11-8-19 Alberto Salazar weight-shaming affected athletes' mental health - Steve Magness
Banned coach Alberto Salazar's "obsession" with controlling weight led to mental health problems in athletes, his former assistant has claimed. Steve Magness was reacting to American athlete Mary Cain's account of ill effects she suffered under Salazar, who received a four-year ban for doping violations. "I've witnessed the harm and damage that such a culture creates," Magness posted on social media on Thursday. "It's lasting mental health issues." In an interview with the New York Times, Cain claimed Salazar's methods at the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) training set-up resulted in her losing her period for three years and broken bones. She also stated she had "suicidal thoughts" and began to cut herself. Salazar told the publication he "denied many of Cain's claims and had supported her health and welfare". The BBC has also approached the 61-year-old American about Cain's allegations and those made by Magness. Nike told BBC Sport that Cain's allegations are "completely inconsistent" with its values. However, it added that it previously had not been made aware of the issues and that the athlete was "seeking to rejoin the Oregon Project and Alberto's team as recently as April of this year". It also said it would launch an investigation to hear from former NOP athletes. Earlier in November, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) announced it would investigate those who trained with Salazar. He was found guilty of doping violations after a four-year investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and has said he will appeal against the ruling.
11-8-19 Gang rapists acquitted
Protests broke out in Spain this week after five men were acquitted of raping an unconscious 14-year-old girl at a party in an abandoned warehouse. The court said the attack did not meet Spain’s legal definition of rape, which requires that a perpetrator use violence or intimidation. That didn’t occur in this case, because the victim was unconscious from drugs and alcohol. The five were convicted instead on the lesser charge of sexual abuse and received sentences of 10 to 12 years in prison. The ruling recalled a 2016 case, in which five men were convicted of abuse rather than rape because the victim could not prove that the gang that surrounded her in Pamplona had used violence. The Supreme Court overruled that verdict this summer and found the men guilty of rape.
11-8-19 Hounding women out of Parliament
Abusive constituents are chasing female lawmakers out of Parliament, said Frances Perraudin and Simon Murphy. So far, 18 women legislators—including current and former cabinet members—have chosen not to run in next month’s election. They say that the Brexit debate and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s rhetoric have created a toxic and dangerous work environment. One of those leaving, Amber Rudd, who quit her post as secretary of state for work and pensions in September, said Johnson’s use of terms such as “surrender” and “betrayal” over Brexit could incite violence. One opposition Labour Party lawmaker was targeted by a neo-Nazi who planned to kill her; another has seen six people convicted over threats to her family. “Politics has become a hostile environment for women, in which we are harassed, demeaned, and threatened,” said Mandu Reid of the Women’s Equality Party. The ruling Conservative Party’s lurch to the right has also alienated its moderate female members, while anti-Semitism turns off moderate Labour women. Women are leaving the House of Commons far faster than men, typically having “spent a decade less in Parliament than retiring male MPs.” Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative turned Liberal Democrat, said, “Why would you put up with all that abuse, if at the same time you’re unhappy about the direction of travel?” For many women, it’s just not worth it.
11-8-19 #MeToo: McDonald’s CEO ousted over affair
McDonald’s fired its chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, this week after the board learned he had been having a relationship with an employee, said David Yaffe-Bellany in The New York Times. Though the relationship was consensual, “the #MeToo era has brought new scrutiny to a wide range of workplace misconduct,” and the board said Easterbrook, who is divorced, had violated company policy. The move could have been motivated by “pressure facing McDonald’s” over its handling of sexual harassment cases at its franchises, which are the subjects of 23 complaints filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. But “changing attitudes about romance in the workplace” have also led more companies to enact strict “nonfraternization” rules for executives. “Easterbrook had to go,” said the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. It doesn’t matter that the relationship was consensual. As CEO, Easterbrook was the boss to every McDonald’s employee. “The reason nonfraternization policies exist” is because any workplace romance between a supervisor and a subordinate is “susceptible to abuse.” It’s tough enough for someone to have a relationship “with the person responsible for his or her paycheck.” It also raises the question of fairness toward other employees. McDonald’s did the right thing in immediately replacing Easterbrook with another senior executive, Chris Kempczinski. Bosses should “have the power to enforce their organizations’ priorities,” not to violate them.
