Nov 09
Her eye on the news
Finding a voice

Actress Ellen Page wrote an emotional Facebook post on Friday in which she said her decision to work with Woody Allen “is the biggest regret of my career.” She appeared in the 2012 film To Rome With Love, which was written and directed by Allen, and also featured other prominent Hollywood stars like Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Jesse Eisenberg.

“I did a Woody Allen movie and it is the biggest regret of my career. I am ashamed I did this,” Page wrote in the post. “I had yet to find my voice and was not who I am now and felt pressured, because ‘of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.’ Ultimately, however, it is my choice what films I decide to do and I made the wrong choice. I made an awful mistake.”

Few people in Hollywood have publicly called out Woody Allen for the sexual assault allegations that have been made against him, and some, like Kate Winslet, have taken heat for defending the decision to work with him. Page did not elaborate on why she so deeply regrets having worked with Allen, however the anecdote was part of a larger point she makes about the sex and power dynamics in Hollywood that have been stirred up since the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted last month.

She also recounted a particularly uncomfortable encounter with Brett Ratner, the director who’s been accused by numerous women of various forms of sexual misconduct. Page wrote that at a a cast and crew “meet and greet” before filming on X Men: The Last Stand began, Ratner outed her as gay before she had publicly come out of the closet — or even realized the nature of her own sexuality. “I was eighteen years old. He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: ‘You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.'”

She continued, recalling, “I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea. He ‘outed’ me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic.”

She goes on to recount the run-ins she had with Ratner during her time making the film, and how she says he acted with impunity on the set and she was reprimanded when she stood up to him.

“What I want the most, is for this to result in healing for the victims,” she wrote. “For Hollywood to wake up and start taking some responsibility for how we all have played a role in this.”

Read her complete post below.


New book alleges Dylan Farrow was coached into accusing Woody Allen of sexual abuse

Kate Winslet criticized for ‘clumsily’ and ‘awkwardly’ defending decision to work with Woody Allen

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A former publicist for NXIVM, a “self-help” group that claims to empower women, has alleged that Smallville actress Allison Mack has recruited as many as 25 women to serve as slaves for herself and the group’s leader, Keith Raniere.

Speaking with The Sun, former NXIVM publicist Frank Parlato said that Mack had been brainwashed by Raniere into gathering up women for a subset of the group called DOS, which he said stood for “dominus obsequious sororium” — Latin for “master over the slave women.” Emails shared with The Sun showed that “slaves” were expected to fast 12 hours a day, take cold showers to “build capacity for love through the tolerance of pain,” and to obey Mack’s commands 24 hours a day. The slaves were also reportedly required to provide “collateral” such as nude pictures, confessions to crimes, or financial information each month so that the group could be sure of their loyalty. Screenshots obtained by The Sun of a “collateral” Dropbox showed names of Mack’s alleged slaves — including Dr. Danielle Roberts, a licensed doctor who is under investigation in New York after allegedly branding women involved in NXIVM, as revealed in an explosive New York Times report last month.

According to Parlato, Mack “is both a victim and a perpetrator.”

“She is a victim because she has been brainwashed by Raniere and she is his ‘slave’. So she has to run 64 kilometers a week and keep a strict 500 to 800 calorie a day diet. But she has also recruited many women to this cult,” said Parlato. “One of the things that is a terrible concept to Allison is that she is ordered to find Raniere bed partners and she is conflicted because she really wants to be with him.”

In the interview with The Sun, Parlato spoke at length about the workings of the alleged cult — and the millionaire heiresses he claims fund the whole operation.

Read the full story at The Sun.


WATCH: Cult survivor Iasia Sweeting performs her powerful poem ‘Discovery’

Kittens and creationism: looking into a Turkish ‘feminist’ cult

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.

‘An inspiration’

A crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $50,000 and counting in just four days for a 50-year-old mother of two who was fired after being seen giving President Trump’s motorcade the finger in a viral photo.

“Juli Briskman is an inspiration to us all,” reads the GoFundMe campaign, which is titled Thank You Juli Briskman. “She was fired from her employer for exercising her First Amendment rights.”

In an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Briskman said she was on a bike ride when she saw Trump’s motorcade passing by her.

“All my frustration about this administration just welled up inside me and I started thinking about the things that I think are going wrong right now in the country,” Briskman told Kelly. “That was the only way I had to give him the message I wanted to give him. It felt great. It was like I got to tell him how I really feel.”

Briskman had told The Huffington Post that she was fired from her company, government contractor Akima LLC, after she made the viral photo her cover image on Facebook. She said company officials told her that posting “obscene” images in social media violated company policy. But speaking with Kelly, Briskman noted that she had once flagged a colleague’s obscene Facebook behavior.

“He did not get fired,” she told Kelly. “He was allowed to clean up his Facebook page. They clearly treated me differently. It was not equal application of their social media policy.”

Watch an excerpt of Briskman’s interview with Kelly below.

Read the full story at The Hill.


Woman seen in viral photo giving Trump the finger fired from job

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Trump is propelling a record number of women to run for office


A Sunday school teacher killed in the mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs reportedly saved her 18-year-old grandson by shielding him with her body, according to The Associated Press. The teenager then reportedly followed his grandmother’s example by risking his life to save a small child.

Peggy Warden, 56, was one of 26 people who were killed during the fatal shooting in Texas on Sunday. Her grandson, Zach Poston, survived the attack, and told Warden’s brother, Jimmy Stevens, about her selfless act of heroism while recovering in the hospital on Thursday.

“Basically, Peggy stood up and just shielded over him while the shooter was shooting. And when she got hit in the back he said he turned — because he heard her — and when he turned to see if she was OK, she passed away immediately,” said Stevens.

Stevens added that Poston had been shot in the arms, legs, and side, when he noticed a small child who was trying to stand up from underneath a pew. As Poston shoved the child back underneath it, he was shot once more in the leg.

“He took what Peggy gave him and he passed it on to help someone else,” Steven said. It is believed that the child also survived the attack.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


Texas church shooter reportedly tried to bribe women to be with him

Gunman behind Texas church rampage had history of domestic violence

Grieving woman says husband died in Las Vegas shooting rampage while saving her life


In the world of gymnastics, Aly Raisman is one of the biggest names. She’s a six-time Olympic medal winner, three-time gold medalist and, in a new interview with 60 Minutes that will air on Sunday night, she says she, too, was sexually assaulted by an elite doctor who worked for USA Gymnastics.

Raisman, 23, also writes about her experiences in a new book titled Fierce. She is the most high-profile athlete to come forward with allegations of misconduct agains Dr. Larry Nassar, who has had a slew of charges made against him. Over the summer, he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and is awaiting sentencing.

Raisman says she was first treated by Nassar as a 15-year-old. In the interview, she expressed anger at USA Gymnastics’ handling of Nassar and the women as the scandal has continued to widen.

Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is seen in the 55th District Court where Judge Donald Allen Jr. bound him over on June 23, 2017 in Mason, Michigan to stand trial on 12 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

“I am angry. I’m really upset because it’s been — I care a lot you know, when I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is, I just — I can’t. Every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think — I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this,” Raisman said in a clip from the interview released by CBS News.

Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 130 women, many of them former gymnasts. The Michigan-based doctor has been accused of digitally penetrating the girls while in an examination room alone with them and providing treatment for injuries. USA Gymnastics told 60 Minutes in a statement that the group has implemented  a “safe sport policy” that involves the “mandatory reporting” of suspicions of sexual abuse and also sets standards to “prevent inappropriate interaction” between athletes and coaches, trainers and doctors. “USA Gymnastics is very sorry that any athlete has been harmed.” the statement says. “We want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.” Below, watch some clips of Raisman’s appearance on 60 Minutes.

Read the full story at CBS News.


Gymnast Lindsay Lemke opens up about sexual abuse by team doctor

Former U.S. gymnasts break silence on alleged sexual abuse by team doctor

USA Gymnastics doctor may evade charges for sexual assault during the Olympics


Embattled comedian Louis C.K. issued a statement to the media on Friday addressing the bombshell New York Times report in which five women, four of them who identified themselves in the story, accused the popular comic of sexual misconduct, having forced them to watch him masturbate at various points over the years.

“These stories are true,” the comic said in the statement. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”

The Times report, even before it was published, triggered sweeping fallout for Louis C.K., as the New York premiere of his new film I Love You, Daddy was canceled, he was dropped from an appearance on CBS’ Late Show, and HBO dumped him from a comedy benefit he was slated to appear in and said his work would be purged from the network’s on-demand services. Meanwhile, friends and peers from the comedy world, and many from other industries, expressed their disappointment with his behavior, which had been something of an open secret.

“There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with,” he added in the statement, and concluding, “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”

And he will certainly have the time to listen. On Friday, amid widespread condemnation, The Associated Press reported that the release of his film has now been canceled. Below, read Louis C.K.’s complete statement, which was posted on Twitter by CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy.


Women come forward with upsetting stories of sexual misconduct by comedian Louis C.K.

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman adds her name to long list of gymnasts accusing top doctor of sexual assault