We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
George and Amal Clooney Are Sending 3,000 Syrian Refugees to School
George and Amal Clooney’s organization The Clooney Foundation is helping to fund seven schools in Lebanon to extend their hours so that refugee children can attend classes in the afternoon. The Clooney foundation is partnering with UNICEF and Google, donating a sum of $2.25 million, while HP is contributing a $1 million technology grant.
A spokesperson for UNICEF said that the funding will allow three thousand Syrian children to attend school, along with covering teachers’ salaries, registration, and textbooks.
“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk—the risk of never being a productive part of society,” the Clooneys said in a UNICEF statement. “Formal education can help change that. . . . We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.” As a human rights lawyer, Amal has already assisted in numerous initiatives to help those in need around the world, and this is not the first time she has been proactive in the Middle East. But this time her husband is joining to be examples of those who bring hope to the hopeless. —Gabriella Patti
If You Needed a Reason Not to Have a Bridezilla Moment
This week a jury ordered a couple to pay $1 million to their wedding photographer after they aggressively defamed her business over a dispute about a $125 album fee. Andrew and Neely Moldovan publicly blasted Andrea Polito when they asked for the digital files of the wedding photos and the photographer stuck to the contract terms that she would do that for a $125 fee. Indignant about the extra cost, the couple went on a local news station and Neely turned to the followers of her beauty blog to ensure that Polito never received business again. As a result of the backlash, Polito had to shut down her business. According to the Washington Post, Polito sued the couple, “claiming all they ever had to do to get their glossies was fill out a form, choose options for their wedding album, and pay a small charge they had long known about.” She provided the court with emails between her and the Moldovans as well as a copy of the contract. The court sided with Polito.
The Moldovans have yet to comment on the verdict, but Neely has continued to post on her lifestyle and beauty blog despite backlash online. While we should all silence our inner trolls, it’s definitely the case here that, in the words of Justin Timberlake, “what goes around comes around.” —GP
Prince Philip Hangs Up His Hat
This past Wednesday, Prince Philip made his final solo public appearance. At 96 years old, the prince is retiring from his duties as consort to his wife of nearly seventy years, Queen Elizabeth II. As reported by the New York Times, “Since she ascended the throne in 1952, according to Buckingham Palace, he has had 22,219 solo engagements, given 5,496 speeches, and written fourteen books—among them Competition Carriage Driving.”
Prince Philip is a native of Greece and served in the Royal Navy. The queen and prince married in 1947 and had four children together. While the prince has had his share of gaffes and struggles over the years, he has been known as the steady, jovial, and perseverant companion of the queen. Sounds like as good a reason as any to (re-)binge watch The Crown! —GP
Grab Your Tiaras, Ladies
Speaking of royalty—the Princess Diaries 3 script has been confirmed, although original series author Meg Cabot is shy to speak on the issue. “I would love to sit and talk about [it], but I can’t,” she told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview. “I’m not allowed.”
That hasn’t stopped the rest of the cast from expressing their love for the franchise. Anne Hathaway celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the film on Instagram last year with a sweet GIF from the film and a tribute to the film’s director, Garry Marshall, who passed away a month prior. Mia Thermopolis’ last adventure left us with a newly crowned and happily married queen, so it will be interesting to see what’s in store for the country of Genovia. —Krysta Scripter
Serena Williams Thinks She Is Having a Baby Girl
The famous tennis player’s fiancé, Alexis Ohanian, was asked earlier this week on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show if they knew the gender of their baby. They say they want it to be a surprise, but Ohanian says Williams has a hunch about the gender.
“Obviously, she won the Australian Open while pregnant, and she remarked that she feels like it has to be a little girl,” he said. Her reasoning? “Everything that little baby went through and handled like a champ, only a woman could be strong enough to take on,” Ohanian explained.
He has his own reasons for wanting a girl: “This is our first child. If anything, it’s really just reinforced how amazing and strong and powerful and awesome women are, and how useless we [men] are during this whole thing.” We’re loving the words of girl power, but don’t be too hard on your half of the population, Ohanian; Men do play a crucial role in society and especially in parenting! —KS
The Latest Entry in the Period Drama Field
If you’re a Mad Men or Downton Abbey fan, you’ll probably enjoy Amazon’s latest period drama series The Last Tycoon. This new series is adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final, unfinished novel of the same name and operates on the same principles of glamour and conflict found in many of his novels. The show follows the life of film executive Monroe Stahr and his struggles between his work and the relationships around him. The real takeaway from the show, however, was in the series’ cast of strong-willed women, who command attention just as well as any film executive. —KS
Why Not to Watch Selena Gomez’s Latest Music Video
This past week the internet has been abuzz over the music video for Selena Gomez’s recently released single “Fetish.” As the name of the song might suggest, it isn’t an easy video to watch, but not in the way you might think: It’s a jarring horror-themed depiction of mental health issues. Gomez appears to chew on glass, clamp her tongue in a eyelash curler, and eat soap. It is uncomfortable to watch, and the singer and director Petra Collins say they wanted it that way.
In an interview for Dazed, Collins and Gomez discussed how the video was supposed to portray a woman losing control of her body but then gaining it back. Still, many fans took the video to be a statement about mental health and unhealthy obsession. One user tweeted, “[S]elena made a mv about mental health and y’all out here laughing and hating on her bc she ate soap.”
Bustle since published an article saying there’s nothing funny about mental illness. I would go further and say there’s nothing sexy about mental illness. Pairing the song’s sexual lyrics with troubling imagery sends a confusing and disturbing message. Therapist and Verily writer Julia Hogan told us, “Self-harm and obsessions are expressions of pain and self-loathing and should be taken very seriously. It’s important for viewers and fans of Gomez to realize that she isn’t glorifying these behaviors, and they should not be seen as ‘trendy’ or something to try themselves.” —GP
Netflix Renews Anne with an E for Second Season
This week Netflix announced that its show Anne with an E will be returning to the streaming site for a second season. Fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s young adult novel expressed mixed opinions about Netflix’s foray into a darker version of the story of Anne of Green Gables—some thought it showed an inaccurately less cheery version of the heroine; others thought it was fittingly grim for a girl who had experienced trauma. Whatever one’s take, it’s fair to say Netflix is hoping the buzz will whet the appetites of viewers a second time around. —Mary Rose Somarriba