The Cutline
  • Martin, Zimmerman (AP/File, Miami Herald)

    As George Zimmerman's supporters work to stem the rising tide of public outrage aimed at the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin last month, a new picture of the victim—culled from the 17-year-old's Twitter account and witness testimony leaked from local law enforcement—has emerged.

    "With a single punch," the Orlando Sentinel, citing police sources, reported Monday, "Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer ... climbed on top of [him] and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered."

    "That is the account Zimmerman gave police," the paper said, "and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say."

    Zimmerman's attorney, Craig Sonner, says that Zimmerman acted in self-defense and is not a racist as some have portrayed him.

    "I think we need to let the investigation come forward and let all the facts in this case come out," Sonner said on the "Today" show. "I think it's going to tell a different story than the way it's been related and portrayed in the media."

    According to a CNN poll released Monday, 73 percent of Americans think police should arrest Zimmerman.

    Meanwhile, the difference between the typical teenager Martin's family and supporters say he was and the way he presented himself on social media is the subject of increasing debate.

    As Dan Linehan, a blogger at Wagist.com, pointed out, correspondence with Martin on Twitter before he died alludes to an incident with a bus driver. "Yu ain't tell me you swung on a bus driver," Martin's cousin wrote to him on Feb. 21.

    Read More »from Trayvon Martin shooting: New details emerge from Twitter account, witness testimony
  • (Belvedere)

    Belvedere Vodka is battling what you might call a severe PR hangover after sparking a firestorm with an ad critics say makes light of sexual assault.

    The ad, posted to its Facebook page on Saturday, shows a distressed woman being groped from behind by a man alongside the copy: "UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE, BELVEDERE ALWAYS GOES DOWN SMOOTHLY."

    Following a swift backlash, the company removed the image and its president issued an apology on Facebook:

    My name is Charles Gibb and I am the President of Belvedere Vodka. I would like to personally apologize for the offensive post that recently appeared on our Facebook page. It should never have happened. I am currently investigating the matter to determine how this happened and to be sure it never does so again. The content is contrary to our values and we deeply regret this lapse.

    The company also made an unspecified donation to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, Gibb said, "as an expression of our regret over this matter."

    RAINN followed up with its own Facebook post giving Belvedere credit for its response:

    We got a call from Belvedere Vodka's president, who was profusely apologetic about an offensive Facebook post yesterday. He stressed how much it was contrary to his values and what Belvedere stands for, and that he feels awful about it. He offered to make a generous donation to RAINN to support our work to help victims of sexual violence and educate the public. Nice to see a company that not only undoes its mistake but looks for a way to do good afterwards.

    Read More »from Belvedere Vodka apologizes for ad making light of sexual assault
  • Dara-Lynn Weiss with daughter, Bea (Vogue)

    An article by a woman who is "fighting" her 7-year-old daughter's "childhood obesity" at home—published in the April issue of Vogue—is causing a big backlash online among readers critical of the magazine and its author.

    Dara-Lynn Weiss, the author, wrote about her response to a pediatrician who suggested that her daughter, Bea, should be put on a diet because—at 4 feet 4 inches and 93 pounds—she was clinically obese and could be at risk for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

    It wasn't the diagnosis that readers railed against, but Weiss' management of Bea's subsequent yearlong diet.

    [Related: Best breakfast foods]

    "Sometimes Bea's after-school snack was a slice of pizza or a gyro from the snack vendor," Weiss wrote. "Other days I forced her to choose a low fat vegetable soup or a single hard-boiled egg. Occasionally I'd give in to her pleas for a square of coffee cake, mainly because I wanted to eat half of it. When she was given access to cupcakes at a party, I alternated between saying, 'Let's not eat that, it's not good for you'; 'Okay, fine, go ahead, but just one'; and 'Bea, you have to stop eating crap like that, you're getting too heavy,' depending on my mood. Then I'd secretly eat two when she wasn't looking."

    Weiss continued:

    I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate. I stopped letting her enjoy Pizza Fridays when she admitted to adding a corn salad as a side dish one week. I dressed down a Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance of the nutrition content of the kids' hot chocolate whose calories are listed as "120-210" on the menu board: Well, which is it? When he couldn't provide an answer, I dramatically grabbed the drink out of my daughter's hands, poured it into the garbage, and stormed out.

    After Bea lost 16 pounds—meeting her mom's weight-loss goal for her before a Vogue photoshoot—Weiss wrote about her daughter's reaction:

    "That's still me," she says of her former self. "I'm not a different person just because I lost 16 pounds." I protest that indeed she is different. At this moment, that fat girl is a thing of the past. A tear rolls down her beautiful cheek, past the glued-in feather. "Just because it's in the past," she says, "doesn't mean it didn't happen."

    "I have not ingested any food, looked at a restaurant menu, or been sick to the point of vomiting without silently launching a complicated mental algorithm about how it will affect my weight," Weiss admitted. "Who was I to teach a little girl how to maintain a healthy weight and body image?"

    Read More »from Vogue article by mom about 7-year-old daughter’s weight sparks heavy backlash

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