Texas School District Faces Two Lawsuits Over Sexual Assault

The La Vernia, Texas, Independent School District is facing two lawsuits from families who say their children were raped by high school athletes while adults knew of the assaults and failed to take action.

The latest suit was filed January 23 but reported just last week by the San Antonio Express-News. The previous one was filed in April. There are also criminal charges against several students in the small town of La Vernia, about 30 miles from San Antonio.

The most recent suit alleges that a member of the La Vernia High School basketball team, identified only as John Doe, “was sexually assaulted more than 30 times between October 2016 and February 2017,” The Daily Beast reports. The assaults involved penetration with fingers and objects including a flashlight, and took place in the high school’s locker and shower rooms, at other schools, and in teammates’ homes, according to the suit. The student claims a coach heard him screaming during one assault and actually witnessed another but did nothing.

In the suit, John Doe’s parents say there was a “deliberately indifferent response to multiple events of student-on-student sexual assault and subsequent sex-based harassment.” The contend that by allowing the abuse, the school was in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibiting sex discrimination in education. Under President Barack Obama, the Department of Education held that Title IX also banned anti-transgender discrimination, a stance abandoned under Donald Trump – but some courts have upheld the broader interpretation of Title IX.

Thirteen players on the high school’s varsity basketball, football, and baseball teams face criminal charges of sexually assaulting other students, according to The Daily Beast. John Doe’s suit names some of the same athletes who have been arrested on these charges. They have all denied participating in the assaults.

The suit filed in April, by the family of a school football player identified as Child Doe, tells of sexual assault with a Gatorade bottle and other objects, The Daily Beast reports, and claims that coaches “sanctioned these rituals,” while other school officials “turned a blind eye toward the abuse, even after the abuse was reported to them.”

“After our careful investigation regarding this filed lawsuit, we believe we are on solid ground that our minor client suffered severe and permanent mental and physical injuries as a result of this,” said Fidel Rodriguez, an attorney for family in the most recent suit, told the Express-News. “These types of cases need to be brought out into the light so that they don’t happen again to any other student-athlete in the state of Texas.”

At least 10 students have reported sexual abuse in the school, and the Texas Rangers and the state attorney general’s office are continuing to investigation, according to the paper. Superintendent Jose Moreno, criticized for his response to the abuse allegations and resigned in November.

Interim superintendent Gary Patterson told the Express-News he has been briefed on the lawsuits. “We’re looking forward to resolution of these issues and are awaiting the results of the Texas Ranger investigation to assist the district as we move forward,” he added. “The district’s internal investigation is ongoing and in conjunction with the Rangers investigation.”

Did an Antigay Church Force the Closure of a 30-Year-Old Gay Club?

It was bad enough when Toledo, Ohio’s 30-year-old Bretz nightclub closed in December; now a Christian group that places homosexuality and bestiality on the same moral plane will take over the space.

The Greater Toledo House of Prayer purchased the nightclub’s building on January 3 for $148,000. The small Christian denomination denies it forced the club’s closure, saying in a statement that the congregation simply outgrew its current space and snapped up the gay club to hold its services.

That denial is being questioned, since as The Toledo Blade reports, the House of Prayer has ties to several extremist anti-LGBT and anti-abortion organizations — a director and a member of the House of Prayer are also directors of Agora Toledo, which unsuccessfully attempted to raze a closed abortion clinic and replace it with a “memorial garden to the unborn.”

The House of Prayer makes it clear that it has no room for LGBT people or anyone who doesn’t conform to their rigid view of spirituality. According to their Statement of Beliefs:

“Persons who choose to become members of the Corporation, are agreeing to support… basic biblical values derived from Scriptural and historical Christianity. These values oppose and prohibit living in, practicing, condoning, or supporting sex outside of marriage, adultery, homosexuality, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, gender identity different than the birth sex chromosomal level, pornography, or other sexual immorality.”

The statement includes more details on their opposition to LGBT people, referring to their “rejection of the image of God.”

Bretz’s former owner was trying to sell the business and keep the club open, but couldn’t find a suitable buyer, House of Prayer officials told the Blade. The club’s owners closed Bretz in December and then apparently sold the real estate to the Christians.