11-3-19 Japan festival to show 'comfort women' film after backlash
A Japanese film festival will now show a documentary on forced wartime sex workers after its earlier decision to cancel the screening sparked a backlash. The festival in Kawasaki said safety concerns had now been resolved. Tens of thousands of so-called "comfort women" from around Asia were forced into brothels to work as sex slaves for Japan's military. Japanese nationalists deny the women were coerced into sex work. Earlier this year an exhibition on the issue of "comfort women" was forced to close for two months after it was threatened with arson. The decision not to screen the film was reversed after "lots of voices offering cooperation to address our safety concerns", a member of the organising committee told AFP news agency. Several directors involved in the film festival had criticised plans not to show the film. One even pulled his own film from the festival in protest. "Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue" will now be shown on the last day of the festival. However some of those who appear in the documentary have filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, demanding compensation and that the film not be shown. They claim they agreed to be in the documentary as they thought it was part of research and not part of a film, the Asahi Shimbun reports. Historians say an estimated 200,000 women were forced to work in brothels for Japanese soldiers. Many were Korean. Others came from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. Some Japanese nationalists deny the claims, insisting that there is no documented evidence that the Japanese military was ordered to recruit women against their will. The issue of comfort women among disputes that have led to fractious relations between Japan and its Asian neighbours. Tokyo argues that the 1965 treaty that restored diplomatic ties and provided more than $800m (£618m) in Japanese financial help to South Korea has settled the matter. In 2015, Japan signed a deal with South Korea in another attempt to settle the matter. Japan apologised and promised to pay 1bn yen ($9.5m, £7.9m) - the amount South Korea asked for - to victims. Critics say it was reached without consultation with victims.
11-2-19 Essex lorry deaths: Vietnam condemns 'human trafficking'
Vietnam says it "strongly condemns human trafficking," after UK police said they believed 39 people found dead in a lorry were all Vietnamese. The Vietnamese ministry of foreign affairs called on countries around the world to "step up cooperation" to combat the crime. Vietnamese and British authorities are working to identify the bodies, which were found in Essex on 23 October. Several arrests have been made in connection with the tragedy. The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, 25, appeared in court on Monday on manslaughter charges. Prosecutors alleged that Mr Robinson was part of a "global ring" of people smugglers. Police are also seeking two brothers from Northern Ireland, Ronan, 40, and Christopher Hughes, 34, who are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and people trafficking. Eamonn Harrison, 22, has been arrested in Dublin on a European Arrest Warrant to face charges of manslaughter in the UK. In Vietnam police have arrested two people over people smuggling. Le Thi Thu Hang, a spokesperson from the ministry, said the incident in Essex was "a serious humanitarian tragedy". "Vietnam calls upon countries in the region and around the world to step up cooperation in combating human trafficking in order to prevent the recurrence of such tragedy," she said. "We hope that the British side would soon complete the investigation to bring those responsible for this tragedy to justice, " she added. A number of Vietnamese families have come forward fearing their loved ones are among the dead. On the night before the bodies were discovered, Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent her family a message saying her "trip to a foreign land has failed". Vietnamese feature prominently among those identified as potential victims of trafficking in the UK, according to a report by Anti-Slavery International.
11-1-19 European Union: Can human trafficking be stopped?
It looks like “mass murder,” said The Guardian (U.K.) in an editorial. The bodies of 39 people, most thought to be Vietnamese, were found in a refrigerated container in southeastern England last week. In search of a better life, they had paid smugglers to transport them to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, where they entered the airtight container and set off for the English port of Benfleet. Three hours before the box was opened, passenger Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent a harrowing text message to her mother in Vietnam. “I’m sorry, Mom. My journey abroad hasn’t succeeded,” she wrote. “I’m dying because I can’t breathe.” The Northern Irish driver of the container truck has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, but the trafficking ring surely extends further. These deaths come “in spite of better detection methods and greater official alertness”—or perhaps because of them. Improvements at ports such as Calais “may have diverted people smugglers to less tightly monitored ports, such as Zeebrugge.” And dangerous refrigerated containers are used because they are “more effectively sealed from scrutiny.” “How could this happen again?” asked Guillaume Goubert in La Croix (France). This isn’t the first time Europe has seen trucks become mobile coffins. In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in a trailer in the English port of Dover. In 2015, the decomposing bodies of 71 migrants—including four children—were discovered in a truck abandoned on an Austrian highway. These tragedies are made possible by “the appalling cynicism of smugglers who don’t hesitate to risk the death of their ‘customers’ to maximize their profits.” In Western Europe, politicians routinely say we must “block the road to migrants.” But few offer serious proposals to crack down on the traffickers who “offer their disastrous services to those dreaming of a better existence.” Without legal routes to get in, human trafficking will continue, said Viktor Funk in the Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany). Over the past decade Europe’s leaders have thrown up border walls, restricted work visas, and tightened the process for gaining asylum—even though the fast-graying Continent needs more young workers. Unsurprisingly, “people-smuggling services have flourished.” EU interior ministers could cripple the trafficking industry by “creating safer migration routes, a modern immigration policy, and an asylum system that deserves the name.”
