THE WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup: Ashley Judd and Helen Mirren receive honors, The Academy expels Harvey Weinstein, Kristin Chenoweth picked as ‘The Real Fairy Godmother’

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Ashley Judd. Photo courtesy Alex Cayley

Ashley Judd. Photo courtesy Alex Cayley

The Women’s Media Center will honor Ashley Judd with the WMC Speaking Truth to Power Award at the Women’s Media Awards Oct. 26 at Capitale in New York City.

Judd joins Jane Fonda, Maria Hinojosa, April Ryan, María Elena Salinas and Gail Tifford as the 2017 honorees. Maya L. Harris, a lawyer, MSNBC analyst, senior policy adviser to the 2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign and former board co-chairwoman of the Women’s Media Center, will host the event for the first time, according to a news release.

Judd was the first actor to be a named source and to share her story about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment in The New York Times’ explosive Oct. 5 investigative report.

Judd is chairwoman of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, which raises awareness about the scope and toxic impact of online harassment and its costs to women’s civic and political participation.

“It’s crucial to call out those like Harvey Weinstein who misuse big power, and also to reward those who risk what small power they have by telling the truth,“ said Gloria Steinem, co-founder of The Women’s Media Center, in a statement. “I would like to pay tribute to my friend Ashley Judd, who travels the world encouraging women and girls to tell the truth about being prostituted and sex trafficked, and who now has led global truth-telling in the most powerful way — by example.”

Judd is a feminist who has been working for social justice internationally since 2004. As a performer, she received Golden Globe nominations for the telefilm “Norma Jean and Marilyn” and feature film “De-Lovely” as well as Emmy nominations for “Norma Jean and Marilyn” and “Missing.” She will next be seen starring in season two of Epix’s political thriller series “Berlin Station.”

“I chose Ashley to speak at TEDWomen2016 on her experiences as a survivor of cyber attacks, bullying, sexual harassment and her talk posted on has had huge impact around the world,” said Pat Mitchell, Women’s Media Center board chairwoman and curator and co-host of TEDWomen. “We are thrilled to have her perspective on our WMC program, speaking as she always does, for survivors everywhere.”

Lauren Embrey is the chairwoman of the 2017 Women’s Media Awards. Co-chairs are Fonda, Robin Morgan, Loreen Arbus, Abigail Disney, Mellody Hobson, Victoria Jackson, Pat Mitchell, Susan Pritzker, Bonnie Schaefer, Regina K. Scully, Gloria Steinem, and Mary and Steven Swig. Proceeds support the continuing work of the Women’s Media Center in advancing women and accuracy in the media.

“At a time of political attacks on women’s equality, safety, bodily integrity, and educational and economic opportunity — and when the role of independent and honest media is being undermined at the highest level of government — our honorees represent trust, truth, and excellence. Whether in front of the camera or behind it, in traditional media or on-line, they tell the stories of our lives, and are champions of accuracy, empathy, and democracy for women in all our diversity. We are proud to celebrate them each year at the Women’s Media Awards,” Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said in a statement.

​Past Women’s Media Center honorees include Luvvie Ajayi, Christiane Amanpour, Amma Asante, Laura Bates, Samantha Bee, Ursula Burns, Katie Couric, Sady Doyle, Mona Eltahawy, Sarah Hoye, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, Sheila C. Johnson, Maria Teresa Kumar, Laura Ling and Lisa Ling, Lara Logan, Pat Mitchell, Martha Nelson, Soledad O’Brien, Salma Hayek Pinault, Elianne Ramos, Joy Reid, Yanique Richards, Anita Sarkeesian, Regina K. Scully, Mary Thom (posthumously), Marlo Thomas, Barbara Walters, Padmasree Warrior, Lindy West, and Maggie Wilderotter.

The Women’s Media Center was co-founded by Fonda, Morgan and Steinem, and works to make women visible and powerful in media. The center trains women leaders in media skills, make women experts available to the media through WMC SheSource, and conduct groundbreaking research and reporting on inclusiveness and accuracy in the media. It also features women’s voices and stories on the award-winning radio broadcast and podcast, “Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan,” and in WMC Features, WMC Fbomb, WMC Speech Project and WMC Women Under Siege.

For more information about the 2017 Women’s Media Awards and the center’s ongoing work, go to

Harvey Weinstein. Photo provided

Harvey Weinstein. Photo provided

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ousts Weinstein

In what the Associated Press described as “a move virtually unprecedented,” disgraced movie producer and magnate Harvey Weinstein’s membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was revoked Saturday by its board.

The expulsion was effective immediately. The decision was reached in an emergency session by the academy, the world’s top movie organization and home to the Oscars.

The move comes after the aforementioned Oct. 5 report by The New York Times, and a subsequent report by The New Yorker, detailing sexual harassment and rape allegations against Weinstein going back decades. He has denied the accusations against him.

“We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over,” the Motion Picture Academy said in a statement issued with the decision.

“What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society.”

The statement said the decision was reached by “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority” of the 54-member academy board.

According to the AP, only one person is thought to have been previously expelled from the academy: Carmine Caridi, a character actor who had his membership revoked in 2004 for lending DVD screeners of films in contention for Oscars that ended up online.

On Wednesday, Weinstein’s membership in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts was revoked, too.

As previously reported, Weinstein, an Oscar winner for “Shakespeare in Love,” was ousted a week ago from The Weinstein Company, the movie and TV production company he co-founded with his brother Bob and which now is struggling to survive the scandal.

In an interview published Saturday by The Hollywood Reporter, Bob Weinstein called for his “sick and depraved’ brother to be kicked out of the academy, adding that he’s barely spoken to his brother in the past five years and “I want him to get the justice that he deserves.”

In a related development, British actress Lysette Anthony, who currently appears in the soap opera “Hollyoaks,” said she has told police that Weinstein raped her in London in the 1980s. According to the AP, it was reported this week that London police were investigating a rape allegation against the producer relating to an incident in the 1980s. The city’s Metropolitan Police confirmed it was investigating a sexual assault allegation from that decade, without identifying Weinstein by name.

The New York Police Department also has opened a criminal investigation into Harvey Weinstein, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Based on information referenced in published news reports the NYPD is conducting a review to determine if there are any additional complaints relating to the Harvey Weinstein matter. No filed complaints have been identified as of this time and as always, the NYPD encourages anyone who may have information pertaining to this matter to call the CrimeStoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS,” police told THR in a statement.

As the AP notes, the Motion Picture Academy’s ruling against Weinstein raises questions about other academy members who have had similar allegations leveled against them, including Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski, who in the 1970s pleaded guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl, and once-beloved comedian Bill Cosby, who has faced dozens of allegations of sexual assault.

Helen Mirren. Photo courtesy Giles Keyte

Helen Mirren. Photo courtesy Giles Keyte

Helen Mirren to be honored by The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Helen Mirren has been named the recipient of the 45th annual Chaplin Award, The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Saturday.

An Oscar winner for the 2006 drama “The Queen,” Mirren will be honored at a gala on April 30 that will celebrate her stage, film and television career spanning more than 50 years, according to a news release.

“It is an honor and a pleasure for us to present Helen Mirren with our 45th Chaplin Award,” said Ann Tenenbaum, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s board chairman, in a statement. “From housemaid to Queen and everything in between, Ms. Mirren has delivered masterful performances of complex characters, upending stereotype after stereotype along the way.”

The Film Society’s Annual Gala began in 1972 when it honored Charlie Chaplin, who returned to the U.S. from exile to accept the commendation. Since then, the award has been renamed for Chaplin, and has been presented to many of the film industry’s most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sidney Poitier, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and, last year, Robert De Niro.

“Ever since her debut in Michael Powell’s ‘Age of Consent’ in 1969, Helen Mirren has been lighting up screens with one finely crafted performance after another,” said Lesli Klainberg, executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in a statement. “From her Oscar-winning role in ‘The Queen’ to her brilliant work in ‘The Long Good Friday,’ ‘The Cook the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover,’ ‘The Madness of King George,’ ‘Gosford Park,’ ‘The Tempest,’ ‘The Last Station,’ ‘Red,’ ‘Hitchcock,’ ‘Woman in Gold,’ and ‘Eye in the Sky,’ she has shown her exquisite range and proven her commitment to excellence and the art of cinema. The Film Society is honored to present the 45th Chaplin Gala Award to Helen Mirren.”

Mirren next will be seen on cinema screens opposite Donald Sutherland in “The Leisure Seeker,” and she has four other projects in various stages of production.

Kristin Chenoweth. Photo provided

Kristin Chenoweth. Photo provided

Kristin Chenoweth to play ‘The Real Fairy Godmother’

Film, TV and stage star Kristin Chenoweth, an Oklahoma native like me, has signed on to star in and produce the ABC put pilot “The Real Fairy Godmother,” according to Variety.

The Emmy- and Tony-winning performer would star as a self-absorbed “real housewife” who learns that she’s descended from a secret order of Fairy Godmothers and is destined to use her magical abilities to help those in need. As she reluctantly carries out her assigned missions, she begins to realize just how superficial and morally bankrupt her real life is and tries to get her dysfunctional family and friends to be better people.

Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, who wrote all the songs for the “Once Upon a Time” musical episode, will write and co-executive produce.

The project will reunite Chenoweth with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will executive produce through Zadan/Meron Productions. As I reported on my BAM’s Blog, the pair last year worked with Chenoweth on NBC’s “Hairspray Live,” and before that, they teamed with her on a television remake of “Annie” and “The Music Man” as well as the Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises.”

According to Variety, Zadan/Meron Productions’ head of development, Mark Nicholson, will serve as co-executive producer. Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith will serve as showrunners through Goldsmith Yuspa Productions. Universal Television will produce.

With a put pilot, the ordering network agrees to produce and air the pilot episode or pay a significant penalty.

Although she is perhaps best known for her stage roles, Chenoweth has achieved significant success on television. She was twice nominated at the Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for “Pushing Daisies,” winning the trophy in 2009. She was also twice nominated for Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for “Glee.”


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