The streaming reboot to Penny Marshall’s beloved 1992 film A League of Their Own is both the same and vastly different.
It is that special sauce of reboots in which it keeps the vibe of the original alive while updating it for a modern audience – and it actually has something to say.
That’s a hard balance to straddle and most reboots and revivals fall over because they tilt too much in either direction, and usually by clinging on to something that no longer works outside of its original context.
A League of Their Ownthe new version, is a sharp and delightful series, which takes the defiant spirit of Marshall’s film and elevates it by expanding its universe to tell more inclusive stories about sexuality and race in 1940s America.
Set during World War II, the series is about the establishment of the women’s professional baseball league while the men are serving in Europe and the Pacific. The league is the brainchild of the confectionary tycoon who needs to fill the stands of his stadiums.
Recruited from around the US and Canada, the women are told to fit into a standard of what constitutes being a lady while copping horrendous sexism from all quarters, including their own supposed fans.
In those elements, the TV reboot and the movie version are similar. They share the same DNA and hit many of the same story beats.
But when it comes to the characters, the series created by Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham sprints away from the confines of the original film.
Rosie O’Donnell, who played Doris Murphy in the 1992 movie, famously said she played her character as a lesbian, even when Marshall explicitly told her she wasn’t. Jacobson and Graham doesn’t just correct the exclusion of queer characters from the story but made them the stars.
There are two leads in the 2022 series, Jacobson as Carson Shaw and Chante Adams as Max Chapman – two characters whose narratives could not have been centered 30 years ago.
Carson is a married woman who joins the team because she wants to play ball. Ella’s husband Charlie (J. Patrick Adams) is serving overseas so she sees this as her shot from her. After meeting the vivacious Greta (D’Arcy Carden), a seductive dance reveals that Carson’s desires for her are more than just athletic success.
Carson’s discovery of her queerness is both wonderful and full of risk. The judgment and repression of the era is a constant threat.
What’s great about Carson’s side of A League of Their Own is that it’s not a case of, “And here’s the token queer girl, we’ve checked that box”, but a commitment to exploring many queer characters and their experiences.
And it’s not just about their sexualities. It’s one facet of each character, they’re not defined by it. They really also, really love baseball. The series intersects all the different aspects of their lives and ambitions for fuller portrayals.
For her part, O’Donnell returns for an emotionally resonant guest role in a later episode in the season in which she plays the owner of an underground gay bar.
The other story strand follows Max, a young black woman who is denied even a tryout despite her indisputably superior throw.
Max is champing to play baseball however she can and contrives a job at the screw factory just for a chance to be considered for the company team. Max’s raw and unappealing appetite for her butts up against the “realities” of the day, which includes her mother for her who expects her to take over the family business. That her mother de ella boasts the first black-owned business in the neighbors does n’t mean nothing.
Max is a richly textured character whose experience intersects race and queerness, contextualized in a vividly drawn side of Rockford that takes place in black spaces.
If there’s any quibble, it’s that the series takes its time to weave the two plotlines together and sometimes the intercutting between the two can drag the pace.
It’s a small thing in a series that is pumped full of fantastic performances from Jacobson, Adams and Carden but also the likes of Dale Dickey as the team’s empathetic chaperone, Gbemisola Ikumelo as Max’s friend Clance, and Rockford Peaches Melanie Field, Kate Berlant, Molly Ephraim, Kelly McCormack and Roberta Colindrez.
Marshall’s film will always have a place in cinema history – and deservedly so – but it’s stirring that a movie which couldn’t include other stories is now the launchpad for a fresh, terrific and inclusive series. It really is a league of their own.
A League of Their Own is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video
As Daniel Ricciardo fights to keep his place on the Formula 1 grid, pop music icon Harry Styles has thrown his support behind the Australian driver.
Ricciardo became embroiled in F1’s mid-year silly season following reports he will be replaced by young compatriot Oscar Piastri at McLaren next year.
The news erupted last week after Fernando Alonso blindsided the F1 world when he jumped into Sebastian Vettel’s vacated seat at Aston Martin for 2023.
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Alpine then announced Piastri would be the man to replace Alonso, only for the Melburnian to reject the seat — a bold move for a man who is yet to drive in F1.
Now Ricciardo, who has one year remaining on his contract, has reportedly asked for a $21 million payout from McLaren for the early termination of his contract. The eight-figure payout would clear the way for McLaren to sign Piastri.
Nothing has gone right for Ricciardo this season – the Perth driver accumulated just 19 points before the mid-season break while McLaren teammate Lando Norris has managed 76.
However, Ricciardo has some high-profile celebrities in his corner.
On Sunday, an image of Styles donning a Daniel Ricciardo shirt circulated social media channels, inevitably sending the F1 community into a frenzy.
According to internet sleuths, the Ricciardo shirt went on sale during last October’s United States Grand Prix in Austin.
Earlier this year, Styles released his third full-length solo album “Harry’s House” to critical acclaim. He will also appear in Olivia Wilde’s upcoming psychological thriller “Don’t Worry Darling” alongside Florence Pugh.
Ricciardo has remained tight-lipped about his future in the sport and doesn’t appear bothered by the ongoing saga.
