Tag Archives: London

Knew for decades: Colin Firth feels “shame” for not speaking up about Harvey Weinstein

colin firth and harvey weinstein

Harvey Weinstein and Colin Firth (r). Colin’s conscience catching up with him now.

A Brit actor across the pond knew of Weinstein’s behavior from the early 1990s? Don’t tell me that those in Hollyweird “had no idea.”

From Daily Mail: Colin Firth has admitted regret after keeping mum when actress Sophie Dix opened up to him about abuse she suffered at the hands of the disgraced movie mogul decades back.

Speaking with The Guardian on Friday, the talented actor said that Dix, his co-star in 1993’s The Advocate (called The Hour of the Pig in the U.K.), had opened up to him about a horrifying run-in with the film executive, which she told the paper earlier this week occurred in 1990.

The 57-year-old actor won his only Oscar for playing King George VI in The Weinstein Company’s The King Speech. 

‘She told me she had had a distressing encounter with Harvey Weinstein,’ Firth told the newspaper. ‘I don’t think she went into all the horrific detail I’ve read in her interview. But I remember her being profoundly upset by it. To my shame, I merely expressed sympathy … I didn’t act on what she told me.’

Firth said that Dix’s revelation to him came ‘a long time ago,’ adding, ‘I don’t know if she remembers telling me, but the fact that I had that conversation has come back to haunt me in the light of these revelations,’ as Weinstein has been accused by at least 30 women in the entertainment industry of sexual abuse and harassment.

Amid ongoing speculation over who knew what around Tinseltown regarding the producer’s decades of alleged misdeeds, Firth said Dix’s story was ‘only direct account of this kind of behavior by Harvey Weinstein that’s ever been told to me.’

Dix earlier this week said that Weinstein assaulted her at a London hotel in 1990 when she was 22, pushing her on a bed and trying to take her clothes off. After she locked herself in a bathroom, she later opened it up to see Weinstein ‘standing there masturbating.’

She said the incident left her depressed and stifled a promising movie career, adding, ‘I decided if this what being an actress is like, I don’t want it.’

Dix told the paper her attempts to expose the assault was met with ‘a wall of silence.’

Firth initially told the newspaper this week that he felt nauseous as he witnessed the flood of stories about Weinstein, describing the producer as ‘a powerful and frightening man to stand up to. ‘Those of us who didn’t act on our one bit of knowledge – and especially those of us who went on to work with Weinstein – have that on our conscience.’

He lauded Dix for her courage, noting he was ‘extremely pleased that Sophie is speaking out after so many years.’

Dix told the paper on Friday in response to Firth’s initial statement: ‘I am delighted Colin has spoken and I remember him being very supportive at the time.’

As Weinstein initially admitted to unprofessional behavior that has ’caused a lot of pain,’ his rep this week said that he steadfastly denies ‘any allegations of non-consensual sex.’

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L’Oreal fires “transgender” model who said all white people are racist

munroe bergdorf

Munroe Bergdorf: Out of a job

Girl bye.

From NY Post: French cosmetics giant L‘Oreal fired its first transgender model to appear on a British advertising campaign after she described all white people as racist on Facebook.

London-based model Munroe Bergdorf announced on her Facebook page on Aug. 27 that she was to be part of the French cosmetics brand’s new advertising campaign celebrating diversity.

In an online message that later appeared on Friday to have been deleted, Bergdorf said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper: “Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people.”

L‘Oreal’s UK unit said on its Twitter page it had decided to terminate her contract: “L‘Oreal champions diversity. Comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with our values and so we have decided to end our partnership with her.

In a post on her page on Friday, Bergdorf criticized the Daily Mail article and sought to defend her comments, which she said were a reaction to the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“When I stated that ‘all white people are racist,’ I was addressing that fact that western society as a whole, is a SYSTEM rooted in white supremacy — designed to benefit, prioritize and protect white people before anyone of any other race,” she said.

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Acid attacks in the UK now so widespread that public need training in helping victims, warn doctors

acid attack victim

Southampton acid attack victim in September 2015/BBC photo

Gee, I wonder why acid attacks are on the rise…

From Telegraph via Yahoo: Acid attacks are now so prevalent that the public needs to be trained in helping victims, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has said. In London alone, the number of attacks rocketed from 261 in 2015, to 454 last year, an increase of 73 per cent.

Doctors at the RCEM and Barts Health NHS Trust say that bystanders who come to the aid of victims should be taught to quickly remove contaminated clothing and wash off the acid with copious amounts of water, which can lessen scarring and the need for plastic surgery.

They also called for legislation to make the carrying of corrosive substances in the street illegal.

