Simone Biles Joins ‘Dancing with the Stars’—and Other Notes from the Week - Verily

Simone Biles Joins ‘Dancing with the Stars’—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.

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Oscar Madness!

This past weekend was the 89th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel’s emcee skills were lively, cheeky, and, for the most part, family-friendly. Justin Timberlake kicked off the night with an energetic performance of the Oscar-nominated song “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” as featured in the film Trolls. The low point of the night was a real-life Academy Awards horror show, when the award for Best Picture was mistakenly announced as La La Land. This was corrected in a moment of humility and shock as the true winner, Moonlight, was revealed.

Emma Stone accepted Best Actress with grace, stating that she still had much “growing and learning” to do. Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali and Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis respectively expressed their gratitude to family and friends with impressive authenticity. For a full list of awards and winners, see here. —Maddy Kearns

Casey Affleck’s Oscar Win Brings Attention to How Assault Allegations Affect Men’s Careers

After Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his role in Manchester By the Sea, some used the occasion to comment about the actor’s past sexual assault allegations. “Casey Affleck won Best Actor. Donald Trump is president. Tell me again how sexual assault charges can ‘ruin’ a man's career,” one tweet read. Not long after, the women’s group Miss Representation distributed a graphic showing famous successful men who have assault allegations in their history, including Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, with Affleck now added. 

The social media posts certainly made a point: while everyone should take care not to disseminate false allegations that could wrongfully hurt people’s lives and careers, these examples of men who have faced allegations certainly don’t look like their careers have suffered. (Meanwhile, we know women who experience assault suffer very much and have a hard time making allegations with all the flack they get for going public.)

For whatever it’s worth, this week Affleck broke his silence on the almost seven-year-old allegations that were since settled out of court, speaking in veiled language to the Boston Globe: “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else. [All I can do is] live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.” 

All I can say is that we should all continue to focus on the common goal of decreasing sexual assault. Surely this is the best route to help both men and women. —Mary Rose Somarriba

President Trump’s First Post-Inauguration Address to Nation Includes Emotional Moment for Widow of Navy Seal

President Trump’s Congressional Speech took place this week. The speech was widely considered a more sober speech than his past ones. Also widely noted were the number of Democrat congresswomen wearing white, which they said they did as a nod to suffragettes standing for women's rights. 

The night also included an emotional moment when he addressed the widow of a recently fallen Navy SEAL. In the heartbreaking tribute, Carryn Owens, wife of William “Ryan” Owens, shed tears as the chamber erupted into applause and gave more than a minute and a half standing ovation. Navy SEAL Owens was killed during an anti-terrorist raid in Yemen at the end of January, making Owens the first combatant killed under Trump’s presidency. The raid and its results have sparked some political debate, but Trump’s words to Owens’s wife were touching. Speaking directly to the fallen hero’s wife, Trump said, "We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William 'Ryan' Owens. Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero—battling against terrorism and securing our nation.” The president called the raid a success and said that it generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will help keep the country safe. The Illinois native leaves behind not only his wife but also their three children. President Trump concluded, “Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity.” —Katie Faley

Men Are the Future of Media? Many Beg to Differ.

In a story about “CNN’s News War,” the ongoing battle between CNN and President Trump’s administration, The Hollywood Reporter featured a cover picture of CNN president Jeff Zucker, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, hosts Jake Tapper and W. Kamau Bell, and Youtube vlog star and recent CNN hire Casey Neistat. In the story, Zucker shares his plan take the battle for TV news dominance online. Shortly after, the cover faced backlash from other media members CNN Senior Producer, Josiah Ryan, tweeted the cover photo with the caption, “The future of media looks like this.” Online commenters were quick to point out that the photo is all male, and that Ryan’s comment suggests women stand at the sidelines in the future of media. Of course we know the ladies are killing it too, so while it’s not so crazy that a cover would feature all men, it’s also fair to say Ryan’s comment about the “future of media” was a bit shortsighted. —KF

Spring Dancing With the Stars Cast Includes Simone Biles and Nancy Kerrigan

Good Morning America officially announced the cast of season 24 of Dancing with the Stars Wednesday—and it’s looking like it’s going to be one of the best seasons yet. Of the twelve celebrity dancing duos, some of the most notable are four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles (set to dance with partner Sasha Farber) and former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (partnered with Artem Chigvinstev). Other competitors include Glee actress and former Beyoncé backup dancer Heather Morris, former professional baseball player David Ross, and current Bachelor Nick Viall.

Season 23 winner Laurie Hernandez said the joy of winning the mirror ball trophy was comparable to that of winning Olympic gold. We’ll see if her teammate Simone Biles will be able to say the same by the end of this season! The new season of DWTS is set to premiere on Monday March 20 at 8 p.m. ET. —Mary Brodeur

Lego Announces a Space Set Featuring Female Space Pioneers

One of the sincerest and most unique forms of flattery is in the works for five women scientists—being commemorated as the infamous tiny plastic figurines for Lego. “The Women of NASA” set will feature women who have played an essential role within the U.S. space program. The five women to be featured are Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; the “mother” of the Hubble Space Telescope, Nancy Grace; Mae Jemison who was the first African-American woman in space; along with Margaret Hamilton and Katherine Johnson who played vital roles in helping to put the first people on the moon. Science writer Maia Weinstock made the set recommendation within the “Lego Ideas” series, which lets anyone pitch concept for a new set. While the Lego figures may be small, it sends a large message about female empowerment and the history of women in both science and technology. —Maleah Black

Do Women Have to Choose Between Motherhood and a Full Life?

This week comedian Sarah Silverman took to Twitter to comment on how she sacrificed motherhood for her career. “As a comic always working & on the road I have had to decide between motherhood & living my fullest life & I chose the latter,” she wrote, later adding, “u can't be a woman w/out sacrifice & that's the fact jack.”

I certainly agree that women make great sacrifices. But while every woman has different lives and challenges, it seems strange to hear such a generalized statement pitting a full life against motherhood...considering many successful professional women say that motherhood is part of a full life. As it happens, professional women are finding it increasingly possible to carry both the loads of career and motherhood should they so choose. Ali Wong, the comedian whose comedy special Baby Cobra was recorded while she was heavily pregnant, admitted to the New Yorker that female comics often don’t “get pregnant”—i.e. they either never have kids or their careers end after they do. But in Wong’s case, she says she shifted her perspective and thought, “Wait a minute: I’m a woman! And most stand-up comics are male. You know what male comics can’t do? They can’t get pregnant. They can’t perform pregnant. So my attitude is, just use all those differences. Don’t think of it as you’re oppressed. You're special.” 

I, for one, can’t help but hope for a day when women aren’t forced to choose between family and career; that’s an equality to strive for, right? —MRS

Fun Watch of the Week

On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, guest Alicia Keys showed she can belt out the ABC song in the style of Adele. And it’s glorious. —MRS