Pharrell: Blurred Lines made me realise 'we live in chauvinist culture'

Pharrell Williams has said the backlash to his hit song Blurred Lines made him realise “that we live in a chauvinist culture”.

In an interview with GQ, the star addressed criticism of the track, a collaboration with Robin Thicke and TI which topped charts across the world in 2013, but was also accused of having misogynistic lyrics and promoting a culture of date rape.

The singer, 46, talked about being “born in a different era, where the rules of the matrix at that time allowed a lot of things that would never fly today”.

When asked to give examples, he said: “Advertisements that objectify women. Song content. Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place.”

Pharrell went on to say that it wasn’t the recent #MeToo movement, but Blurred Lines that had “opened me up”.

He said he “didn’t get it at first” because there were women who loved the song. “So it’s like, what’s rapey about that?” he said.

“And then I realised that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behaviour. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, ‘Got it’. I get it. Cool.

“My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel. Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too.

“I realised that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realised that. Didn’t realise that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind.”

Sienna Miller: 'The patriarchy is weakening'

Sienna Miller says changes to how women working in film are treated are having a real impact.

The actress, who has the lead role in new film American Woman, told Sky News that as well as the evolving attitudes in the industry, she feels she herself has changed.

Image: The actress spoke to parents who had been through similar ordeals to help with her performance

“I think that as women we’re kind of galvanised by this movement, I feel like there’s a solidarity between women that wasn’t there before,” Miller said.

“And I think I just have a deeper sense of self – being 37 years old I just know what is worth my capitulation and what isn’t.”

“I love my job and I love going to work, I’m good at it, I would like to be treated respectfully as I have seen men treated the entire time.”

Miller said she wouldn’t put up with some things that she was subjected to earlier in her career.

“I don’t mind walking away from something and then telling absolutely everybody about that experience if it were to happen and I think people are being very careful now and valuing women in the way that they deserve to be valued.

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“The patriarchy is weakening and we’re all human beings and we all deserve to be treated and valued as that.”

In the film Miller plays Deb, a woman who finds herself raising her infant grandson after her daughter goes missing.

The story takes places over eleven years and we see how Deb changes following the disappearance, and the impact it has on her whole family.

Miller says it was tough inhibiting a character who goes through a parent’s worst nightmare

Image: Miller says it was tough inhibiting a character who goes through a parent’s worst nightmare

At one point she explains to her grandson that she’s putting up with a bad relationship so that her bills are paid while she goes to college to better herself.

I ask Miller if there’s anything she put up with earlier in her career that she wishes she hadn’t.

“I think I probably tolerated being very underpaid and things that I should have been valued more in,” she said.

“And I think that was just Hollywood at that time, I do think that’s changing.”

Miller added that it wasn’t just financially that she was mistreated – but that she didn’t have the terrible experiences that some other actresses have.

“I suppose I did probably allow people to be disrespectful and that felt very gendered but I was so happy to be there,” she explained.

“I think that’s just intrinsic to our experience as women growing up in the world, and I think that what is taking place in Hollywood is a very essential important thing, and it feels like it’s happening all over the world.

“But I didn’t have to tolerate sexual abuse on set, thankfully.”

Christina Hendricks stars as Miller's older sister in the film

Image: Christina Hendricks stars as Miller’s older sister in the film

Deb is a very strong woman, and Miller says that’s something she could relate to.

“She’s pretty unafraid of judgement, and I love that in people.

“I think I probably have as steely a core [but] I don’t think I’m as careless in ways that I love about her – I’m more English.”

Miller admitted it was tough inhibiting a character who goes through a parent’s worst nightmare.

“The whole experience was gruelling because however far away she becomes from that moment [of her daughter’s disappearance] it can never be too far beneath the surface, I think that not knowing is always with her.

“Obviously I felt incredibly relieved to go home to my daughter every night and it’s something as a parent that you just consider, I think you have a child and you imagine the worst thing in moments and read stories and imagine the worst thing.”

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The actress said she spoke to parents who had been through what her character faced in order to help with the performance.

“I had people who had lost children that I would call who were very understanding and very helpful as touchstones to get the tone right,” she said.

“Just to sit in that space of what is just real empathy for that experience and also to celebrate the resilience of humans – that the unthinkable happens and people somehow put their lives back together without ever letting go of that experience.”

“I love that bravery, that courage.”

American Woman is out in cinemas now.

