6:27 AM PT -- 6/18 -- Cream of Wheat is now considering changing its logo as well, a company spokesperson tells TMZ, "B&G Foods, Inc. today announced that we are initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging."
They continue, "We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism. B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind."
Aunt Jemima syrup is no more -- 'cause the parent company is retiring the image and name after more than a century, while publicly copping to the fact she's a giant stereotype.
The Quaker Oats Company made the announcement Tuesday, saying they were doing away with Auntie. The company explains, "As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers' expectations."
Aunt Jemima's been a thing for more than 130 years now, and its origins are deeply racist. The character is based on an 1800s "mammy" -- a black servant in a white household.
Specifically, Aunt Jemima is meant to portray a real-life woman named Nancy Green, who Quaker had previously described as a "storyteller, cook and missionary worker" ... but failing to mention she was born into slavery.
There's even more controversy surrounding the brand that's been swept under the rug over the years -- like the name Jemima coming from a minstrel-era song, "Old Aunt Jemima."
For the longest time, the Aunt Jemima brand featured a black woman with a headscarf -- but in the '80s ... Quaker switched up her look to appear more modern, decking her out in earrings and pearls.
In the wake of the civil unrest overtaking the country right now, tons of people were calling for Aunt Jemima to be shelved or re-branded. NBC News was first to report her demise.
BTW, folks are now calling for a handful of other brands to be changed ASAP because of the same issue -- among them are Uncle Ben's Rice and Cream of Wheat. It appears Uncle Ben's has gotten the message.
A rep for the brand said Wednesday, "As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that one way we can do this is by evolving the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity.”
It's unclear what the evolution of the brand will look like ... but the rep told HuffPost that all possibilities were on the table.
Originally Published -- 6/17 7:04 AM PT
Every team in the Premier League will wear "Black Lives Matter" threads when the season restarts ... with the powerful message replacing names on the back of players' shirts.
Check out one of the kits posted by Sheffield United on Tuesday ... the unis not only feature "BLM" on the nameplates, they also have a "Black Lives Matter" patch on the sleeve.
Players from all 20 teams came up with the idea to show solidarity with the movement earlier this month ... and will wear the special jerseys for the first 12 games once the season returns from COVID-19 suspension.
The players released a statement on the decision, saying, "We, the Players, stand together with the singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect, and equal opportunities for All, regardless of their colour or creed."
"This symbol is a sign of unity from all Players, all Staff, all Clubs, all Match Officials and the Premier League #blacklivesmatter #playerstogether."
The league also addressed the players' statement, saying it will support those who decide to take knees in protest.
Seeing live footage of George Floyd's arrest alarmed a 911 dispatcher enough, she called a police supervisor to respond to the scene ... this according to newly released audio.
In phone recordings between the 911 dispatcher and a Minneapolis police supervisor, you hear the dispatcher openly question if the officers needed to use the kind of force she'd seen as she watched live body cam footage from the scene.
The dispatcher says to the supervisor, "You can call me a snitch if you want to but we have the cameras up ... I don't know if they had to use force or not, but they got something out of the back of the squad [car], and all of them sat on this man, so I don't know if they needed you or not, but they haven't said anything to me yet."
The supervisor responds, "Yeah, they haven't said anything yet ... just a takedown, which doesn't count, but I'll find out."
The dispatcher replies, "No problem, we don't get to ever see it so when we see it we're just like, well, that looks a little different, but …" and the conversation ends.
It's unclear if the police supervisor responded to the scene before Floyd was loaded into an ambulance. However, no supervisors were there when Floyd was being killed on camera.
As you know ... the fatal incident started with a 911 call about Floyd allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill, and escalated to accused-murderer Derek Chauvin pinning his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes as he slowly died in front of shocked bystanders recording footage.
Chauvin is now facing murder and manslaughter charges, and the other 3 officers present during the arrest were also fired and criminally charged.
The U.S. Open of Surfing -- one of the most famous surf events in the world -- has been canceled over COVID concerns, event officials say.
The USOS -- which reportedly draws hundreds of thousands of people to Huntington Beach, CA every year -- was scheduled to take place between August 1 through August 9.
But now, the plans are off ...
"In light of continued health concerns and current guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch has been canceled and will return in 2021," event officials said.
"The decision to cancel was made after careful consideration, with the health and safety of fans, athletes, staff, and the local community remaining the top priority."
The USOS also features skateboarding and BMX events -- it's pretty epic.
According to reports, a 2018 study showed 375,000 people attended the event that year -- bringing in more than $55 million to the local economy.
The Supreme Court just handed a massive win for the LGBTQ+ community ... after ruling federal law protects gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination.
The Justices announced the landmark ruling Monday morning, and it's really significant. The court ruled the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- which prohibits discrimination, among other things, based on race, sex, national origin -- also applies to sexual orientation and gender discrimination.
What's more ... the vote was 6-3, and Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, wrote the majority opinion.
Gorsuch wrote ... "Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."
Translation -- by prohibiting sex discrimination, the law also covers sexual orientation.
The Supreme Court combined 2 cases ... a man in Clayton County, GA who claimed he was fired as a social worker after he became more open about being gay, and a man fired as a skydiving instructor.
The transgender case involved Aimee Stephens, who was fired after telling the owners at the funeral home she worked at about her gender transition. She died in May.
The Trump administration sided with employers, despite the fact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided in 2015 gay and transgender individuals were federally protected. This has been a hot-button issue for years because many lower courts have held that sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination are not included in the protections under the Civil Rights Act.
Now, the justices have ruled that these types of discrimination ARE sex discrimination, so gay and transgender people are protected.
Just last week the Trump administration announced it would erase protections for transgender patients seeking medical care, by narrowing the legal definition of sex discrimination so as not to include transgender people -- a big departure from the Obama administration. Unclear at this point if the SCOTUS ruling would torpedo Trump's effort.
The Supreme Court's ruling comes just 1 day after thousands held rallies in L.A. and New York calling for LGBTQ+ rights and racial justice. Protesters painted a huge sign in Hollywood that read "All Black Lives Matter" before it was removed early Monday morning.
The attorney for George Floyd's family just released a video of the murder, and this clearly shows bystanders begging former-officer Tou Thao to take some action and save the man who was dying before his eyes.
Attorney Ben Crump makes it clear ... "Warning: This is beyond disturbing, even harder to watch than the first video."
The video which Crump says is new -- maybe a slightly wider angle -- and you see more of Thao, who stands impervious to what is going on right in front of his face. Bystanders are imploring him to do something ... to just look at George Floyd lying on the pavement unconscious and realize he's about to die. But, Thao does nothing.
It's an especially powerful video, because it really underscores a basic problem of law enforcement ... that seniority should have no place when the senior officer crosses the line by brutalizing and killing citizens who pose no threat. Until the culture of the police departments fundamentally change -- where NO DEFERENCE is paid to rogue cops, despite their seniority, and de-escalation and proportionality of force becomes engrained -- these murders will not stop.
Crump was clear ... "The four ex-officers MUST be convicted of MURDER for this hideous atrocity! They MUST all be held accountable."
4:30 PM PT -- Hours after NASCAR's announcement, Wallace appeared at Martinsville Speedway ... proudly sporting an "I Can't Breathe" shirt while standing next to his Black Lives Matter car.
Bubba also appeared in a video on NASCAR's Twitter account on Wednesday ... calling the race "the biggest race" of his career.
Bubba Wallace got what he wanted ... NASCAR has officially banned the Confederate flag from all events, starting right now.
"The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," the org. said in a statement.
"Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sports special."
"The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."
The announcement comes just days after Bubba -- the only black driver at NASCAR's highest level -- publicly called for a ban, saying there's just no place for them in the sport anymore.
"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race," Wallace said. "So it starts with confederate flags. Get them out of here."
By the way, Wallace is racing Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia in a car featuring the words, "Black Lives Matter."
Originally Published 1:52 PM PT
Normally idyllic and ritzy Bel-Air looks totally apocalyptic now as a massive brush fire is raging in the hills.
More than 200 L.A. firefighters were on the scene early Wednesday morning near the 405 Freeway as a wildfire scorched at least 50 acres. The brush fire broke out just after midnight in the Sepulveda Pass ... near the famous Getty Center museum.
By 3 AM, L.A. fire officials said they'd made significant progress, although 2 firefighters who helped with the battle were injured and treated at the scene.
There's some relief in sight for firefighters too ... though L.A. temperatures are in the 90s now... they're expected too cool off heading into the weekend.
Still, this Bel-Air blaze is eerily similar to the one that raged out of control back in December 2017. As we reported ... that fire burned just steps away from famous homes and the BILLIONS of dollars worth of art inside the Getty Center.
Firefighters won that battle ... but here we go again.
"Gone With the Wind" is gone no more ... HBO Max is bringing back the 1939 classic but it'll do so by adding historical context and denouncing its racist depictions.
The streaming platform made an about-face mere hours after announcing it would temporarily pull the film from its library. The move came after "12 Years a Slave" screenwriter John Ridley published an op-ed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times calling for HBO Max to remove a film that puts slavery in a positive light, set in the pre-Civil War South.
