3-18-19 U.S. Men Less Concerned Than in 2017 About Sexual Harassment
Seventeen months after the #Metoo movement exploded, U.S. men are less convinced than they were at the start of the movement that sexual harassment in the workplace is a major problem. They are also more likely to believe that people in the workplace are too sensitive to the problem of sexual harassment. Still, on both measures, men show more concern for the issue today than they did in 1998. (Webmaster's comment: So more men think sexual harassment is not a problem at work. They would believe that of course! They want to continue their abuse of women! Male Brutes in the United States dominate the culture!) Majorities of Americans overall still agree that sexual harassment in the workplace is a major problem (62%) and that people in the workplace are not sensitive enough to it (54%), but fewer do so now than in October 2017. Since then, hundreds of high-profile men in the U.S. have been accused of sexual misconduct. Currently, 53% of men say sexual harassment in the workplace is a major problem, down from 66% in 2017. Likewise, the 46% of men who now say people in the workplace aren't sensitive enough to sexual harassment is down, by eight percentage points. At the same time, the changes in women's views are not statistically significant.
- 70% of women, 53% of men say workplace sexual harassment is major problem
- 61% of women, 46% of men think people are not sensitive enough to harassment
- 48% of women say they were sexually harassed, up six points since 2017
3-15-19 TFox News host Tucker Carlson
Fox News host Tucker Carlson refused to apologize this week after radio interviews resurfaced in which Carlson joked about child rape, made crude remarks about women, and called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys.” In appearances on the shock-jock program Bubba the Love Sponge between 2006 and 2011, Carlson defended convicted sex offender and cult leader Warren Jeffs for arranging marriages with teenage girls, saying statutory rape isn’t really rape. In other episodes, Carlson called Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “the biggest white whores in America” and Hillary Clinton “anti-penis,” and said women “just need to be quiet and kind of do what you’re told.” Confronted with his quotes, Carlson said he’d been caught “saying something naughty” but declined to offer “the usual ritual contrition.”
3-13-19 Saudi Arabia puts women's rights activists on trial
A number of women's rights activists have gone on trial in Saudi Arabia in a case that has raised questions about the kingdom's human rights record. Those appearing include Loujain al-Hathloul, a prominent figure in the campaign to win Saudi women the right to drive. She was detained last May. Charges they face are said to include supporting "hostile elements" and could carry long prison sentences. Demands for the women's release have come from around the world. Last week more than 30 countries at the UN Human Rights Council criticised Saudi Arabia for detaining the women. Scrutiny of human rights in the kingdom has intensified since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. As many as 10 women were expected to appear at the criminal court in Riyadh on Wednesday. As well as Ms Hathloul, they include fellow rights activists Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan and Hatoon al-Fassi.Journalists and diplomats have not been allowed to attend the trial. Saudi Arabia has an enduring problem with human rights and, sadly, the case of the detained women activists is only the tip of the iceberg. In practices that have been going on for decades, citizens detained by the authorities can be held incommunicado, denied access to lawyers, kept in the dark about the charges against them and, most worryingly, abused during interrogation and coerced into signing confessions. The Saudi government's reaction is almost invariably the same - it denies all allegations of torture, it fails to punish those who carry it out, and it rejects all international criticism as "unjustified interference in its internal affairs". (Webmaster's comment: The Saudi government has had decades of human rights issues!)
3-11-19 R. Kelly 'sexual abuse' tape given to US authorities
A US man has claimed to have found a video tape allegedly showing R. Kelly "sexually abusing underage African-American girls." Gary Dennis told reporters that he handed the tape to authorities after discovering it at his house. R. Kelly was charged last month with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, three of whom were minors. The R&B artist has denied appearing in the video, and all other charges. If convicted, he faces three to seven years in prison on each count. Mr Dennis, a nursing home worker, said he came across the footage whilst sorting through a box of old video tapes. Whilst not going into detail, Mr Dennis said he saw "[R. Kelly] telling them what to do and what to say, and it appeared that he was in control of the camera." After the discovery he said he had a "moral duty" to notify law enforcement and contacted Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing women who claim to have been sexually abused by R. Kelly. The tape was then turned over to the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Ms Allred said Mr Dennis had no personal connection to the R&B singer and had "no idea" how or when he came to possess the videotape, adding that friends had given him tapes of sporting events in the past. She said the tape appears to show a separate incident from those previously attributed to R. Kelly, but conceded that she could not be "100% certain" the man on the tape was him. "The doubt here is self-evident," said Steve Greenberg, R. Kelly's lawyer. "It is not him. The larger question is what the authorities are doing about the Dennis' possession of what they believe is child pornography in their tape collection."
