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Jack Antonoff wants you to know he’s not seeing anyone

(Getty Images)

Jack Antonoff of Bleachers recently split with girlfriend and HBO series Girls creator Lena Dunham after more than 5 years. Following the split, rumors quickly started flying that he was seeing someone after being spotted a few times around town. However, Antonoff has quickly squashed those rumors and insists they are friendships and working relationships. He says, “im not seeing anyone. lol.”

The rumors are of course understandable as Antonoff has long been involved in the music industry as a producer. He’s worked with everyone from close friend Lorde, to Taylor Swift and Fifth Harmony.

normally i would never address rumors but i resent having the most important friendships and working relationships in my life reduced to dumb hetero normative gossip. those relationships are deeply important and sacred. with that said, im not seeing anyone. lol. — jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) January 17, 2018

Is it news? Ansari story triggers media ethics debate

What makes a private sexual encounter newsworthy? A little-known website raised that very question after publishing an unidentified woman's vivid account of comedian Aziz Ansari's sexual advances while the two were on a date.

The story on Babe.net threw a wrench into the #MeToo movement, with some feminist writers dismissing the incident as a bad date that should have remained private. Others welcomed the piece for spurring a debate over deeper cultural attitudes that normalize aggressive behavior toward women.

Media ethics experts say it's not easy to determine what constitutes a legitimate story of sexual misconduct in the midst of a social movement that has emboldened people to speak out on subjects once considered taboo.

"What takes this out of the realm of a really bad date and into the realm of something that is publicly significant?" asked Ed Wasserman, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's a little borderline."

  The story, which appeared Saturday, offers a detailed 3,000-word account of a night out between Ansari and a 23-year-old Brooklyn photographer that ended at the comedian's home. The woman told the site that the actor repeatedly initiated sexual activity despite what she later called "clear non-verbal cues" indicating her discomfort and lack of interest. She also reportedly told Ansari that she didn't want to "feel forced" in the encounter.

The woman told Babe.net that she eventually decided the incident was a sexual assault and said she was angered when she saw Ansari wearing a "Time's Up" pin at the Golden Globe Awards. The pin referred to a movement against sexual misconduct in Hollywood.

The website published screenshots of what it said were text messages between the two the next day. The woman told Ansari the encounter had made her uncomfortable; he texted back with an apology. The story was initially published with no comment from Ansari because, the website said, his representatives did not get back to them by its deadline.

Many major news organizations reacted cautiously. The Associated Press and other media outlets did not report on the story until Ansari issued a public statement addressing the claim the next day. The actor, who stars on the Netflix hit "Master of None," acknowledged that he apologized to a woman last year when she told him about her discomfort during a sexual encounter in his apartment that he believed to be consensual.

Feminist writers, other actors and media commentators were left to debate the public value of an anonymous tale about a confusing encounter at a time when more women are speaking publicly about sexual assault.

Some prominent women, including Whoopi Goldberg and Ashleigh Banfield, a host on the CNN spinoff HLN, concluded that the story didn't describe sexual misconduct of any kind and lacked newsworthiness. The feminist writer Jill Filipovic, in a column for The Guardian , said the piece touched on the need for more stories about "how pervasive power imbalances benefit men and make sex worse for women." But she said Babe.net squandered that opportunity by failing to "tell this particular story with the care it called for" and muddying the line between sexual assault and misogynistic behavior.  

The story's reporter and editors at Babe.net, which is less than two years old and says it has 3 million readers, have publicly defended their news judgment. "We stand by our story," said site editor Amanda Ross. Babe.net is published by Tab Media, a company that has received funding from Rupert Murdoch.

Helen Benedict, a Columbia journalism professor, said the story's one-sided, anonymous account was difficult to judge. But that, she said, encapsulates the tension between the public's need to know and the obligation of the media to protect sources, particularly people who say they are victims of sexual assault and request anonymity.

Benedict said the story didn't sufficiently press the woman on her motivations and took a flippant approach as to whether the incident constituted sexual assault. "I don't feel that the reporters asked enough about what the goal was," she said. "What does she want?"

Ryan Thomas, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the piece lacked the rigor of other stories that used multiple sources to establish a clear pattern of abuse by prominent men like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.

