Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
Prince Andrew settles lawsuit by Jeffrey Epstein victim
Prince Andrew has settled a lawsuit with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a woman who claims Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with the prince multiple times when she was 17 years old. The Telegraph reports that the settlement totals about $16.3 million, and Queen Elizabeth will help pay it. Andrew will also make “a substantial donation” to Giuffre’s charity “in support of victims’ rights.”
While it’s a positive development for Giuffre to receive funds after her alleged troubling ordeal, this isn’t quite a clean win for sex-abuse survivors. Vanity Fair notes that “a settlement guaranteed that the case would not go to trial and some of the most vexing questions about Andrew’s friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein might never be answered.” And CNBC reports that “the settlement will spare Andrew further ignominy from being forced to answer questions under oath for depositions in the case, and face a public trial in New York that would have drawn massive media attention.”
More than 10 years ago, the Mail on Sunday published a photograph of Andrew, Maxwell, and 17-year-old Giuffre, which was, according to Giuffre, taken by Epstein. Last August, Giuffre filed her suit against Andrew, which was settled on Tuesday after the royal family spent millions of pounds on the legal battle.
This settlement comes nearly two months after Maxwell was convicted on five sex-crime charges, and it is likely not the last legal case to involve Epstein, Maxwell, and their alleged victims. —Madeline Fry Schultz
Russian Olympic skater Kamila Valieva tests positive for three heart drugs
Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old Russian figure skater competing at the Winter Olympics, tested positive for three different drugs meant to improve heart function. The teen figure skater took the substances prior to arriving in Beijing.
The lab in Stockholm first detected the banned trimetazidine on Christmas Day at the 2022 Russian Figure Skating Championships in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the New York Times reported. The lab also detected two other substances not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to the Times. She listed those substances—L-carnitine and Hypoxen—on a doping control form.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency unsuccessfully tried to ban Hypoxen, a drug designed to increase oxygen flow to the heart. L-carnitine, another oxygen-boosting performance enhancer, is banned if injected above certain thresholds.
The World Anti-Doping Agency argued that Valieva’s knowledge of the two substances means she likely knew the banned drug (trimetazidine) was also in her system. She said that it was likely due to contamination with medication her grandfather regularly took.
Valieva was banned after the sample came back positive following the Russian Olympic Committee’s win in the team event. On Monday, her case was taken before a Court of Arbitration for Sports to determine if she could compete in the women’s event Tuesday. She was cleared to compete in part because she is a minor, but officials said they would withhold medals until her case is resolved.
That wasn’t necessary because, on Thursday, Valieva made a number of stumbles in her routine, causing her to take fourth place. Her Russian teammates Anna Shcherbakova and Aleksandra Trusova won the gold and silver medals respectively, and Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto won bronze. However mayhem erupted after Valieva’s routine finished and the results were announced, causing IOC president Thomas Bach to say he was “disturbed” by the apparent pressure Russian coaches have been putting on the teen athletes. —Melanie Wilcox
Alec Baldwin faces criminal charges for death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
The family of deceased cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has pressed criminal charges against Alec Baldwin as part of a wrongful death lawsuit that is alleging seriously reckless misconduct by the actor and some of his colleagues on the set of their Western indie film, Rust.
According to a lawyer for Halyna’s husband Matthew and their son Andros, Baldwin and others on set “committed major breaches of industry protocols” that directly “led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins” in October of last year. At the same time, both civil and criminal suits target Baldwin in particular, as he was not only the person who shot and killed the talented cinematographer, but did so due to a litany of dangerous violations of standard firearms protocols that he as producer personally enforced in order to “cut corners,” financially speaking.
The other lawsuit further corroborates evidence showing that Baldwin, as a producer of Rust, routinely flouted safety protocols as a means of “aggressive cost-cutting practices.” Other examples listed in the lawsuit included Baldwin’s practice of “hiring inexperienced and unqualified armorers or weapons masters, requiring the film’s armorer to split time as assistant props master, establishing and aggressively adhering to unreasonably rushed production schedules, and hiring unqualified and inexperienced crew and staff that were responsible for safety during the production.”
Baldwin, for his part, has adamantly denied any wrongdoing even alleging that he did not actually pull the trigger on the firearm that he aimed at Hutchins: “I didn’t pull the trigger . . . I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.” —Mariel Lindsay
Kanye West goes on Instagram tirade against estranged wife Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West’s very public 2021 split has been making headlines all week as Kanye has gone on a disturbing Instagram crusade against Kardashian’s new boyfriend, Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson, rapper Kid Cudi, singer Billie Eilish, and more, all ostensibly in hopes to win back Kardashian West.
