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Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore filed a $95 million lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime on Wednesday, alleging that he was duped into appearing on “Who Is America?”

By Gene Maddaus  LOS ANGELES (Variety)

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Moore alleges that he was lured to Washington, D.C., on the pretense of accepting an award for his support for Israel. Instead, he found himself being interviewed by “Col. Erran Morad,” a Cohen character. During the taping , Cohen waved a “pedophile detector” at Moore, which beeped, at which point Moore ended the interview.

“This false and fraudulent portrayal and mocking of Judge Moore as a sex offender, on national and international television, which was widely broadcast in this district on national television and worldwide, has severely harmed Judge Moore’s reputation and caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress, as well as caused and will cause Plaintiffs financial damage,” the lawsuit states.

VARIETY-ENTERTAINMENT-TV/NEWS:Sacha Baron Cohen

As is generally the case with Cohen’s victims, Moore signed a release before the taping took place. The suit alleges that the release was obtained on fraudulent grounds.

Moore is suing Showtime, CBS, and Cohen for fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation. He is represented by Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch.

Showtime issued the following statement: “The press has been sent copies of an alleged complaint, yet to our knowledge SHOWTIME has not been served. With that said, we do not comment on pending litigation.”

VARIETY-ENTERTAINMENT-BIZ/NEWS:Roy Moore

 

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The Eagles’ Greatest Hits Surpasses Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ as Best-Selling Album

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By Variety Staff

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – A record held by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” for more than 30 years is no more. The Eagles’ Greatest Hits 1971-1975, a perennial seller since its initial release in Feb. 1976, has surpassed 38 million copies sold, according to the latest certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

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The knocked Jackson’s 1982 smash to No. 2 but the band also holds the No. 3 spot with the album “Hotel California,” also released in 1976. That album has been certified 26-times platinum, for sales and streams of more than 26 million copies.

Said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the : “Congratulations to the Eagles, who now claim the jaw-dropping feat of writing and recording two of the top three albums in music history. Both of these transcendent albums have impressively stood the test of time, only gaining more currency and popularity as the years have passed, much like the Eagles themselves.”

The Eagles lost founding member Glenn Frey in January 2016 but continue to tour with Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit making up the core of the group and Frey’s son Deacon Frey and Vince Gill joining.

The Eagles have sold more than 150 million albums and won six Grammys. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, in their first year of eligibility, and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2016.

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Jon Stewart Helps Rescue Goats That Captured New York’s Attention

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New Yorkers were briefly transfixed Monday morning by the fate of two bearded commuters — a pair of bewildered goats — who found their way onto the tracks of the N line in Brooklyn.
By Cynthia Littleton

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com)

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In the end, none other than Jon Stewart swooped in to transport the strays to a shelter in upstate New York run by the Farm Sanctuary animal rescue organization.

The goat saga began at 8:23 a.m. ET when the MTA sent a tweet shortly after they were discovered near the Eighth Avenue stop in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. That message was followed about an hour later by tweet with a picture showing two goats, a matching set with white fur bodies and black and brown heads.

Social media-connected New Yorkers responded with equal parts sympathy and sarcasm about the goats’ plight, even if it did create yet more delays for New York’s disruption-prone subway system.

Justin Brannan, New York City Councilman serving the district where the animals were discovered, made a crack at the MTA’s expense. “BREAKING: Wayward goats faster than N train.”

Some welcomed the new kids to the neighborhood.

Others demanded to know everything about their fate.

By 10 a.m., the goats had been tranquilized and removed from the tracks by the NYPD.

Later, Farm Sanctuary arranged to pick the animals up for transport to the sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y., in the bucolic environs of the Finger Lakes. Stewart has been a longtime supporter of the animal rescue org and has been active with them since he stepped down as anchor of “The Daily Show” in 2015.

The sight of Stewart and another woman herding Billy and Willy (as they were christened, at least online) into a trailer for a ride to a good home was definitely today’s moment of zen.

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5 Eye Jabbing Fun Facts About The Three Stooges

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The Three Stooges have stood the test of slapstick comedy time and are part of American popular culture. Larry, Curly & Moe made us belly laugh time and time again during a time of our history when things weren’t so happy.

via GIPHY

Their off the cuff energetic humor was something we hadn’t seen before and still gives every generation, young and young at heart something to smile about.

Check out these eye jabbing fun facts about the lovable threesome. “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!”

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Fraud Has Become the Latest Hurdle for Music Streaming

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Twitter’s recent housecleaning of some 70 million fake and automated accounts illuminates just how pervasive audience manipulation has become in the digital era. For Twitter, the fake accounts can create a shadow army of followers that has comparatively little monetary effect. But perform the same manipulation with music streams, and it constitutes fraud.

By Cherie Hu

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LOS ANGELES (Variety) –

Tidal has found itself awash in accusations of data manipulation. As recently as May, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) accused the Jay-Z-owned service of falsifying tens of millions of streams for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” albums. While has denied the claims on multiple fronts, a company rep tells Variety that several investigators are currently on the ground at the company’s offices looking into a potential data breach.

Fraud is applicable because there’s a tangible price tag involved in the consumption of a song: Labels and other rights owners are paid on a pro-rata basis, according to proportional volumes of on-demand streams. The average per-stream payout may not look like much — $0.004 for Spotify, slightly more for services like Apple Music and Tidal ($0.008 and $0.012, respectively), although exact rates depend on the type of artist or song.

But they can add up. A top hit like Ed Sheeran’s 2017 monster “Shape of You” would distribute millions of dollars in performance royalties to its songwriters and even more to the master-rights owner. Using Goldman Sachs’ projection that the streaming sector will hit $34 billion by 2030, millions of dollars in fraudulently acquired funds could be making their way through the royalty chain. Though unlike Twitter, which wiped out 6% of its users, the number of fake music streamers has not been determined. Says one major label head: “It’s not something we’re currently concerned about, but that’s not to say we won’t be in the future.”

Here’s how “playola” works at playlist-promotion companies like Spotlister: A customer pays the company to secure prominent placement of a song on key playlists, such as those on . When a track is uploaded, it is analyzed and its metadata is used to send it to the most appropriate playlists.

But that’s not the only way to game the system. In 2017, Post Malone’s label, Republic Records, found itself the center of controversy for a seemingly sanctioned loop of the hook to his song “Rockstar” that was posted on YouTube. Although it contained only a snippet of the tune, it played continuously for three minutes and 28 seconds and quickly racked up more than 40 million views.

“It’s pretty easy to buy guides online on how to stream your own content repeatedly.”
Christine Barnum, CD Baby director of finance

Two months later, YouTube acknowledged, “Loop videos that feature misleading and inaccurate metadata violate YouTube policies, and we are actively working to have them removed.”

Spotify has kicked outlets like Spotlister off its platform on a case-by-case basis — stand-alone sites like Social Media Experts, Streamify and StreamKO offer “Spotify promotion” with prices ranging from $5 to $995 — but concerns remain about whether that enforcement is being replicated meaningfully across entire platforms. And if not, are the labels or the streamers themselves complicit in royalty fraud by transferring payouts? The legal consequences for fraud convictions, and even of conspiracy to defraud, include hefty fines and up to five years in prison.

“We’re seeing an uptick in the type of fraud where people are distributing their content through us and signing up with a legitimate credit card, but then their intent is to manipulate streams and rip off a [digital service provider],” Christine Barnum, director of finance at CD Baby, tells Variety. “It’s pretty easy to buy guides online on how to stream your own content repeatedly. There are also more instances of well-meaning artists accidentally signing up for some sort of ‘marketing service’ that’s actually committing fraud.”

Moreover, on Spotify’s free tier, ad fraud is also becoming more prevalent. Spotify had to decrease its total reported content hours streamed in 2017 by 500 million, due to 2 million listeners who used unauthorized apps that blocked ads on the service. With freemium, there is “not only more susceptibility to fraud but also less incentive for Spotify to do something about it,” argues Rami Essaid, CEO of bot-defense start-up Distil Networks. “With the subscription model, there’s a finite number of dollars to split up, and if part of that goes to fraud, no one else in the ecosystem is happy.”

For its part, Spotify stated in a just-released second-quarter earnings report, “We continue to work to identify and remove users from our reported metrics that we consider to be ‘fake’ users based on various criteria,” with the caveat that “some such users may remain in our reported metrics because of the limitations of our ability to identify their accounts.”

 

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Aretha Franklin: Her Life and Career in Photos

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Aretha Franklin, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, died at age 76 on August 16, 2018. Take a look back at her life and career in photos.

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Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 25, 1942. Her family relocated to Buffalo, New York when she was 2 and by the age of 5 had settled permanently in Detroit.

LOS ANGELES (Variety.)

