Justin Timberlake performs at the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival in September in Franklin, Tenn.

Halftime brouhah

Justin Timberlake will headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LII in February, but because 2004 companion Janet Jackson won't be joining him he is the "worst kind of white person," writer Ernest Owens alleged in The Grio.

The pop singer, he wrote, is arguably worse than "blatant bigots we often assume serve as the only form of anti-Blackness." He further called him a "famed cultural appropriator" who "has no qualms about being the white boy who has capitalized off of Black culture for mainstream appeal."

Owens later added on Twitter that Timberlake is "still ensuring white privilege remains in style in 2017. Meanwhile, Janet Jackson is still left in the cold."

We think the writer meant only that she wasn't invited, but she was the singer whose wardrobe malfunction at the end of their Super Bowl XXXVIII presentation will live in infamy.

The halftime show appearance will be a record third for Timberlake.

Should event officials not be able to choose the talent they want without having any previous collaborator along? Or must the other members of NSYNC be invited to join him and Jackson just because they have previously worked together?

Must it always be about race?


Dead presidents game

The principal of a Massachusetts elementary school has apologized because a children's game at a fundraiser had contestants throwing beanbags at a tombstone with the name "Don Trump."

The parent of a student at West Parish Elementary School in Gloucester who brought in the game thought it would be "humorous" to have some politically charged fun.

Parents even in Democrat-heavy Massachusetts were shocked.

"I don't think it's appropriate to put the sitting president's name on a tombstone," Gloucester Republican City Committee head Amanda Kesterson told the Boston Herald. "It's disrespectful to the office of the president, no matter who he is."

"Unfortunately," she added, "[] in Massachusetts in particular, where Republicans are the minority party and the president is unpopular, I think there is a belief that joking about the president is acceptable — and it's not."

School principal Telena S. Imel, in turn, apologized to parents for the insensitive action.

"On Friday evening," she wrote, "the West Parish Grade 5 Parent Committee hosted Haunted Happenings, a party and fundraiser for the West Parish Community. Unfortunately, however, one game brought in by a parent included the name of our president painted on a tombstone.

"While, according to the parent, this was designed to be humorous, a number of attendees rightfully felt that it showed disrespect," the letter said. "It inappropriately brought a political agenda into what was designed to be a fun family affair."


Political fitness

A black pastor recently was banned from the Los Angeles fitness center of which he was a member because he was overheard expressing his support for President Donald Trump.

The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is now seeking civil rights damages, an apology from Equinox Sports Fitness Club Los Angeles, and a donation to a Christian nonprofit he started which promotes responsibility and racial equity.

The pastor was discussing racial issues and defending Trump while talking on his mobile phone during a live broadcast of the Bill Cunningham radio show, as his lawyer said he had done from the gym on numerous other occasions. One employee the pastor had never seen overheard him, summoned another, and the second employee got in his face, told him to leave the center and declared his membership was revoked immediately.

Asked why by Peterson, the employee screamed, "You support Donald Trump."

The pastor's lawyer said the only reason cited for his client's termination was his support for the president. He said he believes several laws were broken, including the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which holds that business establishments cannot discriminate "on the basis of political affiliation."

He said Peterson doesn't want his membership back but is most interested in "exposing Equinox's intolerance and bigotry."

"I grew up under Jim Crow laws," the 68-year-old pastor said. "I have never been treated that way in my life."


Are we who we are?

A Georgetown University Catholic students organization, which says on its Facebook site that it "exists to promote healthy relationships on campus through cultivating a proper understanding of sex, gender, marriage and family among Georgetown students," has been targeted as a hate group because of its beliefs.

A pro-choice student senator recently filed a notice that Love Saxa's definition of marriage and relationships violates university standards by promoting hatred or intolerance. If "found guilty" in a hearing today, it would be labeled a hate group by the nation's oldest Catholic university and could lose its $250 annual stipend.

The problems started when the group's president, Amelia Irvine, wrote an op-ed for the student publication, mentioning abstinence before marriage and the group's belief about traditional marriage.

The publication, The Hoya, responded with an editorial, "Defund Intolerance," arguing Love Saxa doesn't deserve the benefit of university recognition, should not get university benefits and claims its "mission advocates against equal rights for the LGBTQ community" and "fosters intolerance."

The university demurred for the moment, pending the hearing, but Irvine said she can't imagine it ruling against "beliefs synonymous with Catholic social teaching."

If that is the case, she said, "then no group at Georgetown can be certain of its security."