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#MeToo won’t last if it isn’t fair

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What is the future of #MeToo?

As we mothball 2018, the social movement remains a cultural force, one that has reshaped attitudes, fortified HR policies and placed bullhorns in the hands of sexual-abuse victims. Many men who once traipsed the corridors of power are now living ghosts, stripped of their careers and reputations, banished to purgatory.

In the last three months of 2017, as allegations of sexual misconduct gripped the news cycle almost daily, #MeToo was hailed as a seismic event, a watershed, a reckoning, a point from which there was no return.

Those last three months of 2017 felt like a mass exorcism.

We were purging demons.

By contrast, the movement is now a hot-air balloon in a pewter sky: it is moving slower and basked in grey. This is not necessarily bad. It might even be good. The speed of #MeToo in 2017 was unsustainable. But if the ultimate goal is to stop harassment and abuse, this year’s loss in momentum is a blessing in disguise: we can now exhale and poke holes into #MeToo to make it stronger.

The first problem, which emerged with allegations against comedian Aziz Ansari in January, is that we probably need to have a conversation about what constitutes mistreatment and what is just a bad date.

In the marketplace of human sexuality, what is a toxic hard sell and what is buyer’s remorse? What is transactional and what is stolen? Where do we draw the line between criminality and clumsy attempts at courtship?

Published on babe.net, the effort to put Ansari in the #MeToo rogue’s gallery came from a feature that recounted in graphic detail a pseudonymous 22-year-old’s date with the celebrity that “turned into the worst night of my life.”

But if you read the piece, waiting for the gotcha sins, you’re still waiting.

There was something about this story — the Atlantic would later dismiss it as “3,000 words of revenge porn” — that did not dovetail with the spirit and exhaustive reportage of so many 2017 investigations.

This seemed less like abuse and more like character assassination.

The same might be said of bizarre allegations against TVO’s Steve Paikin the following month. Former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson claimed Paikin propositioned her during a lunch meeting. TVO launched a probe. The charge was “not substantiated.” In the words of Paikin, it was “complete fiction.”

Instead of lifting the #MeToo tide, the Ansari blip muddied the waters. But with Paikin we had tumbled into a treacherous riptide: the possibility an accuser was lying. And as the year rumbled on, this became a refrain from many who denied misconduct allegations while notably still championing #MeToo: David Copperfield, Michael Douglas, Ryan Seacrest, Jamie Foxx and others.

As James Franco told Stephen Colbert in response to allegations against him in January: “The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long.”

Around the same time, 100 female writers, academics, producers and actors in France — including Catherine Deneuve — signed an open letter arguing that the movement was going too far and now posed a danger to society: “In fact, #MeToo has led to a campaign, in the press and on social media, of public accusations and indictments against individuals who, without being given a chance to respond or defend themselves, are put in the exact same category as sex offenders.”

The “pendulum effect,” discovered by Galileo more than 400 years ago, was underway in Europe. And the #MeToo backlash would build throughout the year, steamrolling to other corners of the world where, as the Washington Post recently noted, the movement “either fizzled or never took flight.”

But while the French letter was condemned in woke parts of North America, the cautionary subtext — the need for due process — became obvious in 2018. An internal investigation cleared Seacrest. An internal investigation doomed Les Moonves. An internal investigation is now underway over Neil deGrasse Tyson.

In all three cases — exoneration, guilt and to be determined — the lesson is clear: if #MeToo is to remain a powerful force it must navigate a bedrock of the West: innocent until proven guilty. To allow that principle to be inverted in the court of public opinion is to do grave injustice to actual victims of abuse.

Any lessening in the burden of proof will also worsen gender relations and create a chilling effect in workplaces if people begin to believe, as actor Liam Neeson told a late-night TV show in Ireland this year, #MeToo is “a bit of a witch hunt.”

Throughout 2018, there were stories of male managers confiding they no longer felt comfortable mentoring young females or even getting into elevators with them. This anxiety over being alone with a woman — something Chris Rock jokes about and Mike Pence lives by — is not an antidote to sexual misconduct.

It is an affront to true equality.

But this fear of being wrongly accused — which in part triggered the #HimToo movement this fall and unleashed a polarized debate around Brett Kavanaugh — became an inextricable part of #MeToo in 2018.

There can be no doubt the movement has changed the way we think. It has achieved more in 15 months than was accomplished this century. It is an undertaking that is long overdue. Sexual harassment and abuse is repugnant.

But if #MeToo is to charge full speed ahead next year it must also accept that not everything is black-and-white. Some points of no return are actually forks in the road. And, ultimately, there can be no justice without due process.

Vinay Menon is the Star’s pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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