Windrush anniversary celebrated at Westminster Abbey

Jamaican immigrants from the Empire Windrush at Tilbury on 22 June 1948Image copyright

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Nearly 500 Caribbean immigrants were on the Empire Windrush when it arrived 70 years ago

A thanksgiving service is being held later to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of Caribbean migrants on the Empire Windrush ship.

Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and families of the Windrush generation will attend the event at Westminster Abbey.

The migrants were among the first to be recruited to rebuild post-war Britain.

But there continues to be concern over the scandal, which saw some of the generation wrongly face deportation.

Nearly 500 Caribbean migrants from countries including Jamaica, Bermuda and Trinidad exited the Windrush on the 22 June 1948 when it docked at Tilbury in Essex.

They had applied to job adverts after World War Two with the hope of finding long-term employment in the UK, having gained a type of citizenship under the British Nationality Act of 1948.

‘Fitting legacy’

The Westminster Abbey service will commemorate the contribution the migrants and their families have made to the UK.

Meanwhile, a celebration of Caribbean culture will be held at Tilbury Docks to mark the anniversary.

The government has also announced Baroness Floella Benjamin is to lead a commemoration committee overseeing the creation of a “fitting legacy” to the Windrush generation.

A statue celebrating their achievements is among the ideas for the permanent tribute.

Baroness Benjamin, a former children’s television presenter and Lib Dem peer, was born in Trinidad but emigrated to the UK with her family in 1960.

She said: “This a significant step in recognising the contribution made to Britain by Caribbean people and this committee will make sure the work and sacrifices of the Windrush pioneers will live on in the hearts and minds of future generations.”

The right to remain in the UK for Commonwealth migrants who arrived before 1973 was supposed to be legally guaranteed.

But it emerged this year that some migrants from the Windrush generation – many of them who arrived as children – had faced deportation.

They were being refused healthcare and access to jobs because they did not have the paperwork to prove their status following a tightening of immigration rules in 2014.

The government has since apologised for the crisis and says a dedicated taskforce has now provided documentation to over 2,000 people demonstrating their right to live in the UK.

Earlier this week, the government announced an annual Windrush Day would take place.

EU tariffs on US goods come into force

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The European Union (EU) has introduced retaliatory tariffs on US goods as a top official launched a fresh attack on President Donald Trump’s trade policy.

The duties on €2.8bn (£2.4bn) worth of US goods came into force on Friday.

Tariffs have been imposed on products such as bourbon whiskey, motorcycles and orange juice.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said duties imposed by the US on the EU go against “all logic and history”.

India, meanwhile, has raised taxes on 29 products imported from the US – including some agricultural goods, steel and iron products – in retaliation for the wide-ranging US tariffs.

The new duties will come into effect from 4 August and will affect US almonds, walnuts and chick peas, among other products.

India is a top buyer of US almond exports and so the move is expected to hurt farmers in America.

The Trump administration announced in March that it would introduce tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium imported into the US.

After being deferred, the duties on steel and aluminium went ahead on 1 June and affect the EU, Canada, Mexico and other close US allies, including India.

European Commission president Mr Juncker, who has previously criticised the move, said on Thursday: “It goes against all logic and history. Our response must be clear but measured.”

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European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (L) and US President Donald Trump (R)

Addressing the Irish parliament in Dublin, he added that “we will do what we have to do to rebalance and safeguard” the EU.

The majority of US goods targeted by the EU, such as tobacco, Harley Davidson motorcycles, cranberries and peanut butter, will now carry a tariff of 25%.

However, the EU has introduced a 50% duty on goods such as footwear, some types of clothing and washing machines.

The new duties have been imposed as tensions over trade continued to grow between the US and China.

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Imports of US goods such as Harley Davidson motorcycles will be hit with tariffs

Earlier this week, Mr Trump threatened to impose 10% duties on an additional $200bn (£150bn) worth of Chinese goods which he said would come into force if China “refuses to change its practices”.

However, China accused the US of an act of “extreme pressure and blackmail” and said it would respond with “strong countermeasures”.

