‘When will they come for me?’: Super Size Me’s Morgan Spurlock confesses to sexual misconduct

Updated December 15, 2017 01:30:40

US documentarian Morgan Spurlock has confessed in an online post to sexual harassment and infidelity, saying he was “part of the problem” and that he had been accused of rape.

Spurlock, who made the hit film Super Size Me, wrote in a post that he linked to from his verified Twitter account that as he watched other influential men brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct, “I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?'”

He recounted a sexual encounter in college which he said he thought was consensual, but said the woman believed it was rape.

“I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better,” Spurlock wrote.

“I thought I was doing ok, I believed she was feeling better.

“She believed she was raped. That’s why I’m part of the problem.”

Spurlock also said he paid a settlement to a female assistant who worked at his office and whom he called “hot pants” or “sex pants”.

In the post, Spurlock said he thought the nickname was funny but later realised he was demeaning her.

“So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn’t pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone,” he wrote.

“Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid.”

Spurlock also wrote that he had “been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had.”

“Over the years, I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs,” Spurlock wrote.

He wrote that he will do better and be more honest with others and with himself.

He ends the post by saying: “I’ve talked enough in my life. … I’m finally ready to listen.”

Spurlock is best known for his Oscar-nominated 2004 documentary Super Size Me on the fast-food industry, in which he ate nothing but McDonald’s food to show the health effects of the industry.

He has produced dozens of other documentaries and TV shows and completed a sequel to Super Size Me this year.

AP

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, sexual-offences, arts-and-entertainment, united-states

First posted December 15, 2017 01:27:42

Spacey accused of groping Norwegian King’s son-in-law

Posted December 09, 2017 14:53:33

The former husband of the King of Norway’s daughter says actor Kevin Spacey groped him during the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo.

Ari Behn, who was married to Princess Martha Louise, the daughter of King Harald, for 14 years, told Norwegian radio Spacey sat next to him at the event.

“We had a great talk,” Mr Behn was quoted by the BBC as saying on Norwegian radio station P4.

“After five minutes he said, ‘Hey, let’s go out and have a cigarette’. Then he puts his hand under the table and grabs me …”

He said he declined Spacey’s approach by saying “maybe later”.

Behn, 45, married Martha Louise, fourth in line to the Norwegian throne, in 2002.

Last year, they decided to split but share custody of their three daughters.

Spacey, who was co-hosting the December event in 2007 has faced numerous sexual misconduct and assault allegations, but he has remained mostly silent.

He came under fire for coming out as gay in his apology to actor Anthony Rapp, with members of the LGBTI community saying he was “deflecting” from Rapp’s allegations.

Rapp, known for his roles in Rent and Star Trek: Discovery, has alleged Spacey made a sexual advance towards him when he was aged 14, and Spacey 26.

The embattled actor, who has won two Oscars, was also dropped from his lead role in Netflix series House of Cards.

Netflix severed ties with Spacey in November, announcing his former co-star Robin Wright would take the lead in the series’ final season in 2018.

ABC and wires

Topics: sexual-offences, arts-and-entertainment, film-movies, law-crime-and-justice, community-and-society, norway, united-states

Prominent conductor suspended from Met Opera after sexual assault allegations

Updated December 04, 2017 14:45:49

New York’s Metropolitan Opera said it was suspending its relationship with long-time conductor James Levine pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

“Mr Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season,” the Met said in a statement.

The Met also said it had appointed Robert J Cleary, a former US attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation.

The action to suspend Levine came a day after the New York Post first reported that one of Levine’s accusers claimed he had sexual contact with Levine as a teenager.

According to the Times, Ashok Pai said he was sexually abused by Levine starting in the summer of 1986, when he was 16.

He reported the allegations to the police department in Lake Forest, Illinois, in October 2016.

Met officials said they learned of the police report last year and announced they were launching an investigation.

Chris Brown played principal bass in the St Paul Chamber Orchestra for more than 30 years, and told the Times he and Levine masturbated each other when Brown was 17 at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan, where Levin was on the summer program’s faculty.

James Lestock described a similar account there when he was a 17-year-old cello student.

“Based on these new reports, the Met has made the decision to act now, while we await the results of the investigation,” Met General Manager Peter Gelb said.

“This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.”

An email to Levine’s manager seeking comment on the accusations was not immediately returned.

Met officials said in an earlier statement that Levine had denied the charges.

The accusations against Levine, among the most prominent classical music conductors in the world, are the latest in a stream of sexual misconduct charges involving high-profile men in entertainment and the media that have rocked the nation since accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein were reported in October.

