Harvey Weinstein expelled from UK film academy over sexual misconduct claims

Posted February 03, 2018 09:51:30

Britain’s film academy has expelled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, after suspending him last year over sexual misconduct allegations.

The academy, known as BAFTA, said “following the suspension of Harvey Weinstein’s BAFTA membership in October 2017, BAFTA has formally terminated his membership, effective immediately.”

The academy said that although it had benefited from Mr Weinstein’s support for its charitable work, his alleged behaviour was “completely unacceptable and incompatible with BAFTA’s values.”

Last year the disgraced Hollywood producer was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the board of governors after allegations he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over the past three decades.

The organisation behind the Oscars said its board voted “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority” to revoke Mr Weinstein’s membership.

Police in the United States and Britain are investigating allegations of rape and sexual assault against Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful players.

Scores of women, including well-known actresses, have accused Mr Weinstein of sexual assault or harassment.

He has been fired by the film company he founded with his brother Bob.


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

Craig McLachlan files for defamation against ABC, Fairfax

Updated February 02, 2018 07:22:23

Actor Craig McLachlan has filed defamation proceedings against the ABC and Fairfax Media, which reported on allegations he sexually harassed several former colleagues.

Victoria Police is currently investigating allegations McLachlan committed multiple sexual offences while performing in the Rocky Horror Show in 2014.

A joint ABC/Fairfax investigation revealed three women from the 2014 production claimed McLachlan took advantage of his raunchy role as Dr Frank-N-Furter to indecently assault, intimidate and harass them, both on and off stage.

McLachlan has denied the allegations, describing them as baseless.

The Gold-Logie-winning actor has engaged barrister Stuart Littlemore QC and lodged a statement of claim in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

The action came after the producers of the Doctor Blake Mysteries cleared McLachlan of separate claims that he sexually harassed his co-workers, but admitted the show’s workplace culture was “bawdy and crude” and may have offended some cast and crew members.

Two weeks ago, production company December Media hired a workplace consultant, Fiona Bigelli, to investigate claims of sexual misconduct on the set of the top-rating TV show.

December Media said in a statement that Ms Bigelli had interviewed a “sufficiently large number” of people who worked on Season 5 of the production, and had produced a confidential report.

“But there were no findings of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or workplace bullying by Craig McLachlan or any other person on Doctor Blake,” the statement said.

“People highlighted the fact that Doctor Blake’s workplace culture has consisted of, amongst other things, a workplace humour which has been described by many as sexual, lewd, bawdy, ‘Benny-Hill-esque’ and crude and that some of the behaviour relating to this humour may be offensive to people, regardless of the fact no formal complaints have been received.

“While December Media has all appropriate policies and procedures in place with respect to workplace behaviour, the report does recommend some improvements to be in line with world-best practice.

“We intend to implement these improved practices and share them with the rest of our industry”.

Topics: television, television-broadcasting, law-crime-and-justice, sexual-offences, australia

First posted February 02, 2018 07:16:49

Forensic artists give faces to the faceless

Updated January 31, 2018 08:21:36

Some art students hone their craft using life models or pieces of fruit, but at one New York school they’re using the skulls of eight men who died trying to cross the US-Mexico border.

The skulls, found in Arizona and presumed to be the remains of undocumented migrants, date back to 2000, and have never been formally identified.

A forensic art class now offers the opportunity to reconstruct the faces of the faceless, and hopefully bring closure to their families.

The unique class is taught by Joe Mullins, a forensic artist from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in Virginia.

“What I do is combine art and science to help identify the deceased, find the missing and help catch the bad guys … with the power of art,” he says.

He began this kind of work 18 years ago, working with law enforcement to put together missing persons flyers.

Mr Mullins believes there are “probably around 20,000 skulls” in the US alone that are in need of identification.

“I’m on a mission to clear the shelves in medical examiners’ offices across the globe if I can,” he says.

And he believes that “we have the technology, the resources and the talent” in sculpting students and artists to do just that — and provide answers to “those families that have been frozen in uncertainty”.

Putting a puzzle together

Mr Mullins believes a skull can tell his students at the New York Academy of Art everything about a face.

Alongside the skulls, which are actually 3D prints of the originals, the students are provided with basic details about their subjects — including age range, distinguishing characteristics and any hair or clothing found with the remains.

They use oil-based clay and sculpt it onto the surface of the 3D-printed skulls. The eyes of the sculptures are white marbles.

A skull and basic physical descriptions doesn’t sound like much to go off, but Mr Mullins says there’s a lot of information you can get just from a human cranium.

“A skull tells you everything about the face — the projection of the nose, whether you have attached or detached earlobes, placement of your eyebrows, your hairline, the thickness of your lips,” he says.

There’s no one feature that’s the most important to nail — instead it’s about getting the proportions, locations and combinations of features right.

“It’s like putting together a puzzle and using the skull as a landmark to put the right pieces in the right spot,” Mr Mullins says.

The stakes are high. Misplaced ears could lead to a family failing to recognise their lost loved one.

Follow all the clues

The forensic art course is what attracted Antonia Barolini to the New York Academy of Art.

She says Mr Mullins’ class is completely unlike her other classes, which are all about artistic license and self-expression.

At first, she says it “felt like an anatomical exercise”, but after she developed the features and built the face from the skull, it began to dawn on her that “this is an unidentified person”.

“And then it really became something else … it’s definitely very powerful,” she says.

Forensic artists have long worked to help identify the lost, but recent developments in US politics that have seen President Donald Trump continue his call for a border wall with Mexico, make the work more urgent and timely than ever.

“Trump’s whole immigration thing dehumanises these people,” Ms Barolini says.

“I want to be able to give them their identity. These are people and no matter where they’re from, they have to be treated like people.”

On completion the reconstructed faces are photographed and submitted to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System in the US.

Ultimately Mr Mullins hopes to get them back to the medical examiner in Arizona.

But for now, they’re being exhibited at the New York Academy of Art, “like a portrait gallery, but a portrait gallery for a purpose”.

Topics: arts-and-entertainment, sculpture, visual-art, contemporary-art, law-crime-and-justice, united-states

First posted January 31, 2018 08:00:00

Scarlett Johansson labelled ‘hypocrite’ for calling out James Franco

Updated January 22, 2018 21:34:28

Actress Scarlett Johansson is being accused of hypocrisy for slamming actor James Franco over sexual misconduct allegations after previously defending director Woody Allen, who has himself been accused of sexual assault.

In a passionate speech at the Women’s March in Los Angeles, Johansson referred to Franco sitting in the Golden Globes audience with a Time’s Up anti-harassment movement pin on his lapel, before facing allegations of sexual misconduct hours later.

“How could a person publicly stand by an organisation that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault, while privately preying on people who have no power?” Johansson said during her speech at the Women’s March.

“I want my pin back, by the way.”

Johannsen did not name Franco in her speech, but her team later confirmed she was referring to The Disaster Artist actor and director.

Johansson on Allen accusation: ‘It’s all guesswork’

But she soon came under fire for her previous comments of support for Allen, who has been accused of sexually assaulting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old.

In 2014, Ms Farrow — who Allen adopted with actress Mia Farrow — published an open letter in which she detailed her accusations against Allen.

In it, she condemned several Hollywood figures — including Johannsen, who has starred in several of his films — for their silence on the issue.

“What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett?” Ms Farrow wrote.

“Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?”

A month later, Johannsen came to the prolific filmmaker’s defence, and said she thought it was “irresponsible” for Ms Farrow to name “a bunch of actors” in the piece.

“I’m unaware that there’s been a backlash. I think he’ll continue to know what he knows about the situation, and I’m sure the other people involved have their own experience with it,” she said in 2014.

“It’s not like this is somebody that’s been prosecuted and found guilty of something, and you can then go: ‘I don’t support this lifestyle or whatever.’

“I mean, it’s all guesswork.”

Allen and Mia Farrow split when he began a relationship with her adopted daughter from a previous relationship, Soon-Yi Previn.

Johansson’s comments have come back to bite her, with several people labelling her a “hypocrite”.

There has been widespread discussion about sexual harassment in Hollywood after New York Times and New Yorker investigations exposed film producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual misconduct.

Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Scarlett Johansson, Constance Wu, Adam Scott and Rob Reiner also addressed the crowd at the Los Angeles Women’s March.


Topics: arts-and-entertainment, film-movies, law-crime-and-justice, united-states

First posted January 22, 2018 21:25:46

Man charged with involuntary manslaughter over fatal Call of Duty ‘swatting’ hoax

Updated January 14, 2018 01:31:34

A California man accused of making a hoax emergency call that led to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Kansas has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Key points:

  • Involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of 31 to 136 months
  • Barriss was convicted in 2016 on two counts of making a false bomb report to a TV station
  • Andrew Finch was shot on his doorstep by police who were called to his house

Tyler Barriss made his first court appearance in Kansas via video link from jail on Friday following his extradition from Los Angeles.

The 25-year-old is also charged with giving false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer.

Bond was set at $500,000.

Relatives identified the victim as 28-year-old Andrew Finch.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett told reporters following the brief hearing that he was still reviewing whether any charges will be filed against the police officer, and once he mades a determination that decision would be made public.

He said he was awaiting a final autopsy report.

The hoax call reportedly was made after a dispute over a small wager online in a “Call of Duty” video game tournament, according to Dexerto, a news service focused on gaming.

Other people alleged to be involved in the game are under investigation, Mr Bennett said, which involves a forensic analysis of machines, phones and computers.

‘Swatting’ turned deadly

“There is no other situation quite like this to reference,” Mr Bennett said.

Bennett acknowledged the “sort of novelty” of the case, noting the public interest in it and questions about whether laws regarding computer-related crimes need to be changed.

“The law is catching up with technology,” he said.

In Kansas, involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of 31 to 136 months, depending on a defendant’s criminal history, Mr Bennett said.

Prosecutors allege Barriss was in Los Angeles when he called police on December 28 with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at a home in Wichita, Kansas.

The caller who phoned Wichita police said in a relatively calm voice that he had shot his father in the head and was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint, according to the 911 recording.

He said he poured gasoline inside the home and “might just set it on fire”.

When police responded to the address, an officer fatally shot 28-year-old Andrew Finch after he opened his door.

Police have said he moved a hand toward his waistband and an officer, fearing he was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot and killed him.

Finch was unarmed.

Barris has a history of making such hoax calls, which are sometimes called “swatting”.

Court records showed Barriss was convicted in 2016 on two counts of making a false bomb report to a TV station in Glendale, California, and sent to Los Angeles County jail for two years. Jail records show he was released in January.


Topics: law-crime-and-justice, police, games-on-the-web, internet-culture, united-states

First posted January 14, 2018 01:07:15

McLachlan allegedly sexually harassed cast and crew on Doctor Blake set

Posted January 13, 2018 00:00:06

An actor and a crew member from the top-rating TV drama The Doctor Blake Mysteries have come forward with allegations Craig McLachlan sexually harassed staff and behaved inappropriately on the set.

Key points:

  • Doctor Blake production company launches investigation amid fresh allegations
  • McLachlan allegedly ‘dry humped’ female crew member, told male crew member he’d ‘prefer a hand job’ to a drink
  • Crew member says inappropriate behaviour occurred ’10 to 15 times a day’

The new allegations include that he held a banana to his crotch and thrust it into the faces of an actress and a director.

He is also accused of “dry humping” a female crew member during the production and telling a male crew member who offered to get him a drink “I’d prefer hand job”.

The TV show is produced by Melbourne-based company December Media, which has put the current production on hold.

In a statement earlier this week it said it had not received any complaints about McLachlan.

But in a statement late on Friday in response to the new allegations, December Media chief executive Stuart Menzies said the company had appointed an independent investigator to talk to all core cast and crew on the series and provide it with a report and advice.

“If these allegations are substantiated, this points to a serious breakdown in the adherence to the policies and procedures that December Media has in place,” Mr Menzies said.

The male crew member told the ABC and Fairfax “there is no possibility that they didn’t know he was up to inappropriate behaviour”.

“I don’t know how blind and deaf you have to be to miss this stuff,” he said.

McLachlan has not responded to questions about the latest allegations.

‘This is the worst set for this kind of stuff’

The crew member who worked on Dr Blake in late 2016, on season five episodes one and two, said he was shocked at McLachlan’s behaviour on set, which seemed to be accepted.

“A lot of the time it was sexual innuendo, sexual joking, talking about sex and that filtered through,” he said.

“And people would laugh and say, ‘It’s all a big joke’.

“But right from the start, in my first few days there I thought, ‘surely not everyone is OK with this’.

“Privately, over time during the two-and-a-half months I was there, people said ‘this is the worst set, for this kind of stuff, that I have ever been on’.

“He’s a star and other people do the same kind of thing because he sets the tone of the place. In my opinion, a lot of it looked like sexual harassment.”

He recalled an incident involving a banana.

“One incident which has stayed in my mind was before we went on set we were doing rehearsals,” the crew member said.

“It was me, the director, Craig and two actors who were just there for the one episode. One was an older man, the other was a young woman in her mid to late 20s.

“At the time she hadn’t really done much at all. Right in the middle of rehearsing this scene, Craig gets up and walks out. He comes back a minute later and he’s got a banana.

“He’s holding it where his crotch is and starts thrusting it into the face of the actress and then into the face of the director and everyone just kind of laughs because what else are you going to do?

“I am looking around the room thinking, ‘what the f**k! Are you serious?’

“That kind of behaviour would happen 10 to 15 times a day.”

McLachlan allegedly humped camera assistant ‘like a dog’

He said on another occasion, he saw McLachlan sneak up behind a female camera assistant and start “humping her like a dog”.

“It was inside Williamstown Town Hall, which was mocked up to look like Ballarat Town Hall,” he said.

“She didn’t react but I’m thinking, ‘that’s not appropriate behaviour’.”

The crew member added that McLachlan made a lewd comment to him.

“I came up to him at lunch and said ‘Craig would you like a drink?’ He said, ‘No thanks, I’d prefer a hand job thank you’,” the crew member said.

“It was at one of the tables at catering. This was on set.”

He said he never complained about the behaviour but that those in charge were often on set and could see it for themselves.

“I was there for only two-and-a-half months and I saw so much,” the crew member said.

“They were there for five years.

Another man, who was an extra on Dr Blake in 2013, told the ABC and Fairfax he saw McLachlan push his crotch into a female crew member and make a lewd comment.

“The scene was set in an apple orchard. I was playing a migrant fruit picker,” he said.

“It was a break during filming at the location, at the orchard. I was just sitting around and Craig came up to a woman, I think she was in wardrobe, and he pressed his crotch against her leg, while she was facing the other way.

“He said, ‘Oops, you got a bit of knob on you’.

“She joked and laughed it off, like it was a common thing.”

The ABC said in a statement on Monday it had received no complaints involving any members of the Doctor Blake cast, who are employed by December Media.

– with additional research by Tracey Spicer

Topics: television-broadcasting, television, sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, australia

Man charged with murder of Byron’s beloved DJ DAD BOD

Updated December 28, 2017 16:17:05

A man has been charged with the murder of popular Byron Bay DJ Chris Bradley, known as DAD BOD, who was beaten to death on Christmas Day.

The 28-year-old “spinning legend” was unable to be revived after being assaulted at a party at a house in Carlyle Street, Byron Bay.

Police arrested a 24-year-old Byron Bay man at Ballina airport this morning after he arrived on a flight from Sydney.

It is alleged he struck Mr Bradley on the head several times. Police said all parties had been drinking and alcohol was a factor in the incident.

The two men knew each other.

Mr Bradley, who moved to Byron Bay from Sydney, was much-loved in the local dance music community and just three days before Christmas had played at a new venue RYCE.

He was a regular on local radio station Bay FM and also part-owned Byron-based artist management company, Atypical Entertainment.

Music Producer and CEO of Turban Records Taranpreet Ahluwalia described Bradley as “the spinning legend of Byron”.

His “heartbroken” sister Maddie Bradley took to Facebook to confirm his death and honour her brother.

“Chris was in an a horrible incident last night and wasn’t able to be revived,” she said.

“To say the words I’ve lost my big brother … it’s gut wrenching.

“Who could do such a horrible thing to such an amazing man.

“You lit up the room with your unique quirk personality and laugh, I’ll miss hearing it.”

Fellow DJ and Producer Thorne Nyker also took to Facebook to praise Mr Bradley’s compassion and drive.

“I love you mate,” he said.

“I promise to play your tracks in my sets till I can’t press cue and spin that jog wheel no more.”

Today BAY FM dedicated their afternoon show to Bradley by playing his favourite tracks.

The Byron Bay man charged with Bradley’s murder has been refused bail and will appear at Lismore Local Court on Friday.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, crime, police, murder-and-manslaughter, music, byron-bay-2481

First posted December 28, 2017 16:12:39