Why is the US imposing tariffs?

President Trump believes that if you have a trade deficit – if you import more than you export – you are losing out.

He is especially irked by the hefty deficits in US trade with China and Mexico, but has indicated that he will not let any country “take advantage of us on trade anymore”.

The US trade deficit has increased in recent years, running at around $50 billion (£38bn).

However, this could be the result of a stronger economy, with US consumers buying more goods from overseas.

  • Trump and the US economy in six charts

The new tariffs are meant to correct this imbalance.

There were confrontational scenes and words after the recent G7 summit in Quebec, at which the other major world economies challenged Mr Trump’s tariffs and trade policies.

A photo from the summit went viral, showing the leaders of the other member nations standing over the president, sitting with his arms crossed.

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Media captionWhat are tariffs and how do they affect us?

The US tariffs, and retaliatory measures from other states, have caused fears of a trade war, weighing on global stocks.

In the past however, President Trump has said trade wars are good and “easy to win”, despite a jittery response from the markets.

MPs to investigate 'fast fashion' impact

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The rise of cheap, disposable clothes and their impact on the environment will be investigated by MPs.

‘Fast fashion’, worn a few times before being dumped, can add to landfill, release toxic chemicals in production and plastic fibres in the wash.

The Commons environmental audit committee will look at how the industry could be made more sustainable.

The latest report by campaigners Wrap suggests that about 300,000 tonnes of clothing is binned in the UK each year.

That figure from 2015 is 50,000 tonnes less than it was three years earlier but Wrap says the clothing industry still has the fourth largest environmental impact, after housing, transport and food.

Stella McCartney: ‘We have to offer solutions’

The problem with ‘fast fashion’

Used clothes: Why is demand declining?

The fast fashion phenomenon – cheap clothing with a quick turnover that encourages people to keep buying – has come under fire over its environmental impact, including water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals and textile waste.

Committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said: “The way we design, make and discard clothes has a huge environmental impact. Producing clothes requires toxic chemicals and produces climate-changing emissions.

“Every time we put on a wash, thousands of plastic fibres wash down the drain and into the oceans. We don’t know where or how to recycle end of life clothing.

“Our inquiry will look at how the fashion industry can remodel itself to be both thriving and sustainable.”

The committee is inviting people to comment by September on the environmental impact of the fashion industry, waste, unwanted clothing and working conditions in UK garment factories.

Among the questions it will ask is whether fast fashion is unsustainable, and what can be done to encourage people to buy fewer clothes and think more about how they are disposed of.

Stem cell match brother 'denied visa for life-saving op'

Shirley Kordie and her son Blessing, fourImage copyright
Anthony Nolan Trust/Shirley Kordie

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Amelia Chong, of the charity, said: “Put simply, Shirley will die without this stem cell transplant”

A woman with a rare blood cancer is being denied a life-saving transplant from her brother because he doesn’t earn enough, a charity has said.

Shirley Kordie, 33, has hypoplastic MDS and will leave her son, Blessing, four, without a mother if she is not treated.

Her brother Joseph, who lives in Ghana, is a “perfect” stem cell match but his visa application was denied due to his “financial circumstances”.

The Home Office said it was “urgently reviewing” the case.

  • Midlands Live: Boy charged with murder after street attack; Children’s cricket coach faces deportation

Ms Kordie said: “My life is in danger – I need to get my life back for my son.

“I have my little boy, and I want to live for him.”

The Anthony Nolan Trust and the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) have launched a campaign to support Ms Kordie, who has been receiving treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The Anthony Nolan Trust said the reason Joseph had been refused a visa is because “he doesn’t earn enough money”.

’10 out of 10 match’

A petition urging the government to reverse its decision had amassed about 10,000 signatures in 36 hours.

Joseph, a nurse himself, is unable to make the donation in Ghana, so coming to the UK is his only option, said the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Spokeswoman Amelia Chong said there were no alternative options for a donor on the international stem cell register.

“Her brother is a perfect, 10 out of 10 match for her,” she said.

“We have reviewed all those on the donor list and he is not only the perfect match, he is the only match.

“All Joseph needs is a temporary visa to undergo the procedure.”

What is a stem cell transplant?

Stem cells are the body’s primary cells. All other cells, tissue, organs and bones develop from stem cells.

Blood stem cells, found in our bone marrow, are responsible for creating lots of different types of blood cells.

For 90 per cent of donations, cells are collected through the donor’s bloodstream in a process called peripheral blood stem cell collection (PBSC).

Their blood is passed through a small tube into a machine that collects the stem cells, and then returns the rest of the blood to the body.

In order to have a stem cell transplant, the recipient must get rid of the abnormal cells using chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy.

New stem cells will then be infused into the recipient’s blood in a similar way to a regular blood transfusion.

When the new stem cells enter the recipient’s blood, they move to the bone marrow and start producing new blood cells. Over time, this leads to the development of a new immune system that can recognise and remove any remaining abnormal cells in the body.

Source: Anthony Nolan Trust

In a previous letter to Shirley, the Home Office said: “While I am aware of the importance of family contact and the compassionate nature of your application, I must, however, also consider your personal and financial circumstances in Ghana when addressing your application.”

But in a statement released on Thursday, a spokesman said: “We are urgently reviewing the decision and will give very careful consideration to the compassionate circumstances.”

Shirley is currently at her home in Walsall, West Midlands, receiving regular blood transfusions.

Why are visas refused?

In order to be eligible for a temporary visa, an applicant must demonstrate that they:

  • Will leave the UK at the end of their visit
  • Will be able to support themselves and any dependents for the duration of the trip
  • Will be able to pay for a return or onward journey and any other costs relating to the visit
  • Will have proof of any business or other activities they want to do in the UK

As an organ donor, applicants must demonstrate that they:

  • Are making a donation to a family member they are genetically related to or someone they have a close relationship to
  • They must also prove that the person they are donating an organ to is legally allowed to be in the UK.


Orin Lewis, chief executive of the ACLT, said: “The stark reality is Shirley has no other option.

“The search for an unrelated donor is made difficult due to her African heritage, which means she is three times less likely to find a perfect match.”

King's College racism row: Students support academic

Priyamvada GopalImage copyright
Cambridge University

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Priyamvada Gopal said she would no longer supervise students at the university in protest at her treatment

Cambridge University students have rallied behind an academic who said racism at one college is “widespread”.

Priyamvada Gopal claimed porters at King’s College frequently “hassled” non-white staff and students at the gates, amounting to “racial profiling”.

Since posting about the issue, current and former students have said they had similar experiences.

A university spokeswoman said it “abhors racism” but its investigation found no wrongdoing by staff.

Ms Gopal hit the headlines earlier this week when she said porters at King’s had repeatedly refused to use her academic title of “Dr” and had spoken to her in a harsh and sarcastic tone.

She described the incident as a “small issue” but said it was “symptomatic of a wider problem” at the university.

“They will let white people walk through unimpeded but demand ID cards from people who are not white,” she said.

“We had two students who came crying late to class because they were hassled at the gates of King’s and I’ve never had a white student who’s had this problem.”

“Do I have 100% proof that it is racism? No. But one can only look at the fact people of colour are carded frequently or asked more questions frequently.”

Ms Gopal, who specialises in post-colonial literature, announced in a Twitter post that she would be be refusing to supervise any students at the university in protest.

Among the many messages of support for Ms Gopal on Twitter, one former King’s student said: “The porters liked to throw their weight around when they suspected someone shouldn’t be allowed through the gates, but inevitably that suspicion didn’t fall equally.”

Another said: “If King’s College is to be a ‘dynamic & diverse community’ it must take Dr Gopal’s concerns seriously.”

Several posts were from people from ethnic minorities who said they had experienced similar treatment: “I was constantly stopped by Cambridge porters to show my ID, to explain where I was going.”

The role of university porters includes controlling entry to buildings and often maintenance and other administrative tasks.

