Oct 12
Her eye on the news
First-person POV

Earlier this week, Dove apologized for a controversial body wash ad, which showed a black woman taking off her shirt, which caused her to “change into” a white woman. The brief internet ad was widely condemned as racist. Now, Lola Ogunyemi, the model featured in the ad, has spoken out about the uproar over the ad. In an Op-Ed published by The Guardian, Ogunyemi challenges the narrative that the ad was inherently racist.

She discusses how she “jumped” at the opportunity of being featured in a Dove ad as a dark-skinned woman, since darker skin is still being marginalized in the beauty industry. “I had been excited to be a part of the commercial and promote the strength and beauty of my race, so for it to be met with widespread outrage was upsetting,” she writes. “If I had even the slightest inclination that I would be portrayed as inferior, or as the “before” in a before and after shot, I would have been the first to say an emphatic “no.”

She goes on to describe her positive experience with the Dove team and her understanding that the ad would highlight the idea that “all skin deserves gentleness.” After seeing the first 13-second clip — of her, a white woman and an Asian woman changing into each other — she said she felt proud, as she did with the full version, that shows seven women of different races and ages.  However, she says she can see how the snapshots that circulate would lead to a misinterpretation, and understands the public outrage.

“Having said that, I can also see that a lot has been left out,” she added. “The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion.” Instead of apologizing for causing offense, she argues, Dove could also have defended their creative vision and highlighted why they chose to feature “unequivocally dark-skinned black woman” as the face of its campaign. “I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign,” Ogunyemi added. “I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased.” She also spoke out in a video Op-Ed for the BBC. Watch that below.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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Under scrutiny

Anne-Marie Losique, a Canadian TV personality and singer found herself caught in a stream of accusations against Ben Affleck when an interview she did with the actor 13 years ago resurfaced, and people saw it as an example of his inappropriate treatment of women. Amid the accusations, Affleck apologized on Wednesday after another clip that appeared to show him groping actress Hilarie Burton during a 2003 appearance on MTV’s TRL surfaced on social media.

In the 2003 promotional interview for Affleck’s movie Jersey Girl, the actor can be seen with Losique sitting on his lap. As the interview progresses, Affleck is seen squeezing her in a lascivious manner, and making raunchy remarks about her cleavage, among other things. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, however, Losique claims the interview is being taken out of context and unfairly used against Affleck. “This was for the camera,” Losique said. “You have to understand that we have done dozens and dozens of interviews like that. It was for a show I was producing, so I was not at all a victim. When the cameras rolled, we would start to do that game. As soon as it stopped rolling, there was none of that. He never touched me in any improper way. He was very respectful, I must say.”

Losique stressed that there were at least 20 people in the room when they taped the segment, and both of them knew it would be aired on TV and the internet. After Affleck condemned Harvey Weinstein for assaulting and harassing several women, he became a target himself for allegations of inappropriate behavior, but Losique said she does not want this interview to be thrown in with the other stories “because I don’t think that is at all the same thing.” She did however share her own uncomfortable experience with Weinstein, who she met a couple of times.  “I knew he was a player. He did invite me once at the Toronto Film Festival to go up to his suite for an interview. Of course I did not go. And it stopped there. He said, ‘I would be more comfortable in my suite.’ I said, ‘Umm, no.’ I am not saying something would have happened, but I made sure nothing happened.”

Watch the full interview from 2003 below.

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.


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‘Hi, mom’

A 15-year-old girl who escaped Raqqa following the fall of the former ISIS capital has told Holly Williams of CBS This Morning that she was brought to Syria against her will five years ago by her father.

“I’m from Kansas. I’ve been in Syria for five years,” the girl said, her face shrouded by a full burka during the interview.

“We were afraid of him, we didn’t trust him,” the young teenager said of her father. “We were just quiet. Shut up, sit down. You’re in your house, you have nothing to say. Be glad your head isn’t chopped off.” Her father, she added, was later killed.

