Sexual Allegations Cost Harvey Weinstein Honorary University Degree

Harvey Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault. (Abraham Magnawa / Shutterstock.com)

Harvey Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault. (Abraham Magnawa / Shutterstock.com)

Harvey Weinstein has been stripped of an honorary degree from the University of Buffalo.

The State University of New York (SUNY) board of trustees voted unanimously – with one abstention – to rescind the accolade granted to the 65-year-old movie mogul in 2000 after he was accused of multiple sexual assaults and harassments.

Kristina M. Johnson, SUNY chancellor, said in a statement: “Mr. Weinstein’s alleged misconduct violates the core principles upon which the university was founded and runs counter to the standards of mutual respect and professionalism that the university expects from all members of its community.

“Had the committee been aware of Mr. Weinstein’s alleged misconduct at the time it initially reviewed his candidacy, it would not have recommended that he be awarded a degree, because the misconduct alleged violates the principles upon which an honorary degree is based.”

Following the vote, officials at the University of Buffalo – which is a State University of New York education establishment – admitted they supported the actions of the SUNY board of trustees.

They said in a statement: “We at UB are collectively offended and disappointed by Mr. Weinstein’s alleged and admitted conduct.

“In seeking this revocation of the SUNY honorary degree, the University at Buffalo is also clearly stating that sexual harassment or sexual misconduct will not be tolerated.”

The Hollywood producer attended the University at Buffalo from 1969 to 1973 and was awarded the SUNY Doctorate of Humane Letters at a special ceremony in September of 2000.

He said at the time: “I’ve received some honors in my life. I’ve been lucky that way. But I can’t tell you how emotional this feels.”

Harvey – who has denied many of the allegations against him – has had his membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked, and he was expelled from the Television Academy – which is behind the Emmy Awards – following the allegations.

What’s more, his wife Georgina Chapman – who he has been married to for 10 years – has left him, and he has been fired from his position as co-chairman at The Weinstein Company.

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Egypt Gets Excited about a Mini-Downtown Library: Put a Book, Get a Book!

A child reads a book in a library. (Milan Bruchter / Shutterstock.com)

A child reads a book in a library. (Milan Bruchter / Shutterstock.com)

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Earlier this year, there has been a handful of changes on Alfy Street in Downtown Cairo. The street was turned into a pedestrian boulevard facing revamped buildings and newly-opened small cafes.

The cherry on top of these changes is the new book stand that has been set up. The mini-library is an innovative local project urging book exchange. Every single book in that stall is free, all you have to do is exchange it with another book of your own.

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Nader Riad is the man behind the whole project. Riad is an Egyptian businessman who wanted to give something back to the community. “We placed more than 80 books so far in Alfy and Emad al Din Street. We encourage Egyptians to borrow a book if they’d like to, and place another in return, or simply grab a book, and sit around for a few minutes to read,” Riad said.

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“All of us have tens or even hundreds of books at home that are unread. I encourage all of us to place them there for other Egyptians to benefit from,” he added.

The Arab Thought Foundation published a report in 2011 on Cultural Development, and the statistics were shocking. The report showed that Arabs read an average of six minutes annually, while Europeans read 200 hours.

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According to another UNESCO’s 2003 report on Human Development, an average Arab reads way less than one book per year. To put things in perspective, it takes 80 Arab people altogether to finish one book in one year, while an average European reads 35 books annually.

Hopefully, services like the book stand will help promote reading in Egypt, and encourage people to exchange books with one another.

WE SAID THIS: Collect your middle school books because we both know you’re not going to read The Tale of Two Cities again.

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It’s Time to Get Excited About the IPAF

The show Sunset Oasis was adopted from the IPAF-winning novel of the same name. (El Adl Group)

The show Sunset Oasis was adopted from the IPAF-winning novel of the same name. (El Adl Group)

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IPAF

The Arab world’s most highly sought-after literary prize, the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (or “the Arab Booker”), has seen a sharp decline in submitted titles this year—but not, thankfully, due to a decrease in output in Arabic literature.

