May 25, 2018: SAG-Aftra May Revoke Morgan Freeman’s Lifetime Achievement Award Following Sexual Harassment Allegations, ESPN Gains Rights to Broadcast Live U.F.C. Events, Governors Ball to Support Campaign for National Gun Violence Awareness

By Ian Zelaya May 25, 2018, 8:39 AM EDT

1. SAG-AFTRA MAY REVOKE MORGAN FREEMAN€�S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOLLOWING SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS: SAG-Aftra is reconsidering the lifetime achievement award given to Morgan Freeman at the annual ceremony in January, following allegations Thursday that the actor sexually harassed eight women. The Hollywood Reporter: “‘These are compelling and devastating allegations which are absolutely contrary to all the steps that we are taking to [ensure] a safe work environment for the professionals in this industry,’ said a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson. ‘Any accused person has the right to due process, but it is our starting point to believe the courageous voices who come forward to report incidents of harassment.’ ‘Given Mr. Freeman recently received one of our union's most prestigious honors recognizing his body of work,’ the statement concluded, ‘we are therefore reviewing what corrective actions may be warranted at this time.’ Freeman has denied the allegations, telling The Hollywood Reporter in a statement that ‘anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy.’ But CNN, which first reported the story, cited eight women and eight additional witnesses, who stated that Freeman allegedly tried to lift a woman's skirt, massaged and touched female employees and commented on women's appearances and pregnancy. … In 2016, as THR reported, the actor-producer told an audience of 400 at an industry conference that producing partner Lori McCreary, a former tech entrepreneur, ‘wants to be thought of as serious, but you can't get away from the short dresses.’ He returned to the subject of McCreary's appearance several times, even admitting that he was ‘sexist’—‘but not misogynistic,’ he added.”

2. ESPN GAINS RIGHTS TO BROADCAST LIVE U.F.C. EVENTS: ESPN has struck a $1.5 million, five-year deal with U.F.C. to broadcast 42 live events per year starting in 2019. Los Angeles Times: “The partnership, which will launch in January following UFC's expiring deal with Fox, will feature 30 ‘Fight Night’ cards, plus 12 other live events annually. ESPN will broadcast 10 exclusive events with 12-bout cards while also providing preliminary coverage of UFC pay-per-view shows. ‘ESPN's unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties,’ Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN president and co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, said in the joint announcement. ‘UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN's live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion.’ The alignment allows UFC ownership WME/IMG of Beverly Hills to recoup some of the $4 billion it spent in purchasing the UFC two years ago.”

3. GOVERNORS BALL TO SUPPORT CAMPAIGN FOR NATIONAL GUN VIOLENCE AWARENESS: New York’s upcoming Governors Ball music festival is supporting the fourth annual National Gun Violence Awareness week, which kicks off June 1. Billboard: “This year, the campaign falls on the weekend of Governors Ball, and in conjunction with the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, Wear Orange T-shirts will be available at the New York City festival. National Gun Violence Awareness week began in 2015 after 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton lost her life to gun violence in Chicago in 2013. Her friends chose the month of June because it was Pendleton’s birth month, and since then, it has been honored on the first Friday of that month. They also decided to wear the color orange because of its symbolic meaning to hunters as a form of protection. The Wear Orange campaign received widespread support from celebrities and activists on social media, and this year, the weekend will be filled with community events across the nation. As it coincides with Governors Ball, musicians are urged to spread the word by a number of means, including wearing orange if they are performing at any shows during the weekend, creating videos to explain their dedication to the cause, or donating part of their proceeds to benefit Everytown. The Wear Orange T-shirts will also be widely available on the festival grounds to bring further awareness to the cause.”


AUSTIN:  The 12th annual African American Book Festival will take place June 23 at George Washington Carver Museum and Library. 

LOS ANGELES:  Patina Restaurant Group's Ray’s and Stark Bar at Lacma has introduced new initiatives to reduce food waste, increase sustainability, and become one of the nation’s most eco-friendly restaurants.

Recode's Code Conference will take place May 29-31 at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Josh Cellars is partnering with Giftagram to hold the Josh Cellars Father’s Day Pop-up Shop at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall from June 13-15. Profits from wine sold on site will benefit the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York.

Edible Schoolyard NYC, a nonprofit that teaches youth in underserved communities about eating healthy and the environment, kicks off its second annual #EatUpSummer campaign June 1. Restaurants including Daily Provisions, Cafe Luxembourg, and Olmsted will donate proceeds to the organization during the campaign, which runs through the end of August. 

The fourth annual Secret Summer, a festival focused on farm-to-bar cocktails, will take place August 12 at the Foundry in Long Island City. Man v. Food host Casey Webb will judge a cocktail competition at the event, which also will offer food from vendors including Wisefish Poke and Sophie’s Cuban. 

NY Now’s summer market will take place August 12-15 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The event will showcase home, gift, and lifestyle products from more than 2,300 brands. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Sports broadcaster Lesley Visser will receive the 2018 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media June 18 at the Newseum. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Deirdre Jahn in New York.

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