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Netflix cuts ties with Kevin Spacey after sexual misconduct allegations

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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Netflix severed ties on Friday with Kevin Spacey, one of its biggest stars and the lead in its popular drama “House of Cards,” after a number of allegations of sexual misconduct against the Oscar-winning actor.

The streaming company suspended production earlier this week of the upcoming sixth and final season of the political intrigue drama, in which Spacey plays U.S. president Frank Underwood.

“Netflix will not be involved with any further production of ‘House of Cards’ that includes Kevin Spacey,” the company said in a statement late on Friday.

Spacey’s publicist cut ties with him on Thursday and it was not known who currently represents him.

His departure may not mean the end of the show, however.

“While we continue the ongoing investigation into the serious allegations concerning Kevin Spacey’s behavior on the set of ‘House of Cards,’ he has been suspended, effective immediately,” Media Rights Capital, the company that produces the show, said in a statement.

“MRC, in partnership with Netflix, will continue to evaluate a creative path forward for the program during the hiatus,” it said.

The Netflix statement also said the company will work with MRC to determine the show’s future.

Spacey, who has had a successful career in film, television and theater, is one of several big names in the entertainment business to be accused of sexual misconduct by people coming forward in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey

Weinstein.

Spacey apologized last weekend to actor Anthony Rapp, who had accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. CNN reported on Thursday that eight current and former employees of “House of Cards,” who were not identified, alleged sexual misconduct against Spacey.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm any of the accusations.

Spacey, as part of his apology to Rapp, announced he was gay, which angered many in the LGBT community and beyond who saw his announcement as an effort to divert attention from the accusation by Rapp.

Spacey has sought evaluation and treatment, his representatives said in a statement on Wednesday, without providing details on the nature of the treatment.

The announcement that he would seek treatment followed harassment allegations against him this week by Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos, who worked in the London theater where Spacey was artistic director from 2004-2015, and U.S. filmmaker Tony Montana.

MRC said in a statement on Thursday it had handled one incident in 2012 in which a crew member it did not identify “shared a complaint about a specific remark and gesture made by Kevin Spacey” and that immediate action had been taken and the issue was resolved.

It said Spacey had “willingly participated in a training process” and that it was not aware of any complaints since then involving the actor.

Netflix’s move to cut ties with Spacey went beyond “House of Cards.”

The company will not release the film “Gore,” which was in post-production and was produced by Spacey, its statement said. Spacey plays the late writer Gore Vidal.

 

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Mary Milliken and Paul Tait)

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Actor says he ‘almost died’ after eating Chipotle

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Chipotle Mexican Grill on Monday denied allegations by actor Jeremy Jordan that eating at one of its restaurants landed him in the hospital.

Jordan, who plays Winn Schott on TV show “Supergirl,” posted an Instagram video on Thursday of himself on a hospital bed, saying that food he ate at a Chipotle made him severely sick and that he “almost died,” according to a People.com report.

“There have been no other reported claims of illness at the restaurant where (Jordan) dined. We take all claims seriously, but we can’t confirm any link to Chipotle, given the details he shared with us,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said via email.

Jordan’s allegations come as Chipotle is still recovering from a bruising string of food safety lapses that started in late 2015, including a recent norovirus outbreak at a Virginia restaurant.

The Denver-based burrito chain’s stock has fallen about 60 percent since an E. coli outbreak in 2015.

Shares of Chipotle fell as much as 6 percent to a near five-year low of $263.11 on Monday morning, but recouped most losses by afternoon. The stock was last down 0.4 percent.

 

(Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan and Uday Sampath Kumar in Bengaluru; editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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Hundreds join #MeToo march against sexual abuse

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Hundreds of people marched in the heart of Hollywood on Sunday to support victims of sexual assault and harassment, inspired by a social media campaign that has portrayed such abuse as a pervasive feature of American life.

The #MeToo march and rally followed a relentless series of accusations by men and women who said they were victimized by high-powered figures in the entertainment industry. But marchers said they also represented men and women who had been sexually abused as children and in other situations.

Reuters

“I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times throughout my life,” said marcher Tara McNamarra, 21, of Los Angeles. “It’s affected me in every aspect of my life.”

She said the march was cleansing after years of not being taken seriously about having been abused.

Women made up a majority of the crowd, although men made a strong showing of support.

Reuters

Steven Murphy, 51, of Los Angeles, said he regularly witnessed sexual harassment while working as an accountant in the healthcare industry.

“I’ve had personal experiences of friends, of co-workers who were harassed, and nothing ever came of it,” Murphy said. “They were made out to be the guilty ones. They were pressured and harassed by the company for speaking out against assault and sexual harassment in the workplace.”

The marchers started at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, walking along the noted “Walk of Fame” until they reached the Los Angeles headquarters of news network CNN at Sunset and Cahuenga Boulevards.

Reuters

Along the way, participants noted the stars of actors and producers accused of sexual harassment.

The allegations have inspired an online campaign, tagged #MeToo, that has encouraged men and women in all walks of life to reveal their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault, often years after they occurred.

Reuters

Among the most recent allegations, five women detailed sexual misconduct accusations against Emmy-winning comedian Louis C.K. in The New York Times on Thursday. He admitted to the misconduct alleged against him in a statement on Friday and apologized for his actions.

More than 50 women have said that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the allegations.

Reuters

Reuters

Earlier this month, actor Kevin Spacey apologized to actor Anthony Rapp, who had accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. Spacey’s representatives said later he was seeking treatment.

Eight current and former employees of the Netflix TV show “House of Cards,” who were not identified, also have accused Spacey, the star of the show, of sexual misconduct, CNN has reported.

 

(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Editing by Peter Cooney

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ESPN’s SportsCenter is now on Snapchat

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ESPN launched its flagship SportsCenter program on messaging app Snapchat on Monday, reimagining the show that provides sports highlights and commentary into a short-form series.

The new show deepens the relationship between ESPN parent Walt Disney Co and Snapchat parent Snap Inc.

The sports network, which has made Snapchat content since 2015, is trying to reach a younger audience, while the social media app, whose messages disappear after viewing, is adding more content in an effort to grow its user base beyond its core youth demographic.

The partnership is a two-year deal and Snap and ESPN will share revenues, Snap said, though it declined to give specifics.

SportsCenter will air twice a day on Snapchat during weekdays, and once a day on weekends. A roster of six hosts will give commentary and perspectives, including ESPN anchors Katie Nolan and Elle Duncan, and ESPN Radio host Jason Fitz, Snap said.

The SportsCenter logo hangs in Digital Center 2 on the ESPN campus in Bristol, Connecticut. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin

Sean Mills, Snap’s head of content programming, said SportsCenter helps round out the app’s stable of daily shows, which already includes news shows from CNN and NBC News, as well as an entertainment show called “The Rundown” from E! Network.

Along with daily shows, Snap launched a joint venture studio with NBCUniversal last month to produce scripted shows to air on the app.

 

(Reporting by Sheila Dang, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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