Um, of course I had. Logging onto Facebook Sunday night, doing that obligatory “bored-on-the-weekend” scroll, I couldn’t escape the posts about the exes’ backstage run-in at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards. (And I kid you not, at least three of the articles had “breaking news” tags. Relax, news orgs.)
Granted, they are pretty great photos. Let’s recap:
Backstage, congratulating each other for acting-award wins for their respective roles in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “The Morning Show,” the former husband and wife were positively beaming.
“Yeah, I saw them!” I told my sister, pulling them up again just for good measure. “They were everywhere.”
But just as I was getting my Google image search on, I got reality checked.
“Weren’t there all these rumors he cheated on her with Angelina Jolie?” my sister said with the ignorant bliss of a younger sibling who was in elementary school when it all (allegedly!) went down.
Oh, dammit, yeah. Aniston and Pitt broke up in 2005 after five years of marriage and rumors that the actor had fallen for his “Mr. And Mrs. Smith” co-star, leading Aniston to famously tell Vanity Fair that Pitt was “missing a sensitivity chip.” Ouch.
Now, they’re racking up awards for their work and both conveniently single at the same time, much to the public’s glee. (Don’t judge; 2020 is already off to a rough start, news cycle-wise — we need this!)
For what it’s worth, they both seem to be thrilled for each other’s success. When Aniston went up to accept her SAG award for Female Actor in a Drama Series, Brad was seen watching with a big grin on his face backstage:
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But, reality check number two: By all accounts, the exes are just friends, have been for years now (Pitt even turned up at Aniston’s 50th birthday last year), and have no plans to return to their 2000s super-couple glory.
That hasn’t stopped people from really wanting a reconciliation to happen. It’s hard not to project with these pics, said Tom Fitzgerald, one half of the fashion-blogging duo Tom & Lorenzo and the co-author of the upcoming book “Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life.”
“My husband and I never had any dog in this hunt, but even we were surprised by our own reactions to the pictures,” Fitzgerald told HuffPost. “There were literal gay gasps when we saw that shot of him grasping her wrist as she turned away.”
Fitzgerald has a few theories on why the internet responded the way it did. (Besides the fact that knee-jerk histrionics is kind of Twitter’s thing.)
“Part of the reason everyone reacted so strongly is because Brad and Jen are both so iconic now and nearly an entire generation has grown up without seeing contemporary pictures of them together,” he said. “But another reason is because those shots ― especially the wrist one ― were so ridiculously romantic in tone.”
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Fitzgerald doesn’t think there’s any romance brewing, though. He’s more inclined to see the moment as “an instance of old friends and lovers simply showing some affection for each other and doing that thing that time tends to do for old lovers: forgive and forget the past.”
That said, the writer gets why people are rooting for a reconciliation. As he pointed out, we tend to view celebrities as avatars for our fears, hopes, desires and perceptions.
“Celebrities become stand-ins or representations of our own emotional states,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s why Jen became this patron saint of heartbroken women in the eyes of the public for so many years. It wasn’t fair to her, but she became a stand-in for how people feel about women who are unlucky in love; whether those people were themselves unlucky or whether they enjoyed judging women who were.”
Sure, it sounds a tad silly, but to see Pitt and Aniston ― “two nearly perfect avatars of the concept of a failed marriage” ― so publicly embrace each other gives hope to the rest of us that it’s possible to mend a broken relationship. (And in this case, it’s extra nice to see Pitt rehab his image and enjoy critical success after getting sober. Aniston, too, is finally getting recognition she’s long deserved for her dramatic work. Why not tack a love story onto that feel-good narrative, too?)
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For the romantic realists among us, it’s not so much a desire for them to get back together that most of us feel, as much as a sweet confirmation that the pair are still connected and bonded in spite of everything that allegedly went down, said Katherine Schafler, a psychotherapist in New York.
“Here we have two exes supporting each other, there’s not one winner and one loser, it’s so platonic,” she said. “Their connection reminds us that even when things don’t end the way you were expecting them to, you can still have a happy ending in other ways. In true Hollywood fashion, we all love a happy ending, perhaps that why we can’t get enough of these two. ”
It’s kind of like how you’d be thrilled if your friends who dated for years are finally fine with being in the same room again; no more weirdness at parties!
Collectively, we can leave the past in the past: Pitt and Aniston will forever be the chillest couple to ever chill in Hollywood, a golden pair with golden tans to match. (Seriously, how do two people get so matchy matchy with their tans?)
But for all the diehard fans, there’s always going to be steadfast critics.
“My co-host Stacie and I actually hold fast to the controversial hot take that people split up for a reason, and should probably stay that way,” she said. “In our episode on this whole sorry Jen-Brad-Angelina spectacle, I had a very personal message for Jen as she and Brad revived their friendship post-Angelina: Don’t do it!”
Marriages come and go. Old “Team Aniston” allegiances are forever.
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Catholic institutions including schools and universities closed Wednesday across Haiti in a three-day protest to demand the release of five priests, two nuns and two other people kidnapped more than a week ago amid a spike in violence that the government is struggling to control. “No one is safe,” said 65-year-old Margaret Jean Louis. The April 11 kidnapping of the priests, nuns and three relatives of one of the priests in the capital of Port-au-Prince is one of the most shocking recent abductions in Haiti, which saw a 200% increase in kidnappings last year, according to the United Nations.
A St. Louis husband and wife facing criminal charges for waving guns at racial injustice protesters last summer have told a judge they are concerned about Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s handling of their case and asked that it be sent back to the grand jury. “Due to the bias of Kim Gardner’s office, we believe the grand jury process was tainted and should be reviewed and revisited,” Joel Schwartz, the attorney for Mark and Patricia McCloskey, said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Demonstrators were marching to the home of then-Mayor Lyda Krewson on June 28, amid nationwide protests that followed George Floyd ’s death in Minneapolis.
The Oscars are headed to downtown Los Angeles' Union Station this year for the first time, but the historic site and active transportation hub is already a movie star. John Parkinson and his son Donald Parkinson’s stunning blend of Mission Revival and Art Deco styles has been a popular film site since it was completed in 1939, with supporting roles in movies from “Blade Runner” to “The Dark Knight Rises.”
The Czech Republic demanded on Wednesday that Russia should allow its expelled diplomats to return to Moscow, threatening that otherwise more Russian diplomats would be asked to leave Prague. The Czech request could further escalate a diplomatic conflict with Russia over the alleged involvement of Russian spies in a massive ammunition depot explosion. It came after Russia ordered 20 Czech diplomats to leave the country on Sunday, in retaliation for the Czech government’s expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats it identified as spies from the GRU and the SVR, Russia’s military and foreign intelligence services.
Prosecutors charged a Wisconsin man accused of opening fire in a crowded bar with multiple homicide counts Wednesday. Rakayo Vinson, 24, of Kenosha, was charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting early Sunday at Somers House Tavern in Somers in Kenosha County, online court records indicate.
