Morgan Freeman Accused of Sexual Harassment By At Least 8 Women

Legendary actor Morgan Freeman is the latest celebrity to see his name added to a growing list of Hollywood’s alleged sexual offenders.

Just one week before his 81st birthday, the Academy Award winner is making headlines today after at least eight women have come forward accusing the actor of sexually harassing them over several years on the set of his movies or during media events related to his projects.

CNN says they spoke to 16 people—eight of whom claim they were victims and eight who were witnesses to the alleged misconduct—describing multiple troubling incidents throughout Freeman’s career.

One of the allegations comes from a young production assistant, who said that in the summer of 2015, while she was working on Freeman’s bank heist comedy Going In Style, she was subjected to harassment that spanned over a period of several months.

She told CNN that Freeman repeatedly tried to lift up her skirt to see if she was wearing underwear and also made unwanted comments about her figure. She said Freeman’s co-star, Alan Arkin, saw what was happening and told Freeman to stop. “Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say,” she recalled.

Another woman who worked with Freeman on the movie “Now You See Me” in 2012 as senior production staff member told CNN that Freeman would often make comments about her body and that of another female staffer, saying that women on set knew how to cover up whenever he was around. “We knew that if he was coming by … not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that would show our bottoms, meaning not wearing clothes that [were] fitted,” she said.

A CNN reporter also said that she was subjected to Freeman’s alleged misconduct, recalling a 2015 media junket in which Freeman told her she looked “ripe.” She was six months pregnant at the time and alleges that Morgan said to her “Boy, do I wish I was there” to see her conceive her child.

At the request of a spokesperson for Freeman, CNN e-mailed a “detailed list” of the accusations against the actor—who was once accused of having an illicit affair with his late step-granddaughter, whom he’d known since she was a child—but has so far not received a response.

Morgan Freeman Accused of Sexual Harassment By At Least 8 Women is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News, Videos & Humor

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President Trump Cancels Meeting With North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un Due to “Open Hostility”

President Donald Trump will not be meeting with Kim Jong Un in June, according to a letter addressed to North Korea’s Supreme Leader from the president. The letter was released by The White House Thursday morning (May 24).

The meeting, which was scheduled for June 12th in Singapore, would have been a historic diplomatic summit between the United States and North Korea, who haven’t been on good terms over the years. In fact, that meeting would have been the first EVER face-to-face meeting between a U.S. and North Korean leader.

However, Trump says that he feels that it would be “inappropriate” to have this “long-planned meeting” due to the “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement.”

The most “most recent statement” Trump is referring to came from North Korean’s vice minister of foreign affairs, Choe Son Hui, who called Vice President Mike Wednesday a “political dummy” on Wednesday.

“You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” President Trump said in his letter.

Pyongyang had threatened to pull out of next month’s summit with the U.S., citing the “unbridled and impudent remarks” of “political dummy” Mike Pence, who said that North Korea might end up “like Libya” if Kim Jong Un “doesn’t make a deal.” Pence’s statement was a clear reference to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was beaten and killed after being chased down by rebel soldiers in 2011—eight years following his decision to denuclearize after negotiations with the U.S.

Choe said that North Korea has no interest in meeting the same “tragic fate” as Libya. “As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice president,” Choe said, according to a translation from Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Cheng.

“In case the U.S. offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the [Kim-Trump] summit,” Choe added, saying that it was up to the U.S. to decide whether it wanted ot negotiate in a “meeting room or encounter us [in a] unclear-to-nuclear showdown.”

Read Choe’s full statement below:

But it looks like Trump beat North Korea to the punch by canceling the meeting himself. Read his full letter to North Korea below:

We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.

I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.

If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.

President Trump Cancels Meeting With North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un Due to “Open Hostility” is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News, Videos & Humor

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Offset Confirms He Crashed His Car After Swerving to Avoid Hitting a Crackhead

Cardi B was right! Offset has confirmed that his car crash was the result of him swerving to avoid hitting a crackhead.

Last week, the Migos rapper was admitted to the hospital after he was involved in a pretty serious car crash, and based on a number of photos Offset shared from the accident showing the damage to his car and to himself, he’s lucky to be alive.