HBO Max announced late Tuesday night the original film will be brought back "with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement" of the depictions of slavery.
HBO Max added, "'Gone With The Wind’ is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society." When the movie returns, it'll be "presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed."
It's unclear exactly how the streaming service will add "context."
In his op-ed, Ridley wrote the film "romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give legitimacy to the notion that the secessionist movement was something more, or better, or more noble than what it was — a bloody insurrection to maintain the 'right' to own, sell and buy human beings."
"Gone With the Wind" won 8 Oscars ... including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hattie McDaniel would become the first Black winner ... Best Supporting Actress for playing Scarlet's house servant, Mammy.
Even so, she was forced to sit separately from her costars at the Oscars ceremony -- in the back of the room -- due to segregation. So many levels of irony, it hurts.
5:56 AM PT -- Deshaun Watson is joining the anti-Calhoun movement.
"Clemson University should not honor slave owner John C. Calhoun in any way," the Houston Texans QB said.
Watson played for Clemson from 2014 to 2016.
"His name should be removed from all University property and programming. I am joining the students, faculty & DeAndre to restart this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College."
DeAndre Hopkins is putting serious pressure on his alma mater -- demanding Clemson remove the name of an infamous pro-slavery politician from its honors college ... RIGHT NOW!!!
The NFL star -- who played at Clemson from 2010 to 2012 -- says it's always made him sick to his stomach that his University still honors John C. Calhoun.
FYI, Calhoun was the Vice President of the United States from 1825 to 1832 under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson ... and STRONGLY advocated for slavery.
In fact, Calhoun often described slavery as a "positive good" that helped improve the black race.
Clemson University was built on Calhoun's Fort Hill Plantation -- where the University says he had 70 to 80 slaves.
Well, Hopkins is no fan ... and has joined a movement to wipe Calhoun's name from existence at Clemson.
"Clemson University still honors the name of well known slave owner and pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun on its buildings, signs, and in the name of its honors program," Hopkins says.
"I felt this oppressive figure during my time at Clemson and purposely do not mention the University’s name before NFL games because of it."
Hopkins is directing people to sign a petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College.
"I urge all Clemson students, football players, and alumni to join us, so the next generation of young Black leaders can be proud of the institution they graduate from."
Clemson’s Honors College was founded in 1962 -- but according to the people behind the petition, Calhoun’s name was not added until 1981.
"To change the name of the college, therefore, is not to 'erase history;' rather, it is to acknowledge that our understanding of history has evolved."
"We demand a more just Clemson. Change the name. Do it now."
Originally published -- 3:13 PM PT
Hartley Sawyer just lost his TV job in a flash, after a collection of tweets in which he made racist comments and joked about sexually assaulting women surfaced this past week.
The actor -- who played Ralph Dibny, AKA Elongated Man on "The Flash" for the past 3 seasons -- has been fired by the show over the years-old tweets, which included racist and misogynist language in what appears to a be a poor attempt at humor.
Sawyer's Twitter account has been deleted, but his old tweets began to circulate at the end of May. In one from 2012, Sawyer says ... "The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me."
In another from 2014, he tweets ... "Out at dinner and just exposed myself as a racist, AGAIN."
Many of his former tweets seem to also center around sexual assault and violence toward women, including this in 2012 -- "If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight lol."
A few more horrific examples, "Ice Breakers: all women should be in sex farms" and "Outside of the 7-11 where I assaulted my ex-girlfriend lol."
This gem, from 2014, had to make his coworkers feel great ... "Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today."
You get the point ... he HAD to go. The CW and the production companies for the series say they've parted ways with Sawyer for season 7, saying ... "we do not tolerate derogatory remarks that target any race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. Such remarks are antithetical to our values and polices, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce."
Hartley's issued an apology, saying ... "My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable. I am ashamed I was capable of these really horrible attempts to get attention at that time. I regret them deeply." He added, "I am incredibly sorry, ashamed and disappointed in myself for my ignorance back then."
Sawyer joined the cast of "The Flash" in 2017, became a series regular in 2018 and appeared in 50 episodes.
NHL superstar Evander Kane is teaming up with fellow pro Akim Aliu to put an end to racism in their sport ... announcing the "Hockey Diversity Alliance" on Monday.
Remember, Aliu -- who has been outspoken about his racist experiences as a black hockey player -- has been leading the charge for change.
Now, Aliu has formed a team of players to join him in his fight.
"As minorities who play professional hockey, we have come together to create the Hockey Diversity Alliance," the group said in a statement.
Joining Kane and Aliu on the executive committee are Trevor Daley of the Detroit Red Wings, Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild, Wayne Simmonds of the Buffalo Sabres, Chris Stewart of the AFL and recently retired player Joel Ward.
