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Diageo, the legendary company behind Guinness, has officially cancelled its sponsorship of London Irish Rugby Club over their choice to sign former Ulster and Ireland out-half Paddy Jackson.

We all remember the rugby star after the infamous and harrowing Belfast rape trial of last year, where he was acquitted. Three other men who had been charged in relation to the incident were also acquitted.

Stuart Olding and Jackson both had their contacts cancelled in the wake of the trial, after their Whatsapp messages showed vile, misogynistic language about women involved in allegedly consensual sex acts with them.

Seeing as London Irish markets themselves as a family club, we're not surprised fans were angry when a man who discusses 'spit roasts' and says phrases like, "Any sluts get f*cked?" was signed on to play for them.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In a statement to The Irish Times, Diageo said: “We have met with the club to express our concerns. Their recent decision is not consistent with our values and so we have ended our sponsorship.”

Diageo had recently said that it had "serious concerns" regarding Jackson's signing, but failed to reference the sponsorship deal, which has been in place for 27 years.

Another London Irish sponsor, Cash Converters, terminated its relationship with the club. On Twitter, the company said; “As a company, we are committed to the highest possible standards when it comes to our investments in any sponsorships and collaborations.

"As a result of a detailed and thorough review of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Last night, London Irish said its management is “understandably disappointed that Diageo has chosen not to renew its sponsorship agreement with the club, and particularly the manner in which the company has chosen to do so”.

“The club has always respected the right for everyone to have an opinion, and their right to express that opinion,” the statement said.

“London Irish has been open and honest with all of its sponsors, including offering to meet Diageo’s senior management in Dublin in May, 2019. This offer was not taken up.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The management also said the club would move on “without the support of Diageo, who have chosen to stand down after a nearly 30-year association with the club”.

“It is regretful that this relationship has ended in the manner that it has,” the statement said. Declan Kidney, head coach at London Irish and former Ireland coach, signed Paddy Jackson and defended the decision last year;

“We are fully aware that there was a court case that Paddy was involved in but that has  been  dealt  with. What  has gone on in the past had gone on in the past and we are just trying to move on to the future."

Feature image: Instagram/@glenmoremanor

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This post contains spoilers regarding episode four of Game of Thrones, season eight.

The latest episode of the beloved HBO show has angered fans and celebrities alike, due to the racial insensitivity and disrespectful use of sexual violence as a storyline.

Sansa Stark experienced a hugely controversial plot point in season five; the horrific rape at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. In episode four, the Hound has a conversation with the new Lady of Winterfell and uses some gross language.

"I heard you were broken in. Broken in rough," he says, while sitting in HER HOUSE. Sansa replies by saying, "Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life", she says.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sansa explains to the Hound, who harassed her as Joffrey's former minion, that she is no longer afraid of him as she’s seen "much worse" since.

The Hound tells Sansa that none of the bad things, i.e. Ramsay Bolton and Littlefinger, would have happened to her if she had left King's Landing with him.

The problematic language grates on many fans, as the word 'rape' is never uttered and the Hound essentially blames Sansa here for her own assault. She was a child when she met the Hound, why would she leave anywhere with him?

Jessica Chastain, who co-stars with Turner in the upcoming Dark Phoenix film, has joined the chorus of critics. Chastain is a staunch supporter of the Times Up movement for equal pay and representation in Hollywood, and #MeToo is close to her heart.

The actor tweeted her displeasure at the show’s choice to use assault as a narrative device;

“Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger,” she wrote. “A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The little bird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.” YAS QUEEN.

game of thrones the t GIF

Thank the Lord, Sansa escaped Ramsay alongside Reek/Theon Greyjoy and later gave him the gruesome death he deserved. I'm sure we all remember the hounds scene? Revenge is served COLD by the Starks.

After the backlash surrounding the rape scene in season five in 2016, writer-producer Bryan Cogman explained that the decision for Sansa to be raped on her wedding night by Ramsay Bolton was the only realistic narrative option. Rude?

He continued, "Yes, it would have been hugely satisfying for Sansa to have a shiv up her sleeve and gut Ramsay, but that’s not Sansa. We can’t all be Arya, most people in that situation, they have to play a longer game."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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That entire interview seems like a massive cop-out to us. The show clearly still has zero grasp of how to discuss sexual assault, as the Hound so callously proved.

