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Thread: #metoo (An Open Secret: Hollywood - Please Watch)

  1. #151
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    Alex Hadzic

    US fencers wear pink masks after teammate accused of sexual misconduct
    Fencing team reportedly object to teammate’s place on team
    Alen Hadzic denies allegations against him

    The US men’s épée team lost to Japan on Friday. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP
    Guardian sport
    Fri 30 Jul 2021 10.41 EDT

    Three members of the United States Olympic men’s épée team wore pink masks on Friday amid allegations their teammate is guilty of sexual misconduct.

    Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez all wore pink facemasks before the start of the competition. Alex Hadzic, who has been accused of sexual assault, was the only member of the team who did not.

    Hadzic qualified for the Tokyo Games in May. Shortly afterwards, three women accused him of sexual impropriety in incidents that occurred from 2013 to 2015. Hadzic’s attorney, Michael Palma, told the New York Times the fencer was innocent of all allegations. He did confirm that Hadzic was suspended from Columbia University for the 2013-14 school year after an investigation involving sexual consent.

    In the wake of the allegations, the US Center for SafeSport suspended the 29-year-old from all fencing activities on 2 June. Hadzic appealed that suspension and won. The arbitrator ruled Hadzic should not contact his accusers while saying his suspension had been “inappropriate to the allegations”. However, he travelled to Tokyo separately from his teammates and had to stay in a hotel away from the athletes’ village.

    While Hoyle, McDowald and Ramirez’s facemasks were an apparent rebuke of Hadzic they did not comment verbally on the matter on Friday. One of Hadzic’s teammates, Katharine Holmes, says she collected electronic signatures from every member of the fencing team objecting to Hadzic’s inclusion at the Olympics. Palma has distributed a letter of objection from Holmes, which includes only her written signature.

    Hadzic was an alternate on the US team and did not compete. The US men’s épée team lost to Japan on Friday, ending their Olympic campaign.
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  2. #152
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    More on Kris Wu

    Chinese-Canadian Pop Singer Kris Wu Detained on Suspicion of Rape
    The rapper's detainment by Chinese police follows allegations made by a 19-year-old former fan, who accused Wu of having sex with her while she was drunk.

    BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

    JULY 31, 2021 12:10PM

    Kris Wu VCG/VCG VIA GETTY IMAGES

    Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been detained by Beijing police on suspicion of rape, police announced Saturday, following an accusation the former member of the Korean boy band EXO lured young women into sexual relationships.

    Wu, 30, earlier was accused by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied the accusation.

    The teenager said seven other women contacted her to say Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were under 18 but gave no indication whether they were younger than China’s age of consent of 14.

    Wu has been “criminally detained” on suspicion of rape “in response to relevant information reported on the internet” including that he “repeatedly lured young women to have sexual relations,” the police statement said. It gave no other details.

    The pop star had previously denied the accusations. “There was no ‘groupie sex’! There was no ‘underage’!” Wu wrote last month on his social media account. “If there were this kind of thing, please everyone relax, I would put myself in jail!”

    The news was trending as the no. 1 most searched topic on Weibo on Saturday night, and some users online started commenting on Wu’s social media account, telling him to “Get out of China!”

    Wu is a Canadian citizen, according to the police statement.

    The official paper of the Communist Party, the People’s Daily, weighed in on the case, saying in a short opinion post online that “Having a foreign nationality is not a protective talisman, and no matter how big the name is, there is no immunity.”

    The teenager publicized her accusations on social media and later in an interview with the internet portal NetEase. A day after that interview appeared, at least 10 brands including Porsche and Louis Vuitton broke off endorsement and other deals with Wu.

    According to the interview, she thought she was meeting Wu for a career opportunity. Instead, his staff who was present forced her to drink. As someone who did not go to bars, she said her tolerance was low and she was drunk after two drinks. The next day, she woke up in Wu’s bed. That morning, he was kind to her and promised to take care of her, she said.

    The teenager said that was the beginning of what she had thought was their relationship. This was the case until March, when he stopped returning her messages.

    At first, she said she felt sorry for herself. But after she learned that there were other women who had been treated similarly, she said she felt there were others who were worse-off.

    “I don’t believe this is just my own personal matter. You can even say that this is a problem with the atmosphere in China’s entertainment circle,” she said in the NetEase interview.

    Wu said that he had met the young woman on Dec. 5, 2020, but “I didn’t force her to drink,” and “there was not this sort of ‘details’ she describes.”

