Fierce

It’s Become The Norm For Women To Feel Unsafe At The Gym And Here’s Why That’s Not Okay

Forgive us for stating the obvious, but women have to go through a lot of bullsh*t. Whether it’s unequal pay in the workplace, discrimination or sexism in the workplace, having to constantly deal with unsolicited advice about our bodies, getting cat-called out on the streets, being slut-shamed or whatever-shamed — women just have to deal with A LOT.

This is not to sound like we’re complaining (even though we have the right to), but it’s exhausting to have to navigate our daily lives this way.

So you can see why it’s even more infuriating that we can’t even feel safe when going to the gym because men always feel entitled to stare at women, try to make passes at women at the gym, or just be downright creepy.

Lately, more women have shared on social media their thoughts about feeling unsafe at the gym and how they cope with these feelings.

Twitter user @clarisa_leona shared on the platform that while she was at the gym, a girl came up to her and pretended to know her, gave her a hug and suggested she play along because she had overheard two men plan on following her to her car. “We need to stick together ladies,” she added in the tweet.

It’s experiences like this that leave a bad taste in a woman’s mouth and almost make us not want to step foot outside because of the fear that men will continue to make us feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

FIERCE also shared the tweet in an Instagram post in August and many women opened up about their own similar experiences. Many women commented that they too had also been approached by a random woman who was simply trying to look out for them at the gym, grocery stores, or just out and about. In some cases, men stood up for these women too.

“When I was pregnant some dude at the grocery kept following me around talking loudly about pregnant porn,” one Instagram user commented. “Two big high school football players in letterman jackets came up and said ‘hey mom, can we go now?’ and walked me out of the store. They told me their dad was also in the store and was making sure we weren’t followed.”

On Twitter, many women are constantly sharing their feelings about men approaching them at the gym or making them feel uncomfortable.

One woman on Twitter wrote that men should mind their own business and “stop staring at women that are just trying to have a regular workout.” Behavior like this makes women feel unsafe, uncomfortable, and men need to learn to just let women live.

Another woman on Twitter reversed the roles and tweeted that she wonders if men who also wear “tight pants” or “muscle tops” feel unsafe at the gym because they might be sending the “wrong sexual message to women.”

Women should be able to wear whatever it is they want when at the gym without feeling sexualized. Point blank.

Twitter user @zul_franchesca said in a tweet that she leaves places “IMMEDIATELY when [she] feels uncomfortable.”

“Never make eye contact and never say a word,” she wrote in the tweet. “I cannot go to the gym without getting looks and smiles. fuck this. I should never have to feel unsafe or scared. be very aware of your surroundings! & not just women!”

Men also go as far as taking photos of women working out at the gym which is downright disgusting and completely wrong.

“Enough is enough…. women should not feel uncomfortable or unsafe leaving their house to do everyday tasks,” Liera Bender wrote on Twitter. This is so true, it’s one thing to stare but to take photos and videos of women at the gym or to follow women around in other public spaces is just not OKAY. In what world is this ever okay?

But alas, the audacity of men is outstanding and we feel like a broken record trying to make our concerns heard.

“No one should have to feel unsafe while just trying to work out,” one Twitter user wrote.

Sometimes it gets so bad for women we even decide to switch gyms because they feel “unsafe” and “very uncomfortable.”

This woman shared on Twitter that she switched gyms because she was tired of dealing with the “same creepy-ass male stares and getting followed around the gym.”

Another Twitter user even shared the importance of being to communicate through sign language to gesture people to help you out if you ever feel uncomfortable at the bar or the gym.

“This is one sign I think everyone, especially women, should know,” the woman on Twitter wrote. “It’s a simple gesture that anyone can do when they’re feeling uncomfortable/unsafe at the bar, gym, etc.”

A woman on Twitter also shared that she has to go as far as asking the manager at the gym to let her know if the “coast is clear” for her to go to the gym.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, it’s not OKAY for women to feel this way. Hold yourself accountable, men,

What Harvey Weinstein Had To Say For Himself In Court Before His 23-Year Sentence

Things That Matter

What Harvey Weinstein Had To Say For Himself In Court Before His 23-Year Sentence

@nypost / Twitter

The crescendo of the MeToo movement has officially hit a high note.

On Wednesday the scorned Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for two felony charges.

His sentence undoubtedly comes at the hands of the MeToo movement which saw a trove of women accuse the producer of sexual harassment and assault and unleashed a fury of accusations against other predatory men in entertainment and beyond.

After more than 100 women accused him of varying degrees of sexual assault, Harvey Weinstein has taken quite a fall from his high tower.

When news surrounding the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded, many of us watched in dismay as woman after woman stepped forward to share their harrowing accounts of sexual assault, harassment, and intimidation at the hands of the notorious Hollywood producer. Ashely Judd, Minka Kelly, and Lupita Nyong’o are just three of the 30-plus women rounding out the list of his accusers.

However, Salma Hayek, whose breakthrough role came from the Harvey Weinstein-produced film “Frida” and who appeared in six films released by his company, was notably silent. Streams of women had stepped up to accuse the producer of abuse, but even when evidence that she had been harassed by one of his own supporters quickly came to light, the actress remained quiet.

The Mexican actress broke her silence with an essay she penned for the New York Times in 2017. She details the agonizing story of how Weinstein terrorized her throughout the early start of her career and throughout the process of making “Frida.”

Hayek’s essay opened with an explanation on why she remained quiet about her experience with Weinstein up until now.

In her essay, titled “Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too,” Hayek described feeling like a survivor, and that her trauma was over.

She added, “I hid from the responsibility to speak out with the excuse that enough people were already involved in shining a light on my monster. I didn’t consider my voice important, nor did I think it would make a difference.”

She then chronicled the slew of sexual requests she received from Weinstein, which Hayek repeatedly refused.

“No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly, including one location where I was doing a movie he wasn’t even involved with,” she recounted.

It also included rejecting his requests to massage her, shower with him, watch her shower, have a naked friend massage her, performing oral sex on her and getting naked with a woman.

Those no’s incited “Harvey’s Machiavellian rage.”

Hayek confessed the terror she experienced when, after spurning him again, he threatened to kill her.

“In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn’t even a person,” she wrote. “I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body.”

She went on to detail a series of events in which a vengeful Weinstein attempted to completely push Hayek out of “Frida.” All this despite she having researched and worked on the film tirelessly for years, and the various blazing hoops the actress hurled herself through to ensure its completion, including negotiating with the Mexican government for access to never before approved filming locations.

At one point, Hayek described the soul-crushing moment Weinstein demanded that she do a full-frontal sex scene, threatening to pull his resources from the film entirely if she didn’t oblige.

“We paid the price for standing up to him nearly every day of shooting,” Hayek wrote. “It was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation.”

During his trial, Weinstein did not testify in his own defense but on Wednesday, moments before he was sentenced, he finally broke his silence.

In a statement that lasted for 20 minutes, the producer expressed his remorse for his infidelity, lamented his different view of his relationships with the women he assaulted and expressed resentment over his lack of communication with his children who refuse to speak with him. Recently CNN shared his full statement in court. Here it is below.

First of all, to all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you. I have great remorse for all the men and women going through this crisis right now in our country.You know, the movement started basically with me, and I think what happened, you know, I was the first example, and now there are thousands of men who are being accused and a regeneration of things that I think none of us understood.I think that — I can’t help looking at Jessica and Mimi and hope that something of our old friendship in me could emerge, but I’m sure like me, they have lawyers who say to them be careful of what you say.I read, you know, those letters where people talked about, you know, missing you, loving you, that kind of thing. As you know, having a serious friendship, that is what I believe that I had with Mimi and Jessica. You know, I really, really was maybe hypnotic and under that impression that I had that feeling, that I had that relationship.That five years with Jessica and the years that I knew Mimi were always filled with, don’t go on the plane Harv, I want to have dinner with you first from Mimi. Or, Harv, whatever, let’s get,you know, can you look at this idea I have for a television series. Or Harv, I’m in Cannes, can I go to the premier. Or Jessica, can I get into the Soho Club, which is a very exclusive, tough place to get into. But she needed it for herself. I got her a job at the Peninsula Hotel which she excelled at for awhile.

I’m not going to say these aren’t great people, I had wonderful times with these people, you know. It is just I’m totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues.You know, I just — dealing with the thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I’m worried about this country in a sense too. I’m worried there is a repeat of the blacklist there was in the 1950’s when lots of men like myself, Dalton Trumbo, one of the great examples, did not work, went to jail because people thought they were communists.You know, there was a scare, and that is what happened, and I think that is what is happening now all over this country.Two years ago, we wrote a letter to 15 friends, I think, the ADA quoted part of it, but the part of it that was the most important part was I’m a builder, I know how to build, and I know how to generate, you know, things on a charitable nature, and I know how to pass my success forward.I think even Mimi and Jessica would say that I was generous, you know, in that part of the relationship.The thing that I wanted to do in that letter was I wanted to build a hospital, but not a hospital like the regular hospital, a hospital that deals with this, rehabilitation and redemption; people losing their jobs over the fact they testified for me, or people being afraid to testify that they will lose their jobs. That is not the right atmosphere for this United States of America. It is wrong, you know, and that is what is happening. Everybody is on some sort of blacklist.I had no great powers in this industry. Miramax, at the height of its fame, was a smaller company than by far any Walt Disney, any Sony, Paramount. I could not blackball anybody, because if I said don’t use that actress, the guys at Warner Brothers would say I’m going to use it to … spite that bastard, whatever. That is what it was. But it became blown up like power, power, power. I was not about power, I was about making great movies, I was a perfectionist, and I think I drove myself crazy.

I’m not going to also run away from what the District Attorney said about some of the things I did say. I had a fight with my brother, yes, people said I said bad things to people, but there are so many people, thousands of people who would say great things about me.Sixty executives in this industry were trained by me. They are at the top of their field. They were running studios in top positions in this country.When I was an assistant at Paramount, they said if you are five minutes late, don’t come in, or they would black me the whole day.There never was in our industry a book that said this is how it should be. We always passed it on from assistant to assistant. An assistant was almost like if you were my assistant, it was like going to the Marine Corps, I mean could you survive two years with me and then become an executive. And those two years were tough, and I admit it.If I had to do it over again, I would not do it that way. If I had to do a lot of things over, I would care less about the movies and care more about my children, family, and other people and friends and other people in this life.The thing for me is I have not seen my three older children since the newspaper, since the New Yorker article came out; not the New York Times, but the New Yorker article, so I have not seen them. I just have no idea what they are doing, and I’m in no communication with them, that for me is hell on earth.I just think my empathy has grown over the last 2-1/2 years. I can look at everybody there, you know, and just say, you know, I understand things, I empathize, I feel things, and I was not that person until this crisis started. I have to just say that.I mean that part of this is such a tough process and has come out where I have learned so many things. I never thought I could deal with or things I dealt with in Arizona. I said, I’ll build this hospital blah, blah, blah. I said to two 15-year-olds what would you name the hospital, they said the Wonder Woman Hospital. I said you have to think of like a Greek God. He said Athena.

Those two 15-year-olds, because they were all part of this group, were hooked on opiates and whatever, and you know, prostituting themselves to make money for it.I met all sorts of people and I have grown.For me, the idea of perfection in art and business is over. My mission is to help people. And I also want to make one clear statement. My wife Eve (my first wife) and my wife Georgina knew nothing about this.I went to extraordinary lengths to hide my extramarital affairs; that was a terrible thing that I did by having those extramarital affairs, and God knows if I could take it back, I would. I know everybody in this room feels the same way.It had nothing to do with anything. I was unfaithful to both, and I just cannot tell you how bad I feel about that.You know, I never see my children again and they are everything to me in this world.You know, when I deal with subjects like this, I don’t wish for vengeance, I wish for understanding. That is why I wanted to build a hospital. I wanted to build a hospital where if somebody is accused of something, they work, women, men, me too, they work with accredited groups that come in and help them and help them grow.You know, I wanted to testify, but they told me all these things the District Attorney just said would come in my way before I testified. I wanted to talk to everybody, but anyhow, they all came up as it is. Now you should know some of the other side of that because I recognized the voices in those.One of those voices, one — I lost my train of thought. I just recognized some of the names who complained, but what was known about me was with the toughness came the kindness, the person who probably hates me the most in this world, their daughter has a situation where she needs the help of a great doctor. I got her that doctor. That doctor is there to date with her.Her father could not get that doctor. This is the person who hates me the most in this company. When his mother was sick I helped him with a doctor too. There was not any request that I refused on the part of the people who worked with me.As far as the million dollars is concerned, I wrote a check out from the company, but I reimbursed the company because that is the way we did it.

That million dollars was mine and I will say that over and over again.9/11 happened, and I woke up two days later, I called John Seiss, I said we have to do something for New York, not only for the money, but for the attitude. We raised $100 million dollars free of expenses.Ask the police who got that money. Ask the firemen if they respect me. Ask the workers if they respect me, and most of all, ask the victims of 9/11 who received $35 million dollars of that $100 million dollars if they respect me.You know, when you want to investigate, take both sides into the equation, then when Sandy happened and people lost their jobs, and people lost their houses, again, we went to the board and we raised $77 million dollars.Ask the guy in Coney Island, ask the guy in Far Rockaway when he lost his business and we were able to walk in there and save his business; ask him if he likes me.Ask the captain who was killed in action. I took his children to the Super Bowl and to the Academy Awards because somebody had to do it. I did it with Steve Tisch. There are so many examples of that.Robin Hood (Foundation) raised $2.5 billion dollars for the children and people of New York City. We built schools, built advocacy groups. I’m not saying I was a great part of it, but I was one of the board there and 22 years, and I had a lot to say and a lot to do. (Paul Tudor) Jones was the one who deserved the credit, but $2.5 billion dollars to build schools. I showed it by my work.You can’t achieve what we achieved at AmFar. You cannot achieve what we achieved at AmFar without doing the hard work, getting the people, and we raised $170 million dollars and I started with AmFar. People would not touch each other, like the virus today, people would not touch each other. They were scared of AIDS and there were three hundred people who raised $300,000 the first night.The year I left AmFar, we raised $30 million dollars and $170 million dollars overall. I worked too hard. As a result of working too hard, I felt too much pressure on myself. I really feel the remorse of this situation, I feel it deeply in my heart. I feel emotional, I feel like to go and talk to you guys, you know, just really, really caring and really trying and really trying to be a better person. Thank you, your Honor, for the time.

A Jury Has Finally Been Selected For The Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial And Gigi Hadid Is Out

Entertainment

A Jury Has Finally Been Selected For The Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial And Gigi Hadid Is Out

@Current_Knewz / Twitter

After more than 100 women accused him of varying degrees of sexual assault, Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial is now underway. The jury selection process began almost two weeks ago in New York State Supreme Court, where a diverse pool of prospective jurors gathered, ready for the opportunity to participate in one of the most intense legal battles of the #MeToo movement. However, the process of selecting an impartial jury proved difficult—while 120 prospective jurors showed up that first day, many people admitted an inability to remain unbiased, which ultimately disqualified them from participating in the trial. This pattern continued the following day, when 47 of the additional 120 prospective jurors were dismissed for the same reason.

This past week, one of the people dismissed was supermodel Gigi Hadid. Hadid claimed that she could be fair and impartial if selected as a juror, but her involvement in the Hollywood social scene gave Judge James Burke pause.

Credit: Jim Haffrey / Associated Press

According to a pool reporter inside the Manhattan courtroom, Burke read a list of potential witnesses, asking the potential jurors to speak up if they knew anyone on the list. Hadid raised her hand and said, “I have met Salma Hayek.” She also affirmed that she had met Weinstein before.

“I think I’m still able to keep an open mind on the facts,” she said. But Burke was not convinced, and dismissed her from the selection pool.

Although Weinstein has been accused of harassing scores of women, the trial addresses just five charges from two accusers. The charges include predatory sexual assault, rape, and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Yet Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and he maintains that all of the sexual encounters in question were consensual.

The trial is estimated to last until March, with two weeks of jury selection and eight weeks of arguments and testimony—all before actual deliberations are due to start.

Credit: Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

According to Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno, one of the major challenges with securing a jury was finding people who are able to commit to such an extensive trial. Weinstein’s defense team has also expressed concern with a perceived inability to locate impartial jurors in New York City—as a metropolitan area heavily tuned in to the media, Weinstein’s team feared that most prospective jurors have been following the case and forming opinions about Weinstein’s misconduct since it was first brought to light in 2017. According to CNN, Weinstein’s team made multiple attempts to move the trial to different cities in New York, where the likelihood of locating unbiased jurors might be higher.

On January 16, seven jurors—four men and three women—were seated. But that day, prosecutors accused Weinstein’s team of deliberately eliminating young white women from the pool of prospective jurors, as Weinstein’s lawyers had used half of their peremptory challenges to excuse prospective white women jurors who were not dismissed for bias or previously deemed unfit by prosecutors.

Why is this important, you may ask? Well, first of all, it’s illegal to use peremptory challenges to eliminate potential jurors on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or religion.

Second of all, while lead prosecutor Joan Illuzi did not clarify why a lack of white women jurors would be problematic for the prosecution, legal experts said that the defense seemed to assume that jurors of this demographic were especially likely to sympathize with Weinstein’s accusers. So, the idea is that the defense tried to limit jurors of this kind in a strategic attempt to prevent even subconscious opposition to Weinstein during the trial.

Yet defense lawyers dismissed this accusation, citing specific reasons for rejecting each individual white woman and claiming that the remaining white female jurors’ responses to a questionnaire ultimately deemed them unfit to sit on the jury.

Rotunno said that the responses to the questionnaire that aimed to determine whether prospective jurors had experienced sexual assault (or knew someone who had) ultimately determined who would be a viable, unbiased candidate for jury selection, and that the defense’s resistance to seating certain individuals “had nothing to do with race or sex.” But due to the high number of women—regardless of race—who have experienced sexual violence, this stipulation largely diminished the number of women deemed fit for consideration at all. On the first day of jury selection alone, roughly 30% of the 120 prospective jurors stepped down for bias linked to personal experiences of sexual assault.

Ultimately, the final 12-person jury is comprised of six white men, one black man, two white women, and three black women. The alternate jurors, who will only serve if one of the first 12 jurors must withdraw, include a white man, a Latina woman and a black woman.