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Wednesday
Dec062017

Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Terry Crews heralded as "The Silence Breakers" in "TIME" magazine's Person of the Year issue

TIME(NEW YORK) --TIME magazine's Person of the Year is dedicated to "The Silence Breakers" -- what TIME is dubbing the women, and men, who are speaking out against sexual harassment and assault after years of suffering in silence, or being ignored.

Many of the people included in the magazine's feature article are familiar famous faces, including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, and actor Terry Crews -- while others are non-celebrities, though their stories of sexual harassment, assault and threats of retaliation are as familiar and disturbing as those told by their celebrated counterparts.

McGowan and her "Rose Army" rose up after allegations began mounting against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who allegedly also made sexual advances to Judd.  After a bombshell report surfaced with multiple women accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment and worse, it was revealed Weinstein paid a six-figure settlement to McGowan, who claims the producer raped her, then ruined her career.

Other accusations against Weinstein came from dozens of other women in the industry, including Paz de la Huerta, Angelina Jolie, and Gwyneth Paltrow, to name only a few.  Weinstein denies all claims of non-consensual sex.

Showing harassment and assault shows no gender bounds, Crews spoke out after he says he was publicly, painfully groped and humiliated at a Hollywood party by William Morris Endeavor and agent Adam Venit; Crews is now suing the agency and the agent, whom Crews insisted was only given what amounts to a slap on the wrist for the offense.

"They might labor in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City's regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament," TIME writes. "They're part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice." 

You can read the Person of the Year essay on TIME's website.

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Wednesday
Dec062017

Will Smith to Host Nat Geo series "One Strange Rock"

ABC/Randy HolmesWill Smith has signed on to host an upcoming National Geographic series attempting to unravel some of the mysteries of our planet, called One Strange Rock, Smith announced on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The 10-episode event series, co-executive produced by Mother writer and producer Darren Aronofsky, along with Jane Root, will explain what makes Earth -- a planet teeming with life -- vastly different from its other neighbors in the cosmos.

“I am thrilled to have Will Smith on board to guide our series,” Aronofsky says in a statement obtained by Variety. “His charisma, intelligence and humanity will add greatly to the project, helping welcome viewers into this unique narrative about the mind-blowing wonders that make life on Earth possible.”

Joining the Suicide Squad star are Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station and the only Canadian to have ever boarded the Russian Space Station Mir while in orbit, and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go to space in the space shuttle Endeavour.

Smith's post also included a short teaser clip.

One Strange Rock premieres March 2018.

 Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Dec062017

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson gets his Hollywood Walk of Fame star next week

ABC Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) -- The date has been set for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced on its website.

The Fast and Furious series star will be honored next Wednesday, December 13.

With film revenues topping $2 billion worldwide, The Rock has established himself as a global superstar in both film and television.

“Everyone loves Dwayne Johnson!" Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies, says in a statement posted on the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce website. "We predict that his star will be a very popular one to visit on our famous walk.  Not only does Dwayne have a great personality and talent, but he also does a great amount of philanthropic work which is part of the criteria for earning an immortal spot on the Walk of Fame."

Besides the Fast and Furious franchise, Johnson's film credits include, Hercules, Race to Witch Mountain, Get Smart, The Game Plan, Be Cool, the 2004 remake of Walking Tall and The Rundown. On TV, he stars in the HBO series Ballers.

Johnson will next be seen starring opposite Kevin Hart and Jack Black in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, opening nationwide December 20.

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Wednesday
Dec062017

John Oliver challenges Dustin Hoffman on his response to sexual harassment allegations

HBO/Eric Liebowitz/HBO; FilmMagic/Roy Rochlin(LOS ANGELES) -- Dustin Hoffman and HBO show host John Oliver got into a heated debate Monday night in New York while discussing allegations of harassment against Hoffman.

During a panel commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Hoffman film Wag the Dog, Oliver questioned Hoffman repeatedly about Anna Graham Hunter's accusations last month that Hoffman was personally intrusive, including allegedly touching her inappropriately, more than three decades ago on the set of TV film Death of a Salesman. Hunter was 17 at the time.

After Hunter's allegations emerged on November 1, Hoffman issued an apology. "I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation," his statement read. "I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."

On Monday, Hoffman doubled down on his conditional statement, taking the stance he doesn't believe he did anything to warrant such condemning media coverage and that he didn't even remember meeting Hunter or that he groped her in any way.

Oliver challenged Hoffman's response, saying, "It is reflective of who you were ... it feels like a cop-out to say, 'This isn't me,'" according to The Washington Post, which also posted video of the panel.

"You weren't there," Hoffman responded, saying Oliver was being, "pretty quick to judgment."

The actor added, "I said a stupid thing" but explained that the cast and crew were like a family and that things like "sex" were discussed to break up the monotony of work. Hoffman said he apologized "if" he had done anything to make anyone, including Hunter, feel uncomfortable at the time.

"I gotta say, I don't love that response either," Oliver replied.

"What response do you want?" Hoffman asked.

Requests for further comment from Hoffman's and Oliver's reps were not immediately returned to ABC News.

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Wednesday
Dec062017

Terry Crews sues agent over alleged sexual harassment

ABC/Paula Lobo(LOS ANGELES) -- Terry Crews has filed suit against talent agency William Morris Endeavor and agent Adam Venit, whom Crews has accused of sexually assaulting him at a Hollywood party last year.

In a suit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, an attorney for Crews charges that, "Venit, upon his first meeting Crews, viciously grabbed Crews' penis and testicles so hard that it caused Crews immediate pain in a blatant and unprovoked sexual assault." The suit further claims that after Crews pushed Venit away, but the agent -- described in the suit as looking at Crews like a "rabid dog" --  "ignored everything Crews was saying and continued to try to grab Crews' genitals."

The alleged incident took place at a party being hosted by Adam Sandler. The suit claims that Crews yelled at Sandler to draw his attention to what was going on, and Sandler shook his head in response. After the party, the suit claims, Sandler called Crews and apologized for the incident.

The suit alleges that Crews told his agent at the time, another WME employee Brad Slater, of the incident but that the company took no action. Crews has since fired Slater.

The suit accuses the company of having an, "unspoken policy of not punishing executives and agents for misconduct."

Crews is suing for a range of causes including assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment and gender violence in addition to breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.

This lawsuit, which demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages, comes less than a month after Crews filed a police report on November 8, a source inside the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to ABC News at the time.

A request for comment from Venit or WME was not immediately returned to ABC News.

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Wednesday
Dec062017

Tracee Ellis Ross reads from her "children's book for men" about sexual harassment 

ABC/Bob D'Amico(LOS ANGELES) -- Tracee Ellis Ross was the guest host Tuesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! 

The black-ish star shared a video clip of a news report about how companies can handle holiday parties in the wake of so many prominent sexual harassment stories.

"Over the past few months, yes, the past few months, countless brave women have come forward to share their experiences,” Ross said, adding,  “…it seems a bit confusing for a lot of men out there. So I wrote a book. It's kind of like a children's book for men.”

She then proceeded to read the book, The Handsy Man, written in the poetic style of a Dr. Seuss story.

“There is a guy with ten long fingers. Creepy glares and hugs that linger. If you're a woman, you're not a fan. I speak, of course, of the Handsy man,” she started.

“Listen, and I'll explain to you all the things you may not do. You may not compliment my butt. You may not call me 'ho' or 'slut.' Even if you're stoned or drunk, do not expose me to your junk.”

She concluded, to resounding applause, “So Handsy man, if you're still confused, whether your behavior will be excused, I'll say it clearly, nice and slow. If she doesn't consent, the answer is no!”

 

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Wednesday
Dec062017

"The Voice" recap: Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson each lose an artist

NBC Universal(LOS ANGELES) -- On Tuesday’s episode of The Voice, the 10 artists who performed on Monday learned that Ashland Craft, from Team Miley Cyrus and Shi’Ann Jones, from Jennifer Hudson’s team were sent home.

Craft and Jones were eliminated on a one-hour results show. They lost an "Instant Save" vote to Davon Fleming, from Team Jennifer.

There are now eight artists remaining in the competition, including those of Teams Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.

Prior to the vote, Craft, Jones and Fleming sang for an opportunity to be saved by the viewers. Craft performed “Tonight I Wanna Cry” by Keith Urban, Jones tackled Etta James’ “At Last” and Fleming tackled “Ain’t No Way,” by Aretha Franklin.

The evening also included Portugal. The Man performing their hit, “Feel It Still," and The Voice season-four champ Danielle Bradbery, singing her new single, “Worth It.”

The Voice returns Monday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec052017

Discovery buys majority stake in the Oprah Winfrey Network for a lot of bread

Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Producer, actress, and Weight Watchers entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey has made it known that she loves bread -- and she just made a heap of it, figuratively, by selling a majority stake of the Oprah Winfrey Network.

According to Variety, Discovery paid a whopping $70 million to Oprah to acquire an additional 24.5 percent stake in her company. As part of the new agreement, Winfrey will remain CEO of OWN until 2025.

“Creating OWN and seeing it flourish, supported by Discovery and a rapidly growing group of the finest storytellers in film and television, is one of my proudest achievements,” said Winfrey in a statement. “I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership. Together, we’ll continue to inspire our viewers with real-life stories that are emotional and entertaining, connecting them to each other and to their greatest potential.”

OWN was launched in 2011 and is noted as cable's top network for African-American women due to series like Greenleaf and the Ava DuVernay produced Queen Sugar.

The new deal marks the first time that Winfrey has received payment from the joint venture since it was originally forged with Discovery.

Winfrey has also been busy on the big screen: in March, she'll be seen in Disney's adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec052017

Matt Lauer won't get paid rest of $20 million "Today" contract after NBC fired him

NBC/Peter Kramer(NEW YORK) -- Matt Lauer will not receive a payout for the rest of his million-dollar contract, an NBC News spokesperson confirmed to ABC News.

The disgraced former Today show anchor was fired after a colleague accused him of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace," the network said Wednesday in a memo obtained by ABC News.

In a statement released one day later, Lauer said some of the allegations are "untrue or mischaracterized," but, "there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed."

Lauer, who had just signed a contract last year that would put him in the anchor chair through 2018, had a contract worth a reported $20 million, according to Variety.

He had been at Today since 1994 and became an official co-anchor three years later.

After firing Lauer, NBC News' human resources department said they're now sifting through Lauer's emails in an effort to bring more justice to any colleagues who may have suffered in silence.

NBC News president Noah Oppenheim promised swift action against anyone who may have known about sexually inappropriate behavior and didn’t report it.

This comes after NBC News executives learned that Oppenheim and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack had previously questioned Lauer about allegations weeks before the accuser came forward, NBC News reported. When asked about any sexual misconduct, the former anchor reportedly said that he was "racking his brain and couldn’t think of anything at all."

The network added that they couldn't find any evidence of previous complaints or any settlements reached at the time.

A rep for Lauer had no additional comment when reached by ABC News over the weekend.

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Tuesday
Dec052017

Gabriel Byrne alleges accusations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey shut down production on "The Usual Suspects" 

Getty Images/Gramercy Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor Gabriel Byrne alleges that filming on Kevin Spacey's breakout 1995 hit film, The Usual Suspects, was shut down because of allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor.

Byrne told the U.K.'s Sunday Times that at the time that neither he nor anyone else in the cast knew the reason for the two-day shutdown.

“I did not know honestly then the extent of his violence,” Byrne told the paper. “I mean, he was kind of a joke in that people would say, ‘That’s Kevin,’ but nobody really understood the depth of his predations. It was only years later that we began to understand that [filming] was closed down for a particular reason and that was because of inappropriate sexual behavior by Spacey.”

Spacey’s agent did not respond to the paper's request for comment.

Byrne also addressed the allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, who produced three  Byrne movies.

“I knew he was a vile bully and I saw his bullying up close. I saw him be absolutely appalling, not just to women but to men as well. He had very little respect for any kind of human being. He wanted his stars around him,” Byrne said.

Byrne added that he had heard "vague rumors" of Weinstein's alleged mistreatment of women.

"I heard that once or twice from two very well known actresses," Byrne told the paper, "but the problem when you hear something like that is, do you pass that on? Because if it’s not true it’s awful, and if it is true it’s not your job to say, ‘Well, I wasn’t there, the door was locked, I don’t know what happened, I just heard the story.’ But I did not know, and many people didn’t know, the extent of the violence that he perpetrated on women.”

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