This true story of New York’s fake heiress is jaw-dropping – so Netflix snapped it up

This true story of New York’s fake heiress is jaw-dropping – so Netflix snapped it up


Anna Delvey’s life as a jet-set con artist is so fantastic a ten-part series is in the pipeline. Michelle Davies charts how Anna almost got away with tricking Manhattan’s party people…

fake heiress
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Words by Michelle Davies

The same question crops up time and time again when the story of ‘SoHo Grifter’ Anna Delvey is discussed: how on earth could people not have guessed sooner she was a con artist? She was, after all, a heating engineer’s daughter from Russia and not the German multi-millionaire heiress she claimed to be. In fact, she barely spoke German at all. Why did it take four years and for her to scam $275,000 before anyone saw Sorokin for who she really was?

That question, and others beside, will be addressed in Netflix’s just-announced dramatisation Inventing Anna. Across ten one-hour episodes it will reveal how the pale-faced, red-headed 22-year-old whose real name was Anna Sorokin managed to deceive Manhattan’s moneyed society into believing she was a high flier with millions in the bank and the business nous to open an exclusive members’ only arts club.

The series, starring Ozark’s Julia Garner (Sorokin had said she wanted Margot Robbie to play her), will undoubtedly revive horrible memories for those she conned. In particular Rachel DeLoache Williams, a former Vanity Fair picture editor who ended up $62,000 in debt after Sorokin tricked her into paying for their stay in a Marrakech five-star resort that she’d organised.

fake heiress

Julia Garner (Getty Images)

From intern to heiress

‘Before this, I probably would have told you that I was a good judge of character and I don’t know if that’s untrue,’ said Williams, who wrote a book, My Friend Anna: The True Story Of A Fake Heiress, about her experience. ‘But I didn’t see Anna coming. When you meet someone like [her], the alarm bells don’t go off immediately it’s slower, it’s subtler. Sometimes it’s easier to believe what someone wants you to think about them, be it through social media or what they themselves tell you, rather than what how they act.’

Sorokin’s story begins in 2013, when ‘Anna Delvey’ moved to Manhattan from Paris, where she’d worked as an intern at the fashion magazine, Purple. On arriving in New York she introduced herself as an heiress from Germany worth $67 million; in reality her family moved from Russia to Cologne when she was 16 and while her father ran his own business, he later told reporters categorically ‘there is no trust fund’.

fake heiress

Anna at a party in Manhattan in 2014 (Getty Images)

Sorokin built up a 40k Instagram following going to the best parties and events and those she socialised with blindly accepted her explanation that her fortune was held in a trust fund overseas. She certainly played the part of a well-heeled visitor from overseas, staying in the trendiest hotels, including the Beekman and W Downtown, eating in the most expensive restaurants, and ordering private jets to take her to California. ‘The world was charmed when she was around—the normal rules didn’t seem to apply. Her lifestyle was full of convenience, and its easy materialism was seductive,’ Williams later wrote in an essay for Vanity Fair.

Yet unbeknown to her new circle Sorokin was racking up tens of thousands in unpaid bills and she’d also tried to persuade banks to loan her money using forged documents. Her scamming finally came to an end in 2017 when she was arrested on six charges of grand larceny involving sums of money totalling approximately $275,000. In April this year the now 28-year-old was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison after a jury found her guilty of second-degree larceny, theft of services and one count of first-degree attempted larceny. She was found not guilty of another charge of attempted grand larceny in the first degree for trying to fraudulently borrow a $22 million loan from a bank to launch a private art club in Manhattan and for a charge of theft for $60,000 relating to her and Williams’ Morocco trip.

fake heiress

Author Rachel DeLoache Williams (Getty Images)

Courtroom haute couture

The Netflix drama, produced by Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes and due to air next year, is based on Jessica Pressler’s article How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People, which was published in New York magazine in 2018 while Sorokin was on remand. The piece references Williams, who right up until her friend’s arrest was still trying to recoup the $62,000 from her, which she’d been forced to split across two credit cards. Being in so much debt affected her deeply, ‘It was devastating. I couldn’t sleep. I would wake up in the morning in a panic. I actually couldn’t breathe. I hyperventilated a lot. I mean, my hair fell out.’

