Outrage Watch: Not a great day for Brian Williams

Welcome to the February 5, 2015 edition of Outrage Watch, HitFix's daily rundown of everything folks are peeved about in entertainment. Today's top story: Who isn't mad at Brian Williams?

The NBC News anchor came under heavy fire today after revealing that he “misremembered” being on a helicopter grounded by enemy fire in Iraq in 2003 – a story he told as recently as last Friday. Not surprisingly, many aren't having Williams' apology, notably “The View” co-host Rosie O'Donnell, who blasted him on Thursday's program: “I think he fabricated that story, and the apology seemed a little oddly circuitous. …It”s a blatant lie. It”s a Lance Armstrong lie.”

A number of media commentators also took Williams to task, including The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik, who wrote: “If credibility means anything to NBC News, Brian Williams will no longer be managing editor and anchor of the evening newscast by the end of the day Friday.” Ouch.

That said, it wasn't all a pile-on; a number of public figures have risen to Williams' defense, from former CBS News anchor Dan Rather to O'Donnell's “View” cohort Whoopi Goldberg, who responded to her co-host's accusations with the following: “People forget themselves. They can get all wrapped up in their stories.There but for the grace of God go I. …I've done this. I've embellished stuff I've had to take back. I make stuff up sometimes.”

Additionally, the pilot of the helicopter Williams was on is claiming that their aircraft was, in fact, shelled by enemy combatants on the day in question.

The fallacy of Williams' story was brought to light by several crew members on the helicopter that was brought down by RPG fire, who told Stars and Stripes that the newsman was in fact nowhere near the Chinook aircraft when it went down. The anchor subsequently apologized both on-air and in a Facebook post published today.

Want more? There's plenty of indignation to go around. See below for a full roundup of today's kerfuffles.

Outraged: The National Center on Sexual Exploitation
Target: “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Why: The anti-pornography non-profit is calling for a boycott of the upcoming film adaptation of E.L. James wildly-popular novel. According to a statement on the organization's official website: “The Fifty Shades of Grey book series and franchise promote torture as sexually gratifying and normalize domestic violence, particularly violence against women. This type of material cultivates a rape and sexual violence culture and is now permeating our society.” Keep your head up, E.L. This stuff happens all the time to great artists.


Outraged: Radio host Robert Scott Bell
Target: Jon Stewart
Why: Bell, the “voice of health freedom and healing liberty,” took the “Daily Show” host to task on his radio show that I've never heard of, literally comparing Stewart to the Nazis for statements he made on Tuesday's episode. “This is basically how they said the Jews, the scourge of the world, we”ve got to take them out. …We”ve got to take out the gypsies, we”ve got to take out the gays,” said Bell of a “Daily Show” segment in which the comedian called for a vaccination mandate. “Now we”ve gotta take out the people who are aren”t vaccinated under the guise that they are unclean.” Sound analogy, Robert!


Outraged: Deadspin writer Diana Moskovitz
Target: The NFL's anti-domestic violence initiative “No More”
Why: Moskovitz dubbed the league's new “public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault” a “sham” in a piece published today, characterizing the effort as a shallow branding opportunity that does very little to help actual victims. “What begins as a push for change becomes an invisible force telling us that we must buy specific items and wear certain logos so we can feel better about ourselves,” she writes. “And if we go along, we do so not because we care but because we don't want to feel left out.” To think, this whole time I thought my LiveStrong bracelet was actually curing cancer.


Outraged: Twitter
Target: InStyle magazine
Why: The fashion rag has been accused of heavily Photoshopping Kerry Washington's photo on the cover of this month's issue, with many charging the publication with digitally lightening the “Scandal” star's skin tone. Tweeted one user: “I am a real fan Kerry and this is just disappointing. This looks nothing like the beautiful black gladiator you are #sosad.” The magazine later responded to the uproar with a statement that read in part:  “While we did not digitally lighten Kerry”s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern. We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable.”

[The Root]