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Jussie Smollett Indicted Again Over Alleged Hate Crime Hoax

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  • Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted again on six counts of disorderly conduct for falsifying a police report. 
  • This comes almost a year after he was indicted on 16 counts of the same charge, which prosecutors abruptly dropped.
  • In January 2019, Smollett claimed he was the victim of a brutal homophobic and racist hate crime. After Chicago police investigated, they claimed the actor had actually staged the attack himself. 
  • These new indictments come from prosecutor Dan Webb, who was appointed to look into Smollett’s case as well as the way the Cook County State’s Attorney Office handled it.

New Indictments

Actor Jussie Smollett is facing six new indictments of disorderly conduct for falsifying a police report for allegedly staging a fake hate crime in Chicago in 2019.

These indictments come after special prosecutor Dan Webb spent six months investigating the case. Back in August a judge appointed Webb to look into Smollett, who was previously indicted on 16 counts of the same charge in March, only for those charges to be abruptly dropped by Cook County prosecutors. Webb was assigned to look into further prosecuting Smollett, as well as any potential mishandlings of the case by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office.

“The grand jury’s investigation revealed that Jussie Smollett planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Department officers on multiple occasions, reporting a heinous hate crime that he, in fact, knew had not occurred,” Webb’s office wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “Therefore, Mr. Webb has determined that reasonable grounds exist to further prosecute Mr. Smollett.”

He added that further charging Smollett is “in the interest of justice.” 

Webb has not made any conclusions as to whether or not the Cook County State’s Attorney Office mishandled the case and is still investigating this aspect. The statement did note that he disagreed with their choice to drop charges. 

The Jussie Smollett Case

Back in January 2019, Smollett, who is black and gay, said that two men attacked him in a hate crime. He claimed that they yelled racist and homophobic things at him, beat him, tied a noose around him, and poured chemicals on him. After Chicago Police investigated the matter, however, they said they found Smollett actually staged the attack and hired two people to do this.

Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, who was assigned to oversee the case, recused herself in February before indictments were handed out. In March, Smollett was handed the 16 indictments, to which he pleaded not guilty. When they were dropped a few weeks later, he had to forfeit his $10,000 bond and do community service but did not have to admit any wrongdoing.

This news upset Chicago city officials and police, with then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel calling it “a whitewash of justice.”

The city of Chicago ended up filing a civil suit demanding that Smollett cover the $130,000 that was spent in overtime pay to investigate his report. Smollett later sued the city for malicious prosecution.

Responses

Foxx’s office released a statement disagreeing with the latest charges. Foxx faces a primary election in just a month, and her handling of the Smollett cases has been one of her campaign’s biggest hurdles. Her office believes the timing of these new charges is politically motivated. 

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office charged Jussie Smollett with multiple counts, and today the Special Prosecutor did the same,” her office’s statement said. “What’s questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision, just 35 days before an election, which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the justice system.”

Smollett’s legal team also mentioned the upcoming election while expressing their disapproval of the new indictments. 

“The charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence,” Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian said in a statement. “The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.”

On the other side, when Emanuel was asked about the indictment, he told ABC7 in Chicago that the news “speaks for itself.”

The city of Chicago also released a statement of its own. They noted that the civil case against Smollett still stands.

“We look forward to reviewing the indictment and, as we have said previously, the City stands by our original complaint seeking to recover costs for Mr. Smollett’s false statements,” the city’s statement said. “We again thank the Chicago Police Department detectives for their hard work on the original investigation.”

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

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While Some Celebrities Protest and Donate, Others Get Slammed for Silence

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  • Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and more attended protests all over the country following the killing of George Floyd. 
  • Others, like Beyonce and Rihanna, made statements calling for justice, while stars like Chrissy Teigen, promised to donate to bail funds for protesters who get arrested. 
  • But many stars were slammed for their silence and YouTuber Jake Paul was criticized for appearing in videos of looters at an Arizona protest.
  • CNN Anchor Don Lemon went on a viral rant calling out wealthy celebrities who are choosing silence while younger people with less influence are leading the charge.

Celebrities Attend Protests

While some celebrities took to the streets to call for justice after the death of George Floyd, others were slammed for inaction or poor responses to the news. 

Saturday’s rallies in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills saw big names in attendance, like singer Ariana Grande and actors like Tess Thompson and Michael B. Jordan. Grande and Thompson both posted footage of the protests on social media, showing the peaceful nature that they started with. 

