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June 19, 2018

Modern Family showrunner Steve Levitan is leaving Fox Studio in response to Fox News' coverage of the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant parents from their children at the border, CNN reports.

Levitan expressed his anger with Fox News late Monday night, responding to Laura Ingraham calling the child detention centers "essentially summer camps." "Let me officially join Seth MacFarlane in saying I'm disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with Fox News," tweeted Levitan. "This bulls--t is the opposite of what #ModernFamily stands for." He added in a subsequent tweet: "I have no problem with fact-based conservatism (such as [The Wall Street Journal]), but [Fox News'] 23-hour-a-day support of the NRA, conspiracy theories, and Trump's lies gets harder to swallow every day as I drive onto that lot to make a show about inclusion."

Levitan's remarks followed calls by Judd Apatow and Seth MacFarlane to speak out against the company. "I haven't worked with Fox since 2002," Apatow had tweeted. "That family promotes evil ideas and greed and corruption. We all choose who to work with. I understand why that is easier for some than others but many powerful people are powerful enough to speak up to their bosses at a moment like this." Jeva Lange

10:39 a.m.

A pair of reports published Monday by Gallup and Pew Research show global interest in migration is rising while support for it is falling.

The Gallup survey found about 750 million people, 15 percent of the world's adults, said in the 2015 to 2017 polling period they would like to permanently move to another country. That's up from 13 percent in 2010 to 2012, though slightly lower than the 16 percent interest in 2007 to 2009. Interest in migration is on an upward trend in every region but Oceania and Asia, where it has held steady since 2010.


(Gallup)

Pew's report, meanwhile, found a majority in 27 nations would prefer to maintain or lower the number of immigrants permitted to come to their country. Spain was the only nation polled in which more than a quarter of respondents said more immigrants should be allowed to move in, though the United States was a close second at 24 percent.

Concern about emigration is also high, Pew found, with a 27-nation median of 64 percent saying "people leaving their country for jobs in other countries is a very or moderately big problem." These emigration worries were around 80 percent or higher in Greece, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Tunisia, Argentina, and Mexico. Bonnie Kristian

10:37 a.m.

In an embarrassing public rejection, President Trump's reported pick to replace White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has turned him down.

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, was reportedly Trump's only choice to replace Kelly to the point that an announcement of his selection had been drafted, The New York Times reports. But on Sunday, Ayers said he would not take the job and would instead return home to Georgia.

So why did Ayers turn down what should be a highly-desired job? Here are some possible explanations.

1. The Times and CNN report that Trump asked Ayers to commit for two years, but he was only willing to take the job on an interim basis. When they couldn't agree on a timeline, Ayers decided to decline. CNN notes that Ayers has young kids, and thus didn't want to stay in the White House until 2020.

2. Conservative columnist John Podhoretz speculates that Ayers wanted to avoid being in the White House during the impending wave of Democratic investigations and possible indictments, per Talking Points Memo. Politico reports that Ayers plans to run for office in Georgia, and perhaps he sensed that staying on staff amid such chaos could only hurt those chances.

3. Similarly, The Washington Post reports that Ayers was "skeptical of taking the job based on the challenges" his predecessors, Reince Priebus and Kelly, faced. Kelly and Trump reportedly stopped speaking in recent days.

4. The Times reports that Ayers, whose net worth is more than $12 million, may have wanted to avoid "scrutiny of his personal finances." Ayers is now reportedly going to make a whole lot of money running a pro-Trump Super PAC.

5. Finally, The Times' Maggie Haberman writes that Ayers was essentially being used by those opposed to Kelly to push him out of the job, and "toward the end, he may have realized that." Brendan Morrow

10:07 a.m.

A video published on Facebook shows a group of New York City police officers violently yanking a baby away from his mother while attempting to arrest her at a social services office in Brooklyn. The clip was uploaded Friday and gathered more than 200,000 views over the weekend, prompting a police department review of the incident and outrage from local political leaders.

The encounter reportedly began when Jazmine Headley, 23, sat on the floor in the office waiting room because all the seats were filled. "The security guard, I guess she came over and told her she couldn't sit there. So she's like, 'Where am I going to sit?'" said Nyashia Ferguson, who captured the footage. "She was like, 'What is the crime? What did I do wrong?'" Ferguson added. "And then it just escalated."

In the video, Headley is seen on the floor, desperately holding on to her 1-year-old son while a group of about five officers and guards try to restrain her and pull her child away. "They're hurting my son!" she shouts as the waiting room crowd protests. One officer takes out a yellow stun gun, waiving it at bystanders and pointing it at Headley's face.

Headley was ultimately arrested and charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass, obstructing governmental administration, and, incredibly, acting in a manner injurious to a child. Her mother said as of Sunday she was still in jail and had not been allowed to see her son.

Watch the disturbing video below. Bonnie Kristian

9:28 a.m.

In case there was any doubt that 2018 has lasted approximately 200 years, take a look at the Time "Person of the Year" shortlist. It is ... exhausting:

Remember the North Korea summit, a few short lifetimes ago? Or the Royal Wedding, which feels like a distant, hazy dream? And how about March for Our Lives, which either took place in March or the Paleoarchean Era (both seem equally plausible)?

There is only one takeaway from all this: Make 2019 the year of the nap. Jeva Lange

9:22 a.m.

When President Trump makes a false claim, he doesn't just do so once or twice. He repeats it over and over again, even after being corrected.

Nobody knows that better than the fact-checkers at The Washington Post, who have meticulously examined virtually every one of the president's claims and in November found that he made more than 6,000 false statements since being inaugurated. This has inspired the Post to introduce an entirely new rating for their fact-checker section, which normally operates on a one-to-four Pinocchio scale: the Bottomless Pinocchio.

This, the Post explains, is a rating given out to "politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation." In other words, it's for Trump, who the Post writes is "not merely making gaffes or misstating things" but is "purposely injecting false information into the national conversation."

In order to receive a Bottomless Pinocchio, a politician must repeat a claim that has received a rating of three or four Pinocchios at least 20 times. Don't be surprised to see Trump rack up the Bottomless Pinocchio ratings, considering according to the Post, 14 of his false statements - one of which has been repeated 87 times - already qualify. Read more about the new rating at The Washington Post. Brendan Morrow

8:46 a.m.

President Trump on Monday again declared on Twitter that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, although he did not earn high marks for spelling in the process.

In response to former FBI Director James Comey's recent Congressional testimony, Trump declared while citing Fox News that Democrats failed to find a "Smocking Gun." He spelled the word "smoking" incorrectly for a second time in the next sentence, going on to insist that his former lawyer Michael Cohen's payment of hush money to two women was a "simple private transaction" and not a "campaign contribution." But even if it wasn't on the up and up, then it's his "lawyer's liability if he made a mistake, not me," Trump wrote.

Trump over the summer deleted and reposted a tweet in which he also incorrectly spelled the word "smoking." Brendan Morrow

8:03 a.m.

The domestic box office fell to a three-year low in 2017, but with the help of superheroes, dinosaurs, and Lady Gaga, this year is set to shatter records.

ComScore estimates that the domestic box office will reach $11 billion by Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, which means it will have taken either 345 or 346 days to do so, Deadline reports. That would be the quickest the U.S. box office has ever reached $11 billion, with the previous record being 361 days in 2016, a year when the final yearly total ended up being $11.3 billion. That year, only $10.3 billion had been grossed by this point in December.

That's great news for Hollywood after the total domestic box office just barely reached $11 billion last year and saw a 6.2 percent decline in tickets sold over 2016, per Box Office Mojo. But 2018 delivered two new entries into the all-time top five highest grossing films domestically: Black Panther, which grossed $700 million, and Avengers: Infinity War, which grossed $678 million. Three films this year made more than $600 million domestically (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Incredibles 2), whereas in 2017, only Star Wars: The Last Jedi was able to cross that threshold, and no movie did so in 2016 at all.

The $11 billion total will be reached long before the massively profitable Christmas season, and this year, Star Wars' absence from cinemas has left room for five major blockbusters: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Mortal Engines, Aquaman, Bumblebee, and Mary Poppins Returns. The box office is currently on pace to finish somewhere around $11.7 billion or $11.8 billion, which would already be the best year ever, but Deadline writes that depending on how this upcoming holiday brawl shakes out, it's entirely possible 2018 could reach $12 billion for the first time in history. Brendan Morrow

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