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March 21, 2019
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“EMPIRE” CO-CREATOR LEE DANIELS SPEAKS ON SMOLLETT

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The co-creator and executive producer of “Empire” is speaking about the crisis that has been surrounding the show the past two months. Lee Daniels says those associated with the show have been experiencing “a freakin’ rollercoaster.” Cast member Jussie Smollett is charged with concocting a story about being beaten by racists who also hurled anti-gay slurs at him. News of the beating prompted statements of support from Daniels and others on the show. But now authorities in Chicago have charged Smollett with lying about the attack. In an Instagram video, Daniels says “the incident,” as he calls it, caused “pain and anger and frustration” among the Empire cast and crew. In the clip, Daniels didn’t mention Smollett by name.

 

R. KELLY – TRAVEL

CHICAGO (AP) – Can he really fly? R. Kelly says he believes he should be allowed to. The R&B star wants the judge in his sexual assault case to let him travel to the Middle East for some shows. In his plea, Kelly says he’s hurting for cash since his arrest last month – and has been unable to work in the U.S. because of the allegations against him. While Kelly didn’t say how much he could earn from the shows, he says the deals were signed before his arrest. As part of his bond deal, Kelly had to turn in his passport.

MICHAEL JACKSON, R. KELLY – QUESTIONS

NEW YORK (AP) – It’s one of the questions being asked about alleged child abuse cases involving Michael Jackson and R. Kelly: how could the victims’ parents let their kids around people who had shady reputations about their dealings with youngsters? The relatives of two of Jackson’s accusers say Michael Jackson lulled them into a false sense of security. And an aunt who introduced her underage niece to R. Kelly says she hoped the singer would help launch her music career. The aunt notes that her niece wound up on a sex tape instead.

 

CARL REINER – SCRIPTS

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (AP) – A comedy museum is teaming up with a veteran Hollywood producer to digitize a chunk of TV history. The National Comedy Center says it is working with Carl Reiner to convert his collection of scripts from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The 158 scripts feature handwritten notes making changes to the dialogue. Reiner turned 97 this week. He says doing the show is the thing in life that he’s most proud of.

 

DISNEY ABSORBS FOX ENTERTAINMENT

UNDATED (AP) – What used to be Fox Studios can now be described “under new management.” The “new management” is Disney, which has finalized its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment business. The move, which took effect early yesterday, puts “Cinderella,” “The Simpsons,” “Star Wars” and “Dr. Strange” all under the same corporate roof.

MAYA ANGELOU – RESPECT

NEW YORK (AP) – How do you address an adult who is older than you? The “correct” answer to that question depends on who you are – and where and how you were raised. The issue has come under renewed scrutiny with the online release of a clip showing the late Maya Angelou chastising a young interviewer for addressing her as “Maya” instead of an honorific like ”Miss.” The incident took place in 1989. The man who posted the clip says he’s surprised at the attention it’s gotten. Pierre Phipps says he’ surprised at the number of young people who disagree with Angelou.

 

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II

Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2

AP-WF-03-21-19 0728GMT