Spanish Women Face Hate Crime Charges Over Plastic Vagina Protest

Three women who staged a 2014 May Day protest are facing charges of "crimes against religious sentiment" for parading "a plastic vagina a couple of metres high in the style of the Virgin Mary", according to court papers. 

The protest was designed to highlight issues of discrimination against women in the workplace and also restrictions on women's reproductive health as part of the national Workers’ Day march in Seville by the Spanish union the General Workers' Confederation (CGT).

The legal case was already dismissed in Spain's judicial system but the Association of Christian Lawyers appealed the decision and the previous judge's ruling that "not believing in the dogmas of a religion and manifesting it publicly falls under the freedom of expression". The new case claims to contain 'new evidence' that the protest was a deliberate insult to "religious sentiments of Cathlics' with "a mockery of the Easter procession."

Lawyers for the three women contend that there was no intention to offend in the act. One attorney Pastora Filigrana says:

"The objective was to reclaim the right to a choice [to have an abortion] as well as to workers' rights. There were no insults to churchgoers nor was the action directed at the Church. There were no crosses." via

Meet Emily Steel, Dedicated New York Times Reporter Who Is Bill O'Reilly Enemy #1

Marie Claire interviews New York Times reporter Emily Steel, who insists "I'm not the story" when talking about Bill O'Reilly's epic fall at Fox News. Perhaps not, but the investigative research approach that she took, together with her Times colleague Michael S. Schmidt, was absolutely awesome, inventive, meticulous and truly original. 

Three weeks ago, Steel and Schmidt dropped their explosive Times article, documenting settlements with at least five accusers over the last 15 years, to the hefty sum of $13 million. Within two days of their report, over 50 advertisers had fled O'Reilly's show. And now he's gone from his perch as the biggest anchor on cable TV.

We learn that Emily Steel has been a thorn in O'Reilly's big toe for years. She reported on his false claims about covering the Falklands War in the 1980s, when he was actually in Buenos Aires more than 1,000 miles away.  "I am coming after you with everything I have," O'Reilly said in an on-the-record phone call to Steel. "You can take it as a threat."

She may wear pearls and a pussycat bow blouse, but Steel doesn't scare easily. With the strong backing of their editor, the two reporters continued to mine Fox News for sexual harassment stories. 

In her more defeated moments, Steel found inspiration—in an instance of life imitating art imitating life—in the movie Spotlight. "I would listen to what Rachel McAdams would say. She would say things like, 'The words are really important.' And when we're telling these stories, the details are really specific," she says. She tried mimicking McAdams' character, Sacha Pfeiffer of the Boston Globe. "I'd say to sources, 'I know it's hard and I know it's scary, but we need to know. We need to know.'"

Steel put in the time to get those sources to trust her. "I think my editors thought I was crazy because I would spend two or three hours on the phone at a time, just to make people feel comfortable and get them to talk. But that's what it took," she says. "When you're talking about something that's so sensitive like sexual harassment, you can't just call somebody up and say, 'What happened to you?' You need to make them feel comfortable."

Steel's biggest get was Wendy Walsh, and Marie Claire writer Kaitlin Menza shares a good story.  The article doesn't share the background on Steel and Schmidt watching endless hours of Fox News footage, documenting women on air and then suddenly gone. This included not only the obvious Fox anchors but female experts who regularly appeared on O'Reilly shows and then 'poof', no more.

A cardboard cut-out of Donald Trump leans against a window in the New York Times building, not that any of the reporters and editors could forget about him. But Steel finds the present a "really invigorating" time to work in journalism.

"It's given people a sense of purpose of why we're doing the work that we do," she says.


Beyoncé Launches Formation Scholars With Four Full 2017/2018 Scholarships For Young Women

Beyoncé used the first anniversary of 'Lemonade', the world's best-selling album in 2016, to launch Formation Scholars -- full college scholarships for four young women -- one for each of the participating institutions: Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College, her site explains. 

"To add to the celebration of the one-year anniversary of Lemonade, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter announces the establishment of Formation Scholars awards for the 2017-2018 academic year, to encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident."

Scholarships may only be used by women for the study of creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.  The funding is part of the #BeyGOOD initiative, an organization which has in the past provided funding for such causes as those affected by the Flint water crisis and to homeless populations and sick children around the world.

Oliver Wasow's Trump Rogues May 1-May 7 At NYC Steve Harvey Fine Art Benefits ACLU

New York-based artist Oliver Wasow has created a haunting portrait series of key figures in the Trump administration. The entire series, titled 'Rogues Gallery' will comprise a week-long exhibition opening from May 1-May 7, 2017 at New York's Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, 208 Forsyth Street. More details.

ArtNet News describes the process: To create the subtly disturbing images, Wasow has worked with images sourced from the Internet, digitally manipulating each portrait in Photoshop, adjusting the backdrop and lighting and sometimes distorting physical features to draw out the subject’s creepy side. First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, for instance, have had their brown eyes swapped out for Vladimir Putin’s baby blues, in a commentary on the Russian government’s possible influences on the administration.

Although the images were created to be shared on social media, rather than displayed physically, Wasow is selling 12-by-16-inch prints of each portrait for $100 each, or the full set of 14 for $1,000. A poster of the series is priced at $200. All proceeds will benefit the ACLU.