Bretz’s Twitter profile described the club as, “Toledo’s number one #gay nightclub. Spending our 30th year in service by offering up the best in entertainment, and events.”

Twitter Revolts Over Timothée Chalamet's SAG Loss to Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman won big at the Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday — and fans of Call Me by Your Name are not pleased.

Oldman, 59, was honored with the trophy for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, besting category competitiors James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name).

The win follows Oldman’s triumph at the Golden Globes, where he garnered Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, as well as the Critics Choice Awards, where he got Best Actor. The successive victories for his leading role in Darkest Hour, in which he portrays Winston Churchill, have cemented him as the frontrunner in the Oscar race for Best Actor.

For those who loved Call Me by Your Name — the critically acclaimed coming-of-age tale starring Chalamet and Armie Hammer as lovers in northern Italy — Oldman’s success at the SAG Awards is a disheartening turn of events.

Early in the awards race, Chalamet, 22, gained steam by winning a Gotham Award for Breakthrough Actor. But the lack of awards recognition since has left Chalamet’s and the film’s Oscar prospects in doubt.

Fans turned to social media to express their greivances that Chalamet was “robbed.” Others pointed to a resurfaced report that Oldman’s ex-wife accused him of assault in 2001 — allegations he’s denied.

How do you feel about Chalamet’s loss? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

RuPaul Opens Up To Oprah About What Drag Taught Him About Life

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You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.

RuPaul wrote this oft-quoted line in his 1995 autobiography, Lettin It All Hang Out, and now the famed drag queen, entertainer and host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is opening up to Oprah about what his decades-long experience with drag has taught him about life.

As RuPaul says in the February issue of O, The Oprah Magazine and on the latest podcast for “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations,” drag has been a powerful teaching tool for him on a level much deeper than anything aesthetic.

“What it teaches people is that … all things are temporary,” RuPaul says. “Everything’s temporary: just clothes, some paint, powder – this body, even, is temporary.”

It’s a perspective RuPaul has held from a very young age. “I got that as a kid,” he says in the video below. “I was a young kid and I thought, ‘Is everybody getting that this is all kind of an illusion?’ And I couldn’t get anybody to corroborate with me.”

It doesn’t hide who you are. Drag actually reveals who you are.

In his pre-teen years, he found that vindication ―  via Monty Python.

“When I was about 11 years old, on PBS, I found my tribe in [the sketch comedy show] ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus.’ I thought, ‘OK, they get it,’” RuPaul says. “They’re irreverent, they’re not taking anything seriously and they’re having fun! That’s what this is all about.”

Ultimately, RuPaul says that the eye-opening nature of drag can be felt by anyone of any background, gender or orientation. “On our show, we have this thing where we have the girls put [straight] guys in drag, and what emerges is really phenomenal,” RuPaul says. “It doesn’t hide who you are. Drag actually reveals who you are.”

O, The Oprah Magazine’s February issue hits newsstands on January 16.

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Russian Senator Argues that Protecting Animals Will Lead to LGBT Rights

Earlier this year the chief executive of the Kenya Film Classification Board alleged that a pair of male lions who appeared to be mating at a reserve there must have learned the behavior from gay people who visited the park. 

Now, Russian Senator Sergei Kalashnikov, who has no interest in protecting animals or LGBT people, said that maintaining rights for animals would lead to protecting gay rights.  During the Federation Council’s attempt to strike down a bill to protect against cruelty to animals, Kalashnikov said that keeping protections in place for animals could lead to protecting rights for LGBT people. 

“We treat many western fads with humor, including political correctness, the rights of sexual minorities and others,” Kalashnikov said prior to the vote, according to The Moscow Times. “Any thought, however humanitarian, becomes absurd when carried to its logical conclusion.  We’re not only passing a law that won’t work for many reasons, but we’re also demonstrating that we’re following the same path, so to speak, of defending the rights of sexual minorities.”

Russia’s anti-gay stance is well documented especially since the implementation of the “Gay Propaganda” law adopted in 2013 that bans any positive mention of LGBT issues in venues accessible to minors and has been used against Pride parades and other events. Just this November a study by the Center for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg found that anti-LGBT crimes in Russia had doubled since the law was passed. 

