Posts tagged with "HuffPost"

Big deal: BuzzFeed acquires HuffPost

November 23, 2020

Digital culture and news company BuzzFeed has agreed to buy HuffPost from Verizon Media, the companies announced on November 19—a move that combines two of the internet’s largest consumer media properties, NBC News reports.

Verizon also will make an investment to become a minority shareholder in BuzzFeed—and the deal will see the two companies partner on shopping experiences for consumers, content syndication across each other’s platforms, and ad products.

BuzzFeed paid for HuffPost with company shares, the value of which was not disclosed. Verizon Media acquired HuffPost when it bought AOL for a reported $4.4 billion in 2015. NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, is an investor in BuzzFeed.

The merged company will be run by Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s co-founder and CEO, who is also one of the co-founders of the original HuffPost site, originally called The Huffington Post. An editor-in-chief will be brought on to head HuffPost, which will be run as its own brand and separate site.

I still vividly remember the night we launched HuffPost and the excitement of growing it into a major news outlet during those early years,” Peretti said in an internal email to BuzzFeed staff, obtained by NBC News. “But we aren’t buying HuffPost because of its illustrious past or my personal connection; we pursued this opportunity because we are excited about the future of HuffPost and all the potential it has to continue to define the media landscape for years to come.”

On Thursday, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington tweeted that she was “so happy” to see the company joining forces with BuzzFeed 15 years after Peretti helped found it. “Such exciting news and looking forward to all that’s to come,” she said.

The deal combines two of the most successful digital media companies from different eras. HuffPost emerged as one of the first successful digital media outlets of the 2000s. BuzzFeed, launched in 2006, became the dominant digital media operation years later, from a surge of readers who came primarily through social media platforms, especially Facebook.

While each was able to amass a sizable audience and attract millions of dollars in private investment, both struggled to turn a profit. Facebook and Google have remained the primary destination for digital advertising spending, with most digital media websites facing similar challenges as BuzzFeed and HuffPost.

Peretti said that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital and benefited digital-first companies and that BuzzFeed hopes this deal will enable it to “be the formidable leader in our space.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

How could Trump deduct $70,000 for his hair? Stylists say the answer is not ‘cut and dried’

September 30, 2020

A recent bombshell New York Times report revealed that President Donald Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017—but an almost equally “hair-raising” part of that report had to do with the price he paid for his signature bouffant ‘do .

The Times exclusive, which drops several huge bombshells—including the fact that Trump is in debt for $421 million—also reveals that he wrote off a whopping $70,000 on hairstyling expenses while he hosted of “The Apprentice.

On behalf of those Americans who have overdrawn their bank accounts shelling out $300 for highlights, on September 28, the Huffington  Post asked: How?

A request from HuffPost writer Jamie Feldman for answers from professionals on a beauty and style page on Facebook left her with some answers she expected: It’s possible but not probable; it could be due to a high day rate or medical procedure (like hair plugs); or perhaps some of that money goes toward NDAs that prevent stylists from disclosing details of their services. But the general consensus appeared to be that it would be pretty difficult to get to that number on salon services alone.

Joey Silvestera, founder of the Blackstones and Five Wits salons in New York City, said he believes there are one of two scenarios at play here, but only one seems to him to be in the realm of possibility.

When you do the math over a 12-month period, even if he went to a top stylist and colorist and went every four weeks, which most males do, it’s virtually impossible to hit those numbers,” he told HuffPost over the phone. “Unless there was some sort of medical treatment that year like hair plugs ― which still would be under $20,000 for one treatment—I don’t think it’s very likely.”

The less cutting and more logical explanation, Silvestera said, is that Trump had a hairstylist on retainer, working for a salary of $70,000.

“That’s a normal salary for a mid-level hairdresser in places like New York City or Los Angeles, where it’s high fashion and a hard cost of living,” he said. “If he has a hairdresser who follows him around for photos, appearances, to make sure his hair is OK …. It would include styling daily, haircutting, coloring, it sounds about right.”

Silvestera pointed to hairdressers he knows who work for morning news programs and make between $80,000 to $100,000. So while he said it’s easy to see how social media would twist it, the amount doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

However, if that’s not the case, Silvestera called the fees “the most expensive hair services I’ve ever heard of on the planet.”

Ashley Watts, a professional hair and makeup artist based in Raleigh, North Carolina, who also does commercial and editorial work, agreed that the amount is feasible. Her calculations, however, break it down in a slightly different way.

“On average for a political appearance, I make $500 to $1,500 for styling depending on the job, the person, the amount of time I need to be there, etc.,” she said. “But typically stylists who do this type of work are paid per day, on location, and most of us in the political world have to have high clearance to even be in the same room with politicians―something also common with celebrities.”

According to that logic, Watts said she would guess the stylist is being paid $1,000 minimum per appearance. Calculate that out weekly for a year and you get $52,000 for the stylist fee alone.

Watts also made an educated—but unfounded—guess that Trump may wear a hair piece, which could contribute to costs.