Kanye West told Kim K her Met Gala dress was 'too sexy'

Kanye West criticised wife Kim Kardashian for her show-stopping wet-look dress for this year’s Met Gala, telling her just before the ceremony that the outfit was was “too sexy” and he didn’t like her “showing off her body”.

The argument took place just before the fashion event in May, but has come to light now after being shown in the latest episode of reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which aired in the US on Sunday.

Kardashian, who spent a whopping eight months working on the Thierry Mugler look – and took 20 minutes to corset up and squeeze into the dress – was not happy, to say the least.

Image: The Kardashian family at the Met Gala

“I went through this transition where being a rapper, looking at all these girls and looking at my wife, like, ‘Oh my girl needs to be just like the other girls showing their body off’,” said West.

“I didn’t realise that that was affecting my soul and my spirit as someone who is married and the father of now… about to be four kids. A corset is a form of underwear; it’s hot, for who though?”

The rapper, 42, also said: “You are my wife and it affects me when pictures are too sexy.”

At the time, the couple were just days away from the birth of their fourth child, Psalm, who they welcomed via a surrogate.

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Kardashian, 38, told her husband: “You’re giving me really bad anxiety… I don’t need any more negative energy.”

She also told him that just because he was “on a journey” and “a transformation, doesn’t mean I’m in the same spot with you”.

Reader, she wore the dress.

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However, the reality star did admit that going to the toilet in the skin-tight number would be a problem, and that in an “emergency” she would “pee my pants and then have my sister wipe my leg up. I’m not even joking”.

Let’s hope we get to find out which sister got that honour.

UK viewers can see the episode this Sunday.

Kanye West told Kim K her Met Gala dress was 'too sexy'

Kanye West criticised wife Kim Kardashian for her show-stopping wet-look dress for this year’s Met Gala, telling her just before the ceremony that the outfit was was “too sexy” and he didn’t like her “showing off her body”.

The argument took place just before the fashion event in May, but has come to light now after being shown in the latest episode of reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which aired in the US on Sunday.

Kardashian, who spent a whopping eight months working on the Thierry Mugler look – and took 20 minutes to corset up and squeeze into the dress – was not happy, to say the least.

Image: The Kardashian family at the Met Gala

“I went through this transition where being a rapper, looking at all these girls and looking at my wife, like, ‘Oh my girl needs to be just like the other girls showing their body off’,” said West.

“I didn’t realise that that was affecting my soul and my spirit as someone who is married and the father of now… about to be four kids. A corset is a form of underwear; it’s hot, for who though?”

The rapper, 42, also said: “You are my wife and it affects me when pictures are too sexy.”

At the time, the couple were just days away from the birth of their fourth child, Psalm, who they welcomed via a surrogate.

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Kardashian, 38, told her husband: “You’re giving me really bad anxiety… I don’t need any more negative energy.”

She also told him that just because he was “on a journey” and “a transformation, doesn’t mean I’m in the same spot with you”.

Reader, she wore the dress.

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

However, the reality star did admit that going to the toilet in the skin-tight number would be a problem, and that in an “emergency” she would “pee my pants and then have my sister wipe my leg up. I’m not even joking”.

Let’s hope we get to find out which sister got that honour.

UK viewers can see the episode this Sunday.

Booker Prize judges flout rules and name joint winners

Margaret Atwood and Bernadine Evaristo have jointly won the 2019 Booker Prize.

The judging panel decided to flout the rules and name two winners for the trophy, with chairman Peter Florence saying the five judges simply could not choose.

Canadian author Atwood scooped the prestigious literary prize for The Testaments, the follow up to her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

Image: The novel is told from three different women’s perspectives, including Aunt Lydia

She was the bookmakers’ favourite to take home the fiction trophy along with a £50,000 prize.

In her acceptance speech, she said: “Neither of us expected to win this.”

She tied with British author Evaristo, who won for Girl, Woman, Other, which follows the lives of 12 characters living in modern Britain.

Evaristo has become the first black woman to win the Booker Prize.

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The two winners will now share the prize money.

Their victory was announced during a dinner ceremony at London’s medieval Guildhall on Monday night.

Mr Florence said both the winning books “address the world today and give us insights into it and create characters that resonate with us”.

Bernadine Evaristo is the author of Girl, Woman, Other

Image: Bernadine Evaristo is the author of Girl, Woman, Other

Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, says the judges were repeatedly told they could not name two winners but they “essentially staged a sit-in in the judging room”.

