Tuesday, September 25, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 51 - 60 of 3193
  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
L.A. prosecutors investigate another Kevin Spacey assault case
In this Oct. 27, 2017 photo, Kevin Spacey presents the award for excellence in television at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Los Angeles County prosecutors are investigating allegations of a 2016 sexual assault by Kevin Spacey for possible criminal charges.

Spokesman Greg Risling said Wednesday that a district attorney's task force on sexual misconduct had received the case.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said detectives in the department's Malibu-area station started the investigation in May. Nishida says the allegations stem from an October 2016 incident.

It's the second Spacey case the task force is considering. The first dates to 1992 and could prove impossible to prosecute because of statutes of limitations.

Spacey spokeswoman Laura Johnson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The Academy Award-winning actor has lost several roles since he was first publicly accused of sexual misconduct in October.

He's also under investigation in six cases in London.

 

  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
Actor says he feared speaking out about Argento assault
In this May 17, 2009 file photo, Italian actress Asia Argento arrives on the red carpet for the screening of "Vengeance" during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, France. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

A young actor who alleged in legal documents that Italian actress and filmmaker Asia Argento sexually assaulted him when he was 17 said Wednesday that his trauma resurfaced when Argento came out as a victim of sexual assault herself last year.

"I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me," Jimmy Bennett, now 22, said in a statement released through Attorney Gordon K. Sattro.

The comments were his first made publicly since a Sunday New York Times story saying Argento reached a $380,000 legal settlement with him last year over an alleged sexual assault in a California hotel room in 2013.

"I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative. I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time."

Bennett said he believed there was a stigma to being sexually assaulted as a male, and that he "didn't think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy."

His comments come a day after the 42-year-old Argento denied having a sexual relationship with him. She said in a statement Tuesday that she was linked "in friendship only" to Bennett, who played her son in a film in 2004.

She said the $380,000 payment, made in response to a notice of intent to sue for $3.5 million in damages that Bennett had filed, was undertaken by her boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef who killed himself in France in June.

"Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life," Argento's statement said.

Earlier Wednesday, TMZ published a photo that showed Argento and Bennett lying together, their heads touching as they lay on a pillow, their shirts apparently off. The celebrity website did not say how it obtained the photo. A previous picture on TMZ showed the pair embracing but sitting up and fully clothed.

The Los Angeles County sheriff's department said it is looking into the allegations and seeking to talk to Bennett. No police report was filed at the time, the department said. The age of consent in California is 18.

Argento became one of the leading figures of the #MeToo movement after she told the New Yorker magazine last year that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21. Weinstein has been indicted on sex crime accusations involving three women, but not including Argento. He has denied having engaged in any nonconsensual sexual acts.

Bennett said in his statement that Argento's emergence as a Weinstein accuser brought back his own trauma, and the movement as a whole has prompted him to address the experience.

"Many brave women and men have spoken out about their own experiences during the #MeToo movement, and I appreciate the bravery that it took for each and every one of them to take a stand," Bennett's statement said.

Actress Ashley Judd, another Weinstein accuser, spoke out Wednesday against anyone who would use the Argento allegations to undermine the #MeToo movement.

"We hold any and every abuser accountable, regardless of their gender, race, socio-economic status, public visibility or popularity," Judd said on Twitter. "Sexual violence is wrong, full stop."

Also Wednesday, Argento backed out of curating a Dutch music festival.

Organizers of the "Le Guess Who?" festival said in a statement that "due to the volatile nature of the accusations surrounding Ms. Argento, she has chosen to withdraw from her curatorship of this year's edition, while these issues remain open."

  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" to end in 2019 after 12 seasons
This image released by CBS shows Kunal Nayyar, from left, Simon Helberg, Melissa Rauch, Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco appear in a scene from the long-running comedy series "The Big Bang Theory." The popular series will end in 2019. (Erik Voake/CBS via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

CBS says the upcoming 12th season of "The Big Bang Theory" will be the last.

It's the most popular comedy on television.

The series began about geeky physicist roommates portrayed by Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki and expanded to include their friends, girlfriends and then wives.  Other stars include Mayim Bialik and Kaley Cuoco.

Parsons' work on the show has earned him four Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. CBS also airs a prequel about his character called "Young Sheldon."

There's also a UCLA scholarship created by and named for the series to support undergrad study in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Season 12 of "Big Bang" premieres Sept. 24.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018
Argento denies sexual assault, says Bourdain made payment
In this May 17, 2009 file photo, Italian actress Asia Argento arrives on the red carpet for the screening of "Vengeance" during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, France. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Two days after a report detailed an accusation of sexual assault against #MeToo activist Asia Argento, the Italian actress and filmmaker said she never had a sexual relationship with the young actor whom she agreed to pay $380,000 in a settlement.

Argento, who has alleged that film producer Harvey Weinstein raped her, said in a statement Tuesday that she was linked "in friendship only" to Jimmy Bennett, a now 22-year-old Los Angeles actor who filed a legal notice of intent to sue Argento. As detailed in a New York Times story published Sunday, Bennett claimed Argento, then 37, sexually assaulted him when he was 17 in a California hotel room in 2013. As a child actor, Bennett played Argento's son in the 2004 film "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things"

Argento said Tuesday that the $380,000 payment was undertaken by her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, the television star chef.

"Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect," said Argento. "Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life."

Bourdain killed himself in France in June. He has been a staunch supporter of Argento following her allegations against Weinstein.

A lawyer for Bennett didn't immediately comment Tuesday. But in a statement Monday, Gordon K. Sattro said: "At this time, our client, Jimmy Bennett, does not wish to comment on the documents or the events discussed in the New York Times article yesterday evening.

While we realize that the news cycle demands an immediate response, many times, people need more than a few minutes or hours to respond. We are asking that you give our client some time and space. Jimmy is going to take the next 24 hours, or longer, to prepare his response."

Bennett's notice of intent sought $3.5 million in damages, according to the Times report.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Darren Harris on Monday said investigators were looking into the alleged incident. No police report was filed at the time, Harris said.

Argento became one of the leading figures of the #MeToo movement after she told the New Yorker magazine that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21. Argento told the magazine that she continued to have a relationship with Weinstein because she was afraid of angering him.

Weinstein has been indicted on sex crime accusations involving three women, but not including Argento. The filmmaker, who is divorced and has two children, lives in Rome.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018
Director Danny Boyle departs James Bond over "creative differences"
In this March 15, 2018 file photo, director Danny Boyle attends FX Networks' annual all-star party in New York. Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, along with star Daniel Craig, announced Tuesday that Danny Boyle has exited the project over “creative differences.” (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The next James Bond movie has lost its director.

Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, along with star Daniel Craig, announced Tuesday that Danny Boyle has exited the project over "creative differences." Boyle, the director of "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trainspotting," earlier this year confirmed that he would direct the 25th 007 film. Boyle and his regular collaborator John Hodge were working on the script.

Production on the film, often referred to as "Bond 25," was to begin in December. The movie is to be Craig's fifth outing as James Bond, though endless speculation on his successor has been ongoing. Most recently, Idris Elba alluded to rumors of his casting by tweeting "Elba. Idris Elba."

The 25th Bond film is scheduled for U.S. release on Nov. 8 next year.

  • Monday, Aug. 20, 2018
Report: MeToo activist Argento settled sex assault complaint
In this May 17, 2009 file photo, Italian actress Asia Argento arrives on the red carpet for the screening of "Vengeance" during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, France. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Italian actress Asia Argento — one of the most prominent activists of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment — recently settled a complaint filed against her by a young actor and musician who said she sexually assaulted him when he was 17, the New York Times reported. 

Argento, 42, settled the notice of intent to sue filed by Jimmy Bennett, who is now 22, for $380,000 shortly after she said last October that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein raped her, the Times reported.

