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Mother of rotational worker says family harassed because of false social media posts – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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GLACE BAY – Venice Vance hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since Wednesday.

That was the day her son Nick Kelly returned to their Glace Bay home at 2:30 a.m. where he started his 14-day isolation, separated from the rest of the family in the basement.

A pipe fitter, 19-year-old Kelly and two other rotational workers from Cape Breton arrived early morning on Feb. 24 after driving home from Alberta where they were working.

By Thursday, the three young men were being targeted on social media with posts and rants about them breaking provincial public health protocols after one of them had their first required COVID-19 test results come back positive. Kelly’s test result came back negative.

“I hate that there was fiction put out there instead of facts. People just assume. The kids were targeted because of lies instead of the truth. They aren’t doing what everybody is saying,” said Vance during a phone interview from her Glace Bay home.

“And that poor boy that has COVID … he has a (respiratory condition). That boy is home. He hasn’t left his home and no one is concerned about how he’s doing.”

RUMOUR MILL CHURNS

Along with the social media posts, rants in group threads and chat rooms resulted in threatening private messages to the three rotational workers. Vance also got those messages and is diligently trying to fight misinformation about her son online.

“(It feels horrible) because you have to explain yourself and put out information the public shouldn’t even know,” she said.

Posts were being shared saying Kelly was the one with the virus. Vance posted his test results from Nova Scotia Health to prove it was negative.

Screengrabs of Kelly’s location through multimedia messaging app, Snapchat, were posted and shared as proof he wasn’t obeying isolation orders. These screengrabs show Kelly’s Snapchat image on the road; in one screengrab his character, or avatar, is seen in a car.

Alleged sightings of the men at public places were popping up. Vance said a woman alleged she saw Kelly and his stepfather at a restaurant.

When Vance questioned her in the social media thread it became apparent the woman saw Vance’s husband and his friend at the restaurant a week before Kelly was in Nova Scotia.

People also claimed the men were at a party in Glace Bay on Saturday – three days before the men arrived in Cape Breton.

At some point the rumour about the young men being at the party, which happened on Feb. 20, the Saturday before they returned to Cape Breton, turned into Kelly throwing the party.

“There was no party. Nick got in at 2:30 in the morning. Who throws a party at 2:30,” Vance said during the phone interview.

“The party they are saying they saw the boys at was on Saturday. They weren’t even home on Saturday. People can check this out. Call the Nova Scotia border and see when they did their check-in.”

Rumours swirled around the men having girlfriends at Glace Bay High School. Vance said her son’s girlfriend is in second year of college and she hasn’t seen him because, like the other two workers, he’s been in self-isolation.

“There’s one guy who posted that these three boys planned this,” Vance said. “That they came home here to spread COVID. Like, it was unreal what was being posted and what was being said.”

Kelly’s family has also been affected even though they are doing more than what public health directives require.

Vance said a business called to inquire when her husband, who hasn’t travelled, had returned to Canada indicating they heard the family had COVID-19.

She also saw posts saying the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. store in Glace Bay was closed because she had been in there. Having not been in there for a week, Vance called the store who told her they hadn’t closed.

Even Vance’s daughter who doesn’t live with them has been affected.

“My daughter goes to Glace Bay High. She lives with her father,” said Vance. “She has people not going near her, shunning her and her step-sister. They were nowhere near their brother.”

DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS

One of the 10 cases of COVID-19 announced on Friday was located in the eastern zone. Another case in the zone was announced on Saturday.

After cases are detected, public health officials do contact tracing and alerts are issued indicating locations of possible exposure to the virus.

There have been no new possible exposure locations announced for anywhere in Cape Breton and on the two pages of listings online, none are located in the eastern zone, which includes the geographic region of Cape Breton Island as well as Antigonish and Guysborough counties on the mainland.

During Friday’s COVID-19 update, the province’s medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said domestic workers have different requirements during isolation directives when they return from working out-of-province and people need to remember this.

Instead of isolating alone or having to isolate with the other residents of the home, rotational workers can isolate with family members who are allowed to leave the home at will.

Isolating rotational workers can also drive family members to work or school and get take-out, as well as pick up contactless retail orders.

“People need to understand what the requirements are for different groups,” Strang said during Friday’s briefing with reporters.

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Britney Spears calls recent documentaries about her ‘hypocritical’

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Pop singer Britney Spears spoke out on Tuesday about recent documentaries about her life and career, calling them “hypocritical” because they rehash her personal problems while criticizing the media for reporting them the first time.

Walt Disney Co’s FX network and The New York Times released “Framing Britney Spears” in February. The documentary examined the singer’s meteoric rise to fame as a teenager, the ensuing media scrutiny and her widely publicized breakdown.And this month, the BBC released “The Battle for Britney: Fans, Cash and a Conservatorship” in Britain. It will debut in the United States and Canada starting May 11 via the BBC Select streaming service.

In an Instagram post, Spears did not name either documentary but said “so many documentaries about me this year with other people’s takes on my life.”

“These documentaries are so hypocritical … they criticize the media and then do the same thing,” she added.

In March, Spears said she cried for two weeks after watching part of “Framing Britney Spears”.

The BBC said in a statement on Tuesday that its documentary “explores the complexities surrounding conservatorship with care and sensitivity.”

“It does not take sides and features a wide range of contributors,” the statement added.

A New York Times spokesperson declined to comment.

Spears, who shot to fame in 1998 with the hit “Baby One More Time,” is in a court battle seeking to replace her father as her conservator. He was appointed to the role in 2008 after she was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.

Her fans have shown their support on social media under the hashtags #We’reSorryBritney and #FreeBritney. Spears is scheduled to speak to a Los Angeles court in June.

