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Scandalous

Mel Gibson’s Unlikely New Ally: A Female Journalist

ShutterstockMelGisbonCannes2011There are two major strands running through Allison Hope Weiner‘s plea to Hollywood to take Mel Gibson off the industry blacklist. One is the idea of forgiveness, redemption and atonement for one’s sins; the other is how journalists writing about subjects like Gibson rarely get to truly “know” their subjects.

Weiner explains that after writing damning pieces about Gibson for outlets such as the New York Times and EW, she gradually came to know him as someone very different from the 2006 PCH incident that launched TMZ. Even more unlikely is the idea that this journalist-Hollywood star friendship could be cemented after Gibson’s second major public transgression in 2010:

I was on vacation with my family when Gibson called me. During his breakup with [OksanaGrigorieva, he’d gone through a terrible emotional breakdown and struggled to get healthy, gain joint custody of his infant daughter and deal with the fallout from the publication of those awful tapes. He was in a very bad place and we talked for some time about how difficult it was for him to deal with the pain he’d inflicted on his family — his ex-wife Robyn and his seven children, his infant daughter.

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Bogus National Enquirer Story Begets $45,000 Writing Prize

NationalEnquirerLogoIn the space of three weeks, the National Enquirer has gone from being duped by a David Bar Katz impersonator, to withdrawing and apologizing for an erroneous story, to endowing a stage play writing initiative hatched by the real Mr. Katz.

It’s all laid out in the New York Times by “About New York” writer Jim Dwyer. Ahead of a full-page ad that will appear in Wednesday’s NYT print edition as part of Enquirer parent company American Media Incorporated’s quick settlement with Katz. From Dwyer’s piece:

The amount of money being paid by The Enquirer will not be disclosed, [Katz's attorney Judd] Burstein said, adding, “It’s enough for the [newly formed American Playwriting] Foundation to give out these grants for years to come.” He formally filed papers to dismiss the lawsuit on Tuesday.

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Young Naturists America Scolds Journalists for Krazy Kidz Adult Party Coverage

It’s unlikely very many journalists are going to be quaking in their winter boots over this.

But for the February record, here is the gauntlet that has been thrown down this morning by Young Naturists America co-founder Jordan Blum after investigating the media’s sensational coverage of a nighttime event at Long Island children’s romper room Krazy Kidz. The gathering featured pajama-clad adults and, at one point, a nude flash mob:

“The media coverage which focused on the nudity, has distorted the facts and relied on overly dramatic reporting. We would like to officially admonish those journalists who reported about the ‘Naked Adult Pajama Party.’”

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Wellesley College Students Petition to Have New York Sculptor’s Statue Removed

We’ve all heard the adage, ‘I don’t know art, but I know what I like.’ Well, courtesy of the Boston Globe and some accompanying photos by the AP’s Steven Senne, get ready to put that adage to the test.

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Per reporter Jaclyn Reissitem, the realistic, department store mannequin-style sculpture of a man in his white undies sleepwalking can be found as of yesterday on campus, outside, next to a busy street and sidewalk. It’s a teaser for an exhibit by artist Tony Matelli and many are not amused:

Zoe Magid, a Wellesley College junior majoring in political science, started a petition on change.org with other students asking college president H. Kim Bottomly to have the statue removed.

“[T]his highly lifelike sculpture has, within just a few hours of its outdoor installation, become a source of apprehension, fear and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for many members of our campus community,” says the petition, which was penned by student Lauren Walsh. “While it may appear humorous, or thought-provoking to some, it has already become a source of undue stress for many Wellesley College students, the majority of whom live, study, and work in this space.”

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NBC News Investigates Justin Bieber ‘Pot Plane’

Just when we thought the Justin Bieber press couldn’t get any worse, along comes the NBC News Investigations team of Richard Esposito, Tom Winter, Jeff Rossen and Monica Alba. The quartet’s exclusive report outlines a litany of additional recent Team Bieber offenses that occurred during Friday’s Gulfstream IV flight from Waterloo, Ontario to Teterboro, NJ.

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It’s becoming increasingly clear that much like Lindsay Lohan and the Kardashians, the Biebs has a parent very much in the middle of the mix. Bieber’s dad was on the flight and apparently did nothing to try and stop the reefer madness:

“The captain of the flight stated that he warned the passengers, including Bieber, on several occasions to stop smoking marijuana,” says the official report of the incident. “The captain also stated he needed to request that the passengers stop their harassing behavior toward the flight attendant and after several warnings asked the flight attendant to stay with him near the cockpit to avoid any further abuse.”