3-11-19 Fox News host Tucker Carlson in lewd recordings controversy
Audio recordings reveal a top Fox News host using misogynistic and offensive language on a controversial radio show. Tucker Carlson, who speaks on the programme every week, is heard in the recordings from between 2006 and 2011 defending child marriage and making sexual comments about underage girls. He describes women as "extremely primitive" and "basic". The Fox News anchor has invited "anyone who disagrees" with his views to come on his show. Mr Carlson was hired by Fox News in 2009 and has presented an eponymously named daily evening talk show since 2016. The unearthed recordings reveal Mr Carlson calling into a controversial show known as Bubba the Love Sponge. They were published online by the media organisation Matters for America. In the recordings Mr Carlson talks to the host, Todd Clem (known as Bubba the Love Sponge), as well as his anonymous co-host, about a range of current affairs. On several conversations, the three men discuss abuse and sexual scenarios involving children. On two occasions, Mr Carlson lambasts charges against Warren Jeffs, who is in jail for child rape: "Now this guy may be a child rapist," he says, "I'm just telling you that arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old is not the same as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her." When the show host describes 14-year-old girls at Mr Carlson's daughter's school sexually experimenting with each other, he says: "If it weren't my daughter I would love that scenario." He also says that Bill Clinton should divorce his wife Hillary and "take up plural marriage or something with a bunch of teenagers in a foreign country". The three men use extremely offensive and misogynistic language against well-known female figures. Mr Carlson refers to celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton as "the biggest white whores in America", he calls the journalist Arianna Huffington a "pig" and says that Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton are "anti-man". He says that "what gets women going is arguing with them". "You just need to be quiet and kind of do what you're told," he added. When describing Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, Mr Carlson says: "I feel sorry for her in that way. I feel sorry for unattractive women."
3-11-19 Does Denmark have a 'pervasive' rape problem?
In 2017 Denmark was named the second best country for gender equality in the European Union, beaten only by its neighbour Sweden. It was one of only nine countries to hit EU childcare targets, had one of the most gender-equal attitudes to housework, and was one of the few European countries close to achieving a 50:50 parliament, according to the Gender Equality Index. But in a report released last week, Amnesty International warned that Denmark also has "widespread sexual violence" and systemic problems in how it deals with rape. Several studies say that Denmark has the highest prevalence of sexual violence in Europe. The Danish Ministry of Justice estimates that around 5,100 women a year are victims of rape or attempted rape, while the University of Southern Denmark put this figure as high as 24,000 in 2017 - a high number for a country with a relatively small population (5.8 million). That same year, only 890 rapes were reported to the police, of which 535 led to prosecutions, and 94 ended in convictions. Speaking to Amnesty, victims said they often found "the reporting process and its aftermath immensely traumatising", either because they were not believed, they were interrogated by officers, or, in one case, important evidence that was later needed at trial was allegedly not properly collected. The National Danish Police have told BBC News that they are striving to improve how they deal with people reporting rape, and that they are working to new guidelines that were drawn up in 2016. So how did a country with an otherwise impressive record of gender equality end up being named one of the worst on the continent for violence against women?
3-8-19 "Happily Married?"
San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer took a leave of absence this week after being videoed fighting in public with his wife, Pam. After what witnesses said was a 20-minute argument in a San Francisco park, the longtime baseball executive tried to yank his cellphone from his seated wife’s hands, dragging her to the ground as she screamed, “Oh, my God! Help!” As she continued crying out, Baer can be seen on a video published by TMZ.com shouting, “Stop, Pam, stop!” He later said it was an argument “related to a family member,” adding that his wife “fell off her chair” because she had an injured foot. The couple said they remain “happily married.”
3-8-19 "He must behave ‘professionally?"
Emma Thompson has pulled out of the upcoming Skydance Animations movie Luck to protest the studio’s hiring of disgraced former Disney-Pixar chief John Lasseter. In a letter to the studio published last week, Thompson said “it feels very odd to me” that Skydance would employ Lasseter, who left Disney in December following allegations that he repeatedly grabbed, kissed, and harassed co-workers. “If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades,” Thompson wrote, “why would a woman want to work for him if the only reason” he’s stopped doing so is because “it says in his contract that he must behave ‘professionally’?”
3-8-19 Afzal Kohistani: Calls for justice after 'honour killing' activist's murder
Pakistani activists are calling for a high-level judicial inquiry into the murder of a whistleblower who exposed "honour killings" in the country. Afzal Kohistani had warned for years his life was in danger after he brought public attention to the apparent killing of women seen clapping and singing in a video of men dancing. A day after his murder, his family were shocked by the arrest of his nephew. They say he was protecting Mr Kohistani and fired at his attackers. Mr Kohistani was shot dead on Wednesday in the city of Abbottabad, in north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He first emerged into the public eye in 2012 by calling for justice in a case involving his family in remote Kohistan district. Two of his younger brothers were seen dancing in a wedding video that also showed four women singing and clapping. The four women, along with a fifth, were later killed for "breaching the honour" of their family, it is alleged. Such "honour killings" occur regularly in Pakistan, especially in rural areas, and Mr Kohistani's decision to expose the alleged murders sparked a blood feud, with three of his other brothers later killed. Activist groups that supported Mr Kohistani's long fight for justice have called on the courts to open an inquiry into his murder, and question authorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as to why they did not provide him with protection, despite several requests. uman rights activist Qamar Naseem told the BBC that civil society groups across the province were co-ordinating and "soon a meeting of the wider community would be held to evolve a joint strategy on the issue". Meanwhile, Mr Kohistani's family are calling for the release of his detained nephew, 23-year-old Faizur Rahman, and police protection for his wife and children. Afzal's Kohistani's younger brother, Bin Yasir, who was seen dancing in the Kohistan video, has also emerged in the wake of his brother's murder after seven years in hiding.
3-7-19 Taylor Swift: Man arrested for second alleged home break-in
A man has been arrested for breaking into pop star Taylor Swift's Manhattan home for the second time in a year, police say. Ricardo Alvarado, 23, has been charged with burglary and criminal contempt. He allegedly broke a window and entered the star's apartment at 0245 local time (0745 GMT), when Swift was not home. Alvarado has a restraining order against him after he was convicted of breaking into the star's apartment in April 2018 using a ladder. He was found in Swift's bed after taking a shower. Authorities had already arrested Alvarado in February 2018 after he tried to break down Swift's door with a shovel. He was convicted in December 2018 over the April break in, and a judge ordered that he undergo psychiatric treatment. (Webmaster's comment: Lock him up and throw away the key for 10 years. That'll cool his jets!) Swift has been targeted by other men in the past. Mohammed Jaffar, then 29, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in May last year and was jailed for six months after breaking into her apartment block. This week, the star wrote in a column for Elle Magazine titled 30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30 that she carries bandages with her at all times. "You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things," she wrote.
3-7-19 Senator Martha McSally: I was raped by Air Force superior officer
A US senator has said that she was raped by a superior officer while serving in the Air Force. Senator Martha McSally, who was the first female US fighter pilot to fly in combat, was speaking at a hearing on sex assaults in the military. The Arizona Republican said she did not report the rape as she felt ashamed and confused, and distrusted the system. In 2017 nearly 6,800 sexual assaults were reported in the US military, a 10% rise on the previous year. Ms McSally, 52, was speaking on Wednesday during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services subcommittee featuring victims of sexual assault. "The criminal actions reported today by Senator McSally violate every part of what it means to be an Airman," an Air Force spokeswoman said in a statement in response to her testimony. "We are appalled and deeply sorry for what Senator McSally experienced and we stand behind her and all victims of sexual assault." Ms McSally said she hoped to give sexual assault survivors hope by revealing her experience. "Like you, I also am a military sexual assault survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn't report being sexually assaulted. Like so many women and men, I didn't trust the system at the time," she said. "I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused," she said. "The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways. In one case I was preyed upon and raped by a superior officer."Ms McSally said she attempted years later to share her experiences with senior officers but met with "wholly inadequate responses". "I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair," she said. "Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again." Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York, the top ranking Democrat on the committee, said she was "deeply affected by that testimony".
3-6-19 Taylor Swift 'carries stab bandages' after stalker scares
Taylor Swift says she is so worried about her safety that she carries military-grade bandages at all times. "You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things," the pop star wrote in an Elle Magazine column. Last year, the star won a restraining order against a man who tried to enter her home armed with a knife. Another man was arrested last February for attacking her front door with a shovel. Last month, he was sentenced to six months in jail for a separate incident, in which he broke into her New York apartment and took a shower before falling asleep. And a third man was issued with a restraining order last September for sending letters in which he threatened to rape and kill the singer. In light of those incidents, the star wrote: "I carry QuikClot army grade bandage dressing, which is for gunshot or stab wounds." The fear of violence extended to her concerts, she added. "After the Manchester Arena bombing and the Vegas concert shooting, I was completely terrified to go on tour... because I didn't know how we were going to keep 3 million fans safe over seven months. "There was a tremendous amount of planning, expense, and effort put into keeping my fans safe," she wrote. The singer's statement came in a column titled 30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30. Amongst other things, she talked about turning off comments on her social media accounts to protect her mental health; and learning to love her body."A little extra weight means curves, shinier hair, and more energy," she told fans.