Left alone without her father’s protection, she married a Syrian man who she said was also killed in an airstrike. She is now six months pregnant.

The girl said that she witnessed death and destruction during the siege of Raqqa firsthand, and that “everywhere you walked, if you see a bombed building, you smell the smells of the bodies.”

She now hopes to reunite with what is left of her family, including her mother, who she believes is still living in the U.S.

“I still have hope, hope to go to school, hope to be a normal person, hope to be a mother to my child. There’s a lot of stories that I could tell you. Five years with ISIS, you would see a lot,” the girl said. “Hi Mom, please, if you see this video, please contact me.”

According to CBS This Morning, the girl has been taken into custody by U.S. backed Syrian forces. It is not yet known whether she has been handed over to U.S. authorities.

Watch the full interview below.


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Serial predator

Kate Beckinsale has revealed that she was targeted by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein several times — the first time, she said, was when she was just 17.

“I was called to meet Harvey Weinstein at the Savoy Hotel when I was 17. I assumed it would be in a conference room, which was very common,” Beckinsale wrote on Instagram. “When I arrived, reception told me to go to his room. He opened the door in his bathrobe. I was incredibly naive and young and it did not cross my mind that this older, unattractive man would expect me to have any sexual interest in him.”

In the end, Beckinsale wrote, she escaped the encounter “uneasy but unscathed.” But when she encountered Weinstein again a few years later, he asked her if he had “tried anything” with her that night.

“I realized he couldn’t remember if he had assaulted me or not,” Beckinsale wrote. “I said no to him professionally many times over the years — some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a cunt and making threats … It speaks to the status quo in this business that I was aware that standing up for myself and saying no to things, while it did allow me to feel uncompromised in myself, undoubtedly harmed my career and was never something I felt supported by anyone other than my family.”

I was called to meet Harvey Weinstein at the Savoy Hotel when I was 17. I assumed it would be in a conference room which was very common.When I arrived ,reception told me to go to his room . He opened the door in his bathrobe . I was incredibly naive and young and it did not cross my mind that this older ,unattractive man would expect me to have any sexual interest in him .After declining alcohol and announcing that I had school in the morning I left ,uneasy but unscathed.A few years later he asked me if he had tried anything with me in that first meeting .I realized he couldn't remember if he had assaulted me or not .I had what I thought were boundaries – I said no to him professionally many times over the years-some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a cunt and making threats, some of which made him laughingly tell people oh "Kate lives to say no to me ." It speaks to the status quo in this business that I was aware that standing up for myself and saying no to things,while it did allow me to feel uncompromised in myself,undoubtedly harmed my career and was never something I felt supported by anyone other than my family.I would like to applaud the women who have come forward , and to pledge that we can from this create a new paradigm where producers,managers,executives and assistants and everyone who has in the past shrugged and said " well, that's just Harvey /Mr X/insert name here " will realize that we in numbers can affect real change.For every moment like this there have been thousands where a vulnerable person has confided outrageous unprofessional behavior and found they have no recourse, due to an atmosphere of fear that it seems almost everyone has been living in .I had a male friend who, based on my experience,warned a young actress who said she was going to dinner with Harvey to be careful. He received a phone call the next day saying he would never work in another Miramax film ;the girl was already sleeping with Harvey and had told him that my friend had warned her off.Let's stop allowing our young women to be sexual cannon fodder,and let's remember that Harvey is an emblem of a system that is sick,and that we have work to do.

A post shared by Kate Beckinsale (@katebeckinsale) on

In an essay for The Guardian, actress Léa Seydoux also described a disturbing hotel encounter with Weinstein in which he “suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me.”

“I had to defend myself. He’s big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him. I left his room, thoroughly disgusted. I wasn’t afraid of him, though. Because I knew what kind of man he was all along,” Seydoux wrote.