‘Abhors racism’

A spokeswoman for the University of Cambridge said: “King’s prides itself on being an inclusive and tolerant place, where students and staff of all backgrounds can feel secure, so we will always act swiftly and proportionately to remedy any wrongdoing.

“The college abhors racism or discrimination of any kind and would seek to stamp it out wherever it might be found.

“However, having conducted a thorough investigation of the events of Monday, we have found no wrongdoing on the part of our staff.”

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The University of Cambridge said it “abhors” racism but found no wrongdoing by its staff

Cyan colour hidden ingredient in sleep

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The researchers say cyan could be added or taken away to prevent or encourage sleep

The colour cyan – between green and blue – is a hidden factor in encouraging or preventing sleep, according to biologists.

University of Manchester researchers say higher levels of cyan keep people awake, while reducing cyan is associated with helping sleep.

The impact was felt even if colour changes were not visible to the eye.

The researchers want to produce devices for computer screens and phones that could increase or decrease cyan levels.

Sleep researchers have already established links between colours and sleep – with blue light having been identified as more likely to delay sleep.

‘Night mode’

There have been “night mode” settings for phones and laptops which have reduced blue light in an attempt to lessen the damage to sleep.

But the research by biologists at the University of Manchester and in Basel in Switzerland, published in the journal Sleep, has shown the particular impact of the colour cyan.

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Is cyan going to keep you awake?

When people were exposed to more or less cyan, researchers were able to measure different levels of the sleep hormone melatonin in people’s saliva.

Prof Rob Lucas said that it was not necessary for someone to be able to see the difference in colours, as the body reacted to the change even if it was not visible to the naked eye.

  • How long does it really take you to go to sleep?
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He said this could also affect other colours which were made using cyan.

For instance, there are shades of green that can include cyan – which also can be achieved using other colour combinations.

Screening colours

The researchers suggest that versions of the colour using cyan could be used on computer screens if the aim was to keep people awake – such as people working and required to stay alert at night.

Or there could be another version, the same colour but without cyan, which could be used if the aim was reduce disruption to sleep.

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Researchers say the same colours can be created with or without cyan

The research used this with a movie – with the colours being adapted to include or exclude cyan – and found changes in viewers’ sleepiness and levels of melatonin in saliva.

The research team, headed by Prof Lucas and Dr Annette Allen, says there could be applications for this discovery on computer screens, televisions and smartphones.

“This outcome is exciting because it that tells us that regulating exposure to cyan light alone, without changing colour, can influence how sleepy we feel,” said Prof Lucas.

He said it might help families with teenagers who were using mobile phones at night-time.

Critic’s Notebook: Oprah Earned This Museum Show. And It’s a Potent Spectacle.

Maybe the chaos extremity of current events has made us wistful for the moral authority of “Oprah Winfrey”: school massacres, police shootings of unarmed black people, men chronically mistreating women, the government’s separation of children from their migrant parents. Whenever somebody pleads for a national conversation — about anything, really — what they’re saying is, “Where the hell is Oprah?”

Many a desperate “O”-shaped Bat signal has gone up in the last half-dozen years, and in January, the country believed she was answering it. That’s one way to interpret the thunderous response to her speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes. Oprah for President! As oratory, the moment really was electrifying. She endorsed the evening’s gender-equity platform, in part, by telling the story of Recy Taylor, a black woman from Alabama whom white men repeatedly raped one night in 1944. She denounced the coarseness of our national moment by praising the news media. Her pulpit gravitas would have brought down the house at a political convention. But the speech wasn’t enough. People seemed desperate to work themselves into Oprah 2020 fever.

Oprah Winfrey Receives Cecil B. de Mille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes Video by NBC

To the extent that “queen of daytime” is any kind of office, it’s one Ms. Winfrey has never abused. She loves people, and she seems to understand the intensity of people’s love for her. But people also love power, and Ms. Winfrey’s display of it that night (and perhaps a New York Post column she retweeted) sparked pandemonium for her to ride it into Washington. President Oprah was fantasized about as an antidote to a caustic, whimsical president: the woman with the extensive “angel network” taking on a master Twitter troll, one television genius locking horns with another.

But the Smithsonian show leaves you thinking that she’d probably expect better fantasies from us. It makes you think she might be too good for whatever a candidate would have to do or say in this political climate to be elected president of anything.

BEFORE YOU EXIT “Watching Oprah,” you’ve scrutinized a case full of childhood photos, diary entries, high school letters and a signed copy of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” You’ve soaked up the music, speeches, imagery and writing in a room devoted to the musicians, actors, authors and political movements that helped a young Oprah determine who she wanted to be. You’ve checked out the amusingly arranged spot devoted to her Oscar-losing performance in “The Color Purple” (she had her Oscar luncheon biscuit bronzed, instead) and the space that enumerates her early television-news work, including a three-minute montage of her in Baltimore and Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s that is one of the most charming pieces of editing you’re going to see. At some point, a young Ms. Winfrey, in spandex, has to put her legs up for an aerobics-class segment and jestingly complains, “Oh, you’re gonna love this shot.”


Ms. Winfrey’s high school scrapbook, from around 1971.

Harpo Inc.


Ms. Winfrey was the first black contestant to win the title of Miss Fire Prevention, in 1971, at this Nashville pageant. She represented the local radio station where she worked and told the judges she aspired to be a television journalist like Barbara Walters.

Metropolitan Government Archives of Nashville

You’ve walked through the replication of the short, declining hallway Ms. Winfrey trod to get to the stage. It opens into the space devoted to the show itself — a pair of armchairs on a platform in front of a big monitor that plays a six-minute highlight reel. You’ve seen the large, almost sentient, encased Sony TV camera and the signed guest books and a copy of one of the show’s look books and some of Oprah’s actual outfits: the black turtleneck and leather pants she put on for Tina Turner, the gown from the DeMille speech, the legendary Calvins she wore the day she unsheathed the slim new figure that would vaguely haunt the show.


A mock set of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” with a pair of armchairs in front of a monitor that plays a highlight reel. To the right is a giant wall with the titles and airdates of Ms. Winfrey’s 4,561 shows.

Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times


Two microphones and the glass mug and metal straw used by Ms. Winfrey during the final season of her show.

Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

You’ve noticed the decades of hair styles and pivots in emotional intent, from the loaded confrontations of what the exhibition reminds us was once called “talk-back TV” to the “best self” era — basically, from her inspiring the cage matches of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich to featuring the real talk of Iyanla Vanzant, the gender decoding of John Gray and the Richter-scale-registering impact of Oprah’s Book Club. You’ve close-read the two blue cards of questions — printed and handwritten, presumably by the host — for Ms. Winfrey’s first conversation with Tom Cruise after his excruciating pounce on her sofa. (“Do you have any regrets about anything these last three years?”)


The Calvin Klein jeans worn by Ms. Winfrey on the 1988 episode in which she revealed a slim new figure. The jeans are among some of her actual outfits on display in the exhibition.

Harpo Inc

You’ve stood aghast before the giant wall printed, randomly, with every single one of the show’s 4,561 titles and airdates. “What Do You Stand For?” (4/24/00). “Tipper Gore on Depression” (6/22/99). “Wives Confess They Are Gay” (10/2/06). “Men Who Can’t Be Intimate” (7/21/88). “Sexual Abuse Ramifications” (4/14/88). “Jennifer Aniston and Beyoncé” (11/13/2008). “How Safe Is Your Home When It’s Alone” (12/1/06). “Cooking With Patti LaBelle” (7/2/99). “Donald J. Trump” (4/25/1988). “Are You Normal? Take the Test!” (12/1/2010). “What Is a Wigger?” (9/9/93). “How to Use Your Life” (4/10/00). You’ve noticed that the wall seems to reach to an absurdly illegible height. It could double as the meanest vision test of all time.

There’s a lot here. And you depart it all mystified by the absurd contradictions that Ms. Winfrey’s achievements reveal about this country. Here’s a black woman who grew up poor in the segregated South and became the country’s first black female billionaire. Her prosperity inspired others to prosper, yet “Watching Oprah” is situated not far from the museum’s moral and scholastic centerpiece (“A People’s Journey”), a devastating odyssey down into — and then up out of — the creation of the United States from slavery, racism, revolution, innovation, hard work and good luck. She doesn’t seem to know how she made it, but like a lot of successful Americans, she appears to have moments when she can’t entirely believe she has.


An advertisement from Ms. Winfrey’s early days as an evening news anchor in Nashville in the mid-1970s.

NewsChannel 5, Nashville, Tenn.

You wonder whether the show’s integrationist philosophy arises from its host’s having been raised, reared and professionally trained in Milwaukee, Mississippi, Tennessee and the broadcast environs of Baltimore and Chicago. Just geographically, Ms. Winfrey is intersectional. But it also explains something like the trip the show took in 1987 to Forsyth County, Ga., after it purged itself of nearly all its black residents. She wanted to know what about black people so scared the white residents, and she keeps having to remind the racists in her audience that the woman interrogating them is also black.

Ms. Winfrey contributed more than $20 million to the sponsorship of the museum. So there’s an urge to distrust the intent of an exhibition like this, to say that she bought it. But her museum donation doesn’t seem at all like vanity. It’s “how to use your life,” “what do you stand for” money. Across from “A People’s Journey” sits the Oprah Winfrey Theater. Maybe she paid for a piece of that. Anyway, our tax dollars are hard at work here, too. So Ms. Winfrey just paid a little more than I did.

Nonetheless, “Watching Oprah,” in its uncompromised captioning, goes out of its way to remind you about the chronic dissatisfaction, among some black people, with the lack of attention to the crises of black America. The show includes a 1986 letter from a black woman upset that Ms. Winfrey didn’t call on her during a broadcast because she didn’t “look like an ugly, fat, uneducated, frustrated black woman which is typical of the majority of the women you allow to speak on your show.” If that was ever true (suburban white women made up its biggest demographic), it wasn’t that way for long.

This might be the only show in television history to feature a ferocious four-way argument among black women about being a Republican. You watch a moment like that, in the exhibition’s “Talk-Back TV” montage, and you remember the show’s deep roots as a roving dialogue, often through national events, tragedies and disasters, with Ms. Winfrey holding the microphone (several of which are on display). It was a show that, in 1992, devoted a handful of daring episodes to racism, including a couple after the Los Angeles riots and one that featured a panel of American Indians and a white audience actually hearing the panelists’ dismay. Even when it was in the mud, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was determined to make so-called rednecks understand the problem with“redskins.”

ONE PROBLEM WITH being really good at your job is that people won’t let you stop doing it. But you watch enough of these montages and realize two things. First, “Watching Oprah” needs a lot more of “Oprah” to watch, more clips, segments, whole episodes, something. Second, Oprah didn’t do this work alone. She helped us do it. She was a platform. She was Facebook. Forget the presidency. She was the facilitator in chief.

The more she empowered us to speak, the better she got at knowing how her emotional algorithm could supply us with books and feelings and tools for betterment. And she took real risks to better understand this country, too.

That Forsyth County episode might have been a stunt, but it’s more audacious than Geraldo Rivera’s dragging millions of Americans into a bloody brawl with skinheads the following year. “Watching Oprah” doesn’t privilege any one episode over any other. So it’s hard, at first, to see what exactly it is about the show that matters. But then you think about that massive wall of episode titles and how it’s impossible to take it all the way in. And that incomprehensible vastness seems perfectly right, both for the enduring vitality of the show itself and the woman at its center.

Continue reading the main story

Over the influence?

Olivia RinkImage copyright
Olivia Rink/@aesthetiica

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Olivia Rink says she works “at least 70 hours a week” on her fashion and lifestyle blog

Consumer goods giant Unilever has taken a stand against “influencer marketers” who exaggerate their social media clout to earn more money promoting products. Is this the start of a brand backlash? Are genuine influencers under threat?

We’ve all heard about vloggers and bloggers earning big bucks promoting brands’ products on their social media pages.

