Freelance photographer, writer, and editor Joanna Lentini’s photographs printed on aluminum will be exhibited as part of “Fire & Ice” at the Novado Gallery in Jersey City, NJ. Taken during expeditions to the High Arctic and Antarctic Peninsula, the images capture icebergs and the frozen landscape from above and below the water’s icy surface.

Lentini will give a free artist talk for “Vanishing Ice” on July 25 at 7 pm, says New Jersey Stage.

September 12:

United Fundraisers, the group behind Photoville (see next) will host the First Annual Fundraiser Picnic Brooklyn NY. This is a ticketed event. Prices are not yet listed.

September 13-23:

Photoville, the annual photography festival that’s held under the Brooklyn Bridge with exhibitions, talks, and nighttime events will be held. In 2017, over 600 artists presented their work and 92,000 people attended.

Dog are welcome. And it’s free. Here’s a schedule overview.

Closing Chapters

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Alan Diaz died at age 71. He is renowned for taking the photo of an armed immigration agent confronting a 6-year-old Cuban boy named Elian Gonzalez in 2000 during a raid. Diaz was working for the Associated Press as a freelancer at the time. The AP hired him full-time two months later, says ABC Local News 10.

South African photographer Lewis David Goldblatt died at age 87. He captured the country’s social and political change from the 1950s forward focusing on how black and whites were in their everyday lives instead of the violent interaction between them.

He valued the freedom of freelancing and did not hide his dislike of the art world, says The Guardian. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a Goldblatt Collection and his negatives archive was left to Yale University.

So folks, that’s your Weekly Wrap. If happy hour calls, please answer responsibly!

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