TIME celebrities

Bill Maher Will Be UC Berkeley’s Commencement Speaker Despite Student Protest

Celebrities Visit "Late Show With David Letterman" - September 8, 2014
Television personality Bill Maher enters the "Late Show With David Letterman" taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on September 8. Ray Tamarra—WireImage

School says it's not "an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements"

The University of California, Berkeley says it will not rescind an invitation to comedian Bill Maher to be the school’s commencement speaker, despite a student vote to disinvite him.

The student committee in charge of the speaker selection process voted to rescind the HBO host’s invitation on Tuesday amid growing criticism of Maher’s views on religion and particularly Islam. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org to cancel Maher’s December commencement speech.

But on Wednesday, the university released a statement saying it will not accept the student vote.

“The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech,” the school said. “It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them.”

Maher’s response to the controversy? You’ll have to watch the show:

TIME Television

Watch Anita Sarkeesian School Stephen Colbert on GamerGate

She even declares Colbert a feminist

The maker of a feminist video game who has faced vitriol from some members of the “GamerGate” online movement stopped by The Colbert Report on Wednesday and handily schooled the host’s fake gamer persona.

“I’m saving the princess, and I’m supposed to let the princess die? Is that what you want?” Colbert asks Anita Sarkeesian incredulously.

“Well maybe the princess shouldn’t be a damsel and she could save herself,” Sarkeesian replies, drawing cheers from women in the crowd. (“I didn’t know you brought a posse,” Colbert jokingly responds.)

The GamerGate movement, named after the Twitter hashtag that has fueled its growth, purports to challenge poor ethics in video-game journalism. But it has also unleashed a wave of sexist comments and threats against women in the overall gaming industry.

Sarkeesian, who has publicly criticized video-game culture for its portrayal of women, canceled a talk at Utah State University earlier this month after the school received an email threat of a shooting massacre.

“They’re lashing out because we’re challenging the status quo of gaming as a male-dominated space,” Sarkeesian says. By the end of the interview, she even declares Colbert a feminist after he asks if he’s allowed — as a man — to be one.

See the full interview below:

TIME celebrities

Here’s Jesse Williams Venting About Ferguson and Trayvon Martin Halloween Costumes

Actor Jesse Williams in New York in 2013.
Actor Jesse Williams in New York in 2013. Jamie McCarthy—Getty Images

"We don't reflexively celebrate random or routine white death, make memes of your bleeding corpses"

Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams went on a Twitter tirade this week about the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and about people who dress up for Halloween as Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black teen who was shot dead.

Here’s just a few of his tweets, some of which were sent in response to the recent release of an autopsy report that seemed to give some weight to the police version of events in the Ferguson shooting, which sparked weeks of sometimes violent protests in the St. Louis suburb.

Read more at Essence

TIME Opinion

How Kim Kardashian Is Changing the Fashion Industry

Vogue Kanye West & Kim Kardashian
Vogue

The new wave of social media fashion influencers may long for Vogue's stamp of approval, but they don't need it.

In a year of embarrassing missteps by fashion publications (among them, Marie Claire’s discovering cornrows in the form of Kendall Jenner’s “bold braids” and Elle‘s discovery of Timberland boots), the most memorable was Vogue‘s discovery of the female derriere. “We’re Officially in the Era of the Big Booty,” a Vogue headline read last month, above an article reading “it would appear that the big booty has officially become ubiquitous.” The proof positive, per Vogue, was the newfound prominence of Kim Kardashian, who’d been on a cover of the magazine earlier that year.

Never mind that the magazine has by now reverted to the mean, with its November cover depicting thin, blonde model Natalia Vodianova glorying in the Paris Opera Ballet, rejecting both the concept of “big booty” and the less-than-high brow sort of reality-show fame Kardashian had achieved.

But the Vodianova cover feels like something from a different, less interesting era, while the Kardashian one feels au courant.

The fashion bible still fancies itself an opinion-maker, with the power to anoint trends as officially having happened, or celebrities as officially having merit or beauty. Lately, though, the publication seems to be chasing the trends set by a cadre of public figures rather than setting them; what’s in Vogue is in vogue because the magazine finally noticed.

Consider the case of Kim Kardashian. The reality star finally got her wish when she appeared on the April cover, but the packaging of the spread seemed vaguely critical. It’s quite rare for a man to appear on Vogue’s cover, but Kardashian appeared with fiancé Kanye West, who was possibly considered a more legitimate object of interest given his achievements in music. And then there was an editor’s letter by Anna Wintour that mounted a strange defense of the cover (“As for the cover, my opinion is that it is both charming and touching,” Wintour wrote as though she hadn’t commissioned and chosen it).

The whole thing seemed to hold Kardashian at arms’ length. It was as if the magazine had decided it was impossible to ignore her, just as it is impossible to ignore the fact that that curvy butts are popular. Kim Kardashian, at a voluptuous 5’2”, isn’t a natural fit for a publication that’s usually populated with pale, willowy models. And Wintour’s magazine seemed just as out of its depth honoring her as it did writing about the body shape she’s helped legitimize. In both cases, the magazine felt out of its depth.

Kanye West’s active lobbying for Kardashian’s Vogue cover got one thing wrong: He was right that Kardashian has a more engaged following than does the magazine, but he was wrong that she ought to be on the cover. The manner in which Kardashian cycles through expensive couture—changing her look day-to-day in order to keep her Instagram followers sated—makes her an inapt cover subject for the fashion bible. There’s no one fixed fashion image of Kardashian, or of Beyoncé, the past Vogue cover model whom the New York Times recently, rightly, said was not a fashion icon. Both Kardashian and Beyoncé, and, for that matter, 2014 Vogue cover model Rihanna, dress in well-curated (and expensive) garments, and have no rigidly defined aesthetic. A specific or iconic “look” really only works if one is the sort of person for whom fashion designers tailor a specific genre of clothes for or who are known for a well-defined style like Kate Middleton, Angelina Jolie or Lupita Nyong’o. Kardashian and other entertainers like her have had to be more imaginative to make couture work for them; Kardashian has been particularly successful at this, having shifted like a chameleon from straightforwardly “sexy” looks to intriguingly structural or textured outfits that are outré enough to engender debate in an Instagram comment thread.

And they’ve succeeded. These women push the culture and the aesthetics of beauty further away from the standard fashion model look every time they upload a photo. Vogue, a publication that’s always thrived on being able to label, categorize or dictate each development, can only hope to play catch-up. Officially or no, butts were always “in” for the people who have to figure out how to dress them. And given the difference in Kim Kardashian’s Twitter followers (over 24 million) and Vogue circulation (1.26 million), it’s a substantial fashion-loving audience that Vogue ignores at its peril. The magazine’s new openness to different body shapes is a net good, but it’s not hard to wish that stars like Kim Kardashian would blow off a magazine where they’re only grudgingly included.

TIME

In the Latest Issue

Photograph by Robert Maxwell for TIME

Interstellar, Where No Movie Has Gone Before
A new movie updates the Hollywood space odyssey with a fable based on fact

Review: Interstellar’s Wonder of Worlds Beyond
The movie’s reach exceeds its grasp—in the best possible way

The Last Men of Steel
Cheap natural gas is giving manufacturer Nucor a shot at reversing the long decline in American steelmaking

5 Things to Watch for in the Midterm Elections
Will Mitch McConnell’s Republicans gain control of the Senate?

Jake Gyllenhaal, Carnivore With a Camera
Nightcrawler exposes the predations of TV news

Cheap Gas Puts the Squeeze on Hybrids and EVs
Electric cars suffer when it’s easy to fill the tank

Joe Biden’s Perks and Recreation
Cheap vacation destination for Obama officials faces scrutiny

Eddie Redmayne Is Manic Impressive as Stephen Hawking
The actor shows the physicist in a new light

Review: Prince Lestat Is Bloody Marvelous
Novelist Anne Rice revives her most glamorous vampire

Google and the Clutter Killers
Apps offer to combat your data overload

Simpsonize Your TV
Why the future of media is looking like a box of doughnuts

The World Health Organization Comes Under Fire for Failure to Stop Ebola
The agency has been missing in action at a critical time

The Tipping Point
How did this outbreak get so bad? There’s plenty of blame to go around

10 Questions With Diane Von Furstenberg
The fashion designer and mogul on love, beauty, business and not being Mrs. Diller

Briefing

World

Milestones

Remembering Jack Bruce, the Bassist Who Shaped a Generation
He stayed on top of his game with blues riffs and experimental sound

Gabe Kaplan Remembers Marcia Strassman
Mr. Kotter on his Mrs. Kotter, a tremendous and versatile actress

The Culture

Upward Motion

Pop Chart

TIME movies

Photos: Go Behind the Scenes of Interstellar

Take a first look at Christopher Nolan's new movie — including some never-before-seen photos of the production

Christopher Nolan’s new movie Interstellar explores the limits of space and time. With the earth devastated by a crop disease called “the blight,” NASA discovers a wormhole that could promise a brighter future.

Scientists implore explorers, two of whom are played by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, to travel through the wormhole in hopes of finding a new world for humanity. McConaughey is forced to choose between staying on earth with his children — especially his young, vulnerable daughter Murph, whose grown-up self is played by Jessica Chastain — and finding their future in the cosmos.

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