Connect with us

Entertainment

New Footage Released in Jussie Smollet Case

Published

on

  • Chicago Police released footage in the Jussie Smollett case, including footage of them arriving at his apartment after the alleged attack, which shows the actor still wearing a rope around his neck.
  • A special prosecutor was appointed on Friday to look into the case and look into a previous prosecutors’ decision to drop charges against Smollett.
  • Though Smollett has maintained his innocence, Chicago Police have been clear that they believe he staged a hate crime against himself in January.
  • Due to the recent appointment of a special prosecutor, Smollett could be charged in the case again.

Chicago police released video footage on Monday from the Jussie Smollett case, including body cam footage of their response after the incident. 

The footage, which was obtained by local media outlets, runs up to 70 hours long. Smollett, an actor best known for his role on Empire, was accused of staging a hate crime against himself in January. 

In the clip showing police arriving at his apartment after the alleged attack, a man who identifies himself as Smollett’s creative director greets the police and takes them upstairs. He quickly tells the police who Smollett is. 

“He, he is like a star,” he says. “He works on the show Empire…he doesn’t want this to be a big deal, you see what I’m saying.”

Once police enter the apartment, Smollett can be seen with a rope on his neck. Officers ask if he wants to remove it.

Yeah, I do,” Smollett responds. “I just wanted you to see.”

He then removes the rope and tells officers bleach was poured on him. When he learns that he is being recorded, he requests for filming to stop.

Officers also released videos from before and after the alleged attack. One video depicts the Osundairo brothers, the original suspects in the case, in a cab on the way to the alleged scene. Another video shows them fleeing a nearby area.

According to the Chicago Tribune, police also released documents about the case, including text messages between one of the Osundairo brothers and Smollett. The Tribune says that the messages show that Smollett may have reached out to the brothers for drugs on a regular basis. 

Previous document dumps have also shown Smollett texting the Osundairo brothers “Might need your help on the low” prior to the alleged attack.

Special Prosecutor Appointed

This footage dump comes several days after a special prosecutor was appointed to look into Smollett’s case. This opens the door for Smollett to be charged in relation to the incident again.  On Friday, a Cook County judge wrote a 21-page opinion about his decision. 

“The unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrants the appointment of independent counsel to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system,” he wrote. 

Smollett was indicted on 16 criminal counts. Charges were later dropped against him in a reversal that angered the Chicago Police Department. The prosecutor will look specifically into the decision to drop all charges against Smollett. They will also look into Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s recusal from the case, and her choice to appoint one of her aides as a replacement. 

Chief Communications Officer for Chicago Police tweeted about the special prosecutor and maintained their belief in Smollett’s guilt. 

Background on Smollett Case

In January, Smollett claimed that two masked men attacked him by yelling racial and homophobic slurs, tying a rope around his neck, pouring bleach on him, and yelling “this is MAGA country.” When police identified and interrogated two suspects, the Osandairo brothers, they told officers they were paid by Smollett to stage the attack. 

Smollett was charged with several felony counts, including disorderly conduct and filing a false police report. He turned himself into authorities, but charges were dropped on March 26. He had to pay $10,000 in bond to the city of Chicago. 

Smollett maintains his innocence in the case. However, Chicago Police are suing the actor, and the Osandairo brothers are suing his attorneys. He will not appear in the next season of Empire

See what others are saying: (Chicago Tribune) (CBS Chicago) (ABC News)

Entertainment

Chris Pratt Criticized For Wearing Gadsden Flag T-Shirt

Published

on

  • Actor Chris Pratt was recently photographed wearing a t-shirt with a version of the Gadsden flag, featuring a coiled snake and the text “Don’t Tread On Me.”
  • After some social media users criticized the shirt and linked it to far-right ideologies, Yahoo published an article titled “Chris Pratt criticized for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt.”
  • The link to white supremacy and far-right groups outraged many online, including big conservative voices like Ben Shapiro, who defended the symbol.
  • Yahoo has since changed the headline to “Chris Pratt criticized for T-shirt choice.”

Gadsden Flag T-Shirt 

Yahoo is facing backlash for publishing an article that linked actor Chris Pratt to white supremacy after he was spotted wearing a t-shirt with the Gadsden flag. 

The shirt in question features a coiled snake over an American flag with text that reads, “Don’t Tread On Me.” The coiled snake and text are from the Gadsden flag, which was created by American general Christopher Gadsden during the Revolutionary war.

On Monday, Vulture writer Hunter Harris posted a photo of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star wearing the shirt. Then several social media users responded to the post expressing their disappointment with Pratt.

“Andy Dwyer would never wear a shirt emblazoned with a white supremacist dogwhistle. Chris Pratt is unequivocally the worst Chris,” one now-deleted tweet read. 

“That’s everyone’s fave, Chris Pratt, wearing a snake logo recently associated with lads from the Tea Party to the depths of 4chan.” read another. 

Yahoo Releases Story 

Yahoo Movies UK then picked up the story with the headline: “Chris Pratt criticized for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt.”

“Although it is one of the symbols and flags used by the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, Metallica, as well as some libertarian groups, over the years the flag has been adopted by Far Right political groups like the Tea Party, as well as gun-toting supporters of the Second Amendment,” the article reads.

“It has therefore become a symbol of more conservative and far right individuals and, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the US, it also is ‘sometimes interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts.’”

Many took issue with Yahoo’s report and its labeling of conservative groups. Others pointed out that the historical flag symbolizes freedom and liberty, not white supremacy. 

In 2016, The New Yorker published a piece titled “The Shifting Symbol of the Gadsden Flag,” that looked at how the flag has been used by “Tea Party enthusiasts, Second Amendment zealots—really anyone who gets riled up by the idea of government overreach.”

However, in the article, writer and historian Marc Leepson was quoted saying that the origins of “Don’t Tread On Me,”  were “completely, one hundred percent anti-British, and pro-revolution.” The report also notes that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said: “It is clear that the Gadsden Flag originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context.”

Article Sparks Outrage

Many have since blasted Yahoo on Twitter, like conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and former NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.

Some specifically criticized Yahoo for turning the outrage of a few commenters into a larger story.

Yahoo has since changed its headline to “Chris Pratt criticized for T-shirt choice.”

See what others are saying: (Yahoo) (Fox News) (Breitbart)

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Netflix Cuts Controversial Suicide Scene from ‘13 Reasons Why’ Season 1

Published

on

  • Netflix has removed a controversial and graphic suicide scene from its popular series “13 Reasons Why,” more than two years after the scene originally aired. 
  • The company and show creator said they made the decision after hearing concerns from medical experts.
  • The decision to re-edit the scene has been met with mixed reactions, with some praising the move, some saying it should have been done long ago, and others saying that it should have remained in the show because it is powerful and important to watch.

Netflix’s Announcement 

Netflix announced Monday that it has edited out a graphic suicide scene from the first season of “13 Reasons Why,” more than two years after it was released. 

The show, which centers on the suicide of a fictional teenager named Hannah Baker, stirred up controversy when it first aired in March of 2017. While many praised the show for raising awareness about suicide and bullying, others, including organizations like the National Association of School Psychologists and the Parents Television Council, accused Netflix of glorifying and romanticizing suicide to vulnerable teens.

Critics of the show found one scene that aired during the season 1 finale particularly upsetting because of its graphic depiction of Hannah taking her own life. 

“We’ve heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help — often for the first time,” Netflix said in a statement.

“As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we’ve decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one.”

Suicide Scene Re-edited 

The nearly three-minute-long scene aired about midway through the episode and showed Katherine Langford’s character Hannah looking at herself in the mirror before she was shown cutting her wrists in a bathtub. The camera held on Hannah during her graphic final moments before showing her parents finding her body. 

The re-edited scene now shows Hannah looking at herself in the mirror, then cuts directly to her parents finding her body in the bathroom. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Netflix will also monitor and issue take-downs for any pirated clips that feature the original scene.

“Our creative intent in portraying the ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail in Season 1 was to tell the truth about the horror of such an act, and make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it,” show creator Brian Yorkey said in a statement before also mentioning that concerns from experts helped him reach this decision. 

“No one scene is more important than the life of the show and its message that we must take better care of each other. We believe this edit will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers,” he added.

Mixed Reactions 

The decision to re-edit the scene was met with support from the American Association of Suicidology, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American School Counselor Association, Dr. Helen Hsu from Stanford, advocacy group Mental Health America, the Trevor Project and Dr. Rebecca Hedrick from Cedars-Sinai, according to THR.

We support the decision to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from 13 Reasons Why. There has been much debate about the series in the medical community,” the groups said in a joint statement. “But this positive change will ensure that 13 Reasons Why continues to encourage open conversation about mental health and suicide prevention — while also mitigating the risk for the most vulnerable teenage viewers.”

However, the move was met with mixed reactions online, with some arguing that the scene was painful but powerful and should have remained in the show.

Meanwhile, others said the scene should have been cut from the series a long time ago.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (NPR) (The Washington Post)

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Scarlett Johansson Clarifies “Politically Correct” Casting Comments After Backlash

Published

on

  • In a recent interview with As If magazine, Scarlett Johansson was quoted saying that she should “be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.”
  • Her comments reignited a debate on social media about Hollywood casting and diversity in the film industry.
  • After facing backlash, Johansson released a statement saying that her interview was “edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context.”

As If Cover Story 

Scarlett Johansson says her recent remarks about “political correctness” in casting were taken out of context after the comments sparked much backlash online. 

The actress was previously criticized for accepting the role of a transgender man in the film “Rub & Tug.” She stepped down from the role last summer amid calls for the character to be played by a trans actor instead.

Before that, Johansson also faced backlash for playing a Japanese character in “Ghost in the Shell,” which critics again argued should have been played by a Japanese actor. 

In a cover story for As If magazine published last week, Johansson discussed her viewpoints on the issue. Then different media outlets quoted selections of her comments from the interview.

Johansson was quoted saying: “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.

“There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art,” she added.

“I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions.”

Twitter Users React

Headlines about Johansson’s comments began circulating on Twitter, prompting many users to speak out.

Still, some users came to Johansson’s defense on the issue. Some specifically pointed to the reactions that appeared when Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”

Johansson Clarifies Comments

Johansson released a statement on Sunday through her reps saying that the interview, as it’s been quoted, “has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context.”

She explained that the question she was answering was about the “confrontation between political correctness and art.”

“I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody, and art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way.”

“I recognize that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to,” she added. “I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.”

See what others are saying: (Fox News) (Entertainment Weekly) (The Hollywood Reporter

Continue Reading