11-1-19 Kuwait moves on Instagram slave traders after BBC investigation
Kuwaiti authorities say they have officially summoned the owners of several social media accounts used to sell domestic workers as slaves. A BBC News Arabic investigation found online slave markets on apps provided and made available by Google and Apple, including Facebook-owned Instagram. Women were offered for sale as workers via hashtags such as "maids for transfer" or "maids for sale". Authorities say those involved have been ordered to take down their ads. They have also been compelled to sign a legal commitment, promising no longer to participate in this activity. Instagram said it had also taken action since it was contacted by the BBC. It said it had removed further content across Facebook and Instagram, and would prevent the creation of new accounts designed to be used for the online slave market. Many of the most widely used accounts for buying and selling domestic workers appear to have stopped their activity. Dr Mubarak Al-Azimi, head of Kuwait's Public Authority for Manpower, said it was investigating the woman featured in the BBC report who sold a 16-year-old girl from Guinea - whom we are calling "Fatou" - via an app. A police officer who also featured in the report is under investigation by the authorities. He said arrests and compensation for the victims were possible outcomes of the action. Kimberley Motley, an American international lawyer who has taken on Fatou's case, said: "I believe the app developers should definitely provide compensation for Fatou. As well as possibly Apple and Google. "On Apple Store they proclaim that they are responsible for everything that's put on their store. And so our question is, what does that responsibility mean?" Ms Motley also called for criminal charges against those involved in trafficking Fatou to Kuwait. On Thursday, BBC News Arabic published its undercover investigation which found domestic workers were being illegally bought and sold online in a booming black market.
11-1-19 Maids for sale: How Silicon Valley enables online slave markets
Google, Apple and Facebook-owned Instagram are enabling an illegal online slave market by providing and approving apps used for the buying and selling of domestic workers in the Gulf. BBC News Arabic’s undercover investigation exposes app users in Kuwait breaking local and international laws on modern slavery, including a woman offering a child for sale. The discovery of 'Fatou' in Kuwait City, her rescue and journey back home to Guinea, West Africa, is at the heart of this investigation into Silicon Valley’s online slave market. After being alerted to the issue, Facebook said it had banned one of the hashtags involved and taken down 703 accounts from Instagram. Google and Apple said they were working with app developers to prevent illegal activity.
11-1-19 Former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos
Former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos said last week that new evidence corroborates her sexual assault claims against President Trump. Zervos accused Trump during his 2016 campaign of unwanted groping and kissing in 2007 and is now suing him for defamation after he called her a liar. In response to her lawsuit, Zervos says the Trump Organization was forced to turn over Trump’s schedule, and that it confirms he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles for two nights at the time Zervos previously said Trump assaulted her there. The documents also confirm Trump was scheduled to visit his nearby golf club the next day; Zervos had claimed Trump invited her to visit him there after he allegedly assaulted her at the hotel.
11-1-19 Harvey Weinstein’s surprise visit
Harvey Weinstein’s surprise visit to a Manhattan variety show bombed last week, as the disgraced Hollywood producer was repeatedly heckled and called a rapist. Sitting with a small entourage at a prime booth, Weinstein got through the first few acts unmentioned before comedian Kelly Bachman said, “It’s our job to name the elephant in the room. It’s a Freddy Krueger in the room.” When Bachman joked she didn’t realize women “needed to bring our own Mace and rape whistles” to the event, several male audience members booed. One attendee, Zoe Stuckless, confronted Weinstein at his table, screaming that he’s a “f---ing rapist” before being escorted out of the small club. Weinstein’s spokesperson called the hecklers “downright rude” and complained that their hostile comments serve as “an example of how due process today is being squashed by the public.”
