GEORGE AND AMAL CLOONEY GAVE OUT NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES ON FLIGHT: Crying babies on a plane aren’t cute, even if they belong to George and Amal Clooney. So when the A-listers flew to England with their 6-month-old twins Alexander and Ella, they brought along noise-cancelling headphones for fellow first-class passengers and a personal note apologizing if the tots threw tantrums. "George was nervous," a source tells Us. "But the babies didn’t even make a peep."
FULLER HOUSE FOR EXPECTANT FATHER JOHN STAMOS: The 54-year-old John Stamos is about to become a dad for the first time with his fiancée Caitlin McHugh. "We have the same morals and the same values, that all clicked nicely. So we said, ‘Oh, well, maybe we should have a family,’" Stamos, 54, told People in an interview released Wednesday. He says that he’ll "be a fun dad. I’ve been practicing for a long time. I’ve done every schtick you can do with a baby on TV … all the bits and jokes and diaper gags. I’ll probably just do all that stuff."
MEGHAN MARKLE TO SPEND CHRISTMAS WITH PRINCE HARRY: Meghan Markle will be spending Christmas Day with Prince Harry and the royal family. It’s a history-making move, as she is the first royal fiancée to celebrate the holiday with them. Buckingham Palace told reporters that Queen Elizabeth II and the family will join the congregation at St. Mary Magdalene Church at her private Sandringham estate in Norfolk on December 25th. "You can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle at Sandringham on Christmas Day," a Kensington Palace spokesman told reporters on Wednesday.
MICHAEL CHE BECOMES SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’S FIRST-EVER HEAD WRITER: Michael Che just broke a significant color barrier: he became the first-ever black person to earn the title of head writer on Saturday Night Live. Colin Jost, aka Scarlett Johansson’s boyfriend, was also named co-head writer. They are partners on "Weekend Update." SNL current head writers, Bryan Tucker and Kent Sublette, will remain in place. This season is the second most-watched in nearly a decade.
ARTIE LANGE ARRESTED: Comedian Artie Lange was arrested Tuesday night at his home in Hoboken, New Jersey, after failing to appear in Essex County Superior Court for charges stemming from a drug arrest earlier in the year, according to reports. The 50-year-old Lange was charged with heroin possession in May.
HALLE BERRY & ALEX DA KID SPLIT: Dunzo. Halle Berry, 51, and Alex Da Kid, 35, have gone their separate ways after several months of dating, Us Weekly reports. Berry confirmed their relationship in September by posting a black and white Instagram of them snuggling up and captioning it, "My balance." Berry has been married three times, most recently to Olivier Martinez, from 2013-2016. She has two children, Nahla, 9, and Maceo, 3.
ABC PULLS ‘GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW’ AMID SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS: Don’t expect to find The Great American Baking Show on ABC’s programming schedule. The show was yanked amid allegations of sexual misconduct raised against Johnny Iuzzini, one of the show’s judges. "In light of allegations that recently came to our attention, ABC has ended its relationship with Johnny Iuzzini and will not be airing the remainder of ‘The Great American Baking Show’ episodes. ABC takes matters such as those described in the allegations very seriously and has come to the conclusion that they violate our standards of conduct. This season’s winner will be announced at a later date. Episodes of ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight’ and ‘CMA Country Christmas’ will take its place this week and next," ABC said in a statement. The show’s third season debuted last week, with its second episode set to air tonight before the announcement.
TAVIS SMILEY’S TALK SHOW SUSPENDED BY PBS AMID SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS: PBS has suspended Tavis Smiley amid sexual misconduct allegations made against the show’s host and namesake, Tavis Smiley. The network confirmed the news about the 53-year-old talk show host and author’s program in a statement. "Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company. PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision," PBS announced. Tavis has hosted the half-hour interview program, which has received four NAACP Image Awards, since 2004.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s partner Mimi O’Donnell is opening up about the late actor’s struggle with addiction in an essay for Vogue. The pair shared three children together: Cooper, 14, Tallulah, 11 and Willa, 9.
