Business

Deluxe ‘picnic’ dining al fresco for parties of 2 to 250—no packing required

April 19, 2021

Let’s be honest, while a blanket unfurled beneath a leafy tree is the stuff of romantic movies, the DIY picnic plays out more like reality TV.

“It sounds really casual,” Jam Stewart, founder of Picnic PopUp in Nashville,  recently told The Wall Street Journal,“but when you actually go to do it [yourself], it can be a frustrating experience.”

Now, however, a new branch of the event-planning industry that focuses on bespoke picnics is making the fairy tale possible, from bucolic tête à têtes in Portland, Oregon, to afternoon teas in Houston.

Last September, Manhattanites Bailey LaMarca and Stephen Zamora, whose trip to Capri was scuttled by the pandemic, booked an oceanside picnic with Destination Haus in Montauk, New York. The couple brought in locally made lobster rolls and chilled Wölffer Estate pinot gris. For its part, Destination Haus supplied the beachy tableaux, a nautical-pillow haven surrounded by lanterns, blue glass chargers on woven place mats and perky yellow Craspedia flowers in vases.

“It was a glimmer of light in a dark year,” Zamora told the Journal, adding that he plans to make picnicking a summer tradition and already has booked one for August.

Destination Haus’s Carlyn Vellante and sister Kendra expanded their art and home-décor business into picnic planning last summer. Their mission: To give diners in the Hamptons an alternative to the humdrum experience of takeout and the excruciating waits for socially distanced outdoor seating. Business ka-boomed. The sisters planned as many as three picnics per night through October in 2020. And demand is unwavering for the 2021 season. “We’re already double-booking our dates,” said Vellante.

Most setups (with cleanups) cost $100-$200 per guest and include wedding-worthy tabletop décor, enough pillows and throw rugs to make a nest, plus floral arrangements.

While provisions aren’t always included in the price, partnerships with food vendors make delectables such as charcuterie and caviar available for an upcharge, the Journal notes. Little Picnic & Co., in San Diego, does brunch with pastries, macarons and a petite red-velvet layer cake topped with fresh flowers and gold foil.

Picnic PopUp brings in dishes from Rare Bird, the restaurant in Nashville hotel Noelle, and sometimes offers al fresco meals on its skyline-view rooftop. Houston’s Picnics in the City hosts Picnic + Yoga at Le Méridien hotel, where avocado toast fills bellies after a bendy workout.

Lockdown may have given picnic-planning a shot in the arm, but casual luxury has found a spot on the blanket, and it’s not budging.

Research contact: @WSJ

White Castle’s new designer uniforms include a doo-rag

April 16, 2021

When fast food forerunner White Castle asked its employees what they wanted in their newly redesigned uniforms, many asked for a doo-rag. So, the brand—famous for its hamburger sliders—commissioned the award-winning Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens to create one.

It’s the first time a fast-food chain has issued this hair accessory as part of its uniform, Fast Company reports.

Clemens first launched his label in 2005—making a name for himself with his androgynous garments and democratic approach to design, encapsulated by his tagline: “It’s not for you, it’s for everyone.” In 2017, Clemens won the top prize of $400,000 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Vogue Fashion Fund, cementing his status as one of the country’s most significant designers.

This week, White Castle and Clemens unveiled the updated look as part of the burger joint’s 100th anniversary celebrations. For the occasion, photographer Elliott Jerome Brown Jr. captured employees wearing the outfits in an intimate portrait series that offers a glimpse into the their lives during the pandemic. Like much of Clemens’ work, the collection pushes the boundaries of inclusivity in fashion, making the case that fast-food workers—whose labor is wildly undervalued in the American market—deserve great design.

What’s more, Fast Company notes, Clemens has a longstanding relationship with White Castle. In 2015, while gearing up for New York Fashion Week, his after-party sponsor pulled out and his team rushed to find an alternative. They gave White Castle a call to see if the company might step in, partly because Clemens has always loved the chain.

Jamie Richardson, VP of marketing at White Castle, was on the other end of the line. “It was such an intriguing proposition,” he says. “We’re a family-owned company and didn’t have an enormous budget, but I suggested we have the after party at the White Castle on 8th Avenue in New York. He laughed, thinking I was joking.”