Following new rules designed to combat submission volume-increasing workarounds, the 2018 IPAF has seen 124 submissions come in from 79 publishers.

Speaking to Arab Literature in English, IPAF administrator Fleur Montanaro said that authors from 14 different nationalities had their works submitted; around a quarter of these were women. The most-represented countries were Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.

The final longlist will be published in January, with the shortlist following in February.

The IPAF allows Arab authors to have their works translated into English, with some modern classics, including Sunset Oasis, The Bamboo Stalk, and The Arch and the Butterfly.

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Sexual Assaults Move to the BBC: 25 Cases Pending at British Television and Radio

The BBC has been rocked with sexual assault allegations—again. (TreasureGalore / Shutterstock.com)

The BBC has been rocked with sexual assault allegations—again. (TreasureGalore / Shutterstock.com)

The BBC is investigating 25 cases of alleged sexual harassment after the Harvey Weinstein scandal prompted a ‘spike’ in staff coming forward.

Corporation chiefs revealed that there were more ‘live’ cases now than in the last three years put together.

But they told a parliamentary committee they were not surprised as employees had been ‘reminded’ of the complaints procedures in light of the widespread allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding Weinstein.

Deputy director-general Anne Bulford said: ‘You perhaps won’t be surprised to know we have a spike at present. We have more cases at present than we have seen over the last three years.

‘We have 25 live [sexual harassment] cases at the moment, which is a range of different issues coming through.

‘I think we have to deal with the cases as they come up and continue to encourage people to speak. And whether they are current or whether they are historic in relation to sexual harassment, the important thing is that people come forward.’

Last year, only three of the 41 complaints about bullying and harassment within the BBC related to sexual harassment, and between April 2013 and April this year, only eight such claims were made. However, in the last seven months more than three times that many have made allegations of sexual harassment. Miss Bulford added: ‘After the Weinstein material was published, we reminded people again of the procedures.

‘We have specialist people on staff to support people who come forward, in investigations or advising them of the options.

‘People feel more confident about what they can do, where they can go and where the helplines are.’

Later, when Labour MP Christian Matheson asked if members of BBC staff could go directly to the board, new chairman Sir David Clementi said: ‘We have a well-documented process by which people can complain or lodge concerns internally … the board oversees that.’

However, he added: ‘I suppose it is open to any member of staff to write to a member of the board. It would be an odd thing to do if they have not been through the proper procedures of talking to their line managers first. So far no issue has come directly to the board other than the ones we have talked about like gender pay issues … I would expect most of the individual issues, unless they were extraordinary issues, as was the case with Savile or that sort of thing, to be dealt with through the line managers.’

Miss Bulford and director-general Tony Hall confirmed that non-executive board member Tom Ilube, a technology entrepreneur, was responsible for overseeing such complaints.

When asked if any complaints had been made in this way, Miss Bulford said: ‘I am aware of one or two cases which have gone through for Mr Ilube to consider.’

The BBC is currently investigating one of its own radio presenters for sexual harassment after he allegedly groped a string of female colleagues. But Lord Hall insisted there is a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy to any form of bullying and harassment.

During the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee meeting, he also discussed the reaction to the disclosure of talent pay above £150,000.

He said that ‘when we think someone is underpaid, we will correct that… But also, if we think somebody is overpaid, we need to correct that too.’

Asked by the committee’s chairman Damian Collins whether that meant ‘deflationary pressure’ on the salaries of top-earning men, he replied: ‘That is exactly right’.

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Say No to Disney: Critics Rise Up Against the House of Mouse

Critics are butting heads with Disney. (Walt Disney)

Critics are butting heads with Disney. (Walt Disney)

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Following the Walt Disney Company’s decision to put the LA Times on a blacklist three days ago, several prominent critics’ groups have banded to ban the company from awards season.