"Most of the journalism has been very methodical in identifying a catalog of incidents to build a picture of a pattern of behavior," Thomas said. By contrast, he said, the Babe.net story "focuses on a single case against a named individual by an anonymous individual," thus raising questions about its newsworthiness and the care with which it was reported.

Few have called into question the veracity of the report, particularly because Ansari himself did not dispute it.

Wasserman, the Berkeley professor, said he finds it difficult to criticize the piece for crossing any lines of journalistic integrity. After wrestling with the question of whether the article addressed an issue of legitimate public concern, he said, he "reluctantly" sided with Babe.net.

Ex-Ataris bassist indicted, accused of telemarketing fraud

The former bassist of the rock band The Ataris awaits arraignment after he and a woman were indicted on federal conspiracy and fraud charges.

Michael Sean Davenport was arrested last month at a Little Rock, Arkansas, airport on a warrant issued by a southern Illinois federal court accusing him of running a telemarketing business in Santa Barbara, California, for eight years. The indictment alleges the business advertised houses and apartments it didn't own at low prices.

The 49-year-old Davenport is accused of defrauding more than 100,000 people out of $27 million.

Davenport and Cynthia Rawlinson, his sales manager, are charged with wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Davenport's attorney, Alan Karow, said in an email Wednesday night that he will "assert a vigorous defense" and that he believes Davenport is innocent. Rawlinson has no attorney listed in court records.

Is it news? Ansari story triggers media ethics debate

What makes a private sexual encounter newsworthy? A little-known website raised that very question after publishing an unidentified woman's vivid account of comedian Aziz Ansari's sexual advances while the two were on a date.

The story on Babe.net threw a wrench into the #MeToo movement, with some feminist writers dismissing the incident as a bad date that should have remained private. Others welcomed the piece for spurring a debate over deeper cultural attitudes that normalize aggressive behavior toward women.

Media ethics experts say it's not easy to determine what constitutes a legitimate story of sexual misconduct in the midst of a social movement that has emboldened people to speak out on subjects once considered taboo.

"What takes this out of the realm of a really bad date and into the realm of something that is publicly significant?" asked Ed Wasserman, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's a little borderline."

  The story, which appeared Saturday, offers a detailed 3,000-word account of a night out between Ansari and a 23-year-old Brooklyn photographer that ended at the comedian's home. The woman told the site that the actor repeatedly initiated sexual activity despite what she later called "clear non-verbal cues" indicating her discomfort and lack of interest. She also reportedly told Ansari that she didn't want to "feel forced" in the encounter.

The woman told Babe.net that she eventually decided the incident was a sexual assault and said she was angered when she saw Ansari wearing a "Time's Up" pin at the Golden Globe Awards. The pin referred to a movement against sexual misconduct in Hollywood.

The website published screenshots of what it said were text messages between the two the next day. The woman told Ansari the encounter had made her uncomfortable; he texted back with an apology. The story was initially published with no comment from Ansari because, the website said, his representatives did not get back to them by its deadline.

Many major news organizations reacted cautiously. The Associated Press and other media outlets did not report on the story until Ansari issued a public statement addressing the claim the next day. The actor, who stars on the Netflix hit "Master of None," acknowledged that he apologized to a woman last year when she told him about her discomfort during a sexual encounter in his apartment that he believed to be consensual.

Feminist writers, other actors and media commentators were left to debate the public value of an anonymous tale about a confusing encounter at a time when more women are speaking publicly about sexual assault.

Some prominent women, including Whoopi Goldberg and Ashleigh Banfield, a host on the CNN spinoff HLN, concluded that the story didn't describe sexual misconduct of any kind and lacked newsworthiness. The feminist writer Jill Filipovic, in a column for The Guardian , said the piece touched on the need for more stories about "how pervasive power imbalances benefit men and make sex worse for women." But she said Babe.net squandered that opportunity by failing to "tell this particular story with the care it called for" and muddying the line between sexual assault and misogynistic behavior.  

The story's reporter and editors at Babe.net, which is less than two years old and says it has 3 million readers, have publicly defended their news judgment. "We stand by our story," said site editor Amanda Ross. Babe.net is published by Tab Media, a company that has received funding from Rupert Murdoch.