“I would assume Trump would only want the best hair piece, made from quality material billed back to the beautiful taxpayers,” she said. “A custom hand-woven lace-front piece made with real human hair would cost about $2,000. He probably had someone who maintains keeping the specimen along with any custom pieces in his wardrobe. So, for the sake of the article, let’s say it’s cleaned once a month and repaired as needed―that’s around $750 per month. So $9,000 for wig-keeping. Plus, let’s assume he has five pieces in rotation at $2,000 each. Would you look at that? $10,000.”

According to Watts’ guesses, $52,000 for styling, $9,000 for maintenance on hair pieces and $10,000 for “a couple of good custom pieces” total out to $71,000.

“As you can see, it’s pretty easy to come up with that total if he’s using freelance personnel for this type of service,” she said. “Actually, if this is what he’s paying, he’s probably getting a decent deal!”

We may never know for sure how Trump landed on a $70,000 hair write-off (in addition to reportedly written-off payments of close to $95,000 for “a favorite hair and makeup artist of Ivanka Trump”). These professional opinions are just that—opinions.

But it’s clear that Trump thinks that hair makes the man.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Going viral: Bride and groom pose for photos in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters

June 10, 2020

In the midst of the ongoing anti-racism protests around the world, one couple’s empowering wedding photos—taken at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Philadelphia—have gone viral, The Huffington Post reports.

Bride Kerry Anne and groom Michael Gordon tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at the Logan Hotel on Saturday, June 6. Hotel staff had informed the couple days earlier that a protest was set for their wedding date, but they decided to go ahead with their plans.

As the couple was preparing to do their “first look” outside the hotel, demonstrators gathered to cheer them on, which made for a truly powerful moment. Photographer Linda McQueen captured the couple raising their fists in the heart of the downtown Philadelphia protest.

“I come running around the corner and I see Kerry standing with a circle of people around her just cheering, and she’s literally standing there looking like a Black princess. That’s all I see,” the groom told Vogue, which also is carrying the story. “These peaceful protesters, positive energy, cheering, yelling, people with their phones out taking pictures and videos.”

“And Kerry’s just standing there looking beautiful as can be,” Michael continued. “And I walked up to her and took her hand, and she was shaking. The energy and passion and moment, everything that was going on, was just blowing through her.”

Celebrating this milestone in their relationship during such a pivotal moment in history, was “empowering,” the bride—an OB-GYN who’s originally from Jamaica — told ABC News.

Not only are we feeling the movement of the people … but I’m meeting my husband, on our wedding day, as a strong Black man and a good representative of who we are as people, what our men are like, what our culture is like,” Kerry Anne Gordon said. “It was just a very, very empowering moment for us considering all of this is happening at one moment in one time.”

Initially, the couple had planned to get married in May, but had to postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to their small, socially distanced ceremony this weekend, they plan to do a larger celebration with extended family and friends in 2021.

Face masks and hand sanitizer were provided to guests, who were encouraged to wear white.  To see more photos of the couple’s memorable wedding day, head over to Vogue.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Daily Beast: NBC admonished Ronan Farrow to stop reporting on Harvey Weinstein

September 4, 2018

Even the hottest and most widely sourced stories can be blocked by news outlets that capitulate to the pressures of politics and profitability. That’s exactly what happened at NBC News, an exclusive report by The Daily Beast alleges, when Ronan Farrow tried to air a story on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of, and assaults on, female film industry associates in August 2017.

Indeed, even after Farrow left the network, NBC News General Counsel Susan Weiner made a series of calls to the writer and “threatened to smear him,” if he continued to delve into whispers about the Hollywood mogul, The Daily Beast claims in its August 30 scoop.

Farrow went on to publish his story in The New Yorker, causing nationwide reverberations that resulted in the #MeToo movement.

Since then, Farrow has been awarded a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of articles that revealed allegations of sexual harassment and assault—and questions have lingered about why the network gave up on the story.

Now, the supervising producer who worked beside him at NBC has quit the network, too, and is telling his own full story. Rich McHugh tendered his resignation on Friday, August 17—a year to the day after the Weinstein story left with Farrow.

A spokesperson for NBC News, speaking on the condition of anonymity, vigorously denied all allegations that Farrow was muzzled and intimidated by the network. “Absolutely false,” the spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “There’s no truth to that all. There is no chance … that Susan Weiner would tell Ronan Farrow what he could or could not report on.

“The sole point of the Susan Weiner’s conversation with Farrow, roughly a month after he had left NBC,” the spokesperson added, “ was to make sure he wasn’t still telling sources that he was working on the story for NBC, since he had moved on to The New Yorker.

How it all started

In February 2015, Farrow lost his daytime show on MSNBC and began working with NBC News’s investigative unit. In November 2016, Farrow and Rich McHugh decided they wanted to do a story about Hollywood’s “casting couch”— the longtime practice of producers and other powerful men exchanging sex with women for film roles, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

They presented the idea to NBC News President Noah Oppenheim, who suggested that the team look into a October 2016 tweet by actress Rose McGowan, who said she had been raped by a Hollywood executive, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Over the next several months, Farrow began collecting evidence that suggested Weinstein had a pattern of inappropriate behavior toward women.  Weinstein pushed back, denying all allegations of non-consensual sex.

