- Is JK Rowling right about cancel culture, or is she just shielding herself from criticism?
- The science behind our selfishness in a pandemic
- Worldwide genome research could change the course of medical history
- “Every day I wake up and wonder why I’m still here” – the right to die is now legal, with a massive asterisk
- Unlike New Zealand, we’re yet to talk about eliminating the virus
Yet more details of Donald Trump’s affair, Facebook’s murky morals and the next step for Cricket Australia highlights the week that was. Hoo-boy.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. This week has seen some explosive developments in the White House, trouble for Facebook, some huge reality television news, and swings and roundabouts for Cricket Australia.
Despite US President Trump’s consistent denial that he had an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, Daniels and her legal team have gone public with an interview on 60 Minutes which drew in 22 million viewers, most likely including Trump himself.
The big scandal it seems was yet to come. An explosive revelation hit the media midweek which suggested that Trump had engaged in another affair, with none other than his presidential rival, Hillary Clinton. The affair allegedly occurred in the early 2000’s while Trump was in the same social circle as the Clintons and even donated to both Hillary’s senate campaign fund as well as donating $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
Details of the affair were leaked to the media this week, with both Trump and Clinton initially denying all allegations. On Thursday, a video featuring them embracing was uploaded to social media, forcing both camps to quickly recant their statements. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke to the media confirming that Trump and Clinton had been “romantically involved” for a brief period of time. Trump took to Twitter, cryptically tweeting “Now you all know why I call her “’crooked’ Hillary”.
Clinton faced the media herself, also confirming the affair. She described the situation as “complicated”. A close friend of the Clinton family anonymously spoke to the Washington Post, calling the affair “Hillary’s revenge”. According to the unnamed source, Hillary was hell bent on paying her husband Bill back for his infidelity and wanted to find the most offensive person possible to do it with.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Tempest in a dd-cup: We shouldn’t care about Stormy Daniels, we’ve got bigger problems
- Current Affairs Wrap: Trump’s newest latest nutcase, Smith ball tampers our heart, Killer plays to type
Social media giant Facebook has been under intense pressure over the past month due to revelations that 50 million Facebook users had their personal information mined by political consulting company, Cambridge Analytica. The outcry has seen tens of billions of dollars wiped from their market value with their share price tumbling more than 15%.
The US Federal Trade Commission also announced this week that it had launched a probe into potential breaches of consumer protection laws or a 2011 court-approved agreement on protecting private user data.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to be called to testify before both US Congress and British Parliament on the matter. Zuckerberg has been in PR damage control, taking out a full-page ad in the UK’s The Observer, The Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express and The Sunday Telegraph, along with US papers The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, apologising for the breach.
Zuckerberg went on to announce the appointment of a new “Privacy Advisor”, Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Zuckerberg said, “The bottom line is, we can’t stop this from happening. Someone will always find a way to get access to your data and sell it. The appointment of Julian will help us make sure that when it happens, it can’t be blamed on us”.
Assange appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy he now calls home to discuss his appointment. As the embassy has recently cut his internet access, Assange was forced to yell down to the street, saying, “My strategy is simple. Facebook’s error so far has been to try and plug holes as they pop up. It’s reactive rather than proactive. For me, the solution is simple. I’m going to publish it all. Every bit of data that Facebook keeps will be published on WikiLeaks for the world to see. Transparency is the answer.”
Following the recent announcement that Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins is to be the next Australian Bachelor, Network Ten have thrown another curveball by announcing the new Bachelorette as well.
Following last season’s roaring success with television personality Sophie Monk, the network and production company Shine Australia decided that fronting the show with a celebrity is the key to longevity for the once-failing franchise. On Wednesday, they shocked the nation by announcing one-time convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby, as the next Bachelorette Australia.
Corby has been laying low, slowly putting her life back together since being released from Keroboken Prison in Bali and returning to Australia last year. She hinted at future plans in her only interview post release in early March where she talked about her desire for children and her difficulties in finding employment.
It appears that The Bachelorette may just be the answer to both problems for Corby. Corby herself hasn’t spoken to the media since the announcement, however sister Mercedes gave a frank interview on Channel Ten’s The Project on Wednesday night. Mercedes emotionally described the difficulties Schapelle has faced since returning, including being turned down for a number of jobs as well as being propositioned by former Nationals Leader, Barnaby Joyce.
Mercedes told host Waleed Aly that she was “disgusted” by the private messages Joyce was sending Corby on Instagram, particularly because Joyce made no mention of Mercedes in the messages despite her looking “quite bangable” in the pictures on Schapelle’s account. Joyce reached out to Schapelle following her interview on March 5th, where she described her desire to have children, telling her that he’s more than capable of “helping her out”.
Also on The Big Smoke
- #AusPol winners and losers: Who attached tape to their balls?
- While you were asleep: Assange loses Internet privileges, Roseanne reboot soars, rubber duckie goes viral
The cricketing world, and most of Australia, have been in a perpetual state of shock for the past week following revelations that the Australian cricket team had engaged in ball tampering. Captain Steve Smith as well as Cameron Bancroft and Dave Warner have all been stood down, with Smith and Warner each receiving a 12-month ban, Bancroft receiving nine months.
Smith and Bancroft both delivered emotional apologies to the nation, which were so moving that talk of forgiveness came out quickly in response. The heartfelt and seemingly genuine moments seemed to start the long road back to redemption. Smith went one step further, reaching out to Channel Nine reporter Deborah Knight to apologise directly to her nine-year-old son Darcy, who is a “major Steve Smith fan” and was heartbroken watching the apology.
Arguably the person most moved by the apologies was Australian Coach, Darren Lehmann, who announced he was stepping down not long after the apologies. “Boof” said that watching the press conferences showed him that the time was right. Lehmann was cleared of all wrongdoing prior to this.
Warner, however, delayed his press conference and apology by a day, making a quick and dirty apology on Twitter instead with a promise of more to come. By the time he fronted the cameras to give his teary apology, most of the sympathy had dried up.
With the apologies out the way, the question of “where to from here” has started to hit everyone’s lips. Former great, Shane Warne, has already been touted as a possible replacement for Lehmann, indicating he’d be interested if approached.
While Warne’s appointment would get a few tongues wagging, it’s the announcement of the new Captain of the Australian cricket team that sent social media into meltdown. Former Australian cricketing icon David Boon fronted the media with Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland this week to announce that he had re-registered and was taking over the reins at the age of 57 to try and steady the ship.
“Boony is exactly what this team needs right now,” said Sutherland. “The boys need a leader with experience who can remind them how to have fun in this very dark time. They need someone with unquestionable integrity who represents the polar opposite of what we have heard this week.”
Boon was quickly asked by the gathered journalists what he believed his biggest challenge would be in making his return to first class international cricket. Boon said, “Admittedly, I’m not in the best shape. I gave up drinking a decade ago and I’m a little concerned about my ability to get back into it. I’ve got a 16-hour flight to Johannesburg to get my body right and get some practice in. I can’t see me reaching the 52 I downed in ‘89 but I’m going to give it a red hot go.”
Wacky and wonderful
Well TBSers, hopefully by now you’ve realised that we’ve been having a quiet yank of your chain in honor of April Fools Day. As much as the entire team at The Big Smoke would love to believe that David Boon is returning to international cricket, unfortunately we made the whole thing up. The other stories may or may not be true…I really have no idea.
Have a cracking week, TBSers.