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Los Angeles police open Weinstein sex assault investigation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police in Los Angeles have launched an investigation of Harvey Weinstein involving a possible sexual assault in 2013, authorities said Thursday.

Detectives have interviewed a possible victim who recently reported she was sexually assaulted by the film mogul, police spokesman Sal Ramirez said.

He said he could not answer any questions about where the incident took place or when the woman was interviewed by detectives.

The Los Angeles Times reported the woman is a 38-year-old Italian actress who spoke to the newspaper on Thursday.

She was not named in the story, but told the Times that Weinstein raped her after bullying his way into her hotel room.

The woman's attorney, David M. Ring, planned to release further details on Friday.

"My client is grateful to all the courageous women who have already come forward to finally expose Weinstein," Ring said in a statement. "These women may not have realized it, but they gave my client the support and encouragement to hold Weinstein accountable for this horrible act."

Sallie Hofmeister, a representative for Weinstein, said in a statement that Weinstein can't speak to anonymous allegations.

"But he unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex," Hofmeister said.

It's the first investigation involving Weinstein in Los Angeles. Police in New York and London are also investigating the disgraced mogul over allegations of sex abuse in those cities.

Weinstein has been accused by more than three dozen women, including several top actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

On Thursday, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o added her account of misconduct by Weinstein toward her. Several of the incidents allegedly happened at hotels in Beverly Hills, which does not have an open investigation of Weinstein.

He was fired from The Weinstein Co., the film company he co-founded, earlier this month after several harassment incidents were detailed in The New York Times. Additional allegations were included in a subsequent article by The New Yorker. Two of the women, including Italian actress Asia Argento, were named while the third accuser wasn't identified.

Argento told the magazine that in 1997 Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at a hotel in France when she was 21.

Weinstein, 65, has not been seen in public since last week.

The Oscar winner was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America has started the process of expelling him.

On Thursday, the British Film Institute rescinded an honor it conferred to Weinstein in 2002 for his contribution to British cinema.

Quentin Tarantino, who has partnered with Weinstein on most of his films from "Pulp Fiction" to "The Hateful Eight" over the past 20 years, told the New York Times Thursday that he "knew enough to do more than I did."

Tarantino had heard first-hand from his then-girlfriend Mira Sorvino about Weinstein and had known about a settlement reached with Rose McGowan, he told the paper.

Tarantino said it was impossible that anyone who was close to Weinstein had not heard about at least one incident.

"I chalked it up to a '50s-'60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk," Tarantino said. "As if that's O.K. That's the egg on my face right now."

Tarantino went on to compare Hollywood's treatment of women to a "Jim Crow-like system that us males have almost tolerated."

He called on other men to "vow to do better by our sisters" and not just issue statements.

"What was previously accepted is now untenable to anyone of a certain consciousness," Tarantino said.

Nyong'o described her encounters with Weinstein in an op-ed piece published by The New York Times on Thursday, including a 2011 incident in which she said the producer offered her a massage at his Connecticut home.

Nyong'o wrote that she instead offered to give Weinstein a massage, but left when he told her he wanted to take off his pants.

She described several other encounters with him over the years, including some propositions. She said she later declined an offer to appear in one of his movies.

Nyong'o wrote that she had "shelved my experience with Harvey far in the recesses of my mind" but chose to speak up after reading other accounts of his behavior.

"Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing," Nyong'o wrote.

___

AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.

Magician David Blaine accused of rape by former model Natasha Prince, report says

Magician David Blaine has been accused of rape by Natasha Prince, a former model, according to a report from The Daily Beast.

The outlet says Prince told them Blaine raped her at a private London home in 2004.

Prince told the outlet she met Blaine at a nightclub in June or July of 2004. The next day, she said she got a text from Blaine inviting her to his friends’ place for drinks. She said Blaine went into the kitchen and came back with a tall glass of vodka and soda.

“I had a high tolerance, but that week I was working and had decided not to drink,” Prince said. “But I decided to have that one drink that night. It wasn’t strong; it tasted mostly like soda.” 

>> Read more trending news

Prince said Blaine invited her to a near by bedroom for what she thought was a private conversation. She said Blaine claimed to want to show her something in the room. 

She goes on to say she was raped and woke up with no clothes on. That morning, she left to do a photo shoot.