He is clearly enjoying his mid-season break, posting a photo of himself to Instagram smiling in a swimming pool.
If Piastri does indeed take his place at McLaren, Ricciardo’s most likely landing spot would be Alpine, the French team formerly known as Renault where he spent two seasons in 2019 and 2020.
Manchester United slumped to a 30-year low as their shocking start to their Premier League campaign continued, proving again when it rains it really does pour.
And monsoon season might be rolling in at Old Trafford ahead of a crunch clash with fierce rivals Liverpool next week.
After losing their opening match of the season at home against Brighton, United were heavily favored to bounce back against Brentford on Sunday morning (AEST).
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But disaster struck, with a goalkeeping howler from David de Gea allowing the Bees to strike first in what would become a 4-0 first-half riot at the Gtech Community Stadium.
It’s safe to say few saw that coming.
Manager Erik ten Hag, much like the rest of the world, was left stunned as the halftime whistle marked both a moment of reprieve and realization for the Red Devils.
The damage had already been done by that point, though, as a scoreless second period saw United languish at the bottom of the Premier League table for the first time in 30 years.
This is also the first time since 1936 United have lost seven straight away league games, while Brentford recorded the biggest win in the top division since 1938.
Premier League greats Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp reached their boiling points after the abysmal display, as the extent of the defeat added more chaos to the existing drama the club.
“At this moment in time, it’s really desperate. There’s no leadership, there’s no voice, you can’t blame the individual player or the manager, you’ve got to look above and look to the very top,” Neville said on SkySports.
“This week, they’re going to get peppered those players, the coach, the sporting department, the new CO – they’re all going to get peppered. But there’s a family over there in America who are just literally letting their employees take all the hits for them – and that is unforgivable.”
Frustration, shock and disappointment was felt across the country with many of the UK’s leading football scribes weighing in on the reality facing the English giants – if they’re still worthy of that moniker.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was at the wheel for the Red Devils until he very much wasn’t, as a poor run of form saw the former United star fired.
Louis van Gaal and David Moyes, another two managers who promised so much before they were sacked, still hadn’t sunk as low as Erik ten Hag after just two matches in charge.
Ten Hag is the first United manager to lose his first two league games since John Chapman in 1921.
Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton told the BBC United have “hit rock bottom”, while Sky Sports pundit Karen Carney believes that the club “can’t get any lower”.
Premier League legend Alan Shearer believes that issues have been festering for years at the famous club.
Shearer added that the Red Devils are currently “miles away” from the level that they should be playing at — and even suggested recent speculation about a shock move for 33-year-old striker Marko Arnautović may have been an inside job.
“I’m convinced that someone from Man United’s leaked the story linking them with (Marko) Arnautovic, just to see what the reaction was,” Shearer said on Match of the Day.
“I think that sort of sums up where United are.
“They’re in a mess and it’s going to take time, an unbelievable amount of money to get things right inside the football club and in terms of the right recruitment and it’s going to take a lot of patience from the Manchester United fans because of where they are now to where they want to be – miles away.”
The Telegraph’s Jim White didn’t mince his words as he provided his analysis of United’s “humiliation”, saying that it was the worst performance he’s ever seen by the club.
“Having watched Manchester United for over 50 years, this performance against Brentford is without question the worst I have ever seen them deliver,” White wrote.
“The grim times of Dave Sexton, the misery of the David Moyes era, the negativity of Louis van Gaal, all looked like halcyon days compared to this performance.
“No joy, no coherence, no spirit: this was a team in name only, delivering the kind of performance that Frenkie de Jong would have had on the phone to his agent with instructions to quickly follow up any interest from Chelsea.
“Mistakes happen. But it was the response to that setback that spoke so damagingly of what is going on at Old Trafford. Instead of launching the kind of fight back that once characterized the club, United folded.
“Everywhere they looked hapless, hopeless and haunted.”
Goalkeeper David de Gea, who was once considered to be one of the best players in the world in his position, had an outing to forget in what is becoming a key issue for the club.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson said that while de Gea was still an “excellent shot-stopper”, that his inability to play with the ball at his feet was an issue.
“Can you play out from the back with De Gea? De Gea remains, despite Saturday’s howler, an excellent shot-stopper, which is why last season he was named United’s player of the year for the fourth time,” Wilson wrote.
“But there is a reason he has not played for Spain since October 2020 and why he has apparently fallen behind Brentford’s David Raya in the pecking order.
“He is simply not comfortable on the ball. Last season he completed just 71.3% of his passes. By comparison, Ederson completed 88.1% and Alisson 87.1%.
“While it’s true that’s partly because De Gea was encouraged to play more longer balls, it’s also true that one of the reasons United played more longer balls is De Gea.
“This is a major problem for United: De Gea is one of the few United players who has performed consistently in recent years and yet those struggles with the ball at his feet make it very hard for them to switch to a modern style.
“That, perhaps, is the most disconcerting thing for United. This is supposed to be ten Hag’s honeymoon period, but already he looks in danger of being overwhelmed by just how shambolic the club is … And they’ve got Liverpool next.”
The Athletic’s Adam Crafton said “each week manages to conjure a new sense of stupefying shock” when it came to United, with their fans ruthlessly mocked at half-time.