Offset Shares Bloody Car Crash Photos: “I Could Have Been Dead From This Accident

In a since-deleted tweet, Cardi B revealed that Offset’s car crash happened because the “Ric Flair Drip” rapper swerved in the road to avoid hitting an allegedly suicidal crackhead.

“Crazy how Set had to swerve and hit a tree cause a crackhead was in the middle of the road trying to get hit or kill himself,” she said, “but God do unexplainable things! Luckily a man was walking by, walked him home and just vanished. The Lord is real.”

While out in Beverly Hills last Thursday (May 17), Offset was approached by TMZ and was asked about the accident. Though the rapper isn’t known for speaking to the paparazzi, he was a lot more open this time. When the cameraman asked him if his accident was caused by him swerving so that he wouldn’t hit a crackhead, Offset simply said “facts.”

Offset also gave credit to God, saying that he was the “Good Samaritan” who took him to the hospital.

Earlier today, TMZ reported that Offset would not be facing any criminal charges in relation to the accident because police have decided against pursuing the case. According to TMZ, the incident will be considered an “abandoned/recovered vehicle case, with only a tree being hit and nobody else other than Offset being hurt or injured.”

In the words of Offset, “God is real, God is good.”

Offset Confirms He Crashed His Car After Swerving to Avoid Hitting a Crackhead is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News, Videos & Humor

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Khloe Kardashian Planning to Elope With Tristan Thompson Despite Family’s Disapproval (Report)

Despite the major cheating scandal caused by her baby daddy, Khloe Kardashian is reportedly “desperate” to walk down the aisle and marry Tristan Thompson.

Since giving birth to her first child, daughter True, in April, Khloe has decided to remain in Cleveland with Tristan instead of moving back to Calabasas as her family had advised in light of Tristan’s cheating. A source tells Radar Online that Khloe is not only defying her family’s wishes but also planning a secret wedding.

The source says Khloe is in denial over Tristan’s cheating and the Cavaliers player has a “real grip” on Khloe, which is fueling her desire to marry.

“Even after [the Kardashian’s] intervention to Ohio, she’s defending him and refusing to believe the cheating stories which she insists were exaggerated,” snitched the informant. “He has a real grip over her and it speaks volumes that Khloe’s desperate to get hitched this summer.”

Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner and the rest of the Kardashian-Jenner family are reportedly pissed that Khloe is even still with Tristan and are unlikely to attend any nuptials between the couple. So, you know what that means.

“Ideally she’d like a splashy white wedding but with nobody in her corner it’ll more likely be a straight elopement instead.”

“Kim, Kris, Kourtney and co are adamant they won’t be in the same room as Tristan, let alone a wedding chapel,” Radar’s source added. “They detest this guy with a passion and cannot believe Khloe’s let him walk all over her like this.”

Just days before the couple welcomed their first child together, photos and video footage of Tristan with other women surfaced. One of the videos was allegedly recorded in October 2017, around the same time rumors of Khloe’s pregnancy made the rounds.

Kim recently described Tristan’s behavior as “f**ked up” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. And Khloe’s insistence on standing by her man has caused a rift between the sisters, according to Radar’s source.

“Kim can’t believe Tristan’s still hanging around and that Khloe’s letting him. She’s prepared to ignore Khloe for years if necessary, even if it causes chaos within the family.”

Earlier this week, Khloe posted several cryptic quotes, which many believe were about her current situation with Tristan.

She also responded when someone wrote that sometimes people are “ungrateful” for the kindness you’ve shown them.

Khloe then posted a few quotes on her Instagram stories.

Neither Khloe, Tristan, nor any of the Kardashian-Jenners have commented on speculation that True’s parents are tying the knot any time soon. What we can say is that, for whatever reason, Khloe is giving cheating Tristan a second change and is trying to work things out.

Khloe Kardashian Planning to Elope With Tristan Thompson Despite Family’s Disapproval (Report) is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News, Videos & Humor

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Shailene Woodley Talks About Her Standing Rock Arrest But Not the Privilege She Was Afforded Afterward

Back in 2016, Shailene Woodly was arrested while protesting the construction of the Dakota Acces Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota. Last night, she spoke to Jimmy Kimmel about her arrest while promoting her new movie, Adrift. The conversation is interesting, and even a little uncomfortable. It’s Kimmel’s job, after all, to make his conversations fun and to make jokes. But Woodley seems determined not to turn her arrest into a joke.