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The Dubious Beginnings of The National Enquirer

In terms of seed financing, Harvey Levin, the late Jim Paratore and Warner Bros./Telepictures have nothing on The National Enquirer.

When The New York Enquirer was purchased in 1952, it was a modest 17,000-circulation broadsheet favored by amateur horse racing handicappers. It would later, after a move to Florida, become the precursor to the modern era of celebrity news and gossip reporting. In a fantastic feature article in DuJour magazine, John Connolly shockingly reveals where some of the original funding came from:

For decades, rumors have swirled about the purchase price — placing it between $10,000 and $75,000 — and [owner Generoso] Pope Jr.‘s source of funds. According to exclusive interviews for DuJour magazine with former employees, the money came from two men: a $10,000 loan from Pope’s godfather, Frank Costello, the boss of the Luciano crime family and head of a national gambling empire, and an equal amount from the lawyer Roy Cohn, a friend of Pope’s who had helped convict Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and was soon to gain notoriety as counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy.

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Mother Jones Reporter Comes to LA, Assembles AK-47

Heading into the holiday weekend, this is a magazine article many will be talking about and numerous sites, like us and the Daily Mail, picking up on.

The Mother Jones feature starts out with Bryan Schatz (pictured) taking receipt in the desert near Los Angeles of the parts needed to put together an untraceable AK-47 assault rifle. It then moves on to the fun of a so-called “build party:”

Among those ready to get going (none of whom wanted their names used) are a father-son duo getting in some bonding time and a well-bellied sixtysomething with a white Fu Manchu who “loves” the click-ack! sound of a round being chambered. Assembling a Romanian variant is a builder wearing a camouflage jacket and a hat embroidered with an AR-15 rifle above the legend “Come and take it.” His knuckle tattoos read “PRAY HARD.”

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Joe Francis Points the Finger at Everyone Else

One of the same fingers, no doubt, that anchor the crisp, concise lede of this week’s print edition story by Hollywood Reporter executive editor, features Stephen Galloway. Here is just a sampling of the things the Girls Gone Wild impresario insists are not his fault:

Francis has been jailed in Florida and Nevada; successfully sued for defamation by Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn, whom he now owes $20 million; indicted for tax evasion and filming underage girls; blamed for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of a company connected to Girls Gone Wild (which he says he no longer owns); and banned from entering GGW’s Santa Monica offices by bankruptcy trustee R. Todd Neilson, who filed suit to keep Francis off the premises.

Add to all this Los Angeles Times reporter Claire Hoffman‘s claim in a 2006 article that he pinned her to a car and twisted her arm so hard tears flooded her eyes – and that’s an awful lot of mischief. But none of it, says Francis, is his fault.

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Brother of West Hollywood Meningitis Victim Condemns Councilman, Media

It’s not just the fact that West Hollywood councilman John Duran incorrectly stated during a Friday April 12 press conference that bacterial meningitis victim Brett Shaad had been taken off life support (that difficult decision was made Saturday evening). For family members, it’s also the idea that Duran’s statements sparked incorrect reporting from major media organizations.

Per Patrick Range MacDonald‘s LA Weekly item, Shaad’s brother Brian took to Facebook on Monday to vent his frustrations:

“The irresponsibility of councilman Duran, the LA Times and the Associated Press in announcing the death of my brother before we even had the chance to tell family members and his friends outside of Los Angeles is outrageous.”

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MTV President on Shain Gandee’s Death: ‘We Can’t Be All the Redemption’

It’s the very last answer given to Sharon Waxman by Van Toffler, president of the MTV Viacom Music and Logo Group, that provokes the most thought. Asked whether shows like Buckwild are guilty of exploiting young stars such as the late Shain Gandee for conglomerate ratings and profit, the executive suggests it’s not up to cable TV to be a full-time chaperone:

“We document and show all sides of what it’s like to be young. From True Life and Jenks, nurturing autistic kids and getting them to prom, to Jersey Shore – you can’t do one without the other.”

“You’re not going to gain their trust by saying “go out to vote” or “get tested for STDs” or “help your neighbor “or “fight for gun control” — or whatever the issue is, unless you’re honest with them. We wouldn’t be in business. We can’t be all the redemption. Life is about sin and redemption.”

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