Jun 13
Her eye on the news
Football life

A former cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys filed a lawsuit against the team on Tuesday and is seeking “unpaid overtime wages, minimum wages, and all other available damages” for what she alleges was an unfair work environment.

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court, Erica Wilkins claims she and other cheerleaders were paid just $8 an hour — a salary three times less than “Rowdy,” the team’s mascot, who was paid $25. The lawsuit accused the Cowboys of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Equal Pay Act.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Wilkins worked for the team from 2014 until August of last year. She also alleges that the Cowboys sometimes failed to pay her and that when she added her total earnings and divided by the number of hour she worked for the team, the hourly rate did not even amount to the federal and state minimum wage: $7.25 per hour. Among her game-day cheerleading and practice duties, Wilkins also appeared in the reality show Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, which airs on the CMT network.

NFL teams have come under the microscope in recent months for their treatment of cheerleaders, whom often work long grueling hours for minimal pay and are expected to adhere to strict beauty and physical fitness standards. One team, documents showed, gave cheerleaders explicit instructions on how they should wash their vaginas, among a long list of other best personal grooming practices.

And in April, another former cheerleader sued the New Orleans Saints for gender discrimination after she was fired over a racy photo she posted on social media. In that lawsuit, the plaintiff, Bailey Davis alleged that the team had a policy that stipulated a strict ban on cheerleaders even appearing to co-mingle with the players. “If I were eating in a restaurant and a player walks in, I had to leave,” Davis said in an interview. “We couldn’t follow them on Instagram, or like their pictures. If an official photo from the Saints account was a photo of a player alone, we couldn’t ‘like’ the photo,” Davis revealed. “It wasn’t until I was fired that I learned only cheerleaders had those rules.

For more on the story and to hear Wilkins discuss why she’s suing, watch the video below.

Read the full story The Dallas Morning News and review the entire lawsuit here


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‘Personal terrorist’

The ex-wife of an Arizona man who police say killed six people — four of whom were connected to the couple’s divorce — says she spent nearly a decade in fear of retaliation after he warned her that “he could wait a long time before he would get his revenge.” Connie Jones spent 20 years married to alleged killer Dwight Lamon Jones, who shot and killed himself in Scottsdale, Arizona, last week after police were about to apprehend him for the killings of six people nearby the Phoenix suburb. During their marriage she said, he struggled to hold onto work, refused to shave or cut his hair, and rejected mental health help. After she filed for divorce in 2009, she said he repeatedly threatened to kill her, their son, and himself — periodically warning her that he would wait as long as it took to “get his revenge.”

“I felt that I had a personal terrorist,” Jones said on Tuesday at a press conference. “I had someone who was specifically targeting me, someone who had time and nothing else to do than to think about how to hurt me.”

“I knew that one day we would be in a situation where he was going to try to kill me,” she added.

To escape Jones’ clutches, she hired a retired Phoenix cop to help teach her methods of avoiding detection from her ex-husband. She used a different driving route to work everyday, never visited the same grocery store twice, and stayed with her son at safe houses, where they kept attack-trained dogs on hand to protect them. Her prevention methods kept her safe — and ultimately helped her find her a new love. She is now married to Rick Anglin, the investigator she hired to train her in safety precautions.

Jones, unfortunately, appears to have taken his revenge on people external to his former wife instead. According to police, he killed famed forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt, who examined him under court order during the divorce proceedings, as well as two employees of the attorney who represented Connie Jones during the divorce. A counselor who shared offices with the therapist for Jones’ child was also allegedly murdered by Jones, as well as a man and a woman who used to play tennis with Jones at local parks.

Watch Connie Jones speak about how she survived her former husband below.

Read the full story at CNN.


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State TV

TV viewers in North Korea, who are deprived of the internet and basically cut off from the rest of the world, learned about the historic summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the way they get all their big news: from legendary anchorwoman Ri Chun-hee.

Ri focused on Trump’s concession to cease joint military exercises it periodically holds with South Korea. Watch a highlight from the report via NBC News above. Her signature style even captured the attention of Trump later in the week when he saw a clip of her broadcast, The Washington Post reported. According to anonymous White House sources cited by the Post, the president was taken with how positively Ri spoke about the North Korean dictator as she delivered the news.

“The U.S. president expressed his intention to halt the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, which the DPRK (North Korean) side regards as provocation, over a period of goodwill dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. (and his intention to) offer security guarantees to the DPRK and lift sanctions against it as mutual relations improve through dialogue and negotiation,” Ri tells viewers in the news bulletin on Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“Dear Respected Supreme Commander invited Trump to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time and Trump invited Kim to visit the U.S. The two top leaders gladly accepted each other’s invitations and are convinced that it would serve as another important occasion for improved DPRK-U.S. relations.”

The video from NBC has been edited and it’s worth noting that Ri makes no mention of Kim having signed a joint agreement with Trump pledging denuclearization. However, Reuters reports that the full segment aired by KCNA included the following statement, which was also read by Ri during her portion of the broadcast.

