Ashton Kutcher Speaks Up on Sex Trafficking—and Other Notes from the Week - Verily

Ashton Kutcher Speaks Up on Sex Trafficking—and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

Ashton Kutcher, WYWO, Ashton Kutcher Testimony, Sex Trafficking

Adele Basically Owned the Grammys

At Sunday night’s Grammys, Adele took home the most awards of the night, followed by Chance the Rapper and Beyoncé. We compiled some of our favorite moments here. Among them, Adele sharing her top honors with Bey, as well as when the audience leapt to their feet to applaud Adele after she unorthodoxly stopped singing her tribute to George Michael to start it again and do it right. A wonderful display of authenticity—and professionalism. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Ashton Kutcher Testified Before Senate on Sex Trafficking

In other news this week, actor Ashton Kutcher testified to the Senate on the social ills of sex trafficking. Kutcher was speaking on behalf the anti-trafficking organization Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, which he started with Demi Moore. According to CNN, Kutcher “called for specific actions, including additional funding for the technology, fostering public-private sector relationships, looking into the pipeline for victims, including working with the foster care system and the mental health system, and differentiating solution sets for sex trafficking and labor trafficking with enforcement and legislation initiatives.” While there are numerous tools on the Internet facilitating trafficking and fueling the demand for selling sex, the actor stressed the importance for anti-trafficking groups to work together with law enforcement to “build the tools that are better than their tools to fight what's happening.” —MRS

Sara Bareilles to Star on Broadway

Waitress has turned out to be one of the great, true loves of my life, and they simply can’t get rid of me,” said Sara Bareilles, who wrote both the music and lyrics to the Tony-nominated musical. Waitress tells the story of waitress and talented pie maker Jenna, who is unhappy in her marriage. Things begin to change for Jenna when she enters a baking contest in a nearby county. The show is soon to become the Sara Bareilles show, as she will take on the lead role of Jenna Hunterson on Broadway.

There can be no doubt that in Broadway terms, Waitress has been a huge success. Last season, it was the only new show besides Hamilton to go into profit, according to Entertainment Weekly, which calls it “a little slice of heaven." Bareilles has said, “All I want is to keep sharing the love, and dear God please let me remember my lines.” Those who want tickets should act fast, as Bareilles is only signed up for ten weeks. Her limited engagement will begin March 31 and end June 11. —Maddy Kearns

New Trend of ‘Angel Shots’ Could Help Stop Date Rape

Tinder date gone bad? There's a shot for that. In all seriousness, restaurants and bars across the world have adopted a new, safe way to help people get out of uncomfortable and unsafe situations. "Angel shots," as they are often called, are drinks that people needing to get out of a date can order to alert the bartender of an unsafe situation. Upon hearing a request for an "angel shot neat," the bartender will help the customer to her car; other ways of ordering the drink signify different actions, including calling an Uber or taxi for her. Advocates are hoping this leads to decreased sexual assault and date rape, and are calling the strategy promising. We are excited to see people thinking outside of the box for ways to help keep potential victims safe. —Emily Mae Schmid

Women in Iran Dress as Men in Attempt to Watch Soccer Match

How far would you go to attend a sporting event? This week in Iran eight female soccer fans disguised themselves as men and went to a soccer match—an event that women in Iran are banned from attending. The women were spotted by security guards and blocked from entering, but still caught the world's attention.

USA Today reports that this is not the first time women have tried to sneak into soccer matches. A few times they have even been successful, videos of the women in the stadium have gone viral. Iran has offered many reasons for barring women from sporting events, but hopefully the increased coverage of women attempting to be fans will lead to a change in policy. —Emily Mae Schmid

Playboy Returned to Having Nude Photos . . . and Somehow This Is News

This week, Playboy reversed its decision from last year and announced that it will soon be displaying nudity in its pages again. Surprise, surprise? While we’re not particularly interested in the attempts of Playboy to stay afloat, we did think its latest mantra—“nude is normal”—was a concept worthy of comment. Read Baleigh Scott’s thoughts at Verily here. —MRS

Roman Polanski to Return to United States to Settle Rape Case

Roman Polanski is set to make his way back to the United States to settle a decades-old rape case. The defamed director escaped as a fugitive to Paris, France, after being sentenced to fifty years behind bars. The 83-year-old was accused of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977 after luring her to the home of actor Jack Nicholson with the promise of photographing her for French Vogue. The director initially entered a plea deal in which Polanski would be required to spend forty-two days in jail (which he did), but at the last minute, the late Judge Laurence Rittenband reneged and sentenced him to fifty years. Since his sentencing, Polanski has been on the run in Europe, being captured once in 2009 and spending three hundred days in jail in Switzerland. Though U.S. authorities were unsuccessful in extraditing him in 2009, the director’s attorney is hoping that his return to the country will finally settle his rape case. —Katie Faley

Dr. Luke Responds to Kesha Emails Statement

In other unfortunate rape news, Kesha’s legal battle with Lukasz Gottwald, aka Dr. Luke, continues to escalate. The New York Post reported this on emails exchanged between the two and Kesha’s manager, Monica Cornia. According to the report, Dr. Luke allegedly criticized the singer’s weight and discipline on dieting, as well as harshly dismissing the singer’s opinion on the lyrics of a debated song, telling her he did not care what she wanted. Later in the week, Dr. Luke’s attorney, Christine Lepera, responded to the reports, saying that the email was taken out of context. Lepera released a statement saying, "Kesha and her attorneys continue to mislead by refusing to disclose the larger record of evidence showing the bad faith of Kesha Sebert and her representatives, which is greatly damaging to them." The singer has been seeking legal action to completely sever ties with the writer-producer, citing years of abuse. The hashtag #FreeKesha has been trending in recent months in support of the singer. —Katie Faley

Good News of the Week

Country singer-songwriter Thomas Rhett and wife Lauren announced on social media this week that they are pregnant—not long after they decided they would adopt a child from Africa. Thomas first broke the news on Twitter with large golden balloons spelling out “B-A-B-Y” with an appropriate caption: “Safe to say life is about to get crazy!” Lauren added enthusiastically on Instagram: “Our hearts are exploding with happiness for y'all to meet our new baby, who we are bringing home from Africa soon . . . who is also going to have a little brother or sister because SURPRISE! There's a sweet baby in my belly, too.” The Georgia-born couple has known each other since kindergarten and has been married for more than four years now. They struggled getting pregnant and had privately begun the process of adopting a child from Africa after visiting in December. To their surprise, Lauren discovered that she was pregnant while on that trip.

Lauren tells People magazine that while they are still taking it all in, they are thrilled about the future. “I think the way it all worked out, both of us have such a peace about this whole process, that it’s so right,” she says. “We could not be happier. We feel like 2017 is going to be our big year.” —Mary Brodeur