SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Lawmakers in Bulgaria are set to vote Wednesday on a no-confidence motion against the country’s coalition government. If approved, the motion could topple the centrist prime minister and further stall efforts by Balkan countries to join the European Union.
The center-right opposition GERB party filed the motion last week, citing the government’s handling of public finances and economic policy in the face of rising inflation.
HBO Max has gradually built up a stack of TV shows well worth your binge-watching hours. The home of Succession and The White Lotus, HBO Max brings you new shows and episodes each week.
Check out the weekly highlights below and then take a look at the best of HBO Max’s TV shows.
What’s new this week (June 20-26)
Here are this week’s highlights.
Mind Over Murder, miniseries premiere (2022) — HBO documentary. Chronicles the bizarre and psychologically complex story of six individuals who were convicted for the 1985 murder of a beloved 68-year-old grandmother, Helen Wilson.
Tuca & Bertie, season 2 premiere (2019- ) — Animated comedy. Explores the friendship between two 30-year-old bird women who live in the same apartment building.
Westworld, season 4 premiere (2016- )— Sci-fi. A futuristic park looked after by robotic “hosts” lets visitors live out their fantasies through artificial consciousness.
Here are some other HBO Max originals worth checking out.
Award-winning filmmaker Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation, In the Same Breath) directs this docuseries about the 1985 murder of 68-year-old Helen Wilson in the small town of Beatrice, Nebraska. There’s a lot to the story — six people were convicted for her murder and exonerated 20 years later. In the first episode, released Monday, we learn about the impact of these events on Wilson’s family and the Beatrice community. The show also introduces Burt Searcy, a former policeman who decided to launch a private investigation into the case. More episodes of this well-crafted and fascinating series hit HBO Max on Mondays.
The great Jean Smart rightfully takes the spotlight in this acclaimed comedy-drama series. Throwing iPads into swimming pools and delivering withering looks, Smart plays Deborah Vance, a legendary Las Vegas comedy diva who must face the prospect of appealing to a younger audience or disappearing into obscurity. She’s partnered with Ava (Hannah Einbinder), a young and equally snarky comedy writer, to freshen up her material. Perfectly balancing its biting insight into how the comedy business treats women, with the warmth of an odd couple buddy comedy, Hacks is one of the best originals to come out of HBO Max.
In Barry’s opening scene, SNL alum Bill Hader casually leaves a hotel room that contains a dead body. The actor plays hitman Barry Berkman, who isn’t happy with life or his unconventional profession, but his path is altered when he travels to Los Angeles and gets roped into performing in an acting class. Barry features plenty of violence and a deeply troubled protagonist, leaning into the “dark” part of its dark comedy designation. But it’s also really funny, and there are three seasons to binge. At the very least, you’ll want to tune in for truly great scenes between Hader and his acting teacher, played by Henry Winkler.
This HBO miniseries introduces Natasha (Michelle De Swarte), a 38-year-old woman who’s clearly uninterested in having children. But then she suddenly finds herself strapped to a baby when it falls off a cliff and into her arms. She tries to pass the youngster off to others, but untimely deaths (which are curiously always in the presence of the baby) keep her from getting away with it. One thing is already clear: The Baby’s blend of comedy and horror is to die for.
Jake Giles Netter/HBO Max
Our Flag Means Death (2022- )
In this comedy set on the high seas, Rhys Darby plays Stede Bonnet, an aristocrat who abandons his cushy life and family to become the captain of a pirate ship. Spoiler: He hilariously bumbles through the gig. Under Bonnet’s leadership, the show’s seafaring crew is far from the tough, swashbuckling group you might encounter in something like Pirates of the Caribbean (they spend their downtime hand-sewing, and they enjoy a competently narrated bedtime story). It all leads to plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Game of Thrones fans may spot Hodor actor Kristian Nairn hanging out among the crew, and the series also stars Taika Waititi as Blackbeard.
