There’s a New Mulan in Town—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.

Early Morning Companion and Prairie Home Companion Fired After Reported Misconduct

Early Wednesday morning, NBC announced that it would be dropping longtime Today show anchor Matt Lauer due to allegations of sexual harassment and assault. In a statement released Thursday that aired on the Today show, Lauer reflected, “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.” Variety conducted a two-month investigation earlier this year, discovering that Lauer was known for “making lewd comments verbally or over text messages” and allegedly invited female NBC employees to his hotel room whenever he covered the Olympic Games—until his wife accompanied him to the London Olympics because “she didn’t trust him to travel alone.”

Mere hours after the Lauer firing broke, Minnesotans again found themselves shocked when Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companion, was fired on the allegations of workplace misconduct. According to USA Today, Keillor’s email to the Minneapolis Star Tribune read, “I’m doing fine. Getting fired is a real distinction in broadcasting, and I’ve waited fifty years for the honor. All of my heroes got fired. I only wish it could’ve been for something more heroic.” Keillor claims the allegations of improper behavior were dealt with at the time and were a misunderstanding. —Victoria Rabuse

Iceland Hosted a Women’s Summit

The Women Political Leaders Global Forum sponsored a summit on Wednesday in which more than four hundred female political leaders from around the world met in Iceland to discuss gender equality issues. The summit encouraged women to speak up and engage in a dialogue that told personal stories of sexual harassment as well as ways to approach this global issue. “This will change the attitude of both women and men,” said former Iceland president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the world’s first elected woman president. “Women will be more confident discussing with men, and men more careful.” The summit’s slogan “We can do it” refers to Iceland’s well-known reputation for her vigor in pushing gender equality. —Mary Margaret Olohan

Disney’s Mulan Live-Action Coming to Life

After a worldwide search, Disney has finally found its Mulan. Chinese actress Liu Yifei has been cast for the studio’s live-action remake of the animated movie, set to be released in 2019. Liu is one of China’s most popular actresses and has appeared in numerous television shows and films since the early 2000s. According to EW, Disney president of production Sean Bailey clarified, “Mulan is not currently intended to be a musical, but nothing is off the table.” The remake will draw from both the 1998 animated film and the traditional Chinese folktale. We at Verily can’t wait to see this new take on a Disney favorite, and we’re crossing our fingers that we at least get an instrumental version of “Reflection” playing in the background. —VR

A Welcome Change in the Beauty Pageant World

A 22-year-old from Stillwater, Minnesota, became the first woman with Down syndrome to participate in a Miss USA pageant after receiving two awards at the Miss Minnesota pageant. Mikayla Holmgren took home the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director’s Award. According to BuzzFeed News, when presented with the Spirit Award, Holmgren was told, “You make people smile every time you talk, cheer, smile, and dance. You have selflessness, humility, and the ability to overcome obstacles with a smile on your face and excitement in your heart.” In an industry that has long been criticized for its outdated perceptions of beauty and talent (read Verily’s take on the Miss USA pageant here), it’s refreshing to see a young woman being recognized for her personality and heart, in addition to inspiring women and girls with developmental disabilities to pursue their passions. —VR

Get Your Fascinators Ready!

As you must have heard by now, Britain’s Prince Harry is now engaged to actress Meghan Markle, and the pair plans to wed in May 2018. They will be married in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle—a slightly smaller venue than Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Westminster Abbey wedding but still a very popular bridal choice for British royalty! Many are applauding the young couple for their openness when discussing their suitability for marriage, given their experience with divorce and marriage within their own close families. If you’re eyeing an engagement ring anytime soon, make sure you’ve had these five crucial conversations with your S.O. first. —MMO

Victoria’s Secret Reveals the Myth of Body Positivity and Diversity

This past Tuesday, CBS aired the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. As millions tuned in to watch impossibly thin models strut half-naked down the shiny stage, Cate Jeffries wrote for Verily about just how far our views on body positivity still have to go. While many publications praised the visible stretch marks on one particular “Angel,” Jeffries writes, “To pick out a few small stretch marks from a sea of creaseless, hairless, poreless, dimple-free, wafer-thin bodies and go proclaiming that we should all feel so empowered by this act of radical bravery isn’t really cutting it for me.” While the show is merely a blip on the radar for many women, it’s an unfortunate reminder of the singular beauty our world still idolizes. —Megan Madden