May 17, 2022

Zoom Agrees to Pay $85 Million in Lawsuit Settlement; NHL Star Evander Kane Denies Betting on His Games; Shailene Woodley Embraces Her Hippy Image; Gerard Butler is Suing ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Producers for $10 Million; Lack of Oversight on 1.3 Million Adult Guardianship and Conservatorship Cases

Zoom Agrees to Pay $85 Million in Lawsuit Settlement Regarding User Privacy and ‘Zoombombing’

Zoom Video Communications, or Zoom, a San Jose-based corporation, has agreed to pay $85 million to resolve a legal action stemming from user privacy and ‘Zoombombing,’ but denies wrongdoing in the agreeing to the settlement. Additionally, it promised to strengthen its security policies and safeguards and to give specialized privacy and data handling training to its management and staff.

Zoom was sued for allegedly violating users’ privacy rights by sharing personal information with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google, as well as allowing hackers to disrupt Zoom meetings through a tactic known as Zoombombing. Zoombombing occurs when outsiders disrupt Zoom meetings by displaying pornography, using racist language, or posting other offensive content.

Zoom committed to implement security measures, such as notifying users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings, and providing specialist privacy and data management training to employees.

A preliminary settlement filed on Saturday afternoon in San Jose, California, must be approved by US District Judge Lucy Koh. Subscribers who join the proposed class action will receive 15% refunds on their core subscriptions or $25, whichever is greater, while others may receive up to $15. Saturday’s settlement occurred after Koh allowed the plaintiffs to pursue specific contract-based claims on March 11.

Although Zoom earned almost $1.3 billion in membership fees from class members for Zoom Meetings, the plaintiffs’ attorneys deemed the $85 million settlement appropriate in light of the litigation risks. They aim to seek legal fees of up to $21.25 million.

Koh stated that Zoom was “mostly” immune to Zoombombing under the federal Communications Decency Act’s Section 230, which protects online platforms from liability for user content.

Zoom’s customer base has more than doubled after the COVID-19 outbreak pushed more individuals to work remotely. In April 2021, the company had 497,000 customers, up from 81,900 in January 2020. According to the company, user growth may moderate or even reverse as more individuals receive immunizations and return to work or school in person.

NHL Star Evander Kane Denies Wife’s Accusations That He Bets on His Games

Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks fiercely disputed the allegations made by his wife that he bets on his own games and purposely loses for gambling profit on Sunday, allegations that the NHL is investigating.

Kane reacted Sunday morning to claims made the previous day in his wife Anna’s Instagram account.

“I have NEVER gambled/bet on Hockey, NEVER gambled/bet on a Sharks game, NEVER gambled/bet on any of my games and NEVER thrown a hockey game,” Kane wrote on Twitter. “The facts are I personally had my best season of the my career last year and was the most consistent I’ve been throughout any season; I’m proud of that. I love the game of Hockey and would never do any of what was alleged. I look forward to cooperating fully with the league’s investigation, having my name cleared, and looking forward to this upcoming season.”

The NHL stated on Twitter Saturday night that it was made aware of Anna Kane’s social media statements and intended to undertake a thorough investigation.

An Instagram story appeared to belong to Kane’s wife, Anna: “How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play when he’s obviously throwing games to win money? Hmm, maybe someone needs to address this. Can someone ask [commissioner] Gary Bettman how they let a player gamble on his own games? Bet and win with bookies on his own games?”

Anna reportedly accused her husband of lavishly partying in Europe while pleading with her to sell her wedding ring to survive and finance their child’s baby formula.

Evander Kane stated that the couple is in the process of divorcing and referred to Anna Kane as “mentally unwell.”

NHL said in a statement, “The integrity of our game is paramount, and the League takes these allegations very seriously.”

In an email to The Associated Press, a Sharks team spokeswoman stated, “The San Jose Sharks have been in contact today with the National Hockey League about the serious allegations made against Evander Kane. We support a full and transparent investigation into the situation to maintain the integrity of the game and consistency with our team values.”

Kane’s gaming habit and financial situation are known publicly. Kane was sued in 2019 by a Las Vegas Strip casino for allegedly failing to fulfill a $500,000 gambling debt incurred during a playoff series against the Golden Knights.

Shailene Woodley Embraces Her Hippy Image: ‘Hippy Movement Was F***ing Beautiful, I’m All about It’

Shailene Woodley, who turns 30 in November, began acting when she was five years old. She spoke candidly to the Observer Magazine about the pressures she’s endured throughout her 25-year acting career and some of the terrible Hollywood experiences she’s encountered.

According to Woodley, she was informed that she “shouldn’t audition anymore” as a teen because she had acne. The star felt pressured to be “more cosmopolitan, to dress a certain way, to think a certain way, to not say certain things.”

She brushed aside the critiques and continued to live her life on her own terms, from going off the grid and couch surfing to preaching about the benefits of naked sunbathing. Eventually, self-doubt crept in.

“I was so strong-headed and free-willed, so rooted in the core of who I was,” she tells the publication of that time. “But in my mid-20s, I went through a couple of years feeling insecure about the choices I was making, believing the opinions of others a little bit too much, not staying on my path.”

She experienced “massive insecurity and self-doubt” when comparing herself with other actors.

“I had a couple of years where comparison was really detrimental to my mental health,” she shared, adding that she was suddenly occupied by thoughts like: “Am I eating the right f***ing breakfast foods? Is this what I want to do? Am I this enough?”

She has subsequently learned to embrace her “hippy” image rather than being concerned with what Hollywood would say.

“I mean, I used to get offended by that,” she admitted of the label. “But now I’m just like, ‘Great, you want to call me a hippy? So many things about the hippy movement were f***ing beautiful; I’m all about it.'”

“When I was talking about these things 10 or 15 years ago, it was before people knew what environmentalism was,” she added. The most environmental thing you could do then was recycle. There wasn’t a lot of narrative around these things. So, of course, you’re going to be ostracized in some way, be labeled as ‘other,’ because it’s not mainstream… Now? Every single f***ing influencer or model or CEO is talking about this! Look, I don’t take offense at being called ‘The Hippy of Hollywood’ if it means one or two people are going to learn some things.”

Gerard Butler is Suing ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Producers for $10 Million

Gerard Butler, 51, filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday against the producers of his 2013 film “Olympus Has Fallen,” including parent companies Nu Image and Millennium Films. He claims he is entitled to at least $10 million in backend earnings from the action film’s proceeds.

Variety reports that the complaint contends that the producers grossly undervalued domestic and international receipts by tens of millions of dollars. According to the Scottish actor, they also failed to record $8 million in payments to their own studio officials.

The action then alleged fraud, breach of contract, breach of the implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing, as well as malicious interference with contractual relations and accounting for the movie.

Butler starred in “Olympus Has Fallen” as Mike Banning, a Secret Service agent tasked with rescuing the president after terrorists take over the White House. Two sequels to the film, “London Has Fallen” and “Angel Has Fallen,” were also released.

“Producers have earned tens of millions of dollars from Olympus, but refuse to pay Butler a penny of the profits promised to him in the parties’ agreement,” the complaint stated. “Producers embarked on a scheme designed to grossly misrepresent the finances of the Film to Butler, so that Butler would believe that no such payments were due.”

“It appears the Producers’ modus operandi is to hide the profits from Olympus in order to keep those profits for themselves,” the lawsuit added.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of another A-lister suing the film’s producers. Scarlett Johansson made news on Thursday when she announced her intention to sue Disney over the streaming distribution of her superhero film, “Black Widow.” Johansson alleged that her contract was violated when the media conglomerate distributed the film on its Disney+ streaming service concurrently with its theatrical release. The actress claimed in the suit that the decision to bring “Black Widow” to television cost her more than $50 million.

There is Lack of Oversight on 1.3 Million Adult Guardianship and Conservatorship Cases Involving at Least $50 billion of Assets, Says National Council on Disability

Currently, an estimated 1.3 million persons are under guardianship or conservatorship, and the courts oversee nearly $50 billion of their assets, according to a 2018 National Council on Disability (NCD) report. However, only a handful of states actually track and report “reasonably reliable” data on conservatorships and guardianships.

“There’s no oversight, and there really is no data. And if you think about how scary that is, you know, to have people who have no rights, they’re in these guardianships that are potentially abusive, and there are no records being turned in, or they’re not keeping track of the accounting,” Marcia Southwick, director of the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse, told Insider. “You know, it’s rife with problems, and it’s ripe for abuse.”

For instance, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that former Nevada guardian April Parks was sentenced to 16 to 40 years in jail in 2019 for exploitation, theft, and perjury.

“She was not a guardian to me,” said Barbara Ann Neely, one of the dozens of individuals in Parks’ care, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “She did not protect me. As each day passed, I felt like I was in a grave, buried alive.”

According to Census Bureau forecasts, elderly adults will outnumber youngsters under the age of 18 for the first time in the United States by 2034. When combined with the shortage of direct care workers, these circumstances could result in an increase in court-appointed guardianships.

NCD identifies many systemic issues with the way courts handle guardianships, including a lack of information regarding alternative care, flawed due process, and a failure to supervise abuses.

“At the [guardianship] summit that I went to, the focus was really on also diverting it away from courts … because they’re overloaded with cases, courts can’t handle them, and that’s the reason for the lack of oversight. It’s not that all people are bad; it’s that the system is so inefficient that it allows the bad people to get away with it,” Southwick told Insider.

Britney Spears’ conservatorship struggle exposed the public to the slew of negative behaviors that guardianship entails, particularly its most pernicious manifestation: financial exploitation.