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Posts Tagged ‘Harriet Ryan’

LA Times Reporters Expose Casting Associate’s Child Molester Past

It’s a sensational storyline: convicted sex offender Jason James Murphy, under cover of a shortened name, makes his way to Hollywood and finds success as a casting associate, working on films such as Bad News Bears, School of Rock, Super 8 and forthcoming biopic The Three Stooges.

The LA Times article in question by Dawn Chmielewski and Harriet Ryan, with additional reporting from several colleagues, is also the kind of bellwether piece that leads to real-world changes. Expect the Casting Society of America and-or other unions and guilds to re-examine the background check procedures currently in place for casting office employees.

Since the story was first posted last night, it has been picked up by dozens of other outlets, starting with the Hollywood Reporter and continuing through to everyone from AP to the UK’s Daily Mail (which shoddily fails to credit LAT). The Washington state mugshot of Murphy (pictured) is extremely unsettling, since he looks more like an actor auditioning for a role than a criminal staring at jail time.

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LA Times Chronicles City’s Other Celebrity-Endorsed Religion

Though coincidental, the timing of an excellent two-part LA Times series on LA’s Kabbalah Centre seems almost anti-spiritual, given the current marital troubles reportedly enshrouding Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. In happier times, they were wed by a Kabbalah teacher.

In Part Two of the investigation, reporters Harriet Ryan and Kim Christensen focus on an aspect that is as critical for religious success in LA as it is for ascension in the movie, TV and sex tape businesses. The celebrity factor:

The first celebrity drawn to the Kabbalah Centre was Sandra Bernhard, who began studying in 1995… She dove into kabbalah classes with a charismatic Israeli teacher, Eitan Yardeni. She was effusive in the media about kabbalah, which she said had eliminated “at least 80% of the chaos in my life.” In her Hollywood circle, she was a one-woman marketing campaign for Yardeni and the center.

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LA Times Sweeps the Times’ Editorial Awards

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Safe to say the LA Times won all their own awards. Cough. This year’s Pulitzers. Cough. Congratulations all!

Joel Rubin
won for beat reporting. Harriet Ryan, Andrew Blankstein, Geoff Boucher, Chris Lee and Ann Powers won for breaking news, the Michael Jackson story specifically.

And the Publisher’s Prize went to Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian for sticking with a Toyota crash story that ended up causing one of the largest auto recalls in history. There’s the real breaking story. Get it? Huh? Breaking.

Complete list and a podcast with Russ Stanton is here.