But Richardson wasn’t joking. On September 15, Clemens hosted an unforgettable party at the White Castle in Hell’s Kitchen, DJed by the cult musicians Joey LaBeija and Michael Magnan. There was a do-it-yourself bar, along with plenty of sliders. “The cool kids of New York showed up,” Richardson says. “I was there in my suit flicking the light switch up and down to create a disco.”

White Castle has used these uniforms ever since, but Clemens has made several updates. In 2018, he released a shirt with the word “family” on it and the year after, he released one that said “true.” Richardson says that White Castle updates its uniform every 18 months, which is typical in the fast-food sector, but he points out that brands usually takes this opportunity to highlight a new slogan or product. Rather than treating workers as a human billboard, White Castle worked with Clemens to make each update feel like a limited-edition drop.

The brand frequently surveys employees about the uniforms and these latest outfits reflect some of this feedback. Some said their aprons covered up their designer T-shirts, so White Castle asked Clemens to  create an apron that would complement the outfit. Others asked for a doo-rag, a quintessentially African American hair accessory originally worn by enslaved people in the 19th century that went on to become a fashion statement in the Black Power movement in the 1960s. He designed one in White Castle’s iconic royal blue.

Clemens also created a limited-edition collection sold through his own brand, featuring a mashup of White Castle’s and Telfar’s logos, with proceeds going to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Liberty and Justice Fund, which provides bail to imprisoned minors.

One quarter of White Castle’s workforce has been with the company for over a decade and, since these uniforms launched, employee engagement scores have tracked upward. As Richardson tells Fast Company: “We wandered into this relationship, but we’ve found that it’s a rich, creative partnership.”

Research contact: @FastCompany

Hundreds of companies, CEOs band together to defend and protect voting access

April 15, 2021

Hundreds of business leaders and companies—including Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors,. and Netflix—have signed on to a statement promising to “defend the right to vote and oppose any discriminatory legislation” in the latest corporate response to a wave of Republican-led voting suppression bills being advanced in dozens of states.

Among the executive signatories are BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, and Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, more than 300 companies, CEOs, and other executives signed the statement, which appeared as a full-page advertisement in The New York Times and other publications on March 14.

It was organized by Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck.

“There is overwhelming support in corporate America for this principle of voting rights,” Chenault said. “The right to vote is fundamental to America. It is not a partisan issue.”

According to the Journal, the statement doesn’t directly address specific voting legislation, nor does it call on companies to take business action or halt political donations to lawmakers supporting such bills.

“Clearly, we’re not being prescriptive about how people manifest their opposition,” Chenault said. “Who in their right mind would say that they want legislation that will limit people’s ability to vote?”

Research contact: @WSJ

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine pause likely to last only a few days

April 14, 2021

On Tuesday morning, federal officials said they expected the recommended pause in administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to last only a few day—and said it should not impact the United States’ vaccination goals, Roll Call reports.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced early on March 13 that the they were recommending a pause in Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations after six female patients out of the 6.8 million Americans who had received the vaccine to date reported the development of a rare type of blood clot six to 13 days after vaccination. The women were between the ages of 18 and 48.

The Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Peter Marks, told reporters on a call that the pause is necessary to educate providers about the type of blood clot caused by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, called a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.

Standard blood clot treatment does not work for this type of clot, which, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, occurs in the brain’s venous sinuses. Such a clot prevents blood from draining out of the brain. As a result, blood cells may break and leak blood into the brain tissues, forming a hemorrhage—and leading tio a life-threatening stroke.

The experts warn that, if the standard course of treatment is followed for a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, it could cause further harm or even be fatal, Roll Call reports.

Marks said there is no known link to birth control or contraceptives. The only hypothesis health officials mentioned is that the adenovirus vaccine creates an extreme immune reaction in some people that causes platelet clots.

The CDC’s Vaccine Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is set to meet on Wednesday, March 14, to review these cases and discuss the potential significance.

CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat told reporters that anyone who was vaccinated with this one-shot vaccine a month ago or more should not worry. But anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine in the past few weeks should watch for symptoms including severe headaches, leg pain, or abdominal pain that differs from typical post-vaccination symptoms.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said these reactions are extremely rare and should not deter Americans from getting vaccinated for COVID-19. The pause is due to regular safety monitoring, she said.

