Top 3 Stories of the Week, March 5, 2014

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Ellen crashes Twitter: Ellen DeGeneres’ goal of setting a retweet record with her star-studded selfie was achieved before the Oscars telecast was even over.

During a comic bit, the Oscars host prevailed upon actor Bradley Cooper to take a picture with her and several other stars crowding around, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Long before midnight Sunday, the photo had been retweeted more than 2 million times, breaking a record set by President Barack Obama with the picture of him hugging First Lady Michelle Obama after his re-election in 2012.

Twitter also sent out an apology because all of the retweeting disrupted service for more than 20 minutes after 10 p.m. ET.

Corporations stand up for AZ gays: When an important social issue intersected with business in Arizona, Corporate America decided it was time to take a stand.

Voicing concern for their employees, customers and bottom lines, prominent companies from American Airlines to Verizon used threats of reduced business to help convince Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto legislation that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays based on the owner’s religious beliefs.

Companies have long spoken out about certain issues they felt threatened their bottom lines, such as taxation and the minimum wage. The strong opposition to the Arizona bill signals an acknowledgement by businesses that it’s not just economic policies that can be harmful to their profits. They need to be more willing than ever to wade into social issues.

Disney pulls Scouts funding: The Walt Disney Company has given notice to the Boy Scouts of America that it will pull all funding to the group starting in 2015 because of a BSA membership policy that bans gay leaders, the entertainment company said Friday.

Disney does not give money directly to the national organization or local BSA councils. However, through its VoluntEARS program, Disney allows employees to do volunteer work in exchange for cash donations to the charities of their choice.

Employees taking part in the VoluntEARS program will no longer be able to submit the funds to the Boy Scouts, the organization said. The new policy will not affect Walt Disney employees who volunteer with the Scouts, the company said.


Greg Kabel

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