Katrina Marcinowski/HBO Max
In Minx, set in ’70s Los Angeles, funny and motivated (if uptight) Joyce has a dream of creating a feminist women’s magazine. At a pitch festival, she crosses paths with nude-magazine mogul Glenn, and eventually, the unlikely pair joins forces on a mag that packages Joyce’s stories alongside images of nude men. Yes, there’s a lot of nudity here (the first episode, for instance, includes a montage of male genitalia), so if that’s not your jam, be prepared. Ophelia Lovibond is fabulous as the show’s leading lady, and the cast has tons of chemistry. If you’re searching for a refreshing, highly entertaining story with a killer ensemble, flip through the pages of this HBO series.
Black Mirror, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. This satirical comedy hinges on Cristin Milioti’s comedic talents. Hazel Green escapes a 10-year marriage — until she realizes her husband, a tech billionaire, has fitted a chip into her brain. He can see her every move and track her down to negotiate their marriage. Hazel searches for freedom with the help of her dad, played by Ray Romano, who’s in an unorthodox relationship of his own. A few twists, a helpful dolphin and socially awkward people also tag along for this disturbing ride.
The Sex Lives of College Girls (2021- )
Mindy Kaling co-created this dramedy about four 18-year-old girls who start their freshman year of college together in Vermont. Equipped with distinctly different personalities, the college newcomers navigate love and sex in their own ways. The show is funny, easily bingeable and is bolstered by the chemistry between its female leads. A contemporary teen comedy showcasing messy experiences, relatable characters and raunchy jokes.
The Righteous Gemstones (2019- )
This outrageous series highlights a highly dysfunctional family of famous televangelists called the Gemstones. In the show’s first season, a member of the family is blackmailed, and ridiculous antics ensue. John Goodman stars as the family patriarch, Eli, and Danny McBride, Edi Patterson and Adam Devine also commit to the bit, pulling off an absurd and addicting black comedy. The second season of the show just wrapped up, and HBO has already renewed the series for a third.
Starstruck is a classic screwball comedy, starring the lovably goofy Rose Matafeo. She plays Jessie, a twentysomething Londoner who parties it up on New Year’s Eve, then later discovers she had a one-night stand with Tom Kapoor, a celebrity played by Nikesh Patel. Follow Jessie as she juggles odd jobs, from cinema worker to nanny, and her blossoming relationship with a film star that involves no high jinks whatsoever. Watch out for scene-stealer Minnie Driver as Tom’s agent in this witty, neatly crafted comedy package.
The best TV show of 2021 might already be here. It’s a Sin follows a group of young gay men living in London during the ’80s, just when HIV/AIDS was first diagnosed. This unique look at the early stages of what became a death sentence is handled with creator Russell T Davies’ trademark irrepressible joy for life. The warm, empathetic characters continue to live their lives to the full, flitting between bustling share houses and local bars to the beat of a popping ’80s soundtrack. Fast-paced, stylish and eye-opening, with a prevailing sense of hope, It’s a Sin is a soaring triumph for everyone to fall in love with.
In the words of CNET reviewer Richard Knightwell: “2020 sucked. You got up every morning and it all was all just a tiny bit worse. But every now and then a ray of sun would appear through the clouds. One of those bright spots was Betty, a fly-on-wall-style tale of skateboarding teens in a balmy New York. Utterly real and breathlessly dreamy at the same time, HBO’s TV follow-up to the indie hit Skate Kitchen painted a picture of young women facing the world head-on, pushing off and gaining speed and reducing obstacles into things waiting to be jumped over while looking cool. My baby daughter turned one while this show was on, and I can’t wait to plonk her on a skateboard. I hope she finds a Betty crew of her own.”
This satirical show follows the family controlling the world’s biggest media and entertainment company, whose members become embroiled in a battle to take over as their father’s health declines.
I Hate Suzie sees Billie Piper team up once again with Secret Diary of a Call Girl writer Lucy Prebble. The result is a frenetic tour de force of ideas, steered by a vulnerable performance from Piper. She plays the titular Suzie, an actress who, moments after winning a part in a Disney movie, discovers she’s one of the victims in a celebrity phone hacking scandal. Each episode explores a stage of trauma, tackling the question of how compromising leaks both upend and perhaps liberate a person’s life. Amid the ruthless satire is a wonderful friendship between Suzie and her manager Naomi (Leila Farzad).
