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What is your view of sexual harassment?
I am strongly against it 100%  100%  [ 6 ]
I approve, it's natural and fun 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Sexual harassment doesn't exist 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Sexual harassment is a pretext used to get back at someone 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Women (men) are asking for it at work 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No opinion 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 6
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:26 am 
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Franken resigns from US Senate after sexual misconduct claims
by Michael Mathes
December 7, 2017

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Senator Al Franken said Thursday he will resign in the face of multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against him, becoming the second prominent Democrat to be forced out in a week over the snowballing harassment allegations convulsing the country.

Franken -- a former comedian who made his name on the popular late-night show "Saturday Night Live" -- announced his decision in an emotional yet somewhat defiant address from the floor of the Senate, where dozens of his colleagues had demanded he step down. The once-popular 66-year-old Minnesota lawmaker apologized last month after acknowledging one incident of misconduct, vowing to work to regain public trust.

But with six other women now reportedly coming forward to accuse Franken of touching them inappropriately, a chorus of Democratic senators said it was time for him to go. "Serving in the United States senate has been the great honor of my life," Franken said, with only a handful of his colleagues in attendance. "I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a Senator -- nothing -- has brought dishonor on this institution," he added, noting he was shocked at the allegations against him, and painting himself as "a champion of women." "Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate."

Franken also took a parting shot at Donald Trump -- who himself has faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment -- and at Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore, who has received the president's endorsement despite being accused of molesting several teenaged girls. "I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact I am leaving while a man who bragged on tape about his history of the sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party," Franken said.

The first allegation against Franken -- for which he has apologized -- was made by sports broadcaster and former model Leeann Tweeden, who said he forcibly kissed her, and touched her without consent as she slept, during a 2006 tour entertaining US troops deployed in Afghanistan. But several other women have since come forward to say he groped them, triggering the revolt by female lawmakers against their own colleague.

In a well-coordinated social media attack, 12 of the Senate's 16 Democratic women took to Twitter or Facebook to demand Franken's resignation. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Facebook post sounded the opening salvo Wednesday, as she declared that the nation -- and Congress -- faced a "moment of reckoning" regarding sexual misconduct. "We should demand the highest standards, not the lowest, from our leaders," she said. Seventeen male colleagues followed, including top Democrat Chuck Schumer, who heaped major pressure on Franken by issuing a statement saying he should step down "immediately."

It marked a dramatic and sudden show of unity against one of their own in the 100-member chamber, where the Republicans hold a slim majority. "We must commit to zero tolerance," Senator Heidi Heitkamp said in a tweet. "And that means Senator Franken should step down." With support from fellow Democrats vanishing, Franken had a stark decision to make: heed the calls to leave, and allow the party to close ranks and try to gain the moral high ground amid a tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations that have lashed the political world -- or stay and fight.

Franken's resignation came just two days after Democrat John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, left the House of Representatives after several female former staffers accused him of sexual misconduct. And it follows a wave of accusations of harassment against titans in the worlds of entertainment, the media and politics, which began with claims targeting movie mogul Harvey Weinstein earlier this year. Rocked by the unfolding scandals, the Senate and House both voted to make anti-harassment training mandatory for all lawmakers and staff.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:27 am 
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Iceland closes gender gap but violence against women remains
By EGILL BJARNASON
12 December 2017

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- For nine years in a row, the World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland as having the world's smallest gender-equality gap, and for about as long gender studies professor Gyda Margret Petursdottir has been asked how the Nordic island nation became such a paradise for women.

Her reply: "It isn't." Iceland has a female prime minister and some of the world's strongest laws on workplace equality and equal pay. It also has one of Europe's highest per-capita levels of reported rapes, according to statistics agency Eurostat, although legal definitions differ from country to country, complicating comparisons.

A 2010 University of Iceland study found that 30 percent of Icelandic women aged 18 to 80 reported having been physically attacked by a man at least once, including 13 percent who reported suffering rape or attempted rape. Icelanders are experiencing a stark realization: Equal representation does not, by default, eliminate gender-based violence. Petursdottir said the "myth" that Iceland's record on gender equality makes it a safe haven for women is a distraction from the steps needed to fight systematic abuse. "Men need to find ways to change their ideas about masculinity," Petursdottir said. "That's the biggest challenge now."

The sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men in Hollywood, politics and beyond, and the "Me Too" campaign launched by women speaking out against abuse, have reached this volcanic island below the Arctic Circle. Hundreds of women in Icelandic politics, entertainment and academia recently signed a pledge against sexual harassment and urged male colleagues to change their behavior.

More than 40 percent of lawmakers in Iceland's parliament, the Althingi, are women. Last month left-wing leader Katrin Jakobsdottir became prime minister in a coalition government - Iceland's second female leader in the last decade. Her appointment is another point on the Global Gender Gap index for a country regarded as a champion of gender equality. The index measures life expectancy, educational opportunities, political representation, equal pay and other factors - but not gender-based violence.

Feminists argue that Iceland's star ranking masks continuing violence, harassment and everyday sexism - and that fixing the problem will need a transformation in the way men - and women - think and behave. In a series of 137 anonymous accounts from women in politics recently published in local media, one female legislator illustrated everyday sexism with a story of a male opponent who complimented her looks right before she took the podium in an attempt to throw her off-topic.

Andres Ingi Jonsson, a lawmaker for the Left Green Movement, said the example shows how parliament, even more than other workplaces, risks becoming a harmful environment for women, since disarming opponents is a key part of politics. "The basic tools we use can be influenced by sexually degrading language, and we need to remove that from the toolbox," said Jonsson, who is among a group of male parliamentarians seeking to get men to become actively engaged in promoting gender equality.

The group successfully petitioned the speaker of parliament to host a workshop in February during which Iceland's 63 legislators have been invited to openly discuss sexual harassment in the workplace. "It won't be an easy day," Jonsson said. He is optimistic that everyone will attend, even though some will approach the workshop with a more open mind than others. "We have to be ready to open our hearts a bit," Jonsson said.

Iceland may be far from perfect, but its politicians have taken gender equality seriously. Icelandic law requires private companies to have at least 40 percent women on their boards and offers men parental leave equal to women. Starting next year, the Equal Pay Law will audit companies to prove that they are paying men and women the same for comparable work.

There are indications of a change in social attitudes and an unwillingness to turn a blind eye toward sexual harassment. Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, has a vibrant nightlife scene, and dozens of bars and clubs have tried to create a safer atmosphere by putting up posters urging guests to notify staff if they feel harassed. Activist Helga Lind Mar said the scene has changed noticeably from a few years ago. "We still have creeps," she said, sitting by Reykjavik's bar- and-restaurant-lined Laugavegur Street, famous for its long party nights. "But they are more afraid to be called out on their behavior."

And educators have started to think about how to raise a generation of non-sexist adults. At Reykjavik's Borgarholtsskoli high school, teacher Hanna Bjorg Vilhjalmsdottir oversees lively discussions in her Introduction to Gender Studies class. The aim of the class is to get young adults to notice everyday discrimination, stereotyping and harmful messages, she said. When Vilhjalmsdottir, a pioneer of the concept, pitched the idea to school administrators 10 years ago "they were extremely skeptical," she said. Now versions of the course are taught in 27 of Iceland's 33 high schools.

Student Tinna Karen Victorsdottir said the course has changed her perception of life more than any other class. She said she often brings class discussions to her family's dinner table and shares course readings and videos with her parents. Over time, her parents have changed their behavior, too. "My dad has taken on totally new house chores," she said. "I guess it inspired him to see me this eager."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:53 pm 
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Hayek says rebuffing Weinstein led to nightmare on 'Frida'
By JAKE COYLE
December 13, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) -- In one of the most vivid accounts yet of Harvey Weinstein's alleged abuse and harassment, Salma Hayek says the disgraced movie mogul turned the making of her 2002 passion project, the Frida Kahlo biopic "Frida," into a nightmare after the actress refused Weinstein's relentless advances.

"For years, he was my monster," Hayek wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday by The New York Times. Her refusals - of massages, showers and sex - enraged him, she wrote. "I don't think he hated anything more than the word 'no,'" wrote Hayek.

Hayek, who regularly starred in films released by Weinstein's Miramax in the 1990s, credited Weinstein with helping her start her career. But she said that the movie mogul would turn up at her door "at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location." When Hayek brought "Frida," which she was producing, to Miramax to distribute, Weinstein made outrageous demands as payback. Hayek said he insisted on rewrites, more financing and, most heinously to her, a sex scene with full frontal nudity. He even threatened to kill her, she said. In order to finish what was a labor of love for Hayek, she agreed. But she said she had a nervous breakdown while shooting the scene. "My body wouldn't stop crying and convulsing," wrote Hayek. "It was not because I would be naked with another woman," she wrote. "It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein."

