British funnyman Russell Brand blames a "corrupt system" in the U.K. for driving some disillusioned Muslims into the arms of extremist group ISIS. The outspoken star took to his YouTube.com video blog, The Trews, to air his views about the masked terrorist known as 'Jihadi John', who has been filmed in attendance at the beheading of several hostages in Syria.
The mystery man was last month (Feb15) identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a London-based computer programmer, and Brand fears Emwazi's descent into terrorism is indicative of a "cultural problem" in the U.K.
In a video entitled 'Could I Have Been Jihadi John?', Brand says, "The kernel of truth in the sprawling, bewildering, bramble of ISIS madness is society isn't working, the system isn't working, it's totally corrupt. That's the thing that resonates in the core of young people, that's the thing that pulls them into mad jihadism. The developing news narrative in most of its permutations doesn't address the core problems.
"If Muslims have been here in significant numbers since the fifties, why is this only happening now? The beheadings can't be incorporated into the main narrative of apathy, alienation, isolation. It's merely an extreme example of something that is commonly understood. That our cultural story at the moment makes no sense. If an ideology as mad as ISIS can appeal to a certain section of the population we have a huge cultural problem."
A Saturday Night Live (SNL) castmember who acted alongside Dakota Johnson in a controversial sketch about terrorist group ISIS has come to the actress' defense after the skit sparked outrage.
The Fifty Shades of Grey star joined the cast of the U.S. comedy show on Saturday night (28Feb15) to take part in a number of sketches, and in one scene she took on the role of a woman who leaves her family to join the feared terror cell. The skit sparked a major furor online, with many critics branding it tasteless and offensive, but SNL star Taran Killam, who played Johnson's onscreen father in the sketch, has now spoken out to defend his co-star and the show's writers.
In a post on Twitter.com, Killam shared a video of the TV moment, and added, "Proud of this. Freedom to mock is our greatest weapon. Thanks to the writers who asked not to be mentioned by name."
Former couple Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson put on a united front to support their actress daughter as she hosted Saturday Night Live in America on Saturday (28Feb15). The Fifty Shades of Grey star poked fun at her parents by revealing she had probably been conceived after her mother hosted SNL in December, 1988 - the day her father proposed.
She said, "This is true, right after the show my father got down on one knee and proposed to her for the second time and exactly nine months later I was born, so I must have been conceived that night after the show or maybe even during the show. Isn't that right you guys?"
The camera panned to her folks, who were sitting together in the audience, shielding their eyes in embarrassment.
The SNL host asked, "Are you embarrassed that I told that story?" prompting her dad to reply, "No, we were just afraid you were gonna be naked" - a reference to her racy role in erotic thriller Fifty Shades.
Johnson was a big hit during her debut as host of the comedy sketch show - she portrayed Emma Stone's role in an opening Birdman skit, Cinderella and an emergency room nurse having to deal with a doctor dressed up as a Star Trek Klingon. The latter sketch was followed by a brief tribute to beloved Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday (27Feb15).
The actress also starred in a controversial skit in which she played a student joining terrorist group ISIS. As her tearful dad, played by comedian Taran Killam begs her commander to look after his daughter, the fundamentalist rides off in his jeep after stating, "Death to America."
Pop star Lily Allen has been targeted with a series of abusive cell phone messages after a hacker broke into her pal Taylor Swift's account on Twitter.com. The Smile hitmaker received text messages claiming to be from a member of the ISIS terror network and threatening to rape and kill her.
She fears her phone number was obtained after Swift's Twitter account was hacked in January (15).
Allen posted an image of the texts to her Instagram.com account on Friday (13Feb15), writing, "Cool i (got a) message from some kid that got my number from hacking Taylor Swifts Twitter (sic)."
The message read, "alright u dont understand im actually a terrorist from isis u dumb b**ch", before going on to threaten to rape and kill the singer.
It is not known if Allen plans to take action over the security breach.
British singer Graham 'Suggs' Mcpherson is to act alongside inmates when he reprises his role in Madness musical Our House for a limited run in a London prison. The band's frontman appeared in the West End show in 2003 and in a 2012 revival, and he will return to Our House once again in February (15) for a production at HM Prison Isis, a young offenders institution in Woolwich, south London.
Suggs will play the father of main character Joe Casey, and prisoners will take on smaller or ensemble parts, singing Madness hits such as Baggy Trousers and House of Fun.
The musical's run, which has been organised by Pimlico Opera bosses, will begin on 27 February (15).
Sean Penn has joined President Barack Obama in blasting Sony executives for bowing to cyberterrorists' threats and pulling the Christmas Day (25Dec14) release of Seth Rogen's comedy The Interview. Hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace threatened to attack cinemas screening the movie, in which Rogen and James Franco play hapless TV journalists assigned to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following a month of Sony database security breaches.
The studio bosses pulled the film from release on Wednesday (17Dec14) after the owners of America's leading cinema chains opted not to show the comedy for fear of repercussions.
On Friday (19Dec14), President Obama attacked the Sony bosses in his end of year press conference at The White House, telling reporters the executives had "made a mistake" in cancelling the release of The Interview.
And shortly afterwards, Penn released a statement, addressing the controversy.
The Oscar winner fears that, in bowing to the threats, Sony bosses have opened the doors for other terrorist groups.
He writes, "This week, the distributors who wouldn't show The Interview and Sony have sent (terrorist group) ISIS a commanding invitation. I believe ISIS will accept the invitation. Pandora’s box is officially open.
"The damage we do to ourselves typically outweighs the harm caused by outside threats or actions. Then by caving to the outside threat, we make our nightmares real. The decision to pull The Interview is historic. It’s a case of putting short term interests ahead of the long term.
"If we don’t get the world on board to see that this is a game changer, if this hacking doesn’t frighten the Chinese and the Russians, we're in for a very different world, a very different country, community, and a very different culture."
FBI officials have confirmed the hack attack on Sony is linked to the North Korean regime.
"I suggested the storyline to (creator) Julian (Fellowes) about a year ago. I said, 'I know we're always fairly fudgy about time in our show, but even I can tell this dog who could have been three in series two is going to be getting on a bit now, and maybe there's something in that storyline?'" Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville admits it was his idea to axe his character Lord Grantham's beloved dog Isis on the most recent season of the hit drama.
Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has dismissed rumours suggesting the period drama's dog faced the axe because of its controversial name. The show has featured a Labrador called Isis, owned by Bonneville's character Lord Grantham, since season two, but a plot involving the dog's health crisis sparked rumours producers had decided to axe it from the show because it shared its name with a feared terrorist group.
However, Bonneville has now set the record straight in a message posted on his website.
He writes, "To clarify recent speculation, the Labrador that appeared in Series One (1912-14) was a dog called Pharaoh. From Series Two (1916-1920) onwards, the labrador has been a b**ch named - in keeping with the Egyptian theme - Isis. Anyone who genuinely believes the Series 5 storyline (1924) involving the animal was a reaction to recent world news is a complete berk."
Downton Abbey's beloved Labrador could be written out of the show by the time the new season debuts in America at the beginning of next year (15), because the dog shares the same name as the world's most feared terrorist organisation.
Lord Grantham's pet Isis is currently involved in a storyline about her her health in the ongoing fifth season of the show. A spokesman for the period drama tells Britain's Independent newspaper the dog's name is an "unfortunate coincidence", adding she was named after an Egyptian goddess years before the jihadist group leaders settled on the name ISIS." She made her debut in season two.
Producers behind cult animated series Archer are changing the name of the show's fictional spy agency to distance itself from terrorist group ISIS. The adult TV series centres on the adventures of the title character and his fellow colleagues at ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service), but creator Adam Reed reveals he will be tweaking the title of the global espionage organisation for the upcoming season six in light of the recent hostage beheadings and other violent actions of the real-life militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly known as ISIS.
Executive producer Matt Thompson tells TheDailyBeast.com, "(ISIS is) just the most awful thing, and we didn't want to have anything to do with it."
The name change will be incorporated into the storyline of the season six premiere, which airs in the U.S. in January (15).
Archer features the voices of H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler and Judy Greer, among others.
The series, set in Larkspur, California, relates the exploits of Andrea Thomas, a beautiful high school science teacher who, through the powers of a magic amulet she found in Egypt*, becomes Isis, a champion of truth and justice.