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Thread: Seagal is at it again

  1. #121
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    Zhara Fight

    Steven Seagal to Produce Live MMA Show in Russia
    12:42 PM PDT 5/29/2018 by Vladimir Kozlov


    Getty Images
    Steven Seagal

    He serves as president of the newly formed sports promotion company Zhara Fight.

    Hollywood actor and Russian citizen Steven Seagal has launched a sports promotion company in Russia to produce a live fight show.

    Zhara Fight, with Seagal at the helm as president, will promote live events featuring MMA and other fighters from various countries. The inaugural show is scheduled for May 30 at one of Moscow's most popular venues, Vegas City Hall. "Emin Agalarov helped to make it real," Seagal said in a video, published on Vegas City Hall's website, referring to a Russian pop star and entrepreneur whose family owns the venue.

    (Incidentally, Agalarov's name has popped up in the investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.)

    "We want to set up a situation where we do everything," Seagal said, explaining the concept of his show. "Maybe there is an MMA kind of thing; maybe there is boxing; maybe there's different kind of fights."

    Seagal, a longtime supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, obtained Russian citizenship in late 2016. "He is a spectacular human being and a great, great, great world leader, maybe, the greatest," Seagal said about Putin in the Vegas City Hall video.

    Seagal has recently been accused of sexual assault and harassment by several women, including Regina Simons and Jenny McCarthy. In late January, Beverly Hills police submitted a sexual assault case against Seagal to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

    Last week, Julianna Margulies spoke about her uncomfortable meeting with Seagal while he toted a gun.
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  2. #122
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    More from Margulies

    Julianna Margulies Recalls a Meeting With Steven Seagal and His Gun: "I Was Scared"
    12:00 AM PDT 5/24/2018 by Lexy Perez


    Vera Anderson/WireImage; Kristina Nikishina/Getty Images

    “He lifted up the cushion and he took out his gun. And I had never seen a gun in my life, not up close. And I said, 'Oh, my god.' I started getting very sweaty," the 'Dietland' actress said on Katie Couric's podcast.
    Julianna Margulies opened up about her uncomfortable meeting with a gun-toting Steven Seagal for The Katie Couric Podcast on Thursday, where she also addressed the #MeToo movement and Matt Damon's "spectrum of behavior" controversy.

    The Dietland star told Couric that her “horrific” hotel meeting with Seagal, who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, took a dark turn when she realized he had a gun hidden in the couch.

    “I walked in and I sat down and I jumped right back up because there was something very uncomfortable and hard in the couch. He laughed and said, 'Oh, sorry, that must have been my gun,'” the actress told Couric. “He lifted up the cushion and he took out his gun. And I had never seen a gun in my life, not up close. And I said, 'Oh, my god.' I started getting very sweaty and he said, 'Oh, it’s just for all the crazies that are out there. I have to protect myself.'”

    After a casting director informed the then-recent college graduate that Seagal wanted to go over a scene with her in his hotel room, Margulies visited the actor, believing the female casting director would be accompanying her. Margulies quickly learned that she was alone with an armed actor.

    “I started getting angry at myself. Because my inner dialogue was, 'You stupid idiot. How could you have done this? No one knows where you are, and you’re in a hotel room alone with this guy and he’s got a gun. How stupid. You’re stupid.’ I was just chastising myself,” Margulies recalled.

    Margulies continued to grow uncomfortable after the actor informed her that he was a “healer” and requested she allow him to read her palm, something the actress recalled being odd and comical. “He told me I had really weak kidneys. At that point, to be honest, as a New York girl, I kind of started laughing inside. Like, this guy’s pathetic. Does he think I’m buying this line of crap? ... I just started talking a lot out of nerves. ...I squirmed my way out of there.”

    Though the actress left “sweating” and with a “pounding” heart, she had to return to Seagal’s hotel room, after realizing she had no cab fare. Prior to their meeting, Margulies had requested that she be reimbursed for her trip to Brooklyn. “I went back and I knocked on the door, and he smirked, and I think he thought I was coming back, like, ‘Oh, she got smart.’ And I stayed on the other side of the door and I held my hand out and I said, ... 'It cost me $15 to get here and I need cab fare to get home,” the actress explained.

    After Seagal supplied her with money, Margulies rushed away. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought if I just survived Steven Seagal and a gun in a hotel room by myself, I can handle a subway back to Brooklyn.” The actress would later land the role in Out for Justice, but warned the film’s team that she refused to meet with Seagal alone. “I said to everyone in there, I know you don’t know me, but I’d really appreciate it if no one would ever let me be in the room alone with him. Because I was scared.”

    Margulies’ story comes in wake of the #MeToo movement, which has seen a slew of Hollywood figures being accused of sexual harassment and assault. Apart from female empowerment, the actress explained that the movement has also instigated a conversation as to what qualifies as everyday bad behavior and sexual assault, something she defends Damon on attempting to speak out about. The actor received backlash after arguing that there’s a “continuum” and “hierarchy of abuse” with predatory behavior.

    “Matt Damon tried to do that, quite eloquently, and he got demonized,” Margulies argued. “I didn’t think that was right. I understood what he was saying. He was completely compassionate about what was going with people who are raping, but it’s not the same as what’s going on with people who are joking around on a set. You have to differentiate between what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. The dialogue has been opened, finally, after all these years. The reason the pendulum swung so far was that women, it’s been bubbling under the surface and this tiny little opening happened, and we all just ran out of that one ripped seam.”

    In light of the #MeToo movement, the actress admitted to Couric that she too has endured “invasive” experiences with men after a man once got underneath her legs to look under her skirt. Margulies added that the current climate has marked an “empowering” change among both men and women, but it's important "not to pit women against men." "This isn’t about women against bad guys. This is about people who abuse power. I think what’s important to remember is that there is also women who abuse their power. This whole movement, I feel, has been bubbling under the surface for years. ... It's just the beginning.”

    Marguilies also added, "I truly do think that when you’re desperate for a job and you’re excited and you want to act and here is someone offering you something, you don’t think that’s going to happen, but now you will. So hopefully now that conversation will protect the next generation of actors."


    Listen to the full audio of Couric's interview with Margulies below.
    Julianna Margulies has been lighting up the small screen for over two decades, with standout roles on TV shows like ER and The Good Wife. She joins Katie and Brian to discuss everything from the big impact George Clooney had on her career to what she loved about playing Alicia Florrick. She also explains what makes her latest character on AMC's Dietland such a delicious role. Plus, Julianna opens up about her own experiences with harassment as a young actress.
    https://art19.com/shows/katie-couric...2-41aece4891be
    Margulies' initial report here.

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  3. #123
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    Ruskie Steven

    Hollywood martial arts star to open transport technology festival in Moscow in late August
    Society & Culture July 12, 14:00 UTC+3
    The festival will gather modern bright innovations and present concepts of the future in the sphere of transport and autonomous movement


    Steven Seagal © Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

    MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. Renowned American actor and film director Steven Seagal will open the Mobilistic (mobility and logistics) technology festival in Moscow’s Crocus Expo exhibition center, which will run from August 29 to September 9, Crocus Group First Vice President Emin Agalarov told reporters on Thursday.

    "Our friend Steven Seagal, now a Russian citizen, will open the exhibition and articulate the basic concepts of the event," he specified.

    The festival will gather modern bright innovations and present concepts of the future in the sphere of transport and autonomous movement, Agalarov said. The exhibition will focus on environmentally friendly means of transport aimed at fostering an attitude of care towards nature. The exhibition’s visitors will learn about modern environmental challenges connected to the use of diesel transport, alternative fuel, transport infrastructure, "smart cities" and test electric car technologies and a virtual reality attraction.

    "The key objective of the festival - which is mostly social, educational and even raises awareness-is to tell everyone who comes, what the future will look like, the technologies we have today and the innovative solutions that change our present and will change our life for the better in the future, so that it could become even more comfortable, pleasant and dynamic," said Vyacheslav Kuzyakov, Director General of Jaguar Land Rover (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan), who is taking part in the exhibition.

    The organizers invited Russian and foreign companies to showcase their products at the auto show.
    And why wasn't he in Helsinki?
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  4. #124
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    Wth?

    WORLD NEWSAUGUST 4, 2018 / 12:09 PM / A DAY AGO
    Russia tasks Hollywood actor Seagal with improving U.S. ties
    Reuters Staff

    2 MIN READ

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it had made U.S. actor Steven Seagal its special representative for Russian-U.S. humanitarian ties, a role it said was meant to deepen cultural, art and youth ties between the two countries.

    President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to U.S. actor Steven Seagal in 2016, saying he hoped it would serve as a symbol of how fractious ties between Moscow and Washington were starting to improve.

    Since then, U.S.-Russia relations have only got worse however with U.S. intelligence agencies accusing Moscow of interfering in Donald Trump’s White House run, an allegation Russia denies. The two countries are also at odds over Syria and Ukraine.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry likened Seagal’s new role to that of a U.N. goodwill ambassador and said that the actor, who is known for his martial arts prowess, would receive no salary.

    “It’s a case of people’s diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy,” the ministry said.

    Seagal, who sometimes appears on Russian state TV to talk about his views and career, was cited by Kremlin-backed TV station RT as welcoming the appointment.

    “I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” RT cited Seagal as saying. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.”

    For more than a decade Seagal, who according to his own website is 66, has been a regular visitor to Russia. His movies, including such titles as “Under Siege” and “Sniper: Special Ops,” are popular with Russian audiences.


    U.S. actor Steven Seagal watches the Victory Day parade, marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

    President Putin is also a fan of the kind of martial arts that Seagal often practiced in his Hollywood action movies.

    Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Andrew Osborn
    Now Russia is just flat out mocking us.
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  5. #125
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    Walks out of interview

    No words, man. Just no words.


    Steven Seagal Walks Out of Interview After Being Asked About Sexual Assault Claim

    3:52 PM PDT 10/4/2018 by Katie Kilkenny


    Getty Images
    Steven Seagal

    The actor has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women.
    Steven Seagal walked out of a BBC Newsnight interview on Thursday when he was asked about being accused of sexual misconduct in the U.S. amid the #MeToo movement.

    The moment happened when host Kirsty Wark said to the actor, "In terms of your life in America, you've been very much caught up in allegations of sexual harassment. You had a rape allegation against you and I wonder how you deal with all that." Seagal then pulled his earpiece off and wordlessly left the chair where he was conducting the interview; he forgot to take the microphone off, and offscreen someone can be heard helping him remove it.

    "Hello, Steven Seagal?" Wark responded, before pivoting immediately into a report: "Seagal there, and of course though he didn't respond there, he has said previously that he denies any allegation made against him."

    The actor has been accused of misconduct or strange solo encounters by several major Hollywood figures, including Julianna Margulies and Portia de Rossi.

    In September, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute a sex crimes case involving Seagal, an alleged sexual assault that took place in 1993, because the statute of limitations had passed. Inside Edition correspondent Lisa Guerrero recalled an audition where Seagal was wearing only a silk kimono, and being asked to attend a "private rehearsal" with him. Regina Simons says the actor sexually assaulted her at a wrap party for one of his films, in which she was an extra.

    Later on Thursday, Guerrero responded to the BBC's tweet about the incident, writing on Twitter, "This is SO GREAT! As one of the dozen women who have shared our #MeToo stories about @sseagalofficial , Thank you @BBCNewsnight @BBC and @KirstyWark for asking him about it. Very telling that he that he ran away... #TimesUp."

    Watch Seagal's Newsnight appearance, below.

    This is the moment Steven Seagal walks out on a #newsnight interview over questioning about #metoo allegations, which he denies.@sseagalofficial | @KirstyWark | @BBCTwo | #newsnight pic.twitter.com/Lr6mE3th4F

    — BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) October 4, 2018
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  6. #126
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    Declined to file

    DECEMBER 21, 2018 12:08PM PT
    D.A. Declines to Charge Steven Seagal in Sexual Assault Case
    By GENE MADDAUS
    Senior Media Writer
    @GeneMaddaus


    CREDIT: YURI KOCHETKOV/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

    For the second time this year, the L.A. County District Attorney’s office has declined to file a sexual assault charge against actor Steven Seagal.

    A woman came forward to the LAPD to allege that Seagal had sexually assaulted her in the summer of 2002. The D.A.’s Hollywood sex crimes task force reviewed case, but determined that the statute of limitations had expired.

    The D.A.’s office did not identify the alleged victim. However, attorney Lisa Bloom said that the case involves her client, former model Faviola Dadis. In January, Dadis told the Wrap that Seagal had groped her during an audition. She said Seagal asked her to strip down to a bikini, and then wanted to do a “romantic scene” with her. She said she was uncomfortable with that.

    “And then he started pinching my nipples and grabbing my crotch area with his other hand,” she told the Wrap. “I quickly yelled ‘This audition is over!’”

    In a statement, Bloom said the case was not charged solely because the law requires that older cases include independent, corroborating evidence.

    “We appreciate the DA’s office’s careful review of this case,” Bloom said. “Its hands are tied by this unfair law which bars the courthouse door even to young women like my client, Faviola Dadis, who is highly credible. The law fails to recognize that few minors are emotionally ready to seek justice against their rapists until many years later. Instead, it offers rapists a “get out of jail free” card if they simply pass an arbitrary time deadline. And the law seems to presume that victims are lying, creating an unfairly high evidentiary standard not required in other criminal cases. Few rapists commit their crimes in the presence of witnesses.”

    The D.A.’s office also declined to charge Seagal in September, after receiving an allegation that had been investigated by the Beverly Hills Police Department. In that case, a woman alleged that he had sexually assaulted her in 1993. That case also fell outside the statute of limitations. In January, the Wrap reported that actress Regina Simons accused Seagal of raping her in 1993. Eleven other woman, including actresses Portia de Rossi and Julianna Margulies, have also accused Seagal of sexual misconduct.

    Seagal is a Russian citizen, and earlier this year was appointed as a special envoy to improve U.S.-Russia relations. In 2017, he was banned from visiting Ukraine for five years, due to his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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  7. #127
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    Theron v Seagal - put my money on Charlize


    Charlize Theron Says ‘Overweight’ Steven Seagal ‘Can Barely Fight’: ‘He’s Not Very Nice to Women’

    Charlize Theron, who has done her own stunts in several action movies, called Steven Seagal’s martial arts skills into question
    By Ally Mauch June 26, 2020 03:05 PM


    JOHN LAMPARSKI/GETTY; JEFF BOTTARI/ZUFFA LLC/GETTY

    Charlize Theron has criticized fellow actor Steven Seagal, calling into question his martial arts skills and sharing that “he’s not very nice to women.”

    While promoting her latest action film, The Old Guard on Howard Stern’s radio show, the 44-year-old actress said that she prepares for her action projects by watching old fighting videos, and has often come across one of Seagal, who has said he has a black belt in karate.

    “At night I’ll go online to watch fighters or watch people fight and you always come across that odd Seagal video of him ‘fighting’ in Japan, but he really isn’t,” she said.

    She continued, “He’s just incredibly overweight and pushing people. He’s overweight and can barely fight … look it up, it’s ridiculous. He’s shoving people by the face. It’s a whole setup.”

    The Mad Max: Fury Road star then justified her criticism of Seagal, 68, noting, “I have no problem talking s--- about him because he’s not very nice to women so f--- you!”

    A rep for Seagal did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

    This is not the first time that Seagal’s conduct towards women has come into question.

    The actor has been accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct by several women, including Portia de Rossi, Julianna Margulies, Jenny McCarthy and Inside Edition correspondent Lisa Guerrero.

    In 2018, he was also accused of rape by an extra who appeared in his 1994 film On Deadly Ground, Regina Simons. She told TheWrap that she was 18 at the time of the alleged rape, which she claimed happened after Seagal invited her to a wrap party for the movie at his Beverly Hills home in 1993.

    Around the same time, Dutch model Faviola Dadis took to Instagram to accuse the actor of sexually assaulting her at an audition in 2002 after being inspired by de Rossi coming forward with her own accusations.

    Seagal has denied all accusations against him.
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  8. #128
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    I agree with her 100% that Seagal is a dirtbag.

    However, I’d be careful about judging his ability to actually fight based on some Aikido demonstrations. From what I’ve heard from some very legitimate MAists who have had experience with him on the mat, in his younger years, Seagal had legitimate high-level Aikido skills. They may have evaporated since then, but being fat alone does not mean a person can’t fight, for real or for the screen. Look at Sammo Hung, who, although in recent years he can’t move nearly like he did in the past, has been hampered by injuries from a lifetime of difficult and dangerous film stunts. You don’t need to have 6-or-8-pack abs to be a legitimate MAist. Action-wise, Charlize Theron will never equal what fat Sammo Hung accomplished in action films. Anyway, Charlize Theron may be tough, fit, and may do her own stunts, and can probably even handle herself in some real-life self-defense situations; but that doesn’t make her a ‘fighter.’ It makes her an actress/screen fighter. I give her tons of credit for that. BUT, even if she does go through actual fight conditioning for her roles, it’s not the same thing as real fighting.

    Long ago, there was a celebrity boxing match between Joey Buttafuoco and former WWF/WWE wrestler “Chyna” (Joanie Laurer). Buttafuoco was big and fat, and “Chyna” looked to be conditioned, and had been a big, physically strong woman who lifted weights. In spite of (or perhaps because of) his girth, and maybe his attitude, Buttafuoco won, pretty easily. Before the match, ‘Chyna’ had stated that she was confident she was going to beat him. I’m not making this a male vs female thing; it’s about underestimating a person’s ability to fight based on their physical appearance. You don’t really know until you know.

    Another article states that Charlene Theron made movie heroines a thing. Maybe she got the ball rolling in Hollywood, but lead female heroines are old hat in old-school Hong Kong, Taiwanese, and Japanese cinema. Look at Cheng Pei-Pei, Angela Mao and Meiko Kaji as only a few examples. And Chinese wuxia films featured lead female characters all the way back to the late 1920s.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 06-29-2020 at 08:56 AM.

  9. #129
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    Such a patriot...

    ...someday, an unauthorized biography of Seagal will make an amusing read.

    MAY 30, 20216:04 AMUPDATED 4 HOURS AGO
    Hollywood actor Seagal joins pro-Kremlin party, proposes tougher laws
    By Reuters Staff

    2 MIN READ


    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Hollywood actor Steven Seagal, a long-time admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has joined a pro-Kremlin party, the the party said on Sunday.

    Seagal received a party membership card of an alliance named Just Russia - Patriots - For Truth on Saturday, a video relased by the party showed. It was formed earlier this year, when three leftist parties, all of which support Putin, merged into one.

    Seagal, a Russian citizen since 2016, proposed a crackdown on businesses which damage the environment.

    “Without being able to arrest people, when we just fine them, they are probably making more money of the production of the things that are defiling the environment,” said in his welcome speech at a party event.

    The party controls a faction in the lower house of the Russian parliament and plans to take part in a parliamentary election in September.

    Seagal, a U.S.-born martial artist, is best known for producing and starring in action movies, while Putin, who granted him the citizenship, is a fan of martial arts.

    At Saturday’s ceremony, Seagal posed for pictures next to one of the party leaders, Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin, who enrolled in an army of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and admitted to commanding a combat unit in a conflict which has killed 14,000 people in seven years.

    In 2018, Russia tasked Seagal with improving humanitarian ties with the United States at a time when relations between the two countries have deteriorated to their worst level since the Cold War.

    As a Russian representative, Seagal visited Venezuela earlier in May and presented a samurai sword to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

    Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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    Putin & Seagal

    PECULIAR PALS Inside Vladimir Putin & Steven Seagal’s odd friendship from martial arts events together to actor calling him ‘brother’
    Cheyenne R. Ubiera
    1:01 ET, Mar 1 2022 Updated: 1:01 ET, Mar 1 2022
    THE seemingly close friendship between Vladimir Putin and actor Steven Seagal has made headlines as the Russian President's invasion of Ukraine escalates.

    The unlikely duo has had a friendship for many years with Seagal reportedly calling the Russian leader his "brother" in previous interviews.


    Many people were asking questions about Steven Seagal's strange friendship with Russian President Vladimir PutinCredit: AFP

    A photo shared on social media claimed that Seagal had joined Russia's militaryCredit: AFP
    Following Putin's invasion of Ukraine, videos shared on social media claimed to show the veteran actor participating in Russia's military operations.

    A screenshot of a bogus tweet was shared by podcaster Joe Rogan, among others, that falsely claimed Seagal had been "spotted by intelligence agencies" while fighting alongside Russian forces near the Hostomel military airfield.

    Rogan shared the image on Instagram, nothing how ridiculous "this f**ked up movie we're living through."

    However, the post was eventually removed.

    "I deleted my earlier post about Steven Seagal being in Ukraine because it was a parody, which isn't surprising, but honestly it wouldn't be surprising if it was true either," he wrote in another post.

    "He was banned from Ukraine in 2017 because he was labeled as a national security threat. I, like all of you, hope the tragic situation is resolved there quickly."

    The image being spread around featured Seagal in army gear, which was actually from his 2017 film Cartels.

    Seagal eventually shared his thoughts amid the invasion, telling Fox News: "Most of us have friends and family in Russia and Ukraine.

    "I look at both as one family and really believe it is an outside entity spending huge sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other.

    "My prayers are that both countries will come to a positive, peaceful resolution where we can live and thrive together in peace."

    Seagal has called Putin "one of the greatest living world leaders" and had previously defended the president's actions in Crimea during an interview with the state-run newspaper, Rossiskaya Gazeta.

    The actor went on to say he considers Putin "a friend, would like to consider him a brother."

    ODD FRIENDSHIP
    The two have bonded over their shared love of martial arts and Seagal was even granted Russian citizenship in 2016.

    At that point in their friendship, the actor had visited Russia several times and had accompanied the president to multiple martial arts events.

    In 2018 Seagal was appointed as Russia's special envoy to the US. His position was to "facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public, and youth exchanges," said the Foreign Ministry.

    As Rogan said in his post, Ukraine had banned Seagal from entering the country for five years back in 2017, because the actor was a "threat" to national security.

    INVASION CONTINUES
    Meanwhile, Russia's military assault on Ukraine is entering its fifth day after Putin ordered nuclear forces on increased alert. Determined troops in Kyiv have held onto the capital and other major cities for now.

    Loud explosions from airstrikes continue to rock the capital city. Dramatic video showed the night sky lit up, as a huge 40-mile column of Russian tanks was earlier seen advancing to the city.

    Air raid sirens blared out across the city as police officers hurried people to shelters.

    Putin's troops are believed to be looking to surround Kyiv after earlier attacks by advanced forces were repelled in fierce battles.

    Kyiv was bracing itself for a further onslaught after the Russians unleashed hell on Ukraine's second city Kharkiv using deadly cluster bombs.

    In Kyiv, many were preparing for a fresh assault with makeshift barricades dotting the streets.

    Residents in the city remained defiant in the face of the onslaught.

    "We will greet them with Molotov cocktails and bullets to the head," said bank employee Viktor Rudnichenko.

    "The only flowers they might get from us will be for their grave."


    Seagal received Russian citizenship in 2016 and has been a special envoy for the country since 2018Credit: Alamy

    In 2017, Seagal was banned entry to the Ukraine for five yearsCredit: Getty
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  11. #131
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    Awkward

    Putin’s Hollywood pals – the stars who snuggled up to the Russian dictator

    Golden photo ops … clockwise from top left, Steven Seagal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gérard Depardieu and Mickey Rourke. Composite: Getty, Reuters, AFP
    From Leonardo DiCaprio to Steven Seagal, Tinseltown’s biggest names were once happy to hang out with the invading president. Are they all now cringing? Not entirely
    Phil Hoad
    @phlode
    Mon 7 Mar 2022 03.00 EST

    It was one of those surreal moments when light entertainment mugs history. Vladimir Putin crooned the song Blueberry Hill at a children’s charity benefit in St Petersburg in 2010, as a crowd of celebrities – including Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Gérard Depardieu, Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci – clapped along like they were in kindergarten. When the politician reeled off the opening line – “I found my thrill” – thoughts of the Georgian invasion or the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko didn’t seem to be urgently popping into anyone’s head. Knowing what we know now, the spectacle plays more like Dr Evil’s rendition of Just the Two of Us – but far less funny. In 2022, after Putin’s ruthless assault on Ukraine, the guests present that day must feel very naive, perhaps even ashamed – but they are not the only western celebs who cosied up to Putin. In defence of this bunch, they had been booked to appear by Samuel Aroutiounian, a New Yorker who specialised in bringing Hollywood talent to Russia and later said that he had been unaware Putin would be appearing.



    Now, as big names from Angelina Jolie to Sean Penn and Mark Ruffalo issue their support for besieged Ukraine, Hollywood must be cringing at the days when a public appearance with Putin wasn’t beyond the pale. In the mid-00s, he had merely nibbled at a few former Soviet provinces and seen off the odd dissident – events that didn’t trouble most Entertainment Weekly readers. Russia was an important emerging film market, and firmly on the celebrity junket circuit. So Jean-Claude Van Damme, in 2007, could happily buff the president’s macho credentials at a St Petersburg MMA event, while Leonardo DiCaprio purred at his fellow feline lover during a big-cat conservation summit in 2010.

    His hegemony firmly established by then, Putin already had a domestic entertainment machine working hard in his favour. Channel One – descendant of the Soviet-era state TV station RTO – had produced Night Watch and Day Watch, two aspiring global blockbusters that put a manichaean gloss on the chaotic post-communist Russia that Putin had quelled in the early 21st century. “Dark means freedom and light means responsibility – and, in real life, Putin, for sure, is a light one,” said director Timur Bekmambetov at the time. “He is trying to fix everything, make everything organised. But it’s very bad for freedom.” Perhaps the succession of jingoistic military films the Russian cinema industry was also starting to churn out – which included 2005’s 9th Company, 2008’s Admiral and 2013’s Stalingrad – were a true bellwether of his actual allegiance.

    But Putin – lambasted for his aggressions in Chechnya and Georgia, and with suspicions swirling around state agencies after the killings of Litvinenko and Anna Politkovskaya – was sorely in need of international legitimacy. Photo ops with big stars and the implied entry into the VIP area of global mass entertainment helped normalise his rogue state in the eyes of the world.


    Picks his moments to challenge the leader … Oliver Stone during the making of The Putin Interviews. Photograph: Komandir/Courtesy of Showtime
    Or so he assumed. By 2014, when Putin had annexed Crimea and by which time it was obvious he wasn’t going to surrender the leadership any time soon, Hollywood was starting to run shy. Talking to Time magazine, Blueberry Hill mastermind Aroutiounian said of the A-list: “They’re much more concerned about not killing their careers. [In the current political climate] they don’t know what will happen to them when they come back home. They will take a lot of heat.” With his inscrutable air, machiavellian geopolitical schemes and his critics’ habit of dying in outlandish assassinations, Putin was increasingly resembling a cartoonish arch-villain of the Blofeld ilk. His foreign military intelligence agency was even called GRU, like the Despicable Me baddie. But there remained a coterie of film-world refuseniks who were unbothered by his growing pariah status: not just Depardieu, but Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal and director Oliver Stone. In fact, this set of leathery iconoclasts and libertarians seemed to actively embrace it.

    Three of them fell into the useful-idiot camp. Depardieu took Russian citizenship, and its refreshing 13% flat tax rate, in 2013, after criticising the French government over its levying plans. On friendly terms with Putin, he called Russia “a great democracy” in an open letter. At a Latvian film festival in 2014, Depardieu was sufficiently high on great sentiments to declare Ukraine “part of Russia”. Cue tanks rolling across the border in 2022 and the sound of tarte à l’humble being scoffed: “I am against this fratricidal war,” he said. “I say, ‘Stop the weapons and negotiate.’”

    Rourke, meanwhile, was unfazed by Putin’s Crimea incursion and judged him “a real gentleman” while buying a T-shirt with the leader’s face on it at a Moscow department store in 2014. “I met him a couple of times and he was a very cool regular guy, looked me right in the eye,” he told Sky News. It’s easy to assume this was some kind of edgelord publicity stunt from the one-time hellraiser, but he offered up his Russian girlfriend as the real reason: “It’s all about family. I don’t give a **** about the politics. That’s not my department.”

    Seagal doesn’t even try to play that get-out-of-jail-free card. Granted Russian citizenship in 2016, he had already called Putin’s Crimea annexation “very reasonable” and lauded the president as “one of the world’s greatest living leaders”. With his old pal now trashing the rest of Ukraine, he’s only dialled down his support one notch: “I look at Russia and Ukraine as one family and really believe it is an outside entity spending huge sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other,” he told Fox News.


    Putin shakes hands with martial arts movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme as they watch a mixed fight event in St Petersburg in 2007. Photograph: Vladimir Rodionov/AFP/Getty Images
    You can see why – in a kind of Botoxed 21st-century version of the Hollywood Ten – three over-the-hill blowhard actors might identify and want to shack up with the Russian president. Stone’s case is more complicated. He had already made documentaries about Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, so with his past proclivity for revolutionary figureheads, Putin was a logical next candidate. The director’s four-hour 2017 series, The Putin Interviews, undoubtedly indulges the leader but in doing so it draws him out in all his bland cynicism. It also picks its moments to challenge him: on Chechnya, on Russian “democracy”, on election interference.