Now, I don’t think Kimmel is necessarily doing anything wrong here. He’s not even being overly flippant. But I immediately found myself cringing when he says Woodley was arrested and the audience laughs. Is the joke here that Woodley doesn’t seem like someone who would be arrested? Because of her fame, her femininity, her whiteness? I’m not sure why else the audience would be laughing. I don’t think Kimmel intended for that to be a laugh line, but when that reaction is left unexamined, it makes what follows glaringly awkward.

Back in 2016, Woodley talked about her arrest quite a bit. She acknowledged her own privilege in the fact that on the day she was arrested–which was Indigenous People’s Day of all days–26 others were arrested with her. “Did you hear about them?” she wrote in Time.

Hearing her talk now, I wonder what the last year and a half has been like for those 26 people. Because when Woodley talks about her arrest, it sure doesn’t sound like the typical case. She was put on probation, but didn’t really have to worry about the details of that because she spent most of her probation period filming a movie in Fiji. When she was in the U.S., though, she explains that she had to be careful not to break any laws, even the little laws many of us break all the time without realizing it, like accidentally standing on someone’s property. But Woodley has to be aware that not many people would call the police if she were standing at the foot of their driveway. As we’ve seen time and time again–so many times even just over the last few weeks–that’s not something a luxury that’s afforded to black people in this country.

It’s admirable that Woodley uses her privilege to bring attention to political issues. I do wish, though, that she were willing to use the P-word in discussing her own experiences.

(image: screencap)

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Show Dogs Will Be Recut Over Criticisms That It Depicts Grooming Tactics Similar to Those Used By Child Abusers

show dogs will arnett sexual abuse

The kids’ movie Show Dogs was released last week, starring Will Arnett as a human detective and Ludacris as the voice of his dog partner. The dog, Max, has to go undercover at a prestigious dog show in order to save a stolen baby panda. It sounds like generic, forgettable, big paycheck, lowbrow stuff that those of us without kids of our own have no reason to take notice of.

But a number of parenting blogs, along with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation have called out the film for a story arc that they say sends a disturbing message about sexual abuse. As reported by Slate, there are a number of scenes that show Max being touched in ways that make him uncomfortable, specifically when the dog show judges inspect his genitals. A papillon named Philippe who is recruited to help Max tells him, “Inspection of the private parts is the hardest part of being a show dog,” and advises Max to “focus on not reacting.” He tells him to go to his “zen place.” And when Max passes the inspection, he is advanced to the finals.

The NCSE writes, “Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children—telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort.”

Surely, there will be some who think this is an overreaction, and that anything a talking dog experiences is not meant to be taken so seriously. But it seems naive to think that kids won’t empathize with a character that is not only the protagonist of the film but a cute animal. The messages learned by these characters get internalized by audiences, especially children, and the message here is that Max’s chances of winning the competition, and of saving a baby panda, rest on his willingness to let an adult grope his genitals without resisting or reacting.

Slate also describes two other brief scenes that, by the sound of it, send some terrible messages about consent and abuse. In one, Arnett’s character, Frank, “rescues [Max] from having to mate with a dog he’s not attracted to. This is icky for its own reasons, but at least it establishes Max’s right to bodily autonomy in the Show Dogs universe.” So that makes it even more impactful later in the film, when “the movie’s solution to Max’s discomfort with the inspection is not to empower him to escape it somehow; it’s to have him learn to check out mentally while he endures it, and to make no outward sign of his humiliation. It is not paranoid to say that this is a bad message for kids.”

This scene also sounds like something no one, especially no child, should be subjected to:

There is another small scene in Show Dogs that looks strange in the context of the movie’s confused approach to consent. Philippe goes to visit his former trainer, who is at the competition with a new dog. They had a falling out years ago when the trainer injected Philippe with illegal substances, which left Philippe disgraced and alone. When Philippe sees his owner again before the show, he shares the blame, saying that he would have resisted if he had been stronger. To me, the scene was almost more disturbing than Max’s inspection, because it wasn’t played for laughs: It was a straightforwardly tender reconciliation between an abuser and his victim.