The sibling rivalry is strong and primed for hilarity in this comedy from a couple of Saturday Night Live writers. Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider tell the story of Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorker), siblings in their late 20s who struggle with the sudden rise to internet fame of their 13-year-old Justin Bieber-channeling brother. Molly Shannon is a treat as their mother, Pat, ushering her children through open doors to success. Once you get over the gimmicky premise, The Other Two’s pop culture satire and surprisingly heartfelt storylines are a winning combination. Schitt’s Creek fans should give this a look.
From the minds of the gang behind Horrible Histories comes Ghosts, a sitcom that manages to become better and better with every episode. The ever-reliable Charlotte Ritchie (Feel Good, Call The Midwife) stars as Alison, a woman doing up the old mansion she inherited with the help of her amateur builder husband. On top of money problems, their reno plans aren’t helped by the ghostly residents who want the house to themselves. If you’re on the look out for purely light-hearted viewing, Ghosts delivers a high gag rate, a talented comedic ensemble and even an endearing arc of friendship. Most of all, it’s gleefully silly.
This black comedy takes us from London to Newcastle, Australia, following the misfortune of a woman who loses everything after the untimely death of her husband (don’t ask how he died). Broke and desperate, Sammy is forced to return to her hometown with her son and daughter, where she soon discovers she isn’t exactly a popular resident. The cringe factor is strong as Sammy does everything in her power to return to London, with some standout moments when she reunites with her bickering brother.
This comedy-drama about a Syrian asylum seeker leans heavily on the warmer, cozier side of the equation. It follows the lives of a British family after they return from a holiday in France and discover a passenger hiding in the back of their car. There’s endless charm in Sami’s fish-out-of-water hijinks as he adapts to his new home. Home mines that feel-good vein, filled with nice people willing to help a good man, even if that’s a struggle for some of the family members.
Based on a memoir, Pure isn’t your average coming-of-age comedy about a young woman newly moved to London. Marnie struggles with a form of OCD called Pure O, which causes her to have intrusive sexual thoughts, often in the worst moments. (Her own mother features in one of these thoughts — no wonder Marnie leaves home.) What Pure does best is address stereotypes about OCD in compassionate ways. Marnie traverses the same stresses as other twenty-somethings: a new job, her sexuality and friendship. An enlightening, relatable and essential comedy.
Stath Lets Flats is one of the best new British TV shows that trades in quintessentially absurd British humor. Stath is a socially inept Greek-Cypriot letting agent, whose dad hands him a job working for his company. Despite his ineptitude, Stath perseveres with his new vocation, showing flats to potential customers with the electricity cut off or with the security alarm blaring because he can’t remember the code. His attempts to impress his father burn the same cringe appeal as The Office, which also sprinkled in poignant moments ensuring you rooted for the characters. Stick around for the even better season 2, which won three BAFTAs.
Search Party caught the eye of HBO Max, shifting to production with the streamer in its third and fourth seasons. The latter is arguably its best yet, taking the story of four, clueless millennials to even greater extremes, including a bizarrely brilliant Susan Sarandon cameo. But we begin when twentysomething Dory becomes an amateur detective to track down a missing woman she barely knew in college. Really, she’s searching for something else: herself. Equally conceited are her boyfriend Drew, the scene-stealing Elliott and the hilariously blonde Portia. This oddball show somehow creates the perfect cocktail of dark humor, mystery and insane characters. A collector’s item that won’t come around very often.
In this HBO show, lifelike humanoid robots occupy a Wild West-themed amusement park, where human visitors are able to interact with them in any way they choose (rape, murder — no abhorrent action is off the table). These theme park “hosts” usually forget the brazenly violent things that occur to them. But a new update to some of the hosts disrupts the status quo. This complex sci-fi series will get you thinking, and there are already three seasons to binge.
Raised by Wolves will satisfy those who want to spend a lot of time (nearly 10 hours) in a world brought to the screen with the help of Ridley Scott. Two androids, Mother and Father, attempt to establish an atheist human colony on a new planet, after a war with a religious order destroys Earth. But they soon discover controlling the beliefs of humans is a tricky task. Directing the first two episodes, as well as pulling the strings as an executive producer, Scott sets up a provocative exploration into AI and religious beliefs. There’s blood, big performances and a powerful lead in Amanda Collin’s “Mother.”