Sonia Saraiya​​​​​​, an experienced Vanity Fair critic has elaborated on why the scene didn’t work for her. She explains that Sansa’s reaction to the Hound’s comment rang false for the character.

“She just sits there and takes it,” she writes. “It feels like a repudiation of both of their character arcs- and, as I have said again and again this season, a missed opportunity for growth and connection.”

Game Of Thrones Got Spoilers GIF

Sansa has yet to have her hero moment and regain revenge, but we're guessing it may be her who gets to put the final nail in Cersei's coffin? Just a theory. 

The show also received criticism for its treatment of people-of-colour, specifically regarding Missandei's death. Ava DuVernay, the iconic black female filmmaker, called the show out on Twitter for it's brutal killing of their sole woman-of-colour.

The lack of diversity is pretty noticeable, and the series rarely involves female directors.

Just five percent of the 73 total episodes were directed by women, and it comes across in the show's writing habits.

Namely on sexuality and assault as plot tools; it's rare that the female characters escape rape. DB Weiss and David Benioff, Y'all need to step up thy game in future, or you'll lose female viewers.

Don't shut out female writers, we have a lot to offer and deserve a seat at the table.

Feature image: Instagram/@sophietfan.belfast

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London Irish have just confirmed that Paddy Jackson has signed for their team ahead of the upcoming 2019/20 rugby season.

Jackson was acquitted of rape in the now-infamous Belfast case last year alongside Ulster team-mate Stuart Olding, and joined Perpignan last summer.

Both players had their national-team contracts revoked by the Irish Rugby Football Union after the social media storm surrounding offensive, misogynistic texts messages sent into a group chat.

Olding and Jackson were accused of embodying the middle-class toxic masculinity of the country through their sexually-degrading comments about women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Jackson is now linking up with London Irish's director of rugby Declan Kidney and head coach Les Kiss, who both worked with him in their time in Ireland.

There's a history between them; Kidney awarded Jackson his first international cap back in 2013, while Kiss worked with the fly-half with both the Ireland national team and Ulster.

"Players of the calibre of Paddy Jackson do not become available very often and both myself and Les are looking forward to working with him in the future" Kidney said.

"He is a player with proven international quality who we feel will add value to our squad, and it is pleasing that Paddy sees London Irish as a part of his future."

Speaking on the move, Jackson said: "I’m delighted to be joining London Irish next season at such an exciting and pivotal time for everyone involved with the club. London Irish have a clear vision for where they want to be and I look forward to being part of it."

He apologised following the trial for his disrespectful conduct towards the woman who accused him of rape; "The criticism of my behaviour is fully justified and I know I have betrayed the values of my family and those of the wider public."

It will undoubtedly be interesting to see how the general Irish public respond to the latest controversial news. 

Feature image: Instagram/@_thesmokingjacket

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Two more women have come forward to accuse R&B singer R Kelly of sexual misconduct, dating back to when they were 15 and 16 years old.

The latest allegations are the newest in a string of claims against the singer going back three decades, spanning child pornography to sexual, emotional and physical abuse and holding women captive in a sex cult.

The duo spoke out against the notorious artist at a press conference with infamous women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred yesterday.

Both women allege that the sexual misconduct happened in 1995 after they attended an R Kelly and LL Cool J concert in Baltimore, Maryland.

One of the ladies said she was just 16 years old and living in the city when her and a 15-year-old friend, the other alleged victim, attended the concert.

They went to an after-party at a nightclub, and Kelly pointed to the two girls and asked his staff to put them onstage. They were also offered drugs and alcohol at the party, they claim.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The woman said Kelly asked the two girls to meet him in his hotel suite, and that he entered the room wearing jeans and a white t-shirt, with his penis “out and over the top of his pants”.

Apparently, Kelly asked both girls to dance and he ended up lying on the bed with them, telling them they could be in his next music video.

Next, the singer began touching the young woman's breast and genitals, and asked the pair to engage in a threesome. Her friend said no and went to the bathroom.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The woman said Kelly requested oral sex from her, which she did, and then he had sexual intercourse with her.

She had been under the influence of alcohol and marijuana that had been given to her at the after-party, and alleges she “did not have the capacity to consent”.

In Maryland, the age of consent is 16. The two women never saw R Kelly again.

Despite the huge range of allegations against the singer, his lawyer Steve Greenberg denied all accusations against Kelly, saying he has never knowingly had sexual relations with underage women.

Feature image: @dramaclubpod/Instagram

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The constant sharing of intimate images of women without consent shines a light on how women are seen in our society: things to be looked at, owned and consumed. Objects.

In the #MeToo era, naive groups of people often declare that the treatment of women as purely sexual objects for men to consume is long gone. Other groups say this treatment has never even existed, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Some even say women deserve their personal images shared without consent; if they took the picture in the first place, they were asking for it.

Following numerous incredibly painful rape cases in this country, healthcare scandals which throw female lives away and the Repeal movement, women have had to face emotional trauma in the Emerald Isle. Rape culture is alive and well in our society, yet most have been desensitised to it.

Every few days, a reminder rears its ugly head to show us what we can’t forget, to nudge us into submission and point out the fact that women today still have to protect ourselves at all times and we can’t forget it.

Today’s reminder comes from a Reddit page by the charming name of ‘Irish Sluts’. TheJournal.ie reported that a page was sharing intimate images of young women without their consent online, with sexually explicit commentary by the website’s users. No doubt derogatory language was chosen about the women’s body and appearance.

“The content includes portraits of families, social media posts, and images of women walking in public or in the gym, but there are also nude photographs taken in more intimate settings. Details of where the women live and where they attend college or school are also posted on the site,” it was reported, with the Garda Síochana confirming. Members of the group also made sure to request ‘nudes’ from counties all over the country, mentioning specific women by name.

One woman said that she was alerted about her image being used in the group when a male friend saw it in a WhatsApp chat and alerted her, she told TheJournal.ie. “I got a call from a friend of mine who said that my photo was being sent around lots of WhatsApp groups,” she said.

Speaking anonymously, the woman said she felt violated and “nearly got sick” when she discovered the Reddit page. The Gardaí can’t carry out much action unless you’re underage, and the advice is to actually contact the group itself to solve the matter. So essentially there is zero authority who can regain control over the private images of you and return them to the owner, making the internet an even more dangerous place.

This isn’t the first incident, of course, and it won’t be the last. ‘Revenge porn’ is alive and well; the habit of using sexually explicit images of an ex partner in order to use against them with malicious intent, such as posting them online or sending them to an employer.

A friend of another victim of this site told TheJournal.ie: “I’m not under any illusions that these types of things go on in parts of the internet, but this is very Ireland orientated and I can’t get my head around the fact that it happens so blatantly on a mainstream site like reddit that has businesses advertising on it, etc. People are posting personal details on some pictures, names, addresses, etc. It’s not sitting right with me that these girls can be put in this type of physical/mental danger without them knowing especially given some of the other things in the news cycle in the last few days.”

Brendan Howlin, Labour leader, has said that Ireland is extremely far behind when it comes to dealing with the issue of revenge porn. The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill aims for a six-month prison sentence upon conviction, but is still before the Oireachtas. While time is ticking, the internet is abusing images of women all over Ireland.

Literally the only law protecting against the distribution of images such as these without permission is contained in the Non Fatal Offences Against The Person Act. There is a subsection of this act which deals with harassment but no specific laws in place to guard against revenge porn or unconsensual sharing of personal or explicit images.

What does this say about how the men of Ireland see us?

Most of us will be able to distinctly recall the infamous Belfast rape trial involving four Ulster Rugby players; Stuart Olding, Paddy Jackson, Rory Harrison and Blane McIlroy. Whether you were team I Believe Her or not, the language used in the WhatsApp group featuring the four men about the alleged victim and Irish women in general was beyond disturbing.

Image: JOE.ie

Toxic masculinity, entitlement and objectification reeks from texts such as these, but why does society continue to believe that wealthy, white, heterosexual young men with privilege are incapable of rape and sexual assault? They discuss women as sex objects for their fetishization, and why wouldn’t they go any further than that? Humiliation is the first step to dehumanise a person. Once someone is dehumanised enough, it becomes easier and easier to mistreat them.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The #UCD200 became a huge scandal that spawned an investigation after claims of a Facebook group involving 200 UCD students who were sharing nonconsensual sexually explicit images of women without their knowledge were made public. The investigation found no evidence, but one of the most noteworthy aspects of the incident was how easily believable it was. This happens to women every single day, I have lost count of friends who have had private and intimate images of themselves shared without their consent; myself included.

The language used by Irish men is mirrored in the sexual assault trials and courtrooms; the recent Cork case involving a young woman who accused a man of raping her in an alley had her underwear used as evidence against her. A female barrister held up a lacy thong, and claimed that only a woman who WANTED to have sex would wear something like that.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Women are often the ones tearing down fellow women with language; toxic femininity is alive and well. We have been taught to compete with each other to win the attention, the approval of men. 

The language used to describe women, to portray them as either seductive prostitutes or prudes, ‘sluts’ or nuns, feeds the narrative that what you wear, how much you drink, and your sexual past plays a part in your victimhood. You can’t be a victim if you were asking for it, according to the courts of this nation.

Acquittal doesn’t mean innocence, as anyone who has experienced the Irish sexual violence criminal justice system understands more than they should have to. Why wouldn’t Irish men speak of women in such terms, when they won’t ever have to experience any consequences? Why wouldn’t they join in the lad banter, the ‘locker room talk’ if it leads to a boost in their pride, their status, their brotherhood?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Words have power, they have meaning. Language leads to action, action leads to harm, and most of the time the harm is suffered by Irish women. Why? The patriarchy, toxic masculinity, rape culture; all of it allows Irish men to feel a level of invincibility which encourages them. In Dublin, many of the ‘elite’ schools are segregated by gender; men and women at a young age with privilege only interact on nights out, at school discos most of the time. With alcohol and not many clothes covering them, women are deemed as useless without their looks, but a woman who is sexually provocative is a ‘slut’, a ‘whore’, ‘asking for it’. We are presumed guilty until proven innocent, handed double standards we can never beat, and fear for our safety the second it turns dark, much to the obliviousness of men.

Of course, rape and sexual assault occur where men are the victims, and find it incredibly difficult to speak about or get help due to the culture of masculinity where being a victim is shamed. Only by spreading awareness, and actual facts as well as sexual consent training and sexual education can we reduce the horrifying statistics.

I was given a single self-defence class at school. Just one. The main thing it taught me was that in the instance of rape, you are to yell the word, ‘fire’, because only then will someone come to offer aid.

A viral post on Facebook by a user named Drew McKenna shared a passage from Jackson Katz’ book named The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. A prominent social researcher, he decided to test his audience on the ways which they protect themselves on a daily basis from sexual assault. The results were alarming, but not surprising.

The reaction from the male side is especially interesting;

“He first describes the reaction on the male side. “At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, “Nothing. I don’t think about it.'”

Of course, the women could talk all day about how they defend themselves from the threat of rape or sexual assault. “As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine.” The replies were then arranged into a list, contrasting with the male answers. From holding your car keys between your fingers, never leaving drinks unattended, using a male voice on an answering machine, not wearing headphones in public, not using car parks or parking in dimly lit areas, not meeting a man in private on dates- it paints a horrible picture of the normality of female self-protection, and the total lack of awareness from the male point of view. More men than I can say have refused to walk me home, brought me a drink without watching what men around him were doing to it, spoken in a disgusting manner about women; all without realising that they were causing harm.

All men believe they are good.

“I moved on her like a b****, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. “I did try and f*** her.”

“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”

Many Irish men like to believe that Donald Trump is an anomaly, something to be laughed at, not feared. Irish women know better. The vast majority of us can report that we’ve been sexually harassed, one-in-four of us will report being sexually assaulted compared to one-in-71 men. A report by Union of Students Ireland (USI) in 2013 found that 1 in 7 people will experience some form of unwanted sexual contact during their time in college. The reports of femicide this year are equally terrifying, with the majority of cases occurring where the perpetrator was a husband, boyfriend or partner of the woman killed. 

The line between harassment and assault is easily crossed. Words are just the beginning.

Feature image; Everyday Feminism

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Liam Neeson's racism controversy isn't showing any signs of dissipating, as the red carpet events before the New York premiere of his latest film have been cancelled.

Just one day after the interview was shared involving the actor describing his revenge plot against a "black b*astard" for the rape of his friend, the Cold Pursuit promotion has ended.

He went on Good Morning America yesterday to try and explain the remarks, which he made during an interview with The Independent, saying; “I’m not a racist.” 

His comments have been met with huge outrage since Monday, and has drawn condemnation from civil rights activists for their racist tones.

The Taken actor has said that the episode roughly occurred 40 years ago, after hearing that a close friend had been raped by a black assailant. 

“After that there were some nights when I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence,” Mr. Neeson said. “And I did it for, I’d say, maybe four or five times.”

The interviewer on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts, who is African-American, told Mr. Neeson, “You have to understand the pain of a black person hearing what you said.”

Mr. Neeson replied: “You’re absolutely right, and at the time, even though it was 40 years ago, I didn’t think about that. All those things surprised me, but it was this primal hatred, I guess, that really, really shocked me when I eventually came down to earth and saw what I was doing — going out and looking for a fight.”

Yesterday's red carpet events, which would have allowed Mr. Neeson and his co-stars to talk to reporters, cameras and more questions, were cancelled hours before they were scheduled to begin, according to a spokesman for Lionsgate, who wouldn't make a statement about the actor's remarks.

In his interview with Good Morning America,  Neeson said he would have responded with a similar “primal urge” if his friend’s attacker had been white, and also linked his urge for violence to his time growing up in The Troubles of Northern Ireland.

“If she would have said an Irish or a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know I would have had the same effect,” Mr. Neeson said on Tuesday, referring to his friend. “I was trying to show honour to my- stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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He power-walked and spoke to a Catholic priest to try and overcome his anger about his friend's horrible victimisation; the friend passed away five years ago.

Mr. Neeson said the episode 40 years ago had taught him that violence and revenge only lead to more violence and revenge. He said the uproar this week had taught him something, too.

“We all pretend we’re politically correct, but in this country, it’s the same in my own country, too, but sometimes you just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry,” he said. “It’s there.”

Feature image; stuff.co.nz

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R&B singer R. Kelly has just announced a worldwide tour, despite the extensive abuse allegations against him going back three decades.

The world's most notorious musician's alleged predilection for engaging in sex acts with underage girls is the subject of a new documentary, Surviving R Kelly.

The series has rocked the entire world, watching the sheer scale of claims made against him over such an extended amount of time.

Kelly has consistently denied all the accusations of sexual misconduct, rape, emotional, physical and sexual abuse and holding women captive in a sex cult. He has also threatened to sue Lifetime for airing the docu-series.

The singer has an album, Trust, coming out soon and has dropped new music for his 'Day One Fans' on January 1.

Streams of his music has shockingly increased since more allegations were released to the general public, with numerous celebrities slamming his actions and treatment of black women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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R Kelly's alleged abusive treatment hasn't been a secret for the music industry; he even went on trial for child pornography back in 2001 but was acquitted of all charges despite a large amount of evidence against him.

It was also rumoured that he physically abused R&B singer Aaliyah, and it's been reported that he married her when she was just 15-years-old by forging legal documents.

Time will tell whether the tour will sell tickets, but reactions have been incredulous;

 Disbelieving social media users are wondering how this will pan out, after all the drama that has recently erupted.

Blood is boiling, according to one woman:

Other women were downright outraged:

More details have yet to be announced, but we're sure they'll hit the headlines when they do.

Feature image: algoafm.co.za

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Liam Neeson has had to defend himself against the racist remarks he made in an interview in The Independent, which was released yesterday.

The Cold Pursuit actor spoke of roaming the streets with a cosh, hoping to murder a "black bastard" after a woman close to him was raped years ago.

Speaking on Good Morning America, he said; "I’m not racist, this was 40 years ago. I was brought up in the north of Ireland. The Troubles. The Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. There was a war going on in the north of Ireland."

"I had acquaintances who were involved in the trouble. The bigotry. One Catholic would be killed, the next day a protestant would be killed. I grew up surrounded by that, but I was never surrounded by it," he said. 

The original article featured the Taken actor recalling being told about a friend's rape after he returned from a trip overseas.

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said. “But my immediate reaction was… did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person."

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody. I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week – hoping some (Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers) ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Neeson claimed it took him at least a week to process the incident, and anger was his first instinct.

“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” he said. “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f*ck are you doing’, you know?"

The actor brought up the personal anecdote after being asked to give more insight into his Cold Pursuit character Nels Coxman, who seeks revenge after his son is killed by a drug gang.

The internet went into a meltdown after the interview was published, with the majority of social media users accusing him of racism.

One Twitter user wrote: “Liam Neeson being ready to take any black life over what one person allegedly did just shows how meaningless and inconsequential black lives are to some."

They continued; “Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understanding that there may not be repercussions.”

Actor Terry Crews, who is the host of America's Got Talent and star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, wrote on social media:

"Reminds me of a time I got provoked by a rich white guy I didn’t know. Hoping I would do something." He has been an advocate for domestic violence and sexual violence victims.

RTÉ presenter Ryan Tubridy chose to defend Liam Neeson today, saying that the actor didn't mean any harm;

"I don’t think for one minute that Liam Neeson ever wanted to kill anybody, or would ever harm anyone, or really actually meant it at all. ‘However, “you just can’t say that kind of thing” is what I suspect is going to be the response to that."

He continued;

"Having met him several times, it’s the sort of thing that he might have said over a coffee to somebody privately, but he kind of let it out into the public and that poses a serious problem for him, I suspect, in Hollywood particularly, with all the sensitivities you’d expect and that are rightly there. It’s a conundrum for him."

Former England footballer has also defended the star, calling out other heroes in society who were less than angelic when it came to race (Hi, Winston Churchill) and praising his admission of guilt.

Piers Morgan has branded him a member of the KKK, so he must be in pretty scalding water right now.

What are your thoughts on the debate; Is he shining an important light on the racist instincts present in society, specifically straight, white men? Or is he cancelled? The jury's still out.

Feature image: ABC7.com 

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Activists are gathering in Chechnya following reports of mass arrests, torture and murder of LGBT people in the Russian republic.

A complaint has been filed by activists in the gay and trans communities who are demanding that Russian authorities open a criminal investigation into the reported homophobic campaign by security forces.

The LGBT Network, a St Petersburg-based organisation, stated that it submitted the complaint to the Investigative Committee, which is the equivalent of MI5 or the FBI.

As a result, LGBT+ activists are gathering this Monday, February 4 at 6:30pm outside the Russian Embassy to show their solidarity with the Chechen gay community.

The The LGBT Network are demanding that the alleged detention or at least 14 people and death of one person be investigated, as well as probing claims of torture.

The group are attempting to compel Russian authorities to act on the reported new wave of persecution targeting Chechnya's gay community, Chechnya is predominantly Muslin, and is ruled by the dictatorial leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

In 2017, the campaign of hatred saw dozens of gay men rounded up and tragically tortured. Chechen authorities shockingly asserted that homosexuality doesn't exist in Chechnya, thereby denying the claims.

Director of the LGBT Network, Igor Kochetkov, told ABC News that the 14 cases in the complaint only applies to one police station in the capital, but there are others being detained all over the country.

The director said; "We believe several dozen people are detained, no lower than 40." His organisation helped dozens of gay men escape the country in 2017, and aided them in their search for asylum abroad.

Police are reportedly seizing the victims' passports when they are detained in order to stop them from fleeing, according to Kochetkov. Unlike two years ago, this time women are also being detained.

The Investigative Committee have declined to open a criminal case and rejected any appeals against the decision. 

In response, Irish groups such as; Amnesty International, BeLonG to Youth Services, Dublin Bears Events, Dublin LGBTQ Pride, FLAC, GCN, Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Outhouse, ShoutOut, The Rainbow Project, USI, This is Me, the National LGBT Foundation and NUI Maynooth have pledged solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Chechnya.

Image; Facebook 

Groups and activists will gather this coming Monday in protest of the alleged treatment of gay Chechan people.

They wrote on their event page; "Since December, violence and persecution against those perceived as being members of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya has escalated. The Russian LGBT+ Network has reported that up to 40 people have been illegally detained, while a further two have died as a result of torture."

"We are calling on the Irish government to officially respond to the human rights violations being perpetrated in the region," it continues. They are also making a list of requests for the Irish government and the United Nations.

"We condemn the escalating violence against LGBT+ people and urge An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to publicly condemn the anti-LGBT+ crackdown. The Irish Government must raise this issue at the highest possible level with Russian leaders and call for an immediate end to this harrowing persecution."

They also make demands for asylum seekers to receive protection;

"The Irish government needs to live up to its international protection obligations to recognise and protect Chechen refugees who reach Ireland, as well as using its full consular influence, facilities and resources to support The Russian LGBT+ Network in its vital work in Russia and the region at this time in affording safe options to those at risk."

"We call for the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic."

They concluded with a rousing statement; "The Irish LGBT+ community will not let this matter rest or fall out of the news cycle. We will continue to stand with the LGBT+ community in Chechnya and demand that the Russian authorities put an end to the violence and bring those responsible to justice."

The protest takes place this Monday February 4 at 6:30pm in Rathgar, outside the Russian Embassy. We'll see you there.

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Chris Brown has attracted more drama with his latest stunt, following weeks of media attention.

The singer has launched a line of t-shirts with the tagline 'This B*tch Lyin' after he was released without charge following a rape accusation in Paris last week.

He was arrested after a horrific rape allegation was made against him and his bodyguard, and spent 24 hours in custody after a woman claimed she was raped four times in his hotel room.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by B L A C K  P Y R A M I D (@blackpyramidofficial) on

It appears he has now turned to gloat by selling t-shirts with his slogan, which he wrote on his Instagram following his release.

The alleged victim revealed so-called 'details' of what she described as a violent assault. Identified only as 'Karima', the accuser said the R&B singer assaulted her in his hotel, and then his entourage members continued the attack.

After being questioned by police, Brown was released from custody without any charge, but an investigation is still ongoing. Brown filed a defamation lawsuit against the woman and is seeking criminal action.

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Despite the recent rape allegations made against Chris Brown, and his extensive (and proven) history of domestic abuse, gun possession and violence, Justin Bieber has thrown his support behind the rapper.

Brown was arrested in Paris this week on suspicion of rape, but was later released. A French woman alleges that the 29-year-old sexually assaulted her, as well as his bodyguard, after meeting in a nightclub.

Needless to say, the Biebs' fans are P*SSED.

The Loyal singer was released without charge around 10pm on Tuesday, and shared a video of himself at dance rehearsals, which garnered a comment from the Sorry singer that has infuriated music fans.

The 24-year-old newly married star wrote; " No one can touch you ur the GOAT," underneath Brown's video.

Brown called his accuser a b*tch on Instagram, posting an aggressive denial of the charges., and his lawyer has claimed that the singer will be suing her for defamation.

French police are still investigating the event, and the accusers name is unknown at this time.

The woman told police that she met Brown on January 15 at a Parisian club, and he invited her and multiple other women to his hotel. Apparently, later in the evening, she found herself alone in a room with Brown and his bodyguard, and she claimed they both raped her.

Bieber is a longtime friend of the singer, frequently collaborating with him on music despite Brown's arrest for domestic violence against singer Rihanna.

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French police officials have released American rap singer Chris Brown without charge following a rape accusation.

The investigation into the alleged incident is continuing, the Paris prosecutor's office told BBC.

Brown was released after he and two other men were arrested following the allegations. The singer has singe taken to Instagram to claim his innocence. 

Instagram / @chrisbrownofficial

To his 50 million followers, he posted an image of some text which reads 'this b!tch lyin.'

'I WANNA MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR…… THIS IS FALSE,' he wrote. 

'NNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRR!!!!!! FOR MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY THIS IS SO DISPRESPECTFUL AND IS AGAINST MY CHARACTER AND MORALS!!!!!'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by CHRIS BROWN (@chrisbrownofficial) on

The two men arrested alongside Brown have also reportedly been released. 

He is no stranger to run-ins with the law; in 2009 he was arrested and charged with physical assault charges following an incident with his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. As a result of the assault, he was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats in that incident, and received five years probation and community service.

He was also arrested in 2013 after an alleged incident in a hotel in Washington and kicked out of rehab that same year for smashing his mother's car window during a family session. 

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