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Omarosa’s Book: 7 Most Contentious Claims About Team Trump

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White House officials are  reportedly “terrified” of what Omarosa Manigault Newman has in store next for the promotional tour for her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”

By Ted Johnson  LOS ANGELES (Variety) – WASHINGTON —

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In interviews, she has claimed to have heard a tape, apparently made on the set of “The Apprentice,” in which Donald Trump uses the n-word multiple times.

He denies that claim, but it has again revived questions of whether such a recording actually exists, and on Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she cannot guarantee that such audio will never surface.

In the book, Manigault Newman identifies Trump as her mentor and someone who had a huge role in shaping her public fame and persona, yet who, as the book title suggests, is now suffering a mental decline and is hugely unfit to occupy the Oval Office.

Like Trump, though, Manigault Newman has a penchant for generating an extra amount of publicity for her own story — something we’ve seen this week as networks have obtained tapes she secretly recorded with White House figures. On MSNBC on Tuesday, she told Katy Tur that Trump knew of hacked Democratic National Committee emails before they were released in 2016, but offered no proof to back it up.

Trump, his White House team, and the Republican National Committee are blasting Manigault Newman. Trump has called her uncredible and a “dog.” Sanders suggested that the White House response was motivated by the fact that the media is giving her so much exposure . As Manigault Newman was just starting her tour, Sanders put out a statement saying that the book was “riddled with lies and false accusations.”

“It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration.”

Manigault Newman writes in her book that “no doubt, you’ve come here with prejudice about who you think I am. But all I’m asking is that you hear me out.”

Some of her claims are salacious. Some are trivial. Some are hard to determine if she has proof to back them up via other recorded conversations or documentary evidence. A number are getting pushback from the White House.

Here’s a glimpse:

Trump used the n-word. In the book, Manigault Newman relays the details of an October 2016, campaign conference call in which press staffers discuss the potential fallout if a Trump tape is released in which he uses the racial epithet.

In the book, Manigault Newman claims that Katrina Pierson, a campaign spokesman, was on the conference call and said, “Someone she knew, who knew political strategist Frank Luntz, told her that Luntz had heard it.” Luntz has called the claim “flat-out false” and questioned why Manigault Newman didn’t call him to try to verify the claim.

Manigault Newman also writes that Lynne Patton, an aide to Eric Trump, “reported that she asked Trump about it on the plane, specifically whether it was possible that such a tape might exist, and he said ‘no.’ Then, she asked him what he wanted her to do, and he said, ‘Put it to bed.’”
“Katrina cursed and said, ‘He said it.’” Manigault Newman writes.
On Tuesday, CBS News ran a recording of a portion of that conference call. On CNN, Pierson claimed that Manigault Newman took “two different audios” that were “conflated into one story.” She said it was “false” that she ever claimed that Trump said the n-word, and that the audio excerpts provided to CBS News did not include “hours upon hours” of Manigault Newman talking about the alleged Trump tape.

Trump’s daughter-in-law tried to buy her silence. After Manigault Newman was fired, she said she was contacted by Trump’s daughter in law, Lara Trump, with an offer to come work for the Trump 2020 campaign at a salary of $15,000 per month. In exchange, she was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The Washington Post reviewed the agreement and reported that it included a non-disparagement clause about Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and their families.

“I turned down the president’s offer to work for the 2020 campaign. In my response declining the position, I explained that I was not interested in working for his campaign, his company, his family, or for him directly in any capacity,” Manigault Newman writes.

Lara Trump told Fox News this week that Manigault Newman wasted an “incredible opportunity” to make a difference at the White House and was showing her “true colors.”

Trump questioned why Harriet Tubman’s “face” should be on the $20 bill. In the “long horrible month” after the Charlottesville riots, Manigault Newman noted that secretary of the treasury Steven Mnuchin was non-committal when it came to replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, as had been proposed by the Obama administration.

“I know Trump wanted to dismantle Obama’s legacy, but this, too?” Manigault Newman writes. “I quickly wrote a decision memo about the matter and gave it to Trump. While flipping through the folder, he came to the picture of Tubman, the woman who personally brought more than three hundred slaves to freedom, risking her own life every time, and said to me, ‘You want to put that face on the twenty-dollar bill?’”
In an interview with “Today” in 2016, Trump said he thought Tubman was “fantastic,” but called the idea of replacing Jackson “pure political correctness.” “I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can come up with another denomination,” he said.

Mike Pence “was too perfect to be genuine.” Manigault Newman writes that after spending time with the vice president, “The first thing I noticed was that people on his staff kept slipping up and calling him president — accidentally sometimes.” She said that he “asked him explicitly if he had any ambitions for the highest office after Donald completed his two terms. Pence said, ‘two terms? You think two terms? That’s good, I like the way you think, Omarosa. I’m here to serve the president. I’m only loyal to the president.’”

“It seemed obvious that he was too perfect to be genuine. His and Trump’s personalities and worldviews were diametrically opposed,” she writes. “And yet, Pence agreed with everything Trump said or did. In real life, no one beams worshipfully at you all the time like that. If someone looked at you that way, you’d be disturbed and think about a restraining order.”
A spokeswoman for Pence did not immediately comment.
Trump called secretary of education Betsy DeVos “ditzy DeVos.” Manigault Newman describes several incidents she had with secretary of education Betsy DeVos, with whom she worked on education issues and in outreach to historically black colleges and universities.
She writes that she went with DeVos on a trip to Florida, where the education secretary gave a speech at Bethune-Cookman University and was booed. She claims that afterward, DeVos said that the speech went “great,” but then said of the booing students, “They don’t have the capacity to understand what we’re trying to accomplish.” Manigault Newman writes that she took that to mean that “all these black students were too stupid” to comprehend was DeVos was trying to do.
She also claims that the next day, she was supposed to go with DeVos to an event, but DeVos didn’t show at the hotel. DeVos, she said, eventually called her and told her to tale an Uber.
“We’d been booed by the entire auditorium. People were angry. There were protesters. I’d been getting death threats daily. And she’d left me completely alone with no security?” Manigault Newman writes.
She said she told Trump about the incident and “he shook his head in disgust.”
“He said, ‘She is Ditzy DeVos, what do you expect? In a very short period of time, I will get rid of her. Believe me, believe me.’”
Manigault Newman claims that DeVos plans to “replace public education with for-profit schools.”
Liz Hill, the education department’s press secretary, said in a statement, “This disgraced former White House employee is peddling lies for profit. The book is a joke as are the false claims she’s making about Secretary DeVos.”
Trump is militant about his tanning bed. Manigault Newman writes that, in addition to a diet of Diet Cokes and fast food, Trump “allegedly” tans in the morning in a tanning bed in the personal quarters. She said she heard that the dismissal of the chief White House usher Angella Reid had something to do with how she handled the procurement of the bed. Manigault Newman writes that she had concerns that his consumption of Diet Cokes could be affecting Trump’s mental health, including his memory, and once tried to slip him an article on on recent research of the topic.

Trump got Omarosa to drop legal action against National Enquirer’s parent company. After her brother’s murder in 2011, Manigault Newman writes that National Enquirer sent a reporter, posing as a mourner, to the funeral. The Enquirer took portions of her eulogy and branded it an “exclusive” interview, she writes, and she pursued legal action against American Media, the Enquirer’s parent company.

Manigault Newman claims that Trump, a friend of American Media’s David Pecker, called her to broker a settlement.
“It came out that Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer, had called and said, ‘Isn’t Omarosa one of your mentees? Can you tell her to drop this lawsuit?’” she writes. “As a personal favor to Pecker, Donald agreed to call me and talk me out of the lawsuit, but I was so angry they’d portrayed me as someone who’d seek publicity over my dead brother’s body that I was reluctant to drop it.”
She took the deal, in which she got a job with AMI as West Coast editor. She used the story to point out the relationship between Trump and Pecker, and noted that AMI also made a deal with Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump. AMI bought her life rights but never published a story, according to a lawsuit she filed this year.
A spokesman for AMI did not immediately return a request for comment.

Trump Kim Kardashian

On the set of “Celebrity Apprentice,” Trump engaged in “vile” exchange with Gene Simmons in front of Trump’s daughter Ivanka. Manigault Newman claims that during one long break on the set of “Celebrity Apprentice,” and Trump “engaged in language so profane, it would have raised eyebrows in prison.” It took place in front of Ivanka Trump.

Britain Trump Visit, Stansted, United Kingdom – 12 Jul 2018

Simmons, she writes, was “leering openly at her breasts.”
“He said, ‘She’s a very, very sexy, desirable young woman who I’m looking forward to getting to know much better, if you know what I mean, with all due respect.’” Trump “egged him on,” Manigault Newman writes, and Ivanka “groaned dismissively and tried to get them to change subjects.”
“Everyone else in the room was shocked, not by Gene’s language (we knew he was a disgusting pig), but by Donald’s obvious delight in hearing it. He had complete control of the boardroom. He could have shut it down at any point. But he didn’t,” Manigault Newman writes.

 

 

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