Helen Benedict, a Columbia journalism professor, said the story's one-sided, anonymous account was difficult to judge. But that, she said, encapsulates the tension between the public's need to know and the obligation of the media to protect sources, particularly people who say they are victims of sexual assault and request anonymity.

Benedict said the story didn't sufficiently press the woman on her motivations and took a flippant approach as to whether the incident constituted sexual assault. "I don't feel that the reporters asked enough about what the goal was," she said. "What does she want?"

Ryan Thomas, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the piece lacked the rigor of other stories that used multiple sources to establish a clear pattern of abuse by prominent men like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.

"Most of the journalism has been very methodical in identifying a catalog of incidents to build a picture of a pattern of behavior," Thomas said. By contrast, he said, the Babe.net story "focuses on a single case against a named individual by an anonymous individual," thus raising questions about its newsworthiness and the care with which it was reported.

Few have called into question the veracity of the report, particularly because Ansari himself did not dispute it.

Wasserman, the Berkeley professor, said he finds it difficult to criticize the piece for crossing any lines of journalistic integrity. After wrestling with the question of whether the article addressed an issue of legitimate public concern, he said, he "reluctantly" sided with Babe.net.

"Is this news? It really does come out of an area of activity that is normally considered to be pretty private," he said. "But on balance, the entire question of sexual misconduct arises from interactions that we should consider private."

'Fire and Fury' about Trump's White House sells big 2nd week

Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" sold more than 190,000 hardcover copies last week, the book's first full week of publication, a company which tracks the retail market told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

In less than two weeks since its release, combined e-book, audio and hardcover sales now top 500,000 for Wolff's sensational account of a dysfunctional Trump administration.

NPD BookScan, which compiles about 85 percent of hardcover and paperback sales, told the AP that about 220,000 hardcover copies have sold in all. That number is expected to go much higher. The book caught on with so many people that publisher Henry Holt and Co. has struggled to keep copies available. Amazon.com, where "Fire and Fury" has been No. 1 throughout its publication, is advising customers that shipments may take 2-4 weeks. NPD BookScan does not register a sale until the book has actually been sent.

Meanwhile, "Fire and Fury" also has been a hit in other formats. Last week, CEO John Sargent of Holt parent company Macmillan told the AP that "Fire and Fury" had sold more 250,000 copies as an e-book and more than 100,000 in audio. More than 1 million hardcover copies are in print.

"Fire and Fury" is among the fastest selling nonfiction books in recent years, likely helped by President Donald Trump's denunciations and threats to sue. It also was last week's dominant seller. According to BookScan, no other release even reached 30,000 copies.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashes into tree after helping car stuck in snow

It could be said that former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has some of the best driving skills ever, having made a living out of going more than 200 miles an hour on some of our country’s toughest racetracks.

Yet, with snow involved, Earnhardt got into some trouble while trying to help other people stuck in the weather.

>> Read more trending news 

“(North Carolina) stay off the roads today/tonight. Five minutes after helping these folks I center punched a pine tree,” Dale shared on his Twitter page on Wednesday shortly after stopping to help some stranded travelers on the road. “All good. Probably just needs a new alignment,” he added.

Fans were were thankful Earnhardt was OK, but the tweet didn’t come without some NASCAR jokes. 

“Jr. did you attempt to turn right? Gets ya every time,” one Twitter user said.

Earnhardt’s accident comes a day after the former NASCAR driver, voted the sport’s most popular driver for 15 consecutive years, announced the day before that he would be covering the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl in the coming weeks as part of his new deal as a contributor to NBC Sports.

Unfortunately, Dale Jr. was not the only driver to find himself in harm’s way thanks to the snow, as NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez found himself stuck in the snow on the side of the road in his sports car Wednesday.

Michael Waltrip decided to drive in snowy conditions in North Carolina, and appeared to do so safely in his Ford and later in his Toyota Tundra.

Driver Kevin Harvick thought better of it, making the decision to stay in and enjoy the snow off the main roads.

Football's divisional round viewership down 16 percent

Television viewership for the NFL's divisional round playoff games was down 16 percent compared to last year, offering ammunition to critics of the football league, but there are a couple of compelling explanations.

