Claire Foy, who plays the leading role of Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix drama The Crown, is being paid less than Matt Smith, who plays her husband and consort Prince Philip, producers for the show admitted on Tuesday. Suzanne Mackie, the creative director of the company that produced The Crown, said that Smith’s fame as the lead in BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who had bolstered his asking price compared to Foy, who was a relative unknown before her breakout performance in the popular period piece garnered her an Emmy nomination.
“Going forward,” Mackie said, “no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
Controversy over the discrepancies between the salaries paid to male and female stars has become a sore point for many actresses and TV personalities over the past year, as the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have raised awareness about widespread misogyny and sexism in the entertainment industry. In a particularly egregious case revealed January, it was discovered that Mark Wahlberg had been paid $1.5 million for reshoots of All the Money in the World, while his Oscar-nominated co-star Michelle Williams was paid less than $1,000 total. (Wahlberg ending up donating his entire reshoot salary to Time’s Up amid an uproar.)
According to Variety, Foy was earning an estimated $40,000 per episode of The Crown. Matt Smith’s salary has not been disclosed. Neither Foy nor Smith will return for the show’s third season, as producers for the show have said they plan to replace the actors playing the royals every two years. Foy is expected to be replaced by Golden Globe-winning actress Olivia Colman, while Smith’s replacement has yet to be announced.
Read the full story at NBC News.
A resurrected version of the televised singing contest American Idol debuted on ABC this week, and, in addition to a new cast of judges, it brought some controversy along with it, perhaps just enough to resurrect viewers’ interest in the show Fox canceled two years ago. And by controversy, we don’t mean the presence of the beleaguered Ryan Seacrest, who is still hosting — we’re talking about fresh controversy served up by none other than pop star Katy Perry, one of the new judges.
It all happened back in October, when American Idol began taping auditions but just burst into the pop culture conversation this week when the series aired its two-part debut, and it centered on an aspiring singer from Oklahoma, who was 19 at the time. That singer is Benjamin Glaze. He arrived at the always-zany audition with an acoustic guitar over his shoulder and prepared to sing either “Levels,” by Nick Jonas, or “Stadium,” an original song Glaze had written.
But before his audition commenced, he bantered with Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Perry, the three judges. Before he knew it, Perry had stolen a kiss, planting one right on the young singer’s lips.
The kiss was prompted by a question asked by Luke Bryan, a reference to Katy Perry’s hit 2008 single: “Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” But Glaze replied that he’d not had his first kiss yet. “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship,” he explained. Perry then beckoned him to the judge’s desk. He timidly approached and Perry asked for a kiss. Glaze suggested he give her a peck on the cheek, and then he sort of obliged with an air kiss that may or may not have resulted in contact between their respective cheeks.
Perry, however, wasn’t satisfied, noting that the half-hearted effort “didn’t even make the smush sound.” Glaze agreed to go back in for another, presumably real, kiss, and when he did Perry quickly turned her head and stole a kiss on the lips. “Katy!” Glaze said as he backed away. “You didn’t.”
Well she did, and Glaze, after thinking about it for nearly the last six months, told The New York Times that, despite what American Idol posted on Instagram about the kiss, he has mixed feelings about the fleeting lip-lock, saying that he was “uncomfortable” when it happened. “I wanted to save it for my first relationship,” he said. “I wanted it to be special.”
Glaze said he talked it over quite a bit with friends and family and convinced them that Perry’s smooch doesn’t qualify as a genuine first kiss. “They agreed with me that it didn’t really count,” he said. “It was lip contact versus a romantic situation with someone you care about. That’s what a real first kiss is.”
As to whether he regrets the kiss, he was introspect. The judges rejected him after his audition, but the kiss has resulted in him receiving more publicity. “So in that way,” he said, “I’m glad she did it because it’s a great opportunity to get my music out.”
Turns out viewers had mixed feelings about the kiss, too. Some dismissed the kiss as adorable and a fun moment. Meanwhile, others, looking through the lens of the #MeToo movement criticized Perry for subjecting Glaze to a “forced sexual act,” as one Twitter user put it. She also wondered whether Perry had “taken anything from the #MeToo movement.” Others questioned whether a double standard was being applied. “If a male judge kissed a girl like that, IMAGINE the rioting,” one Twitter user declared. And still others maintained that young Benjamin Glaze was nothing more than lucky to have received his first kiss from Katy Perry.