The studio behind the movie, Global Road Entertainment, released a pretty weird statement earlier this week, focusing on the fact that the scene was performed by actual dog show judges, and that the genital inspection “is depicted completely accurately as done at shows around the world.” Except in dog shows around the world, the dogs don’t get to verbally express their discomfort at a lack of bodily autonomy. In this movie, they do, and no amount of professionalism counteracts the movie playing a lack of consent for laughs.

After continued criticism, Golden Road has told Deadline that they will be recutting the film to remove two scenes, presumably the two inspections. Their statement reads, “The company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film’s rating. We apologize to anybody who feels the original version of Show Dogs sent an inappropriate message. The revised version of the film will be available for viewing nationwide starting this weekend.”

(image: Golden Road Entertainment)

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Julian Dennison in Deadpool 2 Is Breaking the Mold About What a Superhero Can Look Like

 Julian Dennison in Deadpool 2 (2018)

**Slight spoilers for Deadpool 2**

One of the many delightful things about Deadpool 2 was the character of Russell aka Firefist played by Julian Dennison. Not only was he a fantastic actor, with epic comedic timing, but also giving a new image of what a superhero can be, because as he says in the film: “This industry discriminates.”

For those unfamiliar with Dennison’s work outside of Deadpool, the 15-year-old New Zealand actor won the New Zealand Film Award in 2013 and 2017, for Best Supporting Actor (Shopping) and Best Actor (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) respectively. He’s of Māori descent and an accomplished actor in his own right, having worked with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi in the past.

In an interview, according to The Hollywood Reporterthe young star spoke about playing a chubby superhero with emotional vulnerability. “There isn’t just one kind of person that can play a superhero. For me, playing a chubby or fat superhero, was so special because I would go and watch these movies with my friends and would never see anyone like me. I am excited to be that for other kids who look like me.”

Before Dennison, the only other notable larger-sized characters in the comic book world that weren’t villains were Ned in Spider-Man: Homecoming played by Hawaiian actor, Jacob Batalon, and Etta Candy played by Lucy Davis in Wonder Woman. What is refreshing about all of them is that their weight isn’t played for countless jokes. Especially with Ned and Russell who get to be emotional cores to the film, Ned through his humor and friendship and Russell as an abused young man, who is on the verge of going down the wrong path. Russell is the emotional core of the film who the protagonist is trying to protect and that’s beautiful, or as beautiful as Deadpool 2 can be.

While Russell being Māori is not stated, anyone who knows the history of the Māori people can say that it is super amazing to see. It’s also great to have a narrative of trying to save a brown boy from being gunned down and having empathy about his trauma and trying to help him be a better person through giving him a safe environment to grow. Huh? Imagine that.

I hope that Hollywood will start allowing heavier women besides Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy in films. There is an entire young generation of heavier set actors and actresses who deserve their place in the superhero world.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Fox)

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7 Female Superheroes Who Should Join Marvel’s Cinematic Universe

Marvel's A-Force
Avengers: Infinity War only hit theaters a few weeks ago, but hey, it’s never too early to look to the future. Let’s face it, whether you like it or not, superhero movies are now catered to mainstream moviegoers. You no longer need to be a self-proclaimed super-fan or a walking encyclopedia of comic book knowledge to enjoy the films that Marvel keeps producing. As Phase Three closes out with next year’s Avengers 4, so will the focus on many of the current stars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With the upcoming phase, the arrival of new faces is inevitable.

Marvel’s own boss, Kevin Feige, is trying remained tight-lipped regarding the specifics of the long-term schedule, but playing coy doesn’t mean a complete lack of hints. The future of the MCU is very bright, and they now have the opportunity to build something new after the clean slate left by Avengers 4. With the Disney/Fox deal still in play (if Comcast doesn’t throw a wrench in the plans), we’ll probably see members of the X-Men make their way into the MCU in the near future.

The diversity within the MCU has been a debate for quite some time. If Black Panther proved anything, it’s that the world is ready for superheroes that aren’t all predominantly white—or male, for that matter. The fact that it took Marvel over a decade to give a female superhero a solo film is disconcerting, but better late than never, right? There is a ton of kickass women within Marvel comics that would make awesome additions to the MCU. Even if they don’t all get solo movies, mixing in more female heroes will keep the MCU trending in the right direction.

Here are some women superheroes we would love to see make their way into the MCU (in no particular order):

1. She-Hulk

Marvel's She-Hulk

The Avengers enjoy bragging that they have a Hulk, but what if the MCU had two Hulks? The comic book character of Jennifer Walters made her first appearance as She-Hulk back in 1980. After receiving a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner, Walters gained her own Hulk-like side effects, albeit much less severe than Bruce. Unlike her cousin, She-Hulk has been known to control her emotions and hang on to her personality. Walters is also a top-notch lawyer, so she can clean up criminals in the courtroom while also battling otherworldly threats.

Adding She-Hulk into the MCU might be a bit complicated, since she falls under the Hulk franchise, for which Universal has the distribution rights. For now, she likely wouldn’t be able to appear in a standalone film, but Marvel could use She-Hulk in a similar fashion to how they handle Bruce Banner, appearing in non-Hulk movies. Maybe fans will get their wish and see She-Hulk as part of an A-Force film.

2. Spectrum

Marvel's Spectrum, Monica Rambeau

When it comes to interesting comic book backgrounds, look no further than Monica Rambeau. A native of New Orleans, Rambeau became exposed to a mysterious energy that left her with the ability to generate and manipulate energy. Most notably, she can travel at the speed of light. At one point, Rambeau served as the leader of the Avengers, where she originally took on the name of Captain Marvel. Over time, she also took on the alias of Photon and Pulsar, before more recently using Spectrum.

Throughout her history, she has teamed up with notable MCU characters such as Captain America, the Wasp, and Black Panther. She also has a history with Carol Danvers, who took over her Captain Marvel mantle. Actress Lashana Lynch was recently cast in Captain Marvel and remains in an unspecified role. Many are speculating that the mysterious character will be that of Monica Rambeau. Could she be an important ally to Carol Danvers and the future of the MCU? We can only hope.

3. Sersi

Marvel's Sersi from Eternals

Kevin Feige’s latest announcement all but confirms our next superheroine on our list will make it to the big screen. According to Feige, Marvel is developing a film based on the Eternals, with the character of Sersi at the forefront. The Eternals are an advanced race of humans created by the Celestials. Not only can they manipulate energy, but they are immortal, due to their regeneration abilities. The Celestials already have a presence in the MCU, so it’s no surprise that studio wants to investigate more cosmic beings within the universe.

As for Sersi, she serves as a member of the Eternals’ fourth generation. She retains all of the badass abilities that come with being an Eternal, such as superhuman strength, atomic manipulation, flight, and immortality, but instead of living in the cosmos, Sersi feels the need to live among humans. While doing so, she eventually encounters members of the Avengers, before joining them. Her unique abilities and connection to the deeper side of the universe could make for an epic MCU adventure.

4. Tigra

Marvel's Tigra

The character of Greer Grant might be one of the lesser known on the list, but hear us out. Grant once went on a crime-fighting spree as “The Cat,” where she wore feline-inspired costumes. Her history gets a little intricate after she was mutated by a mix of science and magic that gave her tiger-like abilities. After the transformation, her physical appearance changed to resemble more of a cat-like look, including striped fur, claws, and a tail. And let’s not forget the enhanced senses, superhuman strength, speed, and agility.

If the MCU took a chance on Tigra, they’d have the opportunity to rewrite her background in any way they wanted. She’s had run-ins with more prominently known members of the Marvel universe, so there are many paths that could be explored. It would certainly be fun to see an actress take on the role of a tiger-inspired superheroine. Kristen Wiig is portraying the villain Cheetah in the Wonder Woman sequel, so why not one-up the DCEU and give the MCU another cat?

5. Darkstar

Marvel's Darkstar

If the Black Widow movie truly comes to fruition, it would be exciting to see Natasha with fellow female allies. Who better than Laynia Petrovna, also known as the mutant Darkstar? Similar to Tigra’s situation, the MCU can take the basis of the character and go in any direction they wish for an on-screen adaption. The coolest aspect of Darkstar is her ability to tap into the Darkforce dimension, which gives her the power of creating and manipulating solid matter out of the Darkforce, teleportation, and flight. Of course, being around Black Widow meant she became highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat.

