The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

Aug. 16 2016 12:28 PM

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp Settle Their Case After a Disturbing Leaked Video and Gory Photos

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have settled their court dispute, and Heard has dismissed her petition for a domestic violence restraining order, according to TMZ. Heard was granted a temporary restraining order in May after she appeared in court for the couple’s divorce proceedings with bruises on her face, allegedly inflicted by Depp in what she says was the latest incident of a years-long pattern of abuse.

The two released a joint post-settlement statement calling their relationship “intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.” Heard will walk away with $7 million, TMZ reported on Tuesday.

This news comes on the heels of two bizarre new developments in the Heard-Depp case. Settlement aside, if Heard’s abuse allegations against Depp have seemed far-fetched to some fans of his whimsical filmography, this might be the week they change their minds. A newly leaked video of Depp in a violent outburst and a gruesome new story with photos to back it up are bound to chip away at the goodwill he’s built among the general public over the past decades.

On Friday, TMZ published a video recorded by Heard (though she says she’s not the one who leaked it) that shows Depp slamming around a kitchen, screaming, and calling Heard crazy. He appears to throw and shatter a glass and wine bottle, then grabs her phone and chases after her when he realizes she’s filming him.

Then, on Monday, TMZ reported that, according to Heard, Depp once smashed several bottles, windows, and a plastic phone, cutting off the tip of his finger in the process. This allegedly happened last March, when Depp accused Heard of sleeping with Billy Bob Thornton, her co-star in 2009’s The Informers. Heard says Depp then dipped his bloody, partially severed finger in paint and scribbled on a mirror the words “starring Billy Bob” and “easy Amber.” (There’s a gory photo of the finger, the mirror, and Depp’s later-healed hand here.) The whole thing is like something out of a sick horror film; it would seem almost too grisly to be true if it weren’t for the photos and the unsettling wine-bottle video.

When Heard’s abuse allegations first came out, TMZ was noticeably skeptical. That was a red flag for those who know the outlet as notoriously unwilling to kiss up for access and that’s often right about breaking news. Early posts about the couple’s impending split implied that Heard was heartless to file for divorce so soon after Depp’s mother died. “As if that's not enough, Johnny's new movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass, opens Friday,” the post read.

Once Heard spoke out about Depp’s alleged domestic abuse, TMZ doubled down on its disbelief. “It's interesting—she's asking for a temporary restraining order claiming there's an immediate threat of harm, but Depp has been out of town since Wednesday promoting his new movie,” TMZ staff wrote, dripping with shade, after photos of Heard’s facial bruises came out. “One week after his mom died, she's claiming domestic violence.” In part to combat accusations that she was making up her stories of abuse to get Depp’s money, Heard withdrew her request for temporary spousal support in June and is now focused on getting a domestic violence restraining order against him.

But in its latest posts about the Heard-Depp saga, TMZ still hadn’t changed its tone. “It's certainly weird the [bottle-throwing] video surfaced last night,” the site’s staff wrote, noting rumors that the two were close to a settlement. Its post on the video mentions hearing from anonymous sources that it was “a complete set-up by Amber” and “heavily edited” to remove parts where she was smiling.

The world’s most generous interpretation of the video can’t cover up the fact that it’s disturbing to watch and listen to. Depp’s anger is frightening and destructive; it should convince some of Heard’s doubters that Depp does indeed have the capacity for violent rages. “Johnny has a long-held and widely-acknowledged public and private history of drug and alcohol abuse,” Heard said in an early court filing. “He has a short fuse. He is often paranoid and his temper is extremely scary for me as it has proven many times to be physically dangerous and/or life-threatening to me.” Whether or not it was edited, the content of the video clearly reveals how out-of-control Depp’s temper can be.

Even so, in its announcement of the Heard-Depp settlement, TMZ couldn’t resist a few last pokes at Heard:

The statement goes on: “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains.” That's an interesting sentence, because it does not say neither party has made false statements. … And it ends this way: “Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.” She does not specify what percentage and which charity.

The site was far more generous to Depp, reporting the statement’s claim that “there was never an intent of physical or emotional harm” with zero commentary. An interesting sentence, I’d say, since it doesn’t say no physical or emotional harm came to pass.

Aug. 15 2016 6:05 PM

Justin Bieber Asks His Fans to Be Respectful on Instagram, Incites a Belieber Rebellion Instead

 

So this is weird and has probably never happened before and may never happen again, but: Justin Bieber is right about something.

 

 

This weekend the pop star and enfant terrible threatened to make his Instagram private if fans didn’t stop using the platform to attack his maybe-new-girlfriend Sofia Richie (yes, daughter of Lionel). (She’s, ugh, 17.) Fans had been filling the comments of Bieber’s Instagrams of him and Richie with lines of snakes and other acts of emoji aggression, and Bieber wanted it to stop.

 

Aug. 15 2016 5:01 PM

A New Buzzfeed Piece Shows How Juanita Broaddrick Has Drifted to the Right

Long before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, he vowed that the ammunition he had stocked for Hillary Clinton would include constant reminders of her husband’s sexual misdeeds. Now, Trump appears to have won the support of the woman with perhaps the most disturbing allegations against Bill Clinton, Juanita Broaddrick, as Buzzfeed’s Katie J.M. Baker reports in a nuanced profile.

