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Spurlock on sexual harassment: 'I am part of the problem'

Declaring "I am part of the problem," documentarian Morgan Spurlock confessed in an online post to sexual harassment and infidelity, and said a woman accused him of rape in college.

In the post, which he linked to from his verified Twitter account, Spurlock wrote that as he watches other influential men brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct, "I don't sit by and wonder 'who will be next?' I wonder, 'when will they come for me?'"

Spurlock recounted a sexual encounter in college which he said he thought was consensual, but said the woman believed it was rape.

"I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better," Spurlock wrote. "I thought I was doing ok, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped. That's why I'm part of the problem."

Spurlock also said he paid a settlement to a female assistant who worked at his office and whom he called "hot pants" or "sex pants." In the post, Spurlock says he thought the nickname was funny but later realized he was demeaning her.

"So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn't pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone," he wrote. "Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid."

Spurlock also wrote that he has "been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had."

"Over the years, I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs," Spurlock wrote.

Spurlock wrote that he will do better and will be more honest with others and with himself. He ends the post by saying: "I've talked enough in my life. ... I'm finally ready to listen."

The New York Times reported that Spurlock stepped down from his production company Thursday. Warrior Poets, which Spurlock co-founded, said in an emailed statement that the move was effective immediately but did not indicate whether it would be permanent.

Spurlock is best known for his Oscar-nominated 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" on the fast-food industry, in which he ate nothing but McDonald's food to show the health effects of the industry. He has produced dozens of other documentaries and TV shows and completed a sequel to "Super Size Me" this year.

In response to Spurlock's confession, LeBron James' production company announced Thursday that it will cancel its production agreement with Spurlock's company, which it had hired to produce a series about the NBA star's school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

Kirsten Dunst and fiancé Jesse Plemons are expecting their first child

Former “Friday Night Lights” star Jesse Plemons and his famous fiancée, Kirsten Dunst, are expecting their first child together, according to a report in Us Weekly.

In 2014, Dunst spoke to the U.K.’s Red Magazine about her desire to have kids soon.

>> Read more trending news

“I’m in baby mode, because two of my really good friends are pregnant right now. One of them is pretty chilled, and the other’s like, ‘I can’t wait to have a glass of wine!'” Dunst said. “I love it though. We’ve already picked her girl’s name; it’s done! I think 33 is a good age to have your first baby.”

Us Weekly also reports that Dunst, 35, and Plemons, 29 – who began dating after working together on the FX series “Fargo,” in which they played a married couple – will get hitched in Austin, Texas, in the spring of 2018.

“It was a gift,” Plemons said when the pair began working together. “I loved Kirsten’s work for a long time, and I was really excited once I’d met her, and she’s a great person. We’re both actors that just … have fun with the material.”

It was revealed that Dunst and Plemons were dating in May 2016, when paparazzi caught them kissing behind a fence. At the time, Dunst had only recently ended her relationship with long-term partner Garrett Hedlund. The “Bring It On” star had spoken to InStyle UK about her plans to marry Hedlund, but that obviously did not happen.

“I am someone who wants to get married,” she told the magazine.

>> ‘Full House’ star John Stamos announces he’s finally going to be dad in real life

”If it happens in my mid-to-late 30s, it’s going to be intimate. Courthouse, dinner party and DJ with friends and family. I’ll treat it like it would be my 40th birthday.”

Plemons and Dunst aren’t the only expecting celebrity couple. “Full House” star John Stamos recently revealed to People that he and fiancée Caitlin McHugh are expecting a child.

The 54-year-old actor shared that he and his soon-to-be bride had been considering a baby for a while, and the timing was just right.

“We have the same morals and the same values that all clicked nicely. So we said, ‘Oh, well, maybe we should have a family,’” Stamos said.

He revealed that his fiancée jokingly thought they should have a baby before getting married “because [he’s] old.”