    It’s not hard to understand what Stone got out of discussing realpolitik with his country’s adversary. The bigger question is how Putin benefited from this arrangement. Could the series, in continually insisting on the equivalence between US and Russian expansionism, have been part of his broader disinformation strategy? To throw a tantalising bone to sympathetic liberal anti-imperialists to distract them from his real endeavour during the period: radicalising the US and Europe’s nativist right wing.

    At least Stone’s dalliance with Putin gave us an opportunity to sit and watch the surface of the man – even if it didn’t quite get at what lay beyond. In one remarkable vignette, the director gets the autocrat to sit for his first viewing of Dr Strangelove. As the climactic mushroom-cloud montage plays out, Putin seems faintly amused by this depiction of mutually assured destruction: “Nothing has changed.” Maybe that’s what the Moscow celebrity train has helped obscure all along – for Putin, it has always really been about a colder, harsher reality.
    Threads
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    Van Damme!!!
    Ukraine
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  12. #132
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    WOAT (worst of all time)

    Steven Seagal Called Worst SNL Host Ever
    By DOUG NORRIE | 1 MONTH AGO

    Saturday Night Live is such an institution at this point, running for decades and becoming a firm part of the cultural zeitgeist that we often end up praising those who’ve come along and taken the stage for the show. It’s been a who’s who of series regulars, guest hosts, and musical numbers so much so that some of the most iconic sketches and characters ever first started on the show’s stage. We don’t often talk about who was the *worst* to ever appear on Saturday Night Live. Why should we? There’s almost too much great stuff. But hasn’t stopped many series writers and regulars from talking about who should never have been there in the first place. Recently, Bob Odenkirk discussed the show’s worst host and he was unequivocal in naming Steven Seagal as the worst to ever do it.

    While appearing on The Howard Stern (via UpRoxx) show Odenkirk discussed his time as a writer on Saturday Night Live and, of course, the shock jock had to bring up the less positive times on the show. Odenkirk was asked who the worst ever SNL how was and he didn’t hesitate in naming Steven Seagal. For starters, Odenkirk reiterated the idea that Seagal seemed to have almost no idea they were doing a comedy show. The former said Seagal was much more concerned with his own personal appearance than actually getting to something that could be funny. For instance, in a Hanz and Franz sketch with the two Schwarzenegger-adjacent bodybuilders, Seagal was insistent on beating them up to keep up with his own gestalt.

    And Odenkirk didn’t stop there with Steven Seagal, saying that the martial arts and action star (at the time) basically came in and said he really didn’t know anything about Saturday Night Live as a show. Even going as far as to say he didn’t know who any of the talent was at the time. Remember, this episode happened back in 1991 when the cast included Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, David Spade, Chris Farley, and others who were considered some of the premier comedic talent of a generation. Check out what Odenkirk had to say about Seagal:



    For his part, Bob Odenkirk isn’t the first Saturday Night Live talent to name Steven Seagal as the worst host the show has ever had. A number of others have done rounds on this before with David Spade even including whole stories about Seagal’s appearance in the book Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. And Julia Sweeney backed up the claim saying Seagal pitched an absolutely insane, and not all funny, sketch about a psychiatrist wanting to have sex with a client. Plus, the aforementioned Carvey mentioned in the past about the Hanz and Franz sketch in which Seagal ultimately walked off despondent about his interaction with the comically obtuse “bodybuilders”. Apparently, Seagal lamented that he didn’t have the chance to kick the real Arnold’s “f#@#ing ass”.

    These days, Steven Seagal is long past the days of getting invited to do Saturday Night Live hosting duties. He’s been embroiled in a number of different controversies over the years while also putting out direct-to-video movies in the meantime. Whatever happens though, at least he will live on in SNL lore even if it isn’t for the most positive of reasons.
    I remember watching that episode.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #133

    Seagal

    Jesse Enkamp interviews Seagal, there are two parts, kind of interesting, this
    seems to be trending on youtube a bit, There are even people responding with their own take on these two:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Gt-7U1ctao
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT1hA5HDhjs

    Regardless of what you think of Seagal as a person they are worth checking out.

    Kent

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