Jussie Smollett Returns To Court To Enter Formal Plea
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City Of Chicago Files Civil Suit Against Jussie Smollett For Refusing To Pay $130K

The city wants three times the amount in damages, plus attorneys' fees. 

Chicago kept its promise to take legal action against Jussie Smollett after the Empire star refused to pay just over $130,106 to cover costs to the city for investigating what the actor insists was a hate crime against him.

The city filed a civil suit in the Circuit Court County Thursday (April 11), in hopes of recouping hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover “civil penalties, statutory treble damages, attorney’s fees and costs arising” from his alleged “false statements” to authorities following the January assault, which police later said was a hoax.

Smollett is accused of filing a “false police report claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by unknown attackers.” According to the complaint, Smollett knew his attackers and “orchestrated the purported attack himself.”

Further in the legal documents, the city argues that Smollett became “friends” with his alleged attacker, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, in 2017. During the course of the friendship, Smollett and Osundairo “socialized and exercised together,” the complaint states. The documents also accuse the actor of “occasionally” asking Osundairo to help him obtain “recreational drugs.”

The documents claim Smollett sent Osundairo a text message on January 25, 2019, asking when he would be traveling to Nigeria with his brother. “Might need you help on the low. You around to meet up face to face,” Smollett allegedly wrote before driving to Osundairo’s apartment and taking him on a ride.

“During the ride, Defendant stated that he was unhappy with the way his employers handled a racist and homophobic letter he had allegedly received three days earlier, and as a result, he wanted to stage an attack where Abel would appear to batter him.”

The complaint adds that Osundairo commissioned his younger brother Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo to help him, and that Smollett gave the brothers $100 to purchase “clothing and materials needed for the staged attack.” Smollett also wrote the brothers a $3,500 check to allegedly carry out the attack, but put in the memo that the payment was for, “5 week nutrition/workout program.”

When questioned by police, Smollett not only asserted that he was a victim but that the attack was caught on a nearby surveillance camera. However, the suit states that Smollett “purposely led” Chicago Police to “believe that his attackers were white, when in fact, Defendant knew that his attackers were the Osundairo Brothers.”

After an “extensive investigation,” which included obtaining GPS and cell phone records, video surveillance, bank records, and a store receipt, authorities concluded that Smollett lied about the story. Smollett, however, has maintained that he was a victim of an attack.

The 36-year-old actor was later charged with 16 felony charges that were dismissed last month.

Chicago's suit against Smollett requests that the court force him to pay a civil penalty of $1000 “for each false statement that he made to the city” along with “three times the amount of the damages that the city sustained,” in addition to “litigation and collection fees, and attorneys’ fees.”

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Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in court to face new sexual misconduct charges, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in New York. The new charges involve an alleged incident in October 2018. Gooding Jr. pleaded not guilty. The defense paints it as a shakedown attempt.
Alec Tabak/New York Daily News Pool via AP

Cuba Gooding Jr. Pleads Not Guilty In Groping Case As 12 Other Women Accuse Him Of Groping At Bars

Cuba Gooding Jr. is reportedly "dumbfounded" at new information that delayed his sexual misconduct trial in New York. The 51-year-old actor has been accused by 14 women of groping them at bars and clubs over the years.

According to the Associated Press, the actor pleaded not guilty to an arraignment on four misdemeanor counts of forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse stemming from an incident at a bar in Times Square over the summer. The case was initially delayed in light of the prosecution's attempt to showcase an alleged pattern of inappropriate behavior for Gooding.

Prosecutor Jenna Long then presented 12 allegations from the 12 other women who claimed they either groped, bit or pinched by Gooding Jr. in an intimate area. The incidents reportedly happened as far back as 2001 in various cities like Las Vegas, Dallas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Prosecutors plan to have the women testify against the actor.

“The defendant’s past behavior shows that he routinely approaches women while at bars or nightclubs with whom he has limited or no prior interaction, and touches them inappropriately,” wrote assistant district attorney Jenna Long.

Some of the allegations include Gooding at the Cafe Habana in Malibu, where he allegedly reached under a woman's skirt and touched her vagina over her underwear. The woman saw the actor recently and attacked him over the incident. Another woman claimed in 2006, Gooding approached her from behind at Chi in Hollywood and bit her shoulder.

Variety reports the woman turned around to ask the actor if he did the act but he shrugged his shoulders. After doing it again, the actor allegedly pulled up her skirt and dry humped her leg.

The actor is expected back in court Dec. 13.