The weekend's four games averaged 30.43 million viewers, off from 36.22 million the year before, the Nielsen company said. The NFL has received some blowback from President Donald Trump and his supporters for protests involving the National Anthem, with some suggesting that had something to do with the audience being smaller for games this season.

Last year had a blockbuster game between two rivals with national followings, Green Bay and Dallas, which reached more than 48 million viewers. Nothing came close this year, with the most-watched game, involving the furious finish between Minnesota and New Orleans, reaching 35.64 million people.

Two of last year's games were also in prime-time, which naturally boosts the audience. This year only one of the games — Tennessee at New England — was in prime-time, and that was non-competitive.

CBS easily won the week in prime time, averaging 10.7 million viewers. Fox had 6.7 million, NBC had 4.6 million, ABC had 4.3 million, Univision had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 1 million.

ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 4.52 million viewers in prime-time. Fox News Channel had 2.15 million, MSNBC had 1.93 million, HGTV had 1.48 million and USA had 1.3 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.9 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 9.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.3 million.

For the week of Jan. 8-14, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: College Football Championship: Alabama vs. Georgia, ESPN, 27.7 million; NFL Playoff: Tennessee at New England, CBS, 26.69 million; "NFL Playoff Post-Game," Fox, 23.44 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 15.93 million; "College Football Championship Pre-Game," ESPN, 15.66 million; "NCIS," CBS, 14.24 million; "Young Sheldon," CBS, 14.17 million; "College Football Championship Post-Game," ESPN, 13.59 million; "Bull," CBS, 10.5 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.17 million.

___

ABC and ESPN are owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

___

Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

North Dakota tabs Duhamel as tourism pitchman through 2019

Even North Dakota's tourism director admits it isn't easy promoting a state where the first day of the new year brought temperatures down to a brutal 45 below zero.

But having Hollywood actor and Minot native Josh Duhamel make the pitch helps, said Sara Otte Coleman, who heads the state's tourism agency.

"He has increased awareness," she said.

Among the least-visited states in the nation, the agency announced Wednesday that it will once again enlist the services of the star of several "Transformers" movies to lure visitors to the state better known for its brutal cold weather than as a tourist destination.

The agency also unveiled its $2.9 million marketing plan for 2018. It announced that Duhamel will be paid $365,000 to be the face of the state's tourism campaign for the next two years. The actor wasn't present at the announcement.

Duhamel already has earned $525,000 since 2013 to be North Dakota's pitchman, records show.

The tourism marketing campaign features new TV and print ads, as well as new travel and hunting guides that feature Duhamel. Many also include his 4-year-old son Axl, whose mother is Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie.

This year's campaign will feature Duhamel's hometown of Minot and Grand Forks. It is a continuation of the North Dakota Legendary brand that was established in 2002 to help create more awareness of the state and what it has to offer, Otte Coleman said.

It will continue to showcase North Dakota's outdoor activities as well as its top tourist destination, Theodore Roosevelt National Park located in the badlands in the western part of the state.

Tourism officials will continue to gear marketing campaigns toward audiences in the neighboring states of Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana, as well as Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Coleman said. The agency also will target the Chicago-area this year, she said.

Duhamel has been a good ambassador, and his television and other advertising have boosted visits to the state, Coleman said.

The actor only lent his voice to the state's tourism campaign from 2013-15, but his role was expanded in 2016, said Kim Schmidt, a tourism spokeswoman.

A survey was done that year that showed the advertising campaign reached 3.8 million households resulting in 354,000 non-resident trips to the state. All told, the advertising brought in $104 in non-resident spending for every $1 spent on advertising, Coleman said.

A survey has not been done since.

North Dakota's tourism division is part of the state Department of Commerce. The agency has a two-year budget of about $11 million and has 11 employees.

Coleman said the agency has had discussions with Bismarck native and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz about becoming a paid spokesman for the state but nothing has materialized yet.

Ann Curry speaks out about Matt Lauer sexual harassment allegations in new interview

Ann Curry has remained tight-lipped since the news broke of Matt Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct, but she spoke about the scandal on “CBS This Morning.”

The 61-year-old journalist and producer appeared on the program Wednesday to discuss her new PBS docuseries “We’ll Meet Again” and she was asked to speak on the scandal surrounding her disgraced former co-anchor. Curry admitted that she was “not surprised” by the scandal.

