Happy Friday! Today, I deliver you updates on some news I’ve covered in previous editions as well as some news you can use (it’s about birth control). There’s also an interesting story about a performance art piece in London. And because I can’t resist anything just a little lowbrow, there’s something you must know about a Jersey Shore cast member, whose current issues aren’t exactly a day at the beach.
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CVS Illegally Charges Women For Birth Control
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers are forbidden from charging women a copay for generic birth control pills, but CVS continued to charge over 11,000 women due to a price-coding error.
The error was uncovered when a staff member for Representative Jackie Speier (D-California) encountered this issue at a CVS in Washington, DC. Speier wrote a letter to Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS, earlier this month:
Although my staff member's issue was eventually resolved a week and numerous phone calls and pharmacy visits later, I am concerned that most women who are likely not familiar with their rights under the ACA may go without this essential family planning service that is supposed to be guaranteed to them under law.
CVS says they discovered the error before receiving Speier’s letter and have remedied the problem. They also sent an email to the Huffington Post, which said:
We are committed to assuring that our customers receive the pharmacy benefits that are available to them and apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.
If you’ve been affected by this error, your refund check should arrive by October 1.
Racist Performance Art Piece Cancelled
A performance art piece called Exhibit B by white South African artist Brett Bailey was set to debut at London's Barbican Centre on September 23rd, but it has since been cancelled due to pressure from the pubic. The project featured black actors in cages and chains, intended to mimic the human zoos of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The controversial project sparked 200 people to protest outside the Barbican on Tuesday and 23,000 people signed an online petition.
After the cancellation, Bailey made a public statement on Facebook.
It has not been my intention to offend people with this work. To challenge perceptions and histories, yes. Explicitly to offend: no. But I work in difficult and contested territory, territory that is fraught with deep pain, anger and hatred. There are no clear paths through this territory. The terrain is littered with landmines. Does that mean that as an artist I should not enter? I am a white South African who spent my first 27 years living under a detestable regime of racism – albeit on the side of privilege. As an artist I continually reflect in my work on that system and its ramifications and implications. I will not make anodyne works that pander to status quos, and that do not confront people with realities that it is all to easy to leave festering in the dark.
Do any of us really want to live in a society in which expression is suppressed, banned, silenced, denied a platform? If my work is shut down today, whose will be closed down tomorrow?
The Barbican received much criticism for allowing the exhibit in the first place and responded to the petition by saying:
We find it profoundly troubling that such methods have been used to silence artists and performers and that audiences have been denied the opportunity to see this important work. We state categorically that the Barbican is not neutral on the subject of racism; we are totally opposed to it and could not present a work that supported it.
Exhibit B has toured 12 cities around the world with 150 performers and has been seen by over 25,000 people.
Chief of Police in Ferguson, Missouri Apologizes
Thomas Jackson, the police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, made a public apology to both Michael Brown’s parents and the peaceful protestors for the gross mishandling (to say the very least) of the situation by the police. It should be noted that in the pre-taped apology, (as opposed to a live press conference), Jackson did not wear his uniform.
Please know that the investigating officers meant no disrespect to the Brown family, to the African-American community or the people. They were simply trying to do their jobs. The right of the people to peacefully assemble is what the police are here to protect. If anyone who was peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry, I feel responsible and I'm sorry.
Jackson also acknowledged that there is a much larger issue at hand and perhaps he wasn’t prepared for what happened:
Overnight, I went from being a small-town police chief to being part of a conversation about racism, equality and the role of policing in that conversation. As chief of police, I want to be part of that conversation. I also want to be part of the solution. For any mistakes I've made, I take full responsibility. It's an honor to serve the city of Ferguson and the people who live there. I look forward to working with you in the future to solve our problems, and once again, I deeply apologize to the Brown family.
Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis Missouri, was thrown into the spotlight when police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed an 18-year-old black teenager, Michael Brown, sparking protests and violent riots in the street as well as initiating a national conversation about racism and police brutality.
Goddell Tries To Do Good… Or Perhaps Just Make Up For Bad Behavior
In the past 14 years, there have been 87 arrests of NFL players for domestic violence and related incidents, quite a few of which have taken place in recent months. After admitting he mishandled the Ray Rice case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been under great pressure from the public to find a solution or to try to prevent any more incidents. While Goddell doesn’t intend to resign (which many people have called for), he did send a memo to NFL organizations outlining his plan to handle this issue going forward:
These are by no means final steps. We will continue to work with experts to expand and develop long-term programs that raise awareness, educate, and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault both within the NFL and in our society in general.
Goddell also said NFL team and league personnel will be required to attend educational sessions on sexual assault and domestic violence at some point within the month.
• A while back, we covered the story of Tony Stewart running over and killing fellow NASCAR driver Kevin Ward Jr, following an altercation on the track. A grand jury in Upstate New York decided this week that Stewart would not be charged in Ward’s death.
• Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from MTV’s "Jersey Shore" is facing three years in prison on tax fraud charges. So what’s the situation here? Sorrentino and his brother seemed to be a little confused about tax deductions and wrote off luxury cars and clothing, as well as funneling corporate cash into their individual accounts.
• Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday morning he will resign from his position, as soon as a replacement is found. He is the first African-American Attorney General and has held the position for six years.