Yet the intrigue Sorokin inspired before her arrest was nothing compared to the public’s fascination with her during her trial. In a show of grandiose defiance, she hired stylist Anastasia Walker to dress her for her court appearances, swapping her prison threads for pieces by Mui Mui, Victoria Beckham, Michael Kors and Yves Saint Laurent. Prosecutor Catherine McCaw remarked Sorokin ‘showed more concern for her attire than the emotions of those she hurt’. Indeed, there were days when the proceedings were held up because Sorokin would have a tantrum behind the scenes that she didn’t have anything decent to wear.

Sorokin during her trial in April 2019 (Getty Images)

After buying the rights to Pressler’s 2018 article for an undisclosed sum, Rhimes and Netflix approached Sorokin while she was on remand to buy the rights to her personal account, which she agreed to sell for $100,000. However, in May this year the state Attorney General’s Office in New York invoked a piece of legislation known as ‘Son of Sam Law’ to block her from receiving any payment or profits – in addition to the lump sum, her Netflix contract stated she was to receive $7,500 per episode in royalties and a further $15,000 per episode as a ‘consulting fee’.

‘Son of Sam Law’, named after the infamous serial killer Sam Berkowitz, who killed six people in a murder spree in New York during the Seventies, prevents any convicted felon receiving ‘profits from a crime’ – and the AG’s Office filed a court petition demanding all monies from Sorokin’s Netflix deal is paid to her victims instead of to her. So far Sorokin hasn’t appealed against the petition.

Joining Garner in the cast of Inventing Anna will be Scandal alumni Katie Lowes as Williams, Orange Is The Black’s Laverne Cox as Kacy Duke, a celebrity trainer and life coach also caught up in Sorokin’s deceit, and Anna Chulmsky, last seen in Veep, as a reporter who starts investigating Sorokin. The real-life Williams, meanwhile, has signed a deal with HBO to produce a drama based on her book, with Lena Denham adapting it for the screenplay.

Sorokin will be deported to Germany on her release but plans to move to London. She already has ties to the capital, having moved here from Germany when she was 19 to enrol on at art course at Central Saint Martins. She dropped out and then moved to Paris to begin the magazine internship that first gave her a taste for the finer things in life. When interviewed by the New York Times in prison the day after her conviction – a meeting for which she wore her khaki inmate jumpsuit with Céline glasses – Sorokin said her motive ‘was never money. I was power hungry’. Yet when the reporter asked if, given the chance, she’d do the same things again, Sorokin laughed and said, ‘Yes, probably so.’

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Kate Middleton has just hosted her first Christmas party of the year

Kate Middleton has just hosted her first Christmas party of the year


She’s beaten us to it…

Words by Nicole Cherruault

Whilst we all spend unnecessary time deciding between canapés and which bottle of bubbly to crack open, The Duchess of Cambridge has wasted no time. Launching the Yuletide season in true royal style she hosted her first Christmas party at the luxurious Rosewood hotel.

Lead Research Nurse at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust tweeted last week about the night, suggesting that she was thankful to have met the Duke and Duchess at the Nursing Now event and to have been able to talk about the care of patients over Christmas.

The Nursing Now 2020 campaign is dedicated to highlighting the work done by nurses, with the overall intention of raising their profile across the globe.

Since her involvement, the Duchess has spoken at a number of events, emphasising the importance of giving nurses the recognition they deserve.

Earlier this year, as part of the campaign’s first anniversary she said:

‘I am delighted that, at the end of its first year, Nursing Now has grown internationally, with local and national groups in over 60 countries. Nurses play a vital role in health teams all around the world, and this campaign is doing an important job of raising their status and profile globally.’

She later vocalised her immense gratitude for their work, suggesting the level of professionalism is ‘awe-inspiring’.

And now, with The World Health Organisation Executive Board announcing 2020 as the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’, this recent celebration seems all the more fitting. As the Duchess further commented:

‘We hope that more young people will be attracted into nursing careers to ensure that the principle that health is for everyone, everywhere, becomes a reality.’

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Royal advisors have apparently been sacked over the Jeffrey Epstein interview

Royal advisors have apparently been sacked over the Jeffrey Epstein interview


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Prince Andrew made news this week as he finally addressed his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, 66-year-old multimillionaire businessman and registered sex offender who died in an apparent suicide earlier this year.

Epstein was being held without bail on charges of sex trafficking girls (some as young as 14), with the financier also making news this year for reportedly using his business relationship with Leslie Wexner, CEO of the L Brands, to take advantage of aspiring Victoria’s Secret models.