    “I didn’t expect my silence to encourage these rumors, and I couldn’t stand it!” Wu previously wrote. “There were a lot of people there that day who can bear witness.”

    The teenager and Wu both said they had asked authorities to investigate.

    Saturday’s statement didn’t mention that case and gave no information about the status of that investigation.
    This has become quite the 'he said, she said'
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  3. #153
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    JJ Lin

    JJ Lin issues legal statements shutting down “malicious” rumours linking him to Kris Wu allegations
    Lin's agency has put out statements naming online accounts that it said have been spreading falsehoods against the Singaporean Mandopop star

    By
    Daniel Peters
    3rd August 2021

    JJ Lin, Kris Wu. Credits: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Louis Vuitton, Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images
    Singaporean Mandopop star JJ Lin has issued legal statements shutting down online rumours linking him to Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu, who has been detained by Chinese authorities on suspicion of rape.

    On Sunday and Monday (August 1 and 2), Lin’s agency JFJ Productions published legal statements on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. Attributed to Shanghai Jiuze Law Firm, the statements collectively named the handles of over 40 users that the law firm said had “maliciously published/spread false statements against Mr JJ Lin through ways such as slander and insults”, per The Straits Times.

    “Some of them have continued to launch personal attacks against Mr Lin in a deliberate attempt to lower his social status.”

    The users named in the statement had reportedly claimed a connection between Lin and Wu, who has been detained in China on suspicion of rape since Saturday (July 31), Chinese police confirmed.

    Lin was reportedly named by these online users along with Taiwanese-American singer Will Pan, whose agency also posted a legal statement on Weibo yesterday (August 2) refuting all rumours.

    JFJ Productions’ statement denied that Lin had engaged in any of the illegal activities alleged by these online accounts and urged these users to delete their public posts containing allegations against Lin.

    Shanghai Jiuze Law Firm has been authorised by Lin to collate evidence and take legal action immediately, the statement added.

    Kris Wu, a former member of the K-pop group EXO, has been accused of date rape and preying on underage girls by his rumoured 19-year-old ex-girlfriend, Du Meizhu.

    In July, 24 alleged victims made their own accusations on Chinese social media, all of which Wu has denied. Several luxury brands have since terminated their partnerships with Wu.
    The circle expands...
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  4. #154
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    Busted

    Aug 16, 2021 1:19pm PT
    Kris Wu Formally Arrested for Rape Charges and His Shows Deleted Online


    By Rebecca Davis


    Baidu
    A Chinese court formally approved the arrest of pop icon Kris Wu on rape charges on Monday — and Chinese streamers have swiftly responded by deleting the shows in which he appears.

    The move comes after Wu was first detained on July 31 on suspicions of rape. The allegations against him first emerged last month after Du Meizhu, 18, accused him on social media of date-raping her while she was drunk, and doing the same to other young women. He denied the charges at the time.

    The Chaoyang District People’s Procuratorate in Beijing issued an official statement that it had approved the arrest “after investigation in accordance with the law.”

    The case is already being hailed by some commentators in China as a “major event in the history of the Chinese film industry.”

    In China, a rape charge will incur a sentence of at minimum three but no more than 10 years in prison, the lawyer Wu Fatian told the NetEase Entertainment outlet. In particularly egregious cases as well as instances of statutory rape, the sentence can exceed ten years and up to life imprisonment and even the death penalty. China’s age of consent is 14.

    As of 2019, Chinese courts had a conviction rate of 99.9%. Although China-born Kris Wu is a Canadian citizen, he will be tried in China according to Chinese law. The court will also determine as part of its sentence whether and when he will be deported.

    Generally, an approval of arrest by a Chinese court “indicates the evidence against the person is relatively solid, and that it will be extremely difficult to get out on bail while awaiting trial,” assessed the lawyer Wu, predicting that the pop star will likely remain in police custody for the time being.

    Yang Chen, a lawyer with the Beijing Chunlin Law Firm, explained to Chinese outlet The Paper that typically three conditions must be met for the court to approve an arrest. First, there is some evidence of the crime; second, the sentence will involve at a minimum some jail time; and third, there’s concern that the suspect will otherwise endanger the case via means such as “harassing the victim, interfering with witness testimony… destroying or falsifying evidence… attempting to commit suicide, or fleeing.” Once an arrest is approved, a process of investigation and review can go on for months before a court date is set.

    Once ‘Formative’ Shows Censored
    Shows featuring Wu quickly disappeared in their entirety online, including high-profile ones from major streamers and content studios Youku, iQiyi, MangoTV and Bilibili, among others.

    Among the most popular is iQiyi’s “The Rap of China,” which is considered a show that catapulted the rap genre into mainstream Chinese culture. It ran for four seasons from 2017 until 2020, with the first iteration building a nationwide fandom for now-well-known rappers PG One, GAI, VaVa, TT and After Journey, among others.

    Emotions ran high over the deletion of that first “Rap of China” season. “No matter how you look at it, this show really was formative for a huge number of young rap listeners,” one commentator said.

    Other shows to disappear include the first season of iQiyi’s reality show “Fourtry” — which follows Wu and fellow showbiz stars like Angelababy trying to run a fashion store in Tokyo amid culture clashes.

    In the past, celebs who have run afoul of the law have been edited out of productions after completion, and their unreleased projects shelved indefinitely.

    Official media and organizations have portrayed Wu’s arrest as a major victory and example of China’s strong rule of law, as well as a golden opportunity to call for a clean-up of toxic, money- and celebrity-worshipping culture.

    In a commentary, the official Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily called on the entertainment industry to “dig out its sores and cut off its carbuncles.”

    “The facts prove that once the law is violated, even those who fly the highest can lose all they had in an instant. Those who use fame to cover up their boorishness and selfish desires will inevitably end up self-destructing,” it wrote. “The more famous you become, the more moral and ethical you must be. The more fans you have, the more you have to set an example.”

    The Women’s Federation wrote: “No matter how dazzling a person’s halo or how famous they are, they don’t have special privileges. In China, no person can be above the law!”
    Typically when a topic gets 3+ posts in a thread, I'll break it into a indie thread, but I'll forego that with this one for now.
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  5. #155
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    Hadzic banned

    More on Hadzic

    USA Fencing Is Blocking A Top Athlete From A Competition After Sexual Assault Accusations. It Took Eight Years And Widespread Outcry.
    “I’m relieved but confused as to why this didn’t happen before the Olympics?” said a fencer who competed in Tokyo.

    Brianna Sacks
    BuzzFeed News Reporter
    Posted on October 21, 2021, at 6:19 p.m. ET


    Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons
    Alen Hadzic

    After outcry from members of its own Olympic team, USA Fencing is blocking one of its top athletes who is facing multiple accusations of sexual assault from an upcoming competition — a step that gets ahead of the national system for addressing misconduct within athletic organizations, but fencers and officials say is necessary to keep the sport safe.

    Alen Hadzic, a 29-year-old elite fencer from Montclair, New Jersey, is currently being investigated after at least six women filed claims of sexual misconduct, including rape, with the US Center for SafeSport, which took over abuse and misconduct investigations from individual sports organizations in 2017 after revelations of the widespread failings within USA Gymnastics. BuzzFeed News previously reported how, in spite of women speaking up again and again, Hadzic was able to reach the highest levels of his sport. USA Fencing in July acknowledged to BuzzFeed News it has known for eight years that Hadzic was suspended from his university after an investigation into a fencing teammate’s accusation of sexual assault. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the organization explained that it did not take action at the time because its policies then did not require it to do so.

    But now, the national governing body is refusing to register him for a competition in Colmar, France, at the end of the month, and officials said they intend to take the same unprecedented action for future tournaments, including some of those in the US. The move highlights a gray area between sports organizations and the independent body tasked with overseeing them when it comes to sexual assault cases. USA Fencing is, in a sense, setting a precedent that it may still hold athletes to conduct standards by blocking Hadzic’s participation from competition — even while an independent sexual misconduct investigation is ongoing.

    In a statement, USA Fencing said that it “reserves discretion as to which athletes it will register into competitions.”

    “The organization must be mindful of many factors, including how registration of individuals reflects on USA Fencing, its values and the interests of other athletes. USA Fencing does not intend to enter Mr. Hadzic in any competitions for the foreseeable future except to the extent it is legally compelled to do so.’’

    Hadzic’s attorney, Michael Palma, did not return BuzzFeed News’ request for comment, but he told USA Today, which first reported the restriction, that “he will fight to protect the fencer's right to participate.” Both the athlete and his attorney have repeatedly denied the various accusations against him, likening them to a witch hunt. In an interview with Business Insider, Hadzic threatened retaliation.

    Fencers and other members of the organization have mixed feelings about USA Fencing’s extraordinary move. While they’re relieved there has been some action, they also see it as a performative gesture that came way, way too late.

    “I’m relieved but confused as to why this didn’t happen before the Olympics?” said a fencer who competed in Tokyo. “It makes no sense to me.”

    During the Olympics this past summer, BuzzFeed News reported that Hadzic was allowed to travel to Tokyo as an alternate on the men’s epee team despite an ongoing investigation into serious accusations of sexual misconduct by several women, including a teammate. Though SafeSport initially suspended him, an arbitrator ruled in Hadzic’s favor and allowed him to take the coveted spot on Team USA. His presence caused an uproar in the fencing community and among his teammates, who unanimously signed a statement calling for him to be banned for their safety and well-being. As cameras rolled and the world watched ahead of one Olympic event, his male teammates stood beside him wearing pink masks in solidarity with sexual assault survivors, an act of protest against a fellow athlete that an Olympic expert told BuzzFeed News was “rare and highly unusual.”


    Elsa / Getty Images
    Jacob Hoyle and Curtis McDowald of Team USA at the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 30, 2021.

    USA Fencing officials had scrambled to create, for the first time ever, a safety plan for the Games that was supposed to keep him away from women, especially those on his team. But as four Olympic athletes told BuzzFeed News, it didn’t work. They saw Hadzic daily and in close proximity — at the small training center, in line to get into the Olympic village, at the gym, and on shuttles — despite rules that stated he would travel separately. The Lily reported that one female fencer was even put in the same hotel as Hadzic, right down the hall.

    Officials involved in the creation and execution of the safety plan have acknowledged to BuzzFeed News that the process and communication with athletes “could have been handled better.” In the wake of the turmoil, several top officials, including longtime CEO Kris Ekeren, have left or announced their impending resignations.

    “These were unique circumstances for our organization. In retrospect, USA Fencing should have provided more information about the safety plan and its implementation to the athletes in Tokyo,” a spokesperson said. “As an organization, the safety and well-being of USA Fencing members is our top priority, and we have — at times — failed to communicate that adequately. We apologize to our athletes who undeservedly had to endure the many distractions and concerns for their own safety while trying to prepare for the most important competition of their lives.”

    USA Fencing has contended, in interviews, statements, and documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News that with SafeSport taking over “exclusive jurisdiction” of sexual misconduct investigations, its hands were tied in keeping Hadzic from the Olympic team or banning him from the organization. Though it’s now taking steps to keep him from some future competitions, critics have said it should have acted sooner — particularly since the organization was first warned about one of Hadzic’s alleged assaults nearly a decade ago.
    continued next post
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  6. #156
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    Continued from previous post


    Devin Manky / Getty Images
    Alen Hadzic of the USA (left) fences Max Heinzer of Switzerland at the Peter Bakonyi Men's Epee World Cup on Feb. 8, 2020, in Richmond, Canada.
    In October 2013, the lawyer of a fellow member of USA Fencing, who was also Hadzic’s teammate at Columbia University, told top officials that a month before, the university had suspended Hadzic for a year following a formal investigation into her claim of sexual assault. In a letter to USA Fencing, the woman’s lawyer advised USA Fencing to bar him from competitions, writing that “Mr. Hadzic’s conduct does not comport with the standards set by USA Fencing.”

    In their response, the organization explained that it had reviewed all of the documents but would not take any action because Hadzic had not violated any of its policies. Because the then-college athlete was not a coach or authority figure, and because “the alleged conduct” did not occur at a USA Fencing event, the organization said it was not in the position to take any disciplinary action against him.

    The woman’s attorney pushed back, calling the decision an “intentional misreading” of the organization’s own Athlete’s Code of Conduct, which prohibited sexually inappropriate behavior between athletes.

    “A plain reading of this Code of Conduct excerpt renders Mr. Hadzic unfit and thus ineligible to participate,” the attorney wrote. “How can the [United States Fencing Association], in good conscience, claim its hands are tied and permit the participation of a known rapist into its athletic midst?”

    The organization never wrote back. Due to the ongoing investigation into Hadzic, USA Fencing cannot comment about Hadzic’s case, but top officials have reiterated that at that time, the organization didn’t have a policy that specifically addressed what to do if an athlete abused a peer. Also, they argued, the athlete code of conduct only applied to the national team, which Hadzic was not yet on. However, USA Fencing’s bylaws at the time did state that “it is a violation of USFA policy for any employee or member of the USFA to engage in sexual harassment.”

    On Thursday, Ekeren, who signed the correspondence to the woman’s lawyer as interim USA Fencing CEO, told BuzzFeed News that she wishes things had been done differently.

    “As a woman and a parent, this has been heartwrenching,” she said in a statement. “Back in 2013, USA Fencing's policies led to the determination made with regards to Mr. Hadzic. I truly wish that our policies at the time had been different. Our organization has since revised them, and had we been operating under the current policies back at that time, a different decision may have been made.”

    In the following years, Hadzic would go on to compete in and continue to excel at a slew of national and world competitions, despite being temporarily suspended in 2019 for other bad behavior at a competition in Columbia. His position on the US Olympic team placed him at fencing’s highest level, and he has said he is now aiming to again compete in the Paris Games in 2024.

    Whether he is banned remains in the hands of SafeSport, which has yet to deliver a verdict in the high-profile probe, which began in May. The situation is another example of how, despite years of development and a recent doubling of its budget to $20 million, the national system is still imperfect and not up to the task of running timely investigations across the wide, complicated world of US Olympic sports organizations.

    To be fair, SafeSport was set up to fail. Created by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee to enforce anti-abuse policies, the agency was meant to streamline the reporting and investigative process, taking power away from individual national governing bodies, who were failing to properly punish and get rid of abusers within their ranks. But it launched with just three full-time employees to investigate thousands of complaints, which were filed without any statute of limitations. It now has 100 employees, has gotten through 40% of its backlog, and has sanctioned 1,100 people. So far this year, the center has received close to 3,000 reports, which must be handled by 30 full-time investigators and about a dozen contractors. Cases like Hadzic’s, where the allegations took place before the center existed, can be the hardest to tackle.

    There is still no timeline for when SafeSport will conclude its probe. In emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News, an investigator told parties involved last week that “the case is still ongoing and that information from the involved parties is still being gathered.”

    “Investigations into sexual misconduct are sensitive and often complex, particularly those that involve allegations going back many years and that predate the Center — getting it right must be the priority,” Daniel Hill, a SafeSport spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News.

    Hill declined to comment specifically on Hadzic’s case.


    Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images
    Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman participates in a Senate Judiciary hearing on the FBI's handling of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse on Sept. 15, 2021, in Washington, DC.
    Last month, gymnastics star Aly Raisman said at a Senate hearing that in spite of the intentions for SafeSport to be independent, she doesn’t trust it because it was created and funded by the very organization it's supposed to be keeping in line: the US Olympic Committee.

    “I’m trying to be respectful here: I don’t like SafeSport,” she said. “I hear from many survivors that they report their abuse and it’s like playing hot potato, where somebody else kicks it over to somebody else and they don’t hear back for a really long time.”

    Nearly 10 other fencers who filed complaints with SafeSport against their coaches and peers told BuzzFeed News the same thing. Their cases drag on for months, usually without any communication or updates, leaving both parties in limbo, according to emails and case files reviewed by BuzzFeed News. In one instance, a woman filed a report against a referee in January 2020 and was assigned an investigator, but it took 14 months before they started the interview process. She ended up dropping her case in April because waiting was too much for her to handle.

    “It is evident that SafeSport generally misunderstands the complicated nature that is sexual assault,” Lena Johnson, an athlete whose case against another Olympic fencer took almost a year to conclude, told BuzzFeed News. “SafeSport is like one big HR department that’s trying to monitor all sports across the nation. How is that supposed to work?”
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  7. #157
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    sexual assault charges

    Cult Japanese Director Sion Sono Accused of Multiple Sexual Assaults
    The allegations against Sono, who directed Nicolas Cage in last year's 'Prisoners of the Ghostland,' follow similar accusations against a Japanese director and an actor last month.
    BY GAVIN BLAIR

    APRIL 4, 2022 10:58PM

    Sion Sono MONICA SCHIPPER/GETTY IMAGES FOR TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

    Japanese director Sion Sono has been accused by two women of sexual assault and offering parts in his films in return for sex.

    A long-time international festival favorite who directed Nicolas Cage and Nick Cassavetes in last year’s Prisoners of the Ghostland, Sono, 60, has yet to respond to the allegations made in the Shukan Josei weekly magazine.

    An executive at a Japanese film distributor told the magazine: “Even now, there is a director who has no qualms about saying ‘If you screw me, I’ll give you work’. His films are acclaimed and many actresses want to appear in them. He uses that to assault women as if it’s nothing. That director is Sion Sono.”

    These accusations follow those made last month against director Hideo Sakaki and his friend Houka Kino****a by multiple women. Japan may be on the verge of a delayed #MeToo movement.

    An unnamed actress says that Sono told her that lots of women had been having sex with him for many years because they wanted to work in his films, and that they did well in the industry thanks to him, according to Shukan Josei.

    She went on to recount how after Sono offered her a part in one of his films, he attempted to force her to have sex with him. When she refused, the director called another woman who had previously worked with him and they proceeded to engage in sexual acts in front of her. While she was in shock, an assistant director who was present led her outside. Assuming he was trying to help her, she followed him outside, but the assistant director then attempted to take her to a love hotel.

    Another actress reported that after Sono had coerced her into sex with offers of work, he told her, “I want to screw you while you’re talking to your boyfriend on the phone.” When she told him she didn’t have a boyfriend, he allegedly said, “Well get one, I like that kind of thing.”

    Sono’s 2001 Suicide Club attracted some attention on the international festival circuit, but it was Love Exposure (2008) which proved to be his breakthrough film, winning the FIPRESCI Prize at Berlin.

    The director has since won a cult following for his idiosyncractic style, vivid depictions of violence and eroticism, and provocative imagery.

    Sono is married to Megumi Kagurazaka, a former pin-up model who has appeared in a number of his films. His first child was born in 2019, two days before he was hospitalized by a heart attack, delaying the production of Prisoners of the Ghostland.
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  8. #158
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    More scandal...

    WWE Facing Investigations Related to Vince McMahon Payments, Former CEO Paid $14.6M Since 2006
    WWE says it "received, and may receive in the future" inquiries about the alleged hush money payments, and that its board investigation remains ongoing.

    BY ALEX WEPRIN

    JULY 25, 2022 7:18AM

    Vince McMahon
    Vince McMahon MICHAEL N. TODARO/GETTY IMAGES

    The WWE says that former CEO Vince McMahon paid $14.6 million in “unrecorded expenses” from 2006 through 2022, and that it will revise its previous financial results to account for the payments. “All payments underlying the Unrecorded Expenses were or will be paid by Vince McMahon personally,” the company said in a regulatory filing Monday morning.

    In addition, the company disclosed that it is facing investigations related to the McMahon payments, which were reportedly to former female employees with whom he had personal relationships.

    In the regulatory filing, the company addressed the payments, adding that it “has also received, and may receive in the future, regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands arising from, related to, or in connection with these matters.”

    McMahon retired from the WWE on Friday, and on Monday the company officially announced that his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and WWE president Nick Khan, would become co-CEOs. Stephanie McMahon’s husband, Paul “HHH” Levesque, now oversees talent relations and the creative side of the business.

    The WWE board of directors is investigating the payments made by Vince McMahon, and the regulatory filing says that it “remains ongoing.” McMahon allegedly had sexual relationships with women who worked at the company and paid the accumulated $14.6 million as part of severance packages over the years.

    The company also released preliminary financial results on Monday, noting that they are subject to revision. The results included operating income of $69.8 million, compared to $46.3 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
    Professional Wrestling
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  9. #159
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    Five years later...

    #MeToo, Five Years Later: No One’s Fully Returned From “Cancellation” — No, Not Even Louis C.K. (Analysis)
    As one toxic star after another was knocked off his pedestal, cynics predicted many would be back. But comebacks have been fizzling at best. How permanent is #MeToo’s punishment (so far)?
    BY GARY BAUM

    SEPTEMBER 30, 2022 8:45AM

    THR COLLAGE / JEFF SPICER/GETTY IMAGES, RICH FURY/GETTY IMAGES, ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES

    Amid the torrent of accusations leveled against powerful Hollywood men in the frenzied first few months of the #MeToo era, industry observers often shared the same jaded expectation. Short of arrest or indictment, the thinking went, the accused would be back on their feet after a brief time-out and a few memory-cleansing news cycles, carrying on with their careers unaffected. The dollar is king; Hollywood always forgets; etc.

