DC Comics, already criticized earlier this year for hiring noted author Orson Scott Card to write stories featuring flagship character Superman, is being knocked again by LGBT advocates for refusing to depict a same-sex marriage in the award-winning comic Batwoman.
Pop culture site IO9 reported that the series’ current creative team, W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III, cited continued editorial interference as their reason for leaving the book, including a directive that the heroine (aka Kate Kane) not be written to marry her partner, detective Maggie Sawyer, despite being shown kissing her as she proposed.
“We’ve always understood that, as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC,” the creative team said in a statement. “However, the eleventh-hour nature of these changes left us frustrated and angry — because they prevent us from telling the best stories we can. So, after a lot of soul-searching, we’ve decided to leave the book after issue 26.”
A request for comment from DC Comics on Thursday was not returned as of press time.
Williams later clarified on Twitter that DC’s rule against marriage “was never put to us as being anti-gay marriage.”
Advocacy group GeeksOUT, however, seemed to take little solace in that in a statement on its website on Thursday.
“It’s not as though DC comics has a long and embarrassing history fumbling LGBTQ issues (Teen Titans‘ Bunker, Earth-2′s gay-for-no-reason Alan Scott, trying to serve Superman fans a big steaming pile of Orson Scott Card),” GeekOUT said in its statement. “Or of mishandling the impressive roster of talent that keeps loyal readers coming back despite bone-headed world-altering relaunches and repetitive characters. Or, do they?”
The Batwoman comic has won two awards from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Competitors like Archie Comics and Marvel Comics have prominently promoted same-sex marriages within the past two years.
[Image via Batwoman Facebook fan page]
Actor George Clooney was in a jovial mood when he was released from jail on Friday, poking fun at himself and those who were arrested with him for protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC.
“It was really rough, you can imagine,” Cloony told reporters. “Have you ever been in a cell with these guys?”
Clooney’s father, journalist Nick Clooney, was also among those arrested.
“It was fun,” Clooney continued on a sweeter note. “We were all in a cell together. It was nice.”
“It is my first arrest,” he concluded, in answer to a question. “And let’s hope it’s my last.”
This video is from CBS News, March 16, 2012.
Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of leaking a trove of secret military and diplomatic documents to the WikiLeaks website, was to be formally charged in a military court on Thursday.
The 24-year-old will be charged with 22 counts — the most serious being aiding the enemy — in a military hearing at a base north of Washington, DC. The judge will also set a date for the trial, expected in May.
The baby-faced soldier is accused of passing hundreds of thousands of military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and US diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks between November 2009 and May 2010, when he was serving in Iraq.
The leak of the military documents shed light on civilian deaths, while the diplomatic cables sparked a firestorm by disclosing the private remarks of heads of state and candid observations by senior US officials.
The US government slammed the disclosure of the documents by WikiLeaks, saying it threatened national security and the lives of foreigners working with the military and US embassies.
WikiLeaks supporters view the site as a whistleblower that exposed US wrongdoing and see Manning as a political prisoner.
Manning faces life in prison if convicted in the military court-martial. he is expected to plead not guilty.
Army investigators told last month’s hearing that contact information for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, military reports, cables and other classified material had been found on computers and storage devices used by Manning.
Manning’s defense attorneys have portrayed him as suffering during his deployment near Baghdad from emotional problems stemming from his homosexuality, which his superiors did nothing to remedy.
Jailed for more than a year and a half, Manning has complained of being placed in solitary confinement, of bullying by guards, and of being subjected to an overly restrictive regime at a US military prison near Washington.
The Bradley Manning Support Network said earlier this month that Manning had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Icelandic parliament. It is not possible to verify who has been nominated for the awards.
Assange has meanwhile been in Britain fighting an extradition order from authorities in Sweden, where he faces rape and sexual assault accusations.
He has denied the allegations, saying they are politically motivated.
Police swept through the Washington offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, arresting eight people in a day-long raid that virtually shut down the tent colony a stone’s throw from the White House.
Some scuffles broke out, but stunned members of Occupy DC otherwise put up little resistance as National Park Service police descended on their sprawling, scruffy encampment in McPherson Square at dawn on Saturday.
By nightfall, police in riot gear and sanitation workers in white overalls, backed with forklifts and garbage trucks, had taken away dozens of tents, as well as soiled bedding, personal belongings and a few dead rats.