Prince Andrew’s name has been linked to Epstein’s after footage emerged reportedly showing the Royal in Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion in 2010.

In an attempt to address the allegations, Prince Andrew did a royal first over the weekend, engaging in a one-hour interview about Epstein with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, aired on Saturday from Buckingham Palace.

The internet however was not impressed, with it widely criticised as a ‘car crash’ of an interview, with Prince Andrew explaining in detail that he medically could not sweat and using Pizza Express in Woking as an ‘alibi’.

Following the emergence of the interview, people were quick to question why the Queen gave the TV interview the go-ahead, something palace insiders weighed in on this week, revealing that she actually didn’t, reporting that the decision came from Prince Andrew’s office.

Prince Andrew resigned from his royal duties this week as a result, stating: ‘I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.’

Now just days later, Prince Andrew’s private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, reported by the Daily Mail to be a force behind the Newsnight interview, is said to have been removed from her role.

Amanda has reportedly been moved to work on Prince Andrew’s Inspiring Digital Enterprise, where she will take up the role of chief executive.

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Kate Middleton was forced to pull out of a royal appearance to stay with her children

Kate Middleton was forced to pull out of a royal appearance to stay with her children


Royals – they’re just like us!

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The Cambridges are undoubtedly one of the most talked-about families in the world, and while Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis make the most news, it’s their parents Prince William and Kate Middleton that spend the most time in front of the cameras.

This week, it was the Duchess of Cambridge who made news, as she was forced to pull out of a royal event to stay at home with her three children.

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“Poachers are not resting, so why should we?” — Congratulations to Benson Kanyembo, winner of this year’s @Tusk_org Wildlife Ranger Award. In his two-decade conservation career as a ranger, Benson has never left the frontline. He has many outstanding qualities, but none as remarkable as his steadfast sense of duty, mental fortitude and incorruptible character. He is a ranger’s ranger; physically tough, incredibly hardworking and resilient without seeking recognition or reward. Swipe 👉 to see Benson and his team in action. Benson has changed the culture and effectiveness of anti-poaching in South Luangwa, Zambia. Under his leadership, @ConservationSouthLuangwa scouts have worked to maintain stable to increasing populations of wildlife in the South Luangwa ecosystem despite significant increases in poaching nationally and in the region. #TuskAwards #ForAllTheyDo #EndWildlifeCrime

A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on Nov 21, 2019 at 2:04pm PST

Hours before the Duchess’ expected appearance at the Tusk Conservation Awards last night, it was reported that she would be staying home, with it reported that one of her children was ‘unwell’.

‘The Duchess is no longer able to attend the Tusk awards due to the children,’ a spokesperson explained. ‘She will still however meet finalists at a tea at Kensington Palace this afternoon. The duke as patron will attend both.’

‘One of the children was not feeling well and Kate felt she needed to stay behind as no one else could step in, although no official explanation was given,’ the Mail Online went on to explain.

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Right now, young people the world over are ringing that planetary alarm bell louder and with more determination than ever before. My generation and those following are acutely aware that we cannot simply carry on as we are. We have to move faster and more effectively to find ways to balance our demands on this planet with the nature we share it with. Earlier today, Catherine and I spent some time with the #TuskAwards nominees and finalists. Their bravery, single-minded determination, and commitment to African conservation is deeply deeply humbling. Carlos, Tomas, Gladys, Jeneria, Benson and their colleagues are truly inspiring and give us all hope that change is truly possible. The Duke of Cambridge at the @Tusk_org Awards #ForAllTheyDo

A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on Nov 21, 2019 at 2:24pm PST

‘Right now, young people the world over are ringing that planetary alarm bell louder and with more determination than ever before,’ read the caption alongside a Kensington Royal Instagram snap of the event. ‘My generation and those following are acutely aware that we cannot simply carry on as we are.’

The post continues: ‘We have to move faster and more effectively to find ways to balance our demands on this planet with the nature we share it with. Earlier today, Catherine and I spent some time with the #TuskAwards nominees and finalists. Their bravery, single-minded determination, and commitment to African conservation is deeply deeply humbling.’

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Calling in sick when you just want a day off is a real issue in the UK

Calling in sick when you just want a day off is a real issue in the UK


Duvet day, anyone?

sick day
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If you called work to say you’re ill this morning when you’re actually fine, you are officially pulling a sickie. And according to a new BBC survey, that’s not uncommon in Brits at all. Oops.

