The Daily Moth 10-23-17

October 24, 2017



Gold Star Widow Speaks Out About Trump’s Phone Call, More Hollywood/TV Figures Accused of Sexual Harassment, FBI Arrests Man Planning to Bomb Florida Mall, Two News from Japan, Missing Hikers Found Dead With Gunshot Wounds, #DeafTalent Criticizes “Wonderstruck” for Using Hearing Actor for Deaf Role but Praises Deaf Actor Millicent Simmonds, and Deaf California Mother of Four Passes Away in “Strange Circumstances,” Investigation Underway  




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Monday, October 23. Ready for news? 




This morning the widow of La David Johnson — the solider who died in Niger, Africa gave an interview with Good Morning America. Her name is Myeshia Johnson.


Here are the highlights: 


— She said La David was a great soldier and a loving and caring father and husband. 


— She said she was notified on October 4 that there was a “massive gunfire” and that he was missing, and two days later, they told him he was killed in action.


— Myeshia said she doesn’t know why it took the military 48 hours to find his husband and that she was not allowed to see his body — she said she knows her husband’s body from head to toe but was not allowed to see a finger or a hand. 


— She said President Trump said he couldn’t remember his name until he looked at his report in front of him. Myeshia said Trump did say the words, “he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway.” 


— She said she was angry at Trump’s tone, that it made her upset, hurt, and cry even more. 


— Myeshia said Congresswoman Wilson did not fabricate (make up) what Trump said, that what she said was 100% correct. 


After the interview was released, President Trump responded on Twitter — saying that he had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson and spoke his name from beginning without hesitation. 


Yesterday he continued his attacks on Rep. Wilson, saying she was wacky and a disaster for Democrats. In earlier tweets Trump said she was a liar. 


So it’s a she said, he said story and yet another public escalation between Trump and a Gold Star family. 


As for what happened to La David Johnson and the other three U.S. soldiers who died — we’ll see what more information comes out of it. 


Interview transcript:




There are now more famous people accused of sexual harassment and/or rape. 


First is director and writer James Toback. 38 women described a similar pattern of him approaching them, telling them he was a film director, inviting them to a private meeting, where he sexually harassed them without their consent. 


Second is former Fox News host Bill O’ Reilly. The New York Times reported he paid a $32 million sexual harassment settlement to a Fox News analyst, Lis Wiehl. That was before O’Reilly got a contract extension with Fox in February — and in April, he was removed after reports of sexual harassment surfaced. O’Reilly said the reports were false. 


Third is film director Roman Polanski. He was accused by a woman, Marianne Barnard, of molesting her in 1975 when she was 10 years old. She said she went to the beach with her mother for a photo shoot with Roman — when the mother left, that’s when it happened. Marianne said she felt emboldened to speak out after the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. It is not the first accusation of Roman — in 1977, he admitted to raping a 13-year old girl and made a plea deal in court, but then left the U.S. because he was afraid the deal would be overturned for a prison sentence. He hasn’t been back in the country since and is considered a fugitive.


I did not mention this on Moth yet, but last week Amazon Studios’ former chief, Roy Price, has been removed/resigned after he was accused of sexually harassing a female producer. 


So those are the latest claims in the fallout since Harvey Weinstein was accused. What more will come in the future? 




FBI said they have arrested a man in South Florida, Vicente Solano, for planning to blow up a mall in the Miami area.


The FBI said they got a confidential tip that Solano was an ISIS supporter. An undercover FBI agent posing as another supporter contacted Solano, where they talked about plans to bomb the Dolphin Mall in Doral. The agent then handed him a fake bomb, and he was arrested on Friday as he was “ready” to blow it up. 


The FBI made similar arrests in the Miami area in the past by using the same tactic of getting a tip, acting as an supporter, and arresting them when they handled the fake bombs.




Two news from Japan:


A typhoon (same as a hurricane) hit southwest affected Japan over the weekend and today with wind gusts up to 123 mph and heavy rains — causing three deaths, at least 90 injuries, flooding, power outages, and mass damage. The causes of the three deaths: a man struck by scaffolding, a drowning, and a landslide overtaking a man’s home. 


On Sunday Japan had national elections that gave a strong victory for current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party, the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party). The LDP now has a 2/3 majority in parliament, which means PM Abe has a lot of power. He said his two priorities are to deal with North Korea’s threats and Japan’s aging and shrinking population. 




Last week two bodies were discovered at Joshua Tree National Park in southern California — they were “locked in an embrace” and both had gunshot wounds. They were Joseph Orbeso (21) and Rachel Nguyen (20), hikers who were missing for several months.  


An autopsy report said both died of gunshot wounds — that it was a murder-suicide with Joseph shooting at Rachel and then at himself. 


The bodies were found under a tree by a cliff. 


Rachel's family said they were told that the scene showed that Joseph might have been taking care of a seriously injured Rachel and did the shooting to relieve her of her pain. Rachel had her t-shirt wrapped around her head and her legs was protected from the sun by Joseph’s shirt. 


Investigators said the two were rationing food and did not have any water. They were last seen on July 27 entering the park. Rachel’s car was parked at a trailhead. The gun was registered to Joseph. 




Last weekend there was strong criticism of the movie, “Wonderstruck” by several Deaf people in the film industry after they watched the movie’s premiere and saw actor Julianne Moore’s performance in a Deaf character. 


The criticism was mixed with praises for the movie’s star, Deaf girl Millicent Simmonds. 


Actor Amelia Hensley posted on her Instagram that she was devastated and couldn’t enjoy the movie because Julianne Moore signed more than anybody in the movie — she said she thought Julianne would have a smaller role but that she played a Deaf character for more than 12 minutes.


Actor and filmmaker Dickie Hearts posted on Instagram saying while he was proud of newcomer Millicent Simmons, he was disappointed at the amount of screen time devoted to the hearing actor who played Deaf and butchered his language. He said this robs Deaf actors of their jobs.


Filmmaker Jules Dameron said her body ached when she saw a hearing actor play a deaf character and that her character had 24 minutes (she thought she had a smaller role). Jules said she had been a fan of Julianne Moore, but that “they sold the soul of the Deaf community.” 


Actor Sandra Mae Frank tweeted that although the movie had several #DeafTalent in their silent scenes, the only “deaf” signing role was given to a hearing actor. She said she wants to support Wonderstruck for giving Millicent Simmonds and other Deaf actors a wonderful opportunity but that the Deaf role was wasted to a hearing actor.


I read several media interviews with Julianne Moore — Vanity Fair said she learned ASL for one or two months from a Deaf woman, Alexandria Wailes (who is also an actor.)  Julianne told USAToday that her signing was “bad” but was encouraged by Millicent who told her to “keep practicing.” 


Millicent is all over the news in the entertainment industry — she has done interviews with People, Entertainment Tonight, Vanity Fair, and other media. She has gotten rave reviews about her performance and people are showing excitement about her possible upcoming career. She already has a upcoming role in a movie with actors John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. 


Millicent has already been an advocate for sign language — telling a radio station that parents of deaf children should learn sign language because it is their natural language. 


So this is the latest chapter in our ongoing struggle “against the system.” There will be more updates on this story.


Millicent Interview with ‘The Frame’


Julianne Learning Sign Language:


A Quiet Place:




On October 6, Deaf woman Ariana Ruiz (40) was found passed away in Berkeley, California and police are still investigating what happened. 


I’ve reached out to her brother, Steven Lopez, for an interview. Before I show you the interview, I want to summarize what media has reported about her death. 


Ariana’s body was found passed away in a tent at a homeless encampment. Ariana was not herself homeless — she lived in Oakland. Ariana’s cousin said people at the camp said they saw Ariana being “in distress,” that others probably didn’t know she was deaf, and that nobody called an ambulance. She slept in a tent to rest and her body was found the next morning. The exact cause of death is still pending. 


Ariana leaves behind four sons with ages ranging from 19 to 12. Her siblings and cousin has started an online fundraiser to set a memorial fund for the four boys. 


Here is the interview with Steven. 



Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Lopez (this is my sign name). I’m the brother of Ariana Lopez Ruiz (this is her sign name). 


Alex: I am sorry about the loss of Ariana. I’ve read that she was found passed away in a Berkeley homeless camp in strange circumstances — can you tell us what you know about the situation? 

Steven: From what we know so far, my sister had finished her dentist appointment on Thursday evening. As she was walking to her apartment at her home in Oakland, she saw her old friend at a homeless shelter. She hanged out at the area and chatted with people all night. Then the next morning, it seemed like she was sleeping in a tent, and people couldn’t wake her up. When police got there, they saw her bag there, but it was missing her phone. So it looked suspicious. We are still frustrated, confused, emotional, and wondering what happened. 

Alex: What kind of impact did Ariana’s death have on you and your family? 

Steven: Because of the frustration and confusion, it’s impacted us and her four sons a lot. It doesn’t feel real and is confusing, but our focus is on honoring her. We just had an interview with family, friends, CSD Fremont staff, teachers, camp staff, we all gave her one final goodbye. That’s how we paid our respects. As for the investigation, we’re still trying to get information from Berkeley police. It’s slow and it’s frustrating, but we are taking it a step at a time.

Alex: Can you tell us about the purpose of the memorial fund and what the money will be used for?

Steven: The money is for the boys and the money will be split in four ways. The boys can always use the money for either one of two things: professional development, such as taking a coding course, getting electrical certifications, or for school-related things, such as doing an internship or studying abroad. The money is to support the four boys and make sure they have successful lives. 

Alex: Any additional comments? 

Steven: The support I’ve gotten from the community, Bay area, East/West coast — it has been overwhelming and touching. It’s given us hope that there are good people out there. It is really inspiring that the Deaf community is strong, if we stick together, we are strong. Our family wants to thank everybody who donated money and expressed support for the boys. Thank you. Thank you, I really mean it, thank you. It really touches me and makes me cry. Thank you, I can’t express more than than, thank you (I love you). 

Alex: Thank you for your time, Steven. It is a sad story. You can look at the fundraiser at the link above or in the transcript. I will look for updates on this story. 


That is all for today! See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 

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