Welcome to at least there’s some good news Friday! After weeks of depressing stories to make you hate life, I have a few positive stories today! But, sadly, it’s not all good news. There’s an update on the Sony hack and let’s just say North Korea is the Grinch that stole Sony’s Christmas plans. Plus, everyone’s former not-so-favorite television Dad (not Bill Cosby) comes clean, and some travel (but also political) news that is exciting for so many reasons.
Do you think Sony made the right decision to pull "The Interview"? Did this foil your Christmas plans? Discuss this or any other story in the comments or tweet me directly (or just follow me) @AmandaLauren.
xoNews is taking a break next week, but it’s back the following week (in case you missed me), so happy holidays.
Stephen Collins Picks The Perfect News Week To Come Clean
If you haven’t been following, a few months ago, Faye Grant, who is the estranged wife of actor Stephen Collins, aka the preacher dad on "7th Heaven," released tapes of him confessing to child molestation in what he thought was a private therapy session. As a result, "7th Heaven" re-runs were pulled from syndication and he was fired from "Ted 2."
This week, Collins finally responded to the allegations in People magazine. In the interview, Collins admits to molesting three girls between 1973-1994. He also said that in the past 20 years, he has not “had an impulse to act out in any such way.”
Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since. I've decided to address these issues publicly because two months ago, various news organizations published a recording made by my then-wife, Faye Grant, during a confidential marriage therapy session in January 2012. This session was recorded without the therapist's or my knowledge or consent.
He also believes the tapes don’t explain the entire truth:
On the recording, I described events that took place 20, 32, and 40 years ago. The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred. As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth.
One of his victims, who is now in her 50s, said Collins apologized to her, but she didn’t accept. In fact, she filed a police report against the actor, but the statue of limitations likely prevents the case from being pursued. She also added,
Why isn't he donating any disposable income, beyond what he needs to survive, to a child-abuse charity? Maybe he should at least try apologizing to his victims.
But, Collins isn’t apologizing…
After I learned in the course of my treatment that my being direct about such matters could actually make things worse for them by opening old wounds, I have not approached the other two women, one of whom is now in her 50s and the other in her 30s.
Speaking Of Interviews, Sony Pulls "The Interview"
A whole lot has happened involving the Sony hack in the past two days. Until recently, "The Interview" was still scheduled to open on Christmas, despite a threat of terrorism that flashed on the desktops of Sony employees, which said:
Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
Theater chains became scared and decided it was safer not to show the film, so Sony has decided to scrap the film’s release entirely.
It also turns out that despite some rumors of the hack being an inside job, investigators have announced the hack was from North Korea, so Sony really had no choice but to pull the film and made the following statement:
In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theatergoers.
Good News About Cuba
On Wednesday, President Obama announced that, after 50 years, he is restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and plans to open up a U.S. embassy,
We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. These 50 years have shown isolation has not worked. It's time for a new approach.
The reaction of Cuban president Raul Castro was mixed,
This decision by President Obama deserves the respect and recognition of our people. [This] does not mean that the most important issue has been resolved. The embargo on our country ... has to end.
This news has come on the heels of the release of Alan Gross, a contractor who has spent five years in Cuban jail, after accusations that he was a spy. In exchange for Gross, the U.S. released three Cuban spies, who had been in prison since the ’90s.
So what about this whole embargo thing? Does this mean the embargo is lifted? Well, that’s actually up to Congress. Obama lifted some travel restrictions, meaning missionaries (who have been allowed to travel to Cuba in the past), family members, journalists, and U.S. officials can travel to Cuba and come and go as they please. Obama is also permitting visitors to bring back up to $400 worth of goods, $100 of which can be tobacco.
- If you think fracking is completely fracked up (Okay, I just really wanted to type that), I have some good news for you. Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared fracking illegal in New York State. Cuomo said, “I’ve never had anyone say to me, ‘I believe fracking is great.’ Not a single person in those communities. What I get is, ‘I have no alternative but fracking.’ ” If you don’t remember what fracking is, it’s a controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil from the earth that reduces reliance on foreign oil and helps create jobs, but it can also contaminate groundwater among other things, so it’s not exactly good for the environment.
- Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in a court on Thursday for a pretrial hearing. Tsarnaev pled not guilty to 30 federal charges and faces the death penalty if he is convicted. Jury selection will begin on January 5th. Tsarnaev’s attorneys are trying to have the trial moved out of Boston to Washington, DC because they do not believe he can get a fair trial in Massachusetts.
- On Thursday, Amazon unveiled Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service. Using an app, New Yorkers can get a total of 25,000 “daily essentials” like shampoo, books, paper towels, etc., delivered from 6:00 a.m. to midnight for $7.99. But, if you can wait an extra hour, delivery is free. This service should expand to other cities by next year. Google also recently launched a similar service called Google Express in several cities including New York, parts of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC. All of this means everyone is becoming closer to never having to leave the house.