“At halftime, Brentford, who had not beaten Manchester United since 1938, led their opponents. And this was more than a lead. This was 4-0 and deservedly so,” Crafton wrote.
“There was, in the press box, almost a numbing madness to it all. Brentford’s supporters, too, stared at one another, open-mouthed.
“They taunted their United opponents, telling them they’d be ‘going down with the Fulham’. Fulham, on two points after two games compared to United’s zero, may be offended by the comparison.”
The Red Devils appear to be at a crossroads after failing to sign Arnautovic, as well as other players during the English summer.
Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford for what feels like forever, although Chelsea have since emerged as another potential destination.
According to the BBC, United have spent £672 million ($1.14 billion AUD) since winning their last major trophy in 2017, which was the Europa League.
So far during the transfer window, United have signed Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.
Club great Rio Ferdinand said that he feels “sorry” for ten Hag after an uneventful transfer window has so far failed to add key players to a struggling squad.
“I don’t feel sorry for the players, I feel sorry for ten Hag,” Ferdinand told the Vibe with Five podcast.
“He’s coming under false pretenses. He’s coming expected new signings.
“He’s probably sitting there thinking, ‘I’ve been sold a dummy here. I didn’t know I was coming into this’.
“This is an indefensible situation right now because it’s so bad, it’s terrible.
“I mean, we’re only two games in, but we’re two games in on the back of what happened last season as well by the way.
“I wouldn’t blame ten Hag right now. You can pick at his team selection or whatever but this is a bigger problem, a wider problem.”
Midfielder Bruno Fernandes, meanwhile, has been accused of getting “away with murder” on the football field by a former Premier League striker.
Gabby Agbonlahor blasted the Portuguese star on the well-known British radio station talkSPORT.
“For me, Fernandes, since he’s been in the Premier League, yes he’s had great stats, goal scoring and assists but he looks like the worst teammate,” Agbonlagor said.
“Every time a player gives it away, every time he gives it away, he throws his arms up at his teammates, he throws his arms up at the bench.
“I’ve played with players like him, you’d be smoking at him. He’ll press now and then. If that was Paul Pogba they would be slaughtering Pogba in the media.
“Fernandes gets away with murder. Did you see Fernandes do anything? It’s easy to say (Harry) Maguire, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Marcus) Rashford, (Jadon) Sancho.”
The Red Devils failed to qualify for this year’s Champions League after finishing sixth in the 2021/22 Premier League season – 35 points behind champions Manchester City.
While they appear set to sign Adrien Rabiot from Juventus, French journalist Julien Laurens also slammed United’s transfer strategy.
“They are not helping themselves,” Laurens told BBC Radio 5 Live’s EuroLeagues podcast.
“The non-existence of a transfer strategy, not just now but since Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) left, is not just baffling, it’s outrageous.”
The club have reached a new low as a non-league side threw a jab, literally laughing in the wake of United’s horror loss.
Oldham Athletic’s chairman Frank Rothwell was interviewed after his side’s 3-2 win over Dorking Wanderers, where he made the most of his chance to have a dig.
“Do you know what’s happening to United?” Rothwell said, before he reportedly began to laugh.
Manchester United face rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Tuesday week and when it comes to their future
The usual suspects at the Wests Tigers have been busily launching a ticker-tape parade about the club’s new much-vaunted $78 million Center of Excellence in Concord.
Parading around like they’ve won the grand finale – can someone please tell them the Wests Tigers are in 16th position on the NRL ladder and now firm favorites to collect the club’s first-ever wooden spoon.
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There’s also been an early loose carry in the new digs hailed as the best rugby league training facility in the world with the organization dropping the ball when it comes to club legend and premiership-winner Benji Marshall’s playing career.
In a spiel about Marshall’s playing feats at the Wests Tigers, the club has somehow managed to stuff up who he won a premiership with.
For the record, the incoming Wests Tigers head coach in 2025 won a premiership with the Wests Tigers in 2005.
The flick pass to Pat Richards, anyone? It was also the club’s one and only premiership.
Instead, in the initial fit out of the new Center of Excellence – the Wests Tigers Marshall bio states he won a premiership with the Dragons.
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confused? Don’t worry, so were we.
The Wests Tigers have since confirmed the error and are in the process of getting it fixed.
Like Jack Gibson always said, winning starts Monday and winning starts in the front office.
Anyway, they’ve also got a barber shop at the new Center of Excellence so at the very least the Tigers playing squad can sport fresh fades and the organization staff will look sharp.
In all seriousness the Center of Excellence is a great result for the club as a training facility and will no doubt help them on the training and recruitment front.
And once they fix up the Marshall faux pas then hopefully the only way is up.
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An Australian class action law firm is taking on a subsidiary of Toyota over concerns that the carmaker faked data so that it could receive tax breaks from the government.
Bannister Law announced on Monday that it is investigating Hino Motor Sales Australia, which manufactures trucks and buses sold around the globe and is an affiliate of Toyota.
Hino has sold an estimated 860,000 vehicles with the promise of having low exhaust emissions and good fuel economy when the data had actually been faked.
Bannister Law said it was trying to see if Hino had breached the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 and the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and is considering launching a class action.