“Kim Jong Un and Trump had the shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The summit between the two bombastic leaders made global headlines and was huge news in North Korea. According to Reuters, the cover of North Korea’s official state newspaper Rodong Sinmun billed the summit as the “the meeting of the century.”

For more of Ri’s work announcing the news of the summit, watch the video below.


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‘Relics of the past’

Former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards issued a stark warning about a rising conservative wave of attacks on abortion rights on Wednesday, a trend that she hopes can be stayed by the power of an opposing women’s movement. In an Op-Ed for The Los Angeles Times, Richards noted that state governments across the country had taken to passing a myriad of legislation meant to inhibit or prevent women from gaining access to abortion — including Iowa, where lawmakers passed a so-called “heartbeat bill” banning the procedure after just six weeks of pregnancy. In Arkansas, medication abortion was effectively banned outright after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Planned Parenthood — leaving women in Arkansas with no clinics available to them outside of Little Rock, where the state’s only surgical abortion provider is located.

“There is no medical or health reason for this ban on medication abortion,” wrote Richards. “Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, non-invasive medication abortion is safe by all measures — safer than Tylenol and Viagra, even.”

Nonetheless, an Arkansas law barring medical abortions unless providers have a contract with a second doctor with hospital admitting privileges was allowed to take effect by the Supreme Court — in spite of the fact that in 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a near identical restriction passed in Texas three years earlier. These restrictions, Richards said, hurt poor women the most, since they cannot afford to travel out of state and already have limited access to reproductive care. Planned Parenthood is continuing to fight the Arkansas law, but for now, she says, the nearly 20 percent of Arkansas residents living below the poverty line have effectively been stripped of access to abortion.

The silver lining of this disheartening trend, Richards added, is that public support for Roe v. Wade has quietly climbed to 70 percent — the highest, she says, that it’s ever been. And with an unprecedented number of women running for political office, Richards says she’s “hopeful that these harmful policies will soon become relics of the past.”

Read the full Op-Ed at The Los Angeles Times.


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A same-sex couple in New York City was abruptly kicked out of a car by a homophobic Uber driver — and the women caught his tirade on video as he justified having thrown them out of his vehicle. The act of discrimination has sparked outrage and drew a sharp rebuke from Uber’s CEO.

Alex Iovine and her girlfriend, Emma Pichl, had hailed an Uber on Saturday to shuttle them from the borough of Brooklyn across the East River and into lower Manhattan. As the car made its way across the Manhattan bridge, Iovine, 26, and Pichl, 24, kissed each other ever so quickly. But the driver noticed. He suddenly pulled the car over and ordered them to get out.

“He started aggressively coming at us,” Pichl recalled. Iovine then took out her cellphone and began recording video of them pleading with him for an answer as to why he was demanding they leave the car,

“I said the first time, don’t do it,” the driver can be seen in the video responding, referencing the kiss.

Iovine and Pichl then informed the driver that there is nothing illegal about kissing.

“Yeah, it’s illegal,” the driver insisted. “Don’t do that here in the car.”

They informed him video was being recorded and then pressed him on why they were “not allowed to kiss in an Uber.”

“It’s disrespectful,” the driver replied.

“What’s disrespectful?” the women wondered, to which the driver replied, “I don’t want to argue — just get out of my car.”

“You’re gonna get fired,” the women warned him.

“We leaned over and peck kissed,” Iovine told WABC about the incident, exasperated at how such an innocent show of affection erupted into them being kicked out of the car. The two said the kiss was very quick and didn’t go beyond just a kiss. “We’ve never been targeted with such prejudicial behavior,” Iovine marveled.

The driver has been identified as Ahmad El Boutari and his conduct drew condemnation from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “I think they don’t belong driving period,” Khosrowshahi told The New York Post. “This is an open society and Uber is a platform that is available to anybody regardless of your background, your orientation, and that is sacred to us. It’s an unfortunate circumstance and we will do everything we can for that not to repeat.” In April, Khosrowshahi appeared at the Women in the World Summit in April where he was interviewed by Tina Brown and said he was in the midst of trying to reverse some of the ‘absolutely unacceptable’ company culture that had developed over the years at the famed startup.

Iovine and Pichl were refunded the $22 the ride from hell cost them. See footage of the homophobic driver trying to make a case for his discriminatory behavior in the video below.

Read the full story at ABC News.


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‘Poor judgment’

Paul Marciano, the creative director and co-founder of Guess, resigned on Tuesday after an investigation into his alleged abuse of models led to settlements totalling $500,000 with five of his accusers. In a corporate filing, Guess said that Marciano “exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers” and that while some of the accusations against him were unconfirmed by investigators, others were found to be “credible accounts.”

While none of the women who settled with Marciano and Guess were named in the filing, the company said that none of the victims had been made to sign non-disclosure agreements — allowing the women to come forward with their stories of harassment and assault if they so choose. While Marciano has resigned from Guess, the company said that he would nonetheless continue to be paid and remain on the label’s board until January of next year. Lisa Bloom, an attorney representing four of the five women to reach settlements with Guess, wrote in a Tweet that she was “delighted this day has arrived.”