Broaddrick, who claims that Clinton raped her in 1978 when he was Arkansas’ attorney general, told Baker what she has always told reporters: that her animus toward the Clintons is personal, not political. But Baker found that as conservatives have embraced Broaddrick’s cause, she seems to have increasingly returned the favor. Broaddrick, who voted for Obama in 2008, “insists she has no plans to join Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign and says she’s only voting for him because she doesn’t want the man she claims raped her—and the woman she believes enabled him—back in the White House,” Baker writes. But her public profile tells a different story. “She used to tweet mostly about her own story and other sexual assaultrelated issues; these days, her feeds are filled with outlandish Clinton conspiracy theories and angry posts about Benghazi.

Aug. 15 2016 4:33 PM

French Kids Might Learn More About the Clitoris in Sex Ed Than I’ve Learned in 29 Years

Most sex-ed classes don’t devote much time to the clitoris, and, if they do, they only mention the external nub that sits above the labia minora. A French researcher named Odile Fillod is aiming to teach French students that there is much more to the clitoris than meets the eye. As the Guardian reports this week, Fillod has released an open-source 3D-printer blueprint for a life-sized model of the female sex organ intended to be incorporated into sex-ed curricula. A prototype of the model clitoris was printed out of polylactic acid, a rigid biodegradable material. “Ideally, the clitoris should be printed in a flexible material in order to approximate anatomical reality. We didn’t try this due to a lack of time,” reads an information page on the clitoris (my translation).

The Guardian’s Stephanie Theobald explains how the 3D clitoris can be used as a pedagogical tool:

Aug. 15 2016 2:07 PM

Anthony Weiner’s Back at It Again With the Saucy Twitter DMs

The New York Post reported this weekend that Anthony Weiner has been caught in yet another flirtatious online exchange with a stranger. This time, the former congressman was busted chatting with someone who claimed to be “Nikki,” a female college student in Los Angeles. The Twitter chat, which thePost published screenshots of, was heavily flirtatious but stopped short of being explicitly sexual. When Nikki referenced having “staff” to call her an Uber, Weiner replied, “I’m pretty sure there is a ‘my staff’ joke here.” He sent her a gif of himself on the floor on Congress, joked about Trump and Putin, and called himself “deceptively strong ... like a mongoose.”

Mongooses are apparently no match for catfish. Unfortunately for Weiner, his sexy California co-ed was actually a young Republican man in New York. He told the Post he used a female friend’s Twitter account, and that all he did was retweet Weiner once with an added comment. Weiner responded within 20 minutes. Soon, Weiner was telling this online rando that high heels are his thing, and hinting they should meet up at the beach. They also bantered about a “porn setup” involving Weiner answering the door of his hotel wearing only a towel. “The amount of effort this took was the most alarming thing given his history,” the guy told the Post.

Aug. 15 2016 12:56 PM

Conservative Christian Website Says Bad Moms Is Bad for Moms

 

Movieguide, a website where films are reviewed from a Christian perspective, has decided that Bad Moms is bad for moms. Last month, they launched a petition against the film, imploring their readers to help them “Stop Hollywood from Attacking Motherhood.”

 

 

Their concern, explained on the petition page, is that “being a mother is hard enough,” and a film like Bad Moms only makes it harder. You see, the film promotes: “Excessive cussing by Mom’s [sic], Drunkenness, Sexual perversion, Disregard of parental responsibilities and safety.” Oh my. Such behavior reflects a selfishness that“is not only offensive...it’s dangerous!”

 

Aug. 15 2016 12:31 PM

For an Olympic Diver, Is a Marriage Proposal an “Even Bigger Prize” Than a Silver Medal?

 

How great is getting engaged? Is it better than winning a gold medal? What about a silver one?

 

 

The BBC is catching flak for trying to answer that question for Chinese diver He Zi, who accepted a marriage proposal from her boyfriend on Sunday night at the Rio Olympics. Fellow Chinese diver Qin Kai popped the question just after He accepted her silver medal for the 3-meter springboard diving event. According to Jezebel, in an article about the event (which was broadcast live around the world), the BBC reported that Qin’s proposal was “an even bigger prize” for He.

 

 

People immediately accused the BBC of furthering sexist norms that prioritize marriage over career achievements in a woman’s life.

 

Aug. 12 2016 4:38 PM

Zika Can Persist in Semen Twice as Long as Doctors Previously Thought, Two New Cases Show

The Zika virus can be detected in the semen of men who’ve been infected for more than twice as long as scientists previously thought. Two reports published Thursday in Eurosurvellance detail cases of men who showed Zika RNA in their semen 181 and 188 days, respectively, after the onset of their symptoms. Doctors had previously noted the presence of Zika in semen up to 93 days after men showed symptoms of infection.

Both men in Thursday’s reports traveled from their homes in Italy to visit Haiti in January of this year. The man whose semen showed Zika 188 days after symptom onset also had Zika RNA in his urine and saliva 91 days after symptom onset. There have been no documented cases of Zika transmission through saliva, but the report’s authors suggest that this case warrants further studies of that possibility.

