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Russell Simmons Calls 2001 Sexual Battery Allegations Untrue

Prosecutors declined to press charges, citing, citing insufficient evidence. 

Director Brett Ratner's criminal background has been unearthed in the wake of sexual harassment claims, with an accusations against Russell Simmons also coming to light.

Variety reports The Beverly Hills Police Department probed Ratner and Simmons in Nov. 2001 following accusations made by a 29-year-old model. Although the incident was never detailed, D.A. spokesman Ricardo Santiago told the outlet the misdemeanor sexual battery accusation included masturbation.

The alleged victim claimed the incident happened between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. at the 1200 block of Benedict Canyon Drive, which happened to be the same street as Ratner's home. She arrived at police department shortly before 4:45 a.m. It was decided in 2002 that Ratner and Simmons wouldn't face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Ratner's criminal attorney, Harland Braun told the outlet that the men cooperated with police throughout the entire investigation and later claimed the woman had a "checkered history."

“It wasn’t rape or anything. It was sexual battery,” Braun said.“This is not her first rodeo… I don’t think there’s anything here. This is a girl that had such a checkered history.” Braun also reportedly paraphrased Ratner's and Simmons recollection of the incident. “We know her. She came to our house. Nothing happened. She’s making up a story.”

Simmons also gave a statement to the outlet, calling the allegations untrue. “This is an important and critical time for the empowerment of women and men who have been harassed," he said. "I have been a public figure for all of my adult life. And when you are in that arena over decades, you can find yourself in a position where you are vulnerable and susceptible to claims that are untrue.”

Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by six women including actress Olivia Munn. Melanie Kohler, a former employee of Endeavor Talent Agency, accused the director of rape on Facebook last week. She is now facing a defamation suit by Ratner and his legal team.

Earlier today, actress Ellen Page also accused the director of sexually harassing her during her time on the set of his film, X Men: The Last Stand. Page also claimed Ratner essentially outed her as a lesbian "who had not yet come out to myself."

“You should f**k her to make her realize she’s gay.” He said this about me during a cast and crew “meet and greet” before we began filming, X Men: The Last Stand," she said in a Facebook post. "I was eighteen years old. He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: “You should f**k her to make her realize she’s gay.”

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David Becker

Fans Tweet About Erykah Badu's Defense Of R. Kelly At A Chicago Show

Erykah Badu has remained silent after Lifetime aired the six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. The singer and entertainer who once referred to Kelly as her "brother" while hosting the Soul Train Awards and has kept a low profile during the series.

Badu has finally broken her silence during a show at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom in which attendees say the Grammy-award winning singer defended Kelly and instructed others to "keep their opinions to themselves."

Erykah Badu came to Chicago and told us all she finna love R Kelly anyway & we can keep our opinion to ourselves. Mad disrespectful to our city and a shitty use of her platform. Crusty ass bitch.

— hot headed yam (@tomapapito) January 20, 2019

Another attendee tweeted Badu attempt at trying to bring light to the hypocrisy in the public outcry against Kelly.

“what if one of the people who was assaulted by R Kelly becomes an offender? we gonna crucify them too?” -erykah badu at her chicago concert

— IG: @boydonavin (@boyDonavin) January 20, 2019

Many in attendance were hurt by Badu's actions and left conflicted.

I really want to say how much i loved Erykah Badu’s concert tonight.

But i can’t get over how she tried to justify and defend R. Kelly’s actions and reputation during her set... I’m so disappointed...

— jacque (@jacquemarquez_) January 20, 2019

I really don’t want to believe Erykah Badu is sacrificing her music legacy for R. Kelly. I don’t. everyone has their ignorance and places that deeply disappoint me, including my favorite artists (and myself), but supporting child predators is such a nefarious thing to do.

— Myles E. Johnson (@hausmuva) January 20, 2019

This isn't the first time Badu has come under fire for what many deem to be problematic commentary. In April 2016, Badu agreed with a school district that was making it mandatory for girls to wear longer skirts as a way to not "distract" the boys.

Erykah Badu's defense of R. Kelly prompted Twitter to dig up old tweets.

erykah badu already told y’all she doesn’t believe GIRLS when it comes to matters of sexual assault, harassment, rape, etc. so why y’all shocked now? pic.twitter.com/Eogzatc9aO

— ALEXIS$ 🧚🏾‍♀️ (@lexxdadon) January 20, 2019

Erykah Badu said she empathizes with Hitler because he was a beautiful painter. Why are y'all surprised?

— Experiment 625 (@Mariah__Cara) January 20, 2019

Writer and director dream hampton said Badu was one of many celebrities she contacted to be in the series but denied her request.

Does Erykah Badu's defense of R. Kelly make you think twice about the singer? Will you continue to listen to Badu's music, or does the defense of R. Kelly mean she's now an enabler? Sound off in the comments.

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Michael Steele

Drake's "In My Feelings" Received The Kidz Bop Treatment

After the release of Drake's chart-topping Scorpion album, his single "In My Feelings" skyrocketed to number one, so it's no surprise the City Girls assisted track received the Kidz Bop treatment.

Since 2000, the compilation LP has sold about 17 million copies and over the weekend, Kidz Bop released its 39th installment offering the world a G-rated and tween-friendly version of today's biggest hits.

Once Twitter learned Kidz Bop laid its prepubescent hands on Drake's song, there was a mixed bag of feelings. Some went along with it and commented positively, while others were frankly offended.

I just saw a Kidz Bop commercial with the Kidz Bop version of In My Feelings and I feel like a curse has been placed on me

— Jeremy (@TacticalRPG) January 10, 2019

That Kidz Bop version of In My Feelings lets me know that hell is a real place.

— Nappy Head Nietzsche (@AugustCulture) January 19, 2019

This #KidzBop version of "In My Feelings" is SENDING me! 😂 pic.twitter.com/EQzTwdbfb6

— Nicholas D. (@Creat1ve) January 18, 2019

This isn't the first time Drake's music has been Kidz Bopped. For Kidz Bop 31, "Hotline Bling" was also featured. The new 18-track album also features Cardi B's "I Like It" as well as Khalid and Normani's "Love Lies."

The lyrics to the hook received a slight change.

KiKi do you love me/are you with me/say you'll never ever leave from beside me/cause I want ya/and I need ya/and I'm down for ya always

And when it came time for the City Girls portion of the song, they turned that down as well.

all of us kids and we hangin' in the rain/hangin' in rain/I need a black card with the code to the safe/code to the safe.

Hey, kids need love too. Watch the Kidz Bop version of Drake's "In My Feelings" below.

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Sarah Duncan

South Carolina High School Students May Soon Take A Personal Finance Class

High school students in South Carolina may now have to pass a personal finance class in order to receive their diploma.

According to reports, Republican lawmakers Luke Rankin and Horry County Senator have filed a pre-bill that will require high school students to take a class that will aim to help students learn how to better budget their money.

"You can really put yourself in a really bad hole that you're gonna be digging yourself out of the rest of your life," financial planner Dr. Christopher St. John said.

The course will cover insurance, taxes, retirement planning, budgeting, banking, and how to avoid too much debt.

Finance website Make Lemonade reports there are more than 44 million borrowers who owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt within the United States. Student loan debt has become the second highest debt among consumers followed by mortgage debt.

The class of 2016, reportedly has $37,172 in student loan debt.

If the bill is passed, it would go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. The course would be required and student who take a test at the end of the year prior to graduation.

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