Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Second Rush accuser comes forward

Actress Yael Stone has accused actor Geoffrey Rush of sexual misconduct during a production of Diary of a Madman in Sydney in 2010 and 2011. In an interview ($) with The New York Times, Stone said Rush sent her “sexual” text messages, danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, and used a handheld mirror to look at her while she showered. Stone said she never considered “speaking to anyone in any official capacity” due to “the reality of professional influence and the reality of a complicated friendship”, and that Rush never replied to an email she wrote him last year in which she shared her thoughts about his actions. In a statement, Rush said that while “Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work …  the allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by Yael Stone are incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context”. Rush is suing the Daily Telegraph over allegations he groped actress Eryn Jean Norvill during a production of King Lear.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad has stepped down as assistant minister to deputy prime minister Michael McCormack over allegations he used an online “sugar daddy” service while in Hong Kong. Lifestyle magazine New Idea reported on Monday that Broad sent sexually explicit messages to a woman nearly 20 years his junior, before taking her to a restaurant and repeatedly placing her hand on his leg. The woman alleged Broad repeatedly referred to himself as “James Bond”, bragged about his position in the federal government and recited his election speech over dinner. Broad was a prominent opponent of legalising same-sex marriage, in 2016 comparing same-sex relationships to “rams in a paddock”.

In the United Kingdom, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has threatened to table a motion of no confidence in prime minister Theresa May over her failure to bring her government’s draft Brexit agreement before parliament for a vote. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, May said a vote would be held on January 14 following a week of debate, and that parliament should “not break faith with the British people by trying to stage another referendum”.

And federal Labor has promised to abolish the Community Development Program Indigenous employment training policy. Speaking at the ALP national conference on Monday, senator for Western Australia, Pat Dodson, said Labor would scrap the “discriminatory, punitive and ineffectual” CDP as part of Labor’s reconciliation action plan. Indigenous workers’ union the First Nations Workers Alliance described the announcement as “a huge win for 30,000+ workers who've been racially discriminated against through this scheme for the last 3 years”. A policy proposal to criminalise ex-gay “conversion therapy” failed at the conference on Monday, while the party announced it would accept another 4000 refugees a year and give the United Nations refugee agency an extra $500 million a year.



“A push by conservative Coalition MPs to entrench churches’ rights to discriminate on sexuality grounds appears to have backfired, with a long-awaited national religious freedom review recommending exemptions for religious organisations from other discrimination laws be wound back or scrapped.”


“Born into a freethinking secular Jewish family in Paris in 1909, Simone Weil ranked at the top of her class at the Sorbonne; Simone de Beauvoir ranked second. She would write that mechanisation had reduced human beings to machines, and during a stint working on a Renault assembly line, Weil tried to lift her co-workers up, telling them about Plato in her lunch hour.”


“Some records I discovered only months after they came out, others clashed with the release date of something else I liked. And then there were those confounding albums I was too cloth-eared to properly appreciate at the time. It’s strange, but those are usually the ones I end up loving the most.”


“New Labor MP Ged Kearney has vowed to fight ‘racist dog-whistling’ against refugees in Australia and to change her party's asylum seeker policies ... Although Kearney said she will prioritise refugee rights during her time in federal parliament, her ability to influence Labor’s policy on mandatory detention remains to be seen.”


“A push within the Labor Party to overhaul its approach to asylum seekers has been neutered, with only minor changes to be made to the ALP’s official policy platform ... National convenor of Labor4Refugees, Shane Prince, acknowledges there is not enough support to end offshore detention or turn back boats.”



“Describing the robot as a ‘hero’ and a ‘legend’, UC Berkeley students expressed their grief on Facebook as news of a fallen KiwiBot reached the campus community ... Garnering more than 300 reactions and more than 90 comments within an hour of uploading, the video of the robot in flames made waves on the page. Students have called for a moment of silence, suggesting finals week may have finally gotten to the robot as well.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.