Facebook exec appearance at Kavanaugh hearing irks workers

Laura Cox Kaplan, tears up as Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary committee regarding sexual assault allegations at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 27, 2018 in washington,DC. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2018

Facebook exec appearance at Kavanaugh hearing irks workers

  • Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is to be among executives taking part in a town-hall style meeting with employees
  • Hundreds of employees expressed outrage, confusion and frustration after an image showed Facebook head of global policy Joel Kaplan at Kavanaugh’s hearing

Facebook is trying to calm employee anger about its head of global policy supporting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by going to his Senate hearing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is to be among executives taking part in a town-hall style meeting with employees on Friday where viewpoints will be shared, according to the Journal, which cited unnamed people familiar with the situation.
Hundreds of employees expressed outrage, confusion and frustration after an image showed Facebook head of global policy Joel Kaplan at Kavanaugh’s hearing before US lawmakers last week, the Journal reported.
The topic came up during a routine workplace question-and-answer session with Zuckerberg late last week, with the chief executive reportedly saying he would not have made the same decision but that Kaplan’s personal move did not violate Facebook policy.
“I’ve talked to Joel about why I think it was a mistake for him to attend given his role in the company,” the Journal quoted Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg as saying in an internal post.
“We support people’s right to do what they want in their personal time but this was by no means a straight-forward case.”
Kaplan was described as a close friend of Kavanaugh, who is accused of sexually assaulting three women decades ago.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
The US Senate on Thursday stepped closer to a weekend confirmation of Kavanaugh but angry protesters converged on Capitol Hill demanding his withdrawal over the sexual assault allegations.


Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

Updated 24 February 2020

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

  • MBC Group to support young film makers with training from industry professionals

LONDON: Young Arab film makers will have the opportunity to have their work showcased at next month’s Red Sea International Film Festival as investment in Saudi cinema gathers pace.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced a partnership with MBC Group, which will also broadcast the event’s opening ceremony on March 12.

As part of the deal, MBC Al Amal, MBC’s corporate social responsibility arm, will hold a Shorts pitch competition.

Ten short film projects will be selected from Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, with filmmakers being given a one-day workshop to prepare for a pitching session. 

Italian director and producer Stefano Tealdi will train the candidates to strengthen their skills and give them tips for better pitches, MBC said.

“We strongly believe that this new generation of talent is key in influencing change and creating the difference to the region’s media and entertainment content landscape, which of course includes independent film and mainstream cinema,” said Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios.

The region’s biggest broadcaster will also host talent days on March 17 and 18 to support Saudi scriptwriters, directors and producers.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place March 12-21 in Jeddah Old Town, under the theme “Changing the Script.” It aims to support and help grow Saudi Arabia’s emerging film industry which is attracting a slew of investment from homegrown dramas shot in the Kingdom to the construction of cinemas countrywide.

Real estate broker CBRE estimates that 45 new cinemas are expected to open this year.

The boom in cinema construction coincides with a push to develop the domestic Saudi film industry.

That is being driven by both the big and small screen as video-on-demand players that include MBC, Netflix and Amazon compete to deliver content that speaks to a young Arab audience.