Weinstein, who is reportedly heading to sex rehab, has been accused by 3 women of rape and by many more of sexual assault. Weinstein has said that he hopes to come back from rehab with “fresh, new ideas.” Meanwhile, criminal investigations are being opened in two countries in the wake of the allegations. The NYPD on Thursday confirmed that it was investigating accusations from a 2004 incident, HuffPost reported. The blockbuster story published by The New Yorker earlier this week contained accusations by actress Lucia Stoller, who said that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 at his Manhattan office. And The Guardian reported that London’s Metropolitan Police have opened up an investigation into sexual abuse allegations made against Weinstein.

Read the full story at Indie Wire and The Guardian.


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In new bombshell report, 3 women accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape

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‘Kill list’

Sally Jones, a British-born former punk rocker who fled to Syria and become one of ISIS’s most well-known recruiters, has reportedly been killed alongside her 12-year-old son in an American drone strike. Jones had become so notorious she was better known by her nickname, the “White Widow.”

“The Americans zapped her trying to get away from Raqqa. Quite frankly, it’s good riddance,” a British source told The Sun.

Jones had reportedly been high on the U.S. military’s “kill list” as a result of her recruitment campaign attempting to lure young Western girls to Syria to become jihadi brides. Jones had last been seen fleeing Raqqa, the former ISIS capital that in recent days had been recaptured by U.S.-backed forces.

Jones’ 12-year-old son had not been considered a target or an enemy combatant by the U.S., but a British official told The Times of London that he had also likely been killed in the strike. Jones’ husband, Junaid Hussain, had also been linked to terrorism. He was killed in an airstrike in 2015.

Read the full story at Fox News.


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Socially challenged

Actress Rose McGowan was temporarily suspended by Twitter early on Thursday morning for “tweets that violate our rules,” according to a screen shot of the notice she received from the social media platform alerting her to the suspension. Twitter later explained in a series of tweets that her account had been frozen because she posted a private phone number in a tweet, which is a violation of the platform’s terms of services.

McGowan took to another social media platform — Instagram — to inform followers that she’d been suspended by Twitter. “TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME. THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE. #ROSEARMY,” she wrote in the message accompanying the screen shot explaining her suspension.

McGowan has been active on Twitter in recent days since the bombshell reports on movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct have emerged. The first report that opened the floodgates, published in The New York Times, revealed that Weinstein reached a $100,000 settlement in 1997 over claims McGowan made stemming from an encounter in a hotel room. This week, McGowan had been critical of Ben Affleck, who issued a rebuke of Weinstein on his Twitter account. McGowan contended that Affleck was lying about not being aware of Weinstein’s mistreatment of women over the years.

In its message to McGowan, Twitter said her account, which was still publicly visible throughout the suspension, would be suspended temporarily and could be restored if she deleted the offending tweets — however, it wasn’t initially clear which tweets had violated the platform’s terms of service.

Many on social media were wondering Thursday why McGowan was suspended but President Donald Trump, known for unleashing incendiary tweets multiple times a week, has never been suspended from the platform. Twitter addressed that issue a few weeks ago, after Trump had posted a tweet threatening North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In a thread posted on Twitter, the company said that it had left up the controversial tweet by Trump due to its “newsworthiness” and high “public interest.”

In response to McGowan’s suspension, many took to Twitter to blast Twitter for the decision. Some, like Jessica Chastain, called on Twitter to be more transparent about what rules McGowan violated.

And some called for a boycott of Twitter, using the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter to organize and call attention to the idea.

As the outrage mounted on Thursday morning, Twitter addressed the issue and said that it had been in touch with McGowan’s representatives. In a series of tweets, the company explained that one of her tweets had included a private phone number. That tweet has been deleted, Twitter said, and with it’s deletion, McGowan’s account was unlocked. The company added that it is “proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power.”

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


Ben Affleck apologizes for groping actress Hilarie Burton 14 years ago

Rose McGowan condemns Hollywood for ‘harassment and abuse of actresses’

Rose McGowan fired by agent for criticizing sexist role