This Week in Feminist Politics: Brad Pitt, Megan Markle, Sarah Silverman and More
- Morgan Freeman has been accused by eight women of sexual harassment. The 80 year-old actor has been accused of unwanted touching. “Freeman's alleged inappropriate behavior was not limited to that one movie set, according to other sources who spoke to CNN. A woman who was a senior member of the production staff of the movie Now You See Me in 2012 told CNN that Freeman sexually harassed her and her female assistant on numerous occasions by making comments about their bodies.” Thursday morning, shortly after the breaking CNN story was released, Freeman issued an apology. “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,” Freeman said in a statement picked up by TheWrap. “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.” The eight women said in the CNN story that they did not initially report on Freeman’s behavior out of fear of their jobs. It is not easy for a woman in Hollywood to make these accusations and not suffer some professional repercussions. Rebecca Corry, who accused Louis CK of sexual harassment six months ago is still facing career issues as a result. “For 12 years, I actively tried to not be part of the C.K. masturbation narrative,” she writes in Vulture. “But no matter how hard I tried, it kept finding me — at work-related events, on TV sets, social settings, and comedy clubs.” More here for the stories of those who accuse Louis CK of sexual harassment.
- Gwyneth Paltrow had a free-flowing interview with Howard Stern on Wednesday. The interview veered from her role as a businesswoman to her sexual harassment at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. "It was weird," she said of Harvey's harassment. "It was out of the blue." She relayed how he asked her for a massage. "It speaks to the disconnect and ... whatever his thing is." Paltrow had thought of Weinstein as a father figure. She also talked of how Brad Pitt stood up to sexual predator on her behalf. "It was the equivalent of throwing him against the wall," she said of Brad Pitt's confronting Weinstein. "He leveraged his fame and power to protect me at a time when I didn't have any." The conclusion? "And Harvey was never inappropriate with me again." Paltrow, at the end of the interview, revealed Brad Pitt's chilling words to Harvey Weinstein during their confrontation. "He said 'if you ever make her feel uncomfortable again, I'll kill you' -- or something like that."
- Journalists have been vigilant in covering sexual harassment cases. But what about overseas coverage? What, specifically, about foreign journalist men working abroad and how they behave towards colleagues? “The #MeToo campaign has reminded us of how common these stories are — but the behavior of foreign men working abroad has, in my experience, been far worse than anything I ever experienced at home,” writes Joanna Chiu in Foreign Policy. “Fortunately for me, I’ve experienced this only as part of the wider journalist community, not in my own workplaces – but others haven’t been so lucky. The phenomenon is not a problem unique to the press, but it’s one that’s especially problematic for journalists.”
- When the newly minted Duchess of Sussex returns from her honeymoon she will use her position to promote charitable causes and patronages. On her royal profile, it suggests that she will use her position to champion feminist causes. In her biography, under charitable causes, it says: "these early experiences helped to shape her lifelong commitment to causes such as social justice and women's empowerment." This is, to be sure, a longtime position with the former actress and now philanthropist. “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist," Markle said, speaking at the UN on International Women's Day 2015. Here are some of her quotes on the subject.
- Sarah Silverman is profiled in the new GQ comedy issue. She defends a lot of the powerful men – her friends – that were accused of sexual harassment over the past year or so. “I think that there are people who were caught and there were people who were not caught, but the important thing is that they are forever changed,” she says. “And if that’s the case, I don’t see any reason why they can’t continue being artists. Now, whether they’re popular artists or not is up to the audience,” Silverman adds. “I have compassion.”
- Is this a harbinger of things to come in November? Emily Singer of Mic.com thinks African-American women are the backbone of the Democratic Party. “Democrats have nominated, or are poised to nominate, a number of black women for competitive seats in the 2018 midterm elections, which many predict will be a Democratic wave.” Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, and Kentucky congressional candidate, Amy McGrath, were two of the Democratic women winning competitive primaries on Tuesday. Finally, The Fix somewhat recently, published a list of 11 Women who theoretically could run for President.
- Finally, the US fertility rate is at an historic low, that is the provisional data just published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The number of births in the US dropped by 2 percent between 2016 and 2017, to 60.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, continuing a general downturn that started with the Great Recession of 2008. It’s the lowest the fertility rate has been in 30 years,” says Vox’s Julia Belluz. Technically speaking, that is not enough to “renew” the population and is a very bad sign. Demographers right now are not sure what exactly is driving the numbers, but letter writers to the New York Times have lots of opinions.