Veteran actor Kevin Costner refused to bow to pressure to edit out a racial slur his character utters in new drama Black Or White, because he wanted to address the issue of racism head on. The Oscar winner produced and financed the passion project himself after big studio bosses passed on the release, in which he plays a grandfather fighting for custody of his mixed-race grandchild with her paternal grandmother, portrayed by Octavia Spencer.
One tense scene with his lawyers required Costner to use the 'N' word, raising concerns among other producers, who urged him to shoot an alternative sequence - but he flat out refused.
He explains, "There was talk about it (filming an alternative scene), but I funded it, there was no way I was going to do this any (other way). There's no point in dancing around the subject, and... the words do get said."
Costner, who spent his formative years growing up in the rough neighbourhood of Compton, California, admits he witnessed first hand how the 'N' word is used behind closed doors during his youth and he wanted to make sure the race-related film was as close to reality as possible.
He tells U.S. breakfast show Today, "That word used to be used a lot, in joke (sic), never to somebody's face. I never saw it ever used in anger, but it was used... and so I'm around that... I heard that from extended family, I even used that word myself as a young person..."
However, Costner insists he would never use the racial slur in his own life now, adding, "There's a moment in time where that fades away. It's not appropriate anymore..."
Actress Gina Rodriguez struggled to fight back tears after her win at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night (11Jan15) after becoming overwhelmed by the significance of her victory for the Latin community. The Jane the Virgin star claimed gold for Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical and she couldn't hold back her tears as she faced questions from the press backstage, where she reflected on the impact of her victory for ethnic minorities.
She told reporters, "First and foremost the nomination alone was a win for me because it allowed our culture, it allowed Latinas to see themselves in a beautiful light. It allowed them to see ourselves where we all desired to be invited to the same party.
"If we can create an effect that shows Latinos like the investment bankers, doctors, lawyers that existed in my own home, I think that will change the way young girls and boys look at themselves."
Referencing the 2014 police killings of unarmed black men Eric Garner and Michael Brown, she added, "I think that’s needed, especially now where we have dealt with Eric Garner and Michael Brown, where we are dealing with a society that is diverse, that is so beautiful and human, we all need to remember that we all have the same stories and see them as such."
Rodriguez's win was made even more emotional by the fact her sister, Ivelisse Simon, and other members of her family had turned out to the event to show their support.
Speaking before the ceremony, she told People.com, "My sister has been my support system since I was a little kid. She's believed in me and told me to go after my dreams and to never give up, and so for that I am forever grateful. Not to mention she also helped me pay for college and made sure that I got a good education.
"For me to have her here with me means the world. I have my parents here with me with my other sister, and so for that I am so grateful."
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge have taken legal action against a photographer over allegations he has been monitoring the daily routine of their young son Prince George. Lawyers representing the royal couple have sent letters to two freelance snappers, and accused one of the unnamed individuals of following the 15-month-old prince during his walks in a London park with a nanny.
A spokesman for the royals says, "The Duke and Duchess have taken legal steps to ask that an individual ceases harassing and following both Prince George and his nanny as they go about their ordinary daily lives. An incident last week has prompted Their Royal Highnesses to seek reasonable assurances from the individual about his behaviour. The individual was spotted at a central London park in the vicinity of Prince George, who was removed from the park immediately. There is reason to suspect that the individual may been placing Prince George under surveillance and monitoring his daily routines for a period of time...
"No parent would tolerate the suspicion of someone pursuing and harassing their child and carer whilst their child is playing in a public park or going about their daily activities."
Bosses at an aircraft rental company in the U.S. have launched legal action against rapper Lil Wayne, accusing him of failing to pay his jet bills. Executives at The Signature Group have filed suit against Wayne, real name Dwayne Carter, Jr, and his Young Money Entertainment partners, demanding $1 million (£588,000).
In documents obtained by Courthousenews.com, the firm's lawyers write, "As with many such artists, Mr. Carter appears to enjoy the finer things in life: expensive cars, a mansion in La Gorce Country Club on Miami Beach, and private aircraft travel for himself, his agents, and members of his entourage, to worldwide destinations of his choice.
"Naturally, the enjoyment of such luxuries is not free, and Mr. Carter and his putative Florida limited liability, defendant Young Money, have failed to live up to their obligations and now owe plaintiff, Signature Group, over one million dollars in fees and charges relating to Mr. Carter's jet-setting around the globe on private aircraft leased to him by plaintiff."
Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris has applied for permission to appeal against his conviction for sex attacks on four young girls. Harris was found guilty in June (14) of molesting four females aged between seven and 19 in a catalogue of abuse dating from 1968 to 1986.
The Australian singer/artist was jailed for almost six years for 12 counts of indecent assault, but he is now launching a bid to appeal against his convictions, with Judicial Office staff confirming Harris' lawyers have lodged papers at London's Court of Appeal.
Harris 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.
Casey Kasem's wife Jean has been dealt another blow as her attorneys have requested to step down as her legal team. The late veteran broadcaster passed away in June (14) and Jean has been locked in a battle with Casey's adult children even after his passing.
Now Jean's lawyers of Los Angeles-based firm Haney & Young are asking the court to relieve them as her counsel as soon as possible.
According to legal documents filed in Casey's conservatorship obtained by TMZ.com, the lawyers claim Jean does not respond to any of their correspondence, including email and phone.
In addition, the papers state Jean has amounted $500,000 (£294,000) in unpaid fees for her various legal battles, and if she does not settle the balance, the money will allegedly come out of Casey's estate.
Jean's lawyer troubles come amid the escalating family feud over where the late star will be laid to rest. Jean was given control of the star's remains, but Casey has yet to be laid to rest more than a month after his death.
It was reported on Wednesday (23Jul14) that his body was removed from a mortuary in Washington and flown to Montreal, Canada.
Hundreds of One Direction fans have turned on the group following Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson's 'dope' smoking video by destroying tickets for the boyband's shows. The two heartthrobs hit headlines on Tuesday (27May14) over a five-minute film showing them apparently puffing on a marijuana cigarette during a tour stop in Lima, Peru last month (Apr14).
As the growing row threatened to engulf the hit boyband on Wednesday (28May14), dozens of fans of the group blasted Malik and Tomlinson online for their behaviour.
Several young fans admitted to ripping up their tickets for the band's upcoming gigs, and one teenager even posted a photograph online showing her setting fire to a One Direction ticket.
The band members are under increasing pressure to comment directly on the scandal. So far, the only response has been from a spokesman for the group, who issued a statement on Tuesday, saying, "The matter is now in the hands of our lawyers."
Rapper Young Jeezy has settled a lawsuit with the Hells Angels over claims his clothing line copies their famous logo. Last year (13), lawyers working for the motorcycle club sued the hip-hop star, alleging his 8732 fashion range's emblem was almost identical to their 'Death Head' logo.
They demanded that the rapper pull all clothing featuring the design and hand over an unspecified sum in damages.
It has now emerged the two parties have settled the matter, according to TMZ.com.
A spokesperson for the Hells Angeles tells the website, "We always get what we want."
Celebrity publicist Max Clifford is facing a possible jail sentence after he was convicted of eight sex assaults on Monday (28Apr14). The public relations guru, whose clients have included Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Simon Cowell, and Marlon Brando, used his star status as a cover to abuse young women in a series of attacks dating back to the 1960s.
Clifford had denied the allegations, telling Southwark Crown Court in south London that his accusers were all lying and had invented the incidents.
However, on Monday, the 10-strong jury found Clifford guilty of eight charges of indecent assault. He was cleared of two other indecent assault charges, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on an 11th count.
Speaking outside court after the verdict, Clifford said, "I have been told by my lawyers to say nothing at all."
Clifford is due to be sentenced on Friday (02May14).
Ronnie Wood's ex-wife Jo has accused the rocker's legal team of forcing her to close down her skincare business. The former model, who divorced the Rolling Stones guitarist in 2009 following his affair with a young waitress, claims lawyers acting for Wood pushed him into demanding she dissolve Organic Beauty Products Ltd, a company she set up in 2003 while the couple was still married.
Wood insists she now has to sell her skincare range to pals or give products away for free as she is no longer allowed to sell them online through her own website.
She tells Britain's Mail on Sunday, "All of my products are just sitting around in a warehouse. I'm not allowed to sell anything under that name, so I sell all my stock privately or to friends for cash or I give things away in goody bags at parties.
"He's a weak man, Ronnie - he listened to his lawyers. Ronnie's lawyers forced me to shut it down because I originally set it up when I was still with him."
The cases and courtroom defenses of David Barrett, the senior lawyer of the Neighborhood Law Office (N.L.O.), a legal-aid service in Boston, and his two proteges, Aaron Silverman and Pat Walters, Bercol University law students.