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Theo Wargo

Lizzo's "Truth Hurts" Meets Claims Of Plagiarism

Lizzo is being accused of plagiarism again for her ubiquitous song “Truth Hurts.” Singer-songwriter Justin Raisen, who reportedly wrote a track called “Healthy” in 2017 with Lizzo, claims that he was never given credit for the components that make up “Truth Hurts,” which account for its chords, melody and lyrics, Complex reports.

The line that Raisen has an issue with is the catchy opening of the track: "I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100 percent that bi**h." In a lengthy Instagram post, he shared a mash-up of both “Healthy” and “Truth Hurts” accompanied by footage of Lizzo and his team in the studio.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The Truth about “Truth Hurts” On April 11th, 2017, we wrote a song called “Healthy” w/ Lizzo, Jesse St John, and Yves Rothman at our studio. “I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch” was taken from “Healthy” and used in “Truth Hurts”. We were never contacted about being credited for the use of the parts of “Healthy” (melody, lyrics, and chords) that appear in “Truth Hurts”. After reaching out to Ricky Reed and Lizzo’s team about fixing it, we put the song in dispute in 2017 when it came out. We’ve tried to sort this out quietly for the last two years, only asking for 5% each but were shutdown every time. Coming forward publicly to family, friends, artists, and colleagues seems to be the only way at this point in relieving some of our emotional distress caused by this. The last thing we want to do is throw any negativity toward Lizzo’s momentum and movement as a cultural figure. If we believe in what she’s preaching, believing in ourselves & our own voices is something we thought she’d understand. Shout out to the singer Mina Lioness ( @minalioness ) for tweeting “I just did a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch”. A meme of that came up in our writing session & inspired the lyric and melody we wrote together. If Ricky and Lizzo’s team decide to settle this dispute with us, we would like to share some of the proceeds with Mina for her influence on Healthy. The clip below shows a video & photos from the day we wrote “Healthy” along with the comparisons between the two works. All the Love, Justin & Jeremiah Raisen #lizzo #truthhurts #healthy #billboard

A post shared by Justin Raisen (@justinraisen) on Oct 14, 2019 at 11:50pm PDT

“On April 11th, 2017, we wrote a song called 'Healthy' w/ Lizzo, Jesse St John, and Yves Rothman at our studio. 'I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch' was taken from 'Healthy' and used in 'Truth Hurts,'" he wrote. “We were never contacted about being credited for the use of the parts of 'Healthy' (melody, lyrics, and chords) that appear in 'Truth Hurts.'

“After reaching out to Ricky Reed and Lizzo’s team about fixing it, we put the song in dispute in 2017 when it came out,” he added. “We’ve tried to sort this out quietly for the last two years, only asking for 5% each but were shutdown every time.”

In another instance, British singer Mina Lioness claimed in February 2018 that she first tweeted the resounding lyric. After hearing about the claim, Lizzo said she’s never seen the tweet and was inspired by a meme.  In a video produced by Billboard, Lizzo revealed how she made "Truth Hurts." The Texas native said the main inspiration behind the song was her life experiences with men.

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Courtesy of Moet & Chandon

Moët & Chandon Partners With Photographer Jonathan Mannion For "Nectar Of The Culture" Campaign

In celebration of Moët & Chandon's collaboration with photographer extraordinaire Jonathan Mannion, the pair have teamed up to introduce a new bottle and launch a program that centers on creatives. "Nectar of the Culture" aims to usher in "a new era of pioneers who are changing the game today and shaping culture to impact a new generation."

In honor of the partnership, the brand released a limited-edition customized bottle of Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé. "Nectar of the Culture is truly a moment of celebration for everyone who pours their heart into their work and who believes in this artistic movement," Mannion said in a statement. "It is an honor to be recognized by Moët & Chandon for my visual contributions to culture and to champion Nectar of the Culture through the new limited-edition Nectar Imperial Rosé bottle. The limited-edition bottle stands as a symbol of accomplishment for the leaders of a new age we're naming the 'Rose Gold Era.'"

Looking to U.S. cities like Miami, Chicago, New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, the program will highlight the culture's game-changers. First up on the stage is revered fashion designer LaQuan Smith of Queens, New York.

"I've seen first-hand how Moët & Chandon has been an iconic symbol in the culture," Mannion adds. "We honor this lineage from then to now with a new class of creative thinkers, in what I like to think of as the Rose Gold Era. With Moët, I raise my glass to the next generation of visionaries who define it."

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