3-6-19 R Kelly breaks silence over sex abuse accusations: 'This is not me'
R Kelly has tearfully and angrily denied allegations of sexual abuse in the first interview since his arrest last month. "I didn't do this stuff. This is not me," he told CBS This Morning, adding that he is "fighting for my life". Chicago prosecutors have charged Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, involving four alleged victims, three of whom were minors. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and is currently out on bail. If convicted, he faces three to seven years in prison for each crime. The case follows a 2002 trial, in which Kelly faced 21 counts of child pornography, stemming from a sex tape with a girl who was alleged to be underage. The jury eventually concluded they could not prove the girl on the tape was a minor and Kelly was found not guilty on all counts. Speaking to CBS news reporter Gayle King, Kelly said the earlier trial was being used to give the latest accusations credence. "They're going back to the past and they're trying to add all of this stuff now to that, to make all of the stuff that's going on now feel real to people," he said, in a clip released ahead of the full interview. "But the past is relevant with you with underage girls," Gayle replied. "Absolutely no it's not," Kelly protested. "Because, for one I beat my case. You can't double jeopardy me like that. When you beat your case, you beat your case". The star also denied accusations, raised in the recent documentary Surviving R Kelly, that he held women against their will, confiscating their phones, restricting their food, and denying them access to their families.
3-2-19 Johnny Depp sues ex-wife Amber Heard over article
The actor Johnny Depp has launched legal action against his ex-wife Amber Heard, accusing her of defamation. In December, Ms Heard, also an actor, wrote an article for the Washington Post describing the backlash she faced due to speaking out about domestic violence. Mr Depp's lawsuit says he "never abused Ms Heard" and the claims are "part of an elaborate hoax" to advance his ex-wife's career. He is seeking $50m (£38m) in damages. Ms Heard first accused Mr Depp of domestic violence in May 2016, the year after they were married. Mr Depp was ordered to stay away from her and the couple divorced in 2017. In her piece for The Washington Post, Ms Heard does not name Mr Depp but describes her experience of speaking out against domestic violence, stating she "faced our culture's wrath". She said she had lost a role in a film, was dropped by a major fashion brand and witnessed "how institutions protect men accused of abuse". Mr Depp's defamation claim says the article worked on the "central premise that Ms Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her" and states that she was in fact the perpetrator. (Webmaster's comment: That's why she has all the bruises!)The lawsuit claims her allegations lost him his lucrative role as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean.
3-1-19 R. Kelly
R. Kelly was briefly jailed in Chicago this week following his indictment on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Kelly, 52, pleaded not guilty to charges he abused four women between 1998 and 2010, three of whom were minors. One alleged victim asked for the singer’s autograph following his child pornography trial in 2008. They subsequently had a two-year sexual relationship, during which Kelly allegedly would slap and choke the woman, then a minor. She provided a semen-stained shirt to police that tested positive for Kelly’s DNA. Kelly initially failed to post $100,000 to make bail, with his attorney saying Kelly “doesn’t have any money.” Kelly was released when a friend posted the bail.
3-1-19 Keith Ablow
Celebrity psychiatrist Keith Ablow faces malpractice lawsuits from three former patients claiming he pressured them into abusive sexual experiences, sometimes during treatment sessions. The lawsuits, two of which were filed last week, accuse the Massachusetts-based Ablow of pursuing a “master/slave” sexual relationship with three women he treated for acute depression. They say the author and former Fox News contributor beat them during sex and spoke of his “ownership” of them. Three women who worked for Ablow have backed the accusations and say they, too, were sexually harassed. Ablow “categorically” denies the accusations.
3-1-19 For rich men, sexploitation is no crime
Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, could have afforded to seek his sexual satisfaction anywhere, said Will Bunch. But police say he was one of the many wealthy customers at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, a seedy massage parlor in a strip mall in Jupiter, Fla., staffed by sex slaves from China who lived at the parlor and serviced up to 1,500 men a year each. It would be easy to make jokes about a 77-year-old caught up in a prostitution sting, but this story isn’t really “a sex scandal.” It’s a story about wealthy, powerful men who exploit women held in bondage because such men assume, like Kraft’s good friend and Palm Beach neighbor, Donald Trump, that “they can get away with anything.” Another of Kraft’s Palm Beach neighbors, financier and notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, got a mere slap on the wrist after being charged with sexually abusing at least 36 teenage girls he held at his mansion. Federal prosecutors let Epstein—who hired Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr as his lawyers—plead guilty to one charge and serve a 13-month sentence that allowed him out of prison every day to work. That’s just more proof that “there are two systems of justice in America.” Don’t be surprised if Kraft “gets off easy.”