The school says it absolutely did not cancel the production because of religious complaints.
A Jewish family in Pennsylvania has pulled their child out of school and left town after media outlets across the country ran stories blaming them for the cancellation of a Christmas play.
Local station WHTM reported last week that Centerville Elementary School in Lancaster decided not to put on its production of “A Christmas Carol” this year after two parents complained to the them about the famous line, “God bless us, everyone.” The school had been doing the play for more than 40 years.
But the controversy really took off after conservative outlets including Fox News, Breitbart News and The Blaze picked up the report and gave it national attention.
WHTM said school officials told the news outlet the play was not cancelled because of complaints about that line, although “many parents” believed it was so.
The Fox News commentary piece framed the controversy as part of the so-called “War on Christmas.” “[T]his year, I’m afraid Tiny Tim’s goose has been cooked by the Ghost of Christmas Intolerance,” the article stated.
But the Hempfield School District has vehemently denied this account of why it cancelled the play, and a Jewish family that says it’s being blamed for the controversy is so afraid for their safety they have left the area, at least temporarily. The earlier articles did not identify the parents being blamed as Jewish or identify them by name.
The parents of a fifth grader in the district told LancasterOnline that they never asked for the play to be cancelled or complained about it; they simply asked for their child to be excused and were told that was fine.
But they said since the school announced the cancellation last month, classmates had harassed their child. And after the story broke nationally, the school said it received at least 200 phone calls and emails about the play.
The family said they were disturbed by some of the comments on the conservative outlets’ stories ― including one on the Breitbart story asking for information about the family’s address.
And after a fake news story created an uproar over a pizza place in Washington, D.C. ― which ultimately resulted in a man coming in with an assault rifle to “self-investigate” whether there truly was a child sex ring there ― the family said they didn’t want to risk their safety by sticking around, although they were hoping to be able to come back.
“There’s no way we’re going to take a chance after the pizza incident,” said the parents, who were not named by LancasterOnline.
The Hempfield School District has backed up the family’s account. Officials have posted an FAQ sheet on its website and said the play was absolutely not cancelled because of complaints over the “God bless us” line. Instead, they dropped it because it consumed too much instructional time in the classroom. From the FAQ sheet:
In the beginning, there was supposed to be a separation between Fox Local News and the Fox Cable News networks. And that worked well for a number of years as the local over the air news channels became some of the best in the business – while the cable operation perused right wing and racist propaganda.
The line between the two has become increasingly diaphanous, increasingly with material from the Fox News organization going over to the Fox Propaganda organization on cable.
The result of that is increasing suspicion and disrespect for the News organization, as it is increasingly seen as an arm of the same monster.
Case in point –
I expect things will be getting increasingly hostile and dangerous for Fox News crews.
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): On the other hand, I understand that in this particular case Mr Crutcher has a long criminal history and appeared to be under the influence or so the police are charging.
RUSSELL MILLS: Well I’ll tell you I looked up his history and I’m not seeing a lot of criminal history. We have something called the OSCN – the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network. I was able to find a protective order from 12 years ago that was dismissed. I found a couple of financial things. There’s no violent criminal history for Mr. Crutcher that I’ve been able to uncover.
HANNITY: How many warrants, how many warrants were out for his arrest?
HANNITY: Well I read that there was numerous warrants out for his arrest including one assault on an officer and drug trafficking. Are those reports incorrect?
MILLS: As far as I know they are. I have not seen any reporting on any warrants for Mr Crutcher and I certainly haven’t uncovered any myself. There has been some misinformation floated.
Fox News host Sean Hannity tried to claim on Wednesday that Terence Crutcher had “several outstanding warrants” during an interview with KRMG-TV news anchor Russell Mills.
Audio posted by Media Matters captures Hannity saying during his radio show, “I understand that in this particular case Mr Crutcher has a long criminal history and appeared to be under the influence or so the police are charging.”
“I looked up his history and I’m not seeing a lot of criminal history. We have something called the OSCN – the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network,” Mills replied. “I was able to find a protective order from 12 years ago that was dismissed. I found a couple of financial things. There’s no violent criminal history for Mr. Crutcher that I’ve been able to uncover.”
Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma said that they found PCP inside Crutcher’s car after Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed him late last week. His family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump,responded by scolding officials, saying, “Don’t put out stuff that would demonize him and try to make him look like as if he was doing something nefarious. Put the entire story up.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that, while Crutcher was in prison between 2007 and 2011 for drug trafficking, his only arrest for any weapons-related charges came in 1995, when he pleaded no contest to carrying a .25-caliber handgun and resisting an officer.
But on Wednesday, Hannity went from citing unidentified reports to saying he had “a source” within the department.
“How many warrants were out for [Crutcher’s] arrest?” he asked Mills.
“None,” Mills replied.
“I read that there was numerous warrants out for his arrest including one assault on an officer and drug trafficking,” Hannity said. “Are those reports incorrect?”
“As far as I know they are,” said Mills. “I have not seen any reporting on any warrants for Mr Crutcher and I certainly haven’t uncovered any myself. There has been some misinformation floated. I’ll tell you, we had a homicide detective say yesterday that they found some drugs in the car. That may or may not be the case.”
“Our source said as much there too — that they were found in his possession,” Hannity responded, cutting Mills off. “Again, we have a source within the department that has given us some information, so I guess it’s a matter of time of when they’re gonna release this information.”
David Clarke has been accused of covering up a deputy’s misdeeds while Joe Arpaio has been called ‘unrepentantly lawless’. Meet the prominent officers who want the businessman in the Oval Office
As chairman of Donald Trump’s “Florida law enforcement coalition” and one of the Trump campaign’s official pilots, Vincent Caldara is doubly devoted to the Republican presidential nominee and his pledge to crack down on criminality.
A former police officer in New York and Miami, Caldara told supporters at a recent gathering in Florida that he had been flying vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence “from coast to coast to make sure we get the law and order message out to every single person that will be voting on November 8th”.
Caldara is simultaneously fighting claims that he is a lawbreaker himself.
The 55-year-old pilot is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, after he allegedly drove a vehicle at another person repeatedly in Pompano Beach in July last year. According to court records, the victim, whose name is withheld, was treated in hospital for leg and back injuries. Caldara has pleaded not guilty.
In a separate case, Caldara is accused of severely injuring a woman in June 2014 by recklessly driving into her with his Harley Davidson motorcycle in Fort Lauderdale. The woman is suing Caldara and seeking a jury trial. According to court records, officials have been unable to find Caldara to serve him with a summons.
Caldara and spokespeople for Trump’s campaign did not respond to several requests for comment.
The accusations of wrongdoing against Caldara are only the latest in an eclectic series of claims leveled at law enforcement figures who have publicly endorsed Trump’s campaign for the White House.
Amid a spike in crime in some US cities, Trump on Friday received the endorsement of the national Fraternal Order of Police union, whose president, Chuck Canterbury, said: “Our members believe he will make America safe again”.
But dark spots on the records of some of Trump’s most prominent police backers challenge the credibility of his claim to be the “law and order candidate”. In July, a coalition of dozens of police chiefs and prosecutors pleaded with the Republican nominee to abandon his draconian ideas and embrace contemporary policing theory and criminal justice reform.
Here, the Guardian reviews some of the allegations made against a half-dozen lawmen who have lent their support to Trump’s presidential campaign:
Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, has been Trump’s most visible ally among serving police. Although a registered Democrat, Clarke, 60, accused Hillary Clinton’s campaign of “embracing criminality” after mothers of African Americans killed by police appeared onstage at the Democratic National Convention.
But Clarke has been accused of violating rules and regulations himself since being elected in 2002. After one of his deputies broke a woman’s neck by crashing his vehicle into her car, Clarke was alleged to have overseen an attempted cover-up that involved framing the woman for drunk driving.
The victim, Tanya Weyker, sued Clarke, several deputies and county authorities in state and federal court in 2014 for compensation and civil rights violations. She said Clarke and his officers continued pursuing charges against her for months even after they knew video evidence showed the officer was at fault.