Hoffman died from a heroine overdose in February of 2014 at the age of 46.
- "As soon as Phil started using heroin again, I sensed it, terrified," O’Donnell writes. "I told him, ‘You’re going to die. That’s what happens with heroin.’ Every day was filled with worry. Every night, when he went out, I wondered: Will I see him again?"
- She described how Hoffman started using prescription pills and then slowly began transitioning to heroin. She says he went to rehab, more than once, and that eventually she decided that to keep the kids safe, Seymour had to move out, but remain close by, and they had to explain the situation to the kids.
- "We sat in a common room, and they asked him questions, which he answered with his usual honesty," she recalls. "He never came out and said, ‘I’m shooting up heroin,’ but he told them enough so that they could get it, and they were just so happy to see him. It was hard when we left, because they all wanted to know why he couldn’t come home with us. But it felt healthy for us to deal with it together, as a family."
- O’Donnell says she knew something was seriously wrong when he returned from filming the third Hunger Games.
- "It happened so quickly. Phil came home from Atlanta, and I called a few people and said that we needed to keep an eye on him. Then he started using again, and three days later he was dead," she writes. "I had been expecting him to die since the day he started using again, but when it finally happened it hit me with brutal force. I wasn’t prepared. There was no sense of peace or relief, just ferocious pain and overwhelming loss. The most difficult—the impossible—thing was thinking, How do I tell my kids that their dad just died? What are the words?"
- After four years, she says that she and the children are slowly healing, and that they don’t instantly cry when discussing him. We can talk about him in a way that feels as though there’s a remembrance of what happened to him, but that also honors him. We talk about his bad sides and his good sides, what he did that was funny and what he did that was crazy, and what he did that was loving and tender and sweet. We open up, and it brings us together and keeps his spirit alive."
Russell Simmons is facing more allegations of sexual misconduct. According to Complex, nearly a month after being accused of sexually assaulting a teenage model, The New York Times published a report where four women have come forward to detail their encounters with Simmons between 1988 and 2014. Three of the women said that Simmons raped them. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times released an article of their own, where five more women accused the mogul of sexual misconduct.
One of the alleged victims from the NYT article was former Def Jam executive Drew Dixon, who said that Simmons began making sexual advances right after the label hired her in the early ‘90s. She claims that he made sexually graphic phone calls to her, asked her to sit on his lap during meetings, tried to kiss her in a broom closet and would regularly expose his erect penis to her. Dixon says she spoke of the incidents with some of her colleagues, but dealt with the abuse for the sake of her job. She explained, "I didn’t want to cut off my one conduit to having any hope of a career. I thought if I could survive long enough to have a hit—a real bona fide hit with my name on it—I would move categories."
She went on to say that once she secured an executive production credit on the soundtrack of the music documentary, The Show, she transitioned to a new job position. She then let her guard down and accepted Simmons' invitation to his apartment. She said, "I remember realizing I was cornered." After allegedly telling Simmons that she had a gynecological procedure that prevented her from having sex, Dixon says Simmons’ response was that he didn’t care. She added, "I just blacked out," she recalled. "The last thing I remember was him pinning me down to kiss me on the bed."
Music artist Tina Baker and journalist Tonie Sallie have shared their experiences as well. Baker, who was managed by Simmons in the early ‘90s, described a time when he invited her to his apartment to discuss her career. However, Baker said things "got really ugly, pretty fast." Simmons allegedly poured them drinks and tried to kiss her. He got on top of her, pushed her down and reportedly said, "Don’t fight me." Baker added, "I did nothing, I shut my eyes and waited for it to end."
- Sallie, a music journalist who met the mogul while on assignment in the late ’80s, said that she went on several dates with Simmons before ending things. Sallie says he lured her to his apartment and gave her the impression that he was hosting a party. However, no one was there, but him. She said, "He pushed me on the bed and jumped on top of me, and physically attacked me. We were fighting. I said no."
- A fourth woman named Christina Moore says she met Simmons during Art Basel Miami in '14. Moore claims she bumped into Simmons while she and another woman were trying to find their group of friends. He allegedly told them he knew where they needed to go, so they followed him. Moore says she felt "duped." Simmons ended up taking the women to his room, where he ran a bath. Simmons then allegedly pushed her against one of the columns in his room and proceeded to rub his "hands all over her body, up and down." The two women fled after Simmons allegedly told Moore she needed to be tied up. She recalled, "I felt assaulted."
WOMEN SPEAK OUT VIA THE 'LOS ANGELES TIMES'
In other news, three more women have spoken out in a Los Angeles Times report. Actress Natashia Williams-Blach, who starred in the Simmons-produced film, How to Be a Player, said that while she was a freshman at UCLA, Simmons tried to force her to perform oral sex on him after taking a yoga class. The actress says she got out of the situation by saying she had to return to UCLA for study hall.
The second woman, a therapist named Erin Beattie, said Simmons exposed himself to her while she gave him a massage at a hotel in Seattle, Washington back in ’05. She said the mogul asked her to touch his penis and she declined. Beattie said, "He just expected that that was what was going to happen. He couldn’t believe I would say no."
Former Tantris general manager, Karen Russell — Tantris is a yoga studio in West Hollywood owned by Simmons, says that it was a "sexually charged and tense" atmosphere when Simmons was at the establishment. Another instructor at the studio said she left because Simmons maintained an environment where yoga and women were sexualized for money.
- Next, Sherri Hines says she met Simmons at a nightclub in NYC when she was "17 or 18." Simmons allegedly invited her into his new office in '83 and he pinned her down and raped her.
- Lisa Kirk dated one of the Simmon' friends in the '80s and says that he attempted to sexually assault her in a nightclub bathroom in '88.
- Amanda Seales of HBO’s Insecure also accused Simmons of inappropriate sexual banter during a work meeting.
- Simmons has responded to all allegations with a social media post, saying, "I have never had a sexual encounter that was not consensual or lawful." He previously released a statement, vehemently denying prior allegations.
Salma Hayek shared her own horrific Harvey Weinstein story in the New York Times on Wednesday. In a searing op-ed, Hayek describes how her refusal to accept the accused rapist’s advances led to a nightmare on the set of 2002’s Frida, in which she both starred and helped produce.
(Dozens of women, including several prominent actresses, have accused him of assault, harassment and rape in the past few months. He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.)
- Referring to Weinstein as "my monster," Hayek writes that he would turn up at her door "at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location."
- Hayek writes: "The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.’"
- She says she turned down massages, showers and sex with the disgraced producer, who she says made outrageous demands on the set of the Frida Kahlo biopic, including insisting on a sex scene with full frontal nudity.
- Hayek ultimately agreed, but says she had a nervous breakdown while shooting the scene.
- She writes of the experience: "I started throwing up while a set frozen still waited to shoot. I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse. As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene."
- "Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with director Robert Rodriguez and the producer Elizabeth Avellan — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped," she writes.
Hollywood has been accused of fumbling its response at times to the onslaught of sexual assault allegations in recent months, but the 24thAnnual Screen Actors Guild Awards is addressing the issue directly.
The powers that be have decided that the January 21st show will be presented by women and hosted by a woman. (Kristen Bell). They even had two women—Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash—announce the nominations.
- Bell is all in. She told the New York Times: "Culturally there’s always been a conversation about equality. Now there’s some mega-spotlights on this conversation and, dare I say, some pyrotechnics in the background. I’m not the first female host. I’m the first host. The fact that a female was chosen to be the first one means my genitals become irrelevant."
- Kathy Connell, the executive producer of the Awards, led the charge. "I feel pretty strongly about the women’s movement," Ms. Connell said. "Women stepped forward in such a huge way in this last year."
- She went on to say, "I want to salute women who are coming forward to speak at a very difficult time about very difficult subjects at great risk to themselves."
As film buffs have noted, no film has won Best Picture at the Academy Awards without a corresponding nomination in the same category at the SAG Awards since Braveheart (1995).
- This year’s SAG nominees for Best Picture: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, Mudbound, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Many were shocked that Shape of Water, Dunkirk and The Post were left out of the running.
- Fox Searchlight’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing led the pack of nominations overall with four nods total.
- Meryl Streep and Tom Hank’s critically acclaimed The Post got shut out of all categories and box office hit Dunkirk only got a single nom for its stunt team.
- In the TV department, Will & Grace was almost completely shut out (Sean Hayes earned a nod) despite its high ratings and highly rated Amy Sherman-Palladino creation The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was also overlooked. Female-led SMILF and Insecure got negged as well.
Kirsten Dunst is expecting her first child with fiancé Jesse Plemons, Us Weekly reports.
It seems the 35-year-old may have been planning this for awhile. In 2014, she told UK’s Red Magazine in 2014 that she was in "baby mode." And this past June, she told Marie Claire UK that she wanted to just "have babies and chill" with Plemons.
- Dunst and Plemons met when they were playing husband and wife on FX’s Fargo, and are set to marry in Austin next Spring. Her good friends Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, are designing it.
- Plemons will next appear in the fourth season of Black Mirror on Netflix, and Dunst will appear in AMC’s On Becoming A God in Central Florida, which is produced by George Clooney.
Google has released its always-fascinating end-of-year list of most the year's searched terms. The search giant broke the list into categories.
Under Google’s Most Searched Actors list, the soon-to-be-royal Meghan Markle came out on top for the second year in a row. The Suits star got engaged to Prince Harry in November, so it’s no surprise that many people are digging for info.
- Accused sexual assaulters Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. came in second and fourth, respectively.
- Coming in third is Gal Gadot, who wowed audiences with her box office record-setting turn in Wonder Woman.
- Markle also landed on the Most Searched People list, this time, coming in at number 2.
- Matt Lauer, who was fired by NBC after allegations of sexual misconduct, came in at number 1, and Harvey Weinstein rounded out the top 3.
- Interestingly, President Donald Trump didn’t even crack the top 10, though his wife Melania Trump did, at number 7.
SHE-RA COMING TO NETFLIX: Gen-Xers are about to have another reboot to foist on their children: Netflix is bringing back She-Ra. Landing in 2018, it is being described as a "modern take on the ‘80s girl power icon for a new generation of young fans." The original series debuted in 1985. Netflix is also teaming up with DreamWorks on DreamWorks Trolls: The Beat Goes On! And The Boss Baby: Back in Business.
CLINT EASTWOOD’S 15:17 TO PARIS TRAILER DROPS: The first trailer for Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris landed Wednesday. The snippet teases the true backstory of the three American heroes who thwart a terror attack onboard a Paris-bound train in August of 2015. Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone play themselves in the film, alongside actors playing them as boys. The cast also includes Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer and Tony Hale. The film is set to land in theaters on February 9th, 2018.
NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY ADDS DIE HARD, TITANIC & MORE TO LIST: The Library of Congress has released its annual list of 25 movies it is adding to its National Film Registry (NFR). Among the additions are Die Hard, Goonies and Titanic, for their "cultural, historic and/or aesthetic importance" to American heritage. The films named to the registry include blockbuster, documentaries, shorts and indies. The 2017 selections bring the grand total number of films in the registry to 725.
MR. ROBOT RENEWED FOR SEASON 4: USA Network has renewed Mr. Robot for Season 4. The series stars Rami Malek as a cyber-security engineer and Christian Slater as a mysterious leader of an underground hacker society. Slater recently received his third consecutive Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series. (He won the award in 2016; he also won an Emmy for his role in Mr. Robot that year).
APAMC GIVES MOST NETWORKS GOOD GRADES FOR HIRING ASIANS: Fox got an incomplete from the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition in its latest report on the employment of Asian-Americans on primetime network TV, because it refused to provide data. ABC got the best grade, bringing in a solid B, while APAMC reports that overall, it was "encouraged" by gains in various categories across ABC, CBS and NBC. In the past few years, ABC, CBS and NBC "generally have shown improvement in developing Asian-American talent as actors, writers, directors and producers, though each network demonstrated varying strengths and weaknesses depending on the category," APMAC reports.