Below watch highlights of the moment.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
The grieving mother of a 12-year-old boy who committed suicide has shared photos of her son’s open casket at his funeral as part of a plea to other parents to help stop bullying. Cheryl Hudson said that her son, Andrew Leach, had faced near-constant harassment from other kids after he came out as a bisexual.
“I didn’t know how to handle it. His dad did talk to a teacher one time,” Hudson told WREG. “But from what we are hearing, there was a group of kids that would go around calling him fat, ugly and worthless.”
In a Facebook post, the devastated mother shared images from her son’s open casket funeral (which can be seen here, though some readers may find the image upsetting).
“I, as a mother, am absolutely crushed. I say I’ve cried all I can cry, but then moments later, I break down again,” she wrote. “My child was such a sweet-natured, fun-loving kid who was easily a Momma’s boy and I don’t think I’ll ever get over this. All your prayers and support have been humbling and overwhelming and I thank you all for everything you’ve done.”
The family has created a GoFundMe page to help raise money to pay for Andrew’s funeral, with any remaining funds to be used to pay for an anti-bullying rally in Desoto County, Mississippi. In another Facebook post, Hudson asked local parents to speak up if their child was also being bullied and to send her names of any bullies that they knew of.
“These bullies are going to be taken care of,” said Hudson. “I buried my baby on Friday. I know you parents out there don’t want this to happen to you. It’s the most heartbreaking thing in the world.”
Read the full story at PEOPLE.
Brazilian artist Marina Amaral has colorized a registration photo taken of a 14-year-old girl who was held at the Auschwitz concentration camp, revealing the cuts and bruises the young teenager suffered at the hands of a guard just prior to the photo being taken. Czeslawa Kwoka and her mother, who were deported from Poland by the Nazis, were among 318 women to be sent on a train on December 13, 1942, to Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp in Oświęcim, Poland. According to survivor Wilhelm Brasse, who said he took the registration photo, the visible facial bruises and cut lip highlighted by the colorization were the result of a savage beating Kwoka endured at the hands of a guard. Just three months later, on March 12, 1943, Kwoka was given a phenol injection into the heart, which put her to death.
12 March 1943 | 14-year old Polish girl Czesława Kwoka (camp no. 26947) was murdered in #Auschwitz with a phenol injection into the heart. She was deported by Germans from Zamość region as part of their plan of creating „living space” in the east. [a thread – 1/4] pic.twitter.com/evdX9MpoL9
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) March 12, 2018
According to Amaral, it can be harder for people to relate to photos of people in black and white than photos in color. By colorizing the photo, Amaral explained, she hoped to remind people that girls such as Kwoka “were human beings who had dreams, ambitions, fears, friends, family, and had all this taken from them.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) March 12, 2018
“When we see the photos in black and white, we get the feeling that those events happened only in the history books,” said Amaral. “By restoring the colors on her face, I was able to show the colors of the blood and the bruises, which made everything even more real … Unfortunately, Czeslawa was just one among millions of others, but the expression on her face — so much fear, and at the same time so much courage, will stay with me forever.”
Read the full story at Metro.
Kim Kardashian West has opened up about her decision to ask a surrogate mother to carry a daughter to term on her behalf, and why she and husband Kanye West selected a female embryo for the pregnancy. Kardashian West’s third child, Chicago, was born on January 15.
“It’s a really tricky thing. What sex do you put in?” she told Elle magazine on the choice about whether to go with a boy or a girl. “I just said, ‘Which one is the healthiest? Pick the healthiest one,’ and that was a girl.”
Kardashian, who suffered from a condition called placenta accreta during the pregnancies for her son Saint, 2, and daughter North, 4, also explained that she would have been risking death if she had given birth naturally once more.
“After giving birth, your placenta is supposed to come out. But mine was stuck,” she told Elle. “That’s what women usually die from in childbirth — you hemorrhage and bleed to death and they can’t stop it.”
“To get it out — it’s so disgusting — the doctor had to stick his whole arm in me and scrape it off. It was the most painful [experience],” the 37-year-old reality TV star added. She gave the world a glimpse of Chicago with a post on Instagram late last month.
