The Daily Moth 10-10-17

October 11, 2017


Powerful Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein Ousted from Company after Rape and Sexual Harassment Allegations Surface, North Korea Hacks South Korea, President Trump Hints Military Action, South African President Accused of Corruption, Tension Over Catalonia Region’s Desire for Independence, Interview with Deaf Man Who Lost Everything in California Wildfires, Updates on Wildfires, and Gallaudet President Holds Newly-Created VP Position After Students Raise Concerns About Appointee 





Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, October 10. Ready for news? 




Last week the New York Times released an investigative report about Harvey Weinstein, one Hollywood’s most powerful producers — revealing his many years of sexual harassment to actresses. 


Weinstein and his brother founded movie studios Miramax which they sold to Disney and later started “The Weinstein Company.” Both studios have made many major, successful films. 


The article said Weinstein often set up meetings with aspiring actresses in a hotel room, where he would answer wearing a bathrobe, making sexual advances to them. After that story broke, many more women revealed how Weinstein sexually harassed them. Three of them said they were raped. Recently movie stars Gwyenth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie said he sexually harassed them. 


Harvey has said he has misbehaved in the past, but said many of the accusations were making up stories and has threatened to sue the NY Times. But the Weinstein company’s board has fired him. 


This has made an impact on many Democratic lawmakers, including President Obama and Secretary Clinton, because they have mingled many times in the past to hold fundraisers with Harvey donating more than $150,000 towards the Clintons — be it for her campaigns or her foundation. Weinstein frequently attended the Obama White House.  


A lot of people, namely several CNN reporters, were pushing for Hillary and Obama to issue statements about Weinstein. 


Just today around noon Hillary released a statement saying she was shocked and appalled by the revelations — that this behavior cannot be tolerated. 


We’ll see if the Obamas will make a statement about him. Some feel that they have not commented either because they don’t want to become involved or want to wait until the allegations are shown to be true since he’s a friend… We’ll see if the Obamas will comment on him in the future. 


So, this is a big, quick downfall for a powerful Hollywood man — the allegations have brought him down. 





Three big international news stories: 


— The South Korean government say they were hacked by North Koreans last year — that they gained access to secret documents and plans by U.S. and South Korean military plans, including a plan on how to “decapitate” the leadership in North Korea. The Japanese government says they think President Trump might start military action against North Korea, possibly in the next month. This comes at the same time President Trump has started to hint at possible war with North Korea — saying the U.S. has been unsuccessful for 25 years with North Korea, that “only one thing will work.” He also recently had a dinner with top military officers and told media that maybe it was the “calm before the storm” — but wouldn’t say what he meant. 


— In South Africa, there are many people who are protesting against President Jacob Zuma, accusing him of corruption by working with a big business empire owned by the Gupta family. There have been many reports and leaks that appear to show President Zuma (who has been president since 2009) working with the Gupta family to steer government contracts to their businesses and getting kickbacks. There was a recent report that the Gupta brothers offered a high-level cabinet job to a person. This has caused a flurry of politicians to call for action against the president. There is a court challenge to cut off the Gupta family’s access to banks. Big issue over there. 


— In Spain, there are still discussions on whether Catalonia can become an independent region. People there overwhelmingly voted on October 1 to leave. The Spanish government in Madrid has said this vote is illegal and doesn’t “count,” — but there are still hundreds of thousands of people who have rallied for independence. Today the Catalan leader Puigdemont said Catalonia has “earned their right” to be independent, but said he wanted this process to be put “on hold” to negotiate a solution with Madrid. We’ll see what happens. 





There was a Deaf family that was impacted by the wildfires in northern California. I will show you an interview with Doug Fischer, who lost his home when he and his family barely escaped from the “Tubbs fire.” 




Terrible to see that they’ve lost everything, but we can be glad they are alive. You can donate to help them at their GoFundMe, link is above or in transcript:


There were more Deaf people affected by the wildfires.


I got a message from a Deaf California woman from Santa Rosa — Lori Avilla — saying she woke up early Monday morning to texts from her niece who told her to get up. Her apartment did not have power and it was very dark because of the black smoke outside. She had to use her iPhone flashlight to see and managed to get away with her family’s help. 


Wow, you can imagine how disoriented you’d be with the area suddenly changed by black smoke and fires. She later told me that her apartment is fine, but that the area around is destroyed. She said she got word that the fire was caused by a “dry lighting” — meaning a lighting strike without a rainstorm. 


The fires have killed at least 15 people, burned through more than a thousand homes and buildings, and there are more than an hundred people who are missing. Officials say they expect the death count to increase. There were more than 100 people who were taken to hospitals for burns, smoke inhalation, and respiratory issues. 


California Governor Brown declared a state of emergency and asked for federal help. 


The fires were extremely fast-moving, burning through 20,000 acres in 12 hours with wind speeds that reached up to 79 mph — which makes it a monster fire storm. So far, over 100,000 acres, most of it wine country, has been burnt. People are still fighting the fires over there with thousands of people evacuated.




In the past two weeks, there has been controversy at Gallaudet University after their president Cordano created a new, high-level position —the Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Engagement — and appointed current Dean of Student Affairs Dwight Benedict. 


That position is now placed on “hold” as of October 3 (last Tuesday), after student representatives expressed their opposition to the choice.  


The appointment was first announced by Gallaudet on September 27, two weeks ago. The position did not have a search process. It took students on campus by surprise. 


Deaf people on social media had a mixed reaction — many applauded the choice, thinking it was a great fit, but there was also criticism. 


Students who did not like the announcement mobilized to create a coalition called, “Make Gally S.A.F.E.” — short for Safe, Accessible, Fit, and Equitable.” They had meetings with president Cordano and Gallaudet’s leadership team to talk about why they didn’t support the choice. 


I was in touch with two student representatives who prefers to remain anonymous.


— They said when the announcement was made, there was an immediate, negative reaction from students and alumni — especially those who had marginalized identities or were survivors. 


— One said it felt like a common experience of seeing people in power staying in power. The second said the appointment felt like there was a failure in the system. 


— They wanted Benedict to step down so there could be someone who could bring something to the table. 


Last Tuesday, there was a town hall meeting with President Cordano — in which she said she made a mistake by rushing through the selection process. After the meeting, students had a march/rally to show unity. Top Gallaudet administrators were present and listened to their remarks. 


Last Thursday, president Cordano made an official announcement saying that she has learned from others that her decision-making process was incomplete and apologized for the impact on the community — and on Benedict and his family. She said she was placing the VP position on hold to get input from the community.


I reached out to Benedict for comment. He stated that he has been working closely with President Cordano and that he supports the decision in the interest of supporting all of Gallaudet. 


I also asked Gallaudet to answer some questions I had, but they said they could only share what has already officially announced (it’s all on Gallaudet’s social media). They said there are many lingering questions that will be determined as they move forward. 


I asked a student representatives from the Make Gally SAFE group on what they wanted to see in the time ahead. They said they wanted to see a healing process in the community. 


You can check Gallaudet’s Facebook page to see the videos and announcements. We’ll see what steps they take in the future. 




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 














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