PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Long-simmering racial tensions in one of the country’s iconic gay neighborhoods have reached a boil after the release of a video clip in which a club owner repeatedly utters a racial slur, leading to calls for action, including the replacement of Philadelphia’s liaison to LGBT residents.
Black gays and lesbians in the city say they are carded at clubs in the area known as the Gayborhood while they watch white patrons stroll in. At bars, they say, they wait longer for drinks and are subjected to dress codes that ban athletic gear, Timberland boots and hooded sweatshirts, rules they say are meant to exclude them.
Now, they say, the video finally provides tangible evidence of their concerns. It has sparked outrage among many in the city’s LGBT community, bolstered by the Black Lives Matter movement and support for gay safe spaces in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
“The minute you walk into the Gayborhood as a black or brown person, you feel it,” said Shani Akilah Robin, creator of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, which held protests after the video release. “They play our music and target us for the very blackness they’re making money off of. This is the reality of being black and queer in America.”
The collective protested outside the bars ICandy and Woody’s on Sept. 23 to highlight practices they say are racist, including ICandy’s “No Timberland boots” policy and the ban at Woody’s on athletic wear.
An anonymous video was posted Sept. 27 in the comments section of a story about the protest on Philadelphia Magazine’s website. The video features the voice, but not the face, of Darryl DePiano, the owner of ICandy, repeatedly using a racial slur, saying they’re the only patrons who ask for free drink tickets.
In a Facebook post last month, DePiano said his comments were made out of frustration.
“As many of you know me and know that I am always striving for diversity, and always willing to listen, learn and grown myself, my business and my team,” DePiano said in the Sept. 29 post. “This was an EXTREMELY Poor Choice I made on my own many years ago and I definitely learned and continue to learn each day. I SINCERELY and Truthfully Apologize to all my Friends, Valued Customers, and Everyone that I Hurt and Offended.”
DePiano did not respond to an interview request for this article.
Rickey Peterson, who worked briefly as a bar back at ICandy in 2010 and was referenced in the video with a racial slur, said he is happy the video came out.
“You hear stuff being voiced, or people assuming racism in the Gayborhood,” said Peterson, 29, who is black. “I think it’s important that people can actually see proof of how the community is.”
Ernest Owens, an editor for Philadelphia Magazine’s G Philly section, has written frequently about racism in the Gayborhood, which he said he also experienced.
“When hip-hop songs came on, people slapped my butt or called me ‘Hot Chocolate,'” said Owens, 25. “Very quickly, I was reminded that, even in that space, no matter the fact that I was gay, I was also black.”
The Black and Brown Workers Collective has issued a list of demands to the city, including additional representatives with the administration’s Office of LGBT Affairs. They have also called for the resignation of that department’s director, Nellie Fitzpatrick, and for her replacement to be a black transgender woman — someone they believe would better represent LGBT people of color.
Fitzpatrick, a white lesbian who was appointed in 2015, said she is committed to resolving the issues highlighted by the video. The office has planned a public meeting Oct. 25 to discuss racism in the Gayborhood.
“The video … is every bit as repulsive as the practices we are seeing and the experiences people are having,” Fitzpatrick said in a telephone interview. “Whether happening at the front door, at the bar, or behind closed doors, none of it is acceptable. If there’s one place that should be a sanctuary, it’s the Gayborhood, and it isn’t right now.”
Located downtown, the Gayborhood — Philadelphia’s version of New York’s Greenwich Village in New York, Washington’s Dupont Circle, West Hollywood or San Francisco’s Castro — is the main social hub for LGBT residents.
But the city as a whole is often cited as being gay-friendly, a reputation the latest dust-up threatens. In the 1960s, it was the site of some of the earliest gay rights demonstrations. The city has gotten international attention for its LGBT tourism campaign (“Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay”). In 2015, the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs was permanently enshrined in the city charter.
Mayor Jim Kenney touts himself as a gay ally, participating in the city’s Pride festival and banning city employees from public travel to states that have passed “bathroom bills” targeting transgender people. He has condemned the ICandy video and vowed not to support Gayborhood institutions perpetuating discrimination.
“There is no denying that racism and discrimination is an issue within the LGBT community,” Kenney said in a statement Sunday. “The Gayborhood should be a sanctuary for all in the LGBT community, but sadly not everyone is welcome at some of its institutions.”
Errin Haines Whack covers urban affairs for The Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/emarvelous.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter is taking the smartphone shackles off its live-video service Periscope in its latest attempt to broaden its audience.
The Periscope Producer feature announced Thursday will let media companies and other users pipe live video feeds directly into Twitter, without using a smartphone to record the images. Since its debut early last year, Periscope had been confined to live video feeds taken on a smartphone.
During Producer’s testing phase last week, a Florida television station showing live video on its website used the new tool to redistribute the same feeds on Twitter. To start, Producer will be limited to a small group of media companies such as Disney’s ABC News and major brands such as Louis Vuitton. Others can apply for approval at http://t.co/periscopeproducer .
Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykour said Producer will be available to all comers soon, something that he acknowledged could lead to unauthorized redistribution of live video. Piracy has been an issue dogging Periscope since people began using the service to broadcast live video of movies and TV shows with their smartphones.
The Periscope extension ups the ante on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s bet that the increasing popularity of online video will help widen the messaging service’s appeal.
Twitter already has been streaming more news, entertainment and sports events, including the National Football League’s Thursday Night games for 10 weeks during the season. Twitter hopes to build a following beyond people who rely on the service to tweet their thoughts and keep tabs on what’s happening around the world. Dorsey sees Twitter evolving into the go-to place for watching live video in a digital town square where people can share their opinions with each other.
Internet companies young (Snapchat) and old (Facebook) are scrambling to get on the live video train, though there are no easy ways to make advertising money off of them yet. That’s coming, though. Some companies are already experimenting with livestreaming for marketing purposes. Automaker General Motors, for example, launched out its electric Chevy Bolt EV using Facebook Live earlier this year. Media outlets, meanwhile, are livestreaming coverage of the presidential debates in ways not seen in any previous election.
With the latest move, Periscope joins other livestreaming services such as Twitch and YouTube that allow for broadcasts from sources beyond users’ smartphones. Facebook, meanwhile, has so far stuck to a mobile-only strategy. But even with Periscope’s expanded capability, Facebook has an advantage with a larger audience.
Since the end of 2014, Twitter has picked up just 15 million monthly users to expand its audience to 313 million people through June. During the same stretch, Facebook gained 319 million users to extend its reach beyond 1.7 billion people.
In an effort to distinguish Twitter from Facebook, Dorsey has been trying to position it as the “people news network” — though with little success since he replaced Dick Costolo as CEO 15 months ago.
Things have been looking so bleak that Twitter’s board last month hired investment bankers to woo suitors that might be interested in buying the San Francisco company, according to published reports that cited unnamed people familiar with the matter. The prospective bidders included Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., as well as Apple Inc., Salesforce.com and Walt Disney Co.
The possibility of a sale tantalized investors until other media reports made it seem unlikely that Twitter will strike a deal soon. With a sale apparently off the table, the company’s stock has dropped by nearly 30 percent in the past week. The shares fell 20 cents to $17.85 in early afternoon trading Thursday.
AP Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay in New York contributed to this report.
JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge who threw off his robe and helped restrain a defiant man in his courtroom says he was concerned about the safety of the man and a court officer.
The incident involving Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John McBain took place last December during a hearing about a personal protection order violation. McBain had just ordered the man to jail, but the man resisted efforts by the officer to handcuff him.
McBain told the Jackson Citizen Patriot (http://bit.ly/2dyrp7H ) that the man was “totally disturbing the decorum of the court.” The newspaper published video of the confrontation online.
Jackson County Chief Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson says McBain’s actions were allowable. Wilson says: “A judge has the power to take whatever action is necessary to maintain order in the courtroom.”
Information from: Jackson Citizen Patriot, http://www.mlive.com/jackson
CAIRO (AP) — A video of an enraged tuk tuk driver unloading on the state of Egypt’s suffering economy has gone viral, underlining growing popular discontent over shortages of food staples.
Filmed in the crowded narrow lanes of a working class Cairo neighborhood, the video shows the driver, surrounded by locals, slamming the government for spending money on ceremony and pomp while the poor suffer.
He says that Egypt’s image on television looks like a wealthy European city, but that down in the streets it looks closer to Somalia.
By Thursday, the segment, which was originally aired a night earlier on the pro-government Al Hayat television channel, had gained 1.5 million views and 44,000 likes on Facebook. It has since been pulled from the network’s media sites.