Actor Kevin Spacey’s alleged sex assault victim drops lawsuit

BOSTON (Reuters) – The man that former “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey is accused by prosecutors of sexually assaulting in Massachusetts three years ago has dropped a civil lawsuit he filed against the Oscar-winning actor only last week.

FILE PHOTO: Actor Kevin Spacey, with his lawyer Alan Jackson at his side, is arraigned on a sexual assault charge at Nantucket District Court in Nantucket, Massachusetts, U.S., January 7, 2019. Nicole Harnishfeger/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Mitchell Garabedian, the alleged victim’s lawyer, on Friday said his client filed papers on Wednesday to voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit in Nantucket County Superior Court that accused Spacey of “explicit sexual behavior and lewd and lascivious conduct.”

Garabedian declined to comment further on the dismissal, citing the pending criminal case prosecutors filed last year against Spacey. The civil lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning his client cannot refile the case later.

Spacey, who won an Academy Award in 2000 for his role in “American Beauty,” has pleaded not guilty to one count of felony indecent assault and battery at a bar on the Massachusetts beach island of Nantucket. Spacey denies the allegation.

Reuters is not identifying the accuser because he is an alleged victim of sexual assault. Spacey’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Spacey first became embroiled in controversy in October 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. The controversy led to Spacey being dropped from the Netflix television series “House of Cards” and erased from the film “All the Money in the World.”

Spacey, 59, apologized for inappropriate conduct with Rapp.

Spacey is one of dozens of men in the entertainment industry, business and politics who have been accused of sexual misconduct following the emergence in 2017 of the #MeToo movement.

Prosecutors charged Spacey in the Nantucket case in December.

The accuser told police Spacey had bought him several rounds of beer and whiskey at the Club Car Restaurant on Nantucket in July 2016 when he was 18 years old and said at one point, “Let’s get drunk,” according to charging documents.

As they stood next to a piano, Spacey groped him, he told investigators.

Spacey’s lawyers have accused the man of deleting text messages that would support his defense. The judge overseeing his criminal case recently ordered Spacey’s accuser to provide his cellphone to the defense.

But Garabedian on June 19 told the court the accuser cannot find the phone. The judge has ordered the accuser, his parents and Garabedian to attend a hearing on Monday if it cannot be found.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Howard Goller

Source link

U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky detained for up to two more weeks in Sweden

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A Swedish court on Friday ordered that U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky be held in custody for up to two more weeks while prosecutors investigate his part in a brawl in Stockholm.

FILE PHOTO: A$AP Rocky performs “I’m Not the Only One” with Sam Smith (not pictured) during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The 30-year-old performer, producer and model, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested early on Wednesday along with two members of his entourage and his bodyguard, in connection with a fight in the city center on Sunday.

A judge agreed to prosecutors’ request to extend his detention on suspicion of assault – giving them until July 19 to press charges, Stockholm district court said.

“There is a risk that if he is released he will abscond or otherwise evade prosecution or conviction,” a court spokeswoman said.

Mayers’ lawyer, Henrik Olsson Lilja, said the rapper denied assault and would appeal against the extended detention.

“They were attacked and have simply defended themselves,” he told reporters.

“So what we will do now is to appeal to the Court of Appeal in about one or two hours, and hopefully they will have another point of view of this case.” 

Mayers, best known for his 2011 debut album ‘Live.Long.A$AP’, was arrested hours after performing at a hip hop festival in Sweden’s capital on Tuesday night.

His detention has already forced the cancellation of shows in Norway and Poland. He was also due to play in Dublin on Friday and London on Sunday.

Before his arrest, Mayers, who also goes by the pseudonym Lord Flacko, uploaded videos to his Instagram account of an altercation with two men saying they had followed him and that he had not wanted any trouble.

The court was still holding hearings on the detention of the two members of his entourage. His bodyguard was released on Thursday.

Reporting by Simon Johnson and Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Andrew Heavens

Source link

U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky’s Europe tour in jeopardy after Sweden arrest

FILE PHOTO: A$AP Rocky performs “I’m Not the Only One” with Sam Smith (not pictured) during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky should be detained in Sweden for at least two more weeks to be investigated over serious assault charges, the national prosecutor said on Thursday, throwing into jeopardy the artist’s European tour.