When it seemed like Kalashnikov’s comments were at the zenith of anti-LGBT rhetoric in the discussion about animal versus LGBT rights, the vice-chairman of the Agrarian Committee, Sen. Stepan Zhiryakov, offended by the comparison of animals to LGBT people for all of the wrong reasons said, “should not be equated to sexual minorities,” according to The Moscow Times.

Sweetheart Measure for Churches Stripped From GOP Tax Bill

Republicans pushed for a repeal of the 1954 Johnson Amendment — which prohibits churches and nonprofits from engaging in partisan politics, such as lobbying and campaigning for specific candidates — in the proposed tax bill, but failed to get their way.

A Senate parliamentarian stripped the tax bill, which gives numerous breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals, of the Johnson Amendment repeal, Rep. Ron Wyden of Oregon told The Hill. The Johnson Amendment repeal didn’t have enough to do with the actual budget to be included in the legislation, according to the parliamentarian.

“I will continue to fight all attempts to eliminate this critical provision that keeps the sanctity of our religious institutions intact, prevents the flow of dark money in politics, and keeps taxpayer dollars from advancing special interest biddings,” Wyden said in a statement first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The repeal of the Johnson Amendment, named for then-Sen, Lyndon Johnson, was pushed by right-wing Republicans like President Trump and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma. LGBT organizations bristled at the thought of churches being granted even more political clout and pastors being allowed to endorse candidates from the pulpit.

These Schools Get Millions Of Tax Dollars To Discriminate Against LGBTQ Students

LYNCHBURG, Va. ― Sunnie Kahle used to think that if she promised to be good, she could go back to her old school.

She’d plead with her great-grandmother to let her enroll again at Timberlake Christian Schools, where she had gone since she was 3 years old. Even if teachers were mean to her, even if other kids said bad things about her, she wouldn’t be mad. She just wanted her old life back.

Her great-grandmother and guardian, Doris Thompson, 74, didn’t know how to tell Sunnie she wasn’t allowed back at the school. Administrators didn’t want her there. In a 2014 letter to Thompson that essentially expelled Sunnie, the school referenced several passages from the Bible as to why they wouldn’t take her back. They suggested Sunnie wasn’t acting “Christlike” by wearing her hair short and preferring pants to skirts.

Sunnie was 8 years old. She wasn’t traditionally feminine enough for them.  

Timberlake Christian Schools in Virginia is one of over at least 700 religious schools in America currently receiving public money while openly advertising and practicing anti-LGBTQ policies, HuffPost has found in a new investigation.

HuffPost has been examining private schools that receive taxpayer dollars through voucher or tax credit programs. We created a database of more than 7,000 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia with private school choice programs that give public money to private religious schools. 

In the first story of this investigation, which we published earlier in December, we looked at what was being taught. We discovered thousands of schools that used evangelical Christian curricula, largely considered inaccurate and unscientific. In our second article, we singled out a handful of schools that purported to be secular but maintained strong ties to the Church of Scientology. For this story, we researched the number of schools in our database that practice discrimination toward LGBTQ students and staff members.

We visited every website of each school in search of evidence of their attitudes and policies on gender-nonconforming and LGBTQ students. If a school did not advertise a specific policy, we followed up via email or a call. For Catholic schools, we looked for diocese-wide policies on these issues. Often, these schools had policies against heterosexual sex before marriage, as well.

We found at least 14 percent of religious schools take an active stance against LGBTQ staff and students. Some of these schools have policies on their websites generally broadcasting their opposition to same-sex marriage or even stating their belief that homosexuality is a sin on par with bestiality. Others have harsher policies ― specifically stating that students can face punishments, like expulsion, for displaying signs of a “homosexual lifestyle” or “alternate gender identity.” At least 5 percent of these schools also have explicit policies against hiring or retaining LGBTQ staff.

On the other hand, we also found many schools that have policies specifically protecting students from discrimination based on sexual orientation.  

Many more of these schools belong to larger churches that preach anti-LGBTQ sentiment. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is “opposed to homosexual practices and relationships,” per the denomination’s website. The Roman Catholic Church says marriage can occur only between a man and woman. We did not assume that schools identifying with these groups were hostile places for LGBTQ students. In our count, we included only schools (or dioceses) that had a specific anti-LGBTQ policy. In that way, our numbers represent a bare minimum of schools where LGBTQ students may encounter hostility.

Religious schools are generally exempt from the types of regulations that would protect students and teachers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. It’s only in recent years, though, that these schools have received an injection of taxpayer funds with the rise and expansion of state-level private school choice programs.

Since President Donald Trump and his secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, have expressed the desire to use federal dollars to increase private school choice, it’s worth closely examining which students are served and which are not. 

After Sunnie was kicked out of Timberlake, her great-grandma transferred her to public school. Thompson, who is emphatic when she talks about Sunnie, in the way only proud grandmas do, has a tattoo on her wrist that says, “Family is forever.”

Sitting in her living room, the walls lined with photos of Sunnie, here in this city just a couple of hours from Richmond, the Virginia capital, Thompson explained how she came to be Sunnie’s guardian. It’s a complicated tale of mental illness and addiction, but since Sunnie was 2 months old, Thompson has been her protector.  

In February of 2014, when Sunnie was in the second grade, the school principal sent a letter home to Thompson saying that, although Sunnie was a “very bright girl,” she recommended that Sunnie not re-enroll the next year if she wasn’t able to “dress” and behave accordingly with her “God-ordained identity” as a female.

Thompson pulled her out of the school immediately.

“They pretty much ruined a little girl’s life,” said Thompson, who helps with her husband Carroll’s truck repair business.

Sunnie didn’t attend Timberlake using a publicly funded scholarship through Virginia’s tax credit program for low-income students. But the year she was kicked out, other students did. During the fiscal year of 2014, Timberlake received $104,121.57 in scholarships. That number has increased. For the fiscal year of 2017, the school received $237,500, per the Virginia Department of Education.

In Virginia, tax credits are given to individuals and corporations that donate to scholarship programs. These scholarship groups then help low-income students attend private schools. Voucher programs are more direct: Taxpayer funds help provide voucher scholarships for students who meet certain requirements to attend private schools.

A 2016 analysis of voucher program rules conducted by Indiana University professor Suzanne Eckes found that not a single one had protections preventing discrimination for LGBTQ students. Eckes did not include tax credit programs in her research.

So HuffPost conducted a similar analysis including programs that were left out by Eckes. We found the same trend. Only one state’s program, Maryland’s, protected students from discrimination based on sexual orientation. While in our research we found a handful of Maryland schools that expressed opposition to same-sex marriage and homosexuality, each stopped short of saying they would deny these students admission.

DeVos has been pressed before on if private schools receiving federal money under a possible voucher program would be required to prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination. In June, testifying before a Senate subcommittee, DeVos said that such a program would have to follow federal law.

Indeed, in an email to HuffPost, a spokesperson for DeVos emphasized the fact that there is no federal voucher program and that, if there were, it “would have to comply with federal law.”

The problem is federal law is murky.

The Obama administration interpreted Title IX ― the federal law banning sex discrimination in schools ― to include protections for LGBTQ students. The Trump administration seems to think these decisions should be made at the local level.

“There’s no federal protections for LGBTQ students outside of Title IX,” said Nathan Smith, director for public policy for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. “We still think it covers LGBTQ students, despite the fact that this administration doesn’t think so.”

Advocates of school choice emphasize that anti-LGBTQ bullying is a problem in all schools, not just private religious ones that participate in voucher programs. They preach the bigger cause of giving parents the ability to choose the most appropriate school for their child. Indeed, voucher programs are typically targeted to low-income families who normally wouldn’t be able to afford the private school of their choice.

“I abhor discrimination and I would hope that schools would not discriminate against LGBTQ students even if the issue is part of their statements of faith,” wrote Robert Enlow, CEO and president of EdChoice, an education reform group, in an email. “I also recognize, though, that we live in a pluralistic society that values choice, individual freedom and an abiding respect for all faiths. I trust parents to make the best choices for their kids based on their shared values and goals.”

But Thompson hopes leaders at Timberlake know that their interpretation of faith is one without merit. 

I feel sorry for them,” Thompson said, referring to administrators at Timberlake, “if they have to answer and stand before our God one day.”

