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Scandalous

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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Natalie Wood Author Comments on Bombshell Tabloid Report

This week’s sensational allegations about the circumstances surrounding the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood are not the first time the National Enquirer has trolled this territory. (And if you read the details carefully, the lifeguard log in question is far less shocking than the headlines suggest.)

In December 2011, the tabloid published the same basic “sex secret” allegations. And way back in 1983, a reporter working for the publication used dirty tricks to try and get something out of Splendour captain Dennis Davern.

What is new and credible is the revised Robert Wagner context. Thanks to the tireless efforts of New Jersey-based author Marti Rulli, there have been recently some other more authoritative revelations that have put the screws to the still-handsome actor. Rulli’s 2009 book Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour and related documents submitted to the LA County Sheriff’s Department in the fall of 2011 are directly responsible for all the news today that is fit (and not fit) to print.

FishbowlLA thought it was worth getting Rulli’s latest thoughts on the ongoing, re-opened LASD investigation. She was kind enough to give us the following exclusive statement via email:

“Innuendo that Robert Wagner and Chris Walken were caught in a sexual act by Natalie the night she died has resurfaced. Fact is, Wagner was jealous of Walken and accused him of wanting to bed his wife and that’s the factual account of what caused a huge argument between Wood and Wagner that led to her death.”

“The homicide detectives investigating Wood’s death have good reason to believe former captain Dennis Davern’s account: not only does Davern’s account make sense, Davern has cooperated fully with the department.”

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James Deen Tells Reporter the New York Times Was ‘Accurate Enough’

There’s a quote to be savored at the half-way mark of Topless Robot editor Luke Y. Thompson‘s article “On the Set of a Sci-Fi Porno.” It was given to LYT by hot young adult (and budding crossover) star James Deen in the midst of the making of Surviving Humanity, a film intended to first be released as an R-rated offering.

Thompson tried (and failed) to get Deen to dish on the actor’s recent The Canyons co-star Lindsay Lohan. But when he brought up that infamous New York Times Magazine piece by Stephan Rodrick, about the movie’s tumultuous production, he fielded this answer:

Deen says only that it’s “accurate enough – it is real-life events reflected in a mirror and retold for dramatic effect. There’s enough in it that’s true that we can’t say it’s not true, but there’s also so much else there than what they described just in that article.”

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LA Times Delivery Drivers Shot by LAPD Get $40,000 in Lieu of New Truck

Well, this was infinitely more complicated than it needed to be. After pumping 102 bullets into the truck of Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, during the hunt for Christopher Dorner, LAPD volunteered to replace the truck, which the women used to deliver newspapers. When it came time to actually make good on its promise, however, the LAPD tried to force the women to pay the taxes on the new truck, claiming its hands were tied by the IRS.

According to the LA Times, the LAPD finally came to its senses yesterday and worked out a reasonable solution: give the women $40,000 so they can buy their own truck, and still afford to pay the relevant taxes.

The voluntary settlement still doesn’t prevent the pair from suing LAPD, particularly for shooting Hernandez twice in the neck. We’ll see if it will still buys the goodwill that it should have if it had been handled sensibly.

Reuters Social Media Editor Matthew Keys Indicted for Aiding Anonymous

OK, this is an odd one. Matthew Keys, a social media editor at Reuters and a former employee of the Tribune Company-owned Fox affiliate KTXL in Sacramento, has just been charged by the feds with helping Anonymous hack into the Tribune Company website in late 2010. More specifically, they are charging Keys with giving away log in keys to the Tribune website in an online chat room. Someone then took the log in data and used it to mess with the online version of an LA Times news story.

From the Times:

The indictment says Keys provided members of the hacker group Anonymous with log-in credentials for a computer server belonging to KTXL FOX 40’s corporate parent, the Tribune Co.

According to the indictment, Keys identified himself on an Internet chat forum as a former Tribune Co. employee.

After providing log-in credentials, Keys allegedly encouraged the Anonymous members to disrupt the website.  According to the indictment, at least one of the computer hackers used the credentials provided by Keys to log into the Tribune Co. server, and ultimately that hacker made changes to the web version of a Los Angeles Times news feature.

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Report: LA Stripper Does a Number on Hearst Exec

On the same day that feature documentary Citizen Hearst is opening in LA and a handful of other U.S. cities, allegations in the New York Post of a lurid sex scandal involving one of the media company’s top executives are being fanned across the Hollywood trades and beyond. From today’s “Page Six” dispatch, posted online just after midnight:

Top Hearst executive Scott Sassa has left the company over a sensational extortion plot involving a Los Angeles-based stripper he was sexting, multiple sources exclusively tell Page Six.

Sassa — the high-flying president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication group who manages the company’s interests in ESPN, Lifetime and recent successes including executive producing the hit miniseries The Bible for the History Channel — is quitting after the stripper forwarded sexy texts between her and Sassa to Hearst Corp.’s very conservative top brass.

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Newspaper Delivery Drivers Shot by LAPD Won’t Get New Truck

The LAPD PR-nightmare continues unabated. After mistakenly shooting more than 100 holes through the truck of Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, (who also took two bullets to the neck) during the hunt for Christopher Dorner, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck apologized and promised to replace their truck.

The new truck, however, is apparently not going to happen, according to NBC4, who spoke with the pair’s attorney Glen Jonas.

According to Jonas, LAPD and Galpin Ford wanted his clients to pose for a photo opportunity and pay income tax on the truck. The women no longer want the truck after they were told they needed to fill out a 1099 form for the donation, Jonas said Monday.

“You tried to murder the woman, now you’re telling her she can’t have a four-wheel drive, you’re telling her she can’t sell it and you’ve got to be taxed on it?” Jonas said. “How would anyone react to that?”

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