The story is thus: The LA Times had published a factual, two-piece article exploring Disney’s relationship ties to the city of Anaheim, California, and how the corporation benefits so much at the city’s expense. Infuriated by this, Disney has barred the LA Times from entry into its movies, some of the most highly-anticipated of the year, for review. That is every Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm release.

To add insult to injury, Disney alleged that The LA Times has shown “complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.”

The story was interesting for its political potentiali, allowing a glimpse into the temperament Disney CEO Bob Iger directs towards a free press, raising eyebrows because of the political ambitions Iger reportedly harbours—ambitions which, in an age where a former reality TV star is now a sitting US President and the legitimacy of a free and independent press continues to be in question, raise flags.

Since the publication of the story, Washington Post journalist Alyssa Rosenberg has announced she will be voluntarily joining the LA Times, refusing to cover any Disney or Disney-related material (including anything to do with Star Wars: The Last Jedi); she was soon followed by Flavorwide, The AV Club, and Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr.

This morning, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Film Critics Association, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the National Society of Film Critics have shown solidarity with The LA Times. In a statement, the groups said that “Disney’s actions, which include an indefinite ban on any interaction with The Times, are antithetical to the principles of a free press and set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists.”

Noting the unusual nature of the situation—in which critics’ groups punish a film’s artists for decisions made by executives—the groups nonetheless have said that Disney movies will be barred from consideration for any awards this year.

In another unusual step, film director Ava DuVernay—who directed Selma, 13th, and Disney’s upcoming A Wrinkle in Time—suggested she supported the decision.

David Simon, showrunner on The Wire, The Deuce, and Treme echoed her sentiment:

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Thor Thunders from the Top of the Box Office

Thor is number one. (Walt Disney)

Thor is number one. (Walt Disney)

The superhero epic Thor: Ragnarok is the No. 1 movie in North America this weekend, earning $121 million in receipts, BoxOfficeMojo.com announced Sunday.

Coming in at No. 2 is A Bad Moms Christmas with $17 million, Jigsaw at No. 3 with $6.7 million, Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween at No. 4 with $4.7 million and Geostorm at No. 5 with $3 million.

Rounding out the top tier are Happy Death Day at No. 6 with $2.8 million, Thank You for Your Service at No. 7 with $2.26 million, Blade Runner 2049 at No. 8 with $2.24 million, Only the Brave at No. 9 with $1.9 million and The Foreigner at No. 10 with $1.6 million.

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Megan Fox Reveals That She’s an Alien

Megan Fox reveals the nature of reality. (Tinseltown / Alexander Owen / Shutterstock.com / History Channel / Universal Pictures)

Megan Fox reveals the nature of reality. (Tinseltown / Alexander Owen / Shutterstock.com / History Channel / Universal Pictures)

Megan Fox expects to be contacted by aliens.

The ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ actress – who has sons Noah, five, Bodhi, three, and 14-month-old Journey, and stepson Kassius, 15, with husband Brian Austin Green – has never felt like she fits in with the world so she’s convinced she’s one of the first people an otherworldly being would want to get in touch with.

She said: “[There was always] a feeling I don’t belong to anything – even to the world.

“Feeling apart, for me, has been exacerbated by fame,

“I think that’s a lesson I’ve had to learn. I’m one of those people who thinks, if aliens are real, when they come back to earth I’m one of the humans they’ll contact. It’s me – I know it’s gonna be me, I’ve always had that feeling.”

The 31-year-old beauty always felt like an outsider at school and admitted her classmates were “freaked out” by her quirky personality”.

She told Cosmopolitan magazine: “I wasn’t popular. Everyone thought I was very strange – eccentric – and it freaked people out that my personality is the opposite of how I look.”

Megan isn’t the only star interested in aliens, as Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder previously claimed to have seen a “20ft by 10ft” space ship in his back garden whilst filming in South America.

He said at the time: “We were filming in South America at the time. I remember I got back to my house at about 5am and I saw a craft outside my house.

“It was huge. Around 20ft by 10ft. It looked plastic – like a toy. I didn’t believe it at first. I thought our production team were playing a trick on me. But nobody else saw it.”

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