“The message to patients who haven’t been vaccinated is to continue to get vaccines that may still be available to them,” Woodcock said.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters the delay would not have a significant impact on the U.S. vaccination plan. The one-shot vaccines from Johnson & Johnson make up less than 5% of recorded shots in arms to date.

The U.S. has secured enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer to continue vaccinating 3 million people per day, Zients said. States and the federal government plan to work quickly to get anyone scheduled for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine rescheduled for a two-dose shot by Moderna or Pfizer.

The pause will immediately impact the places that receive vaccines directly from the federal government: retail pharmacies, community vaccination clinics, mobile vaccinations units and FEMA-run sites.

The move could shutter some mass vaccination sites. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it is working with states to find other vaccines.

“FEMA is committed to helping the President’s goal to ensure everyone who wants to be vaccinated can be. In alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, effective immediately FEMA will stop administering this vaccine at our pilot Community Vaccination Clinics, as well as via our Mobile Vaccine Units,” said Acting Administrator Bob Fenton in an emailed statement. “We are working with our state partners to determine the path forward and find alternative vaccine options for these sites.”

Georgia, North Carolina, and Colorado have reportedly shut vaccination sites because of adverse events experienced by people receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Several states—including Maryland, New York, and Ohio—confirmed Tuesday morning that they would pause administering the vaccine.

Research contact: @rollcall

A family death can mean a nightmare of forms—but this app wants to help you through the process

April 13, 2021

When a loved one dies, there’s suddenly a long to-do list to slog through: You have to make the funeral arrangements, probate the will, and cancel services such as cable and internet—all under the heavy cloak of grief.

Indeed, 540 hours of work typically are required to settle a loved one’s estate—often with little help or support . But now, a new company called Empathy aims to guide people through those logistics, and also provide emotional support for their loss, reports Fast Company.

“Grief is made hard by logistics, and logistics are made even harder by grief,” says CEO Ron Gura, who cofounded the company with Yonatan Bergman, after meeting on-the-job at WeWork.

Now available in the United States on IOS and Android, Empathy serves as a digital companion for those dealing with a loss—part “Headspace for grief” and part “TurboTax for estate settlement,” Gura told Fast Company.

The app starts by asking users questions, such as their location, because states have varying probate laws; and religion, in case there are traditional arrangements of which the app needs to be aware.

Then, it guides the user down different paths—from Immediate Arrangements, to Searching for Documents, to Bills and Debt.

Throughout the estate-managing process, it can feel like you need to become an expert on all different laws and procedures. “You read about the rules in Florida and the rules in New York; what to do with five kids, what to do with one; with a will, without a will. We want to take that clutter away and only show you what is relevant to you,” Gura says.

“It’s almost like a second job, and it’s painful, it’s overwhelming, and you don’t know what to do first,” Gura says, noting that the hope is that Empathy can provide a one-stop way to complete all of those tasks. The platform breaks down each into different steps, and pre-fills or even automates some for you—like closing a Comcast account, or checking eligibility for veterans benefits.

“We can, with your permission, do a lot of the heavy lifting for you,” Gura says. “That’s the difference between sympathy, flowers, and condolences to empathy, technology, and services. Not just saying the right thing but actually taking some of it off your chest.”

Users can upload documents to Empathy’s “vault,” an encrypted drive on the cloud, and reach out to the Empathy helpline to ask questions or find a therapist, lawyer, or other service. Those answering the helpline have been trained by a legal and grief team, and the founders worked with not only software developers and product designers, but also estate lawyers and grief experts to create the Empathy platform.

The app is free for the first month, and then costs a one-time fee of $65. Gura says there are no added fees or extra charges that come up for completing tasks, and articles that outline different steps are also available online for free. “We’re trying to build a trustworthy brand in this nontrivial category,” he says. “The last thing we want to do is lose the trust and support from our families.” That one-time fee also lets users go through the estate process at their own pace, without worrying about a monthly charge. (It’s also deductible from the estate.)

The end-of-life industry has slowly started to become updated, with online platforms to help people write their own wills and companies focused on starting conversations about death and all the planning it needs.

