Oct 09
Her eye on the news
Free speech?

Inspired by the NFL kneeling protests during the national anthem that have stirred up much controversy over the last few weeks, India Landry, a 17-year-old senior decided to stage her own protest at her Houston high school. Landry claims that for the past school year, she has been refusing to “stand for the pledge because it goes against everything I believe in,” a move that barely got noticed — until it got her expelled on October 2, when school officials told her “this isn’t the NFL.” Kizzy Landry, the girl’s mother, has now filed a lawsuit against the school, which claims that the school assistant principal had warned her she “was going to stand for the pledge like the other African-American in her class.” When she refused, the lawsuit says, she was told, “Well you’re kicked outta here.”

The school district claims no students from campus for refusing to stand for the pledge, but did not provide further details, saying that it would “address this situation internally.” According to the lawsuit, her mother repeatedly tried to convince the school to lift the suspension, but was told her daughter “must stand for the pledge to be let back in at Windfern.” Only after a local TV news story on the controversy aired, India was allowed to return to school, and remain seated during the pledge.

Read the full story The Washington Post.


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War of words

Melania Trump has denounced Ivana Trump, the first wife of the president, as “self-serving” for claiming that she is “first lady.”

While promoting her new book, Raising Trump, on ABC’s Good Morning America, Ivana said she speaks to her husband about once every two weeks, and has a “direct line” to the White House.

“I [don’t] really want to call him there, because Melania is there,” added. “And I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that, because I’m basically first Trump wife. OK? I’m first lady.”

Melania responded to the comments in a terse statement provided by her spokeswoman Barbara Grisham. “[Mrs. Trump] loves living in Washington, D.C. and is honored by her role as First Lady of the United States,” the statement read, according to the BBC. “She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books.

“There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex. Unfortunately only attention seeking and self-serving noise.”

Ivana was married to Donald Trump between 1977 and 1992. They divorced after Trump’s affair with Marla Maples, who eventually became his second wife, surfaced. Ivana is the mother of three of the president’s children: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. Below, watch Ivana’s full interview on GMA.


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Tone deaf

Dove has apologized for a three-second Facebook ad that drew criticism for its depiction of women of color.

The ad in question showed a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman, who in turn takes off her shirt to reveal another woman. “Ready for a Dove Shower?” the tagline reads.

According to The Washington Post, the promo was released on Saturday afternoon. Social media users quickly seized upon the ad for intimating that the black woman is dirty, while the white woman is clean. Dove quickly apologized.

“An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully,” the company wrote on Twitter. “We deeply regret the offense it caused.”

But Dove’s statement, which did not explain what the ad was trying to convey and how it came to be approved, did little to appease incensed consumers. By Monday morning, #BoycottDove was trending on Twitter.

As the BBC points out, this is not the first time that Dove has been criticized for its racially insensitive advertisements. In 2011, the company ran an advertisement for a body wash that showed three women lined up from darkest to lightest skin color in front of two panels labeled “before” and “after.” Though the panels referred to skin dryness, the ad seemed to suggest that the light-skinned woman was the end result of using the product.

In 2015, the company once again found itself in hot water when it released a skin product that was marketed as a “nourishing lotion for normal to dark skin.”


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In a newly published Marie Claire profile, Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, opens up about the difficulties of covering a highly unusual presidency — and about the widely-condemned comments lobbed at her by President Trump in June.

After Brzezinski and her fellow co-host Joe Scarborough criticized Trump during their show, the president went on a Twitter rant against the couple, calling them “crazy” and “dumb.” Then came the lowest blow: “Low IQ Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me,” Trump wrote. “She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

The strange and degrading comment drew condemnation across party lines. But Brzezinski was not particularly flustered. “Are you kidding me? Bleeding from a facelift… What? It’s deranged,” she told Marie Claire. “I will tell you, the month after it happened I got mobbed in the streets by people saying ‘I am so sorry.’”

“I really don’t care if he wants to say that I look … whatever,” she noted, but added, “I’m worried that he’s doing it!”

