TIME celebrities

Tracy Morgan Is Suing Walmart Over Deadly Limo Crash

Tracy Morgan
Tracy Morgan speaks onstage at Spike TV's "Don Rickles: One Night Only" on May 6, 2014 in New York City. Theo Wargo—Getty Images for Spike TV

A Walmart trucker driving 20 mph over the speed limit hit Morgan's limo, badly injuring the comedian and killing friend and colleague James McNair

Comedian Tracy Morgan is suing Walmart over the deadly limo crash that left him critically injured and killed his close friend.

The 45-year-old Morgan was returning from a gig when a Walmart truck traveling 20 miles per hour over the speed limit rear-ended his limo.

Morgan suffered broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg in the crash early in the morning of Saturday, June 7, while his friend and comedian colleague James McNair was killed.

Morgan was a regular on Saturday Night Live for seven years and later starred in the series 30 Rock, for which he was nominated for an Emmy.

The suit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, blames Morgan’s injuries on Walmart driver Kevin Roper’s “negligence.” Roper was almost at a his drive time limit, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Walmart responded with a contrite statement. “This has been a terrible tragedy. We wish Mr. Morgan, Mr. Fuqua Jr., and Mr. Millea full recoveries,” Walmart said, NBC reports. “Our thoughts continue to go out to them, their families and friends, as well as to the families and friends of everyone involved, including Mr. McNair who lost his life. We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved.

“As we’ve said, we’re cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation,” Walmart went on. “We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”

[CNN]

TIME celebrities

George Clooney Rejects the Daily Mail’s Apology Over Amal Alamuddin

George Clooney is not one to forgive and forget. Not when it comes to his fiancée Amal Alamuddin, anyway

+ READ ARTICLE

Actor George Clooney has rejected the Daily Mail’s apology over a story in which the tabloid claimed the Lebanese mother of his fiancée opposed their marriage — and preferred that she be married to a member of the Druze religious group.

The small Druze community is found mostly in Lebanon, Syria and Israel. While their monotheistic faith stems from a branch of Shi‘ite Islam, it has adopted teachings from a number of other religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Gnosticism.

The Oscar-winning actor previously slammed the Mail’s article about the family’s attitude to his engagement to Amal Alamuddin, saying the story was “completely fabricated” and exploited “religious differences where none exist.”

“It says Amal’s mother has been telling ‘half of Beirut’ that she’s against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride. Let me repeat that: the death of the bride,” wrote Clooney.

On Wednesday the British tabloid (sort of) apologized. The Mail’s statement started by denying Clooney’s fabrication claims and added that the story was based on a trusted journalist’s conversations with a long-standing contact who has strong Lebanese connections. But the statement closed with, “However, we accept Mr. Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize.”

Today, Clooney rebuffed the apology in USA Today, saying that the Mail knew ahead of time that it was not telling the truth. He referred to the tabloid’s April article that said Alamuddin’s father, a professor, had married outside the Druze faith and that her mother, a journalist, was not a Druze member. Both of Alamuddin’s parents are originally from Beirut.

“What separates this from all of the ridiculous things the Mail makes up is that now, by their own admission, it can be proved to be a lie. In fact, a premeditated lie,” wrote Clooney.

“So I thank the Mail for its apology. Not that I would ever accept it, but because in doing so they’ve exposed themselves as the worst kind of tabloid,” he said.

[USA Today]

TIME Television

Confirmed: Rosie O’Donnell Is Returning to The View

Rosie O'Donnell
Rosie O'Donnell attends the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York City. Kevin Mazur—2014 Kevin Mazur

She's back.

Comedian Rosie O’Donnell will rejoin ABC’s The View as the program’s producers look to shake things up on one of the longest running day-time talk shows ever, the network confirmed Thursday.

O’Donnell, an often provocative television personality whose own talk show ended in 2002, was previously a panelist on The View but left in 2007 after only one season.

ABC said O’Donnell will co-host The View with current moderator Whoopi Goldberg. O’Donnell will join a heavily modified crew after a series of prominent departures which included the retirement of the show’s co-founder Barbara Walters in May.

TIME Culture

Why Masters of Sex Is the Most Feminist Show on Television

Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex
Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex Frank W Ockenfels—Showtime

How do you make a show about sex interesting in an era when we’re bombarded by it? Easy. Put three women behind the lens.

Michelle Ashford, Amy Lippman and Sarah Timberman are seated around a conference table ticking off a list of Hollywood sex scenes.

“Basic Instinct.”

“Out of Sight.”

“Remains of the Day.”

“Ohhh, Remains of the Day,” Lippman coos. “That’s a beautiful sex scene.”

It’s all research, of course. As the brains behind the Showtime series, Masters of Sex – which traces the lives of pioneering sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson – the women needed to understand: What makes a sex scene sexy?

(Read this week’s story on the women behind Masters of Sex)

So they each sat down one night, with a series of sex scenes collected on a DVD. One by one, they dissected each carnal moment. “We literally had 50 movies,” says Ashford, the show’s creator and showrunner. “We wanted to find out what actually makes something, honest to God, sexy.”

What they found, naturally, was that it had little to do with the physical act – and everything to do with narrative. And so as the trio – creator and executive producers, respectively – prepared to film the pilot of Masters of Sex, Ashford made a rule: sex on this show couldn’t just be about sex. “We decided that sex had to be completely connected to story,” she tells TIME, in a profile in this week’s magazine. “So it was either funny or humiliating or curious or revelatory or… something.”

Ashford, Lippman and Timberman spoke to TIME about Masters and Johnson, sex on television, and how you keep a show about sex interesting in an era where we’re bombarded by it.

So you guys watched 50 sex scenes. What was the sexiest?

Ashford: We all agreed that Don’t Look Now, the Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie movie, from 1973, was memorably sexy. Michael Sheen (who plays Masters) loved it. We loved it. And our director, John Madden, said, ‘Every love scene I’ve ever directed was influenced by that movie.’ So when we went and watched the film again, we tried to figure out what were we all responding to. We just assumed it must not be trying to be sexy. But that’s actually not true — the sex is very sexy. But what they did was they shot that sex scene and then they intercut it with all these shots of that couple after sex, getting ready to go out for the evening. And so the aftermath of being together is on their faces, what this intimacy has meant to them. And so all of a sudden you get a whole story, because you’re seeing the sex but you’re also seeing the effect of the sex.

Is it rare to get that level of story and sex these days?

Ashford: I think in a lot of shows it’s still as if, OK, we’re going to have a lot of exposition, so we’re going to have two people humping in the background to make it more interesting.

Part of what makes Masters of Sex great is its willingness to treat sex like science.

Ashford: We show a lot of sex, but the discussion of sex is incredibly frank. We use the words vagina and clitoris, like, endlessly, and you really don’t find that on other television shows.

Lippman: I mean, I’m not a prude about this stuff, but [before this show] I don’t think I’d spoken the word dildo publicly … well, ever.

Ashford: And now you say it six times a day.

Lippman: An hour! It’s like, is the masturbation with the dildo, with out the dildo…

You talk about more serious topics too – there’s an episode on vaginismus, a rare sexual disorder, and even male impotence. Those are like the least sexy topics possible in a show about sex.

Ashford: We want this show to feel relatable … We want people out there watching, who don’t have perfect sex lives, who suffer from sexual dysfunction and insecurities and many nights of the worst dates ever, we all want those people to watch and say, ‘Well, that’s me.’

So there’s almost an underlying social mission.

Timberman: The show has really given us license to talk about a lot of these taboos.

How do you make sure you get the science right?

Ashford: One of Masters and Johnson’s claims-to-fame is that they disproved Freud’s theory that vaginal orgasms were superior to clitoral orgasms — which made half in the women in the world think they were “frigid.” But when we actually went to write that part of the script, we realized we didn’t understand the mechanics. So at one point, we had all these diagrams out to try and understand the difference between. It was hilarious, all of us writers gathered around this drawing, going, “Really, that’s how it works?”

It’s still pretty rare to find women running the show in Hollywood. How do you think your gender influences the way this story is told?

Timberman: It’s something that’s come up a lot in talking about the show that we almost forget – that this is a show that’s run by a lot of women. That’s not by design. But, sure, it’s not the male gaze.

Lippman: And female pleasure is well represented. As women writing a show about sex, the expectation might be that we are most interested in telling stories about love and romance, and while that’s a component of the series, it isn’t necessarily our focus.

Timberman: Right. And, you know, in season one, we make a big deal of that line by Masters, where he says that women are ‘greater sexual athletes’ than men, because they have multiple orgasms.

I was watching the preview of the second season, and within the first five minutes we hear Virginia Johnson talk about asking for a raise, the farce of diet pills, dildos, and female competition. You watch something like that and it’s hard to imagine this not being a show produced by women.

Lippman: I think the thing that gives us license is not necessarily being female, but having Virginia Johnson as a character. She was a remarkable woman, very flawed, very complicated, but absolutely a groundbreaker. And her attitude toward sex was truly unusual – even for today. She was able to separate love and sex.

Right. And she’s a working mom.

Lippman: You know, we all have children. We’re working. We’re struggling with things like, ‘When do I get home because my kid’s in an All Star game?’ and ‘I need to take a week off to take my kid back East to go look at colleges.’ So I think there is a lack of judgment on our part about Virginia as a working mother and an appreciation for how hard it must have been, in the late 50s, to balance one’s professional ambitions with having a family.

When I spoke with Lizzy Caplan [who plays Virginia Johnson], she made the point that your portrayal of female friendships is really quite nuanced. Can you speak to that a bit?

Ashford: I think sometimes female friendships tend to be portrayed as either ‘We’re best friends and tell each other everything’ or ‘I did like you but now we want the same man, so I hate you.’ But the truth of female friendships is they are often as complicated as romantic relationships, sibling relationships, mother/daughter relationships — there’s competition between women, and envy, women can be both very judgmental and incredibly selfless in the love and support they offer one another. There are a million emotions under the sun that play out in female friendships, and I think we’re just committed to making the women (and their friendships) that we portray on our show as very specific.

Jessica Bennett is a contributing columnist at TIME.com covering the intersection of gender, sexuality, business and pop culture. A former Newsweek senior writer and executive editor of Tumblr, she is also a contributing editor for Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s foundation, Lean In. You can follow her @jess7bennett.

TIME celebrities

David Hasselhoff Is Being Sued Over a Berlin Wall Documentary (Make That Two)

David Hasselhoff At Golin Seminar At the 2014 Cannes Lions
David Hasselhoff attends the Golin Seminar during the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on June 15, 2014 Christian Alminana/Getty Images

The Hoff faces legal action after allegedly agreeing to be in two similar films

The producers of a documentary on the Berlin Wall are suing David Hasselhoff for breach of contract, fraud and unfair business practices, among others, according to court documents.

Owl Media alleges that Hasselhoff agreed to be in its “unique” documentary for an upfront fee of $25,000 as well as 15% of the profits. The film was to tell of Hasselhoff’s fame in Germany, the popularity of his song “Looking for Freedom” during the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the resonance the song has for Germans today.

The suit claims that Hasselhoff manager Eric Gardner later told Mark Hayes, the filmmaker of the first documentary, of a call he received from National Geographic. Nat Geo reportedly wanted to work with Hasselhoff on a Berlin Wall documentary as well. Hayes says he subsequently saw a Nat Geo press release stating it had commissioned the documentary Hasselhoff vs. the Berlin Wall.

The plaintiffs say this made their documentary unmarketable, unprofitable and unable to recoup any investments.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday at the Los Angeles Superior Court. Nat Geo and Gardner are also listed as defendants.

A representative for Hasselhoff declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter. Nat Geo did not immediately respond to THR’s requests for comment.

[THR]

TIME celebrities

Why Kim Kardashian’s Game Has Perfect User Ratings

Kim Kardashian At The MailOnline Cannes Party
Kim Kardashian attends The MailOnline Cannes Party on June 18, 2014, in Cannes, France. Jacopo Raule—FilmMagic

The clever appeal of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

There’s a new way to keep up with Kim Kardashian — gaining fame while following her avatar in a virtual, Kim-centric universe on your smartphone. While it makes sense that Kim’s new game is fun and shallow, what comes as a surprise is the response: over 100,000 users have given the app a perfect rating.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, released last month, has so far been awarded the maximum five-star rating by over 50,000 users each on Apple’s App Store — where the game currently holds the No. 4 spot — and on Google Play. In the game’s virtual Hollywood, you too can become an A-list celebrity if you are willing to follow Kim’s advice: pose for some photo shoots, attend a few parties, seduce a couple of other celebs’ boyfriends, and you’ll be well on your way to frolicking with your mentor in Punta Mita, Mexico, a destination available in the app’s updated version. Despite its simplistic and at times unsettling goals — you can gain points and earn money by flirting, as “dating famous people will get you more fans” — the game has proved an instant hit among Kardashian admirers. Players over at Salon and Jezebel have also admitted to having fun while inhabiting Kardashianland, at least for some time. So what, other than perverse curiosity, drives fans (and some foes) to embrace this most recent extension of the Kardashian brand? What is the appeal of keeping up with virtual Kim?

For many users, it’s the same appeal that drives them to keep up with real Kim through her TV show, her blog, her Instagram and her Twitter: a chance to feel as if they can understand how her glamorous life truly unfolds — and even be a part of it, however superficially. In fact, dozens of smartphone users who gave the (free!) game mediocre ratings explained in their comments that they didn’t dislike the experience, but rather thought the app does not feature enough opportunities to interact with Kim. “The story needs more interaction choices [with her] instead of just yes or no,” one user complained. “I think what I mostly love is the fact that I can talk and be friends with Kim in a virtual level,” wrote another. A third, who explained she had already exhausted the game’s features when it comes to her romantic relationship, wished for the option to get married — “just like Kim.”

“The engagement is a very important factor in the Kardashian brand … fans can think they engage with Kim,” says Amanda Scheiner McClain, assistant professor of communications at Holy Family University and author of Keeping Up the Kardashian Brand: Celebrity, Materialism and Sexuality. “Without the engagement, you just have your typical celebrity.”

McClain explains that the Kardashians have used their presence on social media and television to “create a coherent brand that is simple and easily understood,” adding that the brand is rooted in the family’s ability to engage audiences across platforms. She notes that all Kardashian products, including Kim’s game, have been adjusted to fit within and extend the brand, yet fans — particularly teenagers — often perceive the Kim on their screens as authentic.

The game itself, however, eventually makes it clear that Kim Kardashian will not be your BFF. Most of the time, while she is off being Kim, you are left to interact with your demanding manager and slightly neurotic publicist, who scold your outfit — which you probably can’t afford to “kustomize” any further — and poke fun at your current job as a salesperson at a local boutique. Whenever Kim does find the time to squeeze you in, you don’t have much choice but to agree with what she is saying, the most common response options involving “Yes!” and “Okay!” Yet you can’t help but feel smug when she tells you that “You look great!” even if you’re wearing the only dress you could afford to buy with your virtual money.

“Kim represents a mix of approachability and aura — she is both someone like you and someone who is better than you,” McClain says. “There is the ‘Hey, I can tweet at her,’ but also the, ‘Oh my gosh, she is wearing a $5,000 dress.’”

This dichotomy becomes more evident after you advance a few levels, as it turns out that keeping up with virtual Kim requires real money that most players just can’t afford to spend on an app. Money is easy to make on Kim’s territory, as cash explodes all over the screen whenever you sip some champagne on a date or smile with your eyes during a photo shoot. But the sum you earn is too meager to allow you to purchase the game’s more extravagant attire, real estate, or travel options — unless you’re willing to transfer some money from your actual bank account into your fictional one to make in-app purchases. Reality creeps up on your virtual world once again when your landlord reminds you that your rent is due (too bad if you already spent it on clothes). And as higher levels open up, more desirable items remain beyond your reach — a reviewer complained that many features were still locked even after she had reached a relatively high level. One iPhone user summed up the opinion of most reviewers when she wrote that “Everything. Costs. Too. Much. — it’s almost not even realistic.”

Of course, it’s not supposed to be. In the game, like in real life, there are aspects of Kim’s lifestyle that remain forever elusive to non-Kardashian mortals. It’s the constant give-and-take, striving to emulate Kim while acknowledging that you ultimately can’t, that makes Kim Kardashian: Hollywood — and the wider Kardashian brand — captivating to some, infuriating to others, and irrelevant to most. Her universe excites you — it’s glamorous and sexy! — then undercuts you — but you can’t have it after all. The game isn’t trying to sell a fantasy, but rather the ultimate Kardashian reality — which is that everyone else is inferior to Kim and her krew.

Ultimately, survival in Kim’s Hollywood requires a tacit consent to an unwritten rule: she’ll always be one step ahead of you, or at least a few hundred dollars’ worth of steps. If this sounds frustrating, understand that you won’t make it far in the game — or in Kardashian fandom. Not to worry, though: when you’re having a rough day, you can still make a quick detour into Kardashianland for a quick meta-detour to your birthday bash in Vegas. If you can spare the virtual cash, that is.

TIME celebrities

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Isn’t Shocked By Rosie O’Donnell’s Rumored Return to The View

Active Family Project Kick-Off Event
Emmy-winning co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck attends Active Family Project Kick-Off Event at Gramercy Park Hotel Rooftop on May 6, 2013 in New York City. Ben Gabbe—Getty Images

The former co-host is not happy, but not shocked by the rumors

It’s rumored that Rosie O’Donnell will be returning to The View, and her former co-host on the show, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, says she is not surprised.

O’Donnell and Hasselbeck butted heads often when they were both on the talk show, and while Hasselbeck is not thrilled by the news, she said on Fox & Friends Wednesday that she thinks the deal has “been in the works for a long, long time.”

Hasselbeck told Fox that during a TV special for Barbara Walters’ retirement in May, O’Donnell told her Hasselbeck had helped produce the celebratory show. “Would you think that the woman who left the way that she did would be producing [Walters’] goodbye show? Here’s the shocker: It was actually [O’Donnell’s] hello show,” Hasselbeck said in the interview.

Hasselbeck did not hold back how she felt about O’Donnell’s return, saying: “Here in comes to The View the very woman who spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network and really in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there.”

O’Donnell left the talk show in 2007 after only one season.

[FOX]

TIME celebrities

Justin Bieber Must Complete Anger Management, Pay Fine for Egging Incident

The pop star pleaded no contest to one count of vandalism

+ READ ARTICLE

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

Justin Bieber pleaded no contest on Wednesday to one count of vandalism for egging a neighbor’s house earlier this year. As a part of his plea deal, CNN reports, the Canadian popstar will have to pay $80,900 in restitution. He will also be on probation for two years and is will be required to complete 12 weekly anger management courses and five days of community service.

Bieber’s neighbor claimed that he caught the “Baby” singer throwing eggs at his house on tape in January. On Wednesday, Bieber was ordered to stay 100 yards away from the victim family. Earlier this year, authorities searched the 19-year-old’s home for surveillance footage of the incident and subsequently arrested Bieber’s rapper friend 20-year-old Lil Za.

Lil Za was charged with felony possession of Ectasy and oxycodone and faces up to nine years in prison.

TIME celebrities

Jennifer Lawrence’s Class Clown Moments Caught on Film

Jennifer Lawrence was seen face-palming Emma Watson at the Christian Dior fashion show in Paris Monday, but this is only her most recent incident of goofing off in front of the camera

TIME celebrities

Watch Jimmy Fallon Channel His Inner Neil Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash.... and Fallon?

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The Tonight Show played host to an epic reunion Monday, with the appearance of Crosby, Stills, Nash and a certain Jimmy Fallon standing in for Neil Young.

The quartet performed a rendition of Iggy Azelea’s song Fancy with Fallon donning a long wig, hat and guitar.

This isn’t the first time Fallon has inexplicably covered a random song dressed as Neil Young. The host has a habit of dressing up as the singer, with his most famous cover being the theme tune to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

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