11-1-19 Hill: A congresswoman downed by #MeToo
Rep. Katie Hill’s resignation this week “is what accountability looks like—but it’s also what slut shaming looks like,” said Molly Roberts in WashingtonPost.com. The first-term California Democrat was a rising star until RedState.com revealed her “throuple” with her husband and a 22-year-old female campaign staffer. The openly bisexual Hill, 32, conceded the relationship was “inappropriate,” but adamantly denied the conservative website’s charge she was also conducting an active affair with a male Capitol Hill aide. RedState.com published photos of Hill kissing the female campaign staffer and holding a bong while naked, pictures Hill claims were supplied by her “monster” soon-to-be-ex-husband. Taking nudes with a subordinate was “unbelievably stupid,” said Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times. But Hill’s resignation smacks of a “double standard.” Look at the all the male politicians who’ve survived far worse, including President Trump, who paid hush money to a porn star and a Playboy model and boasted of sexually assaulting women. RedState.com’s decision to publish the nude photos of Hill has crossed an “ugly line,” said Quinta Jurecic in LawfareBlog.com. “Nonconsensual pornography,” better known as “revenge porn,” is illegal in California and Washington, D.C. To my knowledge, the Hill photo “is the first instance in which a politically aligned publication—or, indeed, any publication—has released nonconsensual pornography” featuring a politician. Online partisan sites may be tempted by the rush of traffic RedState.com enjoyed and the political damage it caused. In an era in which many people in public life have taken nude or sexual selfies, we may have just seen “where things are headed.”
11-1-19 Spanish anger as five men acquitted of gang-raping teenager
A Barcelona court's decision to acquit five men accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl of the charge of sexual assault has provoked outrage. The court ruled out rape because the victim was in an "unconscious state" and the accused had not used violence or intimidation. This is a requirement under Spanish law for a charge of sexual assault, which is legally the equivalent of rape. Instead, they were convicted and jailed for the lesser crime of sexual abuse. The five were sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in prison. A conviction for sexual assault would have carried prison sentences of between 15 and 20 years. A review is currently taking place in Spain to decide whether to base rape cases on a woman's explicit consent to sex. A number of European countries have changed their laws in recent years to define rape as sex without consent. Sweden changed the law last year and Denmark is doing the same. The Barcelona verdict comes despite a ruling in a similar case by the Spanish Supreme Court upgrading a conviction from sexual abuse to sexual assault. Barcelona's Mayor Ada Colau denounced it as an "outrageous sentence" on Twitter. "I am not a judge and I do not know how many years in prison they deserve, what I do know is that it is not abuse, it is rape!" Women's rights groups have similarly reacted to the ruling with anger and dismay. Furious social media users have been commenting on the case under hashtags like JusticiaPatriarcal (Patriarchal Justice) and NoEsAbusoEsViolacion (It's not abuse it's rape). The case is known as the "Manada de Manresa" - Manresa Wolf Pack - for its similarities to a 2016 gang attack on a teenager which prompted widespread protests and an ongoing review of Spain's rape laws. Lila Corominas, a spokeswoman for the Manresa Feminist Strike Committee, told newspaper Nius Diario this was "an obvious case of sexual assault and intimidation". Leader of the Más País political party Íñigo Errejón said the sentence was "shameful", while Irene Montero, spokeswoman for Unidas Podemos, called for a change in the law "so we can speak proudly of living in a feminist country".
11-1-19 Cuba Gooding Jr denies new sexual assault charge
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr pleaded not guilty to fresh charges of sexual misconduct involving a third woman on Thursday. It comes less than a month after the star denied accusations of groping one woman's breasts and pinching another woman's buttocks. The 51-year-old Jerry Maguire star pleaded not guilty to the new charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse in Manhattan Supreme Court. He is due back in court on 22 January. The New York court heard that the latest allegations stem from an incident in Manhattan's Lavo nightclub in September 2018, but no further details were added. The Boyz N The Hood actor's lawyer, Mark Heller, called the charges "totally fraudulent". Gooding won the Oscar for best supporting actor in 1997 for his role as Rod Tidwell in the comedy-drama Jerry Maguire.