We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—Verily quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Planned Parenthood of NY Disavows Sanger Over Racist Beliefs
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York has announced that it will strip Margaret Sanger’s name from its Manhattan Health Clinic. The organization is also talking to city officials about removing Sanger’s name from a nearby street sign.
Sanger is the founder of Planned Parenthood. Although some feminists have treated her as an icon, her mission to make birth control readily available was driven by her belief in eugenics—the idea that the human race can be improved by preventing “undesirables” from breeding. Typically, “undesirable” meant poor and nonwhite.
She supported sterilization for people with disabilities, banning immigrants with disabilities, and even scored an invitation to speak at a Ku Klux Klan meeting—an invitation she accepted.
“The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,” the New York Times quoted a board member as saying.
The New York affiliate has experienced turmoil as its CEO, Laura McQuade, was recently fired for reportedly mistreating workers, particularly employees of color. Hundreds of current and former employees of the Manhattan outpost signed open letters complaining about an organization they said was rife with abuse and inequality. —Margaret Brady
Princess Beatrice Gets Married
Princess Beatrice married her fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in an ultra-private ceremony last Friday, with stunning wedding photos released this week.
The couple were scheduled to wed in May with all the pomp and splendor of a public celebration, but the coronavirus pandemic scuttled those plans. Instead, the princess said her vows in a chapel near Windsor Castle, repeatedly before a congregation of about 20 guests, including the Queen and Prince Phillip.
Photos show Beatrice wearing one of the most unique and sentimental royal bridal gowns of all time: A vintage dress first worn in 1961 by her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, for a state dinner, which was retrofitted with new puff sleeves for the church nuptials. The bride also wore the gorgeous “Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara,” a crown worn by Queen Elizabeth herself on her own wedding day.
Princess Beatrice, 31, is the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York. Her younger sister, Princess Eugenie, wed much more lavishly in 2018. Andrew has been stripped of his royal duties after becoming embroiled in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. However, he did attend the wedding and reportedly walked the bride down the aisle.
The groom is a real estate developer and the father of a 4-year-old boy, Christopher Woolf, from a previous relationship. —MB
J.K. Rowling and Other Public Figures Sign A Petition Calling For Free Speech
Since J.K. Rowling published her essay on the transgender movement and the marginalization of women, the bestselling author, signed a letter, published in Harper’s Magazine with a total of 150 signees. The letter calls for “the free exchange of ideas” in an era in which “the lifeblood of a liberal society is becoming more constricted.”
Signers of the letter, which will be published in the October issue of the second oldest continuously published U.S. monthly magazine, include several notable authors, historians and journalists, including New York Times columnist David Brooks and author of The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood. Following the publication of her essay, Rowling received criticism from the actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint who played characters in the Warner Bros. adaptation of her book series.
Stephen King retweeted Rowling’s tweet that quoted feminist author Andrew Dworkin, “Men often react to women’s words—speaking and writing—as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence.” Rowling included an addendum that said, “It isn’t hateful for women to speak about their own experiences, nor do they deserve shaming for doing so.” When King retweeted her tweet, the Harry Potter author expressed her appreciation, but when a reporter asked King to address this act, he said “Trans women are women.” Rowling blocked his account.
Since that exchange, Rowling shared an article published in The Sunday Times by photographer Laura Dodsworth that profiled trans men who wished to detransition back to women. Vera Bradley, who launched her Harry Potter line, has distanced herself from the author’s comments, saying that the deal has been in the works with Warner Bros. well before Rowling’s comments. —Melanie Wilcox
Kanye West’s Mental Health in Question as He Exposes Personal Details about the Kardashian Clan
Kanye West’s mental health is the subject of fierce online debate after the rapper-turned-gospel singer broke down in tears on stage in South Carolina and then took to Twitter to expose, among other things, the moral failings of famous ‘momager’ Kris Jenner.
While most assumed the eccentric singer’s bid for Presidency had come to an end after he missed filing deadlines in several states, he hosted his first campaign rally in South Carolina, baring his soul in an emotional speech. He began to sob after admitting to the audience that he and his then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian had considered aborting their eldest daughter.
"My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life,” he began. “I almost killed my daughter ... So even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world, even when I didn't want to. She stood up, and she protected that child."
Not long after that bombshell rippled through the media, Kanye revealed further private information about the inner workings of the Kardashian family, accusing mom Kris of selling Kim’s sex tape for fame, and coercing her into posing nude for Playboy. What’s more, he revealed that he does not want Kim’s mother near his children, and that he is considering divorce.
Concerned onlookers began to ring alarm bells about Kanye’s mental state. The singer had publicly declared in 2018 that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and many pointed out that his erratic, heightened emotions, as well as his apparent paranoia, are indicative of a manic episode.
Kim Kardashian West released a statement on Instagram about mental health and her husband’s struggle. “Anyone who has [bipolar disorder] or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand,” Kim wrote. “I feel like I should comment on it because of the stigma and misconceptions about mental health.”
Comedian Dave Chapelle, who also endured a very public and much discussed ‘mental breakdown’ of sorts back in 2005, rushed to be with Kanye at his Wyoming ranch. In Chappelle’s own words about mental illness struggles, “The worst thing to call somebody is crazy. It's dismissive. "I don't understand this person. So they're crazy." That's bullshit. These people are not crazy. They’re strong people. Maybe their environment is a little sick.” —Mariel Lindsay and Melanie Wilcox
Son of Federal Judge Murdered by “Antifeminist” Attorney
The son of a federal Judge was shot and killed by a gunman disguised as a FedEx worker last Sunday night. New Jersey Federal Judge Esther Salas’s twenty-year-old son was shot and killed and her husband badly injured. The suspected killer is lawyer Roy Den Hollander, a self-described “antifeminist” and men’s rights activist whom in 2019 self-published a 1700-page autobiography titled Stupid Frigging Fool in which he called Salas, who was presiding over one of his cases, “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge.”
Hollander was found dead, with a gunshot wound to the head, the following day. Authorities believe he committed suicide and are working to connect him to the crime in question, and believe he was motivated to “take out” his enemies before dying of cancer. They are also investigating his potential involvement in the separate killing of a men’s rights activist lawyer in California who was also shot dead at his front door by a gunman in a FedEx uniform.
Some believe the murder may be connected to the fact that Salas was assigned, just four days prior, to a case involving Epstein’s finances, and that Hollander may have been hired as a hitman by more powerful men. Indeed, Salas had just been assigned to handle a lawsuit filed by investors in the multinational investment company Deutsche Bank, who claim that the bank failed to monitor “high-risk” customers like notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. According to the plaintiffs, Deutsche Bank “wasn’t keeping tabs on clients like the convicted sex offender and two other banks involved in precious financial misconduct scandals.”
Authorities, however, have not confirmed this suspected link to Epstein or the Deutsche Bank. Salas’s son Daniel was an aspiring attorney at Catholic University. —ML
Tyra Banks Is New Host of Dancing With the Stars
After an announcement that longtime Dancing With the Stars show host Tom Bergeron and six-season co-host Erin Andrews will not be returning to the show, ABC announced that show producer and supermodel Tyra Banks is the dancing competition’s new host and the first person to host the show solo. Banks, who produced the competition show America’s Next Top Model, will also be joining the show as executive producer and told Good Morning America that it will be “so next level.”
Upon the announcement of his departure, Bergeron tweeted, "It's been an incredible 15 year run and the most unexpected gift of my career. I'm grateful for that and for the lifelong friendships made. That said, now what am I supposed to do with all of these glitter masks?" —Mary Rose Somarriba
Good News of the Week
Country Time Lemonade Offers “Littlest Bailout” for Lemonade Stand Operators
Small businesses of all kinds have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps none harder than the smallest businesses of all: lemonade stands.
In recognition of that, Country Time Lemonade is offering a “Littlest Bailout” for kids under 14 whose entrepreneurial efforts have been thwarted by the public emergency. By writing an essay on what they’ll do with the “stimulus” funds, and submitting a photo of the sign they would have used for their stand, kids can win a $100 prize. A total of 1,000 prizes will be awarded. The Country Time company says it hopes the contest will help preserve the virtue of hard work and even add some “juice” to the economy. —MB
Watch of the Week
This week, Reuters reports, an "all-female Afghan Robotics Team, which has won international awards for its robots," has created an "open-source, low-cost ventilator" that could make it into hospitals to help patients who need them.
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