Judge lambasts worsening crisis amid ‘rhetoric, promises and plans’ and requires housing within 180 days The federal judge behind the order, David O Carter, is overseeing a broad lawsuit about the region’s homelessness crisis. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images A federal judge overseeing a sweeping lawsuit about homelessness in Los Angeles ordered the city and county to find shelter for all unhoused residents of Skid Row within 180 days. In a fiery 110-page order, Judge David O Carter on Tuesday slammed Los Angeles officials’ inability to address the rise in homelessness in the region. “All of the rhetoric, promises, plans, and budgeting cannot obscure the shameful reality of this crisis – that year after year, there are more homeless Angelenos, and year after year, more homeless Angelenos die on the streets,” Carter wrote in granting a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs last week. Carter ordered the city and county to find shelter for all women and children on Skid Row within 90 days, and every homeless person in the downtown area must have a place to stay by mid-October. In addition, Carter mandated the city auditor examine all public money spent in recent years to combat homelessness, including funds from a 2016 bond measure approved by voters to create 10,000 housing units over a decade. That project has been slow to ramp up. Carter’s filing was made a day after the Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, vowed to spend nearly $1bn in the coming year to get people off the streets. Carter on Tuesday ordered “that $1bn, as represented by Mayor Garcetti, will be placed in escrow” with a spending plan “accounted for and reported to the Court within seven days”. As of January 2020, there were more than 66,400 homeless people in Los Angeles county, with 41,000 within LA city limits. While the homeless population was once largely confined to the Skid Row neighborhood in downtown, rows of tents, cardboard shelters, battered RVs and makeshift plywood structures are now familiar sights throughout the nation’s second-most populous city. Skip Miller, an attorney representing LA county, said the judge’s order “goes well beyond” what the plaintiffs asked for in their preliminary injunction. “We’re now evaluating our options, including the possibility of an appeal,” Miller said, adding that the county had spent millions on “proven strategies that have produced measurable results throughout the region, not just on Skid Row”. Garcetti said he had been briefed on the lengthy ruling but had not yet read it. He told reporters at city hall that he and the judge shared a sense of urgency, but the mayor warned that the city could not tolerate delays in the proposed record investment in housing, services and treatment for the homeless. While he declined to comment on the judge’s intentions, Garcetti said: “Putting a billion dollars in escrow that doesn’t exist doesn’t seem possible,” emphasizing that it was up to city council to review and enact his proposal. The mayor also raised doubt about the judge’s timeline under which the city and county would be required to provide shelter to every person on Skid Row by October. “That would be an unprecedented pace not just for Los Angeles but any place that I’ve ever seen with homelessness in America, ” he said. Some experts and activists fear the order could serve as ‘an excuse for police to clear people off sidewalks’. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP The lawsuit was filed last year by a group of business owners, residents and community leaders called the LA Alliance for Human Rights. It accuses the city and county of failing to comprehensively address the desperation that homeless people face – including hunger, crime, squalor and the coronavirus pandemic. “This order is a vote of no-confidence in the mayor, the city council and county officials,” said Daniel Conway, policy adviser for the alliance. Conway said he was struck by Carter’s grand prose in the court filing, which quoted Abraham Lincoln and traced the history of homelessness back from slavery through decades of redlining, containment, eminent domain, exclusionary zoning and gentrification. “Carter is able to put together a history of racist and discriminatory policies and connect them to the policy failures of today. It shows the culpability of the city and county of LA for decades. Now they have to make it right,” Conway said Tuesday. Gary Blasi, professor emeritus of law at University of California, Los Angeles, agreed that the judge’s order contained “a compelling description in all the ways that public policy has failed poor people and homeless people in particular”. But Blasi said Carter’s order “is not well thought out” and invited confusion about what the judge meant by “shelter”. What was needed was long-term housing, not temporary shelters that “in many cases are inferior to encampments”, Blasi said. “There’s no doubt that in the short run, this will reduce the number of encampments on Skid Row and increase property values,” Blasi said. “But in the long run I fear it could make things worse by serving as an excuse to turn to police to clear people off sidewalks.” Some advocates for unhoused people said they wanted LA officials to focus on permanent housing options, not temporary shelters. “We have grown concerned that politicians are using this litigation to justify investment in emergency shelters instead of housing,” the Legal Aid Foundation of LA and the Los Angeles Community Action Network said in a statement on the ruling. “We all know that shelters won’t solve our housing crisis … We need housing, not handcuffs – even if the handcuffs are preceded by an ‘offer’ of a shelter bed.” The judge’s decision also comes after LA officials and the police department recently faced widespread backlash for evicting a major homeless encampment at the city’s popular Echo Park Lake.
