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Hundreds join #MeToo march against sexual abuse

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Reuters

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Hundreds of people marched in the heart of Hollywood on Sunday to support victims of sexual assault and harassment, inspired by a social media campaign that has portrayed such abuse as a pervasive feature of American life.

The #MeToo march and rally followed a relentless series of accusations by men and women who said they were victimized by high-powered figures in the entertainment industry. But marchers said they also represented men and women who had been sexually abused as children and in other situations.

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“I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times throughout my life,” said marcher Tara McNamarra, 21, of Los Angeles. “It’s affected me in every aspect of my life.”

She said the march was cleansing after years of not being taken seriously about having been abused.

Women made up a majority of the crowd, although men made a strong showing of support.

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Steven Murphy, 51, of Los Angeles, said he regularly witnessed sexual harassment while working as an accountant in the healthcare industry.

“I’ve had personal experiences of friends, of co-workers who were harassed, and nothing ever came of it,” Murphy said. “They were made out to be the guilty ones. They were pressured and harassed by the company for speaking out against assault and sexual harassment in the workplace.”

The marchers started at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, walking along the noted “Walk of Fame” until they reached the Los Angeles headquarters of news network CNN at Sunset and Cahuenga Boulevards.

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Along the way, participants noted the stars of actors and producers accused of sexual harassment.

The allegations have inspired an online campaign, tagged #MeToo, that has encouraged men and women in all walks of life to reveal their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault, often years after they occurred.

Reuters

Among the most recent allegations, five women detailed sexual misconduct accusations against Emmy-winning comedian Louis C.K. in The New York Times on Thursday. He admitted to the misconduct alleged against him in a statement on Friday and apologized for his actions.

More than 50 women have said that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the allegations.

Reuters

Reuters

Earlier this month, actor Kevin Spacey apologized to actor Anthony Rapp, who had accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. Spacey’s representatives said later he was seeking treatment.

Eight current and former employees of the Netflix TV show “House of Cards,” who were not identified, also have accused Spacey, the star of the show, of sexual misconduct, CNN has reported.

 

(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Editing by Peter Cooney

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‘Making of a Murderer’ case may go to Supreme Court

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A Wisconsin man convicted of murder in the case that was chronicled in the Netflix documentary, “Making of a Murderer,” on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to toss out his 2005 confession that his attorneys claim was coerced by investigators, the Washington Post reported.

Attorneys for Brendan Dassey, 28, made a similar argument to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in December and failed. The judges voted 4-3 to uphold his conviction in the slaying of Teresa Halbach.

Dassey confessed when he was 16 of helping his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach, a freelance photographer, in 2005. Her charred remains were found on Avery’s property about 80 miles north of Milwaukee in Manitowoc County.

Steven Avery is pictured in this undated booking photo obtained by Reuters January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department/Handout via Reuters

The pair were convicted of the murder in separate trials. Avery is now 55. Both men are in prison in Wisconsin.

The case was the basis for a 10-part documentary, “Making a Murderer,” which questioned the handling of the investigation and the motives of Manitowoc County law enforcement officials.

A dissenter in the 7th Circuit Appeals Court decision, Chief Judge Diane Wood, said Dassey was a low-functioning teenager with an IQ in the low 80s, and that without his confession, the case against him was “almost nonexistent.”

Wood wrote, “Even if we were to overlook the coercion, the confession is so riddled with input from the police that its use violates due process.”

In 2016, a U.S. magistrate judge overturned the guilty verdict against Dassey, citing coercion. Then a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit upheld the magistrate’s ruling, and Wisconsin prosecutors asked for the review by the full circuit.

In October, a Wisconsin judge denied Avery a new trial.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)reuter

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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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