Levine served as music director of the Met from 1976 to 2016, when he assumed the position of music director emeritus.

Levine has struggled with health problems — including Parkinson’s disease — in recent years, but was scheduled to conduct several productions this season.

AP

Topics: sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, arts-and-entertainment, opera-and-musical-theatre, united-states

First posted December 04, 2017 14:44:37

Matt Lauer ’embarrassed and ashamed’ by sexual allegations

Updated December 01, 2017 06:27:28

Today show host Matt Lauer has apologised for what he called his “troubling flaws” in a statement read out on the popular NBC morning show on Thursday, a day after the network fired him for inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Key points:

  • Matt Lauer’s alleged sexual behaviour started at the 2014 Sochi Olympics
  • At least two more women have gone to NBC with similar complaints against Lauer
  • None of the women have been publicly identified

Lauer also said repairing the damage he had caused was now “his full-time job”.

As Lauer’s 20 years as a fixture of US morning television came to an abrupt end, the married 59-year-old found himself joining the fast-growing ranks of powerful men in US entertainment, politics and media to be felled in recent months by accusations of sexual misconduct.

Lauer said in his statement that some of the accusations against him were “untrue or mischaracterised” without explaining further, but said “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed”.

He was fired after a female colleague complained to NBC officials on Monday evening about a pattern of inappropriate sexual behaviour that began while they were on assignment at the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics in Russia, according to NBC statements.

Lauer ‘truly sorry’

Since then, at least two more women have gone to NBC with similar complaints against Lauer, the Today show reported on Thursday. None of the women have been publicly identified.

“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort,” Lauer said in the statement, which was read by his former co-host Savannah Guthrie at the start of Thursday’s broadcast.

“It is now my full-time job,” the statement said.

“The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws.”

Lauer said he was “truly sorry” for pain he had caused.

Reuters has not independently verified the accusations.

NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the network had never received a complaint about Lauer’s conduct prior to Monday, but that “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident”.

Lauer was promoted to a host of the Today show in 1997 and went on to become one of NBC’s highest-paid personalities, reportedly being paid $20 million a year.

For the second day in a row, he was replaced by Hoda Kotb, giving the show an all-female lead anchor team.

NBC is faced with the task of suddenly replacing the man who has been the most visible figure in morning television news, the most lucrative part of the network news business.

The network did not respond to questions about its plans for replacing Lauer.

CBS has the same task, since CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose was fired last week for after several women he worked with detailed sexual misconduct charges.

Media analysts say Lauer’s abrupt departure could send some viewers to morning news rivals, at least in the short term.

Reuters/AP

Topics: sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, arts-and-entertainment, television, united-states

First posted December 01, 2017 06:22:25

Celebrities rally to free imprisoned former child sex slave

Updated November 24, 2017 19:52:21

The story of a 16-year-old girl who in 2004 killed a man who picked her up for sex is spreading around the world, after a number of high-profile celebrities joined a campaign to free her.

Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life in prison over the killing of 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent Johnny Allen.

Allen picked her up off the street after she was forced into sex work by her boyfriend, a pimp who went by the name “Kutthroat” and serially abused her, the BBC reported.

Brown said after he picked her up, Allen took her to his house and showed her his gun collection, telling her he used to be an army sharpshooter.

She said when the pair got into bed, “he grabbed me in between my legs — he just grabbed it real hard … I’m thinking he’s going to hit me or do something like it”.

Allen then turned over in the bed, and Brown said she panicked, thinking he was reaching for a gun.

Thinking she was about to die, she shot him in the head with a .40-calibre gun that Kutthroat had given her.

Brown was arrested for murder and tried as an adult. She pleaded self-defence. The jury found her guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, and aggravated robbery.

She will not be eligible for parole until she is 67.

#FreeCyntoiaBrown

Brown’s case has gone viral on social media after singer Rihanna posted about it on Instagram.

“Imagine at the age of 16 being sex-trafficked,” she wrote to her 58.2 million followers.

“Did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way?? Cause … Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life!”

Supermodel Cara Delevingne shared the post to her 40 millions Instagram followers.

Kim Kardashian West also tweeted to her 57.2 million following about the case, saying “the system has failed”.

“It’s heartbreaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life!

“I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this.”

Brown has since earned her Associate’s Degree from Lipscomb University while in prison and is currently working towards her Bachelor’s Degree.

She is also reportedly working side-by-side with the courts and the Juvenile Justice system as an unpaid consultant.

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Burks, the man who jailed Brown, said being young and likeable should not exonerate her.