Even still, Weinstein initially refused to give the movie a theatrical release. He eventually relented after pressure from director Julie Taymor and Hayek. It went on to gross $56.3 million worldwide and land six Oscar nominations, winning two.

In a statement through a spokesperson Wednesday, Weinstein denied Hayek's depiction of their relationship and said the battles on "Frida" were "creative friction." "All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired," said the statement. "Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming," read the statement. "However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush."

Dozens of women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, and numerous women have said he raped them. Weinstein, who is currently under investigation for sexual assault in four cities, has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. "Why do so many of us, as female artists, have to go to war to tell our stories when we have so much to offer? Why do we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity?" concluded Hayek in her op-ed. "I think it is because we, as women, have been devalued artistically to an indecent state, to the point where the film industry stopped making an effort to find out what female audiences wanted to see and what stories we wanted to tell."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:25 am 
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Uma Thurman details Weinstein 'attack'
February 3, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Actress Uma Thurman, who is indelibly linked to Harvey Weinstein's Miramax studio thanks to her iconic roles in "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill," has broken her silence about the disgraced Hollywood mogul, accusing him of attacking her and threatening her career.

Dozens of Hollywood women - including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale and Salma Hayek -- have accused Weinstein of acts ranging from sexual harassment to rape. The scandal touched off a deluge of allegations against powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, forcing many industries to re-examine workplace policies.

Thurman, 47, told The New York Times in an interview published Saturday of two incidents in London that took place after the release of 1994's Oscar-winning "Pulp Fiction." They followed an episode in Paris during which Thurman said Weinstein, dressed in a bathrobe, led her into a steam room during a meeting about a script. In the first "attack," in Weinstein's suite at London's Savoy Hotel, "he pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things," she said.

Thurman said she took a friend with her to confront Weinstein not long after, but his assistants pressured her to meet him alone. Thurman said she told Weinstein: "If you do what you did to me to other people you will lose your career, your reputation and your family, I promise you." Weinstein told the paper "she very well could have said this."

Thurman's friend Ilona Herman, Robert De Niro's long-time makeup artist, recalled in the Times that the actress came out of that meeting "very disheveled and so upset." Herman said Thurman told her that Weinstein had threatened to end her career.

Weinstein "acknowledges making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms Thurman in England after misreading her signals, after a flirtatious exchange in Paris, for which he immediately apologized and deeply regrets," his spokeswoman said in a statement received by AFP. "However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue... Mr Weinstein is saddened and puzzled as to 'why' Ms Thurman, someone he considers a colleague and a friend, waited 25 years to make these allegations public."

Weinstein is reportedly in treatment for sexual addiction. Until now, he has insisted all his sexual encounters have been consensual. His lawyer Ben Brafman said Weinstein was "stunned and saddened." Thurman's comments to the Times "are being carefully examined and investigated before deciding whether any legal action against her would be appropriate," Brafman said in a statement received by AFP.

The actress had suggested mistreatment by Weinstein in an Instagram post last November when she said: "you don't deserve a bullet -- stay tuned." In the Times interview, Thurman also accused director Quentin Tarantino -- who has often referred to her as his "muse" -- of forcing her to drive an unsafe car during filming of "Kill Bill," leading to a serious crash. In footage posted by the Times, the actress is seen speeding down an unpaved road before crashing into a tree. Thurman is jolted and left dazed for several moments until crew members carry her away. "I felt this searing pain and thought, 'Oh my God, I'm never going to walk again,'" she said. "Quentin and I had an enormous fight, and I accused him of trying to kill me." Tarantino did not respond to requests by the Times for comment.

Miramax told her at the time that she could see the footage of the crash if she gave up her right to sue, Thurman said. She declined. "When they turned on me after the accident," she said, "I went from being a creative contributor and performer to being like a broken tool."

Thurman said she has complex feelings about her experiences. "The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about all the women that were attacked after I was," she told the Times. "I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did."

But fellow actresses were quick to express support for Thurman on social media, with Reese Witherspoon describing her story as "deeply upsetting." "Uma Thurman has seen the inside of our industry for 30yrs. I have great respect for her. She is a warrior," added Jessica Chastain.

Source: AFP

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