In this captivating drama miniseries, Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, 2018’s Tomb Raider) plays Mira, a young movie star who takes a role outside her normal blockbuster — a criminal gang’s muse in a remake of real-life French silent film The Vampires. In the first episode of HBO’s show, the film’s director struggles to keep the production afloat. Meanwhile, an ex-lover toys with Mira. The series is based on a cult 1996 film of the same name, and both are directed by Olivier Assayas. For interesting characters, great dialogue and a show with something to say about making movies today, tune in to new episodes as they premiere on Mondays.
With Station Eleven, post-apocalyptic TV fans are in for a treat. The show’s nonlinear storytelling will keep you on your toes, and well-conceived characters add to the appeal. As most of humanity succumbs to a flu-like virus, a young girl named Kirsten and an adult named Jeevan take shelter from the scourge. But from there, the show immediately launches 20 years into the future, which opens the story up to new dramatic turns and keeps us guessing at the past. It’s really good TV, and it will likely satisfy those who don’t typically opt for post-apocalyptic stories.
Seacia Pavao/HBO Max
Following the life of television chef and cookbook writer Julia Child, this enticing period drama doles out a generous serving of humor and charm (and delicious-looking food, of course). Sarah Lancashire is endlessly watchable as the famed American cook, who paved the way for future cooking shows with her long-running series The French Chef. All eight episodes of the season are available on the streamer now, and HBO Max has confirmed it’s dishing out a second season.
A dramatized miniseries that draws in part from a 2004 documentary of the same name, HBO’s The Staircase is an enthralling take on a true-life story with fleshed-out characters and an all-star cast. Colin Firth stars as Michael Peterson, a novelist and husband to Kathleen (Toni Collette), who is found dead under suspicious circumstances. You’ll want to tune in to see what happens next. Sophie Turner, Dane DeHaan, Parker Posey and others also lend their talents to the drama.
What was initially a limited series was so good HBO renewed it for a second season. The satire about guests at a fancy resort gradually unveils the darker edges of its picture-perfect postcard. The White Lotus features an ensemble cast, including Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Steve Zahn, Molly Shannon and more hilarious people, who make this series soar. If that wasn’t enough, a murder mystery with the big reveal waiting till the very end will keep you thoroughly entertained.
Warrick Page/HBO Max
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (2022- )
Winning Time is a sports drama, but sports are hardly its only focus. Set in the ’80s, this series fixes its lens on the Los Angeles Lakers, chronicling the professional and personal lives of businessman Jerry Buss, superstar Magic Johnson and others involved in the sports dynasty at that time. The series’ first installment (they all clock in at around an hour) takes us through the lead-up to the Lakers signing Johnson, and establishes the show’s focus on the glitz and glamour of LA. Older camera techniques add a vintage feel, and breakout star Quincy Isaiah, who plays Johnson, makes an impression. Bottom line? You’ll want to check out Winning Time.
Euphoria’s second installment is on HBO Max now. This visually stunning series has garnered its fair share of fans, and it’s not hard to see why — the absorbing performances, cinematography and exploration of mature topics make this show shine. If nothing else, stick around to see Dune star Zendaya, who plays teenager Rue.
HBO Max thankfully brings this lauded Spanish miniseries to screens around the world. Veneno chronicles the life of Spanish icon Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, a transgender singer and ’90s TV personality better known by the nickname “La Veneno” or “poison” in Spanish. Her enigmatic story comes under the lens of a curious journalism student grappling with her own identity. By turns hilarious, explicit and heart-breaking, this must-watch biographical miniseries explores survival and the influence of mass media.
Small-town detective Mare Sheehan investigates the murder of a young woman, but Sheehan’s own life is marred by personal struggles, including a divorce and the death of her son.
Following the events of 2021’s The Suicide Squad, this DC spinoff catches up with Peacemaker (John Cena), our towering, costume-clad protagonist who’s just been released from the hospital. Peacemaker believes he’s a superhero, but with his oft-repeated phrase about attaining “peace, no matter how many people I have to kill to get it,” the title doesn’t really suit him. The show establishes Peacemaker’s next steps — he isn’t returning to prison, but instead taking part in a black ops mission that will (again) get his hands dirty. The show often lands its jokes, and you’ll especially enjoy its entertaining supporting cast.