It comes just a few days after revelations from earlier this month that Hino Motors had falsified emissions data on some engines going back almost 20 years.
The truck-maker said an engine data falsification scandal had started as far back as 2004 and not in 2016 as previously admitted.
Globally, it’s understood there are 26 different engine types impacted by the tampered data, and 860,000 vehicles have been caught up in the scandal altogether. At least 39,000 Hino vehicles have been sold in Australia from 2012 to 2021, but it is unclear if all or just some of them were falsely represented to customers.
Hino had to recall 47,000 vehicles made between April 2017 and March this year over the data scandal. An additional 20,900 will be recalled in the near future.
Bannister Law is calling for all Australians who owned or leased a Hino vehicle at any point between 2004 and 2021 to register in an online form.
It is so far unclear which truck models were impacted by the scandal.
Just three days ago, to US law firm, Lieff Cabraser, started a class action against Hino over the same concerns.
“Lieff Cabraser is investigating reports that Hino Motors and majority Hino owner Toyota Motor Corporation (the Japanese parent of Toyota North America) have publicly admitted to intentionally cheating on their bus and truck vehicles’ emissions,” the legal company stated.
The case has been brought to the Southern District of Florida and the firm confirmed it was seeking more than $5 million in damages.
In March this year, Hino announced it had discovered widespread tampering evidence dating back to September 2016 and engaged an independent committee to investigate.
But in early August, that committee came back with a damning report that found the malpractice stretched back as far as 2004.
Investigators stated in their findings: “Hino cannot escape the determination that it made a false report.”
It was also discovered that a tax reprieve was a key motivator behind the malpractice.
Hino “aimed to achieve the fuel consumption standards in order to be eligible for tax preferential treatment but failed to achieve its goal, and thus, it engaged in misconduct by intentionally adjusting the calibration values of the fuel flowmeter in order to meet the specification values required. for application,” the report also stated.
Data was also falsified by measuring “the idling fuel flow quantity before the fuel flow quantity was stabilized and engaged in misconduct by intentionally selecting advantageous fuel consumption data”.
The findings, led by committee chairman Kazuo Sakakibara, claimed employees were not offered “psychological safety” and were “unable to change” due to the company’s past successes.
Representatives at Hino said the scandal was brought on by an “environment where engineers did not feel able to challenge superiors”.
Hino’s president Satoshi Ogiso apologized to reporters after the report’s bombshell findings, claiming the company’s management took its responsibilities and public image seriously.
Mr Ogiso said he received a message from Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who reeled at the scandal, accusing Hino of betraying the trust of company stakeholders.
In a statement, Hino said it “deeply apologizes for any inconvenience caused to its customers, shareholders, investors and other stakeholders”.
“Hino is currently investigating the impact of these matters on its earnings and will disclose any updates as appropriate in a timely manner,” it added.
News.com.au has contacted Hino for comment.
Bannister Law won the recent class action against Toyota for DPF issues and also won cases against Volkswagen and Audi. It is currently conducting a class action against Mitsubishi.
Millennials struggling to build their wealth have flipped the idea of having a cashless society on their head by reviving a saving technique that originated well before their grandparents’ era.
“Cash stuffing” is the latest money-saving trend growing in popularity in Australia, after it educated hundreds of young people in the UK and US on how to successfully budget.
Also known as the envelope method, cash stuffing involves withdrawing money – typically your monthly earnings – from your bank account and allocating it to a folder which represents a specific spending category.
Folders may represent weekly shopping budgets, holiday savings, fuel costs, mortgage repayments or bills.
The “cash stuffing” hashtag has accrued over 532 million views on TikTok, while sites like Amazon and Etsy have too jumped on board, selling folders, stickers and stationery specifically made for the trend to help kickstart the saving journey.
Daniel Jovevski, CEO and founder of budgeting and debt management app WeMoney, says the saving technique has re-emerged as Australians learn to cope with the rising cost of living.
“Cash stuffing or what budgeters call the ‘Envelope Method’ is back in vogue. This is largely driven out of the requirement to budget now more than ever with envelopes or pencil cases being the primary tool for people to squirrel money away,” Mr Jovevski told news.com.au.
“Tougher times with inflation and cost of living pressures have brought back this old but effective method as consumers combat increasing petrol and food prices.”
Caroline from CAROCASH, commenced her cash stuffing journey last year after learning about personal finance expert Dave Ramsey’s envelope system, which closely mirrors cash stuffing.
The small business owner told news.com.au that she has since saved almost $30,000 using the system.
“I saw how by dividing up your income into separate envelopes, you can save up and prepare for annual bills, holidays, medical and of course for savings,” Caroline said.
While Caroline insists that she is not a financial adviser, she has shared with others how simple the technique can be by documenting her journey on her YouTube channel.
How does cash stuffing differ from internet banking?
Simply put, cash stuffing is a physical method of internet banking.
Rather than splitting your weekly earnings into separate online banking accounts as some budgeters do, those using the cash stuffing method split their income into physical folders.
However Mr Jovevski said there is a psychological aspect to cash stuffing that most don’t experience through online banking or paying for transactions using their credit or debit card.
