Roundup: Prince Harry takes the stand, Reddit layoffs, Logie nominations

Prince Harry Megan Markle

Potential actors strike, Brittany Higgins, Chris Licht apologises, Neil Breen, Luc Longley

Business of Media

Prince Harry says intrusion by ‘vile’ tabloids had devastating impact

Prince Harry has said “vile” British tabloids had a “devastating impact” on his mental health by portraying him as an irresponsible “thicko” prone to underage drinking and drug taking, reports The Guardian’s Jim Waterson.

The prince told the high court that the “constant intrusion by tabloid press” eventually forced him to move his family to California while warning that Rishi Sunak’s government was at “rock bottom” and avoids scrutiny by getting “in bed” with friendly newspapers.

On Tuesday morning, the prince became the first member of the royal family to be cross-examined in court since 1891. Harry claims that journalists working for the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People hacked his voicemails and illegally used private investigators to obtain stories about his private life.

He told the court he brought the case because he wanted to hold “incredibly powerful” British newspapers to account because they “masquerade as journalists” but had “hijacked journalistic privileges for their own personal gain and agenda”.

“As a child growing up, in teenage years, I was under press invasion for most of my life, up until this day,” he said. He said some editors and journalists have “blood on their hands” and through their work they have caused pain, upset and “inadvertently” death.

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What are Harry’s most important allegations against the British media?

Prince Harry has a made an extensive series of allegations about the British media as part of his legal case against the publisher of the Daily Mirror, reports The Guardian’s Jim Waterson.

These are the most important revelations and insights from the prince’s written evidence to the high court, in which he describes alleged illegal behaviour by tabloids – and the crushing mental impact of press intrusion.

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An “existential fight” looms if actors join the writers strike

Not since 1980 — when they shut down production over residuals from now-quaint tech like videotapes and cable TV — have Hollywood’s actors gone on strike against the major film and TV studios. But with SAG-AFTRA voting to authorize a strike by a nearly 98 percent margin, another historic labor action is possible over a new generation of tech: streaming. And the work stoppage would grind to a halt the already diminished production that has been hit by Hollywood’s ongoing writers strike, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Rebecca Keegan.

“I voted yes on the strike authorization because actors have been getting the short end of the stick from streaming,” says Nadia Alexander, a member of both SAG and the WGA. “All creators are.” SAG-AFTRA will strike if they can’t reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over a new contract by June 30.

With the writers strike entering its sixth week, production and writers rooms have already shut down on all of late night TV and major shows like ABC’s Abbott Elementary and Netflix’s Stranger Things. But other productions, like the U.K.-based set of Amazon Prime’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, have kept shooting with nonwriting producers on set. If an actors strike becomes official, it would make filming scripted movies and TV shows nearly impossible for U.S. companies.

The mere threat of a SAG strike has had a chilling effect on some sectors — insurance firms have begun refusing to bond indie film productions until at least June 30. Producers had to shut down the Joaquin PhoenixRooney Mara indie movie The Island, which was to start shooting in Spain in late May, after they couldn’t obtain a bond.

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Reddit to lay off about 5% of its workforce

Reddit said on Tuesday it is laying off about 5% of its workforce, or 90 employees, joining a list of technology companies that have been cutting jobs across corporate America, reports Reuters.

Tech companies including Meta Platforms have been slashing jobs after aggressively hiring during the pandemic, as the industry braces for an economic downturn.

Meta, the owner of Facebook, slashed jobs across its business and operations units last month, as it carried out its last batch of a three-part layoff round, first announced in March to eliminate 10,000 roles.

Reddit, which was spun off from magazine conglomerate Conde Nast in 2011, saw a recent surge in appeal due to the popularity of WallStreetBets and other forums on its platform that have become a venue for retail investors to speculate on stocks.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Reddit’s move on Tuesday, citing an email sent to employees from chief executive Steve Huffman.

Huffman said the company would also reduce its hiring for the rest of the year to about 100 people from an early plan of 300, according to the WSJ report.

