The Vatican issues a statement regarding Francis’ comments about ‘Mexicanization’. Rev. Federico Lombardi:
The pope intended only to emphasize the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America. It is precisely this importance that has made the fight against drug trafficking a priority for the government.
The Academy issues a statement regarding the omission of Rivers from the Oscars In Memorium segment.
Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com.
Purina responds to the class action lawsuit that alleges Purina’s Beneful brand dry dog food causes illness and death to dogs. Keith Schopp, Purina’s vice president of corporate public relations:
We believe the lawsuit is without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves. Beneful is a high-quality nutritious food enjoyed by millions of dogs each year and there are no product quality issues with Beneful.
The Justice Department says its independent investigation finds “insufficient evidence” to charge Zimmerman with federal civil rights violations in the shooting death of Martin. Attorney General Holder says the evidence did not meet the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution. The decision closes the federal investigation.
This young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface. We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.
The Martin family says they are “disappointed” by the decision.
ESPN suspends Olbermann for one week following his Twitter exchange with Penn State students regarding a story about a Penn State charity event that raised more than $13 million to help support children fighting pediatric cancer. Olbermann later apologizes for his posts via Twitter. ESPN:
It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN. We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong. ESPN and Keith have agreed that he will not host his show for the remainder of this week and will return on Monday. The annual tradition of THON [the fundraising event] and the efforts of the students of Penn State to fight pediatric cancer should be applauded.
A report by the UN chief Ban to the Security Council lists five priorities for action including the lifting of sieges on 212,000 people, ensuring access to medical aid to all of Syria, and rebuilding the education system. He also says the 15-member council must address barrel-bomb attacks on civilians and ending the practice of denying services as a weapon of war. Ban says barrel bombs are used against civilians in Aleppo, where the United Nations is seeking to freeze fighting as part of peace efforts. Ban:
BBC Radio 1 denies claims from fans that Madonna’s music is being omitted from the station’s playlists due to her age.
Radio 1 does not ban anyone—please don’t believe the papers. The tracks played on Radio 1 are chosen on musical merit and their relevance to our young audience on a case-by-case basis, and whilst around 40% of the country’s 15 to 29-year-olds tune into Radio 1 each week, an artist’s age is never a factor. In fact, Paul McCartney currently has two tracks —FourFiveSeconds and Only One—on the Radio 1 playlist.
Brown releases a statement regarding Bobbi Kristina. Brown asks that the media not believe relatives who are unfamiliar with Bobbi Kristina’s condition:
At this time it is requested that the media cease speaking with unauthorized members of the family. The integrity of the events that led to the hospitalization of Bobbi Kristina must remain uncompromised. Various members of the family have provided media interviews, however, none of them are approved visitors to see Bobbi Kristina. None of them have firsthand knowledge of Bobbi Kristina’s treatment and the medical staff at Emory University Hospital has not communicated with them. In [particular], Jerod Brown aka Jerod Carter aka YF Kennedy, continues to [make] statements and appear on television, however, he has not had any communication with Bobby Brown or the Houston family. He must be disregarded. Please do not attend any ‘meet and greet’ organized by Jerod Brown as he is unable to provide access to Bobbi Kristina or information on her condition. This is a criminal investigation and we do not need this side show.
My heartfelt and deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones, and to all of those who were involved or injured in this terrible accident. It is a devastating tragedy, and I cannot pretend to imagine what this family is going through at this time. I am praying for them. I will continue to cooperate in every way possible.
Jezebelposts Sulkowicz’s rebuttal to the Facebook messages provided by Nungesser. Sulkowicz:
It is extremely upsetting that Paul would violate me again—this time, with the help of a reporter, Cathy Young. I just wanted to fix the problem of sexual assault on campus—I never wanted this to be an excuse for people to dig through my private Facebook messages and frame them in a way as to cast doubt on my character. It’s unfair and disgusting that Paul and Cathy would treat personal life as a mine that they can dig through and harvest for publicity and Paul’s public image.
This is why I have chosen to release the full conversation, plus the context in which things were said. I want people to have all the information so that they can make informed decisions for themselves, rather than seeing a redacted version of the conversation with bits and pieces picked out to make me look a certain way.
If I had a choice, no one would see my private Facebook messages at all. However, Paul and Cathy have put me in a position where I either do nothing, and they publish the conversation, or I take the lead and publish it on my own. It’s the only thing I can do to maintain a modicum of control over my private life, which becomes more public by the second, thanks to reporters who don’t treat me with respect.
In a feature story on The Daily Beast, Nungesser says he did not rape Sulkowicz. According to Sulkowicz, after starting consensual sex (their third sexual encounter), Nungesser suddenly and brutally assaulted her, then picked up his clothes and left without a word, leaving her stunned and shattered on the bed. However, according to Nungesser, they briefly engaged in anal intercourse by mutual agreement, then went on to engage in other sexual activity and fell asleep. He says that he woke up early in the morning and went back to his own room while Sulkowicz was still sleeping. Nungesser says that for weeks after that night, he and Sulkowicz maintained a cordial relationship, and says she seemingly never indicated that anything was amiss. He then describes a series of friendly texts made by Sulkowicz after the alleged incident (these are documented here, and have been included in the newsline at the appropriate points).
InStyleresponds to fans who believe that Washington’s skin is lightened on her cover photo.
We are super fans of Kerry Washington here at InStyle. To feature her on the cover of our March spring fashion issue is both an honor and a delight. We have heard from those who have spoken out about our newsstand cover photograph, concerned that Kerry’s skin tone was lightened. While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern. We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward.
Mexico’s attorney general refuses to extradite Guzman to the U.S. citing national sovereignty and also because he must serve his time in Mexican prison for all the crimes for which he is being prosecuted:
I could accept extradition but at the time that I choose. El Chapo must stay here to complete his sentence and then I will extradite him. So about 300 or 400 years later — it will be a while.
Sulkowicz says she was disappointed the president did not mention sexual assault on college campuses in his State of the Union speech.
I can’t say I was entirely surprised because since when has violence against women ever been a man’s issue? “I am not going to lie, I was let down because I felt like there were points in his speech where he could have brought it up. I was really hoping he would mention it, since the issue has been raised to a new level.
Just seeing the president in person was such a wild experience. And shaking John Kerry’s hand was also extremely surreal. He didn’t really know who I was, and even when Senator Gillibrand introduced me no one seemed to know who I was. But that’s okay.
DeGeneres speaks out in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear cases on same-sex marriage from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.
That’s fantastic. It’s about time. It’s funny. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Selma, but the thing that changed the civil rights movement is when white people got involved and started marching, because until then, it was just nothing but violence and disaster, and it continued to be for a while. We need everyone on our side. We’re kind of trying to do this march, and we just need people that believe in equality and believe in fairness and love. So if we have people that will join us and give us that, which is only fair to have the same rights that everybody else has, then it’s a wonderful world.
The White House responds to a petition to fire two federal officials involved in the Swartz’s prosecution by refusing the request:
Aaron Swartz’s death was a tragic, unthinkable loss for his family and friends. Our sympathy continues to go out to those who were closest to him, and to the many others whose lives he touched. We also reaffirm our belief that a spirit of openness is what makes the Internet such a powerful engine for economic growth, technological innovation, and new ideas. That’s why members of the Administration continue to engage with advocates to ensure the Internet remains a free and open platform as technology continues to disrupt industries and connect our communities in ways we can’t yet imagine.
As to the specific personnel-related requests raised in your petitions, our response must be limited. Consistent with the terms we laid out when we began We the People, we will not address agency personnel matters in a petition response, because we do not believe this is the appropriate forum in which to do so.
California Department of Health confirms nine cases of measles from unvaccinated visitors who contracted the disease in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in Orange County, California from December 15 to December 20. The department confirms seven cases treated in California and two cases treated in Utah, and urges people to contact health care providers if they experience symptoms of fever, cough, runny nose, and red rashes.
Knight Pulliam addresses recent sexual assault allegations against Cosby in an interview on Today.
What I can say is this: I wasn’t there. No one was there except for the two people who know exactly what happened. All I can speak to is the man that I know and love. The fact that he’s been such an example, you can’t take away from the great that he has done. You know, the amount…the millions and millions of dollars that he has given back to colleges and education, and just what he did with The Cosby Show and how groundbreaking that was. Ultimately, they’re just that, allegations. You know, it’s very much been played out in the court of public opinion. But we’re still in America, where ultimately you’re innocent until proven guilty. I wasn’t there. That’s just not the man I know. So I can’t speak to it.
Sony announces a limited theatrical release of The Interview on Christmas Day. The movie will be shown in several hundred independent theaters across the United States. Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, Michael Lynton:
We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.
WWE announces a new biographical release about the life of Warrior. The book is titled Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever: The Legend of a WWE Hero. WWE releases statement:
Through both action and candid photographs, personal ephemera, including original Warrior art and detailed journal entries, insider stories and exclusive interviews with WWE legends, and intimate accounts from the Warrior family, this unique biography brings the legacy of The Ultimate Warrior to life like never before. Relive the Warrior’s most intense matches and rivalries, and get to know the man behind the face paint in this one-of-a-kind volume. Filled with intense action and little-known details, Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever is a celebration of the Superstar who left an inimitable mark on WWE and redefined sports entertainment for generations.
Wife, Camille speaks out and defends Cosby’s rape allegations calling him a victim:
I met my husband, Bill Cosby, in 1963, and we were married in 1964. The man I met, and fell in love with, and whom I continue to love, is the man you all knew through his work. He is a kind man, a generous man, a funny man, and a wonderful husband, father and friend. He is the man you thought you knew.
A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is the portrait of a man I do not know. It is also a portrait painted by individuals and organizations whom many in the media have given a pass. There appears to be no vetting of my husband’s accusers before stories are published or aired. An accusation is published, and immediately goes viral.
We all followed the story of the article in the “Rolling Stone” concerning allegations of rape at the University of Virginia. The story was heart-breaking, but ultimately appears to be proved to be untrue. Many in the media were quick to link that story to stories about my husband – until that story unwound.
None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim. But the question should be asked – who is the victim?
Ross takes to his blog to discuss WWE’s NXT Takeover event and the NXT roster.
Owens is a keeper and has a uniquely, physical style that I like. Finn Balor had as memorable an entrance as I can recall in years. Neville vs Zayn could well challenge any thing we see at TLC….I hope the main roster was watching. Competition is knocking on their door. Charlotte vs. Sasha was crisp and well executed. Charlotte is getting so good that it could be scary in time. Sasha has a natural ‘attitude’ which is marketable. Great stuff from start to finish of this show.
Carter is quoted as an “upstart” in Billboard’s 2014 Year in Music, alongside Meghan Trainor and Nico and Vinz:
Last year, when people came to Atom Factory, a lot of it was on me to be able to deliver. I had to show up to every meeting; the focus was on me. And this year, I think the focus has been on us. We all understand that we’re only as good as the talent we represent.
Jolie releases a public announcement to let her fans know why she will be missing all the upcoming events for her film Unbroken.
I just wanted to be clear and honest about why I will be missing the Unbroken events in the next few days, which is, I found last night that I have chicken pox. I will be home itching and missing everyone, and I can’t believe it because this film means so much to me I can’t believe it! But such is life. There it is. I send everyone my love and hope everything goes well.
Green tellsTMZ that people who assume Cosby is guilty are being unfair.
He hasn’t said anything. Which is also to some an admission of guilt, as well. It just doesn’t seem fair any way you slice it. You can’t defend yourself in that capacity. You just have to let facts be facts and so on and so forth. The facts have to speak the loudest. With that being said, none of this seems fair. But of course, for any victim in the situation it’s highly unfair. It’s not for me to judge him. I definitely can’t judge him. It’s just unfortunate because he’s so beloved to so many.
During a press conference in Los Angeles, led by attorney Gloria Allred, Hayes says Cosby exhibited behavior ‘like that of a predator’ when she met Cosby at Clint Eastwood’s Celebrity Tennis Tournament in Pebble Beach, California in 1973. Hayes claims Cosby stalked her and her two friends, eventually grabbing Hayes’ breast.
Bill found us again on Saturday night even though we had changed restaurants several times to avoid him. At first, we thought it was all right because it was day time, and because it was Bill Cosby. We felt we were safe. But then when he found us in the last restaurant, he approached me from behind and reached over my shoulder and grabbed my right breast. I was stunned, and angry, because he had no right to do that. And I didn’t know why he would behave that way. His behavior was like that of a predator.
WWE releases a statement regarding Slater’s legal situation stemming from a warrant placed for his arrest. WWE claims they will take appropriate action when more information is presented to them. The statement reads:
WWE has been advised that a misdemeanor arrest warrant has been issued against Heath Miller (aka Heath Slater), but we have not seen a copy or been provided with the underlying charges. Once this information is received by WWE, we will take the appropriate action.
Cedric the Entertainer comments on the recent allegations against Cosby while on the red carpet at the New York premiere of Chris Rock’s upcoming comedy Top Five.
“[Cosby] is one of those legendary comedians. We all grew up on him, and we know and respect him, not just as a comedian, but for the things that he’s done outside of comedy, with the colleges and giving back [to the community], and spending his money where his mouth is. But if the allegations have any truth to them, you want the truth to come out. You want justification for all the people. That’s all you can really say. It’s an unfortunate scenario.
Rosenberg, a Canadian-Israeli joint citizen who served in the Israel Defense Forces before volunteering to fight for a peshmerga division against ISIS, posts a message on her Facebook account to say that she is fine and has not been captured despite ISIS reports:
Guys, I’m totally safe and secure. I don’t have Internet access or any communication devices with me for my safety and security. I can’t reply regularly and only happened to have a chance to log in and see these bu*****t news stories. Ignore the reports I’ve been captured.
The Daily Mail reports that sources in the Kurdish militia also confirm she is unharmed and was not captured.
Ross updates the blog section of his site to discuss Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Vince McMahon’s apology to CM Punk.
Was happy that VKM addressed the hot topic of the CM Punk matter and was surprised about the apology he made to Punk about getting his legal paperwork on Punk and AJ’s wedding day. Seems as if the door is open to resume talks some day if both parties are of that mindset. Punk’s overwhelming desire to close the show at a WrestleMania is admirable and if any one in the locker room doesn’t have that same goal every day of their professional life then they need to find another line of work.
The bankruptcy trustee for Mt. Gox announces it will work with California-based Bitcoin exchange, Kraken, to return the money left in the estate to the company’s 127,000 creditors. Kraken CEO Powell says the company will help with the claims process, including evaluating the assets owed to creditors, and that it will assist in the investigation of Mt. Gox’s collapse. He says the trustee will have the final decision on payments in Bitcoin:
Allowing the creditors to go on without reinvestment, I think, would be very wrong. We’ve got to have the money that was locked up for the last 10 months returned as soon as possible.
On whether the exchange should be revived:
There are no assets, no brand. There is nothing to speak of to revive.
Carr questions why journalists, including himself, turned a blind eye the sexual assault allegations against Cosby, in an article in The New York Times.
And those in the know also included me. In 2011, I did a Q. and A. with Mr. Cosby for Hemispheres magazine, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines, and never found the space or the time to ask him why so many women had accused him of drugging and then assaulting them. We all have our excuses, but in ignoring these claims, we let down the women who were brave enough to speak out publicly against a powerful entertainer.
Whitaker responds to David Carr’s The New York Times article and tweet that he is one of Cosby’s ‘media enablers’, because he avoided writing about sexual abuse allegations against Cosby in the biography, Cosby: His Life and Times.
@carr2n David you are right. I was wrong to not deal with the sexual assault charges against Cosby and pursue them more aggressively.
Ross updates the blog section of his website to discuss Sting’s WWE debut.
Happy to see my old friend The Stinger debut at the Survivor Series Sunday night. Honestly, I wish I hadn’t read so much material notwithstanding writing about the rumor of his return to the ring Sunday night. I’d have liked it better if I had not allowed myself to be preconditioned about Sting’s arrival. I have no one but me to blame. Nonetheless it seemed like he got a good ovation from the St. Louis crowd.
Host O’Donnell speaks out regarding Cosby’s rape allegations:
There are lots of allegations starting in 1969. There are many, many, many, and it’s very hard, I think, for any of us to discuss Cosby in this context. Because he is the beloved father image, the benevolent father that we as a society hold in some way. Even for, you know, anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse to believe that somebody that you love or know could do that is a very difficult thing.
Rosie O'Donnell INTIMIDATES Her "VIEW" Co-Hosts During HEATED Bill Cosby Debate!!
Hurd, known for her work on Law & Order:SVU, writes a post on Facebook saying Cosby acted inappropriately towards her when she worked as a stand-in on The Cosby Show. Hurd’s Facebook post:
LOOK, I wasn’t going to say anything, but I can’t believe some of the things i’ve been reading, SO here is MY personal experience:
I did stand-in work on The Cosby show back in the day and YES, Bill Cosby was VERY inappropriate with me. It started innocently, lunch in his dressing room, daily, then onto weird acting exercises were he would move his hands up and down my body, (can’t believe I fell for that) I was instructed to NEVER tell anyone what we did together, (he said other actors would become jealous) and then fortunately, I dodged the ultimate bullet with him when he asked me to come to his house, take a shower so we could blow dry my hair and see what it looked like straightened. At that point my own red flags went off and I told him,
“No, I’ll just come to work tomorrow with my hair straightened”.
I then started to take notice and found another actress, a stand-in as well, and we started talking….. A LOT …. turns out he was doing the same thing to her, almost by the numbers, BUT, she did go to his house and because I will not name her, and it is her story to tell, all I’ll say is she awoke, after being drugged, vomited, and then Cosby told her there’s a cab waiting for you outside.
I have ABSOLUTELY no reason to lie or make up this up!
Anyone that knows me, knows that!
Now you have a first hand account of my experience with Mr. Cosby.
Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, releases a statement in which he calls the new sexual assault allegations against Cosby “completely illogical”.
The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40 or even 50 years ago have escalated past the point of absurdity. These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years. Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day. There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege dthey had been sexually assaulted. This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards … It is long past time for this media villification of Mr. Cosby to stop.
Raven-Symone, who played Cosby’s grand-daughter on The Cosby Show takes to instagram to say she has not been abused by Cosby:
I was NOT taking advantage of by Mr. Cosby when I was on the Cosby Show! I was practically a baby on that show and this is truly a disgusting rumor that I want no part of! Everyone on that show treated me with nothing but kindness. Now keep me out of this!
In a follow-up interview on ET, Dickinson defends her claims against Cosby in a tearful interview..
It is not a lie. It is my right as a woman. I have to speak up and you have to be able to go in and just be brave and do it for all the women that can’t come forward. The loss of innocence that I suffered and that these women suffered is why I’m sitting here today. And I don’t care about what Cosby or networks or anybody says, you will hear me.
Green, another of Cosby’s accusers, calls into ET during Dickinson’s interview. Dickinson:
You were there, you know what happened to you. I didn’t go to the police the next day because I didn’t have the courage or the strength.
Spike TV issues a statement on parting ways with TNA Wrestling .
Our partnership with TNA Wrestling will officially come to an end with our last telecast on December 24. Dixie Carter and her team have been incredible partners to work with over the past 9 years, delivering high-action entertainment and strong ratings. As Spike continues to evolve into a network reaching a broader audience, we continue to look across our schedule to find opportunities to add original scripted and non-scripted programming that appeals to a wider demographic. On behalf of everyone at Spike, we would like to wish Dixie and TNA all the best and continued success.