The 30-year-old performer, producer and model, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was taken into custody on Wednesday, along with two members of his entourage and his bodyguard, in connection with a fight on Sunday.

“The reason why they are being detained is that there is danger of them fleeing (the country) and there is a risk that they could damage the investigation if they are released,” Swedish prosecutor Fredrik Karlsson said.

The artist, best known for his 2011 debut album “Live.Long.A$AP”, was arrested hours after performing at a hip hop festival in Sweden’s capital on Tuesday night.

His detention forced the cancellation of performances scheduled for Norway on Wednesday and Poland on Thursday.

He has shows planned across a dozen cities – also including London and Moscow – over the next two weeks as part of the Europe tour, with his latest album, “Testing”, having debuted last year as No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts.

The Swedish lawyer representing A$AP Rocky repeated that the artist was innocent and denied wrongdoing, and said he would appeal against the arrest at the court hearing scheduled for Friday.

“I am confident that we can help him in a good way,” lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja told Reuters.

Before his arrest, A$AP Rocky, who also goes by the pseudonym Lord Flacko, uploaded two videos of the altercation with the two men on Instagram and stated his innocence.

Reporting by Esha Vaish in Stockholm; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

Source link

Michael Jackson fans sue alleged abuse victims in French court

ORLEANS, France (Reuters) – Michael Jackson fan groups sought damages on Thursday from two of the late pop legend’s alleged abuse victims for “sullying his image” in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland”.

FILE PHOTO: Flowers surround Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ten years after the death of child star turned King of Pop in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The fan clubs sued the men in Orleans, northern France. The court said a judgment would be delivered on Oct. 4.

The Michel Jackson Community, the MJ Street and On the Line groups accuse Wade Robson and James Safechuck of defaming Jackson in the documentary about alleged child abuse by the star.

The fans’ lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, likened the men’s allegations to a “genuine lynching” of Jackson, who died in 2009.

The fan groups, which are seeking symbolic damages of 1 euro ($1.13) each, are taking action in France because French defamation laws extends libel protection beyond death, whereas the British and U.S. legal systems do not.

Robson and Safechuck were not in court and did not instruct lawyers to represent them.

In “Leaving Neverland” the two adult men say they were befriended by Jackson and abused by him from the ages of 7 and 10 in the early 1990s.

Jackson was acquitted in 2005 on charges of molesting a different boy, and his family has denied the accusations made in the documentary.

The documentary, broadcast by M6 in France, has caused a backlash against Jackson’s legacy. Some radio stations stopped playing his music, an episode of “The Simpsons” cartoon featuring the singer’s voice is being pulled from future broadcasts and Louis Vuitton removed Jackson-themed items from its 2019 summer menswear collection.

Ludot said he was confident of winning. In 2014, he represented the Michael Jackson Community when the group successfully won nominal damages of 1 euro from the pop star’s private doctor, Conrad Murray, for his part in Jackson’s death.

“In France you cannot sully the image of the dead,” Ludot said. “There’s moral and emotional suffering. And when there’s suffering, there’s compensation. It’s very simple.”

Reporting by Mourad Guichard in Orleans and Emmanuel Jarry in Paris; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Frances Kerry

Source link

‘Laugh-In’ star Arte Johnson dies at age 90

(Reuters) – Arte Johnson, a lurking presence on U.S. television’s “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” as a lecherous geriatric and a comic German soldier who found things on the show “verrry interesting” – but not necessarily funny – died on Wednesday at the age of 90, his family said.

Johnson died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure following a three-year battle with bladder and prostate cancer, a statement from his family said.

The versatile Johnson won an Emmy for his work on Dan Rowan and Dick Martin’s “Laugh-In” in 1969 and was among the troupe members who developed breakout characters.

The top-rated, award-winning show aired from 1968 through 1973 and was a ground-breaking, fast-moving mix of comedy, music and social satire, all overlaid with a hippie-era psychedelic sensibility. Guest stars ranged from falsetto-voiced Tiny Tim to Richard Nixon, who once uttered one of the show’s catch phrases – “sock it to me” – during an appearance in the midst of his 1968 presidential campaign.

The diminutive Johnson would play as many as 10 characters – often with foreign accents – in an hour long “Laugh-in” episode. Three of those characters would become stand-outs – a man in a yellow raincoat who inexplicably rode a child-sized tricycle until he tipped over, the dirty old man Tyrone F. Horneigh and Wolfgang, the leering German soldier.

In the dirty old man sketches, Johnson paired with Ruth Buzzi’s spinster character Gladys, who would wallop him repeatedly with her purse when he approached her on a park bench, offered a candy bar and muttered pick-up lines such as, “Do you believe in the hereafter? Then you know what I’m here after.”

His soldier character would invariably pop up from hiding after a sketch, wearing a helmet and smoking a cigarette, and offer a critique along the lines of, “Verrry interesting – but stupid!” or “Verrry interesting – but not very funny.”

Johnson told the Chicago Tribune he came up with the line during his time at the University of Illinois after observing that German generals in World War Two movies always seemed to be studying maps and saying, “Verrry interesting.”

Johnson, whose brother, Cos, was a “Laugh-In” writer, left the show in 1971 and did more television work, including several appearances on “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island” and “Love, American Style,” as well as voice-over work. He was Dracula’s valet in the 1979 movie spoof “Love at First Bite” and frequently narrated audio books, including several by humorist Dave Barry.

Before “Laugh-In,” Johnson’s career consisted of New York stage work, semi-regular sit-com parts starting in the late 1950s and one-off roles on popular 1960s shows such as “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Bewitched” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

Johnson was born Jan. 29, 1929, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. He worked for a New York publishing house in the 1950s before auditioning for a play on a whim, which led to his performing career.

Johnson was successfully treated in 1997 for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He is survived by his wife Gisela Johnson, who he married in 1968, and his brother, Coslogh Johnson.

Writing and reporting by Bill Trott; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Diane Craft and Bill Berkrot

Source link

Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscars dress among her items heading to auction

Elizabeth Taylor arrives for a play in Los Angeles in this December 1, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

(Reuters) – A gown worn to the 1974 Academy Awards and more than 1,200 other items from the life of late actress Elizabeth Taylor will be offered for sale at an auction in early December, Julien’s Auctions announced on Wednesday.

The pale blue chiffon dress that Taylor wore to the Oscars, which was designed by Edith Head, is expected to fetch between $4,000 and $6,000, the auction house said in a statement.

Also on offer will be a gold-plated, sterling silver Cartier belt that Taylor had inscribed to her mother. Darren Julien, president and chief executive of Julien’s Auctions, said he expected the belt to sell for more than $40,000.

The auction will take place Dec. 6-8 in Beverly Hills, California. Bids also can be placed through the auction house’s website.

Other clothing for sale will include a green wool felt cape the actress wore to Buckingham Palace in 1970 and a New York Yankees jacket she donned for a Vogue Paris photo shoot.

The auction also will feature jewelry, wigs, fine art and household items from Taylor’s life. Julien said he also expected to offer artwork that would sell for as high as the $60,000-range.

Taylor, who died in 2011 at the age of 79, epitomized Hollywood glamour from its golden age with her love of diamonds, violet eyes and a tumultuous love life that included eight marriages – two of them to Welsh actor Richard Burton.

In a career spanning seven decades, the British-American Taylor first gained fame in 1944’s “National Velvet” at age 12 and was nominated for five Oscars. She won the best actress Oscar for 1960’s “Butterfield 8,” and 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Reporting by Lisa Richwine, editing by G Crosse

Source link

U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky arrested in Sweden after brawl: prosecutor

FILE PHOTO: A$AP Rocky performs “I’m Not the Only One” with Sam Smith (not pictured) during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky was arrested early on Wednesday on suspicion of serious assault after a brawl in Sweden’s capital, prosecutors said.

The 30-year-old performer, producer and model was held with three others in connection with a fight that took place on Sunday, a Prosecution Authority spokeswoman said.

“One person was arrested for assault and three people were arrested for serious assault, and the artist is one of those three,” she added.

A$AP Rocky was detained around 1 a.m. (2300 GMT Tuesday), the prosecution said, a few hours after his appearance at the Smash hip hop festival in Stockholm.

Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Andrew Heavens

Source link

Kylie Minogue sparkles on Glastonbury stage 14 years after cancer battle

GLASTONBURY, England (Reuters) – Kylie Minogue delighted a huge crowd at Glastonbury with hits including “Spinning Around”, “Shocked” and “Better the Devil You Know”, 14 years after illness forced her to cancel a headline performance at the festival.

Kylie Minogue performs on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, Britain June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Kylie, as she is universally known, played all the catchy disco pop hits that the audience had come to hear, from “I Should Be So Lucky”, her breakthrough 1988 worldwide number one, to 2010 release “All the Lovers”.

Minogue was due to headline Glastonbury, the world’s largest greenfield festival, in 2005, but was forced to pull out after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I wished things were different but life is what it is,” she said, chocking back tears of emotion. “We’re all here together in this moment.”

She said some of the artists in 2005 had covered her songs, and she welcomed on stage one of them, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, to join her in performing “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”.

The gig changed gear midway when the 51-year-old was joined by previous collaborator Nick Cave for the murder-themed ballad “Where the Wild Roses Grow”.

But the serious interlude was brief in a show that featured a blast of rainbow Pride confetti, four costume changes, and mass singalongs from the sun-bathed capacity crowd, including for the “Spinning Around” finale.

Minogue was followed by U.S. singer Miley Cyrus, who opened with “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”, her collaboration with Mark Ronson, who joined her on stage.

Her father Billy Ray Cyrus also appeared during the show, performing “Old Town Road”, with rapper Lil Nas X.

U.S. rock band Vampire Weekend will play the main Pyramid Stage later on Sunday before British goth rock band the Cure close the festival.

Additional reporting by Hanna Rantala; editing by Kate Holton

Source link

Elton John blasts Putin for calling liberal values ‘obsolete’

(Reuters) – British singer Elton John said on Friday he was deeply upset by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comment that liberal values were “obsolete” and had been rejected by the majority of people in Western nations.

FILE PHOTO: Elton John listens in the courtyard of the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, France June 21, 2019. Lewis Joly/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

In an interview with the Financial Times newspaper, Putin said German Chancellor Angela Merkel had erred by adopting a liberal policy toward immigration from the Middle East.

“The liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected. What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment,” Putin said in the interview.

“So, the liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,” Putin said.

John, in a statement released on Friday and addressed to Putin, said he was upset by the comments in the interview.

“I strongly disagree with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies,” the singer said.

John, who is gay, also accused Putin of hypocrisy for saying in the same interview that he wanted LGBT people to be happy. Russia has reportedly censored gay scenes in the movie “Rocketman” based on John’s life.

“This feels like hypocrisy to me,” John said.

Putin said Russia is not photophobic, but that a Western willingness to embrace homosexuality and gender fluidity seemed excessive to him.

John, 72, a prominent gay rights campaigner, has previously spoken out against a 2013 law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors.

In 2015, Putin said he would be willing to meet with John. Although the singer played a concert in Moscow in May 2016, no meeting with Putin took place.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Source link

Madonna issues ‘wake up’ call on gun violence in graphic music video

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Madonna stepped into the gun violence debate on Wednesday with a music video containing graphic dramatizations of a mass shooting.

FILE PHOTO: Singer Madonna speaks to guests after receiving the Advocate for Change award during the 30th annual GLAAD awards ceremony in New York City, New York, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Called “God Control,” the disco beat song and video depicts a gunman opening fire in a crowded nightclub or bar and images of actors playing dancers who fall to the ground, bleeding, or try to flee.

A message before the video reads, “The story you’re about to see is very disturbing. It shows graphic scenes of gun violence. But it’s happening everyday. And it has to stop.”

“We need to wake up,” Madonna sings. The video also uses TV footage of demonstrators calling for stricter gun control, including the 2018 “March For Our Lives,” in Washington and other U.S. cities.

While the music video does not refer to any one incident, it recalls the June 2016 shooting inside the Pulse gay nightclub in Florida, in which 49 people were killed and 53 injured.

Madonna, 60, said the video was designed to shock.

“Seeing the reality, and the brutality of things makes you wake up,” the singer told People magazine on Wednesday.

“This is really happening. This is what it looks like. Does it make you feel bad? Good, ‘cause then maybe you will do something about it,” she said.

The United States has seen hundreds of mass shootings in schools, workplaces, places of worship and leisure in recent years but stricter gun control legislation has proven difficult to pass in the U.S. Congress.

In a message on her social media accounts, Madonna urged people to “insist on common-sense gun safety legislation” and directed fans to gun control organizations they could support.

The “God Control” video had been viewed more than 360,000 times on YouTube some two hours after its release on Wednesday.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Chris Reese

Source link