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Jan 22
Her eye on the news
Flamethrowing

Megyn Kelly went nuclear on Jane Fonda during a segment of Monday’s show. The former Fox News anchor addressed the lingering controversy over a question she asked Fonda back in September 2017, her first week at NBC. At the time, Kelly asked Fonda, 80, about plastic surgery, which drew a death stare and a curt reply from Fonda.

But Fonda apparently hasn’t let that question go, and recently brought up her dissatisfaction with it in interviews with Variety and on another NBC show — which prompted Kelly’s exercise in flamethrowing on Monday.

“When she first complained publicly after the program, and repeatedly, I chose to say nothing, as my general philosophy is what other people think of me is none of my business,’ Kelly told viewers. “However, Fonda was at it again last week, including right here on NBC, and then again elsewhere. So it’s time to address the ‘poor-me’ routine.”

“First, some context,” Kelly said, informing viewers of the history of the feud. “Fonda was on [during her September appearance] to promote a film about aging. For years she has spoken openly about her joy in giving a cultural face to older women. Well the truth is most older women look nothing like Fonda, who is now 80. And if Fonda really wants to have an honest discussion about older women’s cultural face, then her plastic surgery is tough to ignore.”

Ouch. But Kelly was just getting warmed up.

“Fonda herself knows this. She knows this. And that is why, to her credit, she’s discussed her cosmetic surgery pretty much everywhere before coming on our show,” she said, before showing viewers a highlight reel of Fonda talking openly about her plastic surgeries on a host of different TV shows.

Kelly, who at the outset of her new show on NBC said she was “done with politics for now,” then brought up Fonda’s “Hanoi Jane” controversy from decades ago, for which Fonda still receives derision from conservatives.

“Look at her treatment of our military during the Vietnam War,” Kelly said. “Many of our veterans still call her ‘Hanoi Jane’ thanks to her radio broadcasts, which attempted to shame American troops. She posed on an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down our pilots,” Kelly said, showing photos of same onscreen.

“She called our POWs ‘hypocrites and liars’ and referred to their torture as understandable,” Kelly continued. “Even she had to apologize years later for that gun picture — but not for the rest of it.

“By the way, she still says she’s not proud of America.”

As the video of Kelly unloading on Fonda went viral, strong reactions poured in on social media, The Wrap noted. with the majority of opinions being unfavorable to Kelly. Rosie O’Donnell torched her in a post on Twitter, saying, “Megyn Kelly is a moron — spineless wanna be barbie — she sucks and so does her show.” Others piled on saying that Kelly’s monologue was “petty” and “mean” and that it was unfair to a feminist icon.

Watch Kelly’s complete takedown in the video below.

Read the full story at The Daily Mail.

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Family ties

Actress Alison Brie responded to questions Sunday night about the sexual misconduct accusations against her brother-in-law James Franco. Five women have come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against the actor. Brie, know for her roles on the TV series GlowCommunity and Mad Men, is married to Franco’s brother, Dave. During an appearance on the red carpet at the SAG Awards, she spoke briefly about the issue and defended her brother-in-law, suggesting the reporting on Franco hasn’t been entirely accurate.

“It remains vital that anyone that feels victimized should and does have the right to speak out and come forward,” Brie told E! reporter Giuliana Rancic. She added, “I obviously support my family and not everything that’s been reported is fully accurate.” Franco attended the event, but skipped the red carpet portion of the evening.

The embattled actor, who has denied any wrongdoing through his attorney, came under withering fire from Scarlett Johansson on Saturday at the Women’s March in Los Angeles. Johansson, during an impassioned speech, called Franco out for wearing a Time’s Up pin onstage to accept his Golden Globe award two weeks ago. “I want my pin back, by the way,” Johansson said, without mentioning his name. A spokesperson for Johansson later confirmed she was referring to Franco.

In her remarks, Brie was careful to defend a family member without broadly criticizing the #MeToo movement. “Now is a time for listening, and that’s what we’re all trying to do,” she said. Watch the interview below.

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Oh boy …

Patrick Meehan, the Republican congressman who is investigating sexual harassment allegations against his colleagues, settled his own harassment complaint using taxpayer dollars, according to a report by The New York Times.

Based on interviews with 10 unnamed sources, the Times reports that Meehan paid “thousands of dollars” from his congressional office fund last year after a former aide filed a complaint about the Pennsylvania representative’s behavior.

The aide is several decades younger than Meehan, 62, and is said to have regarded him as a “father figure,” according to the Times. But after the woman began a relationship with someone outside the office, Meehan reportedly confessed his romantic feelings for her and became hostile when she did not return the affection. The woman ultimately left her position, and reached a confidential settlement agreement with Meehan’s office.