“The number of high profile “acid” attacks has been increasing in recent years, especially in London,” said Johann Grundlingh consultant emergency physician at Barts Health Trust, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

“The attacks, involving a range of corrosive substances, have brought into sharp focus the need for clinicians, law enforcement officers, and our lawmakers to find ways to deal with this latest menace on our streets. The assailants’ intention is not to kill, but to maim and disfigure. Corrosive substances now seem to be a replacement for carrying knives.”

“Bystanders who come to the aid of the victim of an attack can have an important role in minimising further injury.”

Carrying corrosive substances is currently legal with no restrictions on volume or strength, although the government is considering changing the law.

In 2002, after similar attacks, Bangladesh banned the open sale of acid and imposed stringent punishment of offenders, which saw the number of attacks fall by 15-20 per cent a year.

India and Cambodia have also implemented legislation to combat acid attacks but have yet to introduce laws restricting the ease and availability of acid.

Last month two teenage boys were arrested following six acid attacks in the streets of London in a 72 minute spree.  Just days before a man was arrested for flinging acid into the face of an aspiring model in the capital.

Although acid attacks are rarely deadly, victims are often left scarred, blinded and heavily traumatised.

The substance used is usually sulphuric or nitric acid and, unlike most other countries, in the UK men are more likely to be victims than women. Since police clamped down on knife crime, gang members frequently conceal acid in water bottles.

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Revealed: 800 children in England as young as 10 have been given sex change drugs

possibly go wrong

Because feeeeeelings.

From Daily Mail: More than 800 children in England – some as young as ten – are being given controversial drugs to help them change gender. The NHS treatment, which halts the onset of adulthood, is aimed at young people who believe they are trapped in the wrong body.

Powerful monthly hormone injections stop the development of sex organs, breasts and body hair, making it easier for doctors to carry out sex-swap surgery later.

Until now it was thought that just a handful of children and teenagers were receiving the injections, known as ‘puberty-blockers’.

Teenager Llyr Jones has been taking puberty-blocking drugs for the past six months. The 17-year-old told how she was desperate to be prescribed the injections to end the agony she was going through as her body began to change into that of an adult man.

Llyr, from Aberystwyth in Mid-Wales, said if the physical transformations that came with puberty had been allowed to continue, she would have been pushed to take her own life. ‘In all honesty, if I hadn’t been allowed to be on the blockers and start my transition, I’m sure I wouldn’t be here now,’ she said.

The worst thing was starting to grow body hair. It felt like something was happening that wasn’t me – I was so uncomfortable. Some days were worse than others when I would catch a glimpse of my body in the mirror and I’d collapse on the bathroom floor for hours, frozen with distress.’

Llyr, who was born male, started living as a girl when she was 15 years old. Previously she had suppressed her desire to become female because of the bullying she endured for ‘being different’ in the small Welsh farming community she grew up in. ‘I didn’t want to give my bullies yet another reason to go after me,’ she said.

Llyr finally found relief in January last year when she was sent to London’s Tavistock gender identity clinic, which has seen a dramatic increase in referrals – from 94 in 2009/10 to almost 2,000 last year.

After being psychologically assessed and diagnosed with gender dysphoria, she was then sent in November for medical treatment at University College Hospital in London. There she underwent a series of health checks, including blood tests and bone scans, before doctors finally prescribed the puberty-blockers that Llyr now believes saved her life.

‘I thought thank God, because I knew they were stopping the puberty,’ she said.

Since starting the blockers, Llyr said she has become more confident and at ease with her body. The next stage, she says, will be surgery, which can happen legally from the age of 18. She thinks the operations are unlikely before she is 19 because of the current waiting lists.

Dressed fashionably in a colourful crop top and shiny black trousers, a carefree Llyr declared: ‘I’m just in such a great place now because I know after everything I’ve been through, I’m on the right track.’

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that more than 600 young people are undergoing treatment at the Gender Identity Development Service clinic at University College Hospital in London, and a further 200 at a clinic in Leeds. The MoS has been told that 230 of those 800 are under the age of 14.

The huge growth in the number of youngsters being prescribed the drugs came after the NHS scrapped the age limit in 2014, which was previously 16. Now doctors can give the injections to children from the very early stages of puberty – meaning that in some cases, ten-year-olds are receiving them.

The MoS revelation comes a week after the Government announced plans to allow adults to legally change their sex without a medical diagnosis. In future, individuals who want to change gender are expected to simply make a statutory declaration that they intend to live in the sex they have transitioned to until death.

Mary Douglas, a spokeswoman for Grassroots Conservatives campaign group, said: ‘Adolescence is the age when you’re in a turmoil because you’re trying to work out who you are and gender is a big part of that. So to introduce such powerful medication into that is unwise. This drastic notion that we should change our gender should be a last resort. Caution needs to be the watchword for everyone engaged in this, including doctors.’

