Can you believe this marks our last edition of The Weekly Download until next decade? It’s true, but there’s no shortage of news to update you on this week!
Let’s take a look at what’s on the docket, shall we?
Hallmark pulls (and reinstates) a same-sex ad following online backlash, a Canadian company pays ransom for stolen user data, Facebook acquires cloud gaming platform PlayGiga, the memes that shaped 2019, J.K. Rowling draws criticism following a controversial tweet, and some Friday Fun.
Wishing you and your loved ones all the best for a happy and peaceful holiday season and all the best for the new year!
Hallmark Faces Widespread Backlash After Pulling Same-Sex Wedding Ads
The Hallmark Channel is usually the talk of the season thanks to its many guilty-pleasure holiday movies, but the company made headlines this week for a different reason.
Following complaints from a division of the right-wing American Family Association known as One Million Moms, the company decided to pull four ads from Zola, a wedding website host, featuring same-sex couples kissing at their weddings.
Hallmark yanked the ads, saying they were aired “in error” and assured that the Hallmark Channel would “continue to be a safe and family friendly network.” A representative from Hallmark claimed the removal was due to company policy “not to overt public displays of affection.”
People on Twitter were extremely unhappy with the decision, and many users urged a total boycott of the company.
.@hallmarkchannel you do realize that same sex marriage is the law of the land (see Obergefell v. Hodges). what a huge miscalculation and bigoted stance you have taken. #boycotthallmark https://t.co/RqRYTIAmVA
— Dwight Williams (@dwight_esq) December 14, 2019
I will not be watching anything having to do with The Hallmark Channel until they affirm the respect and dignity of LGBTQ families. This feels like we’re living in 1999, not 2019.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) December 14, 2019
.@hallmarkchannel caved to pressure from an anti-LGBTQ group and pulled an ad featuring a same-sex couple on their wedding day.
The only thing controversial here is Hallmark’s shameful actions. Hallmark has failed our community & all of their customers. https://t.co/2u0v9uyQYE
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) December 14, 2019
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 15, 2019
Now, Hallmark says it will reinstate the pulled ads, vowing to reach out to Zola to reestablish the partnership.
In a statement, the company said: “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused … Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.”
LifeLabs Pays Ransom After Data Stolen in Cyberattack
According to lab test provider LifeLabs, the company paid a ransom to secure customer data stolen by hackers in late October.
The hackers also obtained the personal information of an unknown number of Canadian customers – based mostly in Ontario and British Columbia – including their health card numbers, names, email addresses, dates of birth, and more.
LifeLabs says cyber security consultants believe the risk to customers is low and there has not been any public disclosure of customer data thus far.
It’s yet another reminder to be cognizant of the data we share online, and where it can end up.
15 Memes that Defined 2019
From Baby Yoda to Storm Area 51, Mashable has put together a list of the year’s top memes.
Every Mom on Christmas morning watching you open presents: pic.twitter.com/m7hI1qYoVz
— Julie Benson (@TheJulieBenson) November 29, 2019
Did any of your favourites make the list?
Facebook Acquires Cloud Gaming Service PlayGiga
In a deal reportedly worth €70 million, Facebook has acquired Spanish cloud gaming company PlayGiga.
We’re thrilled to welcome @PlayGigaOficial to the Facebook Gaming team. We’ll decline further c☁️mment for now.
— Facebook Gaming (@FacebookGaming) December 18, 2019
According to PlayGiga’s website, the team is “moving on to something new” but will be continuing to work on cloud gaming.
With the launch of Google’s Stadia service and Microsoft’s xCloud platform on its way, the cloud gaming market continues to grow with big players in the mix. Gaming and VR have been a focus for Facebook in recent years, so the acquisition doesn’t come as a surprise to many.
J.K. Rowling Draws Criticism Following Controversial Tweet
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is facing widespread criticism online from the transgender community following a tweet in support of a researcher who lost her job for stating that people cannot change their biological sex.
In fact, the World Health Organization–among countless other medical authorities–validate trans people in their authentic gender identity.
It is quite clear you don't understand the first thing about the trans community or the science at play.
This is heartbreaking.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) December 19, 2019
The researcher, Maya Forstater, lost a court hearing this week challenging her termination from the Centre for Global Development, where she worked as a fellow. Forstater’s contract was not renewed in March after tweeting, among other things, that “men cannot change into women.”
According to The Guardian, Judge James Tayler, an employment judge, ruled Forstater’s termination as valid since her views were “absolutist” and did “not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief.”
Many users crafted tweets expressing how sad they were to discover their childhood idol supporting anti-trans views.
Please follow more trans people, please read about their experiences in this world and know you are contributing to their erasure, abuse and suffering by supporting those who deny their identity/existence. Please wield your immense power to protect those most at risk. @jk_rowling https://t.co/xXM0hNYvcO
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) December 19, 2019
93-Year-Old Grandma & Grandson Duo Go Viral in Hilarious Costumes
When Ross Smith needed someone to block a basketball shot for a Vine video, his Granny was more than happy to help. It wasn’t long before a beautiful (and unlikely!) content creation partnership was born.
The duo has since gone viral for their collection of hilarious photos and videos in which they don themed costumes.
These are sure to make your Friday!
This Toronto Family’s Intergalactic Holiday Video is Out of This World
It’s equal parts cute, nostalgic (Beastie Boys!), and perfect for Friday Fun.
View this post on Instagram
Surprise! We did a video with this year’s holiday card! We channeled the ultimate trio #thebeastieboys and one of my all-time favourite music videos, “Intergalactic” for inspiration. Getting those work suits in child size was a lot harder than you’d think. Director: @smcleod DOP: @christianflook Special Thanks: @unreasonablestudios Track: “Intergalactic” #beastieboys
And that’s a wrap for 2019! We’ll be taking a break from our regular posting schedule next week to enjoy some much-needed down time with our families and friends and can’t wait to see you back here in 2020!