Ex-'Apprentice' star Omarosa to tell all about White House

Former "Apprentice" star Omarosa is putting the White House on notice as she makes her exit: She has "quite a story to tell" about her time in President Donald Trump's administration and "the world will want to hear it."

Accustomed to the spotlight, Omarosa Manigault Newman appeared on national television Thursday to push back against reports that she was fired from her job as a Trump assistant and director of communications for a White House office that deals with constituent groups.

She also denied reports that she made a spectacle of herself while being escorted from the White House grounds, calling the stories "100 percent false" and questioning why photos or video of her alleged misbehavior had yet to surface.

Better known by just her first name, Manigault Newman told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she resigned this week after discussing some of her concerns with White House chief of staff John Kelly. The Secret Service said it had deactivated a pass granting her access to the White House complex, though White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Manigault Newman would be on staff through the administration's one-year mark.

Before her resignation, Kelly had advised Manigault Newman that changes were forthcoming — including her dismissal, according to two White House officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters.

Manigault Newman was also expected to be at the White House on Thursday, Huckabee Sanders said. She declined to say for what purpose or to explain why the former reality TV contestant will collect a salary through Jan. 20, citing a policy of declining extensive comment on personnel matters.

"The president likes Omarosa, thanked her for her service," Sanders told reporters. "And, again, she'll be here later this afternoon, so she's resigned from her position, but there's really nothing else to add on that front."

Trump himself sang her praises when he was asked at an unrelated White House event about the resignation.

"I like Omarosa. Omarosa's a good person," he said.

Manigault Newman described her conversation with Kelly as being "very candid." A newlywed, she said she had a goal to make it to the administration's one-year mark and then "get back to my life."

Her life now seems destined to include writing a tell-all book about her time at the White House.

"When I have a chance to tell my story ... quite a story to tell, as the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people," she said. "And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear."

Sanders said Thursday was the first time she'd heard such comments from Manigault Newman.

Her resignation — she was Trump's most visible African-American adviser — immediately raised questions about diversity in the senior ranks of the White House. Manigault Newman said in a separate interview with ABC's "Nightline" that it was challenging being the only black woman in the senior staff.

She said most of the other senior advisers are white, had never worked with minorities and didn't know how to interact with them. She added that her departure will leave Trump without any African-American representation on his senior staff.

"There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge," she told the network for its program airing early Friday.

Sanders insisted at her briefing Thursday that the White House team is diverse "across the board."

Manigault Newman, who drew a top salary of $179,700, was a high-profile Trump supporter during the presidential campaign and the transition.

Since her stint as a contestant on the first season of Trump's former reality TV show, "The Apprentice," in 2004, Manigault Newman has enjoyed a close relationship with the New York businessman, even after he uttered his "You're fired" catchphrase and booted her from the program. She was portrayed as a cut-throat contestant during the season. She returned to Trump's "Apprentice" franchise several times and appeared on other reality TV shows.

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Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

WATCH: Joe Biden puts politics aside on 'The View' in emotional moment with Meghan McCain

Former Vice President Joe Biden set political differences aside on “The View” when he consoled Meghan McCain over the cancer diagnosis of her father, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, telling her that there’s “hope.”

Sen. McCain was recently diagnosed with the glioblastoma, the same cancer that took the life of Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“The View” co-host brought up her father’s illness while talking with the former vice president on the show Wednesday, saying that she thinks about Beau “almost every day,” but she wasn’t able to talk about it very long before breaking down.

Biden quickly consoled Meghan, telling her “there’s a lot of hope.” He then went on to talk about how Beau and Sen. McCain had become friends years ago and told her how his son talked about her father’s courage.

>> Watch the clip here

The former vice president also talked about how there are cancer therapy breakthroughs every day, but he kept coming back to Sen. McCain’s courage.

“There is hope, and if anybody can make it, your dad [can],” Biden said, before talking about his relationship with John McCain, saying that they were like brothers from “different fathers.”

Biden also joked about his political differences with the ailing senator, but added, “I know if I picked up the phone tonight and called John McCain, and said, ‘John, I’m at Second and Vine in Oshkosh, and I need your help. Come,' he’d get on a plane and come. And I would for him, too.”

>> Read more trending news 

He continued: “Beau insisted on, and your dad’s gonna insist on, you gotta maintain hope. You have to have hope."

Sen. McCain was diagnosed with the deadly form of cancer in July, according to The Hill. He revealed in September that his doctors gave him a “very poor” prognosis, the Arizona Republic reported.

Meghan McCain, who tied the knot last month with Ben Domenech, revealed that she had moved up her wedding because of her father’s diagnosis, saying that she lives from “scan to scan," People reported.

Russell Simmons at center of NYPD investigation after 11 women accuse him of assault

UPDATE: Dec. 14, 2017 6:00 p.m.: The New York Police Department’s special victims unit has opened an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct against music mogul Russell Simmons after allegations from 11 women, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times is reporting that seven of the cases occurred in New York and that police are in the process of contacting women who have accused Simmons of assaulting them in the city.

(Previous story)

Music mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons is “vehemently” denying he raped at least three women dating back to the late 1980s.

>> Read more trending news

The three women have stepped forward, accusing Simmons, 60, of a “pattern of violent sexual behavior,” including rape, between the late 1980s and 2014, according to the New York Times.

The women all spoke on the record and allowed their names to be revealed.

The Times said it confirmed the allegations through friends and associates of the women at the time the incidents occurred.

The women said they decided to come forward and tell their stories after dozens of victims publicly detailed alleged sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of disgraced filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

Simmons said the accusations are false.

“I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all my relations have been consensual,” the Def Jam Records co-founder told the newspaper.

He also said he has “enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”

Simmons stepped down from his business empire last month after sexual misconduct allegations against him first surfaced. 

>> Related: Russell Simmons stepping down from companies after sexual assault allegation

At that time he also denied the allegations, but apologized.

“While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely and humbly apologize,” he said.

Oprah Winfrey to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

Oprah Winfrey will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at January's Golden Globes.

Morgan Freeman made the announcement for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association during its broadcast of the "Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special" Wednesday on NBC.

HFPA President Meher Tatna called Winfrey "one of the most respected and admired figures today" and "one of the most influential women of our time" in a statement Wednesday.

The DeMille Award is given annually to an "individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment." Past recipients include Freeman, Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Lucille Ball.

Winfrey will receive the award during the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony on Jan. 7, 2018.

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro sued for defamation

A civil rights activist is suing Fox News host Jeanine Pirro (juh-NEEN' PEER'-oh), claiming she defamed him while discussing a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement that was later dismissed.

The lawsuit states that DeRay McKesson was falsely arrested while attending a protest in which a police officer was struck in the face with a rock. The officer sued the Black Lives Matter movement and McKesson.

During an appearance on Fox News, the lawsuit claims Pirro falsely stated that McKesson "directed someone to hit the police officer in the face with a rock." The suit says the statements were extremely dangerous and continue to endanger McKesson.

Fox News says Pirro's statements are protected speech.

The suit, which also names Fox News Network, was filed in New York on Tuesday.

Walmart, book distributor suspend ties with Tavis Smiley

Walmart and a book distributor distanced themselves from Tavis Smiley on Thursday after PBS said an investigation found "troubling allegations" of sexual misconduct by the radio and TV host.

The moves came a day after PBS said it was suspending Smiley following an independent investigation by a law firm. PBS said the firm uncovered "multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS." His show's page at PBS was scrubbed on Thursday.

Smiley has denied any wrongdoing.

Walmart, which had been a sponsor of Smiley's talk show and an upcoming touring theatrical show, cut ties with him. "We take these issues very seriously and are troubled by the recent allegations," the retail giant said in a statement. "As a result, we are suspending our relationship with Mr. Smiley, pending the outcome of the PBS investigation."

Hay House, which distributes the Smiley Books imprint, said all Smiley projects were "on hold" pending an internal review. Smiley had planned in September to release "Leading by Listening: Connecting through Conversation to Transform Your Relationships and Your Business."

Smiley responded to the allegations on Facebook, saying PBS "overreacted" and calling it "a rush to judgment." He said he has never harassed anyone and claimed one relationship the network uncovered was consensual.

"If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us," he said. "This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back."

PBS responded to Smiley's accusations by saying it stands by the integrity of the investigation. "The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years," a PBS spokesperson said.

The ouster comes weeks after PBS cut ties with anchor and talk show host Charlie Rose, citing "extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior" by him toward women at his PBS talk show.

Smiley brought rare diversity to late-night TV and has drawn the ire of conservatives and liberals alike for some of his views. He has worked for six networks over a 30-year career and his radio program "The Tavis Smiley Show" was distributed by Public Radio International from 2005 to 2013. He has been with PBS for 14 seasons and some 3,000 episodes.

Smiley also has a development deal with Warner Bros. Television and was working with J.J. Abrams to turn his new book about Michael Jackson's last days and death into a limited TV series. He also has a podcast via PodcastOne.

Smiley next month is expected to launch a nationwide 40-city tour of a theatrical production focusing on the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. "Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience" is based on Smiley's 2014 book of the same title and was to start Jan. 15, King's birthday.

"Death of a King" is being produced by Mills Entertainment, which did not respond Thursday to requests for comment. Several of the venues slated to host the show did not respond to queries about whether the show would play as scheduled. One that did, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, said: "We just learned of these allegations and at this time will reserve comment."

Smiley also oversees the publishing imprint Smiley Books and has written more than a dozen books, including his memoir "What I Know for Sure" and "The Covenant With Black America."

The dismissals of Smiley and Rose at PBS follow dozens of firings and suspensions of prominent men who have been accused of sexual misconduct or harassment. The wave began this fall with allegations lodged against Harvey Weinstein and has impacted numerous high-profile TV and media figures, with Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, journalist Mark Halperin, NPR news chief Michael Oreskes, reporter Glenn Thrush and New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier all felled, among others.

According to Variety, the investigation found Smiley found that he had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates and created "a verbally abusive and threatening environment."

Smiley in his Facebook post claims PBS "refused to provide me the names of any accusers, refused to speak to my current staff, and refused to provide me any semblance of due process to defend myself against allegations from unknown sources."

___

AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report.

___

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

Report: 3 women accuse music mogul Russell Simmons of rape

Three women have told the New York Times that music mogul Russell Simmons raped them, the latest in a cascade of serious allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in entertainment, media, politics and elsewhere.

Simmons vehemently denied what he called "these horrific accusations," saying in a statement emailed to The Associated Press that "all of my relations have been consensual."

The allegations reported by the Times Wednesday stem from the 1980s and 1990s. One woman, Drew Dixon, said Simmons assaulted her in his downtown apartment in 1995, when she was an executive at Def Jam Recordings, reporting to Simmons. She quit Def Jam soon after, she told the Times, saying, "I was broken." Through his lawyer, Simmons acknowledged to the newspaper that he engaged in "inappropriate conduct" with Dixon while she worked at Def Jam. But he "emphatically states that he did not have sex with her," his lawyer said.

Another, Tina Baker, said Simmons raped her in the early '90s, when he was her manager. "I didn't sing for almost a year," Baker was quoted as saying. After the assault, she said, "I went into oblivion." Through his lawyer, Simmons told the Times he had "no recollection of ever having any sexual relations with Ms. Baker."

A third, Toni Sallie, a music journalist, dated Simmons briefly in 1987. A year later, in 1988, Simmons invited her to his Manhattan apartment for a party, she told the Times, but when she arrived she was the only one there, and Simmons led her to his bedroom, pushed her on the bed and raped her. "We were fighting. I said no," she was quoted as saying. The Times said that Simmons, through his lawyer, acknowledged he had dated Sallie but denied nonconsensual sex.

In each case, the paper said, friends and associates of the accusers said they had been told of the incidents at the time.

The paper quoted a fourth woman, Christina Moore, who accused Simmons of groping her during a brief encounter in Miami in 2014.

"The current allegations sent to me by the New York Times range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by 'Guilty by Accusation,'" Simmons said in his statement.

He said he would "relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence."

The allegations weren't the first to hit the producer and entrepreneur recently. Late last month, HBO said it would edit out any link to Simmons in its "All Def Comedy" show in the wake of an allegation by screenwriter Jenny Lumet, who said Simmons had sex with her more than two decades ago despite her repeated demands that he stop. Simmons said he had a different memory of the night but apologized and said he was stepping away from his companies.

Lumet said she went public after model Keri Claussen Khalighi said Simmons coerced her to perform a sex act and later penetrated her without her consent in his New York apartment in 1991. Simmons said the sex with Klalighi was consensual.

Simmons and Rick Rubin founded Def Jam Recordings was founded in 1984. It made stars of such hip-hop artists as LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, and its roster currently includes Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Frank Ocean, Alessia Cara, Jeremih, Jeezy, Iggy Azalea, Big Sean, Nas and 2 Chainz.

Tom Hanks jokes about ‘The Post’ co-star Meryl Streep calling her ‘high maintenance’

When Hollywood legend Tom Hanks appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” to promote his new movie “The Post,” he managed to find time to take a few playful jabs at his co-star and fellow Hollywood legend Meryl Streep.

>> Read more trending news

Colbert and Hanks were having a friendly chat when Colbert mentioned the veteran actress. Hanks rolled his eyes and said, “You mean, can I just say, Meryl ‘High Maintenance’ Streep?’”

This clearly peaked Colbert’s interest. “Oh really? Diva?” the host asked.

“Look, the shoes alone, man,” Hanks quipped, before quickly adding, “No, I am so joking.”

He made sure to clarify that Streep isn’t actually a diva.

“You know what’s scary about Meryl? She comes in and does it just like everybody else does,” Hanks said. “You’re expecting French horns before she enters the stage.”

Putting on a posh accent he added, “You expect a guy in livery to come out: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the actress known as Meryl Streep.’ And she comes in and waves to the crew the way the royals used to.”

>> Related: Tom Hanks’ ominous take on Trump’s ongoing media feud

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy Award winning actor issued a warning to those who aspire to a career in Hollywood: “There are predators absolutely everywhere.”

Hanks began his musings on the recent wave of sexual assault scandals by addressing the positive aspects of Hollywood: “There’s a lot of reasons people do this for a living. Making a movie is a life experience that can create an awful lot of joy,” he said. “You can meet the person you fall in love with, you can laugh your heads off. That’s the good stuff.”

But the 61-year-old “Forrest Gump” star added that there were sinister elements in the film industry: “The bad stuff can happen on a movie as well. There are some people who go into this business because they get off on having power,” he said. “And the times they feel the most powerful, which is why they went into the business, are when they are hitting on somebody who’s underneath them, [and] I don’t necessarily mean completely sexually,” he said. “There are predators absolutely everywhere.”

But true to his reputation as a Hollywood nice guy, Hanks ended his train of thought on the matter with a hint of optimism:

“Somebody said, ‘Is it too late to change things?’ No, it’s never too late,” Hanks said. “It’s never too late to learn new behaviors. And that’s a responsibility of anybody who wants to obey a code of professional ethics.”

>> Related: Furious Rose McGowan blasts old friend Alissa Milano on Twitter over Weinstein’s wife

“The Post” is based on a true story involving the Pentagon Papers and the cover-up that spanned four U.S. presidents and pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), and a hard-driving editor, Ben Bradlee (Hanks), to join in an unprecedented battle between journalism and government. It was directed by Hanks’ longtime collaborator Steven Spielberg.

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