In Montecito …
Netflix is not pleased
Yes, them again. It was another not-very-good week for the Sussexes, as the self-styled pitch-perfect couple continued their transfixing run-up to the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. They shut down their charitable organization, MWX Foundation (formerly Sussex Royal until the Queen nixed the “royal”), and according to Richard Eden in the Daily Mail “the final liquidation report revealed that costs of £130,583 [$160,000] were incurred on winding it up. “Netflix, with whom they are said to have a $100 million deal, is reportedly annoyed because Prince Harry talked to NBC last month about his meeting with the Queen—the “I’m just making sure she’s protected” interview—even though a Netflix documentary-film crew was already following him around. And then there was also the couple’s post-Netflix-deal interview with Oprah Winfrey last year. On CBS. And Netflix recently dropped Pearl, the Duchess’s planned animation project, after which she removed all references to it from the couple’s Archewell Productions Web site.
Because Netflix is losing subscribers, and its stock has slid almost 70 percent this year, the assumption is that the streaming service is hoping to make the most of the Jubilee, which the Sussexes will attend. But the Daily Mail reports that “Buckingham Palace staff are making plans to block Harry and Meghan’s Netflix cameras”—if necessary. “A well-placed source told the Sun: ‘Even if they accept that their Netflix crew can’t go into Buckingham Palace to film, they could cause problems — and at the very least cause a major distraction’,” according to the Daily Mail. “‘So a team of Palace aides will be on standby to keep a very close eye on the crew, and act as minders if need be.’” The celebratory mood is palpable, no?
In Montpellier …
Knickers—and a twist
An M.P. from President Macron’s party has resigned following a parliamentary ethics investigation into her expensing $2,100 worth of underwear and other clothes. Coralie Dubost, who according to The Times of London was also accused of “‘mismanaging’ her aides by asking them to spy on her domestic staff and take care of her dry cleaning and shoe repairs,” denied having done anything wrong and said she was the victim of a “cabal.”
French M.P.’s earn salaries of $90,000, and they are also entitled to $68,000 for personal expenses, $20,000 for “office equipment, taxis, post and telephones,” and $134,000 to pay their assistants. Dubost, who said she had reimbursed the lingerie costs, claimed she’d been “misled by staff” into thinking she could use her monthly allowance for personal expenses, reported the newspaper. “I was stupid. I am not a cheat. There are parliamentary outfits and personal outfits,” she said, reasonably enough. Nevertheless, “the time has come for me to withdraw from political life and devote myself to my family.”
In Beijing …
Already overbooked Chinese children can now look forward to weekly one-hour Home Ec sessions. “Primary and secondary pupils will begin compulsory lessons in September, with a study plan that starts with six-years-olds being taught the basics of cookery and progresses until the children can cook and clean for themselves by the time they reach 12,” reported The Times of London. “Other topics include housework, bathing and basic maintenance of home appliances.”
In order to clear the decks for the initiative, some reduction in their demanding academic obligations is likely: Chinese students currently spend an average of eight hours each weekday at primary school, and 11 hours during high school. “Under the new curriculum, year 1 and 2 students will learn the different kinds of vegetables, and how to pick them and properly wash them, while year 3 and 4 students will learn how to make cold dishes, steam buns and dumplings,” said the newspaper. By the time they’re done, several years later, students will be “expected to design a meal plan.”
In Cape Town …
Party crasher crashes
FOMO in the extreme? According to South Africa’s News24, Ieva Andrejevaite, a Russian-born Lithuanian actress, reportedly filed a “bogus” asylum claim in order to attend a three-day birthday bash for the billionaire entrepreneur Rob Hersov, chairman of Invest Africa. “According to a source with first-hand knowledge of the events, a minister’s personal assistant attempted to convince immigration officials to find a way to assist her,” but that the officials had refused. News24 said that Andrejevaite, who presumably made it to the party, has since “gone to ground.”
In Birmingham …
Between the lines
When asked late in his life why he wouldn’t come out as gay, Noël Coward liked to respond with, “Because there are still three old ladies in Brighton who don’t know,” or variations thereof. But it turns out that he was working on plays with gay themes even during the years when homosexuality was illegal in Britain and theatrical productions were subject to censorship.
“The master playwright was planning to write about a homosexual triangle in one play and to confront homophobic prejudice in another, according to an unpublished letter of 1960 and an unknown scene for an unfinished 1967 drama,” reported The Guardian. “The discoveries have been made by Russell Jackson, emeritus professor of drama at the University of Birmingham.” Even though some of Coward’s published and produced plays included identifiably gay or lesbian characters, Jackson was “surprised” to find evidence that the writer had at least planned to address the topic more directly. Coward died in 1973.
In Vienna …
A long-lost relative
Leopold Czihaczek at the Piano, a 1907 painting by Egon Schiele that’s been missing for more than 90 years, has been re-discovered in a private collection here and will go on public display in the city’s Leopold Museum, “a part of the museum’s non-fungible tokens (NFT) collection of 24 paintings and drawings by Schiele,” reported The Guardian. Schiele produced the painting when he was not quite 17; Czihaczek was his uncle and legal guardian.
In Maranello …
Enzo would not be happy
It’s official: an edict from Ferrari HQ has blacklisted Justin Bieber. The car-maker “has strict rules to ensure the prestige of its brand,” reported The Times of London. “In addition to giving his white Ferrari 458 Italia F1 edition a neon-blue wrap, the singer lost the car for weeks in a Los Angeles car park after a long night of partying in 2016. Bieber, 28, also committed the cardinal sin of putting his Ferrari up for a charity auction. The Web site Luxurylaunches reported that modifications also included ‘ugly-looking flared fenders and ‘aftermarket rims’.” Several high-profile Ferrari owners have bumped up against the company’s myriad rules about what they can and cannot do with their cars, among them 50 Cent, Kim Kardashian, and Nicolas Cage. —George Kalogerakis
George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL