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April 1, 2014

The NCAA is a massively profitable business; its March Madness TV deal is worth $10.8 billion alone. And to ensure that profitability, the NCAA has a bunch of strict rules to protect its bottom line, such as its ban on college athletes making any money off their own labor.

But the association's heavy-handed enforcement of its rules goes beyond that, extending all the way to mugs covered in tiny little cats. Yes, the NCAA bans all unofficial cups from tournament games that do not, as The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay puts it, feature the logo of a "Prominent Hydration Drink." So Gay, thinking the rule was ridiculous, decided to "wage a tiny protest against the NCAA by bringing my kitty cat beverage holder" to cover Sunday's game between Michigan State and UConn.

A tournament official eventually noticed and confiscated the mug, though Gay got it back after the game. That may seem coldhearted, but the NCAA has a solid case in its defense: It's a slippery slope from cat mug to dog stein, which then leads inexorably toward shopping cart full of Big Gulps.

Read Gay's whole hilarious, harrowing encounter here. Jon Terbush

9:11 p.m. ET
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In an op-ed for The New York Times published Thursday, actress Lupita Nyong'o described several uncomfortable encounters she had with Harvey Weinstein, saying she's speaking up to "make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance."

Nyong'o said she first met Weinstein in 2011 while a student at the Yale School of Drama, and was warned he "could be a bully." He invited her to screen a movie at his Connecticut home, and he led her into his bedroom, where he said he wanted to give her a massage. "For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe," she said. Nyong'o turned the tables and offered him a massage, because "it would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times." When he said he wanted to take off his pants, Nyong'o raced to the door. "I didn't quite know how to process the massage incident," she said. "I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled for, but not overtly sexual."

That wasn't the only encounter she had with Weinstein, and after 12 Years a Slave came out in 2013, he approached Nyong'o and told her he had "treated me so badly in the past," she said. "He was ashamed of his actions and he promised to respect me moving forward. I said thank you and left it at that. But I made a quiet promise to myself to never ever work with Harvey Weinstein." Now that other women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein, Nyong'o said she can see there "is clearly power in numbers." While she wishes she had known then that she wasn't alone, Nyong'o is thankful for those who have shared their stories. "Now that we are speaking," she said, "let us never shut up about this kind of thing." Catherine Garcia

8:08 p.m. ET
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At least two potential candidates for U.S. attorney positions in New York have been personally interviewed by President Trump, including one person who, if nominated and confirmed, would have jurisdiction over Trump Tower in Manhattan, two people familiar with the matter told Politico.

It's unclear when Trump met with Geoffrey Berman of the law firm Greenburg Traurig and Ed McNally of the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, Politico reports. Berman is seen as a possible candidate for U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which oversees the area where Trump Tower is, and McNally for the Eastern District. White House Counsel Don McGahn has been tasked with leading the process of filling the U.S. attorney posts, and an administration official told Politico Trump asks for regular updates on the Southern District position.

Trump also personally met with Jessie Liu when she was a candidate for U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, documents submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee show, and she was later confirmed by the Senate. "To be very blunt, these three jurisdictions will have authority to bring indictments over the ongoing special counsel investigation into Trump campaign collusion with the Russians and potential obstruction of justice by the president of the United States," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told Politico Thursday. "For him to be interviewing candidates for that prosecutor who may in turn consider whether to bring indictments involving him and his administration seems to smack of political interference." Catherine Garcia

6:52 p.m. ET
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Quentin Tarantino knew about the accusations of sexual misconduct made against Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s, but continued to work with him, something he now regrets, the director told The New York Times in an interview.

"I knew enough to do more than I did," he said. "There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn't secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things." Tarantino said in 1995, his then-girlfriend, actress Mira Sorvino, told him Weinstein made unwelcome advances, and he also heard about actress Rose McGowan reaching a settlement with Weinstein following an incident at the Sundance Film Festival. "I chalked it up to a '50s-'60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk," he said. "As if that's OK. That's the egg on my face right now."

Weinstein and Tarantino have long been close, with Weinstein distributing such Tarantino films as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and the Kill Bill films, and he recently threw Tarantino an engagement party. When reports came out in the Times and New Yorker about allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein, Tarantino said he was "shocked and appalled," and he told the Times he now apologizes for not speaking up soon. Hollywood needs to change, he added, and "what was previously accepted is now untenable to anyone of a certain consciousness." Catherine Garcia

4:23 p.m. ET

Getting a fun package in the mail is always exciting — but unless you're Chance the Rapper, unboxing it usually isn't an overwhelmingly cute affair. The Chicago-born musician received his three Grammy awards in the mail Wednesday, and along with his 2-year-old daughter Kensli, proceeded to unpack the glittering gramophones.

The scene was unbelievably adorable:

At January's awards, Chance won the Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Rap Album for 2016's Coloring Book, and Best Rap Performance. You can listen to Coloring Book on Spotify. Kimberly Alters

3:53 p.m. ET
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Silicon Valley's diversity problem is no secret — and now, there are damning statistics to prove it.

A new investigation from Reveal broke down 23 top tech companies' employees by race, gender, and job categories. The results were illuminating: Apple employs the highest percentage of underrepresented minority women ... at 9 percent. And that was the highest percentage.

TechCrunch pointed out that Apple's data includes its retail employees, not just corporate workers, which likely boosts the company's numbers. When the data is filtered to just include professionals, Apple drops to almost the bottom of the list; underrepresented minority women make up just 3 percent of Apple professional employees.

That's not too far from Lyft's 5 percent — which was, you may have guessed, the highest percentage of underrepresented minority women in professional roles. Meanwhile, not a single company had a majority of female employees, though 23andMe came closest with a 50-50 male-female split.

It's important to note that only 23 of the world's leading tech companies are represented in this data, though not for lack of trying. Reveal requested government-mandated diversity reports from 211 top companies.

So until those 188 other companies decide to be transparent, there's no telling just how homogenous things are in the tech world. Read more about the investigation's findings at Reveal. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:40 p.m. ET

Following the controversy surrounding President Trump's consolation call to the widow of a U.S. serviceman killed in Niger, Chief of Staff John Kelly criticized Rep. Frederica Wilson's (D-Fla.) public interpretation of the conversation, which she overheard in the car. "A member of Congress listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife," Kelly said. "And in his own way, [Trump] tried to express that option, that [the late soldier, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, was] a brave man and a fallen hero."

Kelly's emotional speech was informed by personal experience: His son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, 29, was killed by a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010. "There's no perfect way to make that phone call," Kelly said. "My first recommendation was he not do it."

Kelly nevertheless commended Trump's bravery for speaking to the widow and said he was "stunned" and "broken-hearted" by Wilson's comments to the press. "That selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on that battlefield, I just thought that might be sacred," he said. Watch below. Jeva Lange

3:05 p.m. ET
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President Trump, set your DVR: The Hallmark Channel's around-the-clock Christmas programming begins … next week.

Despite the fact that Halloween hasn't even happened yet, Hallmark airs the first of its 34 (thirty-four!) new Christmas movies beginning on Oct. 28 with Marry Me at Christmas, KUSA reports. Other feel-good titles coming this season include The Sweetest Christmas, A Joyous Christmas, Christmas in Evergreen, Christmas at Holly Lodge, A Bramble House Christmas — you get the picture. There is going to be a lot of Christmas.

If you can't wait until Oct. 28, the Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas Preview Show airs Oct. 22 — 64 days before Dec. 25. Jeva Lange

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