“The next thing I remember, I was sitting in the makeup chair getting my makeup done, and thinking, ‘What did I do last night? Did I have sex with David Blaine? But I didn’t want to,” she said. “I felt hazy, completely out of it. I don’t remember taking a shower, where I changed, leaving his house or anything.” 

Prince told The Daily Beast she blamed herself, which is partially why she didn’t consider going to the police.

“You have to understand, my interpretation was that it was my fault,” she said. “I didn’t think of it as rape. In my head, rape was being sober -- pull her in a bush, pull down her pants and just ditch her. So I blamed myself. I did like him. I was interested in him. So I didn’t think about going to the police.”

By 2016, Prince decided to go to the police. She filed a report after meeting with investigators at Kensington Police Station Dec. 16.

Scotland Yard, the headquarters of police in London, has reportedly contacted Blaine to come in for questioning.

“Officers from the Met’s Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command are investigating an allegation of rape,” Scotland Yard said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “The allegation was reported to police on 17 November 2016 by a woman who alleged she was raped at an address in Chelsea in June or July 2004 when she was aged 21. There have been no arrests at this stage and enquiries continue.”

The Daily Beast reported that when it reached Blaine by phone for a response to the Scotland Yard investigation, he said, “Wow … there’s absolutely nothing … that’s crazy.”

Blaine, in a statement through his attorney, Marty Singer, denies the allegations.

“My client vehemently denies that he raped or sexually assaulted any woman, ever, and he specifically denies raping a woman in 2004,” the statement said. “If, in fact, there is any police investigation, my client will fully cooperate because he has nothing to hide.”

The Daily Beast reported that an additional statement from Singer said, “This would include Natasha Prince.”

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The Latest: Nyong'o recounts Weinstein massage encounter

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o says she had an encounter with Harvey Weinstein in 2011 at his home in Connecticut. Nyong'o says Weinstein invited her there to screen a film while she was a student at the Yale School of Drama.

In an op-ed for the New York Times published Thursday Nyong'o says Weinstein asked if he could give her a massage and that she gave him one instead. She says he tried to remove his pants and after several of her protestations she left.

She describes several other encounters with him over the years, including some propositions. She says she later declined an offer to appear in one of his movies.

She says she is speaking up to end the conspiracy of silence.

___

3 p.m.

Director Quentin Tarantino says he knew about a few instances of improper conduct by producer Harvey Weinstein and wishes he had done more.

Speaking to The New York Times in an interview published Thursday, Tarantino expressed remorse for not having taken responsibility at the time. He says he knew first hand of Weinstein's conduct toward actress Mira Sorvino and another he declined to name. Sorvino and Tarantino were dating at the time.

Tarantino also says he knew about the settlement reached with actress Rose McGowan.

Tarantino has partnered with Weinstein on most of his films, from "Pulp Fiction" to "The Hateful Eight" in a fruitful business relationship that spans two decades. He says it was impossible that anyone who was close to Weinstein had not heard about at least one incident.

___

2:45 p.m.

Los Angeles police say they are investigating a possible sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein — the first involving the producer in the city.

Police spokesman Sal Ramirez says the department has interviewed a possible sexual assault victim who reported an incident that occurred in 2013.

He says the investigation is ongoing and he could not answer any questions about when the interview or incident took place.

Police in New York and London are also investigating the fallen movie mogul over allegations of sex abuse in those cities.

Weinstein's representative Sallie Hofmeister says the Oscar-winner cannot address anonymous claims but "unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex."

Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment or abuse by more than three dozen women.

___

9:50 a.m.

Actress Mayim Bialik says she's "truly sorry for causing so much pain" with her New York Times opinion piece that critics suggested put blame on women who've accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Bialik wrote in the piece published Friday that she makes choices to be "self-protecting and wise," like dressing modestly and not acting flirtatiously. She later added that nothing "excuses men for assaulting or abusing women" and women should be able to wear whatever they want and act however they want.

Bialik addressed the backlash in a Facebook Live interview with the Times on Monday, saying she regrets it "became what it became."

She said Wednesday on Twitter that "what you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault."

___

8:10 a.m.

The British Film Institute says it has stripped disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein of its highest honor.

Weinstein was awarded a BFI Fellowship in 2002 for his contribution to British cinema.

In recent weeks, dozens of women have accused him of sexual assault and harassment. He has been fired by the film company he founded with his brother Bob and expelled from Hollywood's movie academy.