>> Read more trending news 

“Do you believe that Matt Lauer abused his power?” asked Norah O’Donnell.

“You know, I’m trying to do no harm in these conversations. I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations,” Curry responded. When asked to explain further, Curry struggled to articulate her response.

“That means that … see, now, I’m walking down that road. I’m trying not to hurt people, and I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated. I never did anything wrong to be publicly humiliated, and I don’t want to cause that kind of pain to somebody else,” Curry said. “But I can say that, because you’re asking me a very direct question, I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed. I think it would be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that.”

She continued, “It was verbal sexual harassment,” before being cut off.

When Curry left NBC’s “Today” in June 2012, it was widely speculated that Lauer was the catalyst for her exit. A fan favorite, it came as a surprise to audiences when Curry broke the news of her exit amid tears, as she was considered one of the top stars at NBC and could have been poised to take over a bigger role on the show. The unexpected departure is likely the public humiliation she was referring to.

Related: Matt Lauer fired over allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior

The Emmy award winner also spoke with People as part of her press tour for her upcoming show. She discussed the aftermath of being pushed off “Today.”

“It hurt like hell,” she told the publication. “It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been honest and true. I’ve tried to stay pure. I’ve tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I’ve stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I’m also proud of myself.”

“CBS This Morning” dealt with its own scandal when co-anchor Charlie Rose was fired in November for allegedly making “unwanted sexual advances” towards several women, including, “lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”

Related: Charlie Rose fired from CBS amid sexual harassment allegations; PBS cuts ties with newsman

Anchors Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell denounced their former co-anchor over the accusations.

“It takes a lot of courage for these women to come forward, and I think that they should continue to do so,” O’Donnell said on the broadcast following the news. “This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women. Let me be very clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive, and I’ve been doing a lot of listening, and I’m going to continue to do that.”

Ellen Pompeo returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for two more seasons, earning $20 million

Meredith Grey is here to stay at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital — for at least two more seasons.

Deadline reported that the star of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Ellen Pompeo, has signed on to continue her role for another two years. She’ll also be permanently adding the title of “producer” to her credits on the series, while also being bumped to executive producer on the forthcoming firefighter spinoff series.

>> Read more trending news 

In addition to growing her resume, Pompeo stands to rake in $575,000 per episode, which comes to $20 million a year, making her the highest-paid actress on a primetime TV drama. The show already holds the title of ABC’s highest-rated series.

Pompeo’s pay wasn’t a given, however. Like many women, she had to fight to be paid adequately, particularly compared to her male counterparts.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, the actress said she’s now comfortable asking to be paid what she’s worth.

“I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age,” Pompeo said.

“For me, Patrick (Dempsey) leaving the show (in 2015) was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me: ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick,’ which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and I'm Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the No. 1. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: ‘Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy?’You feel conflicted but then you figure, ‘I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.’”

Pompeo said that once series creator Shonda Rhimes became more successful and had more control, it brushed off on her and allowed her to have more say in her own career.

“ (Shonda) got to a place where she was so empowered that she was generous with her power. Now, what did that look like? It looked like her letting me be the highest-paid woman on television, letting me be a producer on this show, letting me be a co-executive producer on the spinoff and signing off on the deal that the studio gave me, which is unprecedented.”

While Pompeo is excited to keep the show going, she makes no promises about when it will eventually end.

“I’ve been saying since season one, ‘We have two more years.’ This show, it’s taking on a life of its own, and who knows? We take it season by season,really,” she told Deadline.

Pompeo added, “You never think TV shows are going to go this long. Of course not, never, and especially me, I don’t ever assume things like that. I assume tomorrow everyone’s going to hate us. You got to try. You got to stay humble.”

“I’m extremely proud of the show and everyone that has worked on it in the past, everybody who’s here now,” she said, sharing that she’ll definitely let her children — Stella, 8; Sienna, 3; and Eli, 1, with husband Chris Ivery — watch when they’re old enough.

“It’s the beginning of a movement, and it’s so special to me for so many reasons. So I certainly hope they watch every episode twice,”  Pompeo said.

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