Some of these “millennial influencers” with a million or more followers can earn $20,000 per post, says social insights firm Captiv8. A few have become minor celebrities in their own right.

But it seems a number of them have been gaming the system, buying armies of “followers” from firms that use automated bots to create fake accounts and simulate interactions, known as engagement – a key metric to evaluate influencers.

Consumer goods giant Unilever, one of the biggest advertisers in the world, has said it’s calling time on influencers who try to cheat.

  • Unilever threatens to pull online ads

It wants to see “greater transparency” in the influencer marketing industry, fearing that consumers may no longer trust influencers or the brands that work with them.

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Olivia Rink/@aesthetiica

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Is the social media influencer market boom about to end?

Instagram says it blocks millions of fake accounts every day and works hard to build stronger relationships between brands and influencers.

  • Instagram star used stock image photos

But some genuine influencers fear they may get caught in the crossfire.

“I am so against bots,” says New York-based Olivia Rink, 27, a fashion and lifestyle blogger who used to be a cheerleader.

“It’s very discouraging to compete with influencers that make the decision to use bots for fake engagement.”

Ms Rink, who has worked with more than 600 brands, says she spent four years building her blog audience.

“I work extremely hard to create unique and authentic content that I know my readers will enjoy.”

But Unilever isn’t the only brand getting fed up – several hotel brands recently told The Atlantic that they no longer want to work with influencers, after being flooded with requests for free all-expenses-paid stays, but failing to see a tangible return on their investment.

Other resorts have now implemented an extensive vetting process to ensure that influencers actually have good organic engagement with their audiences and aren’t using bots.

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Natascha Glock

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Natascha Glock’s audience consists mostly of German young adults aged 18-25

In a further sign of disenchantment, it seems marketers are now ditching influencers from their marketing strategies, according to UK-based digital content marketing agency, Zazzle Media.

The firm, which has 10,000 influencers on its books, found, amazingly, that not a single one of the 10,000 British marketers it surveyed planned to focus on influencers over the next 12 months.

“We think there are two key reasons for this,” Zazzle’s founder and managing director says Simon Penson.

“One, it’s difficult to measure how influencers affect sales, and two, there’s this underlying issue about bots behind it that’s prevalent and growing.”

Natascha Glock, 25, a beauty and lifestyle Instagram influencer living in Frankfurt, Germany, says: “It is unfair for some influencers to use bots, but it is not easy to stop.

“I think it is important that a brand likes my content and my work. It is more effective and you feel better when your followers are real, because you get real attention and real feedback.”

She has more than 51,000 followers – men and women, mostly aged 18-25, in Germany – and has worked with more 200 brands, including Unilever’s brand, Dove.

The influencer work provides a handy secondary income, she says, but it took about two years to build an audience big enough to appeal to brands.

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Toula Rose

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Toula Rose thinks using bots to create fake followers is “obviously not right and… unfair”

Toula Rose, a London-based fashion and lifestyle blogger, says: “I can see why some bloggers would do this, because there’s so much pressure. And some brands only look at the number of followers and don’t care about the engagement.

“But it’s obviously not right and it is unfair, more so to the brand if they work with someone and don’t get anything back.”

All three women we spoke to stress that Instagram isn’t just about snapping pretty pictures – it takes hours to produce and style the photoshoots, plan and create content, engage with readers, and pitch ideas to brands.

“I work at least 70 hours every week on my blog,” says Ms Rink.

Despite its concerns, Unilever is not ditching influencers completely. In fact, it says this type of marketing is “an increasingly important part” of its overall marketing strategy.

  • Is YouTube changing the way people look?

“The idea of endorsements is nothing new – you can trace it back to the days when Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner would appear in our soap adverts,” says Unilever’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed.

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Movie stars like Rita Hayworth used to endorse products in the 1940s

“But social influencers add a new and complex dynamic. We want to develop meaningful relationships with influencers who are as passionate about their audiences as we are about the people who use our products every day.”

Yet the firm admits that assessing the exact impact of influencers compared with other advertising media is tricky.

Some brands believe quality not quantity is the key when it comes to social media.

For example, Brazilian designer shoe brand Melissa, which has 270 stores worldwide, says it prefers to work with influencers who have smaller audiences but better interaction with their followers.

“We prefer to deal with micro influencers who have 2,000 or 10,000 followers, but they are very strong in their own communities,” says Raquel Scherer, Melissa’s global marketing director.

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“It doesn’t matter if you have 100,000 followers but people are not engaging with your content.”

Although there is a lot more competition, Ms Rose feels there is still a place for people who want to create original content.

“I don’t feel threatened, it just motivates me to keep working while Instagram is still going,” she says.

“We don’t know what the future holds for blogging – it’s changed so much in the last few years.”

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Roseanne spinoff The Conners ordered – without Roseanne

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Roseanne Barr’s tweets led to the cancellation of her hit TV sitcom

ABC has ordered a spinoff to comedy series Roseanne, without the involvement of its creator and namesake, Roseanne Barr.

The original writers, producers and cast members will appear in the new show, given the working title The Conners.

Ms Barr will not receive any payment for the series, ABC said.

The network cancelled Roseanne in May, immediately after Ms Barr posted a racist tweet.

Later blaming sedative pill Ambien for her words, the comedian likened a former aide to President Barack Obama to an ape.

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A vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, Ms Barr received support from the White House in the ensuing scandal.

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Media captionPresident Trump once told supporters Roseanne “was about us”

The Conners will start in the autumn and is expected to have Roseanne’s daughter Darlene, played by Sara Gilbert, as the main protagonist.

Aside from Ms Gilbert, core cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman will also star in the 10-episode season.

In a joint statement the five said their characters “not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience,

“We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”

For her part, Ms Barr expressed “regret” for her removal, saying in a statement she agreed to a settlement with ABC “in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved” and wished the best for all involved.

It is not yet known how the writers of The Conners will address the disappearance of the former lead character.

US cinemas issue seizure warnings for Incredibles 2

Cinemas in the US have been forced to display seizure warnings for the new Incredibles film for viewers with photosensitive epilepsy.

It comes after several people who have seen Incredibles 2, which is released in the UK next month, expressed concerns on Twitter about flashing images in the film.

The Epilepsy Foundation also issued a statement advising “viewer caution” and said there had been instances of people “having experienced a seizure during the movie”.

“We stand with our epilepsy warriors and their families as they voice their concerns about the movie and appreciate the efforts some theatres have already made to post warning signs for people waiting to see the movie,” the charity said.

One Twitter user wrote: “HEALTH ALERT I haven’t seen this mentioned in a lot of places, but the new Incredibles 2 movie is filled with tons of strobe/flashing lights that can cause issues for people with epilepsy, migraines, and chronic illness.”

“Incredibles 2 was a super fun movie BUT WHAT THE *HELL* DISNEY NOT PUTTING IN AN EPILEPSY WARNING,” another viewer said.

One disappointed mother said she was “sad” she could not take her epileptic daughter to see the animated Disney-Pixar film.

“I’m bummed that you didn’t think to put out a warning about Incredibles 2 for those who suffer from epilepsy,” she said.

“I’m so sad that I won’t be able to take my daughter who’s been excited for weeks because she has epilepsy and we don’t want to trigger a seizure.”

After several reports on social media, cinemas began to put up their own warnings to people going to see the long-awaited sequel.

“Major shoutout to the Jordan Creek movie theater for posting epilepsy warning signs for Incredibles 2. Thanks for lookin out for those of us with epilepsy,” one viewer wrote.

Disney has not yet commented.

The sequel picks up the story of the Parr family as matriarch Helen, voiced by Holly Hunter, is called upon to help bring the world’s hiding superheroes back into the open, and husband Bob (Craig T Nelson) navigates the day-to-day work of being a homemaker.

Their children Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner) are back again, along with baby Jack-Jack, whose devastating super powers are about to be unleashed.

The film smashed box office records in its opening weekend in the US, raking in $182.7m – making it the highest ever opening for an animated film.