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Scandalous

Dear Media: Please Stop Calling Vitalii Sediuk a ‘Prankster’

As George Clooney, the very good friend of this bozo’s latest target, would be the first to remind: pranks require both cleverness and a certain, gentle charm.

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What Vitalii Sediuk tried to pull off at Wednesday’s Hollywood premiere of Maleficent had none of these qualities. Rather, it was a desperate bid for attention by a man toting a first name with two “i’s” and forever since, it seems, a desperate need to make it all about him.

Also, as was the case with Sediuk’s America Ferrara Cannes red carpet intrusion, the Brad Pitt offensive took place within the confines of a large, publicly attended street event. As such, it no doubt felt more dangerous and threatening to those in the middle of it.

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Alt-Weekly Reporter Pens Dumbfounding Defense of Texting While Driving

LAWeeklyBlogsLogoThe LA Weekly Web item, by staff writer Hillel Aron, is headlined: “Yes, I Text and Drive. No, I’m Not Sorry.” After reading it in full, twice, we’re sad to say that it has no redeeming value. From the top of page 2:

That’s why I text.

Sure, it’s illegal, but you get the sense that it’s harder to spot from a cop car, especially if you hold the phone in your lap (of course that makes it much more dangerous, since your eyes are further away from the road, but what can you do?). If a cop does pull you over, you can always lie and say you were getting directions.

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Brooklyn Transplant Takes a Stab at Donald Sterling Satire!?

ShutterstockJamesDolanWay too soon. With three hours to go before today’s big press conference by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, writer Eric Golub, recently relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, has published some jokey commentary roping in New York Knicks owner James Dolan.

Never mind that Golub, via his Twitter profile, proclaims himself to be an “author of ideological bigotry, ideological violence and ideological idiocy.” This is no laughing matter. From his piece “New Yorkers Condemn Knicks Owner Dolan for Not Being Racist:”

The only hope is for people of all races to demand that Dolan become a racist. Otherwise, he will never sell the team. Over 50 years after Dr. King gave his “I have a dream” speech, there is only a nightmare for Knicks fans of all races…

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Vetting the Enquirer’s ‘New Natalie Wood Death Theory’

On the bottom, right-hand corner of this week’s National Enquirer cover sits the teaser for an explosive two-page item by Barry Levine, Patricia Shipp and Steve Herz. Inside and crowned at one layout-end by the illustration below, an unnamed source tells the publication that the re-opened investigation into the 1981 death of Natalie Wood has taken a new turn, based on information in the autopsy about urine levels found in the actress’ body.

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After reading the full, print version of this “Exclusive Special Report,” FishbowlNY decided to check in once again with Marti Rulli, co-author of the book that started it all (Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour). She told us that two elements of the Enquirer article merit elaboration.

1) Natalie Wood May Have Been Unconscious Before Being in the Water

“That was determined from the new autopsy review, based on the amount of urine in her bladder and slight amount of froth in her lungs. Those findings suggest she was either unconscious or dead before being in the ocean.”

“That, of course, leads to the question – ‘How does an unconscious or dead body get itself into the water?’ The autopsy was, earlier, changed from accidental to undetermined because another review of Natalie’s body strongly indicates she was assaulted. Her bruises are consistent with being battered, or a struggle having transpired. Those are the main reasons Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) detectives will not close her case. They believe, with the witnesses who have come forward, and the scientific medical evidence now considered, that they have every reason to believe the case is solvable.”

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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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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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