“This trend has deep behavioral benefits with prominent behavioral scientists identifying the method as helping people increase their “pain of paying”, meaning when we pay with cash we feel a little pain when we see the amount of money leave our wallets or envelopes,” he said.
“Contrasting this against tap-and-pay, where you don’t really see the physical movement of cash, it makes it easier to spend as all the friction has been removed.”
Caroline admitted that this was her situation prior to jumping on the cash stuffing bandwagon. Her de ella old spending habits de ella meant she would unknowingly use all her income de ella on other purchases prior to paying her bills.
“By doing the Cash Envelope System, you budget out your pay and then physically see the money grow or see where your money goes,” she said.
The benefits of cash stuffing
As the cost of living continues on an upward trend, Australians are becoming more conscious of their spending limits and habits.
The search phrase “what is budgeting” has jumped in interest by more than 65 per cent in the last year on Google Search whereas “budgeting apps” has been the most searched query in relation to the word “budget”.
And with budgeting the entire purpose behind cash stuffing, Caroline said there’s no other reason as to why someone who is struggling to manage their savings shouldn’t give the technique a go.
“Benefits include changing spending habits and your mindset on spontaneous spending, living within your means and being prepared for bills,” she said.
Other benefits Caroline mentioned include not feeling the need to get a credit card or use Afterpay and having less financial stress once you’ve mastered your budget.
“The more friction we have in paying, the less we spend and the easier it is to stay on track with our budgets,” Mr Jovevski added.
Being aware of the risks
While it’s great to have cash in hand, it doesn’t come without a heightened risk of losing your money. This may be through theft, fire, or simply misplacing it.
One way Caroline has overcome the threat of mishandling her hard-earned cash is by saving up to a certain amount before banking it, and then using “prop” or “fake money” to represent the savings in her account.
“As a graphic designer myself, I was able to create some fake play money for larger denominations – starting from $250 all the way to $10,000 – that we do not officially have here in Australia,” she said.
“Once I reach $1000 in cash, I swap that with a prop note and get the $1000 back to the bank.”
Another disadvantage associated with cash stuffing is its inability to earn interest as well as the time it takes to separate your money into folders and record the value in a spreadsheet or notebook.
“While there are plenty of upside benefits, the trade-off is additional work,” Mr Jovevski said.
“You have to consider if the cash-stuffing method aligns with the outcomes you want to achieve with your budget.”
One question that a lot of people ask Caroline is “how do you work out how much to budget for?”.
The savvy saver said she works out how much her bills will cost her on a monthly or yearly basis and then divides that amount by the number of weeks she has until it needs to be paid.
“Say you get paid weekly and you have an annual bill that is $700. You divide 700 by 52 which equals $13.50. That is what you would put aside each pay to have that bill “fully funded” in a year when it is due,” she said.
With a little bit of extra time and preparation, Caroline said anyone can give the saving technique a try.
“Honestly, just give it a go. There’s no schemes or tricks. All that is required is a little more than your time; time to go to the bank or ATM for the cash withdrawal, and time to sit down, make a budget and divide your cash into envelopes.”
When the current history of Hollywood gets written, April 19, 2022 will go down as the day that everything changed.
It should have been a routine earnings call during which Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings took tech and business reporters through the company’s latest figures. Instead, Hastings revealed that the company had lost hundreds of thousands of subscribers for the first drop in numbers in 10 years.
The revelations immediately set off something of an earthquake from Wall Street to Los Angeles, with $75 billion in value being wiped off the company’s value in 24 hours.
Why this matters are the consequences this precipitous, stunning reversal in fortune could have for two people about 450km south of Netflix’s headquarters, in the wealthy enclave of Montecito.
In the course of that one earnings one call, not only did the streaming giant’s once-unassailable hold on the entertainment industry come unstuck, but so too did the supposedly cashed-up future of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, start to look much less certain.
Monday marks 712 days since the world learned on September 2 2020 that the newly self-emancipated Sussexes had signed a reported $US140 million ($A197 million) deal with Netflix via no lesser news outlet than the New York Times with the story trumpeting the duo’s “new Hollywood careers”.
But today, those “new Hollywood careers” have yet to actually take off while once mighty Netflix has lost more than $US200 billion ($A280 billion) in value (yes, billion with a ‘b’) this year.
Nearly two years on from all the self-contributory ballyhoo of September 2, 2020, the landscape for both the titled duo and the streamer has significantly shifted beneath them all.
Will – or even can – the Sussex/Netflix marriage survive?
Not only have the fortunes of Netflix lurched wildly since 2020 but so have Harry and Meghan’s.
At the time the deal was announced, it seemed like the most obvious and logical pairing: Two of the most famous people in the world would worthily churn out documentaries or some such; inreturn; Netflix got to tout the fact that they had a real life Duke and Duchess on their books. Harry and Meghan would get squillions; the company would reap the rewards of the PR coup of the decade.
However, the royal duo are not exactly the sizzlingly-hot property they were back then now are they?
More than 30 months have passed since Harry and Meghan absconded from a life of stifling royal duty for the greener pastures of California and that lucrative embrace of corporate America.
In that time they have managed to ink a series of headline-making deals, including also with Spotify, the coaching company BetterUp and with Ethic, a fintech asset manager, along with launching their charitable foundation and undertaking a seemingly never ending parade of photo opportunities. .