Read the full profile at Marie Claire.


Trump condemned by pretty much everyone after ugly, sexist attack on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski


Meryl Streep has spoken out against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has quietly settled with at least eight women over sexual harassment claims, according to a bombshell report published five days ago in The New York Times.

In a statement provided to HuffPost, Streep called the alleged behavior by Weinstein “disgraceful,” and said that the women who have spoken out against the movie mogul are “heroes.” She also asserted that she was not previously aware of any allegations of impropriety against the famed producer.

“Not everybody knew,” Streep wrote. “Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses.”

“The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar,” she added. “Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.”

Streep joins a chorus of actors who have spoken out against Weinstein since the allegations about him surfaced. Kate Winslet described his behavior as “gross misconduct,” while the actress Romola Garai recounted a “humiliating” encounter she had with Weinstein. The actors’ labor union SAG-AFTRA condemned the producer in a statement.

On Sunday, Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company, which he co-founded. The day before, high-powered attorney Lisa Bloom abruptly stepped down as Weinstein’s legal adviser as new accusations came to light.

Read the full story at HuffPost.


Report says movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has reached settlements with 8 women over sexual harassment accusations

Allegations piling up

Days after The New York Times published an explosive report detailing how movie mogul Harvey Weinstein quietly reached settlements with eight women over the years who have accused him of sexual harassment, The New Yorker on Tuesday published a report in which 13 women came forward with similar allegations. Three women that Ronan Farrow, the report’s author, spoke with claimed Weinstein had raped them.

Asia Argento, an Italian movie actress and director, told Farrow that Weinstein had raped her about two decades ago, and she never spoke up about it out of fear of retribution. “I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento told Farrow. “That’s why this story — in my case, it’s 20 years old, some of them are older — has never come out.” Argento, who was 21 at the time of the alleged assault, said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her. “When I see him, it makes me feel little and stupid and weak,” she said in the emotional interview with Farrow. “After the rape, he won.”

All told, some 13 women came forward with a range of allegations against Weinstein. One of the most recent accusations, which made headlines in 2015, was made by an Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. She accused the movie titan, who was 63 at the time, of groping her during a meeting at a New York City hotel room. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to press charges in the case, but The New Yorker unearthed audio made from a sting operation the NYPD ran during the investigation. In the audio recording, captured in the hallway of the hotel, outside Weinstein’s room, Weinstein can be heard repeatedly badgering Battilana Gutierrez to enter his hotel room. She repeatedly declines his offers, citing his touching her breast the day before as the reason she was uncomfortable being alone with him. Weinstein dismissed the gravity of that unwanted touching, saying it’s just something he’s “used to.”

Meanwhile, the fallout continues for Weinstein and the accusations continue piling up. Deadline reported that The Weinstein Company, which fired him over the weekend, will now pull his name from the credits of TV shows and movies he worked on.

And on Tuesday afternoon, The New York Times published a report in which major movie stars, like Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette, came forward with accusations of sexual harassment against the embattled movie mogul. Paltrow told Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Rachel Abrams that her encounter with Weinstein occurred when she was 22, just before filming was set to begin for Emma, a movie that would propel her to stardom. Similar to many of the other claims that have been leveled, Paltrow said Weinstein invited her to his room at a Beverly Hills hotel and touched her without invitation and then suggested that they give each other massages. She declined the offer. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said. But Paltrow said she told Brad Pitt, whom she was dating at the time, about the unwanted advances. Pitt, she said, then confronted Weinstein about the encounter, and told him not to touch her again. Weinstein, Paltrow said, responded by issuing a harshly-worded threat to her, ordering her not to tell anyone else about the meeting. “I thought he was going to fire me,” Paltrow recalled.

Listen to the audio Weinstein harassing Battilana Gutierrez below.

Read the full story at The New Yorker and The New York Times.


Meryl Streep on Harvey Weinstein: ‘The abuse of power is familiar’

Report says movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has reached settlements with 8 women over sexual harassment accusations