SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A video that appears to show five teenagers shouting a racial slur and expletive while laughing is under investigation by Utah school officials, a school district said Tuesday, and the NAACP has called for harsh punishment.
The 10-second cellphone video was made by Weber High School students as they sat in a car, said Lane Findlay, a spokesman for the school district. He said three of them are cheerleaders. They all appear to be white.
The video shows the teens repeatedly yelling an expletive and slur as they laugh.
They initially recorded themselves shouting a different, nonsensical phrase and uploaded it to an app that played it backward to produce the offensive words, Findlay said.
The video was made a year ago, and one of the girls recently shared it on social media as a private post, he said. It was seen by other students who reposted to other online platforms.
School officials are shocked and taking the matter seriously, Findlay said. School officials have talked with three of the five the girls, and they are “extremely apologetic” for what happened, he said.
The video wasn’t made during the school day or on school grounds, but violations of the school’s code of conduct could bring discipline, possibly related to involvement in extracurricular activities, he said. The students are juniors and seniors.
“Racism, whether intentional or not, has no place in our schools or society,” Findlay said in a statement.
He added: “Certainly, there are no excuses for this type of behavior, but they are still children in a sense and hopefully this will be a learning experience for them and others.”
Jeanetta Williams, president of NAACP’s tri-state conference area of Idaho-Utah-Nevada, called the video appalling. The fact that they were laughing made it sting even more, Williams said.
“They knew what they were doing it. They did it, and they posted it,” she said. “If they had any type of concerns about other people’s feelings or about what other people would think they wouldn’t have been laughing.”
She wants the cheerleaders suspended from the squad and the other students given discipline involving one of their activities.
“A strong lesson needs to be sent to them,” Williams said. “It seems like our work is never done.”
Associated Press writer Brady McCombs contributed to this report.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s ousted chief prosecutor leaked a video Thursday purporting to show an Odebrecht executive admitting he agreed to pay $35 million toward President Nicolas Maduro’s campaign in exchange for prioritizing the Brazilian construction giant’s projects.
Luisa Ortega Diaz, who fled Venezuela in August after being removed from office by a new, all-powerful constituent assembly, said on her website that the video shows Venezuela Odebrecht president Euzenando Prazeres de Azevedo speaking to Brazilian prosecutors.
In the video, a man identified as Azevedo says a Maduro aide asked for $50 million for the socialist leader’s 2013 campaign. The special presidential election was convened shortly after the death of Hugo Chavez and Maduro was running a tight race with opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
Azevedo said he agreed to pay $35 million in exchange for assurances that if Maduro won, Odebrecht projects would receive “priority.”
“We negotiated, I agreed to pay and the resources were released,” he said.
Odebrecht acknowledged in a U.S. Justice Department plea agreement that it paid bribes throughout Latin America to secure lucrative contracts.
There was no immediate response from Maduro to the claim.
Shortly after fleeing Venezuela, Ortega told a group of Latin American prosecutors she believed Maduro had ordered her removal in order to halt an ongoing probe linking him and his inner circle to nearly $100 million in bribes from Odebrecht.
A longtime government loyalist, Ortega has become one of Maduro’s fiercest critics after breaking with his government in late March. She declared that a Supreme Court ruling stripping the opposition-controlled congress of its last powers violated the constitution.
Ortega has repeatedly claimed that she has evidence implicating Maduro and other top officials in corruption involving Odebrecht but has provided few details.
Azia takes you behind the scenes of her trip to Puerto Rico and shows you what you need to make your own carnival Vejigante mask. Watch the video and follow the step-by-step instructions.
NEW YORK (AP) — Signs that more people are dropping their traditional TV subscriptions weighed on TV providers’ stocks Thursday.
AT&T said it lost 90,000 video subscribers in the U.S. in the third quarter. It’s a steeper drop than the same period last year, even though gains from its newer, cheaper online cable-like service, DirecTV Now, are included. DirecTV Now wasn’t available in the July-September quarter in 2016.
DirecTV Now added 300,000 subscribers in the quarter, so AT&T lost about 390,000 satellite TV and cable customers.
AT&T, which is also the No. 2 wireless carrier in the U.S., blames tough competition from both traditional TV providers like Comcast and newer digital-video services like YouTube TV. It also blames the impact from hurricanes and stricter credit standards for customers.
AT&T’s prediction, issued after the market closed Wednesday, echoed Comcast’s forecast in early September of third-quarter losses of 100,000 to 150,000 video customers due. That would be Comcast’s largest quarterly loss since 2014. Comcast also blamed competition and weather.
Rising prices for traditional TV bundles and those growing digital options are increasingly driving customers online and away from traditional TV.
“It should be clear that DirecTV, like all of its cable peers, is suffering from the ravages of cord-cutting,” MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a Wednesday night note to investors.
Traditional TV subscribers in the U.S. peaked in 2012 at just over 101 million, according to media research group Kagan, and the industry has shed more than 5 million customers since then.
More losses are expected. UBS analyst John Hodulik said in a Thursday note that “cord cutting continues to gain steam as streaming TV builds momentum.”
AT&T stock fell 6.1 percent to close at $35.86 Thursday. Shares of cable companies Comcast, Charter and Altice and rival satellite TV provider Dish also dropped.
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) — Airport security videos presented in Malaysian court of Kim Jong Nam being attacked and both suspects hurrying away.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is teaming up with award-winning director Steven Spielberg for its first major push into TV programming.
The iPhone maker is bringing back Spielberg’s 30-year-old anthology series “Amazing Stories” in its attempt to build an online video subscription service to challenge the digital networks operated by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO.
“We love being at the forefront of Apple’s investment in scripted programming, and can’t think of a better property than Spielberg’s beloved ‘Amazing Stories’ franchise,” NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said in a statement Tuesday. NBC Entertainment works with Spielberg’s Amblin Television on the series.
Apple declined to comment on the deal. The Wall Street Journal first reported Apple had secured the “Amazing Stories” rights.
The series aired on NBC from 1985 to 1987 and won five Emmy awards for its mixture of science fiction and horror episodes, although the series was never a big hit in the ratings.
It marked a return to TV for Spielberg, who first made a name for himself directing the ABC film, “Duel” in 1971 before moving on to the movie theaters. His films include box-office blockbusters such as “Jaws,” ”E.T.,” ”Jurassic Park,” the “Indiana Jones” franchise and critically acclaimed pictures such as “Saving Private Ryan,” ”Lincoln” and “Schindler’s List,” for which he won an Academy Award for best director.
Apple is planning to spend about $1 billion on original programming during the next year in an effort to bring in more revenue to its rapidly growing services division. The Cupertino, California, company already offers two video series through its Apple Music streaming service, “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke,” but neither has created much buzz.
Even though it appears to be more serious about TV programming, Apple still isn’t sending anywhere near Netflix, which is pouring $6 billion into its line-up this year as it tries to expand its current worldwide audience of more than 100 million subscribers. And Netflix is increasing the prices for its two most popular plans by a $1 to $2 per month in an effort to raise more money to spend on future programming.
Apple is expected to spend more than $50 million on 10 episodes of “Amazing Stories.” While the future plans for the series revival haven’t been revealed, the original “Amazing Stories” run attracted guest appearances from a list of stars that included Kevin Costner, Harvey Keitel, Charlie Sheen, Mark Hamill and John Lithgow, while its list of episode directors and writers included Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Robert Zemeckis and Brad Bird.