On paper it sounds like it’s been a whirligig of achievement and just the sort of industrious self-starting that America was founded on. Except … what have they actually achieved?
Yes, they have made a series of donations to causes ranging from the World Food Kitchen to helping fix a women’s shelter’s roof after a storm which reflects their generosity and hunger to help others. Kudos. But writing a check here and there is hardly the sort of work that will ever see them make the long list for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sadly, for two people who seem to truly care, there is not one issue, not one cause they have really moved the needle on since they embarked on this new life of theirs.
More importantly for their Netflix and Spotify paymasters, they have failed to genuinely set themselves up as leading voices of the day. They might do their darnedest to sell themselves as inspiring leaders but the proof is in the flaccid pudding that was the lackluster turnout to Harry’s recent UN speech from him.
The international community was hardly turning up in droves to hear him speak while Washington has largely ignored them.
Meghan’s cold-calling of senators about paid parental leave last year went down about as well as a gluten and dairy-free scone at a Buckingham Palace garden party and the Duchess has yet to emerge as any sort of powerplayer ahead of the midterm elections later this year.
In late June, the former actress took part in a conversation with feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem for fashion after the horrendous quashing of abortion protection, saying: “Well, Gloria, maybe it seems as though you and I will be taking a trip to DC together soon.”
Nearly two months on, the Duchess has yet to turn up inside the Beltway.
The bottom line is this: Harry and Meghan have proven totally unsuccessful at making themselves matter in the corridors of power in Washington, New York, Silicon Valley or Los Angeles.
The magic dust of their royalty has largely dulled in the last two years and the novelty factor has worn off. So too has their deal-making momentum seemed to have waned with them not having announced any other venture since July 2021 last year when it was revealed Harry was busy working on a memoir.
Things might look different today if in the last 712 days the Sussexes had been churning out series after doco after one-off specials for Netflix, but as we all know, that is not the case. The company has only ever publicly announced two Sussex projects: Harry’s documentary about the sporting event for wounded armed services personnel Heart of Invictus (an amazing initiative he started years ago as a working member of the royal family) and an animated children’s series from Meghan called Pearl.
In early May it was announced that Netflix was axing the Duchess’ show as part of a much bigger cost-cutting move, with numerous high-profile projects canned as the streamer dramatically tighten their belts.
Then later the same month came news that the company was about to get, as Page Six put it, their “pound of flesh” from the duo with the revelation that Harry and Meghan were already filming something called an “at home” docu series which has a hint of the ignominious about it. (More recent reporting has suggested that Netflix wants it to air before the year is out.)
Potentially hundreds of millions of dollars are riding on this docu series for the self-supporting, private jet-flying, polo-loving Sussexes.
If it turns out that the Duke and Duchess are TV gold, if they are about to demonstrate that they are binge-worthy stars who can pull in streaming viewers globally, then their US careers are set. Get another polo pony! Hell, buy seven.
But, if they fail to live up to the hype and the rhetoric? The huge sums being touted and all those lovely millions supposedly coming their way could dry up faster than a Californian lake.
(And it’s not as if their docuseries is likely to feature much royal access given that Harry and Meghan were embarrassingly sidelined by The Firm when they were in London for the Platinum Jubilee.)
Netflix is clearly a very patient company when it comes to their superstar recruits. Take Barack and Michelle Obama who signed to Netflix and Spotify after they left the White House.
However, this week, Harry and Meghan will break the Obamas’ track record of the 716 days which elapsed between their Netflix deal being announced and their first marquee project starring one of them, coming, being released. (And in the interim they had released two children’s shows and produced two documentaries, one of which won an Oscar.)
Harry and Meghan might have titles and the Buckingham Palace Wi-Fi password but that is not enough of a distinction for big companies to merrily tip millions into their bank accounts for the chance to work with them. They have to actually do something to provide themselves.
They can’t just hope they can coast along on the whiff of a mothballed HRH here forever more.
Since that earnings call in April, Netflix has laid off hundreds of staff and made the drastic decision to finally introduce advertising to the platform. Can the company still afford to carry big name stars who don’t deliver on their books?
Just how much patience and faith will this newly humbled Netflix have for their yet-to-perform big-name hires?
To some degree, the same goes for Spotify too here.
In April, Meghan’s first outing for the audio giant called Archetypes was announced, promising a “groundbreaking” series would launch during the northern summer. With only weeks to go before autumn begins, again, the clock is ticking.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.
A struggling Australian fitness franchise that has been savaged on the stock markets is now facing not one, but five potential lawsuits.
F45 Training Holdings Inc, known for its high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, was at first an Australian success story after hitting the New York Stock Exchange in July last year and raking in $500 million on the first day.
But two weeks ago things drastically changed; the company’s founder and CEO Adam Gilchrist stepped down while 110 employees were laid off and expansion plans were slashed significantly.
Stock prices plunged off the back of the news and dipped to 62 per cent of its original price at its lowest, when it sank to $US1.35 ($A1.90) on July 27.
At time of writing, according to MarketWatch, F45 stock was trading at $US2.15 ($A3) compared to its listing price of $US16 ($A22.50) just a year earlier.