The BFI said in a statement Thursday that "the serious and widespread allegations about Harvey Weinstein's appalling conduct are in direct opposition to the BFI's values."

It says "sexual harassment, abuse and bullying is unacceptable under any circumstances."

See the trailer for ‘Michael Jackson’s Halloween’ special

A new animated Halloween special with the music of Michael Jackson is coming just before the holiday.

Entertainment Weekly reported that CBS released a trailer for “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” Wednesday. The trailer was posted on the official Michael Jackson Twitter page.

>> Read more trending news

The special features the voice work of actors Lucy Liu, Jim Parsons, Brad Garrett, Alan Cumming and others.

Billboard reported that the hourlong show will follow millennials Vincent, voiced by Lucas Till, and Victoria, voiced by Kiersey Clemons, who accidentally meet Halloween night and end up at a hotel called This Place Hotel on 777 Jackson St. The pair, along with Ichabod the dog, go on an adventure that features Jackson’s music. It leads up to a finale in which the characters dance with an animated version of the King of Pop. 

The official Twitter page of the late singer initially announced the special in July.

“Michael Jackson’s Halloween” airs Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. on CBS. Watch the trailer below.

Los Angeles police open Weinstein sex assault investigation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police said Thursday its detectives are investigating a possible sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein over a 2013 incident that was recently reported to the department.

Police spokesman Sal Ramirez says the department has interviewed a possible sexual assault victim who reported she was sexually assaulted by the disgraced film mogul. Ramirez said the investigation is ongoing and he could not answer any questions about where the incident took place or when the woman was interviewed by detectives.

The Los Angeles Times reported the woman is a 38-year-old Italian actress who spoke to the newspaper on Thursday. The woman was not named in the story, but told the newspaper Weinstein raped her after bullying his way into her hotel room. The Times reported she is represented by attorney David M. Ring, who did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

"Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but he unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex," his representative Sallie Hofmeister wrote in a statement.

Police in New York and London are also investigating the fallen movie mogul over allegations of sex abuse in those cities.

Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment or abuse by more than three dozen women, including several top actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. Several of the incidents allegedly happened at hotels in Beverly Hills, which does not have an open investigation into Weinstein.

He was fired from The Weinstein Co., the film company he co-founded, earlier this month after several harassment incidents were detailed in The New York Times. Additional allegations, including from three women who said Weinstein sexually assaulted them, were included in a subsequent article by The New Yorker. Two of the women, including Italian actress Asia Argento, were named while the third accuser wasn't identified.

Argento told the magazine that in 1997 Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at a hotel in France when she was 21 years old.

Weinstein, 65, resigned from the board of directors of his former company earlier this week. He has not been seen in public since last week.

The Oscar winner was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Saturday and the Producers Guild of America has started the process of expelling him. On Thursday, the British Film Institute rescinded an honor it conferred to Weinstein in 2002 for his contribution to British cinema.

Quentin Tarantino, who has partnered with Weinstein on most of his films from "Pulp Fiction" to "The Hateful Eight" over the past 20 years, told the New York Times Thursday that he "knew enough to do more than I did."

Tarantino had heard first hand from his then-girlfriend Mira Sorvino about Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment, and had known about the settlement reached with Rose McGowan, he told the paper. He'd also heard stories from another actress who he declined to name.

He said it was impossible that anyone who was close to Weinstein had not heard about at least one incident. He also said he continued to hear stories second and third hand.

"I chalked it up to a '50s-'60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk," Tarantino said. "As if that's O.K. That's the egg on my face right now."

Tarantino went on to compare Hollywood's treatment of women to a "Jim Crow-like system that us males have almost tolerated."

He called on other men to "vow to do better by our sisters" and not just issue statements.

"What was previously accepted is now untenable to anyone of a certain consciousness," Tarantino said.

___

AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.

George R.R. Martin mixes business, politics at film forum

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Author and film producer George R. R. Martin waded into the politics of movie-industry tax breaks on Thursday while endorsing a prominent Democratic candidate for governor of New Mexico.

Martin, a longtime Santa Fe resident and author of fantasy novels behind the "Game of Thrones" television series, made a plea to raise or eliminate New Mexico's $50 million annual limit on the state's tax incentive for film production.

At an hour-long forum about New Mexico's film industry, Martin sat alongside Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018 who this week announced she would seek to expand tax incentives for film and television production and look for ways to encourage the construction of new production studio space.