The 74-year-old describes Sunnie as the great love of her life. Even after raising two kids and helping with three grandkids, Sunnie is her ultimate baby. The child has always been fiercely loyal and unfailingly independent, and she has a heart as sweet as apple pie, Thompson said, beaming with pride when asked about Sunnie’s personality.

But now, at 12, Sunnie is also angry and sad.

Life was never going to be easy for Sunnie. Sunnie’s mom had her as a teen. Sunny’s father has not been a consistent presence, Thompson said.

Sunnie’s story of being kicked out of Timberlake was largely covered in the media when it first happened in 2014. Headlines screamed outrage. Sunnie was another victim of homophobia, another viral story here today and gone tomorrow.

What wasn’t covered is what happened next. Sunnie didn’t want to leave Timberlake. From her point of view, it was a place where she was loved and accepted by her friends.

At her new public school, she was teased. The other students would call her “it” and “gay.” Sunnie made one friend ― he used to come over on weekends, and they would play games, Thompson recalled. Then, suddenly, the boy’s father stopped letting him come over. The father said Sunnie needed to “find out her gender” before they could hang out again.

Things didn’t get better. First, Sunnie faked being sick so often that truancy became a problem.

Sunnie didn’t talk to HuffPost for this article for reasons that HuffPost is not reporting to protect the privacy of a minor.

But Thompson wants Sunnie’s story to be heard.

“Being so young, she really doesn’t know how she feels. She doesn’t know what she wants to be. Or who she wants to be,” Thompson said as her eyes welled with tears, reliving the trauma Sunnie experienced. 

Sunnie still doesn’t talk about feelings she may or may not be having. She’s on the verge of puberty. But Thompson worries about what will happen next.

At the time that Sunnie was kicked out of school, lawyers for Timberlake Christian Schools told the media: “Parents and guardians send their children to the School because of our Christian beliefs and standards. We have a duty to create an environment that is supportive of these Christian values.”

HuffPost reached out to the school and asked if they had anything further to add about Sunnie’s situation, years later. They said they did not.

The school’s anti-LGBTQ policy remains in place.

Punishable behaviors include, “but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school,” according to the school’s website.

Sunnie’s story is unusual because of how young she is. She had adult thoughts and projections pushed on her before she was even close to having them herself.

But a similar version of this story plays out around the country regularly.

In 2012, the same year 15,000 Indiana students used vouchers, Warren came out to his family and friends as transgender, he told HuffPost. At the end of his junior year, he informed the principal at his Catholic school that he would be returning as a boy for his senior year.

The bishop from the diocese overseeing Cathedral High School thought this was unacceptable. But instead of kicking Warren out, or telling him not to come back, administrators ignored the way he chose to identify, Warren said.

Teachers were told that if they called Warren by his chosen name, they would face reprisal. Those with whom Warren was close, who wanted to respect his new identity, were afraid to buck the diocese, he said. Some found workarounds by calling him by his last name or initials.

Warren was deeply involved in the school marching band as well as the school’s plays. During the marching band performances, they would announce the performers. Warren asked announcers to leave his name out, since he knew only his “dead name” would be announced. He asked not to be listed in the programs for the school plays.  

“I was pretty depressed a lot of the  time. I had horrible social anxiety,” said Warren, who’s withholding his last name because his college peers are not aware of his transition.

Even after Warren got his name changed legally that school year, the school refused to accept it. They sent off his high school transcripts to colleges with the wrong name, compelling Warren to explain the confusion to admissions offices, thereby being forced to out himself.

A representative of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said that it opens its doors to “all who are committed to a quality Catholic education, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, socio-economics, religion, learning differences, etc. Our admissions policies and practices at each local site conform to this approach.” The high school did not respond to requests for comment on the situation.

The diocese does, however, have a policy against employing staff members in same-sex unions, a representative told HuffPost during data collection.

For Warren and Sunnie, other kids at their private schools were not the problem. They were supportive.

It was the adults.

Thompson only hopes the adults at Timberlake learn to treat children with kindness and empathy.

“God wants you to love everybody,” she said. “Especially his children. He loves his children.”

Thompson is attending regular counseling sessions to educate herself on how to be the best parent she can be to her great-granddaughter. 