Now five heavyweight class action law firms from the US are calling for investors to come forward to explore the possibility of filing a class action.
The firms are investigating whether F45 misrepresented itself to investors and the most recent legal firm only announced it was investigating the company on Friday.
In July last year at its initial public offering, F45 sold 18.75 million shares of stock priced at $US16.00 per share.
It had a stunning $US1.46 billion ($A2 billion) market capitalization however that has since slipped to $US183.6 million ($A258.60).
In May, F45 thought it had secured a $US250 million ($A350 million) line of credit to keep rapidly expanding but by the next investor’s meeting in July, this had failed through.
But during the July trading update, investors learned that credit line would not be available.
After planning to roll out 1500 new franchises this year F45 will instead aim for between 350 and 450 and its forecasted revenue has dropped from $US275 million ($A387 million) to $US130 million ($A182 million).
F45 fitness founder and CEO Adam Gilchrist – not to be confused with the cricket player of the same name – reportedly immediately listed his house on the market after the downfall.
Coincidentally, the same weekend that another law firm announced it was investigating the possibility of a class action, Mr Gilchrist successfully sold his $A14 million Sydney home.
Mr Gilchrist and Rob Deutsch founded the company in 2013 in the Sydney suburb of Paddington but Mr Deutsch left in February 2020 and said he was devastated to hear what had happened since then.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this,” Mr Deutsch wrote on Instagram after the shock news of the lay-offs. “When I exited, and sold out of F45, I left a healthy, phenomenal, beast of a business. All the way from the company culture to the heart beat of the business… The workouts. F45 was special.
“I genuinely hope all of the 110 laid-off staff, find happiness and opportunities elsewhere.”
News.com.au has contacted F45 for comment.
On Friday, US law firm Labaton Sucharow called for investors to get in touch, the latest in a string of legal firms circling F45 like sharks.
Prior to that, Schall Law Firm, a US shareholder rights litigation firm, announced last Tuesday that it was investigating F45 “for violations of the securities laws”.
Then there was Bragar Eagle & Squire, PC, another shareholder rights specialist, which started its own investigation a day later.
Bragar Eagel & Squire stated the company’s revenue was “down significantly” compared to what was previously promised to investors.
James Wilson of Faruqi & Faruqi also called for investors who have “suffered losses exceeding $US50,000 ($A70,450) investing in F45 Training stock or options”.
Portnoy Law Firm also weighed in, saying it was investigating “possible securities fraud” and that it would provide a “complimentary case evaluation and discuss investors’ options for pursuing claims to recover their losses”.
Embattled CEO sells home
Mr Gilchrist reportedly listed his Sydney mansion, located in Freshwater in the city’s northern beaches region, on the market following his company’s stock crash.
Over the weekend, it’s understood to be have been sold.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that strict gag orders prevented the real estate agents from disclosing its final price.
However, they did confirm it sold for more than he bought it for in 2019, which was $14 million.
Realestate.com.au reported that it sold more than $1 million over the reserve.
A writer has claimed Elvis Presley’s tragic death at the age of 42 was not caused by self-destruction and drug abuse but was instead a tragic inevitability spurred by bad genes in the singer’s family tree.
Myths and misconceptions have continued to swirl around Elvis’ death in the 45 years since the legendary performer was found unresponsive in the bathroom of his Graceland mansion on August 16, 1977, reported The US Sun.
His official cause of death was ruled a heart attack, a tragic fate that has long been attributed to The King’s excessive indulgence in prescription drugs and unhealthy foods.
Those attributions can be traced back to news coverage from the time, with reports painting the star as a bloated, forlorn drug addict — a rock’n’roll cliche who popped one too many pills and died long before his time.
But for author and lifelong fan Sally Hoedel, the cause of Elvis’ premature demise is not so clear-cut.
Hoedel claimed that Elvis was always destined to die young. She attributed this to her belief that he may have had a series of defective genes possibly passed down to him by his maternal grandparents, Bob Smith and Doll Mansell, who were his first cousins.
Hoedel argued that those alleged faulty genes were aggravating factors behind his various health issues, which he in turn treated with a cocktail of prescription drugs.
“That first cousin marriage obviously causes a lot of issues,” Hoedel theorized to The US Sun in a phone interview from her home in Michigan.
“Elvis’ mum Gladys died very young at 46 and she had three brothers who all died at similar ages from heart and lung-related issues. So it stops being a coincidence by the time it gets to Elvis,” she claimed, “because there’s so much going on in that family tree.”
For her book, Elvis: Destined to Die YoungHoedel researched the medical history of the Presley family and unearthed never-before-reported information.
His interest in the topic was piqued after noticing a series of similarities in the deaths of Elvis and his much-beloved mother Gladys, who died almost exactly 19 years before him on August 14, 1958.
Gladys, like her superstar son, died of heart failure. She was 46, just four years older than Elvis when he passed away.
Additionally, both Elvis and Gladys suffered a “similar four-year period of degenerative health” in the lead-up to their deaths, according to Hoedel, “which is interesting because they weren’t taking the same kinds of medication.”
Research conducted by Hoedel found that Gladys had been seeing a cardiologist since at least 1956, and was also hospitalized for two weeks that same year with a mystery illness.