The concrete plans for Black Widow’s standalone film have yet to take shape, at least publicly. The possibility of including a mutant like Darkstar might not be plausible, depending on the Disney/Fox deal, but if Black Widow remains a big player in the MCU through Phase Four, it is quite possible that more of her story will be dredged out. Both Black Widow and Darkstar were once members of The Champions in the ‘70s, and it could be something the MCU would want to play with on-screen.

6. Firebird

Marvel's Firebird (rangers)

If Marvel were to explore an obscure superhero team as the focus of a movie, I would love to see a live-action adaption of the Rangers. The team consists of western heroes and includes some of the most unique superheroes in the Marvel canon. The team members include Phantom Rider, Red Wolf, Shooting Star, Living Lightning, Texas Twister, and of course, Firebird. Bonita Juarez portrays Firebird and remains one of the most notable Latina superheroes.

While living in New Mexico, Juarez came in contact with a radioactive meteorite and the exposure altered her DNA. After the encounter, she gained the powers of pyrokinesis and taking the form of a bird in flight. Her immunity to radiation and poison also makes her a suitable candidate in battling some of the fiercest villains on the planet.

7. Ms. Marvel

Marvel's Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)

Last but not least, we have the young Kamala Khan, better known as Ms. Marvel. She only just made her appearance in Marvel comics in 2013, but the character has quickly won over the hearts of readers. For those who aren’t familiar, Khan is a Pakistani American teenager with shapeshifting abilities. Even more impressive is that she is the first Muslim superhero to headline her own comic book series. Not only does Khan deal with the issues of being a superhero, but her arc tackles struggles regarding her family life and religious duties.

The Ms. Marvel series has been nominated for a number of awards in its short existence, so there’s no doubt that Marvel has much bigger plans for the young heroine. Just this week, Kevin Feige announced that there are plans to introduce Kamala Khan into the MCU, after Captain Marvel makes her debut. That makes sense considering Khan chose her Ms. Marvel name because she idolizes Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers. It would be amazing to see Carol Danvers serve as some sort of mentor to the young teen, as her future is so bright, and if Peter Parker and Shuri have proved, there’s always room for more witty teens in the MCU.

Which female superheroes would you like to see in the MCU?

(images: Marvel Comics)

Kara Hedash is a freelance entertainment writer who specializes in covering movies, TV shows, and pop culture. She enjoys writing about how entertainment affects and mirrors today’s culture. Her recent work can be found on Movie Pilot, Hidden Remote, AMC Scene, and Reel Honey. When she’s not fangirling about something on Twitter (@KaraHedash), she’s probably trying to prevent her DVR from becoming 100% full.

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The Kid Stays in the Picture, but the Girl Doesn’t Stay in the Sequel

Roxy in Kingsman: The Secret Service

SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses plot points from Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Deadpool 2, along with older films. Proceed accordingly.

The worst part is, I knew it was going to happen. As I sat in the theater watching the opening of Deadpool 2, seeing Vanessa and Wade happy together and planning for a baby, I knew that something terrible was about to happen. I’ve been steeped in enough pop culture to know that when characters are happy, content, and planning for the future, it means someone is about to die. And as the assassin burst through the door and shot Vanessa in the heart, I sighed. Here we go again.

Movie sequels have a lady problem. Namely, they keep killing off leading ladies and it’s a predicament. We’ve already delved into Vanessa’s death and how it’s a classic example of fridging a female character. Vanessa’s death kicks off Wade’s emotional journey within the film, and even though she’s resurrected in the end credits, her death primarily serves his character’s journey.

I was similarly frustrated last year when Kingsman: The Golden Circle was released. I was looking forward to the film, having been a big fan of its predecessor, and especially of Sophie Cookson as Roxy, the only female recruit to advance to Kingsman status alongside Eggsy. Roxy was the female lead of the film, and her at turns flirtatious and competitive chemistry with Eggsy made the movie better.

