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Me Too Movement

The R&B and soul singer was one of few celebrities to appear in the Surviving R Kelly documentary, with stars such as Jay Z, Mary J Blige and Lady Gaga declining to appear.

While John Legend was applauded for speaking out against notorious sex predator Kelly in the Lifetime docu-series, which recounts the multiple abuse claims the musician has faced over the last three decades.

While appearing in the documentary was of monumental importance, Legend has now landed himself in hot water.

Fans were surprised to see a resurfaced photo of the 40-year-old and his wife happily posing for a photo with Harvey at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, only a few months before the #MeToo movement took off.

The infamous 66-year-old movie mogul at the heart of the #MeToo movement is currently awaiting trial in New York on a number of related sexual assault and rape charges.

The All Of Me singer was forced to defend himself, writing a response to his Twitter followers;

"I took a photo with and worked with Harvey on several occasions before his abuse was known to me and the rest of the world."

"Since his being exposed, his company and career have rightfully been destroyed and he's been indicted. Sounds like something that should happen to R. Kelly."

 He continued in a follow-up tweet, saying "If y'all wanna cape for R and discount all these women's stories, just say it. Don't bring up some old pics of me and somebody else."

That being said, allegedly Harvey Weinstein's abuse was widely known throughout the entire entertainment industry for decades, so we find it difficult to believe that he had no clue what the movie producer was capable of.

What's your stance, do you think the image is important, or should the focus be on listening to the voices of R Kelly's victims and speaking out against enablers? 

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I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan since my early teens so when I found out I was going to her Dublin show on the Reputation tour I was overjoyed. I couldn’t help but shed a few happy tears.

I know she isn’t everyone's cup of tea, some people find her fake, others think her music is cringey, but one thing you must applaud her for is how she opened up about being a victim of sexual assault.

August 14 marked the one year anniversary of the day the jury sided in the singer’s favour in her case against former radio host David Mueller.

 

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As she looked out at a crowd of loving fans, Taylor opened up about the trial: “A year ago I was not playing in a stadium in Tampa, I was in a courtroom in Denver, Colorado. This is the day the jury sided in my favor and said that they believed me.”

The Delicate singer welled up as she spoke about all of the victims who were ignored and pushed aside. The ones who weren’t taken seriously. The ones who weren’t listened to.

 

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“I just think about all the people that weren’t believed and the people who haven’t been believed, and the people who are afraid to speak up because they think they won’t be believed,” Taylor said.

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry to anyone who ever wasn’t believed because I don’t know what turn my life would have taken if somebody didn’t believe me when I said something had happened to me.”

The You Belong With Me continued: "I just wanted to say we have so much further to go, and I’m so grateful to you guys for being there for me for what was really a horrible part of my life.”

Taylor thanked her fans for seeing her through all the good times- the number one songs, the sold out tours and the awards- and the bad times- the breakups, the online abuse and the groping trial.

She addressed the crowd: “I wanted to say that I’m so happy to see you and to have you and know you through the ups and the downs in my life.”

The singer struggled to hold back her tears during the moving speech: “Sorry I just haven’t really talked about it, and so I’m just not composed at all.”

Following the Look What You Made Me Do singer's tear-jerking speech, fans held up $1 notes to support Taylor and survivors of sexual abuse. 

Reasons like this remind me of why I have adored the Call It What You Want singer since I was a teenager. Sure, you may not enjoy her music, but her courage is something we should all appreciate.

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“The young lads went overboard but this is what young lads do on occasion. They have suffered far too much.”

This was a comment written by Billy Keane, in the comment section of The Irish Independent, in the wake of the Ballyragget scandal.

In case you need a bit of refreshing on the Ballyragget case, a scandal erupted in the small Kilkenny village after some photos of the intermediate hurling team celebrating a club victory went viral.

There were strippers involved, and claims that one of them, Fifi, was paid for performing a sex act on a player.

But of course, instead of being thoroughly investigated for their viral (literally thousands of people saw the pictures and videos) misconduct, the men (not boys, not “young lads”, but grown-ass men) were given nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

This culture of ‘boys will boys’ and ‘it’s just a bit of craic’ is a cover for a much deeper misogyny that has reared its ugly head in Ireland recently. We’ve had enough, it’s time for Ireland’s #TimesUp moment.

If the trial of four rugby players, including Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, has shown us anything it’s that ‘lad culture’ is strong in sport- and that sport will stop at nothing to protect its own.

Let me preface this by saying that I have absolutely nothing against rugby or the GAA. Sport is a fantastic way of bringing families, communities and entire countries together. It is a treasured social outlet for many men and women. Professional and dedicated sportspeople deserve our highest respect, but that does not mean that they are above the law, despite their acquittal of all charges clearly stating otherwise. 

Male GAA and rugby stars command the same amount of notoriety and power, as film stars and Hollywood hotshots do in the United States. We’re a small nation, so to make it big, most of our actors and musicians head for the bright lights of the States or London. But one thing we refuse to export are sportspeople.

In rugby, our national team have taken on Goliaths like England, France and the All Blacks, and we’ve won. This is an immense source of Irish pride, and it’s hard not to feel something when our team is given the Six Nations or places in the World Cup.

Those men (and women, the ladies team deserve far more recognition than they get) are representing us, they are Ireland on the pitch.

So, what happens when one of our stars is accused of rape? The “lads only club” kicks in.

Lad culture and rugby are synonymous. Don’t believe me? Ross O’Carroll-Kelly created an entire series about it.

According to a report published by the National Union of Students in the UK, Lad Culture in universities is damaging and sexist. Lad Culture can be defined as a version of masculinity that promotes pack mentality, excessive drinking, multiple sexual partners and overtly homophobic, sexist and aggressive language in the form of “banter”.

While the study focuses on Lad Culture in universities, it does note the connection between sports and ‘laddisms’.

“‘Lad Culture’ was thought to be particularly influential in the social side of university life,” states the report.

“Extracurricular activities and sports in particular were singled out as key sites, and it was reported that sexism in such environments could spill over into sexual harassment and humiliation.”

This ‘banter’, while explicitly sexual and violent is usually dismissed as “just a bit of craic”. Speaking out about it or challenging offensive sexual speak leaves us to open to being called “dry”, “hysterical”, or even worse, “one of those man-hating feminists”.

Women, and men, uncomfortable with these laddisms are left to suffer in silence- or even become compliant and join in on the ‘banter’.

The ‘banter’ flying about the Whatsapp group the morning after the aforementioned alleged rape further proves this.

The morning after the acts took place, one of the rugby players posted a selfie of himself with three female party-goers, captioned “Love Belfast sluts.” 

Charming. 

A friend replied, “Boys, did you lads spit roast lasses? Legends!! … why are we all such legends?” to which the man responded: “I know. It’s ridiculous.” 

The conversation continued on a similar vein, with one message asking if the women were “Brassers”- Belfast slang for prostitutes.

“Two days after the alleged rape, at 11.28am,” writes The Irish Independent. “Mr McIlroy sent a message to a friend stating: ‘Pumped a bird with Jacko on Monday. Roasted her. Then another on Tuesday night.’”

To be honest, they sound more like they were describing a chicken dinner, than actual sex. 

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Rape jokes and other such lad culture tripe serve to dehumanise women, completely disregarding any kind of consent. She is no longer a woman, sister, daughter, friend. She is a “bird” waiting to be “pumped” and “roasted”.

The fact that that defence lawyer called these texts a "titillating sideshow", only proves the power of misogynistic power of "banter" over a woman's right to speak her truth. 

This is not just ‘banter’ between team mates, it’s symptomatic of a wider disregard for consent. In the words of Stuart Olding, “I didn't force myself on her. I presume she wanted it to happen. She didn't have to stay, she could have left.”

Okay, let’s break this one down.

They’re rugby players, it’s literally their job to be as physically strong as possible. By his own admission, Olding had consumed “eight cans of Carlsberg beer, four pints of Guinness, two gins, five vodka and lemonades and three shots of tequila and sambuca.” Combine an athletics physical strength with that amount of alcohol and even what might not seem to be any force for them could literally crush a normal person.

Now to, “I presume she wanted it to happen.”

No. Just, no.

He “presumed” she wanted to have sex with him, because why wouldn't she? They’ve constantly been told that they’re brilliant since they were tackling a teddy in their cribs. In Ireland, the recognition that sports receive is the equivalent to a Hollywood A-lister. Why wouldn't any woman want you? It goes with the territory. Wrong.

Couple this egotism with the laddist ignoring consensual conversations, any regard for the woman’s wishes in this situation has been ignored.

As the old saying goes, “If you assume, you make an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’.”

And apparently, none of this was enough to actually convict any of them. All four have walked free. 

It’s not funny, it’s not banter. It’s the last bastion of overt and accepted misogyny of our so-called “equal” society.

Like I said before, sport is not the only area where “lad culture” flourishes.

Sport doesn't have to be like this. In fact, the team bond and their visibility make them an excellent place for open conversation, debate and education. Just look at soccer's 'Give Respect, Get Respect' Campaign. Yeah, it didn't solve racism but at least it CALLED IT OUT.  

Take a look at the Times Up movement in the States, it’s only once we start an open and inclusive conversation can this be fixed. Dragging the problem kicking and screaming into the spotlight instead of writing it off as just another grey area.

The days of hushing sexual assault and harassment under the carpet embroidered “boys will be boys” are over. Let’s take what happened in Belfast as a beginning, a beginning of a brighter, healthier, more inclusive era for Ireland’s sports teams.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to talk about consent, not just women. It starts with a simple replacing of “It’s just a bit of craic” with “Lads, cut it out.” It starts with saying "I believe her". 

Just because they've walked away, doesn't mean that women are going to be silenced.  We owe it to her to speak up. We owe it to ourselves, our sisters, friends, co-workers to call time on this bullshit perception that men can get away with saying and doing whatever they want. 

We owe it to our daughters, to be able to tell them that we're the reason that they can go out and feel safe. 

We owe it to our sons, to teach them that real men respect women. 

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In recent months, a number of very brave women and men have come forward in order to shine a light on the entertainment industry's shameful and hugely misogynistic underbelly.

The outpouring of stories detailing sexual harassment, abuse and rape at the hands of Hollywood's most powerful men, paved the way for a social media movement which sought to give a voice to women who have fallen victim to a culture weighted in favour of men.

In an attempt to acknowledge this, industry insiders have been been discussing the ways in which they can pay tribute to these victims, and recent reports suggest it may come down to outfit choice at the Golden Globes in January.

"All female actresses attending the Globes are protesting by just wearing black gowns,” a source told PEOPLE in response to rumours that female stars were planning to challenge the current status quo.

Choosing to wear a black ensemble will reportedly act as a symbol of protest against sexual harassment and gender inequality in Hollywood, and ties in with the #AskHerMore movement which seeks to remind the media that female stars are capable of discussing more than 'who they're wearing' on the red carpet.

"AskHerMore is fundamentally about treating women as full human beings rather than objects," documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom explains. "And I think #MeToo is about the same thing."

"I hope red carpet interviewers ask about the power the media has to make a difference in the world, how those involved in creating it can set a better example and the importance of broadening who gets to have a say in creating that media."

The reports come following an announcement that next year's Screen Actor's Guild Awards will feature an all-female presenting panel.

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