“Clarke was personally involved in the conspiracy to continue with the baseless prosecution of [Weyker],” the federal lawsuit said, “or, at the very least, was deliberately and recklessly indifferent to his subordinates’ unconstitutional actions and related misconduct.” Clarke and the officers denied the allegations.
An attorney for Weyker, Drew DeVinney, said Weyker settled her state lawsuit for the state-capped maximum $250,000 in compensation, and then settled the federal lawsuit for more than $95,000 for civil rights violations and attorneys’ fees.
Clarke has also come under criticism from within his own ranks. In 2010, deputy Richard Graber, a senior official in the Milwaukee deputies’ union, alleged that Clarke aggressively confronted him, called him a “sick fuck” and threatened to “come after him” for questioning an order that deputies must work mandatory overtime after the high-profile death of a local child.
“Clarke’s profanity-ridden rant included yelling, pointing, and calling Graber ‘waste,’ an ‘organizational terrorist,’ a ‘fucker,’ and a ‘cancer to the agency’,” according to an appeals court filing. Clarke denied most of Graber’s account of their confrontation. A federal appeals court said Clarke’s behavior amounted to an “adverse employment action” but rejected an allegation from Graber that the mistreatment was because of his union activity.
Inspector Edward Bailey, a spokesman for Clarke, declined to comment. “This county office does not involve itself in the current presidential race in any capacity,” he said in an email.
Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, enthusiastically supports Trump’s anti-immigration stance and campaign pledge to build a wall along the US border with Mexico. Babeu is also running as a Republican for a seat in the US House of Representatives and has made border security a key plank of his campaign.
Babeu promises voters on his website that he will tackle the “hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants pouring across our southern borders”, warning that at present, “possible terrorists with military training, deliberate plans and lots of money can cross the border”.
In 2012, Jose Orozco, a Mexican man and ex-boyfriend of Babeu who worked for the sheriff’s election campaign, alleged that he was threatened with deportation by an aide to Babeu when he refused to sign an agreement not to publicly disclose the relationship. Orozco’s attorney said she was told Orozco’s US visa had expired, making him undocumented. Babeu denied Orozco’s allegations. An inquiry by the Arizona attorney general concluded that he committed no criminal violation.
The former student, Joshua Geyer, has not disputed that he had a relationship with Babeu, but insisted that it was not “inappropriate”. This week, a spokesman for Babeu sent the Guardian a letter purportedly from Geyer that said he and Babeu had no sexual relationship at all. Asked twice whether Babeu himself denied that the relationship took place, the spokesman did not respond.
State authorities pursued DeSisto for operating illegally without a state license. Over the years, the school became notorious for its severe punishment system, and was investigated repeatedly for allegations of abuse and mistreatment of students. It has since closed.
The Babeu spokesman, Barrett Marson, said in an email: “Paul was in charge of the business operations at the school. He never had any control over student discipline or instruction. He was in charge of ensuring there was food and bathroom supplies and things like that. But Paul was never investigated nor had any knowledge of any alleged abuse at the school while he was employed there.”…More Here…
The empire is crumbling over at Faux News. Multiple lawsuits from current and former announcers against the network, which while under the leadership of Roger Ailes openly practiced sexual harassment and abuse.
At least one of the victimized women claims the harassment and violations came from more than just Ailes, naming Faux Announcer Bill O’Reilly, and a toxic environment.
Fox News is willing to pay big bucks to protect their media “hosts”…
In a system where “good in bed” equated to airtime.
It looks as though Fox News really, really didn’t want to see former host Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit make it to court.
Vanity Fair reports that Fox and Carlson have agreed to a massive $20 million settlement of her sexual harassment claims — and she’s even received an official apology from the network over the treatment she received from former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
“During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism,” Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox said in an official statement announcing the settlement. “She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect that she and all our colleagues deserve.”
Carlson filed a lawsuit back in early July alleging that she was fired from her job for refusing to have sex with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Less than a month later, Ailes stepped down from his role as CEO after sexual harassment allegations from several other women against him came to light.