Model Kate Upton. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

News of Marciano’s abuse of women first broke on January 31, when supermodel Kate Upton named him as her abuser in a #MeToo post. In a subsequent interview with TIME magazine, Upton revealed that Marciano had groped her and forcibly kissed her face and neck when she was 18 and doing her professional modeling campaign — recalling that he had justified his grabbing of her breasts by saying he just wanted to “[make] sure they’re real.” At the time of Upton’s allegations, Marciano had denied her claims as “absolutely false” and “preposterous.”

Watch video coverage of the story below.

Read the full story at USA Today.


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'Death penalty'

In a new interview with The New York Times, CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King made some frank comments about the #MeToo movement and her friendship with Charlie Rose, her former colleague who was fired in disgrace by CBS last year amid a hail of sexual misconduct allegations. Since Rose was fired even more accusations of workplace sex harassment have come to light.

King was asked by correspondent Audie Cornish about whether she thinks a backlash to the #MeToo movement will develop. “I do worry about that, because I think when a woman makes an accusation, the man instantly gets the death penalty,” King replied. “There has to be some sort of due process here. All of these inappropriate behaviors are not all the same.” Other feminists have made similar remarks in recent months, though comments by Camille Paglia and Germaine Greer have been more forceful than King’s — and drawn a fair share of criticism.

Gayle King, Charlie Rose, Erica Hill, and Chris Licht of the television show CBS This Morning speak during the CBS portion of the 2012 Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 11, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The 63-year-old newswoman was also asked directly about whether she’s had to reconcile her longtime friendship with Charlie Rose with the claims of sexual misconduct against him. “I don’t feel as if I’ve had to reconcile my feelings. I don’t believe in turning your back on a friend, even when a friend has done something you adamantly disagree with and you’re disappointed in,” King said. “But I also know that you listen to women, and I don’t discount their stories, either.”

The complete interview is brief but covers a lot of ground as King, among other things, explains why she lobbied for a male anchor to replace the vanquished Rose on CBS This Morning. And she discussed her thoughts on the Roseanne Barr racist tweet storm, including how well the media did in covering such an explosive story — and her reaction to ABC canceling Barr’s rebooted sitcom.

Read the full Q&A at The New York Times.


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Making a stand

“This took courage.” That’s how the father of a 5th-grader in New Hampshire summed up a speech his daughter gave in front of their local school board last week. And his description is spot-on.

Delanie Marcotte, a student at the Pollard School in Plaistow, New Hampshire, took a seat last Thursday and read a very personal letter about her personal experiences with bullying thus far in her schooling.

“I have been threatened to get shot in the head with an AK-47 and buried in my backyard and many other things,” Delanie told the school board members. “I ask you, what are you going to do to protect me and my classmates against bullying?

Her father, Todd Marcotte, posted video of her remarks on Facebook. It’s been viewed more than 100,000 times and inspired a hashtag on social media: #standwithdelanie. Her mother, Amy Marcotte, in a statement to a local TV station, applauded her daughter’s fortitude and said she too was bullied at school as a kid. “Quite frankly, she is doing something that I would have never had the guts to do, being bullied myself in high school,” Amy Marcotte said. “We stand by her 100 percent and will do whatever it takes to protect our child.”

“I am here to stand up for every kid that gets bullied,” Delanie said during her speech, which was met with applause from the school board members. Her words got the attention of the school superintendent for the Timberlane Regional School District, Dr. Earl F. Metzler. In a statement given to ABC News, he said, “We will continue to encourage all students to speak up when they see, hear or experience something that makes them uncomfortable. The same holds true for parents and community members. There are many vehicles at Timberlane to share your concerns including, but not limited to, the public comment portion of our School Board agenda. We take all of our stakeholders’ concerns seriously and will give her concerns our undivided attention.”

Below, watch video of Delanie’s speech.


Read the full story at Good Morning America.


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‘A large sum’

Genevieve Via Cava, a New Jersey teacher who spent 45 years helping students with learning disabilities before her death in 2011, saved her humble salary for years so she could set aside $1 million to fund scholarships for special education students seeking post-secondary schooling. The Dumont Public Schools received the stunning donation from Via Cava’s estate this past April, a gift that school superintendent Emanuele Triggiano hailed as a “blessing.” Via Cava, Trigiano said, had continued to visit the school often following her retirement in 1990, and even hinted to him that she planned on making a contribution to the school.

“One day she quietly told me she accumulated a large sum of money and she planned on donating it,” he recalled, adding that he never would have guessed at the sheer magnitude of the “large sum” to which she had referred.

According to Richard Jablonski, a close friend of the late teacher and the executor of her will, Via Cava had lived a frugal life motivated by her family’s difficult experiences during the Depression.

“Her name will go on forever,” he said. “And rightfully so.”

Her million dollar scholarship fund will be used for years to come, with a maximum of $25,000 given to students who qualify. She also reportedly left $100,000 to five other organizations, including the Ramapo Animal Refuge and the Salvation Army.

For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at CNN.


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