Police arrested seven people for disobeying orders to move or for crossing police lines, and an eighth was taken into custody for hitting and injuring a police officer with a brick, a Park Police spokesman told local media.
“It is a sad day in American history when the small act of occupying public space warrants the heavy-handed response of the federal government,” said Occupy DC in a statement to news media.
“Moving forward, the Occupy movement will not die,” said American University student Mana Aliabadi, 18, to fellow protesters who mustered as much morale as they could in the drizzle outside a police barricade.
But it was unclear where the leaderless campaign against economic inequality and corporate power that first erupted in New York’s financial district in September would go next.
Occupy DC took root in McPherson Square — in the heart of the K Street lobbying district — on October 1, growing in time to around 100 tents that included a library, a cafeteria, a medical clinic and a teepee.
But while the original Occupy Wall Street and other encampments fell in the face of evictions, protesters in Washington hung on, partly due to the National Park Service bending its no-camping rules and classifying the protest as “a 24-hour vigil.”
Under growing pressure from Republican politicians and local businesses, the federal agency changed tack last week, declaring it would begin strict enforcement at both Occupy DC and a second, less controversial camp nearby.
Dozens of police officers, some on horseback, and with a helicopter overhead, descended on McPherson Square at dawn Saturday. Surrounding streets were sealed off and barricades went up around the park.
“We are not here to evict,” but to verify compliance with the no-camping rules, one police officer told protesters. Those rules define camping as the use of park land for “sleeping activities.”
Protesters complied with a request to take down their “tent of dreams,” a huge blue tarpaulin they provocatively erected Monday over an equestrian statue of Civil War general James McPherson in the heart of the park.
But by mid-morning Saturday, as police slowly swept through the park, quadrant by quadrant, it was clear that any tent with anything inside would be confiscated — sending some occupiers scrambling to pack up their belongings.
Virmeko Scott, 30, was confident the clampdown would not be the end of Occupy DC.
“There’s going to be more tents down here,” he told AFP by his freshly emptied tent. “They’re going to multiply.”
Fellow occupier Melissa Byrne agreed: “We have been evicted, but word is going to get out and we’re going to be back stronger than ever.”
But passerby Jacqueline Meyers Edlow, a retiree, said the protesters had overstayed their welcome, and that citizens who sympathized with them at first now “want them to get the heck out.”
“I feel they should have been cleared out earlier, because of (the risk of) disease,” she said. “I know of no other country that would have let them stay this long.”
WASHINGTON — Occupy DC applied for a court order Wednesday to head off any attempt by police in the US capital to sweep away its encampment in McPherson Square, a small park near the White House.
In a request for a US District Court injunction, the protesters said it would be unlawful to pull down their tent city because the National Park Service police lack procedures to seize, store and return property.
They also assert that if such procedures are put in place, they could be applied against specifically targeted property, and not the entire encampment in the K Street lobbying district.
“It’s an application for an order to prevent the eviction of Occupy DC on McPherson Square,” lawyer Jeffrey Light told AFP after the full text of the application was posted on the document-sharing website www.scribd.com.
Occupy DC, which marks its 100th day on Sunday, is one of two Occupy Wall Street offshoots in the US capital on property that belongs to the Department of the Interior through the National Park Service.
It lacks a permit, unlike its counterpart on nearby Freedom Plaza, Occupy Washington DC, which last week got its permit extended to February 28 so long as it shares space with a conservative group planning lunchtime rallies.
A third group, Occupy Congress, has applied for a permit to demonstrate in conjunction with Occupy DC on the National Mall on January 17, the day Congress returns from its winter break.
Light, who previously won a court order requiring police to give 24 hours’ notice before any raid on Occupy DC, said a District Court judge would consider Wednesday’s request on January 31.
The flagship Occupy Wall Street — inspired in part by the Arab Spring uprising — was shut down by New York police on November 15, as other major cities from Boston to Los Angeles cracked down on their local protests.
Posting may be light (or may not—the bus has wifi) since I’ll be traveling today and tomorrow to read in DC. The reading is at Busboys & Poets at 6:30 tonight, May 11th. If you’re in town, you should come on by! Marc did take the time to make a video for it, if you haven’t seen it yet.
I’ve heard really great things about this place, so I’m looking forward to it.