Argento and Bennett co-starred in a 2004 film called "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" in which Argento played Bennett's prostitute mother.

Bennett says in the notice that he had sex with Argento in a California hotel in 2013.  The age of consent in California is 18.

The notice says the encounter traumatized Bennett and hurt his career, the Times reported.

The newspaper said it received court documents that included a selfie of Argento and Bennett in bed. Three people familiar with the case said the documents were authentic, the Times reported.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Monday, a lawyer for Bennett said the actor "does not wish to comment on the documents or the events" at this time.

The statement asked for privacy and noted that Bennett would take "the next 24 hours, or longer, to prepare his response."

Argento became one of the most well-known activists of the #MeToo movement after she told the New Yorker magazine that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21. Argento told the magazine that she continued to have a relationship with Weinstein because she was afraid of angering him.

Weinstein has been indicted on sex crime accusations involving three women, but not including Argento.

Representatives for Argento did not respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment.

  • Monday, Aug. 20, 2018
Silicon Valley vet to head women's advocacy group Catalyst
In this undated photo provided by Catalyst Inc. Lorraine Hariton poses for a photo. Hariton becomes CEO at Catalyst in an era when the #MeToo movement has ensnared major corporations and, with exit of PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi serving as a reminder, the top jobs at the nation's largest companies remain elusive for women. (Paula Vlodkowsky/Catalyst Inc. via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

A former Silicon Valley CEO is taking the helm of a prominent organization dedicated to the promotion of women in the workplace, saying the #MeToo era is a "fantastic time" to champion gender equality.

Lorraine Hariton becomes CEO of the group Catalyst at time when sexual misconduct scandals are ensnaring corporate executives, and the departure of PepsiCo's CEO highlighted the tiny number of women leading Fortune 500 companies.

But Hariton, whose appointment was announced Monday, said the #MeToo movement has pushed the spotlight on gender equality like nothing she has seen since she began her business career at IBM in the 1970s.

"I felt the timing was really fantastic," Hariton said. "Not only are women in the work place on the front page, there is a major shift in attitude that allows us chart the future of the next generation."

Hariton previously served as the CEO of two tech startups, Beatnik and Apptera. She served in the State Department under President Barack Obama, and most recently as a senior vice president at the New York Academy of Sciences.

Catalyst, a research and advocacy institution based in New York City, was founded in 1962 by the late Felice Schwartz, who became known for a controversial 1989 Harvard Business Review article that proposed flexible career paths for working mothers. Other feminists criticized the piece, which gave rise to the term "Mommy Track," although Schwartz herself did not use those words.

Since then, support has risen for policies designed to encourage both parents to remain in the workforce through policies that allow flexible hours and extended family leave.

Hariton, a mother of two, said it was IBM's culture of encouraging reasonable working hours that drew to her the company after earning her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1977. She noted that IBM and other companies have instituted more formal policies and programs designed to attract female talent.

Finding policies that work has been touch-and-go, however. IBM, for example, scaled back its popular remote-work program last year.

And only a sliver of leadership posts at Fortune 500 companies, about 5 percent, are held by women, according to Catalyst.

Women are also being left behind in the proliferation of tech startups. Catalyst points to a 2017 study by Babson and Wellsley College that found that 97 percent of venture capitalist funding goes to companies led by male CEOs.

That issue is of special interest to Hariton, who said she raised $50 million in venture capital during her time at Silicon Valley. She said promoting diversity in male-dominated venture capitalist firms needs to be priority.

"The culture in technology is moving so fast that you end up with a young culture that is more like a frat environment, which makes it more difficult for women," she said.

  • Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018
U.S. regulators target Facebook on discriminatory housing ads
In this March 29, 2018, file photo the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Federal regulators are alleging that Facebook's advertising tools allow landlords and real estate brokers to engage in housing discrimination.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said in an administrative complaint this week that Facebook violated the Fair Housing Act because its targeting systems allow advertisers to exclude certain audiences, such as families with young children or disabled people, from seeing housing ads.