I was excited to see what kinds of ass Roxy was going to kick in the sequel, when she (along with the rest of the Kingsman organization) was killed off in an attack. Eggsy mourns her for a moment before escaping to America, and the movie continues at a breathless pace. Roxy’s death is even more surprising considering they brought back Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström), the one-note sex joke set-up of a character and made her Eggsy’s fiancee. In fact, the only thing Roxy gets to do before her untimely death is coach Eggsy through a fancy pants dinner with his prospective in-laws.

the bourne identity

(Franka Potente as Marie in ‘The Bourne Identity’ via Universal Pictures)

And this happens all the damn time. Let’s look back to 2002 at the smash hit film The Bourne Identity, and Franka Potente’s character Marie. As Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) struggles to regain his identity and hide from assassins, he is helped by Marie, and they fall in love. Potente, who burst onto the scene with 1998’s kinetic Run Lola Run, had international appeal and brought her considerable talents to the spy film. The film ends with the couple in sunny Mykonos, living happily ever after. That is, until 2004, when The Bourne Supremacy was released and Marie was killed off in the opening action sequence. Bourne then spends the rest of the film avenging her death. Cool.

I would blame action franchises like the James Bond franchise, which feature a rotating cast of new ladies with each film, but this scenario isn’t only limited to the action genre. Even comedies aren’t immune to female fallout. Look at Ted, Seth McFarlane’s raunchy comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. The major plotline of the film involves Wahlberg’s character John proving to his long-suffering girlfriend Lori that he is mature enough to take their relationship to the next level. The film ends with their wedding, which is immediately ditched in the sequel, Ted 2. The only excuse we get for Lori’s absence is an off-screen divorce and character retcon about how she’s “not fun” anymore. Wahlberg then spends the sequel pursuing a romance with Amanda Seyfried’s “cool girl” pothead lawyer Sam.

Ted

(Mila Kunis as Lori in ‘Ted’ via Universal Pictures)

And there are countless more examples of female leads being killed off to boost a man’s storyline (Pacific Rim: Uprising, anyone?). This matters, because nuanced, inspiring female characters are few and far between. They don’t deserve to be discarded, fridged and bridged to serve yet another male anti-hero’s storyline. But these choices don’t exist in a vacuum: women are already marginalized and exploited in front of and behind the camera, not to mention society at large. Until women are put in charge of their own stories, they will continue to be props for the male gaze.

In the meantime, I’ll be buying a ticket for Ocean’s 8. If the film is successful and garners an Ocean’s 9, I’m confident that they won’t be able to kill off all eight women for the sequel. At least I hope not.

(image: 20th Century Fox)

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Facebook Wants Your Nude Pics in an Effort to Protect You From Revenge Porn

Mark Zuckerberg

In lieu of protecting our elections, Facebook has decided to protect our boobies. The social networking giant launched an experimental program designed to combat the scourge of revenge porn by taking preemptive measures. The program, called the Non-Consensual Intimate Image Pilot, was launched in Australia in November 2017, and expanded to the US, the UK, and Canada last week. The program works by assigning a digital fingerprint to nude content, which will then block the image from spreading. The only catch: you have to send your nude photos to Facebook.

“But how does it work?” you may ask while repeatedly banging your head against the wall. Once you fill out a permission form, Facebook sends you an encrypted link where you can upload your images. Then, “a specially trained representative from our Community Operations team” eyeballs your photo before attaching a digital marker, after which they delete the image from Facebook’s storage. The whole process takes about a week.

Let’s just take a moment to step back and marvel at the sheer audacity of these nerd burgers. After making explosive headlines over data breaches that swung the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, they now expect us to trust them with our nudes? I would sooner trust my bank account numbers to a Nigerian prince. And what’s to stop another high powered company (let’s call them Schmambridge Schmanalytica) from accessing this data for nefarious purposes? Nothing. Now send over them dick pics!

This tone-deaf request is not only wildly invasive, but it also puts revenge porn prevention squarely in hands of the victims. Wouldn’t it make more sense to target and delete accounts that engaged in revenge porn distribution? And why should we trust a company whose employees are accessing private data to stalk their Tinder dates? Facebook, like other social media sites, has also come under criticism for ignoring reports of harassment from women, choosing to flag the victims instead.

I might be wrong, but I would bet all my Trump/Kim Jong Un collective coins that this pilot program was never approved by a human woman. The complete lack of self awareness is truly mind melting.

bridesmaids

(via Vox, image: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

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