Course, now I’m 74 years old, so I don’t know that I’m going to be around here 10 years, when she’ll be 22 years old. I hope to God that he will let me stay here until she is grown. But I hope that she will make something of herself. Be somebody, and be proud of who she is.” 

Data and graphics by Alissa Scheller.

If you have experienced discrimination in schools, email rebecca.klein@huffpost.com.

This is the third story in a HuffPost investigation on the policies and curriculum of schools that participate in private school choice programs. The first story, looking at the curriculum used in evangelical Christian schools, is here. The second story, dealing with schools with strong ties to Scientology, is here

'Super Size Me' Director Morgan Spurlock Tweets Confession of Sexual Abuse

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is the newest domino to fall amid the #MeToo movement, but unexpectedly, at his own hands. In a tweet on Wednesday, the Super Size Me star admitted to having been accused of rape, among other sexual offenses. 

“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder, Who will be next? I wonder, When will they come for me?” Spurlock wrote in his article, I am Part of The Problem. “If I’m going truly represent myself as someone who has built a career on finding the truth, then it’s time for me to be truthful as well.

In the memo, Spurlock details his experience with rape accusations in college from another classmate, who did not file charges.

“When I was in college, a girl who I hooked up with on a one night stand accused me of rape. Not outright. There were no charges or investigations, but she wrote about the instance in a short story writing class and called me by name. A female friend who was in the class told be about it afterwards. I was floored. ‘That’s not what happened!’ I told her. This wasn’t how I remembered it at all. In my mind, we’d been drinking all night and went back to my room. We began fooling around, she pushed me off, then we laid in the bed and talked and laughed some more, and then began fooling around again. We took off our clothes. She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed, and then we started having sex.”

The filmmaker described how he stopped having intercourse after his partner started crying. He also admitted to settling a sexual harassment case eight years ago with a former assistant he referred to as “hot pants” and “sex pants,” after she threatened to go public with her experience.

Later in the piece, Spurlock offers excuses for his misconduct, asking:

“What caused me to act this way? Is it all ego? Or was it the sexual abuse I suffered as a boy and as a young man in my teens? Abuse that I only ever told to my first wife, for fear of being seen as weak or less than a man?  Is it because my father left my mother when I was child? Or that she believed he never respected her, so that disrespect carried over into their son? Or is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13?”

Unfortunately, none of these qualify as a legal defense for raping a woman. The Internet also thinks Spurlock’s admission is a non-apology, and is wondering if this is a stunt for his next documentary film.

7 Women the Golden Globes Snubbed for Best Director

The Golden Globes Best Director nominations, announced Monday, are nothing if not boring and predictable choices that fail to recognize women. While Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water has garnered solid reviews and is a fantasy piece that celebrates otherness, the others are more predictable. A few of Hollywood’s favorite men are nominated: Steven Spielberg picked up a nomination for The Post, Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, and Ridley Scott for All the Money in the World (which was reshot with Christopher Plummer so recently it’s hard to believe many critics have seen it) while Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘s Martin McDonagh appears to be the dark horse of the nominees for directing a film about a woman seeking justice/revenge for her daughter’s rape and murder. 

But if the Globes wanted to reward a woman’s story or even a story interpreted through the eyes of a woman, there were plenty of female directors the Hollywood Foreign Press could have recognized. But in the year of the #MeToo movement, when Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird nabbed the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of all time and Wonder Woman captivated critics and audiences for an entire summer moviegoing season, the Globes directing nominations are sadly and stupidly shortsighted.

In a year that was loaded with excellent films from women, including documentaries like Agnes Varda’s Faces Places, Catherine Gund and Dareshi Kyi’s Chavela, and Sabaah Folayan’s Whose Streets? as well asforeign films like Petra Volpe’s The Divine Order and small films like Maggie Betts’s Novitiate, we compiled a list of women directors who could/should have been on the collective radar of Globes voters but who were ignored in a category that is disappointingly trite and male. 

