News, Jan. 23: Club Owner Claims Death Threats in Jackson Case, Crocodile...

News, Jan. 23: Club Owner Claims Death Threats in Jackson Case, Crocodile Hunter Not Charged, Jane Fonda Comes Out of Retirement, More…

Michael Jackson booking photo
Michael Jackson

Top Story: Club Owner Claims Death Threats in Jackson Case

Jamie Masada, the owner of the Laugh Factory comedy club on the Sunset Strip who introduced Michael Jackson to his 13-year-old accuser, told reporters at a news conference yesterday he has received death threats on the voicemail of his work and privately listed mobile phones this week for speaking out in the case, Reuters reports. Masada said he was speaking out in part because the teen was badly in need of a kidney transplant. “I’ve gotten phone calls saying if I don’t shut up they have a bullet for me to shut me up,” Masada said. “If something happens to me, you guys know. You are aware of it.” Masada explained that when the boy was hospitalized and given only weeks to live, he fulfilled the ailing boy’s wish to meet Jackson as well as comedians Adam Sandler and Chris Tucker. The boy eventually became a regular visitor at Jackson‘s Neverland Valley Ranch and was seen holding hands with the singer in a controversial 2003 documentary. Jackson, 45, is charged with molesting the boy when he was under the age of 14 and plying him with alcohol to seduce him, charges the singer calls a “big lie.”

Crocodile Hunter Not Charged

Steve Irwin will not be charged with any offense for holding his one-month-old son while feeding one of his crocodiles, The Associated Press reports. Irwin, who hosts the wildlife TV show Crocodile Hunter, carried his son into a crocodile pen on Jan. 2 and held him under one arm while feeding a croc with the other. Following the stunt, Queensland’s Department of Family Services reprimanded Irwin, but the agency took no action against him. Police also declined to file charges. After interviewing Irwin Thursday, the Office of Workplace Health and Safety there was not enough evidence to suggest that he and his Australia Zoo reptile park had violated any safety regulations.

Zeta-Jones and Douglas’ Big Fat Legal Bill

After spending millions to win a court fight with Hello! magazine for printing unauthorized photos of their wedding, celebrity couple Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have been ordered by a judge to cough up possible millions in legal bills, Reuters reports. Zeta-Jones and Douglas were awarded $27,000 last year in their court battle with Hello!, which printed photos of their wedding after the couple had sold exclusive rights to rival tabloid OK!. But a High Court judge in London Friday ruled that Hello! should only pay $3.6 million of the $7.2 million lawsuit costs, leaving OK! and the Douglases to pick up the rest of the tab.

Bono Swears He Won’t Swear

U2 frontman Bono promises he will not swear again on live television if he wins a Golden Globe Award on Sunday. Bono caused a commotion at last year’s ceremony when he exclaimed “F***ing brilliant!” when U2 won the Golden Globe for a song the band wrote for the Martin Scorsese‘s Gangs of New York. “I swear I won’t swear,” Bono told Reuters Thursday in an interview. “You can always cause a stir with an expletive and it’s not something that I’m conscious of. If you use them in your everyday speech, sometimes they will come out. I don’t mean to offend anyone.” This year, Bono is nominated with Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer in the best original song category for “Time Enough for Tears,” for Jim Sheridan’s Irish immigrant drama In America.

NBC Admits Over-Hyping Friends

NBC promised Thursday not to rerun a Friends ad that refers to the show as the “best comedy ever.” The ad apparently peeved some people–particularly Kelsey Grammer, whose comedy Frasier has won five best comedy Emmys compared to Friends one. “They were just trying to hype it and went overboard,” NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks told the AP. “It ran once and it won’t run again.” Friends will go off the air after 10 years in May. “I don’t blame them for saying that,” Grammer told reporters last week. “Although, we all know it’s not true.”

Eminem’s Ex-Wife Gets Two Years’ Probation

Eminem‘s ex-wife, Kimberly Mathers, was sentenced Wednesday in Michigan’s Macomb County Court to two years’ probation, the AP reports. Mathers, 28, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of possessing 25 grams or less of cocaine and failing to give adequate space to an emergency vehicle. The charges stemmed from a June traffic stop in St. Clair Shores, Mich. Circuit Judge Edward A. Servitto said the charges would be dismissed if Mathers successfully completes probation, but added that he would send her to jail if she violated any of the terms. As conditions of her probation, Mathers may not use alcohol or non-prescription drugs, and must undergo random drug testing and substance abuse evaluation and treatment.

Role Call: Fonda Stars in Monster-in Law, Walken Could Join Wedding Crashers

Jane Fonda is ending her 14-year retirement from acting to appear in New Line’s Monsters-in-Law opposite Jennifer Lopez. Fonda, who last appeared in the 1990 film Stanley and Iris, will play the difficult mother of Lopez‘s fiancé. The film is slated for release in 2005 … Christopher Walken is in negotiations to star opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in the romantic comedy The Wedding Crashers, also at New Line. The project, two guys have a hobby of crashing weddings in order to meet girls–until one of them unexpectedly falls in love with a bridesmaid. Walken would play the girl’s father.