Gura hopes Empathy can upend it even more, challenging the traditional market that, he says, “leaves a lot of families overcharged and overwhelmed,” by democratizing estate settlement and making it an easier process to go through. After a funeral, “eventually you’re home, looking at, say, your father’s desk, piles of paperwork, tedious tasks, a lot of bureaucracy—and at that moment, you’re alone,” he says. “We don’t want you to be alone.”

Research contact: @FastCompany

A family death can mean a nightmare of forms—but this app wants to help you through the process

April 13, 2021

When a loved one dies, there’s suddenly a long to-do list to slog through: You have to make the funeral arrangements, probate the will, and cancel services such as cable and internet—all under the heavy cloak of grief.

Indeed, 540 hours of work typically are required to settle a loved one’s estate—often with little help or support . But now, a new company called Empathy aims to guide people through those logistics, and also provide emotional support for their loss, reports Fast Company.

“Grief is made hard by logistics, and logistics are made even harder by grief,” says CEO Ron Gura, who cofounded the company with Yonatan Bergman, after meeting on-the-job at WeWork.

Now available in the United States on IOS and Android, Empathy serves as a digital companion for those dealing with a loss—part “Headspace for grief” and part “TurboTax for estate settlement,” Gura told Fast Company.

The app starts by asking users questions, such as their location, because states have varying probate laws; and religion, in case there are traditional arrangements of which the app needs to be aware.

Then, it guides the user down different paths—from Immediate Arrangements, to Searching for Documents, to Bills and Debt.

Throughout the estate-managing process, it can feel like you need to become an expert on all different laws and procedures. “You read about the rules in Florida and the rules in New York; what to do with five kids, what to do with one; with a will, without a will. We want to take that clutter away and only show you what is relevant to you,” Gura says.

“It’s almost like a second job, and it’s painful, it’s overwhelming, and you don’t know what to do first,” Gura says, noting that the hope is that Empathy can provide a one-stop way to complete all of those tasks. The platform breaks down each into different steps, and pre-fills or even automates some for you—like closing a Comcast account, or checking eligibility for veterans benefits.

“We can, with your permission, do a lot of the heavy lifting for you,” Gura says. “That’s the difference between sympathy, flowers, and condolences to empathy, technology, and services. Not just saying the right thing but actually taking some of it off your chest.”

Users can upload documents to Empathy’s “vault,” an encrypted drive on the cloud, and reach out to the Empathy helpline to ask questions or find a therapist, lawyer, or other service. Those answering the helpline have been trained by a legal and grief team, and the founders worked with not only software developers and product designers, but also estate lawyers and grief experts to create the Empathy platform.

The app is free for the first month, and then costs a one-time fee of $65. Gura says there are no added fees or extra charges that come up for completing tasks, and articles that outline different steps are also available online for free. “We’re trying to build a trustworthy brand in this nontrivial category,” he says. “The last thing we want to do is lose the trust and support from our families.” That one-time fee also lets users go through the estate process at their own pace, without worrying about a monthly charge. (It’s also deductible from the estate.) h.

The end-of-life industry has slowly started to become updated, with online platforms to help people write their own wills and companies focused on starting conversations about death and all the planning it needs.

Gura hopes Empathy can upend it even more, challenging the traditional market that, he says, “leaves a lot of families overcharged and overwhelmed,” by democratizing estate settlement and making it an easier process to go through. After a funeral, “eventually you’re home, looking at, say, your father’s desk, piles of paperwork, tedious tasks, a lot of bureaucracy—and at that moment, you’re alone,” he says. “We don’t want you to be alone.”

Research contact: @FastCompany

The robots are coming … to mow your lawn

April 12, 2021

According to California’s Air Resources Board, operating a gas-fueled commercial lawn mower for just one hour emits as much pollution as driving a Toyota Camry about 300 miles. And if you substitute a commercial leaf blower for the mower, one hour of operation emits pollution comparable to driving a Camry about 1,100 miles.

What’s more, not only are both gas-powered mowers and leaf blowers bad for the environment, but they are noisy, The New York Times reports.

Indeed, Jamie Banks, the president of Quiet Communities, a nonprofit based in Lincoln, Massachusetts, said it’s not a one-machine issue. “It’s really the very widespread use of all polluting, noisy fossil-fuel-powered equipment that is at issue,” she noted.”

 

The noise from gas-powered lawn equipment is what stands out for people. But just how loud are those machines? While sound levels typically are measured in decibels, experts also rely on what are known as weighted decibels (dBAs), which take into account not just the intensity of the sound, but also how the ear responds.

Any “sound above 45 dBA is likely to start having negative effects,” John Medina, an affiliate associate professor at the University of Washington Department of Boengineering, told the Times. Leaf blowers, he said in an email, “are potentially quite dangerous,” because, when close to the ear, they “have been measured at 95 dBA.” A person standing 50 feet away is exposed to levels of anywhere from 65 dBAs to 80 dBAs, he added.

So what’s a homeowner to do?

For noise reduction alone, “robotic mowers are the biggest bang for the buck,” said Dan Mabe, the founder and president of the American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA), a California-based consulting firm that is creating its own standards and certification for areas that move to emission-free lawn care. Like LEED certification for buildings, the AGZA designation will mean that the community or commercial area has achieved emission-free status in its green spaces.

Robotic mowers are more prevalent in Europe, where yards tend to be smaller. In the United States, a few companies have begun to offer robotic services, Frank Rossi, an associate professor at the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, told the Times.

“Labor challenges” in the landscaping market are helping to bring about changes, said Kris Kiser, president and chief executive of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

For example, a labor shortage first propelled the Langton Group, a landscaping company in Woodstock, Illinois, to make the transition to emissions-free and quieter equipment about five years ago.

“I just couldn’t find enough people to hire, and I saw robotics as a way to solve my labor problems,” said Joe Langton, president of the company. “I began to realize that we not only saved labor, but helped the environment.”

Last year, working with Dan Mabe of AGZA, Langton  designated a 29-acre green zone in Woodstock, which Mabe said was the first in the state. The zone comprises a large corporate campus as well as an 11-acre group of townhouses.

Langton now has a fleet of 200 robotic mowers, each about 2 by about 2.5 feet and just over a foot tall, operating in this zone. They charge on site, some conventionally through electrical outlets and others by solar power. Like robotic vacuum cleaners, they can return to charge when they have finished their work (and can be shut down if the weather is bad).

Each robot covers 1.25 acres, constrained by an underground, signal-emitting wire similar to one used in an invisible dog fence. The family-run company largely relies on equipment manufactured by Husqvarna. a Swedish company in the forefront of green lawn technology.

And Langton told the Times that using robots had not eliminated jobs but instead had changed the kinds of workers he hired. Now he needs people who can oversee the technology and also trim hedges and work on weeds — all with battery-power equipment.

Robotic mowers are expensive, which can deter homeowners. Costs can range from about $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the model. But over the life of the equipment, battery-power models ultimately save money, a 2017 analysis at the University of Arkansas found. Some communities are offering rebates when older mowers or blowers are traded in, Mabe said.

Among manufacturers that offer equipment, Husqvarna is well known, and there are newer companies, like EGO and Ambrogio, as well as Mean Green Products, which in September was acquired by a division of Generac Holdings. Market stalwarts like Toro and DeWalt now also offer battery operated lawn care equipment.

Those who care for their own yards are moving toward battery-operated blowers, trimmers, and edgers when purchasing new equipment, Farnsworth said, adding that roughly half of newly purchased blowers and trimmers are battery powered.

The biggest hurdle may be the professional market, because the electric equipment needs recharging to handle, say, ten hours of continuous use, the Times notes. Until there is a solution, he said, landscapers may “be laggards when compared to homeowners.”

Research contact: @nytimes

The new pandemic shortage: Ketchup can’t catch up

April  9, 2021

After enduring a year of closures, employee safety fears, and start-stop openings; now, many American restaurants are now facing a nationwide supply chain shortage of one of their customers’ favorite condiments: ketchup.

More specifically, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, ketchup packets are being grabbed up by the handful—as toilet paper was earlier in the year—depleting restaurant supplies.

To meet the demand, managers are using generic versions, pouring out bulk ketchup into individual cups, and hitting the aisles of Costco for substitutes.