The Tourist starts its engine with an intense car chase in the Australian outback. More specifically, Belfast star Jamie Dornan is mercilessly chased off road and through the desert by a semitrailer. The next thing we know, Dornan’s character is in the hospital with complete amnesia. A fun and twisty miniseries, The Tourist lets us tag along with Dornan as he searches for answers. One mystery that doesn’t need solving? What you should watch tonight.
This compulsive thriller starring Kaley Cuoco is one of the best new shows to come out of HBO Max. Cuoco plays Cassie, a reckless flight attendant who sleeps with a passenger on a wild night out. She wakes up in Bangkok with barely any memory — and a dead body in bed with her. With the ghost of the deceased helping her piece things back together, she sobers up and takes on the mystery of what happened. Watch out for a fantastic title sequence, as well as a surprisingly dark psychological layer. But mainly enjoy the amusing combination of an inept detective bumbling through the world of cold killers.
Adventure Time: Distant Lands (2020-21)
Two years after Adventure Time ended, this four hour-long special came along, and it’s a brilliant treat for fans of the animated series. The miniseries nails the spinoff brief, introducing new characters and expanding on the Land of Ooo universe, while remaining true to its source material. Its heroes Finn and Jake, his magical doggo pal, set off on new adventures, along with Princess Bubblegum, Marceline the Vampire Queen and BMO. The hourlong format is a nice way to change up and add to the exciting storytelling. A surprisingly emotional ride packed with every ingredient that made the original so beloved.
Not a fan of cartoons? Let Infinity Train change your mind — all four seasons of the critically acclaimed show explore complex themes through character-driven storylines. Season 1 follows Tulip Olsen, a girl struggling with her parents’ recent divorce. Along with her pals — a confused robot and a talking corgi — she explores a seemingly endless train, whose passengers all have unresolved emotional issues or trauma. How do they leave the train? By resolving their issues, of course. Dark, challenging and magnificent, this is animated viewing like you’ve rarely seen it. Definitely not just for kids.
This well-reviewed crime miniseries comes from David Simon and George Pelecanos, who’ve also worked together on The Deuce, Treme and The Wire (which Simon created). It’s directed by King Richard’s Reinaldo Marcus Green. Based on a nonfiction book written by a Baltimore Sun reporter, the absorbing, six-episode show explores police corruption through a story about the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force.
With its fifth and final season, this Italian crime drama based on a true story has carved itself a place among the great mafia shows. It stands out for its realistic portrayal of the Naples underworld, following a clan’s internal power struggle after its head is arrested. With a dark, claustrophobic atmosphere and believable characters, Gomorrah is a refreshing and complete piece of TV.
Season 1 of Tokyo Vice, a crime drama based on a book by journalist Jake Adelstein, has slickly stepped on to HBO Max. Set in Japan in the late 1990s, this noir follows an American journalist (Ansel Elgort) who eagerly joins the staff of a major Japanese newspaper. A world of grisly murders, neon nightclubs and powerful crime bosses awaits.
Love Life is an anthology series that focuses on a different character’s love life until they meet the person they’re meant to be with. The first chapter follows Anna Kendrick’s Darby, an aspiring art collector who dates a range of different men with complicated results. Love Life paints a refreshingly imperfect picture, traveling a long, messy road that ultimately offers a hopeful look at relationships.
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More
$78 Million SEC Resolution, But No DOJ Prosecution For Tenaris Despite Recidivism – White Collar Crime, Anti-Corruption & Fraud
1 hour ago
June 25, 2022
24 June 2022
Morrison & Foerster LLP
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.
James Koukios spoke to Anti-Corruption Report about
Luxembourg-based steel pipe manufacturer Tenaris agreeing to pay
the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) more than $78 million
to resolve charges related to its Brazilian subsidiary paying
bribes to a Brazilian government official between 2008 and 2013,
though the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicated that it
does not intend to pursue its own charges.
The DOJ declining to prosecute is supported by the inclusion of
a civil penalty in the SEC order, but DOJ did not send the company
a Corporate Enforcement Policy (CEP) declination letter. “The
lack of a CEP declination letter suggests that DOJ declined due to
a lack of evidence or the existence of a compelling defense, as
opposed to a policy-based declination,” James said.
