We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—Verily quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Harvey Weinstein Is Sentenced to Decades In Prison
Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday morning. The disgraced former Hollywood movie mogul showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.
In a pre-sentencing statement, Weinstein said, "I really feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deeply in my heart. I will spend my time really caring and really trying to be a better person." However, he also told the court that he’s “worried about this country” and that men are losing due process rights over #MeToo claims, continuing to insist his sexual encounters were consensual. As he spoke, Weinstein ignored his defense attorney who repeatedly asked him to stop talking. Pre-sentencing commentary from defendants is unusual, CNN reported, because what they say in court can be used against them if they choose to appeal their conviction.
His defense team excoriated the sentence, claiming that some murderers will leave prison before Weinstein will. They had asked the court to impose the minimum punishment of five years. Prosecutors argued that although this was Weinstein’s first criminal conviction, it was not his first offense, pointing to the pattern of sexual misbehavior established during the trial. This is without doubt a remarkable victory for sexual assault victims. —Margaret Brady
Pornhub Is Under Fire For Abuse Videos
The world’s biggest porn site, Pornhub, is taking heat for profiting from videos featuring rape and sexual abuse. A petition demanding that Pornhub executives be held accountable for making money from abuse had reached nearly 500,000 signatures as of Wednesday. The Guardian reports the signature campaign began after several incidents involving the porn giant.
In October, a 15-year-old missing child was found after someone tipped off her mother that the girl was being featured in dozens of videos on the site. Cops found her with a 30-year-old man, who was also shown in the movies. The victim also told police that she’d been impregnated and the man had taken her to a clinic for an abortion. A search of the apartment where the child was being held turned up paperwork from the clinic.
In a second case, more than 20 women struggled to get abusive videos removed from the platform after they were uploaded and viewed thousands of times without their consent. Authorities later accused the production company involved with trafficking of a minor.
Another woman told the BBC about her rape at age 14, with tape of the violent assault showing up on Pornhub. Horrifyingly, the video got 400,000 views and it took six months of her pleading with Pornhub before they agreed to remove the child rape movie. —MB
U.S. Agencies Complete Massive Sting Operation of Mexican Drug Cartel
In a sting operation called “Project Python,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested more than 600 people involved in a sophisticated drug cartel, seizing significant amounts of drugs and money. The Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) has been active in major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta.
“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement. —Mary Rose Somarriba
The Bachelor’s Mom Goes On The Attack Over Contestant Madison Prewett’s Values
The current season of The Bachelor ended this week with even more drama than the show usually serves up. “Pete the Pilot” Weber, the current star, ended his short-lived engagement to reunite with Madison Prewett, whom it was clear he was most connected with in the first place. Pete’s mom, Barbara Weber, was not happy.
The problem? Shortly before the “fantasy suite” segment of the show, an unfortunate tradition in which the Bachelor or Bachelorette has the opportunity to sleep with the remaining contestants, Madison told Pete that she wished he wouldn’t spend the night with the other women. Madison herself didn’t participate in the fantasy suite, as she is a Christian waiting for marriage to be intimate. Pete didn’t heed Madison’s request, and Madison was open with Pete about how his decision hurt her.
Pete’s mom seemed to take personal offense at Madison’s strong stand, accusing her of being rigid. At the finale on live TV and before a studio audience, Barbara said she doubted the relationship would work. “I have to tell you, completely two different people. One was willing to compromise and the other one was not. You need both to compromise,” she said. “All his friends, all his family, everyone that knows him knows that it’s not going to work.”
At that point, Pete stepped in. “I’m telling you that I love Madison and that should be enough [for you]” he said. “Please. Listen to me.” Madison meanwhile insisted she wouldn’t say anything negative about her beau’s family.
We wish Madison luck coping with her potential future mother-in-law. Of course, it’s never the wrong move for a woman to take a stand for what she believes in, and perhaps that’s what Peter found so attractive about her in the first place. —MB
National Guard Is Deployed as Coronavirus Is Declared a Pandemic
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced that he had deployed the National Guard to a 1 mile “containment zone” in New Rochelle, New York, as the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. The Washington Post reported that the containment zone is not a quarantine and people are free to move about, however schools and places of worship will close their doors. The National Guard will deliver food and work to help disinfect schools and other common areas.
There are 173 cases in the state of New York, with most of them in New Rochelle’s Westchester County. “New Rochelle, at this point, is probably the largest cluster of these cases in the United States,” the Post quoted Governor Cuomo as saying. Several thousand people live within the containment zone.
The source of the infection was traced to a lawyer and his family who live in the area. The attorney’s wife, who is also infected, posted on Facebook, saying that “Other than offering what I could to stop this from spreading further, all I and my family care about is that my husband/their father get better. We shuttered the windows, turned off the internet, and together stayed strong and in good spirits.” —MB
Music and Sporting Events are Cancelled or Modified Amid COVID-19 Concerns
Amid the spread of COVID-19, officials have been announcing canceled events all week. March Madness will be a little quieter, as all Division I men’s and women’s collegiate basketball tournament games will exclude fans, Mark Emmett, NCAA president, said. Only “essential staff and limited family” may attend, his statement said. The NBA board of governors suspended the season until further notice after a player on the Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.
In Summer Olympic news, Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said the host country’s contract with the International Olympic Committee will allow the organization to cancel the games if they are not held in 2020. While members of the organizing committee board in Japan said delaying the Olympic Games by one or two years would be the most feasible option, the IOC said it’s more likely the Olympic Games would be canceled if such an option presents itself. The IOC will decide in May what to do and encouraged athletes to continue training as if the Games are still on.
Concert promoter Goldenvoice announced Coachella and its sister country music festival Stagecoach have been postponed to October. The roughly 250000 ticket holders will receive an update from Goldenvoice today, about how to obtain a refund if they are unable to attend either of the festivals held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Austin mayor Steve Adler canceled the 2020 South by Southwest music festival, the first time in the event’s 34-year-history. On Twitter, SXSW, LLC, which organizes the conference, refused refunds to customers, said they will not issue refunds because Austin city officials were the ones who cancelled the event. The organizers have issued an update saying that they may postpone SXSW until a later date this year.
In other concert news, Celine Dion, Michael Buble, Pearl Jam, BTS, Mariah Carey, Green Day, Avril Lavigne, Louis Tomlinson, and Miley Cyrus, among others, have either cancelled or postponed their concerts. Disney Orlando Resorts have closed as well.
More than 100 colleges and universities have canceled all in-person classes, shifted to remote learning and even asked students not to remain on campus. The list includes Harvard University (Cambridge), American University (Washington D.C.), Syracuse University (upstate New York), Rice University (Houston) and the University of Maryland.
The Council on Foreign Relations’ canceled its roundtable discussion that was supposed to be held today, Friday, March 13. The topic? “Doing Business Under Coronavirus.” —Melanie Wilcox
Tom Hanks Shares that He and Rita Wilson Tested Positive for COVID-19
This week, Tom Hanks shared on social media that, while filming in Australia, he and his wife Rita Wilson got cold-like symptoms and fevers, and after being testing, were found to have contracted COVID-19. Hanks and Wilson are among the first famous Americans to have contracted the virus. But what’s wonderful about Hanks is that he knows his announcement is not just a piece of news but an opportunity to be an example. So he makes a point to sound measured, calm, and even positive. "Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?" he said in the post. On Thursday, he echoed the theme in their latest update:
We wish Hanks, Wilson, and all those suffering with COVID-19 all over the globe, strength, patience, and recovery. And for those of us overwhelmed by this week’s news, read Verily editor-in-chief Meg McDonnell’s guide to keeping calm during COVID-19 panic. —MRS
Good News of the Week
Some of the best news of the week have been not in headlines but in the hearts of people coming together to help—such as this idea one community came up with, which Random Acts of Kindness Foundation shared on social media.
There may be some tough days ahead; let’s look for—and be—the helpers.
Watch of the Week
On a completely silly note, what would happen if you mixed James Bond and American casino culture? Saturday Night Live imagined the hilarious result in this raucous clip featuring Daniel Craig.
Miss our “Articles of Note” section? Subscribe to Verily Daily emails and check out our new suggested reading at the bottom, in our new “May We Recommend” section.