‘Confederate’ series facing vehement backlash, critics demand HBO scrap it

Published: Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 5:56 PM

A confederate flag is pictured here at a political rally in Wakefield, Va. HBO is taking heat over a planned series called ‘Confederate’ that explores the idea that the South did not lose the Civil War and that slavery still exists.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.
A confederate flag is pictured here at a political rally in Wakefield, Va. HBO is taking heat over a planned series called ‘Confederate’ that explores the idea that the South did not lose the Civil War and that slavery still exists.(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)

Any hopes HBO had that it had calmed the “Confederate” fallout last week were dashed big time on Sunday night. Foes of the future series from “Game of Thrones'” creators took to Twitter during the “GOT” season finale to make their feelings known.

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As the latest “Winter is coming” machinations played out onscreen, HBO came out with a formal statement about “Confederate,” a series set in some alternate universe where the South successfully secedes from the Union and slavery remains in place. In it, the prestige premium cable channel cited the GOT/Confederate team’s track record and urged people to wait to see the finished product before passing judgment.

“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate. We have faith that Nichelle, Dan, David and Malcolm will approach the subject with care and sensitivity,” the statement said. “The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see.”

That may be wishful thinking on HBO’s part, though. As of Monday morning, #NoConfederate was still popular on Twitter. A sample:

>> Related: Critics demand HBO scrap plans for ‘Confederate’ series

The actual Civil War ended in 1865, leaving more than 600,000 Union and Rebel troops dead. 

There’s apparently no Appomattox Courthouse scene in the new show. Instead, the HBO series assumes the fighting ended without reuniting the union, and instead the USA and CSA persist, a la North Korea and South Korea or East/West Berlin, with the Mason-Dixon Line serving as a DMZ.

“The story follows a broad swath of characters … freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall,” Deadline reported.

>> Related: Atlanta History Center: Don’t tear down Confederate monuments

Programming president Case Bloys said during a Television Critics Association event that he hopes viewers will “judge the actual material versus what it might be,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Network brass issued a statement saying they have “great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around ‘Confederate'” and are sure the creative team will approach the subject with care and sensitivity.”

>> Related: Across the South, confederate statues take their last stand

Russell Simmons at center of NYPD investigation after 11 women accuse him of assault

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 11:10 PM

WATCH: Russel Simmons Steps Down from Companies After Sexual Assault Allegation

UPDATE: Dec. 14, 2017 6:00 p.m.: The New York Police Department’s special victims unit has opened an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct against music mogul Russell Simmons after allegations from 11 women, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times is reporting that seven of the cases occurred in New York and that police are in the process of contacting women who have accused Simmons of assaulting them in the city.

(Previous story)

Music mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons is “vehemently” denying he raped at least three women dating back to the late 1980s.

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The three women have stepped forward, accusing Simmons, 60, of a “pattern of violent sexual behavior,” including rape, between the late 1980s and 2014, according to the New York Times.

The women all spoke on the record and allowed their names to be revealed.

The Times said it confirmed the allegations through friends and associates of the women at the time the incidents occurred.

The women said they decided to come forward and tell their stories after dozens of victims publicly detailed alleged sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of disgraced filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

Simmons said the accusations are false.

“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all my relations have been consensual,” the Def Jam Records co-founder told the newspaper.

He also said he has “enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”

Simmons stepped down from his business empire last month after sexual misconduct allegations against him first surfaced. 

>> Related: Russell Simmons stepping down from companies after sexual assault allegation

At that time he also denied the allegations, but apologized.

“While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize,” he said.

In 1998, ‘The Simpsons’ predicted Disney would buy Fox

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 7:18 AM

Bart Simpson, left, and Homer Simpson can be happy in the knowledge that
Bart Simpson, left, and Homer Simpson can be happy in the knowledge that "The SImpsons" made another accurate prediction.(MAX NASH/AFP/Getty Images)

Doh! Another prediction comes true on the long-running “The Simpsons” animated sitcom.

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In 1998, the sitcom predicted that The Walt Disney Company would buy 21st Century Fox. In other episodes, the show also has forecasted the presidency of Donald Trump and a Super Bowl halftime show featuring Lady Gaga. NBC News reported. 

Here’s a rundown:

Disney buys 21st Century Fox

This prediction came from the episode “When You Dish Upon a Star,” from the fifth episode of Season 10, NBC News reported. In this 1998 show, Homer Simpson pitches a script to Hollywood producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. In one scene, a sign outside a studio lot reads “20th Century Fox, A Division of Walt Disney Co.”

Donald Trump as president 

In “Bart to the Future” from Season 11, Episode 17 in 2000, Lisa Simpson is the new president of the United States. Her task is to dig the country out of a financial mess created by her predecessor , Donald Trump. 

Lady Gaga lands in the Super Bowl

In 2012, "Lisa Goes Gaga" appeared in Episode 22 of Season 23.. Lady Gaga visits the Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield and performs in concert. She descends to the stage from a helicopter in a harness. And that’s what she did this past Feb. 5 at Super Bowl LI at Houston’s NRG Stadium.


After Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, the show featured a flashback to its 2000 prediction, The Huffington Post reported. In the opening credits, Bart Simpson is shown writing on a chalkboard the phrase “Being right sucks.”

Actress Halle Berry ‘done with love’ after latest break-up

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 8:47 PM

Actress Halle Berry arrives at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Matt Sayles/AP
Actress Halle Berry arrives at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.(Matt Sayles/AP)

Halle Berry doesn’t need a man and she has the Instagram story to prove it.

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On Wednesday, the actress reportedly shared a photo on her Instagram story of a rope shaped like a heart and the words “done with love” along with three flexing muscle emojis. The post comes just hours after US Weeklyreported that she had split from her music producer boyfriend, Alex Da Kid.

Ahead of the split, Berry took a rather cryptic tone on Instagram. Sharing a photo of the back of her head, Berry wrote, “Grow out got me feelin’ some kinda way every day ain’t perfect…”

Grow out got me feelin' some kinda way 🙃 every day ain't perfect...

A post shared by Halle Berry (@halleberry) on

The actress has two children from previous relationships, Maceo, 3 and Nahla, 9. She was previously married to David Justice from 1992 to 1997, then wed Eric Benét in 2001 but the two split in 2005. She married Olivier Martinez in 2013 and the two finalized their divorce in 2016.

Salma Hayek calls Harvey Weinstein ‘a monster’ in New York Times piece

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 3:27 PM

Who Is Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

In a first-person story written for The New York Times, the actress describes Weinstein as “a passionate cinephile, a risk taker, a patron of talent in film, a loving father and a monster.”

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Hayek, who previously said she was bullied by Weinstein in the wake of initial public sexual misconduct and rape allegations against the producer, is sharing details of sexual harassment on the set of the 2002 movie “Frida,” about the life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Hayek said that she knew little of Weinstein and what she did know was from her relationship with director Robert Rodriguez and his then-wife, producer Elizabeth Avellan.

Related: 3 women accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape, report says

“All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man,” she wrote.

“Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.”

Hayek was initially set to work on the movie about the artist with a different company, but said she fought to get the movie back and work with Weinstein on it.

Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexual Harassment

Eventually, she said she turned down multiple advances from Weinstein. Hayek said he showed up unexpectedly at numerous locations and different hotels, asked her to take a shower with him, let him watch her shower, give her a massage and get naked with another woman, among other advances.

“And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage,” Hayek said.

“The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,’” Hayek said. 

According to the actress, those refusals led Weinstein to offer the role and the script Hayek worked on for years to someone else.

“At that point, I had to resort to using lawyers, not by pursuing a sexual harassment case, but by claiming “bad faith,” as I had worked so hard on a movie that he was not intending to make or sell back to me,” she said. “I tried to get it out of his company.”

Related: Ashley Judd accuses Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment

Hayek said once she was able to retain involvement in the film, she was told the only way people would be interested in it with her as the star is with an element of sex. 

“The only thing he noticed was that I was not sexy in the movie. He made me doubt if I was any good as an actress, but he never succeeded in making me think that the film was not worth making,” she said.

“He offered me one option to continue. He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.”

USA Today reported that Weinstein responded to Hayek with a statement through his spokeswoman Holly Baird.

“Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico,’ ‘Dogma,’ and ‘Studio 54.’ He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for ‘Frida’ and continues to support her work.

“While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on ‘Frida,’ but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.

“Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.

“Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, (worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico) did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.

“By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of ‘Frida’ was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.”