JUSSIE SMOLLETT SUED BY CHICAGO
CHICAGO (AP) – The city of Chicago wants Jussie Smollett to pay up for the story police say he made up. The “Empire” actor is being sued for money authorities spent to investigate his claim that he was beaten in a racist, anti-gay attack in January. After an investigation, police say Smollett fabricated the attack as a stunt to squeeze a pay raise for his work on the Fox TV show. The suit comes after Smollett passed up a deadline to send the city $130,106 to reimburse Chicago for police overtime devoted to the case. Now, the city is asking for at least three times that amount – and that’s just for starters.
AMBER HEARD – JOHNNY DEPP
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) – Things are getting more heated between Amber Heard and her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. Heard wants a judge near Washington D.C. to dismiss a $50 million defamation lawsuit filed by Depp. At issue is an op-ed the actress wrote in The Washington Post about domestic violence. Though she didn’t mention Depp by name, she said she was a victim – and that she was made to suffer by going public. Depp has sued, claiming the piece was a thinly-veiled reference to him – but he never abused her. To move the case in her favor, Heard has submitted evidence she says supports her claims that Depp slapped, shoved and choked her during their relationship. Depp denies any abuse.
JEFFREY TAMBOR – “TRANSPARENT” EXIT
LOS ANGELES (AP) – We already knew Jeffrey Tambor would no longer be on the TV series “Transparent” – because he was fired after allegations of sexual misconduct. Now, we know how he will be excised from the Amazon series. His character, Maura, will be killed off in the series finale. Series creator Jill Soloway tells the Los Angeles Times the last episode will begin with Maura’s death – and then focus on how her family deals with it.
FILMMAKER CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG GIRL
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – One of the co-founders of the Sundance Film Festival is in trouble with the law. Authorities in Utah have charged Sterling Van Wagenen with sexual abuse. A statement filed with the charges says he inappropriately touched a girl on two occasions between 2013 and 2015. Court records say the girl was between 7 and 9 at the time. His attorney has declined to comment on the case. And Van Wagenen has yet to enter a plea to the one count of felony sexual abuse of a child that he faces.
NIPSEY HUSSLE REMEMBERED IN STAR-STUDDED L.A. FUNERAL
LOS ANGELES (AP) – He became famous because of his music. But in the end, Nipsey Hussle was remembered for things like being a loving father, protective sibling, a loving son – and a community activist. Hussle was mourned and praised at a memorial service held yesterday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Among those on hand were Beyonce and Jay-Z, along with Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder. The event attracted an overflow crowd to the arena, which hosted its first celebrity funeral since Michael Jackson’s in 2009. Hussle was shot to death outside his L.A. clothing store on March 31. Police have arrested a suspect and charged him with murder.
“HANNAH MONTANA” GEAR BEING AUCTIONED
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Fans of Miley Cyrus and her old Disney vehicle “Hannah Montana” have a chance to get their hands on some stuff from the show. A batch of costumes, props and tour items from the series is being auctioned. Julien’s Auctions says all proceeds will benefit Wilder Minds – a charity that helps the world’s at-risk animals. The auction is May 18 – and will be online and at New York’s Hard Rock Cafe.
DISNEY PLUS ANNOUNCED
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Look out Netflix and Amazon – a new player has entered the video streaming game. It’s Disney – which is rolling out its own offering. Disney Plus will debut in the U.S. Nov. 12 and will cost $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year. That undercuts the $13 monthly fee Netflix charges for its most popular streaming plan.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
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