Martin described a cutthroat competitive environment of the film industry, and his own budding efforts to attract more movie production to Santa Fe by offering low-cost office space at a building provided to him posthumously by an estate. Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen currently are utilizing the building through Martin's nonprofit Stagecoach Foundation.

"We're in competition with Texas and Arizona and Utah," Martin said. "How do we compete? ... Obviously the incentives are a big part of it. We have to get rid of this (state tax incentive) cap."

Martin quipped that he like caps — "but only on my head." He said that limiting the tax credit is "like saying, 'We have enough jobs, we don't need any more jobs. We're going to cap the number of jobs?'"

Earlier this year, a bill to raise the annual limit on the film tax credit and link future annual increase to inflation failed to win approval in the Democratic-led Legislature.

Analysts with the nonpartisan Legislative Finance Committee have cautioned against film tax incentive increases that could outpace tax revenue growth and put new pressure on the state general fund. New Mexico state government has slashed spending at several agencies and public universities this year, after depleting financial reserves amid a downturn in tax revenues linked a tepid economy and weak oil prices.

Measured in terms of direct job creation per dollar — without considering indirect economic benefits — the film tax credit scored poorly in comparison with other state subsidies, analysts found.

Martin and Lujan Grisham highlighted the sometimes intangible benefits of the film production, as tourists are drawn to the state by on-screen images, from the Robert Redford's 1988 "The Milagro Beanfield War" shot in Northern New Mexico, to the "Breaking Bad" series that still draws steady streams of cult fans to Albuquerque shooting locations.

"The film industry is one of those bright spots that we can focus on immediately and it's pretty easy," Lujan Grisham said. "We want to double the number of films that we're doing. ... We want to lift the cap. If you're really going to be open for business, be open for business."

She described film as an industry that "pays for itself." Public funds have contributed to the construction of production studios in New Mexico.

The discussion took place at a downtown art-house cinema that Martin restored and owns. The discussion was joined by Tesuque resident Tony Mark, executive producer of "The Hurt Locker," and producer and documentary filmmaker Andrea Meditch.

State officials say more than 60 film and television productions were shot in the state during the past fiscal year. TV series and pilots produced in New Mexico over the last year include "Better Call Saul," ''The Night Shift," ''Longmire," and Netflix's "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs."

Howard Carroll, lead guitarist for Dixie Hummingbirds, dies

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A lead guitarist for the influential and Grammy Award-winning gospel group the Dixie Hummingbirds has died in Philadelphia.

Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services says Howard Carroll died Tuesday at an assisted-living facility at age 92.

The Dixie Hummingbirds started as a quartet of students formed by James B. Davis in a Greenville, South Carolina, high school in 1928. The group toured widely and recorded a cappella for the Decca label in the 1930s and then relocated to Philadelphia in the 1940s.

After World War II, as the sound of gospel changed, the Hummingbirds added bass, drums and guitar supplied by Carroll.

They performed on Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like a Rock" in 1973 and won a Grammy for their own version.

The band's influence extends well beyond gospel circles to artists including James Brown and Stevie Wonder.

Top 20 Global Concert Tours from Pollstar

The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.

TOP 20 GLOBAL CONCERT TOURS

1. U2; $7,406,599; $113.22.

2. Coldplay; $6,275,320; $97.45.

3. Guns N' Roses; $4,823,573; $102.22.

4. Celine Dion; $3,800,791; $141.10.

5. Lady Gaga; $3,466,727; $118.04.

6. Depeche Mode; $2,675,543; $77.38.

7. Bruno Mars; $2,262,621; $115.39.

8. Roger Waters; $1,857,933; $123.70.

9. Neil Diamond; $1,499,313; $107.23.

10. Ed Sheeran; $1,380,144; $86.28.

11. Ariana Grande; $1,286,562; $78.20.

12. Queen + Adam Lambert; $1,243,344; $97.91.

13. Kendrick Lamar; $1,220,753; $89.49.

14. Tim McGraw / Faith Hill; $1,201,051; $84.84.

15. Florida Georgia Line; $1,082,649; $52.03.

16. Zac Brown Band; $1,082,026; $50.16.

17. Luke Bryan; $1,054,470; $54.57.

18. Jerry Seinfeld; $1,002,328; $124.92.

19. J. Cole; $878,994; $79.10.

20. John Mayer; $878,299; $66.14.

For free upcoming tour information, go to www.pollstar.com

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