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See Also: Reddit Blackout: Popular subs to go offline to protest monetisation of third-party apps

Canberra rape support centre says journalists contacted it for information on Brittany Higgins

The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC) has called out the Australian media for its reporting surrounding sexual assault and says journalists have been contacting it about Brittany Higgins, report the ABC’s Georgia Roberts and Emmy Groves.

The claims were made in an open letter posted to CRCC website on Tuesday, written by its CEO Chrystina Stanford.

“Recently CRCC have been contacted by media a number of times asking us to confirm different things that relate to Brittany Higgins,” Stanford said in the statement.

“The reason seems to be to publish yet another story aimed at shaming, blaming, and discrediting a young woman.

“These are not positive experiences for us, as we were contacted in an attempt to pervasively criticise a young person publicly, to tear at her story, her life and her pain.

“The media wanted us to join the circus, we wanted no part of it.”

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News Brands

CNN’s Licht apologises to staff for taking spotlight with Atlantic profile

The embattled CNN chief executive, Chris Licht, apologised to his employees on Monday after an Atlantic magazine profile revealed he had been aware of the “extra-Trumpy” make-up of the crowd at a widely criticized town hall with the former president last month, reports The Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt.

According to the Atlantic, Licht had also been critical of CNN’s performance under his predecessor, telling employees they had alienated potential viewers through hostility to Donald Trump

In an editorial call Monday morning, Licht – who had committed to a number of interviews for the Atlantic profile – apologized for his involvement in the piece.

“I know these past few days have been very hard for this group. I fully recognize that this news cycle and my role in it overshadowed the incredible week of reporting that we just had, and distracted from the work of every single journalist in this org. And for that, I am sorry,” Licht told employees, according to Brian Stelter, a former media correspondent at CNN.

“As I read that article, I found myself thinking, CNN is not about me,” Licht said.

“I should not be in the news unless it’s taking arrows for you. Your work is what should be written about.”

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Neil Breen bids emotional goodbye to 4BC, successor still unidentified

4BC ratings have taken a substantial hit amid the impending departure of Brisbane Live host Neil Breen, with a replacement yet to be announced, reports News Corp’s Georgia Clelland.

The station had the biggest drop across the drive timeslot of 1.9 points in market share, down to 5.8 per cent, dwarfed by Nova at 14.4 and B105 at 13.2.

After three years, Breen will farewell the show on June 23, and has had little to do with finding his replacement.

“I’m totally in the dark. And it’s exactly how I like it,” he said.

“That is something I have totally stayed out of.

“I’ve told station management and Nine radio management that I want to have nothing to do with it.”

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Logies sets nomination date

Nominations for the 63rd Logie Awards will be announced in just under two weeks time. TV Week will announce nominations at an industry event at 7:15am Monday June 19 in Sydney, reports TV Tonight. 

Seven is host broadcaster this year after wrestling the rights from Nine, for the first time since 1985.

A venue is yet to be confirmed but widely tipped to be held at The Star, Sydney, on Sunday July 30.

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Sports Media

‘Thanks Netflix, for leaving me out’: Longley embraces Bulls nostalgia

When he was in the midst of winning championships with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Australian great Luc Longley couldn’t really appreciate the impact his achievements were having back home, reports Nine Publishing’s Roy Ward.

That is partly why he has embraced the “midlife renaissance” that has come from being left out of The Last Dance documentary series, which has renewed interest in the era here and globally since Netflix released it during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. It’s now almost 25 years since Longley won his third straight championship with Jordan and the Bulls in 1998.

The local backlash from his omission, one Jordan later said he regretted, led to the ABC doing a two-part Australian Story documentary on Longley’s career and the life he has created after basketball, which attracted over four million views on YouTube alone.

Longley was long hesitant to speak at length about his NBA years, but he now takes pride in the ongoing interest, including the re-issuing of his “Longley 13” Bulls jerseys in the new Luc Longley’s Aussie Legends clothing collection from Mitchell and Ness.

“This didn’t happen – they were all Jordan, [Scott] Pippen and [Dennis] Rodman [jerseys]- there were Longley jerseys but never a display or a shop window like this,” Longley said at the Melbourne NBA Store launch on Saturday.

“I wish my kids could see this.”

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