The experience of using a surrogate, Kardashian West said, was simultaneously difficult and easy. While she had never relished the experience of being pregnant, she explained, she “still wished I could have done it on my own.”
“The control is hard at the beginning,” said Kardashian West. “Once you let that go, it’s the best experience. I would recommend surrogacy for anybody.”
Read the full story at Yahoo News.
Viewers who tuned into ABC’s The View on Tuesday saw something they don’t often see: One of the co-hosts apologizing to the Vice President of the United States. But it was a moment that had been bitterly sought by many who were offended by comments Joy Behar had made on the air last month.
On Tuesday, Behar issued her mea culpa, saying, “So, I think Vice President Pence is right; I was raised to respect everyone’s religious faith, and I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said. Behar called Pence on the phone and apologized prior to making the on-air apology, a gesture that Pence lauded Behar for having made.
Appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Monday, the vice president said, “I give Joy Behar a lot of credit. She picked up the phone. She called me. She was very sincere. And she apologized. One of the things my faith teaches me is grace. Forgive as you have been forgiven.”
On a February episode of The View, the co-hosts were discussing a clip from Celebrity Big Brother in which Omarosa Manigault was talking about, among other things, having gotten to know Pence, and said, “He thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I’m like, ‘Jesus ain’t saying that.’”
Behar then quipped, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct, hearing voices.” Pence criticized her at the time for having offended “tens and millions of Americans.”
The comment sparked considerable outrage, and the Media Research Center, a right-wing group, organized an effort in which people made phone calls to sponsors of The View and urged them to pull their ads, and then besieged ABC with complaint calls.
As for Behar and Pence’s phone conversation, her manager and Pence’s team agreed that the call was amiable and that the two discussed their Catholic upbringings, however both sides quibbled over whether or not Behar used a particular word to describe what ignited the controversy. Watch a highlight of Behar’s apology below.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
Growing up among the Maasai, a semi-nomadic people who inhabit parts of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania and continue to pursue their traditional way of life, Nice Leng’ete was set to undergo ritual circumcision at age 8. But she knew that she would be forced to leave school afterward, and would likely soon be married, so she begged her grandfather to let her delay the ceremony. She was shunned by her community, faced condemnation from her village, but also became the only girl from her community to go to high school. It was then, she said, that she started thinking about how to help other girls like herself avoid circumcision, or female genital mutilation (FGM).
“We lost a girl because of circumcision. So I saw that in this community,” she told BBC News. “After circumcision they are married off at the age of 10, 12 … I started helping girls but I thought this is not enough because they go back to their family, they start fights, they run away, then where do I take them? So we kept on fighting with the community and that is when I realized we need to find a way of talking to them.”
So Nice violated her community’s traditions once more, this time by speaking directly to her tribe’s men and elders about the possibility of ending the practice of FGM and allowing girls to pursue educations if they so chose.
“It’s not easy because a woman is not supposed to talk in front of men in this community,” said Nice. “But I knew fighting female genital mutilation — it takes time. I wanted to use education as a way of convincing them. We really need to invest in girls’ education the same way we invest in the boys’ education.”
After years of such efforts, Nice managed to secure a meeting with the Maasai elders council at Mt. Kilimanjaro — becoming the first woman to ever address the council. The meeting proved a historic success, as the elders soon declared that FGM would be banned among Maasai living in Kenya and Tanzania. Nice, who now works with Amref Health Africa, is currently involved in efforts to modify Maasai coming of age ceremonies to exclude FGM without compromising her people’s efforts to retain their culture.
“So we said, in the whole process of eliminating female genital mutilation, what is harmful is just the cut,” she explained. “So let us do away with the cut, and let all the other rituals that are performed during circumcision remain. Because morally we need to feel like we are still owning our culture. That is good.”
In so doing, she added, she was also able to realize her other goal — enabling young girls to obtain an education.
“For the last seven years we’ve been able to reach over 15,000 girls who are now women without the cut, and they’re in school,” Nice told BBC News. “I feel, with books and pens, when we invest in girls education, they will become professors, doctors and teachers, journalists, anything they want to become. And that is my hope, that all of them will be able to get an education.”
Watch BBC News interview with Nice below.