The survey shows that up to 40 per cent of workers in Britain would, erm, claim a duvet day if they wanted a break. That’s two in five adults. The UK-wide survey questioned 3,655 adults aged over 16, and found the most common reasons for calling off work in 2018 were the common cold, musculoskeletal problems (like back pain), mental health conditions and ‘other’ problems. Perhaps unsurprisingly, sickness due to not being truthful was not included in the government’s statistics.

The average worker takes about four sick days a year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Chris Southworth, Secretary General of the International Chambers of Commerce, told the BBC, ‘What this points to is the importance of trust within business to promote a positive, healthy place to work, and how that has a positive impact on people’s wellbeing. Good, responsible businesses are those that are well led, they promote good values and ethical behaviour.’

As well as faking sickies, employees are often also prepared to cover for colleagues who they know might be faking it. The survey found that 66 per cent would not tell bosses if they knew their colleagues were absent, but not ill.

Hayley Lewis, an occupational psychologist, said if the relationship between bossa and employee is bad, staff will tend to be less truthful. She expanded, ‘People don’t leave an organisation – they leave their boss – goes the saying. Also, people can be influenced by their boss’ behaviour.’

She added, ‘We look to role models. If the boss is dragging themselves in, not taking breaks, eating lunch at their desk, it reinforces the message that it is not okay to take a break.’

Interestingly, one question put in the survey was, ‘would you take praise from a boss for work that somebody else has done?’ The answer: men are twice as likely as women to accept that praise. Shocking, we know.

And while younger staff lied more often than their elders, they were also more willing to stand up for colleagues.The younger the employee, the more likely they were to speak up for women in the workplace, for example by intervening if they saw a male boss touch a female employee on the back during a meeting. 70 per cent of younger adults would report or intervene if a senior figure in a company made sexual comments towards a younger colleague, less than half of people over 55 would do the same.

Finally, the study revealed that UK employees work longer hours than our EU counterparts like Ireland or Norway, but they are not as productive. And we leave you with this: almost a third said they stole work supplies like staplers and notebooks. Guilty. As. Charged.

 

 

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What the Prince Andrew debacle teaches us about how powerful men view sexual abuse

What the Prince Andrew debacle teaches us about how powerful men view sexual abuse


As Prince Andrew retires from royal duties ‘for the foreseeable future’, Olivia Foster asks why did it take him so long to acknowledge Jeffrey Epstein’s victims?

victims
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It’s a story that’s gripped the nation and reportedly forced the Queen to ‘sack’ her own son. First the catastrophic Newsnight interview in which Prince Andrew discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the accusations that he had once engaged in forced sex with a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts – something which he denies.  While some had predicted it wouldn’t go well – Andrew’s own PR advisor quit just two weeks prior to taping – no one could have expected the car crash that followed.

Amid a storm of criticism, the Prince was forced to announce that he was stepping down from his royal duties indefinitely. In a statement released by Buckingham Palace he revealed his decision had come with the blessing of his mother, the Queen. This followed a week in which the stories regarding his conduct have not stopped rolling. We saw his claims that he never indulges in PDA torn apart by the release of pictures of him all over various women and we’ve seen major companies keen to distance themselves from him, with KPMG, Cisco and Standard Chartered all revealing that they will no longer be working with his Pitch@Palace initiative.

victims

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Elsewhere on social media we saw joke-upon-joke about Prince Andrew’s claims that he can’t sweat and that he couldn’t have been with Virginia Roberts at Tramp nightclub on the night she alleged because he was actually at home after going to Pizza Express in Woking. But, as the memes begin to die down, we have to focus on one question. Why, after an hour-long interview, in which the Prince was given ample opportunity, did he only to choose to address Epstein’s victims four days later? And what does it say about the way powerful men view the severity of what the victims of sexual abuse experience?

Speaking with Marie Claire, Lizzy Dening, founder of Survivor Stories, a platform aimed at sharing stories from sexual abuse survivors in their own words, explained, ‘From a legal standpoint we can’t say how far involved he is in all of it but I think what was clear from the interview is that he is not a man who seems to put women first.’ Dening continues, ‘[The interview] was evidence of what happens when you have complete power and privilege from a young age which is that the whole world becomes about him and how events had affected him and his family and his career. It was shocking and yet at the same time not surprising, because we’ve seen this, it’s a common theme with the men who are quite rightly getting pulled up for Me Too. He had plenty of opportunities, it was a very long interview, it was prime time television, he could have used that platform to do some good for someone other than himself.’

Indeed, if we cast our eye back over the Me Too movement then it’s easy to reflect that the main people spearheading the conversation are women. The ones who have come forward and the ones who have supported them, we think of Tarana Burke, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow – it was meant to be a wake-up call for men but their voices of support have been distinctly lacking. But while Prince Andrew is a nuanced example – most men do not have his power or privilege – how CAN men support the movement in a positive manner? Lizzy explains that in the realms of every day discourse, those people whose mother’s aren’t the Queen, it’s about men learning to listen and women being open about how we feel they can help.

victims

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‘The main thing we can do is in small ways, it’s a thousand small ways, it’s pulling up stereotypes around victim blaming, it is questioning in an open way when your friend says something inadvertently victim blamey – and we all do it – it is engrained in society and it’s just having a little bit of self-awareness goes a long way.’ She adds, ‘A lot of it is listening to people and questioning one’s own beliefs; is that right? Should I be saying that? Is there a trickle-down effect that language like that can have on someone who is in a vulnerable position?’

As for Prince Andrew whether this week will fundamentally change the way he operates is yet to be seen. Earlier this week Jane Doe 15 came forward to claim that Jeffrey Epstein had committed a, ‘vicious prolonged sexual assault on her,’ and called for Prince Andrew to voluntarily meet with the FBI. In his statement last night the Prince said he was, ‘willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations.’ Whether he will come good on this claim, only time will tell. Let’s hope so, for his sake and Epstein’s victims.

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The internet can't get over Donald Trump's strange hand-written notes

The internet can't get over Donald Trump's strange hand-written notes


‘I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NOTHING.’

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Donald Trump is undoubtedly one of the most divisive people in the world, with his controversial quotes never failing to make us face-palm on the regular.

There was the time he said he should get a Nobel Prize, his statement that the queen had the most fun in years during his UK tour and the recent snubbing of his children – seeming to forget his daughter’s birthday only recently.

And don’t even get us started on Melania, with the President appearing to make a very loaded statement about his wife only recently, alleging that she wouldn’t be sad if he was shot.

This week however all the Donald Trump talk has surrounded his speech preparation, with the President’s strange handwritten notes going viral, spreading across the internet like wildfire.

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Yes, during a recent speech, photographers caught the notes on camera, featuring some bafflingly large scribbles in Sharpie pen.

‘I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NOTHING,’ read the huge words in permanent marker. ‘I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO. TELL ZELLINSKY [sic] DO THE RIGHT THING. THIS IS THE FINAL WORD FROM THE U.S.’

Unsurprisingly, Twitter went into meltdown, with viewers taking to the platform to voice their shock at how basic the notes in question were.

‘The mental image of Donald Trump scribbling “I WANT NOTHING / I WANT NOTHING” in huge letters on a sheet of paper with a Sharpie so that he won’t forget to say “I want nothing” 45 seconds later to a gaggle of reporters is just the most dismal and embarrassing thing and I hate it,’ tweeted one user. Another posted: ‘Consider how weak Trump’s mental command must be that he needs such simple notes as this.’

Oh dear.

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Greg James recalled getting told off by Kate Middleton and Prince William for his joke about Princess Charlotte

Greg James recalled getting told off by Kate Middleton and Prince William for his joke about Princess Charlotte


‘We want to talk to you’

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The Cambridges are one of the most talked-about families in the world, but while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spend the most time in front of the cameras, it’s their children that really steal the limelight.

From Prince George’s cheeky grin to Prince Louis’ royal wave, these toddlers never fail to make news. But it was the public favourite, Princess Charlotte, who got everyone talking this week as she set off on her first day of school.

This is something Radio DJ Greg James made a joke about on BBC Radio 1, poking fun at the fact that the miniature royal had to greet her new headteacher with a handshake.

‘Who the hell shakes hands with their teacher on the first day?’ Greg joked, live on air on the day of Charlotte’s first day. ’They were not like that in my day. You were pleased if you got a smile.’

Unfortunately for Greg, two very famous faces were tuned into BBC Radio 1 at the time, Princess Charlotte’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Explaining to the Mirror, Greg recently recalled how the royal couple didn’t let him get away with it, bringing up his joke at their daughter’s expense while he was visiting Kensington Palace for an official event with Radio 1’s Teen Heroes.

‘They were listening on the morning Charlotte went to school,’ Greg explained. ‘They said: “We were listening on the morning of little Charlotte’s first day, and we want to talk to you about the handshaking thing…”’.

Greg’s reaction? ‘I went: “Oh God, no!”’

This is hilarious.

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Female artists dominate 2020 Grammy Awards nominations

Female artists dominate 2020 Grammy Awards nominations


From Lizzo to Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, the 62nd Grammy Awards seats are going to be filled with female forces

Grammy Awards
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Roll up, roll up, the 2020 Grammy Awards nominations are in – and we are pleased to see so many strong females dominating the categories.
We’d like to point out that getting a Grammy nomination isn’t easy. Thousands of entries are submitted, and then members of the Recording Academy narrow it down. For the 62nd Grammy Awards, female artists are controlling the ‘big four’ awards – best new artist, song of the year, record of the year and album of the year.
17-year-old Billie Eilish is the youngest singer in Grammys history to receive nominations in all four of the main categories, and even though she will be 18 by the time the ceremony takes place, she stands to be the youngest-ever winner of album of the year for her dark and edgy debut When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go. If she does, she steals the crown from Taylor Swift, who was 20 when she won album of the year for her second record, Fearless, in 2010.

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shhhhhhhhhh

A post shared by BILLIE EILISH (@billieeilish) on Sep 28, 2019 at 10:54am PDT

Speaking of Taylor, her track Lover has been nominated for song of the year . Taking to Instagram Stories, the star wrote, ‘Wrote this one alone in a quiet moment and seeing it honoured in the song of the year category by my peers means so much, wow’. She’s also been nominated for pop solo performance with You Need To Calm Down and pop vocal album with Lover.

Next to shout about is the epic Lizzo, who has received eight (eight!) nominations. These include best new artist and record of the year with Truth Hurts.

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THANK YOU

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on Nov 20, 2019 at 5:57pm PST

You might be surprised to learn that Ariana Grande has never been nominated for one of the Grammys’ main prizes. So we welcome 2020, as the super talented star has been nominated for five gongs, including Thank U, Next for album of the year and the single 7 Rings for record of the year.

In true effortless Beyoncé style, the star has picked up four nominations without releasing an album. These are for her work on Disney’s The Lion King; and her Netflix concert film Homecoming.

We can’t wait to see these legendaries ladies onstage.

 

 

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Oxford Union President resigns after blind student is forcibly removed from event

Oxford Union President resigns after blind student is forcibly removed from event


Brendan McGrath has announced he is stepping down as Union president after Ebenezer Azamati was ‘manhandled’ during a debate

Oxford union
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The president of the Oxford Union, Brendan McGrath, has resigned after a visually impaired student was dragged out of a society debate ‘by his ankles.’

Ghanaian postgraduate student Ebenezer Azamati was returning to a seat he had reserved for the debate in Frewin Court on 17 October, before being pulled back by security and forcibly removed from the chambers.

Mr Azamati arrived at the event early to reserve accessible seating, as he was concerned there wouldn’t be enough provisions in place for disabled people. The 25 year-old student then went back to his college to have dinner, before returning in time for the start of the debate.

According to the BBC, Mr Azamati was then confronted by staff after trying to return to his seat, with video footage showing the blind student being ‘violently’ pulled from his seat and ‘dragged’ out of the building.

Shockingly, the Union’s president Brendan McGrath called for a disciplinary meeting after the incident, in which Azamati was charged with ‘guilty and violent’ behaviour and his union membership was revoked.

The charges against Azamati have since been dropped, but he has since revealed that the treatment made him feel ‘unwelcome in the union, Oxford and even the country.’

The incident has caused outrage within the Oxford community, with the Africa Society University of Oxford releasing a statement on their website earlier this week to condemn ‘the violent, unjust, inhumane, and shameful treatment of our member.’

Posting a letter to the Oxford Union Facebook page on Tuesday, Brendan McGrath announced his resignation and apologised for all of his ‘shortcomings’. While claiming he had been asked to bring the disciplinary complaint against Mr Azamati, the former Union president added he ‘should have recognised a wider obligation.’

He continued: ‘The right response would not have begun with prosecution and apportioning blame; it would have addressed immediately the extreme distress of all involved.’

Before concluding the letter, McGrath suggested ‘a full, public and independent review’ of the union’s policies in relation to disability, how it trains its staff and whether the current security system ‘is fit for the purpose of a student society.’

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