"Our mission is to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey," the statement says. "We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within the game of hockey, but also within society."
"Although we will be independent of the NHL, we are hopeful that we will work productively with the league to accomplish these important changes. We believe in the importance of accountability in developing inclusivity and diversity for all involved in our sport, including fans and the league office."
The HDA says it will use community outreach and engagement to make the game more accessible to the youth ... as well as teach the hockey community about racism issues in the sport.
"In creating our alliance, we are confident we can inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans."
"We are hopeful that anyone who puts on skates or sits in the stands will do so without worrying about race, gender or socioeconomic background and will be able to express their culture, identity, values, and personality without fear of retribution."
This is how much the killing of George Floyd has disgusted not just America, but the world ... Black Lives Matter protesters in England destroyed a more than 100-year-old statue honoring a slave trader.
The UK's had a weekend filled with demonstrations, but this one's gotta be the most symbolic. The crowd dismantled a bronze statue of Edward Colston in the shipping town of Bristol ... and taking it down wasn't enough for them.
After using ropes to pull the monument off its base, the protesters dragged it over to the River Avon and tossed into the water ... watching it quickly sink.
The statue had stood in Bristol since 1895 in tribute to Colston, who traded an estimated 84,000 African men, women and children to the Caribbean and North America.
Several petitions have failed to get the statue removed, but the BLM crowd would not be denied and massive cheers went up -- from white people too -- as it sunk to the bottom of the river.
Enjoy your middle passage, Colston.
Will Drew Brees join the movement he recently denounced and take a knee during the National Anthem??
The right answer to that question can result in some serious cash ... as the New Orleans Saints QB has become the center of a new prop bet.
Of course, Brees started a crap storm when he said he'd NEVER accept kneeling for the anthem ... and later apologized after teammates and the industry's biggest athletes spoke out against his comments.
TMZ Sports has learned ... MyBookie -- one of the biggest sportsbooks on the internet -- has released the odds on Brees' stance when Week 1 comes around.
So ... will he kneel?? Here's the breakdown.
Translation -- Brees standing for the anthem is the HEAVY favorite. BUT, if he were to kneel, it could have a MAJOR payout.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
The biggest names in the NFL -- from Patrick Mahomes to Odell Beckham to Saquon Barkley and more -- just dropped a powerful message demanding the league admit it wrongly silenced protesters like Colin Kaepernick.
More than 15 players -- including Zeke Elliott, Jarvis Landry, Tyrann Mathieu and DeAndre Hopkins -- all joined together to make an impactful video showing their support for the protests going on all over the country.
"How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players? What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" the stars say in the vid.
"We will not be silenced. We assert our right to peacefully protest. It shouldn't take this long to admit."
In the video, the players mention several African-Americans who were killed as the result of police brutality or racism -- including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
The video ends with this demand -- "So, on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state:
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter."
Unclear what will happen if the NFL does not comply with the players' demands ... we're reaching out to reps to see if there's a plan to hold out or take other action.
Bottom line -- the players are fed up with the way they've been treated and they're not gonna take it anymore.
Oregon State freshman tight end Rocco Carley has been kicked off the team after an insanely offensive recording surfaced featuring Rocco using the n-word to describe black people.
We've heard the audio ... it's disgusting. Rocco uses a deep southern accent to go on a violent rant against black people, gay people and Muslims.
Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith says he heard the audio Wednesday evening and immediately shared it with the athletic director, Scott Barnes.
"We both agreed this language and attitude is entirely unacceptable, regardless of circumstances or environment," Smith said.
"I spoke with Rocco and dismissed him from the team. I will not tolerate racism or hate speech."
Rocco has since issued a statement insisting the rant was made 3 years ago -- and intended to be a "satire" of what a racist southern man would sound like.
"This does not condone anything of what I have said, but I promise to you all that this video does not represent me," Rocco said.
"I was doing an accent of a southern man and giving a very satire example of what we all thought it would be funny. This is no way shape or form makes what I said right."
"To all of my brothers, teammates and everyone of color that I have associated with, I hope that you know me well enough to know I am in no way shape or form a racist."
Seems many of Rocco's ex-OSU teammates are NOT accepting his apology.
Keishon Dawkins -- "Where was all this talk when you was sittin right next to me Everyday In the locker room?! Smh man."
Anthony Gould -- "Dude been in the locker room acting cool but whole time he lowkey hate us. SMFH You all the way outta line."
Jaydon Grant -- "Damn bra all that hate in your heart for what?? You are my teammate somebody who I have to go to battle with, somebody who I would put my body on the line for... SMFH that’s a damn SHAME."