She has insisted the decision “doesn’t set a precedent”.

The Booker Prize has been split twice before, before Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton in 1974, and between Barry Unsworth and Michael Ondaatje in 1992.

Ms Atwood’s dystopian novel picks up in Gilead 15 years after the first book, and is told from the perspective of Aunt Lydia, and two other women – Agnes and Daisy.

The heroine of The Handmaid’s Tale – Offred – does not appear in the novel, but is relevant to the storyline.

Atwood hasn’t confirmed whether she will be writing any further Gilead novels, but when asked by Time magazine earlier this year, she didn’t reject the possibility, saying “I never say never”.

The success of the 2017 TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale starring Elisabeth Moss has led to a surge in interest in Atwood, and sale of her work.

Despite having been written over 30 years ago, the book has let many to draw parallels with today’s political climate, particularly around rights over women’s bodies.

The symbolic red gowns and winged bonnets, mimicking the costumes in the TV show, have been worn by protesters at marches around the world.

Elizabeth Moss as Ofred in The Handmaid's Tale. Pic: Hulu

Image: Elizabeth Moss as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale. Pic: Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale was also made into a 1990 film starring Natasha Richardson.

It is the second time Atwood has won the Booker award, taking home the prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin.

A prolific writer, she published her first novel in 1969, and has gone on to write 16 novels in total as well as collections of poetry, non-fiction, children’s books, short stories and one graphic novel.

Her novels frequently explore the themes of gender and identity, religion and power politics.

While she has won numerous awards for her work, and received international acclaim, Atwood once told Variety she was a terrible speller.

Protesters in costumes similar to those in TV drama The Handmaid's Tale

Image: Protesters in Ireland wearing costumes similar to those in TV drama

Atwood has also been shortlisted three times previously, making her the joint top author for the most nominations, alongside Iris Murdoch.

She is only the third woman to win in the last six years, with Northern Irish writer Anna Burns taking home last year’s prize.

Evaristo is of Anglo-Nigerian heritage and has published seven previous books.

Mr Florence said her novel Girl, Woman, Other gave a “wonderful spectrum of black British women today”.

“In that sense this book is ground-breaking – and I hope encouraging and inspiring to the rest of the publishing industry,” he said.

The four other authors up for the award were Salman Rushdie, Lucy Ellmann, Chigozie Obioma and Elif Shafak.

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Founded in 1969, the Booker prize is open to English-language authors from around the world.

Winners benefit from a raised profile and dramatically boost in book sales.

The 2019 ceremony is the first since investment firm Man Group announced it was pulling out of sponsoring the award after 17 years.

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Michael Moritz and his wife, writer Harriet Heyman now sponsor the prize through their charity Crankstart Foundation.

Harry Styles 'stalked by homeless man who pushed money through his door'

Harry Styles has told a court how a homeless man he tried to help started stalking him, leaving the star feeling “scared” and “uncomfortable”.

The former One Direction singer said he offered to buy Pablo Tarazaga-Orero, 26, food or a hotel room after he saw him sleeping in a bus stop outside his home in London.

Afterwards, the Spanish national allegedly posted notes and money through the star’s letterbox, followed him to the pub on several occasions and approached him while he was out running.

Image: Pablo Tarazaga-Orero is on trial accused of stalking Styles. Pic: Matrix

The 25-year-old went to the police after the defendant’s “erratic and frightening behaviour” left him feeling insecure at home, Hendon Magistrates’ Court heard.

Speaking from behind a screen, Styles told the court on Monday: “Pablo was sleeping outside of my residence; I first became aware of him in March.

“I thought it was sad that someone so young was sleeping rough at a bus stop when it was cold.”

Styles said that on 10 March, he offered Tarazaga-Orero some money “so he could get a hotel or some food”.

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The defendant asked if he could have some edamame beans because he is vegan, District Judge Nigel Deane heard.

The next day, the singer bought the man two sandwiches, two salads and two muffins from a vegan cafe, but decided to stop interacting with him following an “odd” incident.

“He asked me if I wanted to go to a restaurant to eat,” Styles told the court. “I told him I was on my way to work.

“I found it a little odd. His facial expression made me feel a little uneasy. It was like a smirk.

“Until that point, I never felt unsafe or uneasy in my own home.”

Despite cutting contact with the man on the advice of his security staff, Styles continued to see Tarazaga-Orero “incredibly often (…) almost every day”.

In April, Tarazaga-Orero posted change to the value of £49.95 through Styles’ letter box.

The star said he was followed into a local pub a number of times, and that Tarazaga-Orero also stopped him while he was running in Regent’s Park, and asked for money.

The prosecution argued that Tarazaga-Orero’s stalking continued to have a “significant effect on (Styles’) day-to-day life”.

Styles said: “I never really encountered this kind of behaviour before.

“I’ve employed a night guard. I continue to lock my bedroom door at night.”

He also said he continues to check for “weak spots” in his home.

The trial continues.

Jennifer Aniston: Marvel era is 'diminishing' film industry

Jennifer Aniston has said the rise in superhero movies means more traditional Hollywood film roles are “diminishing”.

The Friends star, speaking in an interview with Variety, said she was not “that interested in living in a green screen” and would “so love to have the era of Meg Ryan come back”.

She made the comments after being asked why she had made the decision to return to TV for her new Apple TV Plus series, The Morning Show, with Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell.

“It wasn’t until the last couple of years when these streaming services were just sort of exploding with this amount of quality that I actually started to think, ‘Wow, that’s better than what I just did’,” Aniston said.

Image: The Friends star is making a return to TV with a new series, The Morning Show

“And then you’re seeing what’s available out there and it’s just diminishing and diminishing in terms of, it’s big Marvel movies or things that I’m not just asked to do or really that interested in living in a green screen.”

Aniston’s comments come following criticism of veteran director Martin Scorsese, who said that Marvel films are “not cinema”.

The actress has starred in films including Horrible Bosses, The Break-Up, Cake and Marley & Me since playing Rachel Green in Friends from 1994 to 2004.

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Speaking about the change in the film industry in the last few years, she said: “It’s changed so much. I think we would so love to have the era of Meg Ryan come back.

“I just think it would be nice to go into a movie theatre, sit cosy. I think we should have a resurgence. Let’s get the Terms of Endearment back out there. You know, Heaven Can Wait, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Goodbye Girl.”

Aniston was also asked about her experiences with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

While saying he “knew better” than to bully her, she told a story about his “piggish behaviour” at the premiere dinner for her film Derailed with Clive Owen.

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“I remember I was sitting at the dinner table with Clive, and our producers and a friend of mine was sitting with me. And [Weinstein] literally came to the table and said to my friend: ‘Get up!’ And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh’.

“And so my friend got up and moved and Harvey sat down. It was just such a level of gross entitlement and piggish behaviour.”

Aniston also spoke about Friends, saying that while the six main cast members might have wanted to work together again, the producers “wouldn’t want it, wouldn’t let us”.

“Maybe it’s better this way, but we’ll never know,” she said.

Fortnite map replaced with giant black hole

Popular video game Fortnite has been taken offline, leaving fans with an image of a black hole following the conclusion of season 10.

The game, which pits up to 100 players against each other to fight to be the last combatant standing on a shrinking virtual map, went offline on Sunday.

There has been no suggestion of when it will come back online, but the official Fortnite account on Twitter has replaced all of its posts with a single tweet livestreaming the black hole.

During the apocalyptic end to season 10 of the game on Sunday, ongoing matches were interrupted by an asteroid shower which destroyed the virtual map players fought on.

The cataclysmic event then saw the map collapse into a black hole.

Fans of the game have been left puzzled by when it would be back online and what the mysterious black hole actually means.

Elon Musk even joined in, retweeting an old joke which claimed he bought the game and deleted in order “to save these kids from eternal virginity”.

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The popular game hit headlines in the UK earlier this year when a 15-year-old from Essex finished second in the first Fortnite World Cup.

Jaden Ashman, who goes by the gamer name Wolfiez, said he would split the $2.25m (£1.8m) cash prize with his Dutch gaming partner David ‘Rojo’ Jong after the event in New York.

More than 250 million people have played the game since it launched two years ago, generating $2.4bn (£1.9bn) in revenue in 2018.

Robert De Niro: Trump is too stupid to know he's evil

Robert De Niro has launched a fresh broadside at Donald Trump, saying he is a “monster” who is “too stupid to even know he’s evil”.

Speaking at The Irishman’s European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival’s closing night gala, the 76-year-old told Sky News: “Trump is a monster. He’s a monster without even realising it, he’s just too stupid to realise.

“He said there’s a famous quote somewhere about the mundaneness and banality of evil… And he is too stupid to even know he’s evil.

“He allows evil to come around him and use him, he might not initiate something evil, but he will allow it.

“We will have a problem with him if we don’t get rid of him.”

Image: Robert De Niro has been outspoken in his criticism of the US president

De Niro is a vocal critic of the US president and has previously said he would like to see him go to jail.

Mr Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry led by Democrats on Capitol Hill.

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De Niro also said he sympathises with the UK over Brexit.

The 76-year-old said: “I feel bad for everybody here because you have a crisis.

“We just want to get America straightened out. You guys, hopefully you can straighten your thing out in the right way.”

The actor was in London to promote The Irishman, a mob epic which tells the story of the unsolved murder of union leader Jimmy Hoffa.

Al Pacino plays union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who's murder has never been officially solved. Pic: Netflix

Image: Al Pacino plays union leader Jimmy Hoffa, whose murder has never been officially solved. Pic: Netflix

It’s based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses and is told from the perspective of mobster Frank Sheeran – played by De Niro.

It’s his ninth collaboration with veteran director Martin Scorsese.

The ambitious movie boasts a stellar cast, with Al Pacino and Joe Pesci starring alongside De Niro in lead roles.

While it was Pacino’s first time working with Scorsese, it was a step back into the past for Pesci who previously worked with him on classics Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino.

Joe Pesci turned down the role 50 times before coming out of retirement to be in the film. Pic: Netflix

Image: Joe Pesci turned down the role 50 times before coming out of retirement to be in the film. Pic: Netflix

Pesci is said to have refused 50 times, before finally coming out of retirement to take on the role of mafia boss Russell Bufalino.

The three-and-a-half-hour film – which is rumoured to have cost over $150 million to make, uses game-changing technology – referred to by Scorsese as “youthification”.

While its leading actors are all are in their 70s, they drop around 30 years in parts of the film.

Several also add years for the film’s finale.

Harvey Keitel, who’s 80 and plays mobster Angelo Bruno in the film, joked about his co-stars on the red carpet, saying: “We had to make them younger to keep up with me”.

The Irishman is in selected cinemas from 8 November and on Netflix from 27 November.

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SpongeBob SquarePants accused of being 'violent' and 'racist' by academic

The children’s cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants has been accused of normalising the “violent” and “racist” colonisation of indigenous lands.

The popular show, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, has been criticised in a report by Professor Holly M Barker from the University of Washington.

She wrote: “SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends play a role in normalising the settler colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland.”

The popular Nickelodeon show follows the affable sea sponge, who lives in a pineapple under the sea, as he goes about his life in Bikini Bottom.

Professor Barker believes the underwater city is a reference to the real-life Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Natives were relocated from the atoll so the US military could use the area for nuclear testing during the Cold War.

This has given rise to fan theories that the cartoon inhabitants of Bikini Bottom owe their mutation to the testing.

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Professor Barker says in her report, called Unsettling SpongeBob And The Legacies Of Violence On Bikini Bottom, that the cartoon is guilty of the “whitewashing of violent American military activities”.

In the article, seen in full by Fox News, the professor continues: “SpongeBob’s presence on Bikini Bottom continues the violent and racist expulsion of indigenous peoples from their lands (and in this case their cosmos) that enables US hegemonic powers to extend their military and colonial interests in the postwar era.”

Professor Barker also accuses the show of the cultural appropriation of indigenous Pacific people, with some characters wearing Hawaiian shirts, while others live in homes in the shape of pineapples and Easter Island heads.

SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg dies aged 57

The academic acknowledges that the writers likely didn’t have colonisation in mind when creating the series, but added she was upset by the lack of acknowledgement that “Bikini Bottom and Bikini Atoll were not [the writers’] for the taking”.

Professor Barker adds that SpongeBob SquarePants may cause children to “become culturally acculturated to an ideology that includes the US character SpongeBob residing on another people’s homeland”.

The article ends with: “We should be uncomfortable with a hamburger-loving American community’s occupation of Bikini’s lagoon and the ways that it erodes every aspect of sovereignty.”

The report was published in a journal called The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal Of Island Affairs, and is designed to publish pieces on “social, economic, political, ecological and cultural topics”.

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