The saga began on February 4, when West wrote that his eight-year-old daughter, North was being allowed to use TikTok “against his will.” In her only public contribution to the feud, Kim published in an Instagram story, "Kanye's constant attacks on me in interviews and on social media is actually more hurtful than any TikTok North might create," "Divorce is difficult enough on our children,” she added, “and Kanye's obsession with trying to control and manipulate our situation is so negatively and publicly is only causing further pain for all."
Kim and Kanye married in 2014, and share four children together. The reality star filed for divorce from the rapper citing “irreconcilable differences” and eventually filed for legal singlehood.
Kanye has in turn binge-posted on social media, sporadically deleting and clearing his Instagram feed. The posts have ranged from screenshots, to pictures of Kardashian West, to memes pitting him against Davidson, to screenshots of comments from supportive fans. In one, he shared a picture of Davidson with a red X over the comedian’s face and has declared “war” against him.
In one of the most disturbing moments in his public breakdown, West shared a screenshot of a text from Kim that read “U are creating a dangerous and scary environment and someone will hurt Pete and this will all be your fault,” alongside an image of a man in a headlock, and writing: "UPON MY WIFE’S REQUEST PLEASE NOBODY DO ANYTHING PHYSICAL TO SKETE IM GOING TO HANDLE THE SITUATION MYSELF." Kanye has alternated his angry posts with ones flattering Kim, including one of a truckload of roses for Valentine’s Day.
Many have expressed concern for the state of Kanye’s mental health—he has a history of bipolar disorder. For many watching the disturbing trends of gaslighting, harassment, and cyberbullying on public display, one hopes for the restored safety and mental health of all involved. —Gabriella Patti
Super Bowl LVI comes and goes
The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnatti Bengals 23-20 at Sunday night’s Super Bowl, after a very tight game. If you didn’t tune in, what did you miss?
Mickey Guyton’s national anthem is a much watch and may bring tears to your eyes.
Law & Order is back, as its repeated commercials made abundantly clear. (Dun-dun.) Electric cars are apparently at the top of automakers’ marketing budgets, and growing interest in virtual reality may explain a bunch of ads that were just . . . weird.
Among our favorite ads were Troy Polamalu’s hilarious spot for Head & Shoulders (#nevernotworking); Barbie using Rocket Mortgage in a super competitive housing market; NBC teasing itself about the #1 reason(s) it is America’s favorite network; Tommy Lee Jones vs. Leslie Jones vs. Rashida Jones, bringing new meaning to keeping up with the Joneses (thanks, Toyota); and Planet Fitness’s ad about what Lindsay Lohan has gotten into lately.
The Super Bowl halftime show put the spotlight on R&B, rap, and hip-hop performances for the first time in history. Featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar, the show was surprisingly about 90-percent family friendly! (Although I’m glad no kids were in the room when 50 Cent surprised viewers with his hit “In Da Club” surrounded by gyrating women.)
Mary J. Blige shared snapshots of her hits “Family Affair” and “No More Drama”—a song about stepping away from toxic behavior and relationships. (If you’re feeling stress after this long week, give it a listen!) —Mary Rose Somarriba
Good News of the Week
First woman is cured of HIV
A research team in the United States used a stem-cell transplant, derived from genetically-matched umbilical cord blood with HIV-resistant mutation, to cure a woman with HIV for the very first time. The woman had leukemia and is the third person to date to be cured of HIV. The stem-cell transplant donor was naturally resistant to the virus that caused AIDS.
The woman has been in remission and free of the virus for 14 months. While this stem-cell transplant method is unlikely to work for masses, it will expand the pool of people to several dozen each year who could be cured of HIV.
Scientists have cured–or likely cured—three men who have HIV. This makes the woman the fourth person ever to be cured of the disease. Researchers know of two women whose own immune systems conquered the virus without any outside intervention.
Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of multiple divisions of the National Institutes of Health that funds the research network behind the new case study, told NBC News that the multiple repeated triumphs in curing HIV provide hope. “It’s important that there continues to be success along this line,” he said. —MW
Watch of the Week
Among the most striking Super Bowl ads this weekend included the debut of a new song by Lizzo called "If You Love Me," while showcasing the Google Pixel 6 camera’s ability to capture a range of darker-skinned complexions with greater clarity.