“We’ve been hunting high and low,” Chris Fuselier, owner of the Denver-based Blake Street Tavern told the Journal, saying he has struggled to keep ketchup in stock for much of this year.

The pandemic turned many sit-down restaurants into takeout specialists, making individual ketchup packets the primary condiment currency for both national chains and mom-and-pop restaurants. Packet prices are up 13% since January 2020, and their market share has exploded at the expense of tabletop bottles, according to restaurant-business platform Plate IQ.

Even fast-food giants are pleading for packets. Long John Silver’s—a nearly 700-unit chain—had to seek ketchup from secondary suppliers because of the rush in demand. The industry’s pandemic shift to packets has pushed up prices, costing the Louisville, Kentucky-based company an extra half-million dollars, executives said, since single-serve is pricier than bulk.

“Everyone out there is grabbing for ketchup,” Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Mattingly told the business news outlet.

The ketchup conundrum strikes at a cornerstone of American diets. The tomato spread is the most-consumed table sauce at U.S. restaurants, with around 300,000 tons sold to food-service last year, according to research firm Euromonitor. Even more is eaten at home, and the pandemic helped push retail ketchup sales in the U.S. over $1 billion in 2020, around 15% higher than 2019, Euromonitor data showed.

Kraft Heinz Co. is ketchup’s king, with the research firm saying Heinz holds nearly 70% of the U.S. retail market for the condiment. But the more than 150-year-old brand wasn’t prepared for the pandemic.

Kraft Heinz couldn’t keep up with orders for its sachets––the industry term for ketchup packets.

Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz’s president of Enhancers, Specialty and Away from Home Business Unit, said restaurants need patience while it ramps up supply. The company plans to open two new manufacturing lines in April, and more after that— increasing production by about 25% for a total of more than 12 billion packets a year. Kraft Heinz already is running extra shifts at plants, and cut back on some varieties to focus on making more single-serve packets.

The company also invented a no-touch ketchup dispenser to help meet demand for COVID-safe alternatives to shared bottles.

“We’re busy doing everything we can,” Cornell said.

Research contact: @WSJ

SEC charges Hollywood actor with operating $690M Ponzi scheme based on fake Netflix deals

April 8, 2021

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an asset freeze against Los Angeles-based actor Zachary Horwitz (also known by the stage name Zach Avery) in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over $690 million, Business Insider reports.

The U.S. regulator said in a Tuesday statement that Horwitz allegedly lied to investors that he and his company were buying film rights and reselling them to Netflix and HBO. In reality, his company had no business relationship with the entertainment giants and relied on fake emails to fool investors.

According to the SEC statement, Horowitz and his company, 1inMM Productions, promised investors returns in excess of 35%, and for years paid supposed returns on earlier investments using funds from new investments.

“We allege that Horwitz promised extremely high returns and made them seem plausible by invoking the names of two well-known entertainment companies and fabricating documents,” said Michele Wein Layne, director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.

In addition, Business Insider reports, Horwitz misappropriated investor funds for his personal us,—using victims’ money to purchase a $6 million property in Beverlywood, California.

The US Justice Department separately issued a statement saying that the FBI arrested Horwitz on Tuesd, April 6. Horwitz was criminally charged with raising $227 million over the course of about five years that has yet to be repaid as part of a scheme in which he claimed he would acquire rights to films that Netflix and HBO would then distribute abroad, particularly in Latin America, the statement said.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Denver will get All-Star Game after MLB dumps Atlanta over voter-suppression laws

April 7, 2021

Coors Field in Denver reportedly has been chosen to host this year’s All-Star Game on July 13 after Major League Baseball decided to pull the event from Atlanta over Georgia’s new voter-suppression laws, The Daily Beast reports.

Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred issued the following statement: “”Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

The new, restrictive voting legislation—signed last week by Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, imposes ID requirements for absentee ballots; and makes it illegal to approach voters to give them food and water as they wait in line to cast their ballots.

Although the move hasn’t been officially confirmed, leaders in Colorado already are buzzing with excitement that the game might be coming back to Denver for the first time since 1998, The Daily Beast notes.

Democratic Colorado Governor Jared Polis said: “I’m excited and hopeful that Major League Baseball makes the best decision and formally chooses to play the 2021 All-Star game in Denver.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast