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‘Jihadi John’ Driven to ISIS by British Spy Harassment, Group Says

Mohammed Emwazi complained about his treatment to an advocacy group before he traveled to Syria

The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) executioner who is believed to have killed several Western hostages in Syria was harassed by British security forces and prevented from moving to his native Kuwait to marry and start a new life in the months before he went to Syria, according to an advocacy organization he was in contact with.

Mohammed Emwazi, 26, was named by the Washington Post and the BBC on Thursday as the masked man who appeared in a series of videos that appeared to show him beheading hostages including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britons David Haines and Alan Henning. U.S. and U.K security agencies declined to confirm the identification.

Media reported that Emwazi, who was brought up in London, was known to British security agencies and had been questioned and detained on a number of occasions since 2009. In 2010, however, he contacted CAGE, a London-based organization that supports people victimized by security agencies, to complain that he was being made to feel “like a prisoner” in the U.K.

MORE: Inside ISIS, a TIME Special Report

According to CAGE, Emwazi found himself the victim of harassment and abuse by U.K. authorities, which left him “greatly distressed.” In a statement about Emwazi, released on Thursday, CAGE research director Asim Qureshi said, “We now have evidence that there are several young Britons whose lives were not only ruined by security agencies, but who became disenfranchised and turned to violence because of British counter-terrorism policies coupled with long standing grievances over Western foreign policy.”

Emwazi’s first run-in with security officials took place in 2009, when he traveled to Tanzania with two friends, according to his testimony to CAGE. They were detained there and deported to Amsterdam, where he was interrogated by an officer of Britain’s domestic security agency MI5 who accused him of trying to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabab, an Islamist group. The officer then tried to persuade him to work for MI5.

During this time, M15 visited his fiancée in London who later broke off their engagement. Soon after, Emwazi moved to Kuwait, where he worked for a computer company and got engaged to a Kuwaiti woman. He visited London twice during this time, but when he attempted to return to Kuwait after his second visit, in 2010, Emwazi was detained and then barred from leaving the U.K. According to the BBC, Emwazi was being investigated by MI5 “as a suspected core member of an extremist network” operating in London.

In an email sent to CAGE in 2010, after he was prevented from traveling back to Kuwait, Emwazi wrote, “I never got onto the flight, what was the point, I said to myself: I’ll just get rejected. I had a job waiting for me and marriage to get started. But now I feel like a prisoner, only not in a cage, in London. A person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace and my country, Kuwait.”

His message continued: “I have been trying to find out the reason for my refused visa issue from my home country Kuwait, and a way to solve the issue. So through my friends in Kuwait, it has been said to me that Kuwait has no problem with me entering, and the reason for my refusal is simply because the U.K. agents have told them to not let me in!!”

CAGE has claimed that MI5 also interviewed Emwazi’s fiancée in Kuwait and knew he was planning to “start a life” there.

Friends of Emwazi’s, who spoke to the Washington Post, said that it was after these incidents that the young man became more radicalized. CAGE’s Qureshi also noted in his statement that “suffocating domestic policies aimed at turning a person into an informant but which prevent a person from fulfilling their basic life needs would have left a lasting impression on Emwazi. He desperately wanted to use the system to change his situation, but the system ultimately rejected him.”

It’s unclear exactly when or how Emwazi left Britain and joined ISIS, though a former hostage told authorities after being released that “Jihadi John” was one of several militants guarding Western captives at a prison in Idlib, Syria, in 2013. Two other militants reportedly had British accents, along with Jihadi John, and the trio became known as “the Beatles.”

British authorities have estimated that as many as 600 Britons have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join groups like ISIS. Yet while the U.K.’s antiterrorism policies have many critics beyond CAGE, there are others who say that they’re not the cause of radicalization. Jonathan Russell, of the Quilliam Foundation, a counterterrorism think tank, told TIME in November, “I wouldn’t say that counterterrorism legislation makes people radical. It is a grievance that is exploited by radicalizers.”

TIME Television

Watch Julianna Margulies Reveal Her Good Wife Hair Secret

That's not the actress' real hair on TV

Julianna Margulies is known for looking impeccable on her hit CBS series The Good Wife. But as the actress told David Letterman when she visited the Late Show on Wednesday night, she has a little help in the hair department.

The curly-haired actress wears a custom-made wig in her role as Alicia Florrick. Letterman, who seemed shocked at the news, commented on the “fantastic” look of the hair piece. Turns out, that level of wig quality comes at a price — $10,000 to be precise. Margulies has said in the past she prefers the wig as it saves her time getting ready before filming.

The new season of The Good Wife premieres on March 1.

TIME Television

Watch as Two and a Half Men Finale Kills Charlie Sheen. Again.

They dropped a piano on his head

Once just wasn’t enough for Two and a Half Men.

For the finale of the intensely popular sitcom, creator Chuck Lorre revived Charlie Sheen’s character — who had been killed off in 2011 after the actor had a very public meltdown — only to kill him all over again.

The one-hour finale was labeled “an hour-long slap at its former star” by the Washington Post, after the episode made joke after joke about Sheen’s infamous collapse, his subsequent career and scandals.

In a production note, Lorre explained that Sheen had been invited to appear in the finale alongside former co-star Jon Cryer and Sheen’s replacement Ashton Kutcher.

Sheen, however, declined to appear, but the writers wrote him into the episode anyway, under the guise that the character hadn’t actually been killed in 2011. He’d simply been imprisoned by Rose (played by Melanie Lynskey), his one-time stalker. The producers then had the Charlie character — played by a Sheen look-a-like — only appear at the very end of the episode, shot from behind before being crushed by a piano.

Read next: Here’s What Jon Stewart Wants From the Next Host of The Daily Show

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TIME Television

Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation Producer Harris Wittels: ‘Today I Lost a Friend’

Parks and Recreation - Season 6
Colleen Hayes/NBC Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope

The actor took a moment to remember her colleague and friend at an event on Thursday

The sudden death of Harris Wittels, a co-executive producer and writer on Parks and Recreation, on Thursday has prompted an outpouring of tributes from other comedians and television writers.

Perhaps the most poignant of these responses has been from Amy Poehler, who worked with the 30-year-old comedian on their hit show. At a Variety charity event unite4humanity, Poehler was honored with the evening’s Unity Award for her work with the NGO Worldwide Orphans. When she took the stage to accept her award, she brought up Wittels, whose body had been discovered just hours earlier.

“Today, I lost a friend,” she said. “I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction.” (The cause of Wittel’s death has not yet been confirmed, though early reports have suggested a possible drug overdose.)

“I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that fine line everyday,” Poehler continued. “So, I don’t really feel like telling any jokes. I’m kind of sad, and it’s really great to be here tonight and listen to all of you, and listen to the great work that you do and be reminded why we live in this bizarre planet called ‘Hollywood.’ It’s very strange.”

Read next: Parks and Rec Co-Producer Harris Wittels Has Died, Aged 30

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

[Variety]

TIME Televison

Watch Kelly Ripa Describe How She Freaked Out Madonna at an Oscars Party

Madge wasn't happy after Kelly smelled her

Television host and Madonna super fan Kelly Ripa appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night and revealed how she once creeped out her idol.

Ripa said that she’d been invited to an Oscars party hosted by Madonna a few years ago and, upon meeting the legendary singer, hugged her and smelled her. According to Ripa, Madonna was not impressed with the “weirdo” behavior.

Despite the frosty reaction, Ripa still seems to think fondly of the encounter. Beaming, she excitedly told Kimmel, “She smells like gardenias!”

TIME movies

Go Inside the London Costume Shop Oscar-Winning Designers Rely On

Angels the Costumiers

London shop Angels the Costumiers has been supplying costumes to award-winning films for decades

The Oscar nominees for this year’s Best Costume Design award represent a diverse bunch of films populated with princesses, witches, hotel porters and aristocrats. Yet there’s one thing that most of them have in common: Angels.

The London-based company Angels the Costumiers has strong ties to the film industry and has provided ensembles for four of the five films nominated in the costume category this year: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Into the Woods, Maleficent and Mr. Turner. (Inherent Vice’s designer Mark Bridges received the fifth nod.)

Yet this year’s crop of award-nominated films isn’t an anomaly for Angels’ clients. The company has worked on a total of 35 films that have won Best Costume Oscars — a figure that could change to 36 come Sunday — as well as many more prestige films that took home awards in other categories.

The company, which was established in 1840 by Morris Angel, first made its name providing costumes to London’s theater industry. A century later, the company — which is still run by the Angel family today — began working with the television and film industries; since then, they’ve provided frocks on Downton Abbey, kilts in Braveheart and the military uniforms in the upcoming Dad’s Army remake.

Angels the CostumiersMel Gibson’s William Wallace costume from Braveheart

 

Of course, Angels isn’t the only costume supplier that Hollywood can turn to. For example, Western Costume Company, in Los Angeles, has also been supplying costumes to studios for decades and has outfitted some major films, including Gone with the Wind and Roots. Jeremy Angel, Angels’ creative director, admits that Western is a competitor for film work — Western’s proximity to Hollywood surely helps — though he quickly adds, “There’s no one who competes on the size that we do, on the range.”

Today Angels has two shops, one in central London, which rents out costumes to the public for parties or events, and the other, which houses the majority of the Angels collection, in north London. The latter shop includes a warehouse that Angel told me on a recent tour holds more than five million pieces of clothing — or eight miles worth of racks.

Those racks of garments — not to mention the boxes of shoes, shelves of hats and cases of jewelry — are essential when a designer comes to Angels to outfit a film. While some designers are looking for brand new, customized costumes for their cast, others are happy to select from the smorgasbord of silk, lace, canvas and linens that Angels already has in stock. “Every single customer we have is completely different,” says Angel. “So we have to be able to adapt.”

Yet taking care of such a large collection is also a huge task. Special vents keep the warehouse cool, and the collection is treated to a bi-weekly fumigation process to prevent damage.

Angels also employs a staff of around 120 and has well-trained tailoring and alterations teams. Their staff are skilled at altering costumes to fit certain actors without actually cutting or permanently changing the garments so they may be used again. They’re also able to make costumes from scratch, tailored to an actor’s specific measurements. The company keeps old ledgers, dating back decades, with the measurements of actors like Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery.

Angels the CostumiersAlec Guinness’ Obi Wan Kenobi costume from Star Wars

The skill and attention to detail required to work with film costumes has proved to be a great breeding ground for designers themselves. The late Alexander McQueen once worked in Angels’ tailoring department; Angel says that his staff are routinely being “poached” to work directly on film sets.

And though the accolades for best costumes are actually awarded to the designer, not the suppliers of the costumes, Angel says they still take a lot of pride in the awards — especially when the designer happens to be a former employee. Jacqueline Durran, the designer who has been nominated for Mr. Turner this year, won the Oscar for Anna Karenina in 2013; Angel proudly says that “she used to work for us.” He and the rest of the staff take it as a mark of validation that former employees continue to come back to Angels as customers.

With the odds stacked in their favor, it seems likely that Angels will be able to add another Oscar win to their total on Sunday. Yet even if one of their films does win, they’re not likely to get much public credit for it — Angel says they’ve never received a shout-out in an acceptance speech before. But if the lack of fanfare from designers for the company’s work rankles, Angel doesn’t let on. He says they are “proud” of their films’ nominations, and delighted whenever there is a win, but, for the most part, Angels are already focused on sewing up their next films.

TIME Media

Watch Allison Williams Defend Her Father’s Honor

The Girls star opened up about her father's suspension from NBC Nightly News

The characters on Girls aren’t known for their communication skills, but Allison Williams, who plays Marnie on the HBO show, had a smooth, dignified answer when asked about her father at a talk on Wednesday night.

During an event at 92nd Street Y, host Seth Meyers asked the actress how her father Brian Williams, who was recently suspended from NBC Nightly News, and the rest of her family was doing. Allison is the first member of the Williams’ family to speak out after the controversy over her father’s false report — made on air — that he was in a helicopter hit by an RPG over Iraq in 2003.

The youngest Williams acknowledged that her family was having a “really hard time,” they were grateful for the support they’d received from friends and fans. She also defended her father’s honor, saying:

“One thing this experience has not done is shake my trust and belief in him as a man. He’s a really good man. He’s an honest man. He’s a truthful man. He has so much integrity. He cares so much about journalism. And yes, he’s a really good dad, but I know you can trust him because, as any good daughter does, I have tested him on that.”

She also presented an optimistic front, saying, “I can’t wait until he is back on TV.”

Read next: Brian Williams Isn’t the Only One: Here Are 6 Others Whose Embellishments Threatened Their Careers

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TIME Television

Watch Taylor Swift and Jimmy Fallon Dance For Jumbotron Over and Over

The pair reminisced over their fondness for spilled popcorn and retro dance movies

Taylor Swift stopped by The Tonight Show on Tuesday night to help Jimmy Fallon celebrate the show’s one year anniversary.

During the singer’s appearance, Fallon took the opportunity to poke fun at her fondness for dancing at live events. He also mentioned that he missed the days when Swift would only dance with him on the jumbotron at sporting events. What followed was a montage of the two dancing their way through games of all of New York’s major sports teams, including the Brooklyn Nets, New York Giants and New York Islanders.

It’s now all too clear where Swift gets her dance inspiration from.

TIME France

Watch Chelsea Soccer Fans Push a Black Man Off Paris Metro

The group of men then began chanting "We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it"

A video showing a group of Chelsea soccer fans harassing and pushing a black man off a Paris Metro train has gone viral.

The short clip shows a group of rowdy men, fans of the English Premier League team Chelsea, chanting on a metro train while it was stopped at Richelieu–Drouot station on Tuesday evening when Chelsea was in the city for a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain. The video then shows a black man attempt to step onto the train with them, before being twice blocked and shoved by the men. The men are then shown singing and chanting the words, “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”

 

The clip, which was first published by the Guardian, has drawn widespread condemnation, particularly from English soccer fans.

Chelsea released a statement following the video’s release, saying: “Such behavior is abhorrent and has no place in football or society. We will support any criminal action against those involved, and should evidence point to involvement of Chelsea season-ticket holders or members the club will take the strongest possible action against them, including banning orders.”

British expatriate Paul Nolan filmed the video on his mobile phone after he realized the disruptive men were English. He told the BBC that before the clip began the men had also made references to World War II. Nolan said it was unclear whether the men were intoxicated, adding “I think there was a certain amount of pack mentality.”

Read next: Watch the Abuse This Jewish Man Gets as He Walks Through Paris

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TIME France

Watch the Abuse This Jewish Man Gets as He Walks Through Paris

The team filmed for 10 hours to get 90 seconds of material and they had to go to the roughest areas of Paris to get it

Zvika Klein, a journalist who works for the Israeli news outlet NRG, filmed himself walking the streets of Paris for ten hours one day while wearing a yarmulke. The video opens with Klein putting on the traditional Jewish skullcap in front of the Eiffel Tower, before walking around the city. Along the way, Klein experiences what he describes as “fear and loathing,” as the camera catches people spitting on the ground near him, shouting “Viva Palestine” or simply saying, “Jew” or “Juif.”

The video has been edited down into a minute and a half and Klein had to go to areas where he, or any outsider, was likely to arouse attention. Klein, who wore a tzitzit or tasseled prayer garment to emphasise his identity, told the BBC that filming took place earlier this month and that while few incidents took place in the central areas of Paris, the outskirts of the city were a different story. “As we went to the suburbs, or certain neighbourhoods in the city, the remarks became more violent,” he said. (Klein also told the BBC that some bystanders also spoke out against the abusive comments he received.)

Klein’s video, which has been viewed nearly a million times since it was posted on Sunday, reflects a threat felt by more and more Jewish people in Europe, where anti-Semitic incidents are being increasingly reported. That fear is more pronounced following terrorist attacks in both Copenhagen and Paris earlier this year.

The video also replicates the format of a similar clip that went viral last October, which saw a woman walking the streets the of New York and recording the sexist harassment she encountered.

Read next: Jews Face Renewed Doubt Over Their Future in Europe

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