In Monday’s Dispatch, we’re looking at the news of a new helpline for victims of sexual assault and harassment at Cannes Film Festival. Plus: international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt is the fourth MP to have women and equalities added to her brief in two years, and Cannes Film Festival sets up a helpline set up in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
International development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, adds women and equalities to her role
Following the news of former home secretary Amber Rudd’s resignation, the responsibility of women and equalities has changed hands again, this time being added to the brief of international development secretary Penny Mordaunt.
Mordaunt is the fourth person to be assigned the job in just two years, something which has been criticised by The Women’s Equality party.
The Guardian reports that a spokesperson for the party said that the duties have “repeatedly been treated as of secondary importance by the Conservatives, passed around like an inconvenient add-on rather than being treated with the seriousness that it deserves and needs.”
The role of looking after women and equalities was previously held by Justine Greening, former education secretary, and was only given to Rudd in January. Now that Mordaunt has taken it over she will be in charge of updating the Gender Recognition Act, which will make it easier for trans people to legally change their gender.
Mordaunt has spoken on record about her backing for equal marriage previously and voiced her passion for creating more opportunities for women in the armed forces.
Read more on this story here.
Cannes Film Festival helpline set up in the wake of the #MeToo movement
A sexual harassment helpline will be set up ahead of this year’s Cannes Film Festival (which runs from 8 – 19 May), with the assistance of the French government, after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of committing four attacks during previous festivals.
The French equality minister Marlène Schiappa has said that all attendees will be warned about their behaviour as they arrive at the event on the French Riviera, and that she hopes the helpline will protect all women working in and around the annual event.
“We have set up a partnership with the Cannes Film Festival to tackle sexual harassment,” Schiappa said. “One of the rapes that Harvey Weinstein is accused of happened at Cannes, and so the festival cannot not act.”
Weinstein is accused of four sexual assaults at Cannes including the alleged rape of a 21-year-old Italian actress, Asia Argento.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sexual activity.
You can read more on the story at The Guardian.
Time’s Up movement issues statement on #MuteRKelly campaign
The Women of Color of Time’s Up (WOC of TU) have confirmed that they are joining forces with the existing online campaign #MuteRKelly.
“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” reads an official statement. “With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R Kelly’s abuse made by women of colour and their families for over two decades now.”
The WOC of TU include Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rimes, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell. The group has called upon Live Nation and Sony Music to cancel RKelly’s tour dates and drop his recording contract, and are also asking “other corporations and venues” (including Spotify, Apple Music and Ticketmaster) to cut ties with the musician and “insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds”.
“We declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us: Their time is up,” the statement finishes.
“Together, we are strong.”
The Root has more on this story here.
Images: Rex Features / Getty Images