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Bold AF #MeToo fashion show opens with angel models, pig-faced men

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A fashion show inspired by the #MeToo social media campaign aimed at exposing sexual misconduct across the United States opened on Friday in New York with models sporting angel wings handcuffed to men in pig masks.

Dressed in a floor-length black and white gown with leather trim and wings at her shoulders, Cheyenne Jacobs, 22, stopped at the end of the runway to declare herself a survivor of sexual abuse, giving the audience a brief account of being sexually assaulted in high school and raped in college.

“I would like to take this moment as a stand of my healing, how far I’ve grown and also to say that this is not only a movement, not just stories, but we’re real people who have gone through real things,” she said.

A model tells her story during the #MeToo Fashion show during New York Fashion Week in New York, U.S., February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Elizabeth Shafiroff

The #MeToo Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week was the brainchild of Myriam Chalek, creative director of fashion website American Wardrobe.

“I don’t think this fashion show is going to change things overnight, but if it can be a step further then I guess I’ve done my part. A woman who has been empowered is a woman who is unstoppable,” Chalek told Reuters in an interview.

To the pace of trendy music, women from several walks of life, some smiling and others more serious, first strutted down a runway to display their designer clothes, then reappeared handcuffed to male models wearing pink pig masks.

Among them was Alicia Kozakiewicz, 29, who was abducted in 2002 near her home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by a man who contacted her online, a case that made international headlines as one of the first such kidnappings of the internet age.

A model gets ready backstage before the #MeToo Fashion show during New York Fashion Week in New York, U.S., February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Elizabeth Shafiroff

Walking confidently down the runway in a black leather hood and dress cinched at the waist with a corset, Kozakiewicz paused to explain how she overcame victim-blaming, even by her family, and became a motivational speaker and aspiring actor.

“The me-too movement is not about man-hating; it is not about fighting violence with violence,” said Kozakiewicz. “It is, however, empowering women and girls to live in a world free of fear so that they can be safe from sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

While the show featured American Wardrobe fashions, Chalek said the event was nonprofit.

A model presents creations during the #MeToo Fashion show during New York Fashion Week in New York, U.S., February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Elizabeth Shafiroff

Since October, hundreds of women have accused powerful men in business, politics, media and entertainment of sex abuse, joining the #MeToo social media movement that has shone a light on sexual assault and harassment in U.S. life.

In the fashion world, sexual abuse allegations have also come from men.

The New York Times reported last month that more than two dozen male models and assistants who worked with high-powered fashion photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino say they were subjected by them to molestation, sexual advances and unnecessary nudity.

Lawyers for both photographers told The Times they denied the allegations, which nevertheless prompted the magazine company Conde Nast to suspend its work with them. Reuters could not independently confirm any of the accusations.

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George Clooney Donates $500,000 and Pledges to March in Student-Led Gun Control March

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Thousands of teenagers are taking matters into their own hands after last week’s shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, replaced Columbine as the deadliest high school shooting on American soil. Outspokenly unwilling to sit on their asses and wait for adults to do something to help prevent more massacres from taking place, they’re advocating for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources for treating their peers, swiftly mobilizing in a way that is commanding attention of the world.

Calls to action have spread across social media, from school walkouts to a march on Washington.

Student organizers got the surprise of their lives when George Clooney donated half-a-million dollars in support. The actor even pledged that he’d be there, alongside wife Amal.

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“The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues,” according to their website. “No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”

Other celebrities have voiced their support for the students’ efforts on social media, including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Cher.

The March For Our Lives will take place on March 24.

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Haters can say it’s fake, but Justin Timberlake has No. 1 album

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Justin Timberlake snagged the No.1 Spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart with “Man of the Woods,” despite harsh reviews and a Super Bowl halftime show that was deemed underwhelming on social media and by music critics.

“Man of the Woods,” Timberlake’s first studio album since 2013, sold more than 242,000 units in its first week of release, according to Nielsen Music data released on Monday.

The Billboard 200 chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

“Man of the Woods” marks Timberlake’s fourth Billboard No.1 album and was the biggest-selling album in the U.S. since Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” in December 2017, Billboard said.

It debuted at No.1 after a Feb. 4 Super Bowl performance consisting mostly of Timberlake’s old hits that also featured a controversial segment featuring a huge projection of Prince, who died in 2016.

The former NSYNC singer also took heat on social media for failing to mention, or perform with, Janet Jackson after an infamous 2004 Super Bowl appearance which ended with Timberlake ripping off Jackson’s top and accidentally briefly exposing her breast.

Nevertheless, the Super Bowl and halftime show were watched by some 103 million Americans on television. Nielsen Music reported last week that on-demand audio and video streams for all of the songs performed by Timberlake jumped 45 percent on the day after the game, compared to the day before.

Timberlake, best known for pop tracks like “SexyBack” and “Rock Your Body,” promoted “Man of the Woods” as a country-inspired album that took him back to his Memphis roots.

But the album had few fans among music reviewers. Esquire called it “disappointing” and “kind of embarrassing,” while USA Today said the album “can’t pull off its Americana-pop fusion.”

On the digital Billboard songs chart, which measures online single sales, Timberlake had three songs in the top 20 – “Say Something” featuring Chris Stapleton, “Man of the Woods,” and his 2016 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Canadian rapper Drake took the top spot with “God’s Plan,” with more than 55,00 units sold.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Kanye West settles lawsuit of Saint Pablo tour cancellation

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Kanye West and Lloyd’s of London insurers have resolved a $10 million lawsuit over the rapper’s cancellation of his 2016 tour.

A California federal court judge on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit brought by West’s Very Good Touring company against syndicates of Lloyd’s of London insurance markets after requests by both parties, court documents showed.

Paul Schrieffer, the attorney representing Lloyd’s, said on Thursday that the dispute “was resolved amicably” but gave no details. West’s attorney did not return a request for comment.

West sued Lloyd’s for nearly $10 million in insurance payouts after he abruptly canceled his Saint Pablo tour in November 2016 with more than 20 shows left.

His lawsuit said he canceled because he was hospitalized with a “serious, debilitating medical condition.” The nature of West’s medical issues, which followed a week of no-shows, curtailed concerts and on-stage political rants, have never been disclosed.

Lloyd’s filed a countersuit saying there were “substantial irregularities” in the rapper’s medical history and noting that its policies exclude any losses caused by the possession or use of illegal drugs, the impact of prescription drugs not used as prescribed, or the use of alcohol.

West has kept a low profile, with few public appearances, since November 2016. He and his wife Kim Kardashian last month announced the arrival of a third child, this time born to a surrogate.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio)

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