Stephanie Davies-Arai, of Transgender Trend, a parent group concerned about the rise of children identifying as the opposite sex, added: ‘These kids are not old enough to make life-changing decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. It’s unethical to pursue this line of treatment with children who cannot possibly understand what they’re doing.’

Professor Gary Butler, the lead clinician for the gender identity service in London and Leeds, revealed how many youngsters are now taking puberty-blockers. He defended the use of the drugs and said critics did not appreciate the distress puberty can cause transgender young people or how much ‘relief’ the blockers can give to these patients and their families.

However, other medical experts have questioned the safety of the treatment, warning that little is known about its long-term mental, psychological and physical effects.

Last month three top US doctors, Professors Paul Hruz, Paul McHugh and Lawrence Mayer, published a highly critical report on the use of puberty-blockers to treat gender dysphoria. Writing in American academic journal The New Atlantis, they warned that the safety of this ‘experimental’ treatment was ‘unsupported by rigorous scientific evidence’.

They further argued that the use of such drugs may be driving children to ‘persist in identifying as transgender’. Research shows that the vast majority of under-16s who are troubled about their gender do not go on to take the drastic step of surgery. Meanwhile, the three professors point to another study from a Dutch clinic – where all the adolescents prescribed puberty blockers had gone ahead with gender-reassignment surgery – as evidence that the drugs can ‘solidify’ patients’ feelings they were born the wrong biological sex.

Read the rest of the story here.

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UK girl fined $195 for selling lemonade without a license

lemonade stand

Big government at work.

From Fox News: Officials in a London borough apologized Friday after a local council’s decision to fine a 5-year-old girl for selling lemonade without a license drew international backlash.

“We are very sorry that this has happened. We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen,” the Tower Hamlets Council said in a statement.

Andre Spicer said his 5-year-old daughter was left in tears after local council officers fined her 150 pounds ($195) for selling lemonade without a license near their home in London.

Lemonade stands fall under the Tower Hamlets Council’s guidelines for operating a market stall, which requires a street trading license. To gain a license, an entrepreneur must be at least 17 years old and pay a 75-pound ($97) application fee, the BBC reported. Stalls that sell food carry additional restrictions.

The girl was selling home-made lemonade to fans attending the Lovebox festival when she was fined.

Spicer wrote an article about the experience for the Daily Telegraph that gathered hundreds of comments and shares online.

“Holding the notice of the fine in my hand, I’m reminded just how restrictive we have become with our children,” Spicer wrote. “When I was growing up, my brother and I were able to wander miles from home without adult supervision. We were encouraged to sell things to raise money for clubs we were part of.

“By selling biscuits, we learned about maths, communication and basic business skills. But more importantly, we gained a degree of confidence. I can’t ever recall a council officer popping up and fining us,” he added.

Local officials said Friday the fine will be cancelled immediately.

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Actor Andrew Garfield States That He’s Gay ‘Without the Physical Act’

andrew garfield

Um, no. Doesn’t work that way.

From Yahoo: Andrew Garfield is facing some major backlash following comments he made on Monday, in which he said, “I am a gay man right now, just without the physical act.”

The 33-year-old actor, who is currently starring as Prior Walter in a London production of Angels in America, opened up about how he prepared for his role as a gay man during a Q&A panel.

“As far as I know, I am not a gay man,” the actor said, according to Gay Times Magazine. “Maybe I’ll have an awakening later in my life, which I’m sure will be wonderful and I’ll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I’m secluded to my area.”

Garfield went on to explain that he was concerned that he didn’t have a right “to play this wonderful gay role,” since he does not identify as gay, and said that performing the part was about “doing honor, doing justice and knowing my herstory.”

In detailing the ways in which he has been preparing for the iconic part, Garfield mentioned that he has been dedicating a lot of time to watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, and explained that, every Sunday, he would “have eight friends over, and we would just watch Ru.”

“This is my life outside of this play,” Garfield explained. “I am a gay man right now, just without the physical act—that’s all.”

While the intent behind Garfield’s off-handed remarks is up for debate, many were offended by the statement, arguing that the star was suggesting that watching Drag Race was the extent of gay culture. The argument was also made that Garfield’s comments reflected an attitude of cultural appropriation and historical ignorance.

Actor Scott Evans responded to the actors comments on Twitter, writing, “Ur a talented guy,but seem to be completely oblivious to what is coming out of ur mouth.”

Another user wrote that Garfield “has a very limited view of what being gay ACTUALLY is.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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This is socialized medicine: UK parents not allowed to take their son to the US for treatment

charlie gard and family

The parents must let their child “die with dignity.”

From Daily Mail: Members of Charlie Gard’s army of supporters across the globe have expressed their grief as his parents prepare for his life support to be turned off today (Friday).

People all over the world have been using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlieGard’ to celebrate the ten-month-old’s life before it is ended by his doctors later.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard are at their son’s bedside in Great Ormond Street Hospital today as he enters his final hours.

But they continue to receive unwavering support from thousands who donated £1.4million towards the treatment denied to him. 

His parents are believed to be Catholic and their unwell son was photographed recently clutching a St. Jude pendant – the patron saint of lost causes.

As a result his plight has had mass press coverage in Italy and even reached the Vatican where Pope Francis was asked to pray for Charlie.  Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pope’s Pontifical Academy for Life was quoted as saying: ‘We should never act with the deliberate intention to end a human life, including the removal of nutrition and hydration, so that death might be achieved’.

Catholic groups across called the decision to end Charlie’s care ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘draconian’ with vigils held for the little British boy in various Italian cities last night.

And in Britain others have taken to Twitter to vent their anger at Great Ormond Street with some promising to end their charitable donations over their treatment of Charlie. 

Connie Yates and Chris Gard told MailOnline yesterday that his ‘heartless’ doctors who have refused to let him come home to die today.

The couple’s ‘final wish’ for Charlie has been blocked and his mother Connie said in a video for MailOnline: ‘We promised our little boy every single day that we would take him home’.

Mr. Gard added: ‘We want to give him a bath at home, put him in a cot which he has never slept in but we are now being denied that. We know what day our son is going to die but don’t get a say in how that will happen.’

They have also released a heartbreaking photograph of them lying with Charlie between them and said they were ‘spending our last precious hours with our baby boy’.

And they also the so-called ‘Charlie’s Army’ who donated £1.4million for the US treatment being denied to him and told them: ‘Charlie will die tomorrow knowing that he was loved by thousands – thank you to everyone for all your support’.

The couple have also accused Great Ormond Street of trying to ‘rush’ his death despite promises they would have the time they needed to say goodbye to their only son.  

Connie Yates and Chris Gard had battled to take their son, who has a rare genetic condition, to undergo experimental treatment in the US. But earlier this week they reached the very end of their legal battle after the European Court of Human Rights backed British doctors who said it would be kinder to let the ten month old die. 

In a heartbreaking video taken in the hospital room where they have lived since their son was admitted to hospital last year, the couple open their hearts speaking for the first time since they were told the European Court verdict.

Ms. Yates said:  ‘We’ve been talking about what palliative care meant. One option was to let Charlie go home to die. We chose to take Charlie home to die. That is our last wish. We promised our little boy every single day that we would take him home.’

His father Chris, 32, said: ‘Our parental rights have been stripped away. We can’t even take our own son home to die. We’ve been denied that. Our final wish if it all went against us can we take our little boy home to die and we are not allowed. They even said no to a hospice.

The couple, who have previously lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, claim they also asked doctors to allow them a final weekend with Charlie but say this request has been denied. ‘We begged them to give us the weekend,’ Ms Yates said, ‘Friends and family wanted to come and see Charlie for the last time. But now there isn’t even time for that. Doctors said they would not rush to turn off his ventilator but we are being rushed. Not only are we not allowed to take our son to an expert hospital to save his life, we also can’t choose how or when our son dies.

The couple say they also offered to pay privately for their son to be transported on a mobile ventilator to their flat in Bedfond, southwest London, in order to spend a few last precious hours with him.

Connie Yates, 31, has indicated that the £1.3m raised for Charlie will be used to save other children and a foundation could be set up in his name.  Miss Yates said in April: ‘A few people have asked us what we’ll do if we don’t win the court case.  We have thought long and hard about it and we would set up a charity for mitochondrial depletion syndromes (there are others that are more common than Charlie’s specific gene)’, she said in a statement which was posted on the website but has now been taken down.

‘We’d like to save other babies and children because these medications have been proven to work and we honestly have so much belief in them. If Charlie doesn’t get this chance, we will make sure that other innocent babies and children will be saved. We would like some of it to go to research at the specific hospital that is willing to treat Charlie, and the rest will be available to help other families to get the medication that their children desperately need. We hope that you can all support us in making treatments available so that nobody else ever has to go through what we have.

GoFundMe said officials would also have discussions with Charlie’s parents about what would happen to money raised for treatment.

But Connie said: ‘Even though we offered to pay for him to be transported back home, doctors have now told us he must die in hospital. We offered to pay for transport privately but that’s not an option.’

A spokesperson for Great Ormond Street Hospital said: ‘As with all of our patients, we are not able to and nor will we discuss these specific details of care. This is a very distressing situation for Charlie’s parents and all the staff involved and our focus remains with them.’

Read the rest of the story here.

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