Shortly before her death, Gladys was also diagnosed with hepatitis, the origins of which baffled her doctors at the time. The condition, which targets the lungs and liver, was thought to have been related to Gladys’ alcoholism.
Born and raised in extreme poverty in the deep south, Gladys’ struggles to cope with her son’s meteoric ascension to fame and fortune are well documented, with the self-described “most miserable woman in the world” reportedly once telling a friend over the phone , “I wish we were poor again, I really do.”
Growing increasingly isolated and depressed as Elvis became a global sensation, Gladys began drinking excessively and taking diet pills – a downward spiral that many believe led to her hepatitis diagnosis and ultimately contributed to her death.
Gladys fell seriously ill just a few months after Elvis enlisted in the US Army. The timing of her downturn in her health spurred theories that Gladys drank herself to death, wracked with worry and suffering from a broken heart while her son was serving overseas in Germany.
Hoedel believes that narrative is baseless “romanticism.”
“Gladys has always been painted as this woman whose son became famous, bought her a big house and she just struggled to deal with it all and essentially died of a broken heart,” the author and historian contended.
“But that’s not how it works. I think Elvis and Vernon [Elvis’ dad] both knew who knew how sick she was before he left for the army.
“They were all so sad because I believe for sure that they knew they didn’t have a lot of time left with her.”
Hoedel argued – like Elvis – the causes of Gladys’ death and ill-health lie further up the family tree.
“The Presleys were incredibly secretive about their health,” Hoedel said, “but I managed to interview people like Nancy Clarke, the daughter of Gladys’ cardiologist, who used to go on house calls with her dad to the Presley home.
“And she told me before her dad passed away, he said there was more to Gladys’ death than what he understood because he’s long been quoted as saying it looked like hepatitis, but it wasn’t, and he couldn’t work out what was wrong with her.”
Hoedel believed that Gladys was actually suffering from Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, an inherited and rarely diagnosed disorder that can cause lung and liver disease.
“We know Elvis had it because he was found to be a carrier for Alpha-1 after his death, so it had to come from somewhere” she added.
“And it all leads back to Gladys’ parents,” she claimed.
In her book, Hoedel examined the health issues of Elvis’ grandmother, Doll Smith, who is believed to have suffered from Tuberculosis for more than 30 years.
“Again, something that doesn’t make sense, but continued to be passed down the family tree and then throughout recorded Elvis history as well,” Hoedel argued. “This book explains how Tuberculosis was most certainly a misdiagnosis in the early 1900s.
“From there, with the first-cousin marriage, Gladys [may have] inherited two damaged genes and a more serious version of the disease.”
All of Gladys’ brothers died of heart and liver-related issues in their forties and early fifties too.
Faulty and defective genes were also passed down to Elvis, Hoedel suggested.
The legendary crooner was suffering from diseases in nine of the 11 bodily systems, including his heart, his lungs, and his bowels. It was Hoedel’s contention that five of those disease processes were present from birth. Hoedel believed Elvis was a man who struggled every day to survive.
His prescription drug problem, she theorized, may have been the result of Elvis and his infamous physician, George “Nick” Nichopolous, attempting to treat his various congenital illnesses, rather than just mindless overconsumption.
“Elvis had various health issues but he hid them so well that the over-medication is what we remember now,” Hoedel claimed.
“He often took too much, and there are issues there, but you have to ask why he was taking those pills in the first place.
“One of the reasons Elvis turned to the medication was pain, he was also a lifelong insomniac, but the reason he was self-medicating was that he was trying to find a way to be Elvis Presley.”
The more he toured, the more medication he would need to function through his various ailments, Hoedel suggested.
But Elvis – a devoted son, husband, father, and friend – couldn’t simply stop performing. He had more than 100 people on his payroll from him, relying on him to keep bringing the money in to keep them all afloat.
Memphis Mafia member Lamar Fike told Hoedel he begged Elvis to quit touring after the singer complained of fatigue and pain.
“I have to make payroll,” The King replied.
Speaking of the eleven electric performer’s ailing health during his final years, Elvis’ bodyguard Ed Parker described him as a “battery that had been drained too many times.”
“His body could no longer hold a charge,” Parker said.
Still, on Elvis soldiered, until his life came to an abrupt end on August 16, 1977.
Ultimately, as her book title suggests, Hoedel argued that Elvis was always destined to die young, and nothing could’ve saved The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll from the unfavorable genetic hand she believed he was dealt with.
For the author, examining Elvis’ supposedly faulty genetic make-up was an effort to re-humanize the mythical figure of Presley, who she feels in the years since his death has been reduced to a rock star cliche who simply died alone on the bathroom floor.
“There are so many myths and misconceptions about how Elvis lived, not just in how he died, and it isn’t fair on Elvis,” Hoedel said.
“I think Elvis is the greatest victim of sensationalism and romanticism, and both have kind of plagued and haunted his legacy and prevented him from being remembered as the incredibly important historical figure he is.
“Elvis shifted our universe culturally like no one has before and he deserves to be treated like a Henry Ford or Thomas Edison of pop culture.
“But the sex drugs and rock’n’roll narrative has held him back – he’s a bigger place in American history.”
This article was originally published on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission