The Independent

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Neighbours star says she was sexually abused as a child

Former Neighbours star Madeleine West has said she was sexually abused as a child. The actor, now 42 years old, said that she was abused over a period of five years, beginning at the age of five. “I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t right,” she told Australian news organisati­on News Corp. “You’re told that you are at fault. That you somehow enjoy it, that you brought it on. A child can never consent.”

West played Dee Bliss on Neighbours between 2000 and 2003. She later returned to the soap opera in a different role, playing Andrea Somers from 2017 to 2020. She went on to say that the abuse was a factor that motivated her to pursue acting. “Part of the reason I went into acting was to wear someone else’s skin, to hide what was actually happening in my life,” she said. “You carry a lot of scar tissue.”

West hosts an eight-part podcast series called Predatory, alongside former detective Gary Jubelin. The series tackles the issue of paedophili­a, and has seen West call for Australia to adopt several law changes, including the implementa­tion of a national public child sex register.

If you are a child and you need help because something has happened to you, you can call the NSPCC free of charge on 0800 1111. You can also call the NSPCC if you are an adult and you are worried about a child, on 0808 800 5000. The National Associatio­n for People Abused in Childhood offers support for adults on 0808 801 0331

Bar receives threats after homeless woman water-hosed

A bar has been receiving “hundreds” of threatenin­g messages and calls after a video went viral of the next-door art gallery owner spraying water on a homeless woman with a hose to scare her off in upmarket San Francisco. The video, which now has more than 12 million views, shows Foster-Gwin Art and Antiques owner Collier Gwin casually leaning on a railing while hosing down the woman who is sitting on the pavement. The owner continues to spray the woman even as she screams. After a few seconds, he points down the street and shouts at the woman to “move” multiple times. He then asks: “Are you gonna move?”

Mr Gwin later admitted to his actions but went on to defend himself. He was seen leaning against a fence in front of the Barbarossa Lounge, whose co-owner Trena Hamidi said the bar’s presence in the video has led to a widespread misconcept­ion that Mr Gwin is associated with her business. Since then the bar

has received a series of threatenin­g calls, emails and social media messages.

“It’s scary, it’s definitely scary,” she said. She said the bar’s social media page has been littered with threats to shut down the bar, or to report the lounge to the Better Business Bureau, a nonprofit that deals with consumer complaints. She added that the Federal Bureau of Investigat­ion reached out to the business to inform them that the agency has detected “multiple” credible threats against the bar. The threats prompted the deployment of an officer with the San Francisco police department outside the bar earlier this week.

Australian council labelled cruel after killing cats

Pet owners have raised concerns after one council in New South Wales warned them of cats being euthanised if found wandering the streets due to an alleged threat to native wildlife. Hornsby Shire in Northwest Sydney has reportedly taken the drastic decision of killing cats that are deemed feral if found in rough appearance or not micro-chipped. The council’s policy does not require a feral cat to be held for any set length of time before euthanasia.

However, following the introducti­on of new laws in March last year, the local councils are now mandated to hold stray animals for a period of two weeks before euthanasia. Hornsby Shire has taken the lead in a conflict between councils, the New South Wales government and animal welfare groups over the treatment of cats. Local councils have called for stricter policies, while cat parents have warned against feline suffering.

Cruise gave Tár director advice to save first film from Weinstein

Todd Field has recalled how Tom Cruise helped save his first film from interferen­ce from Harvey Weinstein. Field, whose latest film Tár has been drawing rave reviews and Oscar buzz, starred alongside Cruise in the 1999 Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut.

The incident with Weinstein came back in the early 2000s, when Field had just directed his first film, In the Bedroom. After the film was well received at the 2001 Sundance film festival, it was acquired by Miramax, the company owned by the powerful producer – now a convicted sex offender.

Speaking to The New Yorker, Field revealed that he was concerned about Weinstein’s reputation for imposing substantia­l re-edits on films distribute­d by his company. “I was weeping in the bathroom,” Field recalled. “I called up Tom Cruise and said, ‘Something terrible has happened’. He basically said, ‘This is how you’re going to play it. It’s going to take you six months, and you’ll beat him, but you have to do exactly what I’m going to tell you to do, step by step’.”

According to Field, Cruise told him to acquiesce to all of Weinstein’s suggestion­s. When In the Bedroom then inevitably tested poorly with preview screening audiences, Field was told to remind Miramax of the film’s festival acclaim, prompting them to return to the original cut. The advice worked, and the film ended up making back more than 25 times its budget, garnering five Oscar nomination­s.

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(Getty) ‘Monster ruined my life ,’ says actor Madeleine West
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