"When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it's the same as slamming the door in someone's face," HUD Assistant Secretary Anna María Farias said in a statement Friday.

Service providers such as Facebook typically aren't liable for the actions of their users. In a separate, civil lawsuit filed by housing advocates, the Justice Department says Facebook doesn't fall under that category because it mines user data, some of which users have to provide, and customizes ads for specific audiences. The government says that counts as being a content creator, rather than merely a transmitter of user content.

Facebook said the company doesn't allow discrimination and has strengthened its systems over the past year to prevent misuse. The company added that it is working directly with HUD to address its concerns. Facebook has an opportunity to respond to the HUD complaint before the agency determines whether to file formal charges.

The HUD action is separate from the federal lawsuit, filed in March in New York by the National Fair Housing Alliance and other organizations. The lawsuit says investigations by fair housing supporters in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami and San Antonio, Texas, show that Facebook continues to let advertisers discriminate even though civil rights and housing groups have notified the company since 2016 that it is violating the federal Fair Housing Act. It seeks unspecified damages and a court order to end discrimination.

The Justice Department's position came in a filing in that case. Facebook said it plans to respond in court.

  • Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018
Stan Lee gets 3-year restraining order against ex-adviser
In this June 28, 2017 file photo, Stan Lee arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Spider-Man: Homecoming" at the TCL Chinese Theatre. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Stan Lee's restraining order against a former business manager was extended for three years on Friday, in another apparent step toward stability for the Marvel Comics mogul after a tumultuous year.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered Keya Morgan to stay away from the Marvel Comics mogul and his family members, making permanent a previous temporary restraining order that Lee's lawyers had received.

The 95-year-old Lee has been the subject of a power struggle involving his daughter, Morgan, and others who sought roles in his life and business after the death last year of Lee's wife, Joan, who was his de facto manager and closest adviser.

Lee's lawyer Jonathan Freund told The Associated Press that Lee and his family are pleased he can move forward with his life and get on with his work "without being bothered or harassed."

Morgan, a film producer with a hand in many parts of the entertainment business, gained control over Lee's business for several months this year, until elder abuse allegations emerged from Lee's attorneys and police opened an investigation into the issue. Morgan has not been charged with elder abuse, but he has been charged with reporting a false emergency for calling 911 when a social worker and detectives came to check on Lee.

The restraining order request also alleges he embezzled millions in assets from Lee.

Morgan's attorney Alex Kessel told the AP that his client has done nothing harmful to Lee. "He never has, and he never will," Kessel said.

Morgan has previously adamantly denied he ever had bad intentions with Lee, who he says is a cherished friend.

With Morgan's ouster, Lee's daughter J.C. Lee and her attorneys returned as the main managers of Lee's affairs.

Freund said Le, who co-created the Incredible Hulk, Spider Man, and much of Marvel's comic and cinematic universe, is creating comic characters again, and his previously deteriorating health is improving.

"He's doing better every day," Freund said.

  • Friday, Aug. 17, 2018
"Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris sets exclusive Netflix deal
In this Jan. 8, 2017 file photo, Kenya Barris arrives at the HBO Golden Globes afterparty in Beverly Hills, Calif.(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Netflix says it's signed "black-ish" creator Kenya Barris to an exclusive production agreement.

The multi-year deal announced Thursday makes Barris the latest prominent TV creator to jump from broadcast and cable to the streaming platform.

Barris' Peabody-winning "black-ish" aired on ABC, and he produced the spinoff "grown-ish" for the network's Disney Co. sibling, Freeform.

He ended his ABC Studios contract early after ABC declined to air a "black-ish" episode that reportedly addressed issues including the NFL player protests.

Among other producers who have made Netflix deals: Shonda Rhimes, creator of ABC hits "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," and Ryan Murphy of FX series including "American Horror Story."

In a statement, Barris joked that he'd decided to take a chance on Netflix despite it being what he called a "mom-and-pop shop."

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