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Your Friday Wake-Up Call: Harvey Weinstein Apologizes (Bizarrely). Cam Newton Says Sorry Too

By Published on .

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein issued a weird and out-of-touch apology after a New York Times investigation into "decades of sexual harassment allegations" against him. Weinstein says he plans to take a leave of absence from the Weinstein Co. and adds: "I so respect all women and regret what happened." That's pretty standard vague apology-speak. But Weinstein also says he needs to channel his anger, so he's going to give his full attention to ... the NRA. What on earth made him think changing the subject to gun control was a good idea? Did a crisis manager vet that slippery move? Incidentally, it also seems Weinstein misquoted some Jay-Z lyrics in his mea culpa, according to Spin.

But wait, there's more: Though Weinstein is very sorry, his lawyer says he plans to sue The New York Times, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The lawyer in question is Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in the case that destroyed Gawker.

Another apology

Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, lost a sponsorship deal with Dannon after a sexist slight against a woman reporter who asked a question about route-running, as Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports. ("It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like -- it's funny," he said.) Newton made a videotaped apology and put it on Twitter. "Don't be like me. Be better than me," he says. The apology runs at nearly two minutes, with Newton apologizing to a large swathe of humanity -- "to the reporters, to the journalists, to the moms, supermoms, to the daughters, sisters and the women all around the world."

Brand safe?

What is RT? It's a TV network formerly known as Russia Today, it's funded by the Kremlin, and it's been accused of meddling in the U.S. election last year. Its website, RT.com, offers a vast range of articles in English; but is this a place where U.S. brands want to be advertising? "Over the past two weeks, major marketers have appeared on RT's website, promoting brands like P&G's Gillette, Ford, Honda, Walmart, Warby Parker, Honeywell," as Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes. Russia is obviously not the only country with state-funded news networks and websites. But RT has come under extra scrutiny lately, with reports that RT paid to promote anti-Hillary Clinton articles during the election.

Also: YouTube has tweaked its algorithm to highlight more "authoritative" sources in its search results, The Wall Street Journal reports. That's a reaction to conspiracy theories popping up there after the Las Vegas attack. And the change is apparently a work in progress; Ad Age's Garett Sloane takes a look.

Just briefly:

Half-naked Santa: Keep track of the Association of National Advertisers conference in Orlando with Ad Age's daily blog. Yesterday Samsung's Pio Schunker explained how the brand bounced back from the Galaxy Note 7 crisis. Also, there was a tan, bare-chested Santa Claus hanging around.

Russian influence: When exactly did Facebook figure out that Russia was trying to use its platform to influence the election? The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook "cut references to Russia from a public report in April," because of concerns among the company's lawyers and policy team.

$11: Netflix' most popular service plan in the U.S. is getting more expensive, as Bloomberg News reports. The price is going up by 10 percent, to $11, to fund content.

Skater chic: A new Supreme brand store in Brooklyn has a giant skate bowl, and The New York Times documented the opening party with a spread of photos (the society pages for the skater set?)

Tricky mints?: A New Yorker has launched a federal class-action lawsuit against the maker of Junior Mints, arguing that packaging contains too much air and not enough candy, lohud.com reports.

Longread: It's way, way long, but there are significant and disturbing revelations in BuzzFeed's investigation about "how Breitbart and Milo smuggled Nazi and white nationalist ideas into the mainstream." BuzzFeed says it got access to "an explosive cache of documents," and that's no exaggeration.

Number of the day: 3.7 million. That's the number of people in the U.S. who still subscribe to get Netflix DVDs delivered to them via snail mail, according to Recode.

Creativity pick of the day: In Germany, after a screening of Stephen King's scary clown tale "It," an unexpected message flashed on the screen before the credits started to roll, as Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz reports. It read: "The moral is .. never trust a clown," shortly followed by the Burger King logo.

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