5 Things You Need to Know About What Went Down This Week - September 16

We know you’re busy out there crushing your goals, so we’re keeping you in the loop on what’s going on in the headlines. Powered by Pressed News, here are five things you need to know from this past week—from Justin Trudeau to an adorable Up-themed birthday party.

PHOTO CREDIT:    RACHEL PERMAN    PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO CREDIT: RACHEL PERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

1. BAD POLITICS

This week, a photo surfaced of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed up in brownface at a party in 2001.

No. This sounds bad.

Canadians were alerted to the news by TIME magazine, which published the photo of a 29-year-old Trudeau at an Arabian Nights themed party. The photo was found in the 2001 yearbook of West Point Grey Academy, a private school in Vancouver where Trudeau was teaching at the time. The photo shows the PM wearing a turban and brown makeup on his face, neck, and hands. The yearbook was given to Time by Michael Adamson, a Vancouver businessman who didn’t attend the school but somehow saw the photo back in July and felt it should be made public.

Not a good look for a prime minister.

Trudeau immediately responded by owning up to the mistake and vowing to do better. “I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better and I didn’t. I’m really sorry,” he said. Trudeau acknowledged that the photograph was racist, but said he “didn’t consider it racist at the time.” Naturally, his political opponents had a lot to say: NDP leader Jagmeet SinghGreen Party leader Elizabeth May, and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer all responded.

2. COMING FOR KAVANAUGH

Nearly a year after Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court Justice, The New York Times published a story about Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.

Back up.

Last year, before Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, sexual assault allegations surfaced against him, most notably from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified that a drunk Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party back in high school. Kavanaugh denied the claims. Days before Kavanaugh and Ford testified before a committee, Ramirez came forward with her own accusations, saying Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party at Yale when they were students in 1980. The FBI said they investigated both claims but couldn’t find enough evidence. Kavanaugh was ultimately made a Supreme Court judge last October.

So why is this coming up again?

The Times claims the FBI didn’t interview dozens of people who had evidence to back up Ramirez’s account because the Republican-controlled Senate wouldn’t let them. The article details another unreported allegation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh, which is very similar to Ramirez’s story. One of Kavanaugh’s former classmates, Max Stier, told the New York Times that he saw Kavanaugh with his pants down at a drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into a female student’s hands. Stier said he told Senators and the FBI about this during Kavanaugh’s hearing, but the FBI did not investigate. Democratic Senators called Kavanaugh’s hearing a total sham, claiming that Kavanaugh lied multiple times and, because of that, should be impeached.

3. LIVE FROM NEW YORK

Last week, Saturday Night Live (SNL) announced its new cast for the show’s upcoming 45th season. Included in the new hires were Bowen YangSNL’s first Asian cast member, and Shane Gillis, SNL’s soon-to-be-fired-for-making-racist-jokes cast member. Right after Gillis’s new gig was announced, journalist Seth Simons posted a 2018 video podcast that shows Gillis and a co-host making racist comments about Chinese people – Gillis imitates a Chinese accent and says things like “why don’t the f*cking ch*nks live there?” Yes, really. In response to the backlash, Gillis said he has to take risks in order to be a good comedian. Note to Shane: making racist jokes isn’t the same as taking risks. SNL finally gave him the boot yesterday, saying they didn’t know about Gillis’s racist comments before hiring him. Here’s Gillis’s response to the firing. Still not an apology.

4. NO FREE PASS

Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison for paying $15,000 US to help her daughter cheat on the SAT. Reminder: Huffman and Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky) were arrested in March when they and dozens of other rich parents were charged with scamming elite universities to get their kids acceptance letters. Scams included cheating on the SATs and bribing coaches to get their kids on sports teams (for sports they didn't play). Bribes ranged from a few thousand dollars to $500,000. In addition to the prison time, Huffman will also have to pay a $30,000 fine and complete 250 hours of community service. The case has ignited a discussion around the advantages that wealthy parents have in the college admissions process.

5. GOOD NEWS

Five-year-old Elijah just lived out our childhood dreams by getting his very own Up themed birthday photoshoot thanks to his mom and grandparents. Elijah’s mom, Rachel, was diagnosed with cancer just after Elijah and his twin sister, Emilee, were born. She was worried she wouldn’t live long enough to make it to the kids’ fifth birthdays, but now that her cancer is in remission, Rachel thought the family should do something extra special to celebrate both their milestones. Cue the cutest photoshoot with Nana and Nanu. Ever.

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