The first known transmission of Zika through sexual contact occurred in Texas early this year. Back when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thought Zika could only present in semen up to two months after infection, the agency recommended that men who lived in or had traveled to a Zika-afflicted area and showed symptoms should abstain from unprotected sex for six months, just to be safe. It also suggested that men who didn’t show symptoms but had been to an area with active Zika transmission abstain for eight weeks, to balance the hardship of preventive measures with the lower probability that they’d contracted the virus.

But since Zika only causes symptoms in about 20 percent of infected people, the CDC has begun pushing more conservative testing recommendations for pregnant women. Now, the agency says that all U.S. pregnant women who’ve traveled to Zika transmission zones—including one square mile near downtown Miami—should get tested for Zika infection, even if they have no symptoms. Zika can cause miscarriages and birth defects, including the stunted head development of microcephaly, in fetuses carried by women infected with Zika. Earlier this week, a new study published in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) suggested that Zika might also be linked to arthrogryposis, the congenital condition Donald Trump mocked when he infamously imitated New York Times journalist Serge Kovaleski.

The new Italian reports on Zika in semen have not confirmed that the Zika RNA detected in semen at 181 or 188 days post­–symptom onset can transmit a viral infection, just that it’s there. “If we find there’s a need to change current recommendations, we’ll do it as soon as we can,” John T. Brooks, the CDC’s senior medical adviser on HIV/AIDS, told the Huffington Post. Whether or not the agency’s abstinence recommendations shift, the latter report’s authors propose that sperm banks might want to start screening submissions.

Aug. 12 2016 2:51 PM

Here’s a New Sex Thing to Try: A Manatee Mating Ball

Olympic swimmers may have cornered the market on hydrodynamic musculature and record-breaking speed in Rio, but Florida’s Tampa Bay offers the average viewer a far more attainable standard of underwater role model: the manatees of a manatee mating ball.

That’s right—a manatee mating ball. A ball of mating, populated by 100 percent manatees. Thought you’d never achieve a heroic water-based feat without the toned torso and Speedo-ready lower bits of an Olympian? Think again! The bloated, flailing, barnacle-encrusted stars of this live-action sex show are proof that any half-ton blob with a double chin and upper-lip stubble can complete a newsworthy stunt in the water.

Tampa’s ABC affiliate reported on a Tuesday traffic jam instigated by dozens of voyeurs who stopped their cars on a cross-bay causeway to leer into the water at a steamy manatee mating sesh in progress. According to WFTS, the sexual free-for-all only goes down every few years, making it a rare and beloved spectacle in the manatee-obsessed state of Florida.

Here’s how the bangathon goes down: Anywhere from seven to a couple of dozen male manatees hyperventilate with desire upon glimpsing (or maybe smelling, hearing, sonar-detecting—I don’t know, I’m no manatee perv) a sole female manatee in heat. The males fight like hell to be the chosen stud, using all their sensual energies and physical prowess to demonstrate their sexual competence. To the virginal eye, this looks something like a pile of elongated marshmallows with food poisoning trying to drown one another. Watch this SFW video from last year to see the action for yourself:

Sometimes, tensions get high enough that one manatee might ask another if he wants to “take this outside.” To a manatee, this means “up onto the beach,” where the males continue to roll about in a totally not gay way.

WFTS reports that the males in the mating ball (kind of a misnomer, since they’re not actually copulating in the ball) are trying to “push the female into shallow water in order to mate with her.” Like many accounts of animal mating habits, this practice sounds disturbingly coercive. I might be guilty of anthropomorphizing the sea cows here, but no more so than the Palm Beach Post, which identified the Tampa Bay mating ball as “manatee romance.” Guess the standards of fairytale meet-cutes are a bit lower when even the hottest romantic prospect looks like a giant gray pancreas.

Aug. 12 2016 1:46 PM

Texas Funnels Women’s Health Grant to Extremist Anti-Abortion Group

The Healthy Texas Women program is a state program that uses public funds to help women locate and obtain quality health care. Given that Texas iscurrently on high alert for Zika, a virus that causes birth defects, you might expect the funds to go to programs that help women with family planning services like contraception and abortion. But this is Texas! And so a huge portion of the grant is going to an extremist anti-abortion organization with no actual experience in comprehensive reproductive health services.

That organization, the Heidi Group, will receive $1.6 million in public funds to provide women with health care. The group’s founder, Carol Everett, is a prominent anti-abortion activist who describes her organization’s mission as “promoting life affirming hope and dignity to girls, women, and their families seeking self-sufficiency.” It appears to further these goals by running a “crisis pregnancy center” that lures in pregnant women with the promise of impartial pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, then inundates them with anti-abortion propaganda. Everett has explained the importance of crisis pregnancy centers to the anti-abortion movement:

Find one that fits you and get involved. This is a sin that is touching (everyone) in the nation. We can humble ourselves and pray but if we don’t turn from our sins, our wicked ways, God can’t heal this land so it’s time for us to end abortion. Use the gifts and talents God’s given you to do that.

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