Singer Halsey also attended Saturday’s protest, where she says she was hit with rubber bullets. When she attended a protest in Santa Monica on Sunday, she said she brought medical help for those who might need it.

Actor Timothee Chalamet also attended the Santa Monica protest and posted footage of it on his Instagram story. 

Photo via Instagram: @tchalamet

Many were seen taking a stand around the rest of the country. Protesters shared photos of J. Cole marching in North Carolina and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello in Miami. Jamie Foxx spoke at a rally in Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed. 

“All I wanted to do is let you know that we’re not afraid to stand, we’re not afraid to stand. We’re not afraid of the moment,” he told a crowd. 

Statements and Donations

Protesting was not the only way celebrities showed their support. Many spoke out on social media, including Rihanna who wrote about Floyd on Instagram. 

“I can’t shake this!” the singer wrote. 

View this post on Instagram

For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least! Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart! To the point of staying away from socials, just to avoid hearing the blood curdling agony in George Floyd’s voice again, begging over and over for his life!!! The look of enticement, the pure joy and climax on the face of this bigot, murderer, thug, pig, bum, Derek Chauvin, haunts me!! I can’t shake this! I can’t get over an ambulance pulling up to an arrest, a paramedic checking a pulse without removing the very thing that’s hindering it! Is this that fucking normal??? If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on May 29, 2020 at 8:10pm PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

“If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???!” she continued. 

Beyonce also posted a video on Instagram where she encouraged her followers to sign a petition demanding justice for Floyd. 

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

“We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and disgusted,” Beyonce said. “We cannot normalize this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of color. If you’re white, black, brown and anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now. No more senseless killings of human beings.”

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio also posted a video saying that as an influencer, she feels it is her job to call out and discuss racial injustice.

“We all have a voice, we need to stand up for what is right and stick together,” D’Amilio said.

Other stars opened their checkbooks for the cause. Chrissy Teigen tweeted that she would be committing $100,000 to bailout funds for protesters who get arrested across the country. When people criticized her choice to donate, she doubled the number of money she planned on sending. 

Actors like Seth Rogan, Ben Schwartz and Steve Carell also joined a Twitter chain to match a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. 

Backlash to Responses

That donation train did receive some backlash because the donation they were matching was $50. Many thought that, given their wealth and platforms, they could be contributing more. Some said they should be matching donations as high as Teigen’s.

Rogan later added that he donated more than the $50. 

Celebrities faced heat for other reasons, including YouTuber Jake Paul. Paul was seen in videos at a mall where people were looting in connection to a protest. Many accused him of going to the protests with the intention of collecting vlog footage, Others accused him of partaking in the looting. 

On Sunday night, he posted a statement claiming that he did not partake in the looting and went so he could document and share what he saw at what started out as a peaceful protest. 

“I do not condone violence, looting or breaking the law; however I understand the anger and frustration that led to the destruction we witnessed,” he added. 

Don Lemon Calls Out Wealthy Elite

Celebrities who have stayed silent about the matter have found themself in some of the hottest water, though. On Saturday night, CNN anchor Don Lemon called out those with power, money and privilege who have chosen to not use their voices while young people with nothing to their names are leading the charge. He aimed his message specifically at black leaders and Hollywood elites. 

“A lot of the people I ask to come on this show to talk about this, wealthy celebrities, wealthy political people, say, ‘I can’t, I won’t do it, I’m mad, I don’t want people to see me mad. It might hurt my business or I’m so upset that I had to go to my country house and I just can’t do it.’” Lemon said. 

“Where are you? Why aren’t you fighting for these young people?” he continued. “If you don’t do it know, when are you going to doit? If you are a millionaire or a gaziollionare or a movie star or a politician and you don’t step up now, when the hell are you going to do it?” 

He added that while it is helpful that some are donating, it is still not enough. Lemon believes those who can should speak up and bring visibility to the issue so that their followers have something to turn to. 

“If they see you out there, then they know there is that person like me. There is that Oprah like me.There is that Jay-Z like me. There is that Colin Kapernick like me who is on television because of the knee and now it is all coming full circle,” Lemon said.

He later went on to call out other stars like Ellen and Tyler Perry as well. He said he was calling out names because he loves them and wants them to do more in this moment.  

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Entertainment Weekly) (CBS News)

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Doja Cat Addresses Accusations of Past Racist Behavior

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  • #DojaCatIsOverParty trended on Twitter over the weekend as circulating clips appeared to show the singer visiting allegedly racist chat rooms. 
  • Twitter users accused Doja Cat of being anti-black and also resurfaced an old song of hers called “Dindu Nuffin,” which is a racist slur used to belittle black victims of police brutality. 
  • She responded on Instagram Sunday, saying that while she was in chat rooms she should not have been in, she was never part of any racist dialogue. 
  • Doja Cat also claimed that she wrote the controversial song about her own personal experiences in an attempt to reclaim the phrase but understands now that she should not have used the term in her music.
  • After fans said they did not find her apology to be sincere, she explained her side of the story again on an Instagram Live.

Doja Cat Apologizes

Singer Doja Cat apologized after videos of her in allegedly racist chat rooms circulated on Twitter, prompting #DojaCatIsOverParty to trend throughout the weekend. 

The clips of Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini, better known as Doja Cat, first made their way onto Twitter on Friday. Fans say those chat rooms were for white supremacists, and that while in those rooms Doja Cat said the n-word, joked along with racist behavior, and made anti-black sentiments.

In addition to fans sharing those videos, many also talked about an old song Doja Cat wrote in 2015 called “Dindu Nuffin.” That phrase is a racial slur used to belittle black victims of police brutality. Doja Cat first issued her apology on Sunday night on Instagram.

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“I’ve used public chat rooms to socialize since I was a child,” she wrote in the post. “I shouldn’t have been on some of those chat room sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I’m sorry to everyone that I offended.”

The singer also added that half of her family is from South Africa and that she is proud of where she comes from. She also addressed the controversial song, which some people claimed was written in response to the death of Sandra Bland. Doja Cat, however, said it was actually written with the intent to reclaim the phrase based on her relationship with it.

“It was in no way tied to anything outside of my own personal experience,” she explained. “It was written in response to people who often used that term to hurt me. I made an attempt to flip its meaning, but recognize that it was a bad decision to use the term in my music.”

“I understand my influence and impact and I’m taking this all very seriously,” she added.

Doja’s Instagram Live

After receiving backlash for that apology, with some finding it insincere, Doja Cat did an Instagram Live to further address the concerns. She admitted that her post, like many public apologies, was carefully crafted by her and her team. She went live so she could clear the air in her own words in real time. 

During the livestream, she showed that she had actually pre-recorded a bunch of apologies to share, but ultimately decided not to post them because they were obviously too diplomatic and did not feel genuine. 

She first addressed accusations of self-hate. She claimed that yes, sometimes she has been frustrated with her physical appearance, like her hair, but that does not mean she hates herself. She said she loves herself and everything about her, and regrets ever sharing negative thoughts on social media.

She then addressed her controversial old song, and the term she used in it.

“It shouldn’t be used. Period,” she said. ” I’m going to start with, I’m very sorry to anybody who has taken offense, to anybody who I have hurt, who I have hurt using this term.”

She also said she thinks that at its core, it is just a very bad song. She denied that the song was in any way related to Sandra Bland.

Doja Cat next addressed what happened in those chat rooms, which she claims were in no way for white supremacists.

“There are racist people who come in and out of the chat. They’re there. They happen and then they’re banned,” she explained.

Doja Cat said that like anywhere on the internet, racist people pop in and cause problems, and that maybe on TinyChat, it’s more common because there is less regulation. She claimed that as a mod herself, she has kicked people promoting this behavior out of chats. She maintained the chats she was in were not for white supremacists.

Regarding her use of the n-word in one of the videos, Doja Cat said she was drunk and not thinking at all. She said it had nothing to do with race-play, like some people had suggested. She also called out people who said she only dates white men, explaining that who she is attracted to and who she dates is none of their business. 

She closed her video by telling her fans she loved them and apologizing to them once more.

“I’m not perfect. But at the end of the day, I shouldn’t be doing dumb shit,” she said.

Old Clips Resurface

The clips that allegedly show Doja Cat in what many initially deemed racist chat rooms have been shared by multiple users and were a discussion thread on the messaging platform Lipstick Alley. Though that thread has now been deleted, one person wrote Doja Cat would joke along as people in the rooms made racist remarks.

Some videos just show her in the chat room, surrounded mainly by white men. In many, she talks about sexual acts. In one, she says the n-word. Many of the people in the room laugh in response. Some users said she stripped during these chats in front of allegedly racist men.

People on Twitter also accused Doja Cat of being anti-black. Some made claims that the singer only dates white men. Others pointed to a tweet Doja Cat has deleted that said “thinking about being Black can make any sensible person depressed.”

Screenshot via Twitter: @barbzbussy

“Like just think about it wouldn’t being White make soo much more sense,” the tweet continued. “Life would have value.”

Because of this, many called out the singer’s behavior, saying things like, “that girl needs help.”

Many were not pleased with her first apology, which is likely what prompted the second. #OnlyKlans became a top trending topic on Monday morning, with many using it to further call out Doja Cat’s past actions. 

“Define ‘taking seriously’ @DojaCat,” another Twitter user wrote. “typing up a few words is not a sincere apology… Stop hiding behind a fucking screen.”

See what others are saying: (Complex) (Vulture) (The Independent)

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Many Fans Are Disappointed With John Krasinski for Selling ‘Some Good News’

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  • Fans of John Krasinski have been loving his YouTube web series “Some Good News,” which was intended to spread joy during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Days after Krasinski announced he was taking a break from the show, news broke that he had sold the series to ViacomCBS for an undisclosed amount and will no longer be its host.  
  • While some have congratulated him on the deal, plenty of fans are unhappy, refusing to watch a more corporate-backed show without him hosting. 
  • Others called him a sellout for profiting off a show that was intended to be positive light during hard times.

Update May 26, 2020 – John Krasinski has since stated that reports about the show moving to CBS All Access are incorrect. He did not explicitly confirm where the show is expected to air.

What is SGN?

John Krasinki reached a deal to sell his massively successful YouTube series “Some Good News” to ViacomCBS, but fans online seem to have mixed feelings about it. 

Krasinski started the short-lived YouTube show in March as a way to highlight feel-good stories and spread joy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It was an instant hit, with the channel earning over 2.5 million subscribers in two months and racking up over 71,000,000 total views with just 14 videos. 

The actor self-financed and produced the weekly show from his own home, reaching out to his audience for stories and ideas. Eventually, corporate sponsors began to show him support that allowed him to conduct surprise giveaways. For instance, he once partnered with AT&T to provide nurses and doctors with free wireless service for three months, and also provided a group of Boston healthcare workers with Red Sox tickets for life,

Krasinski even made headlines for using the show to host reunions for The Office and Hamilton casts, as well as host a virtual high school prom and graduation that featured big names like the Jonas Brothers, Billie Eilish, Steven Speilberg, and Oprah. 

After eight episodes, Krasinski announced Monday that he would be taking a break from the show. In the post, he shared a link to Sunday’s show, which many understood to be his final episode. 

By Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of his deal with ViacomCBS.

Details of the Sale 

The deal reportedly came after a massive bidding war over the series, with the winning amount left undisclosed. 

Now the Hollywood Reporter says ViacomCBS plans to broadcast the show across its soon-to-be rebranded streaming platform, CBA All Access, before moving it over to a wider audience through some of the company’s other brands. As far as production, the series will be produced via Comedy Central Productions.

Unfortunately for many fans, Krasinski will no longer be a host of the show. Instead, he will carry on as an executive producer and is expected to have some sort of on-air presence. A new host will be announced at a later date. 

“Could not be more excited and proud to be partnering with CBS/Viacom to be able to bring Some Good News to so many more people!” Krasinski said in a statement Thursday.

“From the first episode, our goal was to create a news show dedicated entirely to good news. Never did I expect to be joining the ranks of such a historic news organization as CBS.”

He followed up with a tweet Friday morning expressing excitement about the show living on.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that Krasinski initially resisted the urge to sell the series, despite a ton of interest from broadcast networks and streaming services after the first episode alone. 

However, Krasinski already has a relationship with ViacomCBS since it owns Paramount Television, which produces his Amazon show “Jack Ryan.” Krasinski also wrote, directed, and starred in the film “A Quiet Place” for Paramount Pictures, and “A Quiet Place Part II” is scheduled to be released in September.

Online Reactions 

Responses to the news have been varied. Many viewers have expressed support for the move and thanked Krasinski for the joy his show brought them.

Still, there are plenty of fans who are disappointed and frustrated by the move. Some went so far as to accuse him of being a sellout and trying to profit off something that was marketing as a sincere attempt to bring light during dark times. Others were sad to see the show become more corporate and refused to watch without him as the host.

Others expressed concern about the show potentially being less accessible since it was previously free to watch on YouTube. 

It appears that SGN has caught wind of those concerns because it has been responding to fans on Twitter promising to make the show as accessible as possible. 

There have been a handful of fans defending Krasinski, understanding the deal as a good business decision, but others wonder if this will leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths or cause some to question his intentions behind the series. 

For now it will be interesting to see how the move actually impacts the SGN and if the series will still be valuable without Krasinski as a host. 

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

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