An attorney for the accuser said that “Sanz and his enablers lured [her] into their celebrity world” and later “destroyed her life.”
“SNL” Stars Added to Lawsuit
A woman accusing former “Saturday Night Live” star Horatio Sanz of grooming and sexual assault amended her complaint to list comedians Jimmy Fallon and Tracy Morgan, as well as producer Lorne Michaels, as defendants in the suit for allegedly enabling Sanz.
The woman who filed the suit, identified as Jane Doe, says she was a superfan of “SNL” and was regularly invited to the show’s after parties between 2000 to 2002 after attending tapings of the program. Doe was a teenager at the time.
She claims that Sanz groomed her over the course of those years and groped her in front of several “SNL” cast members during a party in 2002 when she was 17. Later that night, she claims Sanz sexually assaulted her in a taxi.
The suit was first filed last year after the New York’s Child Victims Act new “lookback window” allowed for alleged victims like Doe to file suits for claims that old.
“Sanz and his enablers lured Jane into their celebrity world and made her feel like a cool kid for drinking and partying with a bunch of famous grown-ups,” Susan Crumiller, Doe’s attorney, told Deadline. “Instead, they destroyed her life. Jane has spent the past two decades struggling with the repercussions of what they did to her; now it’s their turn.”
Doe’s interactions with “SNL” cast members began after Fallon and Sanz sent her an email thanking her for making a fan page for the show.
According to the complaint, once she started getting invited to “SNL” after parties, she regularly drank with the comedians, who allegedly knew how young she was. The document outlines one 2001 party where Doe and Fallon allegedly discussed Doe’s SAT prep. Doe claims that Fallon remarked that she must have “a few years” before graduating.
An Alleged History of “Minimizing” Allegations
Doe says she was publicly groped at a party hosted by Morgan in 2002. She claims sex workers attended the party, and “no measures were taken” to prevent underage guests from attending or consuming alcohol.
According to the lawsuit, Doe and Sanz were making out in a room full of people when he began to place his hand on her crotch. Doe called that moment “her worse nightmare.”
“Jane glanced up to see that the majority of the SNL cast was gawking at her,” the suit says. “Worse, two of her lifelong idols, [Tina] Fey and [Rachel] Dratch, were not only staring directly at her, watching her being groped, but giggling excitedly with their hands over their mouths.”
The suit claims that Seth Meyers, Maya Rudolph, and Ana Gasteyer also witnessed the groping. Rudolph and Gasteyer were allegedly visibly horrified by what was going on.
According to the complaint, Doe asked Sanz to “stop” and told him she wanted to leave the party, but he insisted to onlookers that “everything was fine.” At one point, Sanz allegedly took Doe’s breasts out of her shirt, revealing them to other partygoers.
Doe claims that Sanz eventually rode in a taxi on the way to the train station with her and began removing her clothes during the ride. At one point, he allegedly attempted to penetrate her with his fingers after she had passed out in the car.
When she later tried to approach Sanz about the incident, the suit claims that the comedian responded by saying, “Don’t worry, Jimmy [Fallon] doesn’t care if you’re a slut.”
She believes this party culture and alleged disregard for reckless behavior starts at the top.
“Michaels and SNL have a storied history of minimizing, disregarding, and/or burying sexual assault allegations,” the lawsuit says.
Sanz previously denied the allegations in the suit via his attorney, who called them “categorically false.” His attorney also claimed that before filing the suit, Doe “demanded $7.5 million in exchange for her silence.”
NBCUniversal, which was previously named as a defendant in the suit, has already filed a motion to dismiss it, claiming it is not responsible for what its staffers did off-set. Now that the suit has been amended, a spokesperson for the network told IndieWire that “regardless of Jane Doe’s changing narratives” the network would “renew its motion to dismiss.”
“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press
Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.
Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling”
Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million.
Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.
Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.
Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.
“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it.
Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired.
The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation.
A Film Riddled With Rumors
Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday.
Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings.
Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.
In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Box Office Mojo) (New York Times)
Senators Introduce Legislation Requiring Radios to Pay Royalties to Artists
Sen. Padilla argued the bill is necessary to give artists the “dignity and respect they deserve.”
The American Music Fairness Act
Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the American Music Fairness Act to the Senate on Thursday, a bill that would require radio stations to pay royalties to performers and rights holders.
The bill was previously introduced to the House last year. According to a release, the United States is the only democratic country where artists are not compensated for their music’s use on AM or FM radio. While songwriters and publishers receive payment, these stations have never been required to give a slice of the pie to performers and copyright holders.
On streaming and satellite radio, however, both groups receive royalty payments.
In a statement, Padilla said it is time the country starts treating “our musical artists with the dignity and respect they deserve for the music they produce and we enjoy every day.”
“California’s artists have played a pivotal role in enriching and diversifying our country’s music scene,” he added. “That is why passing the American Music Fairness Act is so important.”
“From Beale Street to Music Row to the hills of East Tennessee, the Volunteer State’s songwriters have undeniably made their mark,” Blackburn echoed. “Tennessee’s creators deserve to be compensated for their work. This legislation will ensure that they receive fair payment and can keep the great hits coming.”
The American Music Fairness Act would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay royalties to music creators when their songs are played. It would also protect smaller stations that either make less than $1.5 million in annual revenue or who have a parent company that makes less than $10 million in annual revenue by letting them play unlimited music for under $500 a year.
The bill would also require other countries to pay American artists for the use of their work.
Support From Major Music Groups
The legislation is endorsed by a number of groups, including the Recording Academy, SAG-AFTRA, and the American Federation of Musicians.
If passed, the bill could move a lot of money into the pockets of performers. According to the Recording Academy, when American music gets international airplay, other countries collect royalties for American artists, amounting to around $200 million every year. However, they “never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.”
Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, argues that the money belongs to the artists.
“Broadcast companies profit from advertising sales because of the creative content musicians and singers record. It stands to reason that the performers who create the content deserve to be compensated just as songwriters are now,” Drescher said in a statement. “The reason it’s called the American Music Fairness Act is because the current situation is wholly unfair and it’s up to Congress to make it fair NOW!”
Last year, Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bill with essentially the opposite agenda. It aims to reserve radio’s royalty-free status. The American Music Fairness Act is being viewed as a counter-response to this bill.
Kanye West Says Catalog Is Potentially Being Sold Without His Permission: “Just Like Taylor Swift”
After Swift lost the rights to her life’s work, she took on the endeavor of re-recording her first six albums.
Kanye’s Catalog Potentially Up For Grabs
Following reports that Kanye West was considering selling his catalog, the artist took to Instagram on Tuesday to claim his work is potentially being sold without his approval.
On Monday, Billboard reported that West had been “quietly and intermittently shopping his publishing catalog.”
While the outlet’s sources did not reveal what price West was aiming for, Billboard estimated that West might be looking at a $175 million valuation for his discography. Some of Billboard’s sources seemingly suggested that West and his team were specifically behind the effort to sell his work, but others claimed the “catalog was never actively shopped” and instead, West had been receiving offers from potential buyers.
Not long after, several news outlets picked the story up and reported that West was gearing up to sell his catalog. West responded by writing on his Instagram story that this was not the case.
“Not For Sale”
“Just like Taylor Swift,” he said, referencing music mogul Scooter Braun purchasing Swift’s masters with Big Machine Records without her approval. “My publishing is being put up for my sale without my knowledge. Not for sale.”
Swift referred to the sale of her masters to Braun as her “worst case scenario.” In order to regain ownership of her work, she is in the process of re-recording her first six albums, all of which she originally made under Big Machine. Two have already been released and proved to be wildly commercially successful.
According to Forbes, it is unclear which of his albums West owns the masters to, if he owns any at all. Because of this, it is unknown what kind of position he would be put in if his catalog, which is currently managed by Sony, was sold.
The status of any potential for his work to be sold became foggier later on Tuesday when West shared screenshots of a text exchange he had. He asked an unidentified person what was happening with the catalog sale, and that person responded by calling it “fake news.”
“Of course every publisher wants to pitch [their] hardest buy, smh,” the text continued.
West did not further indicate if those texts were meant to clarify that his catalog was, in fact, not up for sale, or just further distance himself from any potential acquisition.