JUSSIE SMOLLETT ATTACK PROBED AS HATE CRIME
CHICAGO (AP) – Authorities in Chicago say they’re investigating the attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett as a hate crime. The actor says he was beaten by two men who shouted racist and anti-gay slurs. Police didn’t reveal Smollett’s name as the victim – but Fox, which airs “Empire,” did. Smollett, who’s 36, says he was walking near the Chicago River early yesterday when two men set upon him, shouting at him, hitting him in the face, pouring a liquid on him – and wrapping a rope around his neck. Smollett told police one man told him he was in “MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
JUSSIE SMOLLETT – REACTION
CHICAGO (AP) – The creators of “Scandal” and the network that airs the show have issued a statement in support of Jussie Smollett. Twentieth Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment say the attack on the actor is a “despicable act of violence” – and they stand united against such acts. Several of Smollett’s entertainment world peers took to social media to denounce the attack – and express support for the actor. Smollett is black and gay – and says his assailants shouted racist and anti-gay words at him. “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels is also voicing support, telling Smollett, “You didn’t deserve, nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck” adding, “America is better than that.”
FBI SAYS LAS VEGAS ATTACKER’S MOTIVE REMAINS UNKNOWN
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The massacre of music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas took place in October, 2017. However, we are no closer now to finding out what caused gunman Stephen Paddock to rain bullets on the event than we were back then. In fact, the FBI says we may never know what prompted the assault that left 58 dead and nearly 900 injured. A report from the law enforcement agency says it can’t find any “single or clear motivating factor” to explain the shooting. One main reason: Paddock left no manifesto or suicide note. He was also a loner with no religious or political ties.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S LAWYERS FIGHT TRAFFICKING CLAIM
NEW YORK (AP) – Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers say the movie mogul is not a sex trafficker. The lawyers are outlining their response to a pair of cases in New York City against the ousted Hollywood big-shot. Attorneys for Weinstein are fighting civil claims by two women in separate suits that Weinstein tried to coerce sex from them in return for movie roles or career enhancement. In both cases, judges have ruled that a law that covers sex trafficking can be applied to the Weinstein case, despite the objections of his legal team.
GWYNETH PALTROW HIT WITH LAWSUIT
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Gwyneth Paltrow has been accused in a lawsuit of hurting a man in a ski mishap. She is being sued for breaking a man’s ribs and leaving him with a concussion when she smashed into him from behind while skiing at a Utah ski resort in 2016. The plaintiff is a retired optometrist who says he heard a “hysterical scream” before being hit from behind on a beginner’s run at Deer Valley Resort in February, 2016. An acquaintance who saw what happened says he saw Paltrow plow into the man’s back from behind. Paltrow denies the claims through her rep, who says the suit “is without merit” and that the actress expects to be vindicated.
BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD – HASTY PUDDING
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – One pudding pot to go for Bryce Dallas Howard. The actress has been named the 2019 Woman of the Year by Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals. She will be honored with a parade through Cambridge tomorrow – to be followed by a roast where she will receive her famed pudding pot. The Man of the Year has yet to be announced.
ANDREW GILLUM HIRED TO WORK ON CNN
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – He came oh-so-close to becoming governor of Florida. But now, former Democratic hopeful Andrew Gillum will join CNN as a political commentator. The cable network announced the move yesterday. Gillum used to be mayor of Tallahassee before he sought the statehouse and lost by a narrow margin last November to U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2