#MeToo: There's a lot more than Weinstein and Freeman going on
Newsletter: A closer look at Friday's notable stories
Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.
- Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to police today to face sexual assault allegations in NYC, just one of the powerful men affected by #MeToo-related news this week
- A group of Inuit students has scored what could be the best summer job in Canada
- U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson duped into an 18-minute call with Russian pranksters pretending to be the new Prime Minister of Armenia
- Missed The National last night? Watch it here
In the wake of Weinstein
The #MeToo movement exploded over Harvey Weinstein, but it won't end with him — even as the former Hollywood mogul faces criminal charges for alleged assaults of two women.
Yesterday, it was another boldface name, actor Morgan Freeman, who faced accusations of harassment and inappropriate behaviour from eight female colleagues. (The 80-year-old Oscar winner quickly issued a blanket apology to "anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected," although that wasn't enough to save his marketing deals with Visa and Vancouver Transit.)
Nate Boulton, an Iowa state senator and a would-be Democratic Party nominee for governor, suspended his campaign yesterday amid allegations from three female lawyers — two of them his ex-law school classmates — of groping and frottage.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali has been dropped by his own restaurant group following the news that he is now under police investigation for allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour dating back over two decades.
Rev. Paige Patterson, a longtime U.S. evangelical leader, was removed from his position as president emeritus of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, after a former divinity student told the Washington Post that he counselled her to "forgive" a classmate whom she alleges raped her and to not report the assault to the police.
In Israel, some worshippers are walking out of synagogues that play the music of the late Shlomo Carlebach, who gained international fame as the "singing rabbi" in the 1960s, and more recently has been identified as a serial sexual offender.
And 10 former McDonald's employees in nine U.S. cities have filed sexual harassment complaints against supervisors at the fast food chain. They say they were propositioned, touched, and subjected to lewd comments and even indecent exposure on a regular basis while the company did nothing.
Laws are changing too.
The French government has passed legislation that will give rape victims under the age of 18 a full 30 years to make a complaint — a decade more than before. It also enacted on-the-spot fines for men who harass women in the streets with whistles and catcalls.
Yet there are those who think that some of the men who have been accused of inappropriate behaviour by women deserve a chance to redeem themselves.
The cast of Arrested Development gave a controversial interview to the New York Times this week. Three of the male members defended co-star Jeffrey Tambor — who has been accused of onset tirades and inappropriate remarks — even as Jessica Walter, who plays the matriarch of the Bluth clan, teared up at the memory of a tongue-lashing delivered by her TV husband.
And comedian Sarah Silverman told GQ magazine she thinks the idea that men who have admitted past transgressions — like her friend Louis C.K. and former senator Al Franken — should be "excommunicated forever" is wrong-headed.
An opinion that appears to put the outspoken Silverman in the minority.
David Common on assignment
CBC's David Common travelled to Trenton, Ont., to see how Inuit summer students are being trained to staff the Canadian Coast Guard rescue boat station in Rankin Inlet.
Eight young Inuit are about to crew the Coast Guard's first-ever professional rescue station in Canada's vast North.
When we tagged along on their training, Allison Baetz carefully controlled a high-speed, open-top rescue boat as a bright yellow military helicopter hovered metres above. Once it left, and we could hear, Baetz was smiling ear to ear.
"It was incredible — not a lot of summer student jobs get to say they had a helicopter right above them where you could almost touch it," she told me.
The team was doing their training on the waters off Lake Ontario near Trenton before heading up to Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, a centuries-old community near the top of Hudson's Bay.
Turns out, the Inuit were right. The ships were very close to where they'd always told searchers to look.
Today, the Coast Guard is recognizing that the Inuit know their waters better than even the professional maritime force.
Last summer, if a rescue was needed, it was often dispatched from the more populous south — at great expense and distance. This summer, help is a lot closer, and it relies on Inuit knowledge of these waters. A lesson that's taken some time to register.
WATCH: David Common's feature on the Inuit team being trained to staff the Rankin Inlet rescue boat station, airing tonight on The National on CBC Television and streamed online.
A Griffon helicopter hovers over a Coast Guard rescue boat during training on the Bay of Quinte near Trenton, Ont.
- Enjoying this newsletter? Sign up and have it delivered by email. You may also like our early-morning newsletter, the Morning Brief — start the day with the news you need in one quick and concise read. Sign up here.
From Russia with malice
Boris Johnson needs a better gatekeeper. Or maybe just call-display.
Yesterday, a pair of Russian pranksters released an 18-minute tape of a phone conversation with the British foreign secretary, recorded earlier this month, in which one of them pretended to be Nikol Pashinyan, the recently named Prime Minister of Armenia.
The audio evidence suggests otherwise.
The Russian duo, Alexei Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov — better known as Lexus and Vovan — seemed to have little trouble getting the famously loquacious former mayor of London to discuss a number of highly sensitive matters, including the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer.
"Are you sure that Putin ordered to poison Skripals?" the faux-PM asks in heavily accented English.
"We're pretty sure … we're almost, like, 100 per cent sure," Johnson responds.
The pranksters, who evidently called shortly before the real Pashinyan met with the Russian president on May 14, asked the U.K. foreign secretary's advice on dealing with the ex-KGB agent.
"Be clear with him about your ambitions … but you should stress that this does not amount to a threat to his interests," Johnson counsels.
And for a while it sounds like Johnson is deeply intrigued by an insight that the fake Armenian PM claims he gleaned from Putin — that Jeremy Corbyn, the British Labour Party leader, is on the Kremlin's payroll.
"Thank-you very much for that interesting tidbit," Johnson says. "Let me keep that confidential."
The conversation ends abruptly a couple of minutes later, when Johnson wordlessly hangs up the phone.
Over the past few years, Lexus and Vovan, a pair of popular 30-something comedians, have had remarkable success in reaching important people on the telephone.
Turkey's Erdogan, and president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, have also been duped.
As have several prominent American politicians. Last July, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry took a call from the duo posing as Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and found himself discussing a new "biofuel" supposedly made from pig manure and home-brewed moonshine.
In late December, Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, thought she was having a conversation with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and ended up expressing some opinions on Russian meddling in the wholly fictional country of Binomo.
Senator John McCain and Congresswoman Maxine Waters are also said to have been past Lexus and Vovan victims. Recordings of those conversations were released — and widely reported on in Russia — but some question their authenticity.
"We work for ourselves, for nobody else," Stolyarov told the Guardian newspaper in a 2016 interview.
But in an interview with the Moscow correspondent for The Times of London yesterday, Lexus suggested the U.K. foreign secretary was something of a soft target.
"We would have liked to call Katy Perry, but it was easier to get Johnson's number," he said.
Quote of the moment
"Everything was destroyed. Lots of blood in the floor. Many people were screaming. They were trying to run out from the restaurant. There was a guy with glass inside his eyes."
- Rafael Concaceicao, a witness to last night's bombing at crowded Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., that injured 15 people, three of them seriously. Police say there are no indications that the attack was terrorism or a hate crime, and are on the lookout for two male suspects.
What The National is reading
- The many zigzags of a ship caught up in Trump's trade war with China (CBC)
- Google and Facebook accused of breaking new EU privacy law (BBC)
- Assange's refuge in Ecuadorian embassy 'in jeopardy' (CNN)
- Nipah virus outbreak in India 'definitely a concern,' Canadian expert says (CBC)
- Two former French spies under formal investigation for treason (France 24)
- Why Beijing isn't Marxist enough for China's radical millennials (South China Morning Post)
- Army sergeant guilty in parachute plot to kill his wife (The Times)
- A new search for the Loch Ness Monster, via DNA (Associated Press)
Today in history
May 25, 1988: Toronto mayor Art Eggleton sweats to '80s pop
You think today's politicians are embarrassing? Witness Ontario Premier David Peterson, dressed in a red track suit and doing some sort of mutant Mashed Potato to the strains of James Brown's I Feel Good. Or Toronto's heavy-breathing Mayor Art Eggleton — in a white track suit — as he struggles to complete the requisite 15 minutes of physical activity for ParticipACTION's annual exercise challenge. No sign of Hal and Joanne from Body Break, sadly.
Sign up here and have The National Today newsletter delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.
Please send your ideas, news tips, rants, and compliments to firstname.lastname@example.org.