The report is particularly disarming because Meehan, a member of the Ethics Committee, has been involved in investigating recent sexual misconduct allegations against at least four congressmen. During his days as a federal prosecutor, he advocated for the protections of domestic violence survivors, and has since joined a bipartisan congressional task-force to end sexual violence.

John Elizandro, Meehan’s communications director, said in a statement saying that Meehan “denies these allegations” and “has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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Repeat offender

A 66-year-old woman known as the “serial stowaway” has been arrested — once again — for sneaking onto a flight.

Last week, Marilyn Hartman surreptitiously boarded a British Airways flight from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to London, according to NBC 5 Chicago. The plane’s crew eventually realized that Hartman did not have a passport; she was detained at London’s Heathrow airport, sent back to Chicago, and arrested at O’Hare.

It is believed that Hartman spent 24 hours inside O’Hare’s Terminal 5, and tried unsuccessfully to board a different flight. A source told NBC that Hartman appears to have made it onto the British Airways flight by blending in with a large group. She did not have a ticket, and just how she managed to make it through federal security remains unclear.

“This matter is subject to an ongoing investigation,” the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a statement. “TSA is working closely with our law enforcement and airline partners in that effort.”

In another statement, the Chicago Department of Aviation said that Hartman was screened at a security checkpoint before boarding the plane. “Upon learning of the incident TSA, and its aviation partners took immediate action to review security practices throughout the airport,” the statement said.

This isn’t the first time the Hartman has tried to surreptitiously slip onto a flight. A few times, she even succeeded in making it to her desired destination. She flew from San Jose to Los Angeles in 2014. That same year, she was arrested for trying to get on a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii. In 2015, she was arrested three times within two weeks while trying to board flights at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports. She also managed to get from Minnesota to Florida, without a boarding pass or ticket.

“Ms. Hartman, what am I supposed to do?” a judge asked in 2015.  “You continue to perform the same activities over and over again, and it’s getting to the point I’m concerned!”

Prior to her most recent arrest, Hartman was living at a Chicago residence for low-income seniors, according to The Washington Post. She has struggled with homelessness in the past, and has received treatment for psychiatric issues. For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at NBC 5 Chicago.

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'Story Like Mine'

At the Women’s March in New York City on Saturday, singer-songwriter Halsey delivered a powerful recitation of a poem she wrote about surviving an sexual assault by a former boyfriend.

The poem is titled “A Story Like Mine” and she later posted a video of herself reading it on Twitter. That tweet has now received more than five million views and has racked up 120,000 retweets and more than 230,000 likes as of this writing. “It’s 2009 and I’m 14 and I’m crying. Not really sure where I am but I’m holding the hand of my best friend Sam. In the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood,” Halsey begins, before opening up about an abusive boyfriend who assaulted her, and performing while going through a miscarriage. “I’ve toured everywhere from Japan to Mar-a-Lago. I even went on stage that night in Chicago when I was having a miscarriage. I mean, I pied the piper, I put on a diaper. And sang out my spleen to a room full of teens.”

She even gave a shoutout to the victims of disgraced USA gymnastics Larry Nassar and criticized President Trump for his silence on the problem of sexual misconduct. “It’s Olympians and a medical resident and not one fucking word from the man who is president!”

Afterward, she posted another tweet mentioning how difficult reading the poem was, but that she was glad to have done it. “This was really hard for me to do but I’m glad I did it. Thank you guys. This is why we rally,” she said. Below, watch the full video of her poem and be aware that it touches on several sensitive themes in a very frank way.

Read the full story at Yahoo.com and read the full poem at Billboard.

Related

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Legal battle

Sandra Muller, a journalist who gave rise to France’s iteration of the #MeToo movement, is being sued by the man she accused of sexual harassment.

In a Twitter post on October 13, Mueller alleged that Eric Brion, a former executive at the broadcaster France Télévisions and the horse-racing channel Equidia, had made lewd comments to her during a television festival at Cannes. “You have big breasts,” Mueller claimed Brion said, according to The New York Times. “You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night.”

Mueller started the hashtag #BalanceTonPorc, or “ExposeYourPig,” in an effort to encourage other women to speak out about sexual harassment.

The journalist announced in a Facebook post that Brion recently filed a defamation lawsuit against her, demanding 50,000 euros in damages (about $61,300) and 10,000 euros (approximately $12,200) in legal fees.

