Back in 1998, when a 17-year-old Jules Woodson told members of her church that the youth minister forced her to perform oral sex, she says leaders gave him a friendly "going away reception." Woodson only recently went public with her story, finding strength through the # MeToo Campaign. This forced her attacker, Andy Savage, to finally address the issue. So, standing in front of worshippers at the evangelical Highpoint Church in Memphis, Tenn., where he's now a pastor, the 42-year-old stayed very vague on the details and referred to the incident in his early 20s as a sin which he is "deeply sorry" for and "sorry more was not done." His congregation rewarded him with a 20-second standing ovation. Woodson was watching all this online and broke down in tears of disbelief. She said, "His apology isn't enough because he's lying about how he handled it." Savage claims he'd "sought forgiveness" from Woodson, her parents, and leaders at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church near Houston. In reality, Woodson says Savage didn't speak to her after he drove her to a secluded area, fondled her breasts, forced her to perform oral sex, then begged for forgiveness. Woodson adds church officials failed to contact police while Savage told her mother they'd only kissed. Woodson says there was "this big cover-up, but I want other victims of sexual abuse, especially within the church ... to know that they have a voice." While the congregation of his church seems to be okay with it, Christian publisher Bethany House is not and has cancelled an upcoming book by Savage. (Washington Post)
Just How Big is The Fire and the Fury
So how big is this Fire and the Fury thing? Well it sold more than 29,000 hardcover copies and 250,000 ebooks in its first week according to NBD BookScan. The explosive tell-all about the Trump administration by Michael Wolff only came out last Friday, and BookScan's weekly sales run through Saturday. But industry analysts Kristen McLean says, "The first couple of days of sales figures aren't giving us the full picture. Because of potential distribution issues related to the early release coupled with high demand, it may take a few weeks to see exactly where this book will land in comparison to other political best-sellers of the last few years." Fire and the Fury has been so in demand that retailers have struggled to keep it in stock, with Amazon.com warning of delays of two to four weeks for delivery. BookScan, which tracks about 85% of the retail market, only counts an order as a sale once the book has been shipped. Audio sales of the book have also exceeded 100,000. (Newser)
Woman Tries to Return Christmas Tree... in January
To an extent, you have to admire her guts. In Santa Clarita, California, a woman tried to return her Christmas tree to Costco, because she said it was dead. An unimpressed shopper behind her took a photo of her with the large (and yes, dead) tree next to her in the return line, and then posted it online writing, "If I didn't see it, I wouldn't believe that someone had so little moral values or lack of conscience." He also wrote, "She did get a refund " not happily though. It was questioned, verified purchase on her account and she was shamed to a small degree... But I don't think it fazed her because she has no conscience." The woman has not been identified but hey, it may be an idea to file away for next year, yes? (Metro)
Got a Vacation Coming Up? Don't Go Here!
Planning a vacation anytime soon? Fodor's has come up with places to avoid in 2018 because there are current issues that may dampen your travel experience. Here, are the top five destinations to avoid, at least for now:
The Galapagos: The annual influx of tourists is making the island chain's "fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems" vulnerable.
Venice: The popular tourist attraction is simply overwhelmed and their resources strained by so many visitors. Fodor's says the people there need a brief "staycation" from the rest of the world.
The Taj Mahal: The iconic landmark is going to be coated in mud for much of the year (a regimen meant to keep the structure from yellowing). That doesn't exactly make for great photos.
Thailand's Phang Nga National Park: The "rush to paradise" has marred the park's coral reefs and disrupted its marine life. It desperately needs some recovery time.
Myanmar: It's a matter of humanitarian conscience that puts this country on Fodor's list. The publisher doesn't think anyone should visit while the persecution and "ethnic cleansing" of the Muslim minority Rohingya continues there.
Meanwhile, only one place in America made Fodor's "Coolest Places" list: Asheville, NC. (Fodor's)
Not All Women Are Happy With the # MeToo Campaign
If you don't know, France has its own version of the # MeToo campaign which is known as # BalanceTonPorc, meaning "Squeal on Your Pig." But some women, including actress Catherine Deneuve, are not happy saying the movement has gone too far. Deneuve was one of around 100 French women, including performers, writers, and academics, who signed a letter published in Le Monde this week that slammed the post-Harvey Weinstein "witch hunt." The letter read: "Rape is a crime but insistent or clumsy flirting is not, nor is gallantry a macho aggression," wrote the women, who said the campaign had been necessary to expose male abuses of power, but the "public denunciations and impeachment of individuals in the press and on social networks" is now out of control. "Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone's knee or try to steal a kiss," the women wrote. They denounced what they saw as "Puritanism" and complained that women are being treated as powerless "perpetual victims." They argued that forcing men to "rack their brains" and apologize for alleged misconduct from decades ago "recalled totalitarian societies." (Hollywood Reporter)
Talk About Gender Inequality
For a time there, the biggest controversy surrounding Ridley Scott's latest movie, All the Money in the World, was the replacement of disgraced actor Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer. Now something else is grabbing the headlines. Apparently the disparity in the money actor Mark Wahlberg and female co-star Michelle Williams were paid for the reshoots is astounding. Wahlberg reportedly received $1.5 million in the scramble to reshoot his scenes, while Williams racked up less than $1,000 from her $80 per diem"0.07% of Wahlberg's take. Both actors are repped by the William Morris Endeavor agency. Scott told USA Today last month the $10 million reshoot was possible only because "everyone did it for nothing" and "they all came in for free." However, behind the scenes, Wahlberg's management team had scooped up the big fee for him, and Williams apparently had no clue. Both moviegoers and fellow stars railed against the news underscoring Hollywood's gender pay gap. One entertainment writer points out Williams is considered the film's lead actress, while Wahlberg is a supporting actor. Actress Amber Tamblyn deemed the news "totally unacceptable," while director Judd Apatow tweeted, "This is so messed up that it is almost hard to believe. Almost. This is how this business works." He then added: "I wonder if the studio or Wahlberg will do something to make the situation less insane." (USA Today)
What the What?
It was definitely a bold choice. Actually, more like a completely stupid choice. Houston police had little trouble identifying 40-year-old robbery suspect Robert Wooten. He's wanted for a string of armed robberies, and witnesses have found it easy to identify him " because he has his social security number tattooed across his forehead! No kidding. Another tattoo on his neck is "713," apparently his area code. (KPRC)