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Chef Mario Batali leaves 'The Chew' amid sexual harassment allegations

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 10:49 AM

What You Need To Know About Mario Batali

Chef Mario Batali is stepping down as co-host of ABC’s cooking and lifestyle show “The Chew” after being accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching women, USA Today reported.

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Multiple anonymous women alleged in a story by food-trade publication Eater New York that Batali had groped their breasts or buttocks, amid other allegations.

Batali apologized and pledged to try and “regain” the “respect and trust” of his fans, family and business associates.

“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt,” Batali said. “Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.

“That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”

Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group — which services about two dozen restaurants owned by Batali, Joe Bastianich and others — confirmed that Batali “will step away from the company's operations,” USA Today reported.

“We have asked Mario Batali to step away from ‘The Chew’ while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention,” ABC said in a statement. “ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”

Batali has been one of four co-anchors of “The Chew” since its inception in 2011, Variety reported. He also recently signed a deal with Food Network to produce new episodes of his cooking series “Molto Mario” for the first time since 2005. Food Network had no comment on the status of that project, Variety reported.

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Dwayne Johnson answers girl's prom request, rents out theater for her

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:59 AM

Actor Dwayne Johnson attended the European premiere of 'Rampage' last week in London.
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Actor Dwayne Johnson attended the European premiere of 'Rampage' last week in London.(Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

An 18-year-old Minnesota student isn’t going to the prom with “The Rock,” but the actor and former wrestling star gave her the next best thing.

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Katie Kelzenberg of Stillwater Area High School had tweeted a video to Johnson, asking him to be her date for her school’s senior prom on May 5.

Friday during the school’s morning announcements, Kelzenberg and her fellow classmates were startled to hear Johnson’s voice over the intercom, ABC News reported.

“All right, let’s start this Friday morning announcement off with a little bit of fun and a little bit of excitement ... You're probably thinking 'What is 'The Rock' doing on our intercom system!?” Johnson said. “Well, I'm sending a message to very special young lady.”

While acknowledging that Kelzenberg might have been embarrassed -- in the video, her face reddens as Johnson continues to speak -- he thanked her for being “cool and awesome” for the prom invitation. He told the students that he was unable to make the prom because he would be in Hawaii filming his new movie, “Jungle Cruise.”

Then Johnson dug into his wrestling repertoire and dropped the People’s Elbow on the unsuspecting class.

Johnson told Kelzenberg that he was renting out a local theater for her friends and family to see a screening of Johnson’s movie, “Rampage,” with drinks and popcorn on him, ABC News reported.

"I want you to go and have the greatest time! I rented out 232 seats!" he said. "Katie, have the best time. Thank you for being awesome!"

SURPRISE KATIE KELZENBERG! About a week ago, I come across a video on my Twitter feed, from a student at Stillwater Area High School (oldest high school in Minnesota) asking me if I would be her date to her prom. Unfortunately, I’ll be shooting during that time in Hawaii, BUT I was so impressed by this young lady’s charm and confidence to even ask me (ladies always get shy in front of me) that I had to do something special. I decided to rent out an entire theater (capacity 232 seats) in her town so Katie and her closest 232 friends and family can enjoy a special screening of RAMPAGE. And all the free popcorn, candy and soda high school kids can consume! You’re money’s no good Katie... everything is on Uncle DJ. 🤙🏾🍿 🍭🥤!! And I also taped a special morning message surprising Katie and her high school that will play across the school’s intercom system... literally...RIGHT NOW, Katie should be turning red hearing me surprise her in front of her entire school. I wish I was there in person Katie, to see your reaction to all this, but I’ll hear about for sure and most importantly - you and all your friends have fun at the theater and ENJOY RAMPAGE! Thanks for being an AWESOME FAN and I’m a lucky dude to have fans like you. Uncle DJ 🤟🏾❤️ Ps - the gorilla in Rampage is way smarter (and better looking) than I am, but don’t tell him that because he has a HUGE ego 🦍

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'Smallville' actress Allison Mack indicted for alleged role in sex trafficking case

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:34 AM

Actress Allison Mack was indicted Friday in New York.
Mark Davis/Getty Images
Actress Allison Mack was indicted Friday in New York.(Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Actress Allison Mack, who starred as Chloe Sullivan in the television series “Smallville,” was indicted Friday on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy, the Justice Department said in a statement.

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Mack, 35, who starred in the series from 2001 to 2011, allegedly was involved with an organization called Nxivm that claimed to be a female mentorship but instead was a scheme in which some recruits “were exploited both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants' benefit," U.S attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in the statement.

Nxivm's founder, Keith Raniere, known as Vanguard, was also indicted Friday, CNN reported.

According to court filings, Mack directly or implicitly required her slaves, identified as Jane Does 1 and 2, to engage in sexual activity with Raniere. In exchange, Mack received financial and other benefits from Raniere. 

“Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere,” Donoghue said. “The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit.”

Raniere, 57, was arrested in March in Mexico by federal officials on sex-trafficking charges, The New York Times reported.

Mack was arraigned Friday afternoon and a plea of not guilty was entered on her behalf, the Times reported. She was held without bail, with a bail hearing set for Monday.

In addition to her role on “Smallville,” Mack was featured in the movies “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves” in 1997 and “The Ant Bully” in 2006.

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'Scarface' stars, fans reunite to say hello to their little friends

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:18 AM

Steven Bauer, left, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian De Palma and Al Pacino attended the
Steven Bauer, left, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian De Palma and Al Pacino attended the "Scarface" 35th Anniversary cast reunion at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York,(Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Fans of “Scarface” were more than happy to say hello to their little friends Thursday.

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Members from the 1983 movie -- known for its violence and profanity, and a cult classic -- had a reunion at the Tribeca Film Festival, The New York Daily News reported. Al Pacino, who played Cuban immigrant-turned-drug-lord Tony Montana, appeared with co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Steven Bauer and director Brian De Palma to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the film.

The role of Montana is one of the iconic acting leads for Pacino, 77, who starred in “The Godfather,” “The Godfather: Part II,” “Serpico,” and “Dog Day Afternoon.” His signature line before spraying bullets at men attempting to break into his office -- “Say hello to my little friend” -- is a pop culture staple.

Pacino told the audience that the line — written by screenwriter Oliver Stone — never gets old.

“What you mean, ‘Say hello to my little friend?’” he repeated to the audience when asked about how the quote still resonates.

Pfeiffer, 59, was coming off her first leading role from 1982’s “Grease 2” when she took the role of Montana’s wife, Elvira Hancock, in “Scarface.” She said Thursday that she learned a great deal from Pacino and still protects her characters “at all costs,” the Daily News reported.

“I have always tried to emulate that, and I tried to be polite about it, but I think that that's what really makes great acting,” Pfeiffer said.

During a question-and-answer session, Pfeiffer was asked what her weight was when she played the Elvira character. During the movie, her drug-addict character gets thinner as the plot deepens. The question was received with boos from the audience, the Daily News reported.

"Well, OK, I don’t know (what my weight was)," Pfeiffer said. "I literally had members of the crew bringing me bagels, because they were all worried about me and how thin I was getting. I think I was living on tomato soup and Marlboros,.”

Pacino told the audience that the movie was his own idea, inspired by watching the 1932 movie of the same name, the Daily News reported.

"Bombast was part of what we were trying to say with the movie," Pacino said. "It was bigger than life."

De Palma said the acting from “Scarface” still blows him away.

"The amazing thing about is seeing this movie again and again is the amazing performances," he said.

Pacino said he had a hunch the movie -- and his role -- would be special.

"I did have a feeling, I must say it's true, because there are certain roles you feel that can challenge you ... there was something about the preparation, there was something about the text and Brian,” Pacino told the crowd.

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Swedish musician Avicii dead at 28

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:40 PM

Avicii Dead at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28.

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