Archive for December 2018

Hollywood actor Ben Affleck asked the producers of a TV documentary about his family to omit details of an ancestor who was a slave owner in the American south, it has been revealed.
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The move, no doubt intended to insulate him from any potential public fallout stemming from the revelation, has backfired badly, with the revelation that he not only made the request, but that the producers complied.

Details of the request were found among a tranche of hacked emails from the film and television studio Sony Pictures, which have been made public by Wikileaks.

Affleck was profiled by the genealogy show Finding Your Roots, which unearths the extended family tree of high-profile subjects.

But when Finding Your Roots did exactly as the show’s title suggests, Affleck, who is to star in the upcoming Batman v Superman, asked them to ignore one particular ancestor, who was a slave owner.

The show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr, contacted his friend, US Sony CEO Michael Lynton, for advice.

“For the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors – the fact that he owned slaves,” Gates asked.

“We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?”

Gates also noted that “four or five” of the show’s recent subjects also descended from slave owners, implying it was not such an unusual discovery.

He also admitted concealing information would be a violation of the programs remit from the US public broadcaster PBS, which airs it. “Even for Batman,” Gates added.

Lynton advised taking out the contentious material, but warned of the risks if it was discovered.

“I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky,” Lynton said. “All things being equal I would definitely take it out.”

Gates replied: “It would embarrass him and compromise our integrity.”

Gates is an acclaimed documentary producer with a long list of credits and a professor based at the prestigious Harvard University,

The program in which Affleck was profiled aired in October 2014.

When broadcast, it made no mention of the fact that the actor had an ancestor who owned slaves, instead focusing on an ancestor from the Revolutionary War, another who was an occult enthusiast and his mother, who marched for civil rights in 1964.

A statement from PBS defending the decision said it was an “independent editorial judgement”, though that is difficult to reconcile with Gates own admission that it stemmed from a request by Affleck.

Gates also issued a statement, defending the decision on the basis that on other programs they have included details about slave owning ancestors, “never shying away from chapters of a family’s past that might be unpleasant”.

“In the case of Mr Affleck, we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry,” Gates said.

Affleck has not commented.

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Polo player and fan Prince Harry may make an appearance at a local match in Perth on Sunday.
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Awkward appearance: Lindy Klim and Michael Klim attend the Buro 24/7 Australia launch at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Caroline McCredie

Polo player and fan Prince Harry may make an appearance at a local match in Perth on Sunday.

Polo player and fan Prince Harry may make an appearance at a local match in Perth on Sunday.

Awkward appearance: Lindy Klim and Michael Klim attend the Buro 24/7 Australia launch at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Caroline McCredie

Polo player and fan Prince Harry may make an appearance at a local match in Perth on Sunday.

Awkward appearance: Lindy Klim and Michael Klim attend the Buro 24/7 Australia launch at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Caroline McCredie

What does Prince Harry love more than partying in Vegas? Polo, which is why he’s been invited to Polo in the Valley in Perth on Sunday and he may just attend.

The fourth in the line to the throne reportedly decompressed from his long haul flight from Canberra with a spot of fishing at the Diggers Rest cattle station near Kununurra last week. The prince, who is going by the name Captain Wales during his farewell tour of life in the armed forces, has also been spotted at numerous remote communities in far north Western Australia. However his love of ponies and philanthropy may be enough to drag the low profile prince out of his fatigues and into his jodhpurs.

If he did make a cameo, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s dropped in and enjoyed a friendly chukka or four with local polo players. Sources say a number of enthusiasts and players once found themselves turned away from a game north of Perth as they had not been cleared by Harry’s security detail. No doubt champion player Rob Archibald, who was once named by Vanity Fair as one of polo’s 10 Hottest Horseman Horsemen and plays in Britain, will make the cut today.

Organisers for Polo in the Valley, which raises funds for Youth Focus, a not-for-profit charity dedicated to working with young people who show early signs associated with suicide, depression and self-harm, told Fairfax Media Prince Harry has had been invited in an official capacity, but were coy when asked if they had received any correspondence from the polo-mad prince, who plays to a one-goal handicap, or his private secretary.

Equally low-profile personality and former polo fan James Packer will be in attendance, via a sponsored corporate marquee. Even though the mogul is believed to be offloading his chief polo assets, Crown will host a small number of VIPs in a private marquee on the sprawling Prendiville family estate, Duncraig Stud. A savvy marketing move the new patron saint of Ellerston, his mother Ros, would surely approve of as the widow of the late Kerry Packer is reportedly keen to continue the family’s long legacy with the sport of kings.   Pot protest

Jesse Willesse and his girlfriend pose in a selfie.

Conceptual artist Jesse Willesee is planning to, as Cher from Clueless once said, “spark up a doobie” on the steps of Town Hall to call for a relaxation of the laws surrounding medical marijuana use on “4/20: International Day of Cannabis Freedom Day”, AKA Monday, April 20.

The 27-year-old, who is the son of journalist Terry Willesee, and nephew to Mike, said he took up smoking marijuana to improve his quality of life.

