ESPN suspended on-air personality Sage Steele for a week following controversial comments in a podcast appearance.
Her remarks included referring to the company’s vaccine mandate as “sick” and saying it was “fascinating” that former President Obama identifies as Black “considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found.”
“If they make you choose a race, what are you gonna put? Well, both,” Steele said on Jay Cutler’s podcast “Uncut.” “Barack Obama chose Black and he’s biracial… I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad is nowhere to be found but his white mom and grandma raised him, but okay. You do you. I’m gonna do me.”
“At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great,” ESPN said in a statement. “That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies.”
Steele apologized for the comments.
“I know my recent comments created controversy for the company and I apologize,” she said. “We are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that impacts all of us, and its more critical than ever that we communicate constructively and thoughtfully.”
Federal Judge Overrules Ban on Drag Queens
A federal judge in Texas has handed down a ruling, stating the new law restricting public drag performances is a violation of constitutional speech rights. This ruling has resulted in the permanent discontinuation of the law’s enforcement.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner wrote in his decision, “Not all people will like or condone certain performances,” drawing a parallel between the varying preferences for performances to differing tastes in music or comedy, and emphasizing that these differences do not negate First Amendment protections.
This law is not a standalone case, with Texas being one of over a dozen states that have attempted to implement restrictions on drag shows, a move seen as part of broader Republican initiatives to regulate LGBT behaviors. Similar laws have been enacted in three other states.
Judge Hittner labeled the Texas law as discriminatory and vague, specifying that drag performances are not obscenely intrinsic and are a form of expressive speech, thus protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, drag performers, and Pride march organizers united in a legal battle, filing a lawsuit in Houston’s federal court to challenge this law. They argue modern drag, a form of expressive musical and dance performance, has its roots in LGBT venues.
The office of the Texas attorney general defended the law, which, among other things, banned the display of exaggerated male or female sexual characteristics in public or where minors could see, asserting it is essential for protecting children from “sexually explicit” content. Those found violating could face fines and up to one year in jail.
However, critics of the law believe it has been written so broadly that it could potentially criminalize performances by pop stars and cheerleaders and is directly targeting LGBT performers.
In alignment with this ruling, other federal judges in states like Tennessee, Florida, and Montana have also struck down similar drag restrictions, citing them as free-speech violations.
Michelle Obama Earns $750,000 for One-Hour Speech
Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently commanded a staggering $750,000 for delivering a one-hour speech at a tech fair in Munich. This lucrative speaking engagement was held on the sidelines of the annual Oktoberfest beer festival.
Mrs. Obama addressed around 5,000 attendees, discussing pushing past self-doubt and emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and diversity.
According to sources close to the conference organizers, the former First Lady “topped the list” of desired participants “year after year,” prompting the organizers to “pull out all the stops” to secure her presence.
This massive sum is nearly double the annual earnings of the current President, Joe Biden, illuminating the high demand and esteem for Mrs. Obama in the international speaking circuit.
The event, named ‘Bits and Pretzels’, is a three-day gathering focused on entrepreneurial endeavors and features speakers who share their success stories. It brings together founders of national and international companies and has hosted other notable figures, including former German soccer star turned entrepreneur, Oliver Kahn. Michelle Obama’s fellow speakers at the event revered her presence, noting it as a significant highlight.
Senator Ted Cruz has been vocal about his speculations regarding Mrs. Obama’s political future, especially considering her enduring popularity and high approval ratings.
He stated on his podcast, “In August of 2024, the Democrat kingmakers [may] jettison Joe Biden and parachute in Michelle Obama.”
This statement comes amidst the circulating concerns about President Biden’s age and cognitive abilities, making the possibility of Mrs. Obama’s candidacy a tantalizing scenario for many.
Michelle Obama’s enduring appeal is evident from her consistent high approval ratings during her White House years and beyond. A recent YouGov poll highlighted that 77 percent of people still have a favorable opinion of her, compared to a mere 15 percent unfavorable.
This wide support stems from her initiatives and engagements during her tenure as the First Lady and her ongoing work promoting inclusivity and diversity.
Since leaving the White House, the Obamas have engaged in numerous lucrative speaking engagements and signed a $65 million publishing deal with Penguin for their memoirs. They have also ventured into production with their company ‘Higher Ground’, signing a significant contract with Netflix.
Michelle Obama continues to influence and inspire through her work, and her high-profile appearances are eagerly anticipated and well-compensated, as demonstrated by her recent engagement in Munich.
While the former First Lady has denied any intentions to run for office, her widespread popularity and the high demand for her insights keep the rumors alive.
The considerable fee for her recent speaking engagement underscores her enduring influence and the significant impact she continues to have on discussions about diversity and inclusivity globally.
Despite her high earnings and popularity, Michelle Obama and her family continue to receive Secret Service protection, a provision reinstated by President Obama in 2013. The law ensures lifetime protection for former presidential spouses and their family members, reversing a 1994 statute that capped such protection at ten years.
Michelle Obama remains a figure of immense influence and respect, commanding significant attention and compensation for her appearances. Her ongoing work and the discussions around her possible future political endeavors keep her at the forefront of national and global conversations.
Tragic Discovery: Deadly Trap Door Found in Bronx Day Care
A heart-wrenching scene unfolded in a Bronx day care. A 1-year-old lost his life, and three others were injured. Investigators believe the exposure to fentanyl is to blame.
Investigators executed a search warrant, revealing a trap door in the play area of the day care apartment. Hidden inside were large quantities of fentanyl and other narcotics.
Authorities unveiled that a kilo of fentanyl was stored on playmats. A device to press drugs into bricks was also discovered, painting a grim picture of the day care’s dual life.
Owner Grei Mendez and her tenant Carlisto Acevedo Brito are currently facing murder charges. They’re in federal custody, held without bail, connected to horrifying federal drug trafficking charges.
A grand jury in the Bronx has returned an indictment related to the tragic events. However, the specific charges remain sealed pending arraignment.
District Attorney Darcel Clark passionately voiced her commitment to seek justice. “Every single person in this county feels what they feel, that they entrusted day care center to take care of their children,” she said.
Mayor Eric Adams was visibly upset about the horrifying incident. “This is total madness that we lost a child to this dangerous substance,” he exclaimed, calling for a full national assault on this drug.
The day care, catering to children between 6 weeks and 12 years old, had passed a city inspection just last week. Despite this, a secret life of drug conspiracy thrived behind closed doors.
Mendez’s attorney claims her only crime was renting a room to someone who had a kilo of fentanyl. However, the presence of drug paraphernalia raises haunting questions.
Officials remain vigilant and are conducting thorough investigations. It’s crucial to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children who are victims of this tragic incident.
What We Think
This is just downright heartbreaking and maddening. Little kids, innocent lives, and then there’s this poison, this fentanyl, in their safe space. The trust parents put in day cares, completely shattered. It makes one question, how many more places are like this, running dual lives?
These revelations, they just bring forth the need for stricter, much stricter, oversights and regulations. Folks ought to be able to trust that their kids are safe, that they are cared for when they’re away.
And to the folks responsible, if they’re guilty, they better face the full force of the law. The safety of our little ones should never be compromised, never.
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