PR FIRM: ‘EVERY IOTA’ OF SMOLLETT CLAIM TRUE; POLICE DIFFER
CHICAGO (AP) – Jussie Smollett’s (smoh-LETS’) PR team says “every iota” of his account of being the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago is supported by police evidence despite police repeatedly saying it was all staged. The team emailed a statement Wednesday in response to the a city’s filing Monday defending the city’s lawsuit seeking to recoup costs of investigating what it says was a January publicity stunt. Smollet’s PR Team’s statement says “every iota of information … Smollett has stated has been fully corroborated.” The team’s statement didn’t say what evidence allegedly backs Smollett’s claim that masked men hurling racist and homophobic insults beat him and looped a noose around his neck. The city says GPS data, video and other evidence prove Smollett paid the men to fake a hate crime. State prosecutors abruptly dropped charges against Smollett in March. A special prosecutor is investigating that decision.
“SHARK TANK” STAR KEVIN O’LEARY INVOLVED IN FATAL BOAT CRASH
TORONTO (AP) – “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary says he was on a boat that was involved in a fatal crash in Canada over the weekend. Ontario Provincial Police said Wednesday two boats crashed on Lake Joseph near Seguin, Ontario, killing a Florida man identified as 64-year-old Gary Poltash and a 48-year-old woman identified as Susanne Brito. Brito died in the hospital on Tuesday. O’Leary issued a statement saying he was a passenger on the boat that crashed into another watercraft Saturday night. The Canadian businessman and reality show star also said the other boat had no navigation lights on and left the scene. Police have not identified all those involved and say no charges have been filed yet.
‘FROZEN 2’ DIRECTOR SAYS FILM IS “STILL ABOUT TWO SISTERS”
NEW YORK (AP) – ‘Frozen’ co-director Jennifer Lee says the sequel will carry over the same spirit as the original. She says ultimately, “this film is still about two sisters.” Lee says the story of Anna and Elsa shows they are “messy and real.” She says, “They had in this journey a perseverance and looked out for each other.” Elsa was initially designed as the villain of ‘Frozen’ but was reshaped as a new kind of Disney princess: fiercely independent, magically powerful and humanly flawed. ‘Frozen 2’ will be released in theaters on November 22nd, six years after the original amassed $1.2 billion worldwide, sold some 10 million copies of the soundtrack and sent the name “Elsa” flying up popular baby name lists.
BONG JOON HO AND ‘PARASITE’ ARE COMING FOR YOU
NEW YORK (AP) – Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasite’ may be the only film this fall that’s already an award-winner and a box-office smash. ‘Parasite’ will arrive in U.S. theaters October 11th after having already amassed $70.9 million in Bong’s native South Korea, where the film notched one of the country’s best opening weekends ever. In May, “Parasite” won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the first time a Korean film ever has. ‘Parasite’ is a class satire about two families that has been roundly hailed as a masterpiece.
STEDMAN GRAHAM VISITS PRISON FOR LEADERSHIP TALK TO INMATES
BISHOPVILLE, S.C. (AP) – Stedman Graham entered a prison for the first time in about 40 years to give South Carolina inmates a lesson on leadership and finding your purpose no matter where you are. Graham worked in a prison in Chicago before he met his longtime partner, megastar Oprah Winfrey, in the late 1980s. But before Wednesday, he had never gone back behind the walls. Graham spoke at Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison where seven inmates were killed in an April 2018 riot. After the violence, crisis manager and motivational speaker Andre Norman created the Academy of Hope program. It brought together inmates who ruled prison yards across the state to learn leadership skills. Prison officials acknowledged it was risky. But Norman says there have been zero inmate or staff assaults.
MSNBC’S O’DONNELL: I SHOULDN’T HAVE REPORTED TRUMP STORY
NEW YORK (AP) – MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell says he made an “error in judgment” in reporting a story about President Donald Trump’s finances based on a single source. O’Donnell’s tweet on Wednesday came after a lawyer for Trump said the story was false and defamatory, and called for NBC News to apologize and retract it. The MSNBC host said Tuesday he had been told that Deutsche Bank has documents showing that Russian oligarchs had co-signed loans for Trump. O’Donnell said on his show that if this were true, it would explain every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin. O’Donnell didn’t identify his source and said, even as he reported it, that NBC News has not verified the accuracy of the story.
COMEDIAN GALLAGHER SAYS HAMMERS GOT HIM OUSTED FROM IDAHO STATEHOUS
BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A comedian known for smashing fruit and vegetables with giant wooden hammers says he was escorted out of Idaho’s Statehouse when he entered the building carrying two of those hammers. Gallagher told the Idaho Statesman that he was looking for the state’s film office Monday for a possible project. But, the state doesn’t have a film office. The 73-year-old comedian who rose to fame in the 1980s says he’s in Boise to scout locations for a film about an ancient poet. He also says he’d like to build a retirement project in the area where old celebrities could live among regular folks.