“I am ADD and ADHA and have pretty full-on hyperactivity. I find it easier to concentrate when I smoke,” he said. “I’m really close with my parents and they respect my right to protest and to stand up for what I believe in.”

He admits to being nervous, but this isn’t the first unorthodox approach he has taken to protesting.

“Last year I took my 4/20 protest to the NSW government and the NSW police, protesting anti-marijuana laws by smoking weed outside six Sydney police stations and Parliament House,” he said.

Before that his exhibition titled Twenty-Two Girls Smoking Weed was shut down by the police.

On Monday he’ll be “sparking up to protest against the criminalisation of marijuana” and is encouraging bystanders, and the 300-odd people who have accepted his invitation on Facebook, to share photos of his “performance” on social media.

“I am not asking anyone to bring weed or to join me smoking, just to join the protest. The police station is 100 metres away – leave your weed at home.” Behind the seams of Fashion Week

This year’s Fashion Week Australia had it all – hissy fits, identify theft and wardrobe double-ups – but it was only fitting our annual parade of posers and peacocks was akin to ’90s drama Melrose Place given it was, like the original series, celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The week got off to a fiery star when a cranky neighbour foiled Kym Ellery’s finale bow by storming the catwalk demanding the music be turned down. I sympathise, sir. I, too, get shirty when my neighbours blast Katy Perry at full tilt at 5pm … for 20 minutes … on a weekend.

The disgruntled vibe continued into the week when it was reported several front row guests at Toni Maticevski’s show were gifted an $899 Lenovo tablet, but then had their swag stolen.

Not true, according to the designer’s representative.

“We had a few people forget their chargers because they were placed under the seats but we haven’t had anyone contact us about having theirs stolen. However there were some people who squished into the front row who weren’t supposed to and may have mistaken it for their gift,” she said of the tablets that were personalised for each VIP guest.

One such guest, Australia’s most fashionable woman – Vogue’s Christine Centenera, who had an equally glamourous shadow for the week, model Gemma Ward – had her style hijacked when Celebrity Apprentice star Roxy Jacenko arrived wearing the same outfit – head-to-toe Louis Vuitton from the house’s spring 2015 collection.

“If you are going to match anyone – she’s my pick!” Jacenko said, making light of the incident.

One woman who wasn’t quite as cordial was The Voice star and Love Child cameo artist Emma Birdsall, who threw a virtual tantrum after attending the Aje show.

“I hate the way I feel in such an aesthetic-focused environment. It’s a breeding ground for insecurity and only sets me back on my journey to self love and value rather than depreciation … I love seeing the new collections from our brilliant Australian designers but I feel I shall stick to Instagram for my updates rather than the front row. Time for pjs, a bowl of pasta and some Homeland. Just FYI, you are more than the clothes you wear,” she posted to her 5000 Instagram followers.

She was back front and centre for the Alice McCall show later in the week, though, posing up a storm for the street style seagulls. The Wolf of South Yarra hits Sydney

DJ Alex Merrell

The majority of soundtracks for this year’s Fashion Week shows involved a lot of panting, heavy breathing and even Rihanna’s tempestuous ex Chris Brown. But famed bridal and evening gown designer Johanna Johnson didn’t want intimate and sexy; she basically brought Coachella to Sydney.

Johnson, who most recently designed the bridesmaid dress for Amal Clooney’s best friend Jennifer Robinson, flew in the most in-demand female DJ to perform live.

New York-based Alex Merrell​, who once toyed with the idea of moving to Australia, now travels every week of the year providing music for high-end brands like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton and is also Anna Wintour’s favourite DJ, having been hired by Vogue to provide tunes at official functions. But even fashionable disc jockeys aren’t immune to the odd request.

“I played a really fun Canadian fashion event a few weeks ago, with some electro and hip hop, everyone was dancing through the store, having a really great time when a guy came up and requested Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. So yeah, some requests are awful,” she said.

Merrell, whose set list included Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl, had the front row shimmying and the models dancing down the runway. The DJ, who has a background in theatre and performed at the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics, was cool under pressure, dancing as she overlooked and timed out the show. As well as live-mixing the music for the final show of the week, she also manned the decks at an exclusive after party on board property developer Larry Kestelman’s 125-foot super yacht.

Johnson’s showcase, which received an undisclosed amount of sponsorship dollars from Kestelman’s Capitol Grand project, was the glitziest affair of the week, with guests treated to champagne and canapes pre and post show, before being chauffeured around the Harbour quaffing more Pommery until midnight.

Once all the fun died down, Kestelman got back to work. The ambitious tycoon, who envisages his Capitol Grand project as the Barangaroo of Melbourne, is planning a road show through London, Paris, New York, China and Hong Kong to attract new luxury brands to the South Yarra retail precinct.

The face of Capitol Grand, actor Charlize Theron, will accompany him to China. Party of the week

Russians are renowned for two things. Their love for fashion and their talent for partying, which is why the Buro 24/7 Australia launch was the most star studded affair to hit Sydney this week, even without a vodka sponsor.

Founder Miroslava Duma together with her local editor, former Voguette Rebecca Caratti and Buro 24/7 Russia editor-in-chief Dina Silina welcomed the cream of the fashion crop to the Opera House to celebrate the latest title in her growing empire of online fashion and culture news bureaus. The Australian launch follows Russia, Azerbaijan, the Middle East, Malaysia and Kazakhstan.

Speaking of Kazakhstan and the Middle East, that’s one region where guest and designer de jour Kym Ellery is making big waves.

“There is a great market for couture, they are really interested in fashion,” she said of her burgeoning client base which stretches from Saudi Arabia to Kazakhstan. “All of the fashion buyers in places like Qatar are all princesses so they come in dripping in these huge diamonds.”

In between sips of Patron and canapés by Aria the designer caught up with model mates Gemma Ward and her partner David Letts, Nicole Trunfio and Gary Clark Jnr and Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Dan Single.

Rising fashion star Lindy Klim and her ex-Olympian husband, Michael, made their first united public appearance since rumours their nine year marriage is on the rocks.

Beauty heiress Aerin Lauder also popped in before launching her latest product range at David Jones.

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Friends back together at Lister House reunion Ann Downey, Helen Cooper, Bronwyn Seager, Joan O’Shea, Val Williamson
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Heather Roberts (nee Campbell), Valerie Williams (nee Campbell), Ruth Hosking, Valda Pendlebury (Nee Eames), Norma Cowling (nee Delvy).

Margaret Turner, Jenny Gledhill (nee Twaddle), Lorraine Spence (Nee O’Dwyer), Bev Bysouth (nee Cox), Betty McGuiness (nee Ash).

Sheila MacKenzie, Rana Cable-Hartlieb (nee Cable), Brenda Roberts, Helen Campbell (nee Worsley), Pam Clark (nee Anlezark).

Launching the book First of its Kind are Professor Pam Bell with authors Ken and Jenny Pata.

First of its Kind authors Ken and Jenny Pata.

Lyn Symons (nee Freemantle), Lea Gregg (nee Judd), Heather Hughes (Nee Townrow).

Lyn Symons (nee Freemantle), Lea Gregg (nee Judd), Heather Hughes (nee Townrow), Marg Power, Judi Perry (nee Bennett), Kerry Addlem (nee Davies), Una Round, Marie Power, Sue Ferrier (Watson).

Former students of classes 105 and 106 in 1985/1988.

Former students of classes 105 and 106 in 1985/1988.

Seeing each other for the first time in 28 years are Jeandaniell “JD” Evans and Alicia Thomas (nee Phillips).

Seeing each other for the first time in 28 years are Jeandaniell “JD” Evans and Alicia Thomas (nee Phillips).

REUNITED: Seeing each other for the first time in 28 years are Jeandaniell “JD” Evans and Alicia Thomas (nee Phillips). Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

Former students of School 66, 1965.

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AFL Round 3: Essendon v Carlton | PHOTOS Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.
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Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

Photos from the game between Essendon and Carlton on Saturday, April 18. Picture: Getty Images.

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Victoria is set to join NSW’s medical marijuana trials aimed at helping children with epilepsy, the terminally ill and people on chemotherapy, in a bid to build the case for the groundbreaking treatment.
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Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy confirmed to Fairfax Media that her government would work with NSW Health so Victorians can take part in the trials.

“Many Victorians with terminal illnesses or life-threatening conditions want to use medical cannabis to relieve their pain and treat their conditions, but currently cannot legally do so,” she said.

“By supporting and participating in these important trials with NSW, we can help the evidence building around medicinal cannabis.” Ms Hennessy said in some cases, parents were forced to choose between breaking the law and watching their child suffer.

“It is vital that we look at this issue thoroughly so that we can ensure a safe and secure supply of medicinal cannabis,” she said.

NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the three trials last December, which are expected to cost $9 million and include hundreds of people. It is understood Mr Baird discussed the trials at a meeting of state leaders in Canberra on Thursday. A spokesman for Mr Baird said NSW was “open to extending the trial to participants in other jurisdictions”.

The trial for children with severe epilepsy, who have not responded to traditional medicine, is expected to start first in NSW.

It would be followed by trials for adults with terminal illness and people with nausea induced by chemotherapy.

The NSW government is also instructing police not to charge adults with terminal illness who use marijuana, or their carers.

It is examining options to import cannabis for the trial, or have it grown under controlled conditions by contract from the government.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner has previously said the trials would not involve the use of crude cannabis which has “serious potential ill-health effects… this is about looking at derivatives of cannabis that can be useful in treating these conditions”.

A NSW Health spokeswoman said it had identified several research groups that could conduct clinical research in two areas: chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting that is resistant to standard treatment, and symptom control in palliative care.

The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network is working to establish the epilepsy trial.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill​ said his state supported the NSW trials and “looks forward to considering the results”. The office of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not respond to request for comment.

​Ms Hennessy said the Victorian governmenthas already commenced work to legalise medicinal cannabis for use in exceptional circumstances in Victoria.

It has also asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission for advice by the end of August on how the law can be changed to legalise and regulate the use of medical cannabis so it can be used to treat people with terminal or life-threatening conditions.

Ms Hennessy said Victoria is well placed through the work of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to support and actively participate in the paediatric epilepsy trial.

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