We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Controversy Ensues Over White House DACA Announcement
On Tuesday, President Trump said he would end the Obama administration’s program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation. The dissolution of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Trump says, will take place in six months—unless Congress acts to save it.
According to the New York Times, as many as 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. as children from other countries and are currently protected by DACA and able to work legally will be eligible for deportation as soon as March. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said DACA “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.” There are others who are supporting the repeal of DACA in the hopes that Congress will pass immigration reform rather than as an executive order. Former President Barack Obama, along with hoards of celebrities, businesses, and the general public, issued statements via social media condemning the Trump administration decision. “. . . We shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own,” Obama wrote on Facebook.
Also as a result of the decision, fifteen states plus D.C. filed a lawsuit in New York against the current administration on Wednesday. According to NPR, the lawsuit alleges, among other things, racial bias and says that states stand to lose valuable tax dollars from these deportations.
As Harvey Still Looms, Irma Brings Record-Breaking Devastation
Category 5 Hurricane Irma has already broken wind records, clocking sustained 185-mph gusts. Mid-week Irma ravaged the Caribbean islands of Barbuda and St. Martin. In addition to ten deaths, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda reported extreme devastation—“90 percent at least.” The National Weather Service says Irma is the strongest Atlantic storm ever, and its current path threatens to impact Florida over the weekend. Florida and Puerto Rico have declared states of emergency. Irma’s winds are nearly unprecedented, but it will not drop rainfall anywhere near Harvey’s fifty-plus inches. Irma will likely produce around fifteen inches where it hits, according to Vox. While the U.S. continues to face Harvey and Irma, storms Jose and Katia are already forming behind them.
Fashion Week Is Here—But Are Models Here for It?
Earlier this week designers, models, editors, and spectators descended upon New York City for one of style’s biggest annual affairs: New York Fashion Week. The most anticipated moments include the runway debut of up-and-comer Kaia Gerber, the barely 16-year-old daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford, and Rihanna’s return to New York with a Fenty x Puma show with a “soaked” theme.
But, this year, chatter about the event as it relates to the modeling industry has been notably downtrodden. The New York Times published a collection of models’ accounts of objectification and harassment, which Verily reported on here. Major fashion brands including LMVH (Dior, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, etc.) are responding to the negative publicity by pledging their commitment to “The Charter on the Working Relationships with Fashion Models and Their Well-Being.” According to Business of Fashion, “It includes a commitment to ban clothing sizes 32 for women and 42 for men (EU measurements).” The agreement also mandates “having a psychologist or therapist at the models’ disposal during their jobs; private fitting rooms; strict nudity and semi-nudity agreements; a ban on alcohol and provision of healthy food and drink at all times; the provision of transportation after 8 p.m.” and more.
The Line of British Royal Succession Just Got a Little Longer
Meghan Markle, American actress turned royal girlfriend, is on the cover of Vanity Fair this month gushing about how happy and in love she and Prince Harry are. But that news was all but forgotten on Monday when news broke that William and Kate are expecting baby number three. The announcement came early, less than twelve weeks into the duchess’s gestation, but extreme morning sickness forced her to cancel a major engagement, so Kensington Palace issued the statement early. This baby will be the fifth in line to the throne behind his or her grandfather, father, brother, and sister. Prince Harry now maintains the sixth position. Meanwhile, 4-year-old Prince George had his first day of school on Thursday at Thomas’s Battersea school. Judging from the photos, he seemed less than excited about it. See, the royals are just like us!
In Other Royal News, Lawsuit Over Kate Middleton’s Topless Photos Concluded
In 2012 the French tabloid magazine Closer published photos of the Duchess topless at a private estate in Provence. As she and William sunbathed, a photographer hiding out nearly half a mile away snapped the photos with a long-range lens. The royal couple immediately sued, asking for damages of 1.5 million euros. This week a court ordered Closer to surrender 100,000 euros. Two staffers of the magazine were also ordered to pay 90,000 euros. While the result is much less than the ask, William and Kate, as well as the queen, are said to be pleased with the ruling.
The magazine claimed the photos were not degrading—just a modern, loving couple on holiday. The court had another opinion, and in fact confirmed that this was a gross and invasive act against Middleton. The ruling comes just days after the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, which was largely blamed on the relentless paparazzi. The favorable ruling in this suit is no doubt a small but meaningful victory amidst a horrifying history of press invasion that has plagued the royal family for decades.
T-T-T-Taylor Strikes Again—Are We Ready for It?
Following a huge week when her new single “Look What You Made Me Do” premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift struck again this past week with another song: “. . . Ready for It?” Swift, who once frolicked in castles crooning to guitar melodies about young love, has shocked fans and critics alike with her decidedly angsty and revengeful new look and sound. Her video for “LWYMMD” is a laughably obvious attack at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, who shamed her for lying about her involvement in Kanye’s song in which he says he would still have sex with her and that he made her famous. But it’s also an attack on pretty much everyone who has ever criticized her—ever.
Regardless of its divisiveness, the first single broke records with ease. It was streamed 84.4 million times in its first week, according to Forbes. Previously, the Justin Bieber–aided track “Despacito” held the top spot with 69.6 million streams in its first week. Swift’s tally also surpassed Adele’s “Hello” streams from 2015, now making Swift the most-streamed female artist ever for the first week reporting period. She seems to be proving, even as she attacks the press surrounding her, that all press is good press.
As Swift navigates an identity crisis, maybe we’ll just listen to another female idol—the original American Idol, that is. That’s right, Kelly Clarkson also dropped two new singles this week.
American Women Dominate the US Open Finals as Serena Became a Mom
While fans hoping to see a Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal matchup were disappointed on Wednesday night as Federer lost to Argentinian Juan Martín del Potro, the women’s draw has suddenly become a showcase of all-American talent. Dubbed “the future of American tennis” by many announcers during the year’s US Open, Madison Keys will face CoCo Vandeweghe. Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens will take on veteran Venus Williams. The winners of these two matches will play for the Grand Slam title. According to the New York Times, “It is the first time the United States (or any country) has claimed all four semifinalists at a women’s Grand Slam event since Wimbledon in 1985.” To think all of this is happening while Serena Williams, the usual talk of the tennis tournaments, is off court adjusting to motherhood after the birth of her daughter Sept. 1.
Kidnapped Teen Girl Escaped Captors by Swimming Across Lake
In horrifying news of the week, a young woman had to traverse land and water to save herself from three reprehensible men. Fifteen-year-old Jasmine Block went missing August 8 from her home in Alexandria, Minnesota. After twenty-nine days of being held against her will, restrained with zip ties, threatened with weapons, and assaulted by three men in a foreclosed home two hundred miles from hers, Block was left alone in the home as the men went to get food, according to the New York Daily News. Block used the opportunity to run to nearby houses to ask for help but found no one. She then swam across a lake where an anonymous farmer came home to find her standing in his yard asking him to call 911. Thomas Barker, 32, Joshua Holby, 31, and Steven Powers, 20, were arrested in connection to the kidnapping. Block was reunited with her mother at home.