- Over the weekend, two women accused singer Justin Bieber of sexual assault. The first, Danielle, said she was invited to Bieber’s hotel room at the Four Seasons in Austin after seeing him perform in 2014. She claimed he had sex with her after she told him to get off her and said things were going too far.
- The second, Kadi, said she was also invited to his hotel in 2015 when Bieber allegedly locked her in a room with him. She said she was able to kick him off of her and run away while the assault was taking place.
- Bieber has not specifically addressed Kadi’s claim, but posted several tweets about Danielle’s, which he says is false.
- He claims he was in Austin during that time, but did not stay at the Four Seasons, and allegedly confirmed this with a manager at the hotel. He also shared screenshots of receipts of hotel reservations booked at other locations.
First Allegation Against Bieber
Singer Justin Bieber defended himself against accusations of sexual assault, Sunday night, calling one account “factually impossible.”
“I don’t normally address things as I have dealt with random accusations my entire career but after talking with my wife and team I have decided to speak up on an issue tonight,” Bieber wrote on Twitter, starting a long series of posts.
Allegations against the 26-year-old pop star began Saturday when a Twitter user named Danielle said Bieber assaulted her on March 9, 2014. Danielle claimed that she and her friends were at an event in Austin where Bieber, who was accompanied by his then-girlfriend Selena Gomez, made a surprise performance. Danielle claimed that a man approached her and her friends, asking if they wanted to meet Bieber.
They said yes, took photos with Bieber, and chatted with him. After this, Danielle alleged that he and his friends invited them back to the Four Seasons hotel. She claimed that upon arriving, her friends were sent to one room, but she was brought to another with Bieber, who asked her to not say anything.
Danielle wrote that Bieber asked her to join him in bed and hegan to kiss her, even though she tried to change the conversation by asking about Gomez. According to Danielle, she had been drinking, and hoped this would be a clear sign that she was not willing to do much with the singer.
As things progressed, Danielle claims that Beieber began to undress her. When she told him things were going too far and she wanted to get back with her friends, Danielle alleges that Bieber responded by saying, “Relax. They’re all okay.”
“I was very uncomfortable and I felt myself starting to hyperventilate,” Danielle wrote in her post. “I told him to get off because I was starting to worry about my friends but it was too late. He forced himself inside me before I got the last few words out…My body felt unconscious.”
Second Claim Comes Out
Later that day, another girl named Kadi echoed her support for Danielle and claimed she had also been assaulted by Bieber. She said that after waiting in line for a meet and greet with Bieber, his bodyguard Mikey invited her up to Bieber’s hotel, where there was a small get together.
Kadi claims that when she was there, she started talking to Bieber, who kissed her and then followed her into the bathroom. Kady then said that he locked the door to the bathroom, which was attached to the bedroom. She alleged that the singer continued to kiss her and touch her, while she told him that she was waiting for marriage to have sex.
However, Kadi claimed that after this, he pushed her to the bed, removed some of her clothes and penetrated her. She said she kicked him off of her and ran away. Kadi wrote that she told her sister, who warned her against speaking out because her alleged sexual encounter could harm her or her family’s reputation.
She said she remained silent until 2017, when the MeToo movement encouraged her to speak out. She claimed she tweeted then deleted her story, but a reporter did contact her asking for more information, though nothing ever came of it. In addition to her story, she shared screenshots of messages she sent with Bieber’s bodyguard, the reporter, and another girl who was at the hotel named Arianna.
While Bieber has not specifically addressed the allegation from Kadi, he sent out numerous tweets denouncing Danielle’s story, which has since been deleted.
“Rumors are rumors but sexual abuse is something I don’t take lightly. I wanted to speak out right away but out of respect to so many victims who deal with these issues daily I wanted to make sure I gathered the facts before I made any statement,” Bieber said.
According to Bieber, he was in Austin on March 9, the day that Danielle claimed the incident happened. However, he said he was with Gomez and his friends, and showed photos of him elsewhere throughout the night.
He also said he did not stay at the Four Seasons, the hotel that Danielle claimed the incident happened at. While one tweet from March 10, 2014 does show someone claiming to see him at the hotel, Bieber was allegedly just at the restaurant, not an overnight guest.
Beiber maintains that he spent one night at an Airbnb with Gomez and friends and another at the Westin. He shared receipts and screenshots that appear to confirm reservations there. He also claimed that the Four Season regional manager stated that he was never at the hotel during this timeframe.
“Every claim of sexual abuse should be taken very seriously and this is why my response was needed,” Bieber later explained. “However this story is factually impossible and that is why I will be working with twitter and authorities to take legal action.”
He did face backlash for his response, however, as some thought his promise of legal action looked like threats against his accusers. Others did not think he should be bringing Gomez into the situation and making her his alibi.
Other Stars Accused of Sexual Assault
The accusation against Bieber came one day after a woman claimed that actor Ansel Elgort sexually assaulted her when she was 17. Elgort has denied this and said he did have a relationship with her, but it was consensual and legal. Danielle still claimed that seeing someone speak up about Elgort gave her the courage to speak out against Bieber.
Also over the weekend, Cole Sprouse and other members of the cast of CW’s “Riverdale” were accused of sexual assault and harassment. The tweets came from resembling accounts, all of which had a woman’s first name followed by a long series of numbers as the handle.
The accusations against Sprouse are still online, however, tweets with allegations against stars like Lili Reinhart, KJ Apa, and Vanessa Morgan have been deleted. In one case, the user who tweeted a sexual harassment claim against Reinhart later tweeted that the claims about Apa and Morgan were fake.
“Do you see how easy it is to lie and you guys will believe it?” that user wrote, with many claiming it was an effort to prove Sprouse’s innocence.
The allegations still became a trending topic on Twitter, with some thinking they were all fake, but others still feeling inclined to believe them. Both Sprouse and Reinhart have made threads denouncing the claims.
“False accusations do tremendous damage to victims of actual assault. Furthermore, I would never seek to silence anybody,” Sprouse wrote. “I encourage that people look into the accusations themselves, as the events detailed were factually untrue.”
“I have always taken sexual assault allegations seriously. But it was proven that this account was created specifically to create false stories about me and my cast,” Reinhart added. “I can’t think of something more twisted than lying about sexual assault.”
Reinhart also claimed that the cast is looking into legal action.
See what others are saying: (Pitchfork) (Entertainment Weekly) (The Guardian)
Halyna Hutchins Family Settles With “Rust” Production, Filming to Resume in 2023
Alec Baldwin said everyone involved was motivated by the “desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son.”
The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the set of “Rust” last year, reached a settlement with the production over a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday.
The lawsuit was filed in February, several months after Hutchins’ death in New Mexico last October. The cast and crew were rehearsing a scene that involved producer and actor Alec Baldwin pointing a gun toward the camera. Baldwin claims he did not know it was loaded when it fired, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
The actor also claims he did not actually pull the trigger, but investigators determined it must have been pulled.
Hutchins’ husband Matthew filed the wrongful death suit on behalf of himself and his young son. It claimed that the production did not follow proper safety procedures and endangered the crew via reckless cost-cutting measures. Baldwin was listed as a defendant, as well as the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director, Dave Halls, and others involved with the film.
The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but as part of the agreement, the production of “Rust” will resume in January 2023. The late cinematographer’s husband will join the project as an executive producer.
“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he said in a statement. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”
A Tribute to Hutchins
Souza will return as the director. In a statement, he said his “every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring” Hutchins.
For his part, Baldwin shared the news of the settlement on his Instagram Wednesday morning.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” he wrote. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
There is still an ongoing criminal probe happening separately from this lawsuit. It is unclear what impact the settlement will have on that, if any.
Last month, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies sent a letter to the New Mexico Board of Finance seeking additional funding to prosecute up to four people over the incident, including Baldwin. So far, no charges have been filed.
In April, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau fined the production after it found multiple safety violations on set.
See what others are saying: (The Los Angeles Times) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Deadline)
The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”
The group said that by severing ties with Fulmer, it felt like they were losing a friend.
“That Is Not What We Stand For”
Digital comedy and sketch group The Try Guys posted a video on Monday night explaining the recent removal of member Ned Fulmer.
Last week, the Internet was filled with speculation that Fulmer, who is married with children, was having an affair with a staffer for The Try Guys. Fulmer confirmed the reports, claiming he had a “consensual workplace relationship.” The Try Guys quickly announced that Fulmer would no longer be working with the group as the result of an internal review.
In Monday’s video, the remaining three members, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger, explained what led to their decision to remove Fulmer. While the trio noted there were legal issues that prevented them from sharing certain details, they wanted to be as transparent as possible.
“On Labor Day weekend, multiple fans alerted us that they had seen Ned and an employee engaging in public romantic behavior,” Habersberger explained. “We reached out to check on that employee and Ned confirmed the reports, and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time, which was obviously very shocking to us.”
He emphasized that the rest of the group “had no idea this was going on.”
After this, The Try Guys reached out to a variety of lawyers and HR professionals to make sure they handled the situation correctly.
“This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are, and that is not what we stand for.”
Removing Fulmer From Content
They decided to immediately remove Fulmer from work activities and hired an HR rep to conduct a review. Fulmer was also withdrawn from releases pending the results of that review.
As part of this, his video section was erased, he was digitally taken out of some content, and he was not included in merch drops. The Try Guys said this was a long and tedious process.
“Honestly, I want to give major props to our editing staff for how deftly they handled that,” Kornfeld said. “There are several videos that we have deemed as fully unreleasable, you will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that is a decision that has cost us lots of money.”
“We will not be able to recoup that money,” he continued. “But it’s a decision we stand by proudly.”
The group declined to share details of the review but claimed it found that Fulmer engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of the team. Because of this, Yang, Kornfeld, and Habersberger gave written consent on Sept. 16 to ax Fulmer as a manager and employee of The Try Guys company.
The three said they were always planning to make a public statement about their decision, but were initially waiting out of respect to the families and employees involved. As online speculation arose, they chose to deal with it sooner.
“We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with, we just made a TV show together,” Kornfeld said. “I’m sure many of you feel the same way.”
According to the group, some upcoming videos featuring Fulmer will be edited to remove him. They said they are currently taking time to reimagine their channel.
Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use
Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.
Willis Debunks Rumors
Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake.
Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects.
However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.
“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.
Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.
This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful.
“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”
Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise.