British TV icon Stephen Fry stunned guests at a political fundraiser on Wednesday (09Jul14) by taking aim at a high-profile investigation into allegations of sex abuse against some of the U.K.'s most popular stars. Operation Yewtree was launched following the shocking revelations of TV and radio host Sir Jimmy Savile's widespread historic sexual abuse, and it has led to the successful prosecution of stars including entertainer Rolf Harris, TV host Stuart Hall, and PR guru Max Clifford for offences committed in the 1960s and '70s.
However Fry, who was hosting the Labour Party event at London's Roundhouse, reportedly reminded guests that "fewer than half" of those held in the probe have been convicted, urged attendees to remember "people are innocent until proven guilty", and called for tougher punishments for those who make false claims.
Attempts to prosecute comedians Jim Davidson, Jimmy Tarbuck and Freddie Starr, as well as Coronation Street actor William Roache, failed after months of negative publicity.
One guest at the event tells Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, "It was all a bit awkward. There was a smattering of applause, but mostly there was just this deadly silence."
Fry's friend, BBC DJ Paul Gambaccini, was arrested in October (13) under Operation Yewtree on suspicion of historical sexual offences but was released on bail and was later cleared of any wrongdoing, and Fry is understood to be angry that the failure to charge Gambaccini has received less publicity than his initial arrest.
TV funnyman Tracy Morgan is suing U.S. retail giant Walmart following the car crash last month (Jun14) that left him in intensive care. Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper is accused of falling asleep at the wheel and causing a multi-vehicle accident when he slammed into the back of Morgan's limousine in New Jersey, killing Morgan's colleague James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair and hospitalising several others.
The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey on Thursday (10Jul14), alleges the company should have known Roper had been awake for more than 24 hours and that his drive from Georgia, where he lives, to work in Delaware was "unreasonable".
The suit reads, "Wal-Mart was careless and negligent in the ownership and operation of its motor vehicle, which caused Mr. Morgan to suffer severe personal injuries. As a direct and proximate result of said collision, Mr. Morgan was caused to sustain severe painful bodily injuries, including but not limited to multiple fractures which required multiple surgeries, extensive medical treatment and will require significant physical rehabilitation."
The plaintiffs, which also include Morgan's assistant Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua, who were also injured in the crash, are seeking damages, legal fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest.
The 30 Rock star was moved to a rehabilitation facility last month (Jun14) after his condition was upgraded from critical to fair.
Roper has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
Members of a New York grand jury have been tasked with deciding whether hip-hop veteran Flavor Flav should be indicted on traffic and drugs charges following an arrest in January (14). The Public Enemy star, real name William Drayton, faces a count of speeding and felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after his car was pulled over by police in Long Island, where he was due to attend his mother's funeral.
He was also slapped with a charge of marijuana possession.
Flavor Flav, who has pleaded not guilty to the accusations, returned to court in Nassau County on Friday (11Jul14), when his lawyer, Indji Bessim, revealed they had still yet to reach a plea deal with prosecutors.
She said, "(We are) just not prepared to take a felony plea today."
The case was subsequently handed over to a grand jury.
The 55-year-old rapper had previously expressed a desire to reach an agreement with authorities as the frequent flights from his home in Las Vegas to New York to attend the court hearings were becoming too costly.
Rocker Varg Vikernes has been convicted of inciting racial hatred, according to reports in his native Norway. The Burzum frontman was arrested in Salon-La-Tour, France last year (13) over allegations he was planning a massacre but he was released days later because of insufficient evidence.
He was subsequently charged with inciting racial hatred over allegations he made offensive remarks about Muslims and Jews online, and he has now reportedly been convicted of the offence.
According to Norwegian newspaper The Local, officials at a court in France have given the rocker a six-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of $10,880 (£6,400).
Self-confessed neo-Nazi Vikernes, who was released from a 21-year prison sentence for murder in 2009, had previously denied being responsible for the online comments, claiming others had written them.
Hollywood veteran Mel Gibson has spoken out in defence of troubled actor Shia Labeouf, insisting his recent bizarre behaviour is proof he is "suffering in some way". The Transformers star is currently seeking treatment for alcoholism after he was escorted out of a Broadway show and arrested following an altercation with theatre security staff on 26 June (14). He was subsequently charged with disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and harassment, but pleaded not guilty to the counts.
The incident was the latest in a string of headline-grabbing stunts, including wearing a brown paper bag on his head while walking the red carpet at a German film festival earlier this year (14) and using the same prop as part of an odd art installation in Los Angeles.
Now Gibson, who has faced his own personal controversies, including a 2006 DUI arrest, during which he hurled anti-Semitic remarks at a Jewish police officer, admits he sympathises with LaBeouf, because he knows how hard living life under the public eye can be.
However, Gibson is confident the 28 year old will bounce back from his troubles.
In a candid interview with IndieWire.com, the Braveheart actor says, "You're a target. And you have to be really adept at tap dancing and dodging the bullets. And sometimes you get hit. And sometimes mortally. It's pretty bad.
"When I see someone like Shia LaBeouf with the bag on his head and stuff, my heart goes out to the poor guy. I think he's suffering in some way.
"Why would he do that? People are inclined to sort of point the finger at him and say that he's this, that, or the other. It's easy to judge. But I'm sure he's going through some kind of personal, very painful, cathartic thing that he has to exorcise and get out there. He'll probably play it out and come back. Whatever it happens to be.
"He'll be all right. I actually like the kid. I think he's good. I never met him, but I like him."
U.S. reality TV star Phaedra Parks' husband Apollo Nida has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison for bank fraud and identity theft. The Real Housewives of Atlanta regular was hit with a series of charges in January (14), over allegations he created fake companies and bank accounts using stolen identities, laundering more than $2.3 million (£1.4 million).
Nida, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud, and on Tuesday (08Jul14), a federal judge sentenced him to eight years behind bars.
Nida faced up to 30 years in prison, but was given leniency after co-operating with federal investigators during the case.
Nida wed lawyer Parks in 2009 and the couple has two children. They have appeared on the reality series, alongside Glee star NeNe Leakes and singer Kandi Burruss, since 2010.
More than a hundred well-wishers gathered in New Jersey on Monday night (07Jul14) to hold a prayer vigil for a comedian injured in a car crash with Tracy Morgan last month (Jun14). Ardie Fuqua was among those hurt in the 7 June (14) traffic accident which killed comic writer James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair and left fellow funnyman Morgan fighting for his life after the limousine they were travelling in collided with a truck.
The 30 Rock star was recently transferred from hospital to a rehabilitation facility, while his pal Fuqua, 43, who sustained a brain injury, is also facing a long recovery in rehab.
Fuqua was the focus of a prayer meeting and candlelit vigil held on the street where he lives in Jersey City on Monday, a month after the horrific crash. His friends, family members and neighbours were among those who turned out holding candles, and the street was adorned with green and black ribbons.
Reverend Dorothy Patterson, of Fuqua's family church, led the service and told the Jersey Journal newspaper, "We wanted to just gather as a community, as a family, just to let (the Fuqua family) know that there are people all over praying for them... It's a very close community. Ardie was born and raised on this block, so they all know him," while the funnyman's father, Ardie Fuqua Sr., adds "(It) lets me know that the people care. It lets me know that the people see me when I don't think they see me."
Kevin Roper, 35, from Georgia, has pleaded guilty to a number of charges stemming from the deadly crash. He was driving a truck for U.S. superstore Walmart and is accused of falling asleep at the wheel.
Rapper Jovan Clayton has pleaded not guilty to three felony theft charges relating to an arrest in April (14). The Rej3ctz star, aka Pee Wee, was taken into custody earlier this year (14) amid allegations he had taken more than $2,000 (£1,176)-worth of alcohol and personal items from other patrons at Los Angeles nightclub 1Oak.
He has since been formally slapped with three counts of receiving stolen property, but insists he is innocent of the crimes, reports TMZ.com.
Clayton rose to fame with his band in 2010 with the viral hit Cat Daddy.
There’s nothing that the media loves more than a good villain, and unfortunately for Ben Affleck, it seems like it might finally be his turn as the “most hated man in America.” Or, at least, his character in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl is. The latest trailer for the film highlights the criminal investigation and the media frenzy that Nick Dunne is in the middle of after his wife Amy disappears on their anniversary, and the evidence against him seems to be mounting higher and higher, all of which seems to suggest only one possible solution to Amy’s disappearance: Nick murdered his wife.
Based on the evidence that the trailer reveals – the voice-over of Amy’s diaries repeating her fears about what Nick is capable of, both the media and her parents turning against him, the doubts cast on how genuine he’s being to the people assisting in the search, the cops’ pointed questions – it seems pretty cut and dry that we’re supposed to think that Nick is guilty. But Gone Girl is not a cut and dry story, and the success of the book relies heavily on a twist that is revealed about halfway through. The trailer doesn’t give any of that away, of course, but unlike its source material, it does have an impact on the way we see the events of the film, even before we go into it. The trailer wants us to think that Nick Dunne is guilty, and so even if you find that a little too obvious to believe, it’s still going to be in the back of your mind when you watch them film. If you buy that he’s guilty, you’re going to be looking for things to back you up, and ignore any evidence that raises any suspicion to the contrary. If you believe that there’s more to this story than meets the eye, you’re going to spend the whole time looking for loopholes and clues that point elsewhere.
20th Century Fox Film
Unlike with the book, there’s no way to go into Gone Girl impartially, which could affect the impact that the plot’s major twist has on the audience. Moviegoers who are too suspicious may spot it coming, and those who have already made up their minds as to whether or not Nick is guilty could be disappointed or frustrated to find out the truth. Both of these reactions could lessen the impact of the twist or take the audience out of the world of the film, which means that the film might not be as successful on a storytelling level as the novel was.
Releasing a trailer that attempts to convince the audience to see things a certain way before the film arrives in theaters is a risky move. It practically spells out how audiences should feel about the events they're about to see unfold, and unless there's a good reason to do so (like the twist at the center of Gone Girl) it could sway moviegoers too much, which impacts their enjoyment of the film. If they know how they're supposed to react to things before they're allowed to, it could keep them from forming their own opinion about the characters and story they're watching. Hopefully, the trailer for Gone Girl isn't so persuasive that it doesn't allow audiences room to change their perspectives as more and more gets revealed about all of the characters. After all, if you've already made up your mind about what's going to unfold, what's the point in watching it do so?
Gone Girl arrives in theaters, along with all of its secrets and answers, on October 3.
Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris has been jailed for almost six years for indecently assaulting girls as young as seven. The Australian singer/artist was last month (Jun14) convicted of molesting four young girls between 1968 and 1986, when they were aged between seven and 19.
He was found guilty of 12 indecent assault charges, and a judge at London's Southwark Crown Court sentenced Harris to five years and nine months on Friday (04Jul14).
Harris, who was stripped of his British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) fellowship and his Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame honour following his conviction, will also have to pay court costs and faces compensation claims from his victims.
The judge, Mr. Justice Sweeney, told the star, "You have showed no remorse for your crimes at all. Your reputation now lies in ruins. You have been stripped of your honours but you have no one to blame but yourself."
Harris had denied the charges, telling a court the women had made up the attacks. He admitted having sexual relations with a friend of his daughter but denied she was just 13 years old when it began.
On Friday, the court also heard Harris had been charged with four counts of making indecent images after child pornography was found on a computer following a search of his home. Prosecutors decided not to pursue those charges in the light of the indecent assault convictions.