He added: “Although the SEC stated that Tenaris had failed
to implement adequate internal accounting controls in the wake of
the 2011 resolution, a good portion of the underlying conduct took
place before the original resolution was reached and appears to
have stopped in or around 2013. That gave Tenaris many years to
enhance its compliance program and remediate issues before the
Because of the generality of this update, the information
provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should
not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular
A recent federal government indictment of a former executive for national hospital chain Health Management Associates (HMA) provides yet another example of the fact that a cover-up can lead to consequences as severe as the crime itself.
Bigoted Attacks Are Injecting Fear Into Pride Month, But We Won’t Back Down
2 hours ago
June 25, 2022
This year the tide of anti-trans and anti-queer hate has surged to new heights. More than 300 anti-trans or anti-LGBTQ laws have been introduced in 2022 alone — often by the same Republican lawmakers introducing anti-Black and anti-abortion bills. Over 25 have passed, most of them targeting trans teens and children. Republican politicians, as well as right-wing pundits and influencers, have encouraged their followers to murder or otherwise harm trans people, drag queens, queer people and parents who support trans children.
The Interconnected Targets of White Christian Supremacy
White Christian supremacists tend to save most of their bullets for those who are Black, Indigenous, immigrants, Latinx, Jewish, Muslim, Asian, Arab, or acting in solidarity with one or more of those groups. That includes a lot of LGBTQ+ people, of course. But it also includes a lot of straight cis people. While Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron saw trans advocacy organizations as part of a Jewish plot to reduce white birth rates, the people he actually chose to murder were Black folks shopping for groceries. Still, anti-LGBTQ+ violence has always formed a part of the larger white Christian supremacist toolkit. White Christian supremacy is a gendered ideology and movement that hinges on patriarchy.
Some reasons for anti-transness in white Christian supremacist ideology are theological. Imara Jones explains some of them in her series exploring the anti-trans hate machine:
We have to understand that … they believe that the division of the world into men and women, each in their biblical roles, is the only way that God will return. And their faith is so structured around these patriarchal ideas, that they’re convinced that trans people are the ultimate threat to God Himself, to His divine order.
Other aspects are eugenic, based in the idea that it is desirable and possible to create a world with more or only people who are “fit” (read: non-disabled, healthy, white, Protestant, cis, straight, U.S. citizen, conservative) and fewer or none of everyone else. The Buffalo shooter was far from the first to weave together anti-LGBTQ hatred and antisemitism to speculate that trans identity, gender nonconformity and same-sex relationships result from a Jewish plot to reduce birth rates among white Christians. In their eyes, white, Christian, non-disabled children raised by white, cis, straight, non-disabled, Christian adults and protected from other influences will and should become white, cis, straight, non-disabled, Christian adults who will have and raise more white, Christian, non-disabled children and carry out the white Christian supremacist agenda. In white trans and queer people from Christian backgrounds, they see either misguided victims who can still be rescued and rehabilitated into cisgender and heterosexual normativity through Christianity, or lost causes who must not be permitted to influence others. And in trans and queer folks who are also Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, and in those who are also Jewish, disabled or Muslim, they don’t see people at all. Their tactics are designed to fall most heavily on people in these groups, and they do. Anti-trans laws — by design — tend to harm Black trans folks the most. Of the at least 15 trans people murdered so far in the U.S. in 2022, at least 12 were Black, Latina or Asian.
Police Won’t Save (Most of) Us
On June 11, a worker in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, called in a tip that a “little army” of men with shields were entering a U-Haul van. Police arrested 31 white nationalists, equipped with riot gear and a smoke grenade, who had traveled from 11 states to attack LGBTQ+ people at a Pride gathering. Various media outlets have praised the police for arresting these Patriot Front members — the same group that famously descended on Charlottesville in 2017. At first glance, some might imagine that in this instance the police are trustworthy opponents of white supremacy acting in allyship with LGBTQ people, but that view would be misguided.
Let’s look a little closer at the actors involved.
Sheriff Bob Norris of Kootenai County, along with Police Chief Lee White, took credit for these arrests, and framed them as riot prevention. In Idaho, like most of the country, police favor white people over Black and Indigenous people. According to the ACLU, in Idaho overall, police are 3.9 times more likely to arrest a Black person for cannabis possession than a white person. That’s bad enough. In Kootenai County, though, the disparity soars even higher — sheriffs’ deputies are 6.2 times more likely to arrest a Black person than a white person for cannabis possession. While it’s trickier to find county-level statistics regarding Indigenous people, Idaho law enforcement also targets these communities. Suquamish tribe descendant Jeanetta Riley is one of the Indigenous people Idaho police have killed. A federal study looking at racial disparities in how several states, including Idaho, handle arrests of teens and children found that police were more likely to refer Indigenous people to authorities (rather than release them to their family with a warning) than any other racial group.
As for Norris specifically, a few months ago he attended a Republican fundraiser featuring white nationalist speakers and guests, where a white nationalist speaker — Dave Reilly — thanked him for keeping them safe. A white supremacist publication wrote an article celebrating Norris’s election as sheriff because of his stance against enforcing mask mandates. Previously, he worked as a deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He reportedly donated $600 to the campaign of Paul Tanaka, an undersheriff who was himself linked to white supremacists, implicated in giving out promotions based on who donated to his campaign, and convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for interfering in an FBI investigation into corruption and widespread violence from deputies against people in the jail he helped run.
I don’t know what Bob Norris believes. But regardless of his beliefs, he works for a system that violently enforces white supremacy. It’s not surprising that white supremacists saw the police as their friend, and are lashing out against them now for arresting members of the Patriot Front. After all, whether in Ohio or Russia, New York or Turkey, again and again it has been the police who physically attack trans and queer people — especially Black and Indigenous people, and other trans and queer people of color who take to the streets.
As for the Pride event in Coeur d’Alene? It was the biggest yet, as Jessica Mahuron told the Spokesman, “full of love and connection.” But numerous anti-LGBTQ groups organized counter-events and had a presence at the event itself, including some who walked through the event carrying guns or anti-LGBTQ signs. And Patriot Front members were not exactly neutralized — they filmed themselves handing out racist pamphlets after their arrest and ominously promised they would return.
Between the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and of police, vigilante, and other hate violence, it has not been easy for people or organizations to decide on their approach to Pride this June. Some groups have canceled events in light of death threats or increasing COVID rates. Others have opted for coordinating with law enforcement, hiring private security firms and requesting increased police presence. But of course, those have never been the only options — and for many trans and queer people, a police presence spells more danger, not safety.
Keeping Ourselves and Each Other Safe
For many decades, trans and queer people have developed and practiced ways to keep each other safe without relying on the police. We have also defined safety holistically. When we talk about making Pride events safe, that includes safety from tear gas and from overdose, safety from shooters and from illness. And we keepteaching each other our safety tips.
Vision Change Win, a Black-led QTPOC social change organization, released a comprehensive Community Safety Toolkit, written largely by Ejeris Dixon but reflecting oral traditions passed down for decades and covering topics as broad as deescalating conflict, treating tear gas, recruiting and training a security team and reducing COVID risk. All event planners should familiarize themselves with these tools.
Formations like Interrupting Criminalization and Community Resource Hub have been pointing out and fighting for the types of strategies that are proven to actually stop violence. For example, violence interrupter programs, more investment in community organizations, improvements to the physical environment such as better lighting, housing and green spaces, and decriminalization itself have been shown to actually reduce violence.
Meanwhile a wide range of folks have been rolling out trainings on self-defense, community defense, upstander intervention (tactics people can use to stop violence when they see it), harm reduction, first aid, legal rights with police and how to respond when menaced by a shooter. For example, according to Rolling Stone, drag queens have continued reading to kids in libraries targeted by the Proud Boys — but they are working with the Anti-Violence Project to get trained and put protocols in place in case of further attacks.
Those holding digital events often have their ownsafetyprotocols in place to deal with Zoom bombers, infiltrators and others who would do harm.
This Pride, we have to remember that when we show up in numbers, white Christian supremacists are likely to back down. We have to remember that they have been trying to rid the world of our magnificence for centuries, and they have always failed. As long as we keep loving and protecting each other, they will always fail.