Angela Robinson for Professor Marston and the Wonder Women 

Out director Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S.) and a powerhouse producing team that includes Jill Soloway and Andrea Sperling retell the story of the professor who created the Wonder Woman comics and the women who loved him and each other. The period piece stars Luke Evans as Professor James Marston, Rebecca Hall as his wife, Elizabeth Marston (an attorney and psychologist), and Bella Heathcote as Olive Byrne, the student they love. The film intertwines the rise of their polyamorous relationship with the creation of Wonder Woman, which was loaded with bondage and kink it its nascent stage. Connie Britton and Oliver Platt costar in this thoughtful film. 

Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled 

All of Sofia Coppola’s auteur markers were on display in the eerie female-centric reboot of a 1971 Clint Eastwood vehicle that was helmed by Don Siegel. Colin Farrell plays a wounded Irish-American soldier adrift in the South during the Civil War until Nicole Kidman’s Martha, the head of a school for girls, offers him shelter. Psychosexual games and torture ensue in the deliciously twisted flick that costars Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, and Oona Laurence. While the film, in and of itself, is a shrewdly helmed, delicious slice of revenge fantasy, Coppola was rightly, roundly censured for her decision to write out a slave character who appeared in the book and original film. 

Kathryn Bigelow for Detroit 

The only woman to ever win a best directing Oscar (for The Hurt Locker) out of just a few who’ve been nominated throughout history, Kathryn Bigelow, who also directed Zero Dark Thirty, excavated the true events around police brutality that resulted in the deaths of three black men in 1967 in Detroit. The film, the message of which was that history repeats itself and that society should learn from it, was not exactly a critical darling, but Bigelow is as capable a director as any, and she could certainly give someone like Martin McDonagh, nominated for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, a run for his money. 

Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton for Battle of the Sexes

Beyond trouncing proud male chauvinist Bobby Riggs in the legendary 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis match, Billie Jean King was a proponent for equal pay early in the game. The crowd-pleasing film from Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, the directing team behind Little Miss Sunshine, recounts the story of how that famous battle came to pass at the same time it tracks King’s love affair with hairstylist Marilyn Barnett. And it does it with a whole lot of heart and the hope that is indicative of King’s brand of do-something-about-it feminism. Emma Stone (who is nominated for a Globe) stars as King, while Steve Carell (also nominated) plays Riggs and Andrea Riseborough portrays Barnett. Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, and Natalie Morales costar. 

Dee Rees for Mudbound 

Pariah and Bessie director Dee Rees should be Oscar bound with this epic, important look at the lives of black sharecroppers and white landowners in the Mississippi Delta following World War II, but the Golden Globes failed to recognize her. However, Mary J. Blige earned two nods, one for her breakout role as Florence Jackson in the film, and one for “Mighty River,” the song she wrote for the movie.  Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, and Jason Clarke round out the cast of this modern masterpiece. 

Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman 

A critical favorite and a blockbuster smash, Wonder Woman is so deeply of the moment, shattering the myth that women can’t direct big action or superhero flicks. Wonder Woman is not only the first film starring a female superhero in more than a decade; it’s the first-ever superhero film directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, who directed Charlize Theron to Oscar (really, all of the acting awards that year) glory in Monster. Gal Gadot donned Wonder Woman’s bracelets and lasso of submission to lead a cast that includes Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, and Lisa Loven Kongsli (Force Majeure) as the women who advise young Diana on existing in the world of men in this origin story that inspired little girls and boys around the world to aspire to be like Wonder Woman. Action films are rarely nominated for Best Picture awards, but if cultural significance in a really well-directed package won prizes, then Wonder Woman should be the recipient.  

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Actress Greta Gerwig’s first feature as a writer-director stars Saoirse Ronan as a sardonic, recalcitrant Northern California teen navigating family, love, sex, and college applications and is universally critically acclaimed, earning it the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of all time. A pristinely executed bildungsroman, Lady Bird bears the markers of films that have come before it but with surprises, twists, and subtlety. The film costars Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Timothée Chalamet, and Lucas Hedges. Gerwig was nominated for a Golden Globe for her screenplay, but snubbing her for best director is a particularly out-of-touch move on the part of the Hollywood Foreign Press. 

Hate Crimes Rose About 5 Percent In 2016, FBI Report Says

Hate crimes across the U.S. rose nearly 5 percent in 2016, according to the FBI’s annual tally, marking the first time in over 10 years that the country has experienced consecutive annual increases in crimes motivated by bias against race, religion, sexuality, national origin or disability. 

The FBI’s annual hate crimes report, published Monday, counted 6,121 hate crime incidents in America last year, up from 5,850 such incidents in 2015, a rise of 4.6 percent. 

About 58 percent of the hate crimes in 2016 were motivated by racial bias, with more than half of the race-based incidents targeting black Americans, the report said. Hate crimes targeting Latinos rose 15 percent, and hate crimes targeting Arabs and whites rose 38 percent and 17 percent respectively. 

Twenty-one percent of the hate crimes the FBI counted last year were motivated by religious bias. Of those religious-based incidents, 54 percent were anti-Jewish and 25 percent were anti-Muslim. 

There was a 3 percent increase in anti-Jewish incidents, and a nearly 20 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidents. (Last year, the number of anti-Muslim incidents rose 67 percent, increasing to levels not seen since the period directly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.)  

Nearly 18 percent of the hate crimes last year were motivated by sexual-orientation bias, 62 percent of those targeting gay men. The FBI also counted 105 anti-transgender incidents last year, a rise of 44 percent. 

The much-anticipated FBI report is the most comprehensive hate crime data available for the divisive 2016 election year, and backs up earlier evidence of rising hate in America. The Southern Poverty Law Center documented a wave of hate incidents in the months following the November 2016 election. 

“We now have an unbroken streak of presidential election year increases [in hate crimes] going back to 1992, around the time national data collection commenced,” said Brian Levin, a professor at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. 

But what makes 2016 stand out, Levin previously told HuffPost, is the steep rise in hate crimes around Election Day itself. Los Angeles, for example, saw a 29 percent increase in hate crimes in the last quarter of 2016, and New York City saw a five-fold increase in hate crimes over a two-week period around the election. 

Corey Saylor, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told HuffPost that “we cannot see such data and forget the humans whose lives were changed by an act of hate.” 

“Americans have to act to ensure that these hate crimes numbers go down by standing up to fear mongers,” he said.  

“It’s deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “Hate crimes demand priority attention because of their special impact. They not only hurt one victim, but they also intimidate and isolate a victim’s whole community and weaken the bonds of our society.”

About 29 percent of hate crimes last year, according to the FBI, were acts of intimidation; 26 percent were acts of destruction, property damage or vandalism; 23 percent were simple assaults; and 12 percent were aggravated assaults. The FBI counted 4 murders in 2016 that it considered to be hate crimes. 

The FBI’s annual hate crime statistics, while the best measurement of hate in America, are deeply flawed. That’s because the FBI relies on local and state police departments to voluntarily report their hate crime numbers to the FBI, which over 3,000 law enforcement agencies don’t bother to do on a yearly basis. 

In 2015, of the agencies that did report hate crimes to the FBI, 88 percent reported zero. Moreover, federal law enforcement agencies like Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration often fail to send their own hate crime statistics to the FBI, even though they are required to do so by law. 

A national survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that over half of hate crime victims don’t report incidents to authorities at all. There were a staggering 250,000 hate crimes each year in the U.S. between 2003 and 2015, according to the survey. 

“FBI data showing 6,121 total hate crime incidents and 7 anti-Sikh hate crime incidents in 2016 represents the tip of the iceberg,” said Sim Singh, the Sikh Coalition’s national advocacy manager. “The only way to bridge the data gap is for law enforcement agencies to adopt mandatory hate crime reporting.”

“If law enforcement agencies fail to document the true extent of hate crimes against our communities, our nation will have a hard time mobilizing the political will and resources necessary to prevent and combat the problem,” Singh said. 

In a statement Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that “no person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe, of how they worship.” 

He stated that the Justice Department’s Hate Crimes Subcommittee will continue to “explore ways to expand and improve training for federal, state, and local prosecutors and investigators; improve data collection of hate crimes; and to create even better partnerships with local law enforcement and affected communities.” 

Meanwhile, the hate crime numbers for 2017 aren’t looking great. Levin, the UC San Bernardino professor, conducted an analysis in September that found that 827 hate crimes had occurred so far this year in 13 large cities, a rise of nearly 20 percent compared to the same period in 2016 for those locations.

Of those crimes, 526 happened in America’s six largest cities, amounting to a 22 percent rise, Levin said.