In her Instagram post, which included a video of herself dancing, Spears said that “although I’ve had some pretty tough times in my life … I’ve had waaaayyyy more amazing times in my life and unfortunately my friends … I think the world is more interested in the negative.”

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Grammy organizers change rules after allegations of corruption

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The organizers of music’s Grammy Awards on Friday announced an end to the so-called “secret” committees that have led to allegations that the highest honors in the industry are open to rigging.

The Recording Academy said that nominations for the next Grammy Awards in January 2022 will be selected by all of its more than 11,000 voting members, instead of by committees of 15-30 industry experts whose names were not revealed.

The Academy was slammed last year when Canadian artist The Weeknd got zero Grammy nominations, even though his critically acclaimed album “After Hours” was one of the biggest sellers of 2020.

The Weeknd, in a Twitter post last November, said “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

The Recording Academy said in a statement on Friday that the changes were significant and were made “to ensure that the Grammy Awards rules and guidelines are transparent and equitable.”

Allegations that the Grammy nominations process is tainted were made in a legal complaint filed in early 2019 by the former chief executive of the Recording Academy, Deborah Dugan.

At the time, the Academy dismissed as “categorically false, misleading and wrong” Dugan’s claims that its members pushed artists they have relationships with. Dugan was later fired.

American pop star Halsey, also shut out of the 2021 Grammys, last year called the nominations process “elusive” and said she was “hoping for more transparency or reform.”

Former One Direction singer Zayn Malik called in March for an end to “secret committees.”

“I’m keeping the pressure on & fighting for transparency & inclusion. We need to make sure we are honoring and celebrating ‘creative excellence’ of ALL,” Malik tweeted hours ahead of the 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony.

The Recording Academy on Friday also said it was adding two new Grammy categories – for best global music performance, and best Latin urban music album – bringing to 86 the total number of Grammy Awards each year.

 

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Movie theaters face uncertain future

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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Maryo Mogannam snuck into the Empire theater in San Francisco with his older cousins to watch “Animal House” when he was 14. He watched most of the James Bond movies at the historic art house and took his wife there on some of their first dates.

The cinema, which had been showing movies since the silent film era, served notice in February that it was permanently closing because of the impact of COVID-19. The marquee is now blank, and cardboard and paper cover the box office window.

“It’s kind of like losing a friend,” said Mogannam, now 57, who owns a retail shipping outlet near the theater, which had been renamed the CineArts at the Empire.

As vaccinated Americans emerge from their homes, they also may find their neighborhood theater is not there to greet them.

An eight-cinema chain in New England said it will not reopen. The same fate hit a Houston art house beloved by director Richard Linklater and, in a shock to Hollywood, more than 300 screens run by Los Angeles-based Pacific Theatres. That includes the Cinerama Dome, a landmark that hosted several red-carpet movie premieres.

Following a year of closures, theaters face deferred rent bills plus media companies’ focus on drawing customers to streaming services. Up to one-fourth of the roughly 40,000 screens in the United States could disappear in the next few years, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

The National Association of Theatre Owners rejects that estimate, spokesman Patrick Corcoran said, noting that similar dire warnings accompanying the advent of television and the switch to digital screens never came to pass.

Hollywood filmmakers want cinemas to thrive.

“It’s the only place where the art dominates,” said “Avatar” director James Cameron. “When you watch something on streaming, the other people in the room with you are welcome to interject, to pause to go to the bathroom, to text.”

At theaters, “we literally make a pact with ourselves to go and spend two to three hours in a focused enjoyment of the art.”

“For 300 people to laugh and cry at the same time, strangers, not just your family in your house, that’s a very powerful thing,” said Chloe Zhao, Oscar-nominated director of best picture nominee “Nomadland.”

At the Academy Awards on Sunday, the movie industry will “make a case for why cinema matters,” producer Stacey Sher said. While acknowledging the hardship of the pandemic, “we also have to fight for cinema and our love of it and the way it has gotten us through things,” she said.

About 58% of theaters have reopened in the United States and Canada, most restricted to 50% capacity or less. The biggest operators – AMC, Cinemark and Cineworld – make up roughly half the overall market.

Industry leaders project optimism, forecasting a big rebound after restrictions ease and studios unleash new blockbusters.

Coming attractions include a new Bond adventure, the ninth “Fast & Furious” film, a “Top Gun” sequel and several Marvel superhero movies.

“Avatar 2,” Cameron’s follow-up to the highest-grossing film of all time, is set to debut in December 2022. Some box office analysts predict 2022 ticket sales will hit a record.

Supporters point to late March release “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which brought in roughly $48.5 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices over its first five days, even though audiences could stream it on HBO Max.

“That was a big win for the entire industry,” said Rich Daughtridge, president and chief executive of Warehouse Cinemas in Frederick, Maryland.

But near- and long-term challenges loom, particularly for smaller cinemas.

Theaters are negotiating with landlords over back rent. A federal aid program was delayed due to technical problems.

Plus, media companies are bringing movies to homes sooner. Executives say streaming is their priority, pouring billions into programming made to watch in living rooms as they compete with Netflix Inc.

Most at risk are theaters with one or two screens, Wedbush Securities’ Pachter said. He said his best guess is between 5,000 and 10,000 screens could go permanently dark in coming years.

“I think we’ll see a gradual decline in the number of screens,” Pachter said, “just like we’ve seen a gradual decline in the number of mom-and-pop grocery stores and bookstores.”

 

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Rollo Ross in Los Angeles, Alicia Powell in New York and Nathan Frandino in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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