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8 ‘House of Cards’ employees accuse Kevin Spacey of ‘predatory’ conduct

Published: Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 2:01 PM

‘House of Cards’ Production Suspended Amid Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault Allegations

Just after several other male actors stepped forward with allegations of sexual harassment by Kevin Spacey when they were young, eight “House of Cards” employees have accused him of sexual harassment and assault on set.

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A former production assistant on the show recounted to CNN a time when he had picked up Spacey from an offsite location and was driving him back to set. When they had almost returned, Spacey allegedly put his hand down the production assistant’s pants without his permission, the production assistant said. Once on set, he also helped the actor take his belongings to his trailer, where he said Spacey cornered him and touched him again. When the production assistant said, “I don’t think I’m comfortable with this,” he said Spacey became “visibly flustered” and left work for the rest of the day.

>> Related: Kevin Spacey seeking treatment as more accusers claim sexual harassment allegations

A different crew member who worked on “House of Cards” for six seasons additionally alleged that Spacey would repeatedly harass him and would “put his hands on [him] in weird ways.”

“He would come in and massage my shoulders from behind, or put his hands around me, or touch my stomach sometimes in weird ways that in normal, everyday conversation would not be appropriate,” he said, according to CNN.

>> Related: Kevin Spacey accused of past sexual misconduct with then-14-year-old actor

>> Related: Who is Anthony Rapp? 7 things to know about the actor, singer

Kevin Spacey Responds to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Neither the production assistant nor the crew member reported Spacey’s behavior to the police or to managers on the show out of fear for their jobs, they said.

“I was in a state of shock. He was a man in a very powerful position on the show, and I was someone very low on the totem pole and on the food chain there,” the production assistant said, according to CNN. “I have no doubt that this type of predatory behavior was routine for him and that my experience was one of many and that Kevin had few, if any, qualms about exploiting his status and position. It was a toxic environment for young men who had to interact with him at all in the crew, cast, background actors.”

“That’s the worst part about this whole thing,” the crew member said, adding that he didn’t feel comfortable asking Spacey to stop. “I would love to be able to speak out about this kind of stuff and not fear.”

>> Related: Sexual harassment in the workplace: What is it, how to report it and more you should know

A former camera assistant claims to have witnessed Spacey’s alleged conduct and said that “everybody saw” his inappropriate touching, adding, “All the crew members commented on his behavior. What gets me is we have to sign sexual harassment paperwork before the start of the show, and apparently (Kevin Spacey) doesn’t have to do anything and he gets away scot-free with this behavior.”

>> Related: Netflix suspends production of ‘House of Cards’ amid allegations against Kevin Spacey

Netflix, which suspended production amid the allegations, responded to the new accusations in a statement:

Netflix was just made aware of one incident, five years ago, that we were informed was resolved swiftly. On Tuesday, in collaboration with MRC, we suspended production, knowing that Kevin Spacey wasn’t scheduled to work until Wednesday. Netflix is not aware of any other incidents involving Kevin Spacey on-set. We continue to collaborate with MRC and other production partners to maintain a safe and respectful working environment. We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the production, and have nothing further to share at this time.

“House of Cards” production company Media Rights Company also issued a response:

We are deeply troubled to learn about these new allegations that are being made to the press concerning Kevin Spacey’s interaction with members of the crew of ‘House of Cards.’ As the producer of the show, creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our cast and crew has always been our top priority. We have consistently reinforced the importance of employees reporting any incident without fear of retaliation and we have investigated and taken appropriate actions following any complaints. For example, during our first year of production in 2012, someone on the crew shared a complaint about a specific remark and gesture made by Kevin Spacey. Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved. Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: (L-R) Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, actress Robin Wright, executive producer/actor Kevin Spacey and Netflix Vice president for original series Cindy Holland arrive at the special screening of Netflix's "House of Cards" Season 2 at the Directors Guild Of America on February 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose, family says 

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:15 PM

Tom Petty Death Caused By Accidental Drug Overdose

Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose after taking a variety of medications, the family for the legendary rock star said Friday. 

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Petty, who suffered emphysema, knee problems and more recently a fractured hip, was prescribed various pain medications including Fentanyl patches, his family said. 

“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication,” his family wrote on Facebook

The family called Petty’s Oct. 2 death an unfortunate accident. 