Brion admitted to making inappropriate comments in an Op-Ed for the publication Le Monde, in which he also apologized for his “boorish behavior.” But he noted that contrary to some reports, he was not Mueller’s superior or boss, and that being labeled as a workplace harasser had made it difficult for him to find employment.

“I have never worked with Sandra Muller,” he wrote, according to CNN. “I have never collaborated with her or been her supervisor, as I read here and there … This can easily be checked, but once the hellish machine is started, it cannot be stopped. The personal and professional consequences of this conflation of heavy-handed flirting and sexual harassment ‘in the workplace’ were very serious and damaging.”

Mueller has set up a GoFundMe page for help covering her legal expenses. “As a single mother of two, I can’t face such costs alone,” she wrote in her Facebook post. “This is why I’m asking for your help. If the #metoo and #balancetonporc movements mean something to you, please consider making a donation to help me win this battle. I am doing this for all victims, women and men. This isn’t about a battle of the sexes — it’s about justice.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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45 years later

Forty-five years ago on Monday, the United States Supreme Court reached a landmark decision in the Roe v. Wade case, a ruling that cleared the way for the legalization of abortion. The lawyer who argued for “Jane Roe,” later revealed as Norma McCorvey, in the case was Sarah Weddington. She was 26 at the time and the huge victory was just one of several in what turned out to be an illustrious legal career. In an interview with TIME magazine, Weddington reflected on the landmark case and said she is “amazed” that Americans are still fighting about whether abortion should be legal. “When I started the case, the research in 1969, if anybody had said, ‘You will still be talking about this in 45 years,’ I would not have believed that,” she told TIME’s Olivia B. Waxman.

Weddington also discussed a major difference in Republican thinking on the contentious issue. She pointed out how President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney Jeff Sessions, to name a few, are staunchly anti-abortion. Trump became the first sitting president in 45 years to address the crowd at the annual March for Life rally in Washington on Friday, and told rally goers, “Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life.” He also touted his administration’s efforts to protect medical providers who refuse to provide abortion procedures. Weddington contrasted the Republicans of today with the leading Republicans of the Roe v. Wade era.

United States Senator and nominee for president, Barry Goldwater (1909 – 1998) speaking at an election rally in Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA, 28th October 1964. (Photo by William Lovelace/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“I look back at the time [around] Roe v. Wade,” Weddington said, “and you had Barry Goldwater who was very Republican but very pro-choice. Then you had Ford as president and his wife Betty Ford, who was very pro-choice. So I guess what’s really changed is that now you’ve got so many more Republicans who are very anti-choice, whereas 40 years ago, you had a lot of Republicans who were very pro-choice.”

Read the full interview at TIME.

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Resistance

A full year after the inauguration of of Donald Trump as president, the Women’s March seems to have gained momentum. Hundreds of thousands of women and men turned out in cities all around the country and the world on Saturday and on Sunday in support of women’s rights, equal rights and in protest of the U.S. president and sexism he embodies. In Los Angeles, an estimated 600,000 took to the streets, according to a tweet from the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, who also shared a photo of a massive gather in downtown L.A. Large crowds also turned out in Washington, D.C., the site of the flagship march last year, and New York City and Philadelphia, among other, saw big turnout. Above, watch an ABC News report on the marches, and below see Garcetti’s tweet along with a tweet by Trump, who acknowledged the many people protesting him with a call for women to “celebrate the historic milestones” of the first year of his presidency. Yeah, OK — that’s exactly what was happening out there.

Calling out

While delivering an impassioned speech at a Women’s March in Los Angeles this weekend, Scarlett Johansson called out the hypocrisy of James Franco, who wore a Time’s Up pin while accepting an award at the Golden Globes — and was subsequently accused of sexual misconduct by five women.

“How could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?” asked Johansson, according to The Independent. The actress was among the first supporters of the Time’s Up initiative, which offers legal support to women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

“I want my pin back, by the way,” Johansson added.

Though she did not explicitly mention Franco in her speech, a representative later confirmed to The Los Angeles Times that she was talking about the embattled actor.

Johansson also told the crowd that she has, in the past, “had many relationships both personal and professional where the power dynamic was so off that I had to create a narrative that I was the cool girl who could hang in and hang out, and that sometimes meant compromising what felt right for me.”

But those days, she said, are over. “No more pandering,” Johansson said. “No more feeling guilty about hurting someone’s feelings when something doesn’t feel right for me,” she said. “I have made a promise to myself to be responsible to myself, that in order to trust my instincts I must first respect them.”

Read the full story at The Independent.

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