“She wasn’t just somebody who made one mistake,” he said, according to the BBC.

“She was a very dangerous person. The choices she made were hers. She’s pretty and smart and articulate so people have decided to take up her cause. Let’s not forget her crime.”

Topics: crime, law-crime-and-justice, arts-and-entertainment, sexual-offences, murder-and-manslaughter, united-states

First posted November 24, 2017 19:37:32

Sacha Baron Cohen offers to pay Borat mankini fines

Updated November 22, 2017 11:37:14

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen has offered to pay the fines of six Czech tourists who were arrested in Kazakhstan for wearing a Borat-style mankini in public.

The tourists were reportedly detained by authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on November 11 after they were spotted wearing lime green “mankinis” and black wigs in front of the I Love Astana sign.

The men were fined 22,500 tenge ($89) each for committing minor hooliganism, according to the Kazakh news website informburo.kz.

In a Facebook post, Baron Cohen posted a call-out to the men who were arrested.

“To my Czech mates who were arrested. Send me your details and proof that it was you, and I’ll pay your fine,” he said.

The swimsuit became popular after Baron Cohen, playing the fictional Kazakh television presenter Borat, sported it in the 2006 movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

The film offended many Kazakhs by portraying the country as backward and degenerate, and was banned from being distributed in the country.

Kazakhstan also took out a four-page ad in The New York Times to counter the way Cohen’s character depicted the country.

Kazakhstan officials were also outraged after the fake Borat national anthem played when the national shooting team won gold in Kuwait in 2012.

But the country’s foreign minister thanked Borat for massively boosting tourism to Kazakhstan.

ABC/AP

Topics: film-movies, arts-and-entertainment, law-crime-and-justice, community-and-society, kazakhstan

First posted November 22, 2017 11:31:01

I ‘played dead and waited until the blows stopped’: Streep recounts physical violence

Updated November 17, 2017 15:46:18

Acclaimed actress Meryl Streep says the two times in her life she dealt with violence were so profound it changed her “on a cellular level”.

Streep made the remarks at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 27th annual International Press Freedom Awards in New York.

The Oscar-winner praised journalists for their bravery, telling the audience she did “know something about real terror”.

Streep recounted two incidents, one in which she said she was attacked and “played dead and waited until the blows stopped, watching like people say you do from like 50 feet above where I was beaten”.

Streep then described another incident when someone else was being abused.

She said in that case, she “went completely nuts” and chased the man off.

It was after telling the stories that Streep said the experiences changed her permanently.

“But I was changed by these events on a cellular level because women do know something particular about coming to the danger place.

“We come to it disadvantaged through the many millennia preceding our present moment and because of our vulnerability we anticipate danger, we expect it.

“We’re hyper alert to it, we have the 360 on the whole room.

“We have measurably more acute hearing, we have a better sense of smell, we notice details, what people are wearing, their tics and peculiarities.”

Streep went on to praise the journalists at the event for their contributions to society but also highlighted journalism in Mexico, where five journalists had been murdered in 2017.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an organisation which protects the rights of journalists and promotes freedom of the press.

“Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you,” Streep told the crowd.

“You are the fourth estate, you are our first line of defence against tyranny and state-sanctioned news.”

Cher describes incident in 2013 Reddit Q&A

Streep did not give any more details about the incidents, other than to say Cher witnessed the second incident.

“Someone else was being abused and I just went completely nuts and went after this man. Ask Cher. She was there. And the thug ran away. It was a miracle.

“But I was changed by these events on a cellular level.”

Cher described the incident in full in a 2013 Reddit Ask Me Anything, saying they had gone out to get ice cream together in New York City when the incident occurred.

“We walked around the corner, there was this huge guy ripping this girl’s clothes and trying to get her purse.

“Meryl just took off and starting yelling running towards them. Then I did too. The guy got frightened and started running towards US!!!

“I thought great, we saved the girl and now we’re going to get killed. When we got to the girl, she was completely shaken up. Her dress was ripped and she was crying.

“We kind of patted her, and we started talking to her, and we asked her if she needed help going anywhere or doing anything.

“She said she was a singing waitress. Then she started screaming ‘Oh my god I was just saved by Meryl Streep and Cher!!!!’.

“Then we looked over and there were two men standing there and they didn’t do anything.

“These two big asshole men just watched her.”

AP/Reuters/ABC

Topics: actor, film-movies, arts-and-entertainment, journalism, community-and-society, law-crime-and-justice, crime, assault, united-states

First posted November 17, 2017 15:02:58