“As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

DOVER, DE - JUNE 22: Tom Petty performs onstage at the Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway on June 22, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival)(Theo Wargo)

Drake makes surprise appearance at Memphis nightclub

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 10:47 PM

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09:  Drake attends
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Drake attends "The Carter Effect" premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)(Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

He may have started from the bottom, but rapper Drake is making headlines after doing one dance that started in the Bluff City.

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According to party promoter Curtis Givens, the Grammy winner called him wanting to have a private party at In LOVE Memphis, a popular nightclub.

Givens said it was a last minute call, but he and his business partner were up for the challenge.

As word quickly spread that Drake was in Memphis, videos started to popping up on social media.

He was seen doing the popular "shoot" dance made famous by Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB.

About Last Night Wit My Bro🔥💯 @champagnepapi

A post shared by BlocBoy JB 💯💯💯 (@blocboy_jb) on

Drake even previewed new music during his appearance at the club.
He also made a stop at Friday night's Grizzlies game against the Sacramento Kings.

Drake is no stranger to the area. His father, Dennis Graham, is from Memphis, and Drake is known to visit frequently.

Woman dies after falling from balcony of Carnival cruise ship

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:54 PM

Carnival Cruise Elation. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)
Carnival Cruise Elation. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)

A woman died Friday after falling from the balcony of a room on the Jacksonville-based Carnival Elation cruise ship.

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The woman fell from the balcony to several decks below, Carnival said in a statement.

Carnival Elation departed Jacksonville on Thursday for a four-day cruise to the Bahamas.

Carnival sent the following statement to Action News Jax:
"Early this morning a guest fell from her balcony to several decks below. The ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away. The incident was reported to all proper authorities and CARE Team support was offered to fellow travelers and her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased and her family. Carnival Elation departed Jacksonville Jan. 18 on a four-day cruise to the Bahamas."

Scientists worry brain-wasting 'zombie deer' disease could spread to humans

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:09 PM

File photo. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)(Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Deer across North America are dying from a mysterious disease that gradually destroys the animals’ nervous systems.

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And scientists are concerned that the infection could make its way to humans. 

Chronic wasting disease — or “zombie deer disease” — was first observed in 1967 in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has since infected wild herds in 24 states and Canada, as well as in South Korea and Norway, NPR reported.

“CWD passes from animal to animal through prions, misfolded proteins that cause other proteins to misfold around them,” NPR reported. “Different prion diseases tend to only harm certain species, but can evolve to overcome those limitations.”

In some herds, as many as half of the animals carry prions.

But direct contact isn’t the only way prions are transmitted. According to The New York Times, sick animals and cadavers can spread prions through plants and soil, which could be coated with deformed proteins for years, perhaps even decades.
An animal infected with the disease can live two years before signs of symptoms -- such as a vacant stare, thick saliva, exposed ribs or drooping heads -- become visible.

There have been no reported human illnesses due to the disease, and scientists don’t have conclusive evidence that infected meat has ever harmed people, suggesting there is a “species barrier” between humans and deer.

Researchers led by Mark Zabel, associate director at Colorado State University’s Prion Research Center, found that macaque monkeys who ate infected deer contracted the disease, the first time the disease was shown to spread to a primate through meat.

"While most research shows there's a robust species barrier, this recent study showed that barrier might not be quite as robust as we once thought," Matt Dunfee, head of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliancein Fort Collins, Colorado, told NPR.

Zabel and his team also found that the prions involved in the “zombie disease,” which scientists have only known about for 50 years, are probably still evolving, “which leads us to believe it's only a matter of time before a prion emerges that can spread to humans,” NPR reported.

A map where chronic wasting disease has been reported. (Photo: National Wildlife Health Center)

Mad cow disease, for example, is a prion disease that evolved from scrapie, a deadly disease that afflicts sheep. Once the prions were passed to cows, the cows developed a prion disease of their own (mad cow disease). And when humans ate the beef from those sick cows, they developed prions in their own brains. As of 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration, 231 people had died from the condition.

Zabel believes the only way to get rid of CWD prions is to set controlled fires. But “there’s a lot that we still don’t know and don’t understand about the disease,” Zabel said in an interview with The New York Times.

According to Michael Miller, senior wildlife veterinarian for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, mule deer transmission more than tripled toward the end of 2017, and CWD continues to be prevalent in Colorado.

Public health officials in the area have been monitoring for CWD and human brain-wasting diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

But over the past 21 years, rising rates of both diseases haven’t impacted human health.

Still, as a precaution, Dunfee told NPR, "if you are hunting in an area where CWD is found, have your animal tested. If it comes back positive, don't eat the meat."