    This hasn’t happened. In fact, comebacks — if they materialize at all — are strikingly and significantly circumscribed. One of #MeToo’s greatest victories, at the practical level, has been its unrelenting administration of professional punishment.

    Think about how few prominent individuals felled by sexual harassment or assault allegations in the post-Weinstein era have returned to an equivalent stature. The category excludes the likes of Jamie Foxx and Ryan Seacrest, whose denials of the allegations against them passed muster in the court of public opinion, as well as Dan Harmon, who was absolved after his victim accepted his apology. This discussion also doesn’t pertain to those whose allegations surfaced pre-2017 (such as Casey Affleck), along with the few entrepreneurs so rich, insulated and unaccountable that censure simply doesn’t matter (see Russell Simmons, though even he had to step down from his company).

    Les Moonves. Roy Price. Brett Ratner. Matt Weiner. Jeremy Piven. Kevin Spacey. Luc Besson. The list goes on. Some of them are hanging around, taking meetings, massaging contacts, even pursuing projects — a few of which even materialize. They’re also fooling themselves.

    Career damage is impossible to determine with precision since you can’t prove what would’ve been or still will be. Also, some unmeasurable portion of the work that has been secured is done by keeping it out of sight, in low-profile gigs like consulting and investing.

    Enforcers of sustained opprobrium — an alliance of #MeToo-aligned activists, influential voices on social media and like-minded press outlets — have limited the extent and amplitude of comeback attempts. They’ve done this by immediately and assertively responding to any known attempts, no matter how minor, tangential or circumstantial.

    The key rhetorical strategy is to treat even the most tentative recovery bid as a prelude to undeserved redemption, ensuring the continued radioactivity of the accused and threatening guilt by association to anyone who assists them. Shunning is then reinforced.

    This is how varied announcements are scuttled. Remember Charlie Rose’s bid at relevance this April, when he posted an interview with Warren Buffett on Substack? That trial balloon was quickly shot down, and eyebrows were raised at the Oracle of Omaha’s reputation-laundering participation. Or, in 2019, Bryan Singer’s revivification as director of Red Sonja? The booing was so loud that producer Avi Lerner, not known for being pushed around, soon gave the job to Transparent creator Joey Soloway. (The director M.J. Bassett recently took over.)

    Louis C.K. and John Lasseter are often highlighted as examples of successful #MeToo-era comebacks — shining to their sympathizers, infuriating to their antagonists. Yet if anything, they’re emblematic of the new ceiling.

    C.K.’s remaining audience has shrunk to his hard-core true believers, the direct-to-consumer fan base for whom he can creatively coast and to whom he can most easily sell. (Except, of course, for those small crowds he surprises with performances, regardless of their inclination, at comedy clubs.) Yes, he nabbed a Grammy for comedy album this year, but it mainly served to remind the public of the overall backwardness of the Recording Academy. And yes, he recently announced to his mailing list that he’ll be playing Madison Square Garden in January 2023, validating some of those early #MeToo pessimists, though there’s little indication he’ll fill the venue with the type of general audience an ambitious craft comedian like him wants most to win over. He’s also culturally caged. Nobody’s asking him to act in another American Hustle or produce their Better Things. C.K.’s a shadow of his former self, a marginal figure.

    Meanwhile, Lasseter, having secured the head position at Skydance Animation, making films at or near the scale and distribution he previously enjoyed, owes his own grand resurgence to the fortunate fact that one of those few entrepreneurs so rich, insulated and unaccountable that censure simply doesn’t matter — David Ellison, heir to the multibillion-dollar Oracle fortune — grew up hanging out saucer-eyed at Pixar. Lasseter may still be considered by some to be a creepy uncle, but as luck would have it, his patron apparently considers him akin to family.

    Regardless, Lasseter’s new role is not close in stature to his previous perch as COO of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation. Then, there’s industry prestige. These days, Lasseter likely wouldn’t be asked to speak at a top film school, since there’d be protests, and it remains to be seen if his movies will be snubbed by the Oscars’ votership, which increasingly strains to keep up with the curve of social sentiment.

    It’s true that certain big names — including Shia LaBeouf and James Franco, who have both denied the most ****ing allegations against them even as they have acknowledged missteps — do seem perpetually on the verge of full-scale comebacks. But such resurgences have yet to materialize. At some point the culture may take another turn. For now, comeuppance rules the day.

    This story first appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
    Progress? Perhaps...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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