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Morning Update: In Disney's shadow

Drama over the citizenship question, Ohio's abortion law blocked, your weekend longreads. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, July 5.

Posted on July 5, 2019, at 6:26 a.m. ET

The Trump administration said it wouldn’t put a citizenship question on the census — then Trump blew it up with a tweet

Earlier this week, both the Justice Department and the Commerce Department said there would be no citizenship question on the census. The fight over the question appeared to be over.

Then president Donald Trump tweeted that reports of the question being dropped — which were based on official statements from the government — were “FAKE!”, and his government was “absolutely moving forward” with it.

Less than 24 hours after declaring victory, civil rights groups were scrambling to figure out what is going on. Meanwhile, a senior DOJ official said the department was “instructed” to find a way to include the question — even if a recent US Supreme Court decision prohibited it, at least for now.

It’s been three days since Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the 2020 census would be printed without the question.

A federal judge has blocked Ohio’s 6-week abortion ban

In April, the state’s governor Mike DeWine signed the law preventing women from legally obtaining an abortion after the fetus’s heartbeat can be heard — usually after about 6 weeks of pregnancy.

Days before the law was set to come into effect, a federal judge blocked the law, finding that its challengers were “certain” to win in arguing it is unconstitutional.

Anti-abortion politicians and activists know these bills don’t stand a chance of becoming law — instead, the aim is to escalate the court fight to the Supreme Court, in hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade.

SNAPSHOTS

The Florida Deputies who slammed a black teen’s head into the ground in a viral video have been charged. The 15-year-old boy was bending down to pick up a cell phone during an incident when the officers threw him to the ground. Now, the deputies involved have been charged with several counts of battery, falsifying records, and attempting to falsify records.

Jeremy Hunt’s Tory leadership campaign received funding from the UK’s point person for Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Ken Costa is a close associate of the crown prince. His £10,000 donation will raise questions about why Hunt is accepting money from the UK’s link to bin Salman after the crown prince’s implication in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A woman allegedly put a $5,000 tip on her boyfriend’s credit card after an argument. Serina Wolfe got into an argument with her boyfriend about her wanting him to buy her a plane ticket home to upstate New York. She allegedly used his credit card to leave a $5,000 tip on a $55.37 bill. Wolfe was arrested and charged with third-degree grand theft.

Halle Bailey was officially cast as Ariel in Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid remake. Bailey, best known for her work on Grown-ish and as half of the singing duo Chloe x Halle, was cast in the role after what director Rob Marshall described as an “extensive search.”

Disney won. Now what?

When people lament the decreasing success of the film industry — box office numbers are way down, and summer blockbusters keep flopping — they’re generally not talking about Disney. Disney’s fine. Disney keeps winning.

Disney has so far released four major blockbusters this year, with more on the way. It also made one of the biggest acquisitions in Hollywood history, buying up 21st Century Fox. Disney’s fine.

Adam B. Vary gives some context to this wild success: “Historically, the movie business has been reliably cyclical, with each of the six major studios — Disney, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Sony Pictures — rotating through boom-and-bust years as audience tastes shift and big risks pay off or flop hard. But since 2016, Disney has upended that cycle, topping the domestic box office every year with an ever-increasing share of the market.”

But how long will Hollywood live under Disney’s shadow? Read Vary’s deep-dive into Disney’s ascent and dominance — and why it could be forced to plummet back down to earth.

Tune out the world for a minute and sit with these longreads

Meryl Streep Is The Best And Worst Part Of Big Little Lies. Are you watching this season of BLL? I’m absolutely loving it. Meryl Streep as Mary Louise is utterly hypnotizing in it. Read Alison Willmore’s take on this season. From the piece: “If there’s a through line in this season of Big Little Lies, it’s that maternal good intentions themselves aren’t worth shit.”

Beyoncé Is A Mystery We Can’t Stop Trying To Solve. What is it about Beyoncé that makes us think we are close to her? Niela Orr goes beyond the confessional albums and candid footage to examine what we actually know about Bey, and why she feels distant as ever. A taste: “Beyoncé plays her fame as ambivalently as a repeat pageant queen, and in doing so elevates her celebrity and naturalizes it.”

When You’re Trans, Living With Your Parents Can Be Complicated. Nationally, 40% of homeless youth are queer or trans. Some young trans people are choosing to live with their less-than-accepting families rather than face high chances of homelessness. Tori Truscheit looked into the complications this raises: “Every now and then my mom will remind me of how I owe everything to her because she saved me from homelessness — even though she caused it in the first place.”

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