We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were In”—Verily quick takes on the happenings of this week.
While Tara Reade's Allegations of Biden Assault Are Corroborated, Some #MeToo Voices Are Quiet
In the past few days, new evidence has come to light regarding Tara Reade’s allegations of sexual assault by presidential hopeful Joe Biden. First, there have been a number of corroborations: Reade’s former neighbor substantiated her claims to Business Insider. Likewise, another woman who worked in the same state legislator’s office as Reade in the mid-1990s similarly spoke up, saying that she remembers Reade telling her that her former boss in Washington had “sexually harassed her.” Additionally, an old clip of a 1993 Larry King Live episode has resurfaced, in which the caller asks the talk-show host for advice about her daughter who was mistreated by a senator. Reade has since confirmed that the caller was her mother and that she was referring to her sexual assault by the then-Senator from Delaware.
As corroborating evidence has mounted, things have complicated for the presidential candidate’s selection of a vice president, which Biden had previously stated would be a woman, since few female politicians will want to defend accusations of hypocrisy for not taking Biden’s accusers seriously. The Cut described the VP offer as “the poisoned chalice.”
Some staunch supporters, however, continue to defend Biden. Actress and #metoo activist Alyssa Milano wrote an op-ed for Deadline in which she defends her decision to continue to support Biden despite the mounting evidence against him. In it, she seems to backtrack her previous stance championing those who speak up with allegations of sexual assault. “It’s not up to women to admonish or absolve perpetrators, or be regarded as complicit when we don’t denounce them,” Milano writes, adding that plenty of female politicians still support Biden’s nomination—such as Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren.
Few are confronting Biden directly about the allegations. “Mr. Biden has not been asked about it in any interviews,” the New York Times noted Thursday. MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes featured the Reade accusations on his program, leading to #FireChrisHayes hashtags on Twitter. The Daily Beast reached out to numerous women’s political groups and reported they had “gone silent” when approached for comment on the Reade allegations. When asked why she isn’t requesting an investigation like she did for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the face of allegations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated Thursday that Biden is a man of “great integrity” deserving of due process. This reversal in behavior has left many scratching their heads and seriously questioning the validity of the “believe all women” tagline.
"The presidential hopeful announced on Thursday that he planned to address the allegations directly Friday morning on The Morning Joe. In his appearance, he denied the allegations, stating they 'never happened' and that he '[doesn't] remember any type of complaint she may have made' about him. —Mariel Lindsay and Mary Rose Somarriba
CDC Recommends Social Distancing for Our Animal Friends
Public health authorities now say pet owners should keep their furry friends at home after two pet cats tested positive for coronavirus.
They aren’t the first animals to catch COVID-19 in the United States, but previous cases were only detected in exotic beasts in zoos like lions and tigers. Although the two domestic pets likely caught it from people in their New York neighborhood, experts say there’s no clear evidence the disease can be transmitted back to humans from animals, ABC News reports. Experts also emphasize that there’s no reason to relinquish or abandon a pet if you yourself become sick.
The CDC recommends that cats be kept indoors, and that dogs be leashed and kept at least six feet from people and other animals who aren’t in their family. Dog parks should be off limits for the time being, too. In other words, we should treat our animals like we do any other quarantined family member.
Interestingly, it appears that cats are more susceptible to catching the virus than dogs due to a unique disease receptor in their cells.
As for the two cats who fell ill in New York, the CDC says their respiratory symptoms were not serious and they should recover fully. —Margaret Brady
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U.S. Astronaut Jessica Meir Shares Thoughts Upon Returning to Earth
Forty-two-year-old Maine native (and U.S.-Swedish dual citizen) Jessica Meir returned from outer space in mid-April. A NASA astronaut, she had been living in outer space for over seven months. While confined to the spaceship, she exercised for more than two hours each day and grew mizuna lettuce. In October, she and fellow astronaut Christina Koch embarked on the first all-female spacewalk in history.
She says of that mind-boggling experience in an interview with Vanity Fair, “You always remember your very first trip out of the hatch—that first moment where you come outside of the space station and you look down, and there’s nothing between you and the Earth.” She referenced the current COVID-19 global crisis and added that, “When you look down on the Earth, you see this amazing, gorgeous planet and all the different landmasses and oceans, and you don’t see any of those political boundaries that we’ve drawn on a map. It’s so easy for us to realize that we’re in this together.”
Meir is currently still under quarantine at NASA’s Johnson Space Center before she rejoins society. Lack of gravity in space can wreak havoc on the immune system, so ground crew is taking extra special care to make certain that she is physiologically fit. She says that for the first time in her life, she is not sure what she wants to do next. But having already participated in the first all-female spacewalk, and prior to that studying the diving physiology of penguins in Antarctica, she is sure to do more great things. —ML
Alanis Morisette Says #MeToo in the Music Industry Has Yet to Begin
In an interview published in The Sunday Times this week, Alanis Morisette made the shocking statement that almost every woman in the music industry has been assaulted or harassed in the course of doing business. The singer, whose May 1 album release has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, says when it comes to the world of musicians, the #metoo movement has yet to start.
“It hasn’t even begun in the music industry. Almost every woman in the music industry has been assaulted, harassed, raped. It’s ubiquitous—more in music, even, than film,” Morissette said. “What, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll? By definition it’s crass, sweaty and aggressive. But it’s only a matter of time before it has its own explosion of stories.” —MRS
Oscars to Allow Streaming Films to be Award Contenders Due to Coronavirus
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this week that films that were released for streaming only due to restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for Academy Awards in 2021.
Traditionally, movies that stream on platforms such as Netflix have only been eligible for awards if they also ran for some length of time in a brick and mortar theater; films like The Irishman and Marriage Story were able to secure their nominations this way. But without imminent returns to movie theaters expected, this rule would’ve called for the postponement or cancellation of the 93rd Academy Awards.
To combat this, the Oscars will allow for movies such as Trolls World Tour, which ‘opened’ only on streaming platforms, to be eligible for nominations. While NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell expects to release Trolls World Tour in theaters once cinemas are up and running again, this will have no bearing on their eligibility.
The Academy does not anticipate continuing this rule of direct-to-streaming films receiving nominations past the 93rd Oscars, which are currently scheduled for February 28, 2021. —Maggie Sicilia Bickerstaff
Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Are Expecting A Baby
Supermodel Gigi Hadid and boyfriend Zayn Malik, alumnus of British band One Direction and singer of the pop hit Pillowtalk, are expecting their first baby.
Hadid confirmed her pregnancy in a preview for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon earlier this week. The announcement followed a TMZ report this week that the model was rumored to be 20 weeks pregnant.
“Obviously, we wish we could’ve announced it on our own terms, but we’re very excited and happy and grateful for everyone’s well wishes and support,” said Hadid. She expressed that while she continues practicing social distancing, it is a “nice silver lining to be able to be home and together and to really experience it day by day.”
Hadid and Malik, 27, have been dating on-and-off for several years, confirming in February that they are back together. The couple recently celebrated Hadid’s 25th birthday before announcing the pregnancy and that their baby is due in September. —MSB
Good News of the Week
This week a 101-year old woman who was born during the Spanish Flu in 1918, Angelina Friedman, survived her second pandemic when she tested negative after weeks of being positive with COVID-19. USA Today reports, “Joanne Merola, Friedman's daughter ... said Friedman was born on a passenger ship taking immigrants from Italy to New York City during the Spanish flu in 1918.” While Friedman has had a life of hardship, her resilience is something we’d all love to have. —MRS
Watch of the Week
Tom Hanks introduced Saturday Night Live in a monologue from his home this week. It didn’t take place in New York, and not even on just a Saturday (as he put it, each day these days is just today). But America’s dad who survived COVID-19 reminds us there is still a point in trying to laugh, even if it’s harder.
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