A powerful bomb exploded in the parking area of a luxury hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Wednesday, killing at least four people and wounding at least nine others, police said. It was unclear who was behind the bombing at the Serena Hotel. Footage on Pakistan news channels showed burning cars.
With the United States anticipating more tornadoes than normal this spring and summer, schools are preparing staff and students with safety drills. However, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the need for social distancing has come to the forefront, forcing school administrators to make adjustments to their drills. Tornadoes occur in the U.S. year-round, but according to AccuWeather Senior Storm Warning Meteorologist Phil Warren, they begin to pick up in frequency from April into June. Tornadoes are possible in any state in the country, but they are most common in the Plains, Midwest and Southeast. Many schools in tornado-prone regions practice tornado drills in case a twister breaks out during school hours. The superintendent for Topeka Public Schools in Topeka, Kansas, told AccuWeather's Emmy Victor that in past years they have been able to conduct drills with the entire student body in the gym, which also functions as a tornado shelter. Because of social distancing requirements, the entire school is not able to run the drill together anymore. Instead, each grade is taking turns practicing the drill in the gym and kneeling 6 feet apart during it. Tornado safety drills in Brunswick County Schools are held in the school hallways during a typical year, but amid the pandemic, the principal for the school told AccuWeather's Emmy Victor that this year drills are being held in the classrooms. (Brunswick County Schools) In addition, many students at the school are still attending class through remote learning, so the school has put a plan in place to help them prepare for any severe weather outbreaks as well. "What's been interesting is even seeing teachers with remote students saying, 'Find your spot. Where are you gonna be?'" Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Tiffany Anderson said, pointing out that the school system has 3,000 students who are attending remotely. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APP In Leland, North Carolina, students also have adapted to social distancing during tornado safety drills. Rather than hold drills in the hallways of the building like they do during a typical year, Brunswick County Schools have instead decided to conduct the drill with students remaining in their individual classrooms. The National Weather Service recommends school officials avoid using hallways with windows or that are straight the entire way through as tornado shelters. (Brunswick County Schools) According to The National Weather Service (NWS), small interior rooms, such as offices and bathrooms, offer the best protection in the event of a severe weather outbreak during school hours. Interior hallways can be a good option as well, but people should be aware that they can turn into wind tunnels during severe weather and debris can be sent flying through them. Hallways that zig-zag are safer as they are less likely to become wind tunnels during severe weather episodes. Hallways with any glass windows are not a good option either. The NWS warns to avoid doors leading to the outside as best as possible. During severe weather situations, classrooms with large windows or classrooms closest to the building's exterior are the ones to avoid the most. In addition, the NWS says gymnasiums, auditoriums and cafeterias should be avoided as well due to their large span ceilings, as those types of sprawling rooms are more prone to ceiling failure. Some schools, however, have gyms specifically designed to double as severe weather shelters, and many schools are even adding additions to their buildings to create shelters that double as educational spaces. "As far as schools go, many of the newer schools in tornado-prone areas are being built with FEMA shelters, which sometimes can be a larger structure, such as a gym or other larger room," Warren said. "Gyms and cafeterias that are not certified as safe rooms should be avoided." Newer schools in tornado-prone areas are often being built with FEMA shelters to ensure safety for students, faculty and staff amid a severe weather outbreak. (Brunswick County Schools) When picking a shelter, school officials should also consider its location in the building, and how long it will take students to reach it from their classrooms. The NWS says all students should be safely inside the shelter within three minutes. In addition, the size of the classroom is important, as well as its capacity to accommodate any individualized needs students may have. "For those schools that are not equipped with FEMA-type safe rooms, seeking shelter in the lowest level of the building, away from windows and exterior walls is ideal," Warren said. Officials from both school districts stressed to Victor that safety is the number one priority. While social distancing is a concern for the drills, in the event of an actual tornado emergency sheltering from the storm to ensure safety may take priority over pandemic protocols. Additional reporting by Emmy Victor. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier, Spectrum, FuboTV, Philo, and Verizon Fios.