An order to stand down

In an interview with The New York Times published on August 30, McHugh accused “the very highest levels of NBC” of later stopping the reporting.

The same network spokesperson says that claim is inaccurate, telling The Daily Beast, “There was not one single victim or witness to misconduct by Harvey Weinstein who was willing to go on the record. Not one.”

By February, according to the sources, Farrow had secured an on-the-record interview with McGowan in which the actress said she had been sexually harassed by a powerful producer, though she did not name Weinstein. (McGowan subsequently named Weinstein during the NBC investigation, according to a source with knowledge of the story, but reportedly pulled her interview after being legally threatened by Weinstein, who had reached a $100,000 settlement with her in 1997 after she accused him of sexual assault.)

Farrow and McHugh also had obtained a bombshell audio recording from an NYPD sting in which Weinstein admitted to groping Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez in 2015. (The Battilana audio was subsequently published by The New Yorker.)

However, during a meeting in summer 2017, Oppenheim mentioned to Farrow that Weinstein had raised objections to Farrow’s reporting—even though Farrow had not yet asked Weinstein to comment on the allegations, according to individuals briefed on the meeting.

“Externally, I had Weinstein associates calling me repeatedly,” McHugh told the Times. “I knew that Weinstein was calling NBC executives directly. One time it even happened when we were in the room.”

HuffPost reported last year that Oppenheim had gone so far as to relay concerns from Weinstein’s lawyers that Farrow could not report the story because the producer had worked with his estranged father, director Woody Allen.

“No, absolutely not, and Noah Oppenheim never had a conversation with Harvey Weinstein about the content of NBC News’ investigation,” the network spokesperson said.

By August 2017, Farrow was prepared to fly to California to interview a woman who was going to claim in silhouette on camera that Weinstein had raped her, according to the sources—however, network management said he “needed more” and would not allow Farrow to use an NBC News crew for the interview, a person familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. Farrow went ahead with the interview anyway, paying for a camera crew out of his own pocket, according to sources.

“Three days before Ronan and I were going to head to L.A.,” McHugh told the Times, “I was ordered to stop, not to interview this woman. And to stand down on the story altogether.”

Dejected, Farrow approached longtime New Yorker media writer Ken Auletta, seeking advice about what to do. It was Auletta who suggested bringing the story to The New Yorker and called Editor in Chief David Remnick, who accepted the idea.

Immediately after Farrow published his bombshell at The New Yorker, top figures at NBC began pointing fingers at each other, two sources said.

While Oppenheim told staffers that he took responsibility for the decision to let the story go, he privately told at least one colleague that NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack and Senior Communications Vice President Mark Kornblau had made him a scapegoat.

The issue remains open. Questions about the story still are surfacing—and they are likely to cause more headaches in the coming months, The Daily Beast reports.

Earlier this year, publisher Little, Brown announced it was publishing a book by Farrow entitled Catch & Kill, in which he is expected to share his recollection of NBC’s decisions around the Weinstein story and report more broadly on the conspiracy of silence that protects powerful men.

More details on the story are available on The Daily Beast website.

Research contact: @maxwelltani

Trump Calls Omarosa Manigault Newman ‘That Dog’

August 15, 2018

On Tuesday, August 14—the morning that former White House Assistant to the President Omarosa Manigault Newman’s book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump Administration went on sale—the POTUS tweeted his thoughts at 7:31 a.m. “When you  give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

In response, Manigault Newman told Katy Tur of MSNBC that, if her former boss called her a “dog” in public, she wondered what he called her privately.

During that same interview, Manigault Newman said that she had told Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, that “there was a lot of corruption” in the campaign and the administration. She added that Trump had known about the “hacked emails” before they were released.

And the plot continues to thicken, as Trump and Newman expertly lob insults—and damning new information—at each other.

Trump has deployed the “dog” insult previously, The New York Times reported. In one case , the news outlet said, Trump claimed that his onetime political rival Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “lies like a dog” and, in another, he called Arianna Huffington, co-founder of HuffPost, a “dog.”

On Monday, NBC released a tape Manigault Newman made of her speaking to Trump, which she said was recorded the day after she was fired. In the recording, the president said he knew nothing about this personnel decision and told her, “I don’t love you leaving at all.”

Last December 12, White House Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, fired her in the Situation Room, the most secure conference room in the White House. Manigault Newman has released a recording of that conversation, as well.

Kelly said, according to her new book, “I’d like to see this be a friendly departure. There are pretty significant legal issues that we hope won’t make it ugly for you.” However, he declined to hash over the rationale for letting her go, saying “This is a nonnegotiable discussion.”

Manigault Newman has said she has more audio recordings, and in an interview Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” she said she would continue to cooperate with the special counsel, if asked. “Anything they want, I’ll share,” she said.

Just the day before, on August 13, a Trump tweet confirmed, after months of confabulation on the issue, that Manigault Newman had been forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Such agreements are illegal, unless they are confined to information that is top secret and highly secure.

The POTUS’s job approval rating registered at 39% on August 12, according to the Gallup poll.

 Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com