20 November 2003
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Jackson To Fight Charges
Troubled pop star Michael Jackson
is returning to California to fight "scurrilous" allegations he molested a 12-year-old boy. The Thriller
star pledged to defend himself against the claims following the news yesterday that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Detectives and forensics spent Tuesday searching his Neverland Ranch home in Santa Barbara. Jackson's representatives have been quick to defend the singer, insisting there is no truth to the allegations. His spokesman Stuart Backerman has said in a statement, "The outrageous allegations against Michael Jackson are false. Michael would never harm a child in any way. These scurrilous and totally unfounded allegations will be proven false in a courtroom. Naturally, the implications are distressing to everyone who hears them, which is precisely the point." He also announced Jackson, through his lawyers, had already made arrangements with the District Attorney to return to Santa Barbara to "immediately confront and prove these charges unfounded". Police say Jackson will be charged with multiple counts of child molestation, and bail has been set at $3 million.
Eminem Accused of Racism
Rap superstar Eminem
has been branded a racist after an American music magazine discovered a 10 year old record in which he attacks black women. America's The Source
magazine played a tape of the tracks they claim were recorded in 1993 when Eminem was 21 at a press conference in New York on Tuesday. In them, Eminem raps about a bad experience with a black girlfriend and warns of the dangers of dating black women, "Blacks and whites they sometimes mix / but black girls only want your money cause they're dumb chicks." He continued, "Don't date a black girl / if you do it once you won't do it twice. Black girls are dumb, and white girls are good chicks." Eminem, 31, quickly issued a statement following the revelations, admitting he was responsible for the tracks, but defending his actions as immature "stupidity", claiming they were recorded when he was a teenager. The statement reads, "The tape they played today was something I made out of anger, stupidity and frustration when I was a teenager. I'd just broken up with my girlfriend, who was African-American, and I reacted like the angry, stupid kid I was. I hope people will take it for the foolishness that it was, not for what somebody is trying to make it into today." He also cites a long-running feud with Source co-owners Raymond 'Benzino' Scott and Dave Mays - Eminem called Scott "the softest fakest wannabe gangster in New York" in his rap "Nail In The Coffin," and in 2002 The Source published a poster in which Scott holds the decapitated head of Eminem. Eminem's statement continues, "Ray Benzino, Dave Mays and The Source
have had a vendetta against me, Shady Records and our artists for a long time." An associate of the hip-hop star - real name Marshall Mathers - has also spoken out in his defense, claiming the tape was actually recorded in 1988, when Eminem was just 16. Scott, however, maintained the charges against Eminem should be taken seriously and told the press conference the magazine plans to distribute copies of the tapes with next February's issue of The Source
. He said, "We've got to treat this the same way we treated Mike Tyson
, Kobe Bryant
, OJ Simpson
Portman for Lois Lane?
beauty Natalie Portman
is the frontrunner to play Superman's leading lady Lois Lane in the upcoming blockbuster, according to reports in her native America. The brunette actress has been named as studio Warner Brothers' first choice to play the intrepid journalist, who is saved from tragedy by her superhero boyfriend. When asked if Portman has inked a deal with director Richard Donner
- who has replaced Charlie's Angels
- her agent replied "nothing's conclusive". The project has been beset by problems, and actors Jude Law
and Josh Hartnett
have both turned down the chance to play the man of steel. Brendan Fraser
is the latest star to be linked to the role.
Chan Signs Up for 'Pink Panther'
High-kicking star Jackie Chan
has signed up to join Steve Martin
in the new Pink Panther
movie. Chan will play Inspector Clouseau's hapless servant Kato in Birth Of The Pink Panther
- following the news Martin has secured the role famously played by the late Peter Sellers
in the hit series of comedies. Chan replaces Burt Kwouk
in the role, which will see Kato joining Clouseau in trying to solve the murder of the French soccer team manager. Chan is next slated to be seen in the all-star version of Around the World in 80 Days
Hilton Considers Giving Up Partying Ways
is considering quitting her partying ways after the shame of her sex video scandal. The hotel heiress, who is worth $3.8 billion, is caught up in a scandal in America after a video featuring her having sex with ex-boyfriend Rick Solomon leaked onto the Internet. Hilton has hired Jennifer Lopez
's publicist Dan Klores
to help her battle the press attacks on her, and arrange for the socialite to tell her side of the story in an upcoming TV interview. And she admits the publicity surrounding the scandal is making her reconsider her party-girl image. She says, "I can't walk the streets, it's too embarrassing. I don't want to go out anymore. I don't want to party. This has really made me thing about changes that I want to make."
Stallone Questioned by the FBI
has been dragged into a new investigation by the FBI, after allegations his phone was tapped by disgraced private investigator Anthony Pellicano
. The movie tough guy has been questioned by federal officials in America over a now resolved 2002 legal spat with his former business manager Kenneth Starr. Stallone became involved in the alleged wiretapping case after one of Pellicano's staff revealed the shamed sleuth had asked him to find derogatory information on both the Rambo
star and fellow Planet Hollywood investor Arnold Schwarzenegger
. It has since been acknowledged by Starr's attorney Bert Fields that he often hired Pellicano's services, although Fields has denied he had any knowledge of Pellicano's alleged wiretapping. According to published reports, Stallone himself also hired the services of Pellicano, who is at the center of a grand jury investigation after agents raided his offices last year and found material indicating the private investigator had conducted extensive illegal wiretaps while working on cases for high-profile lawyers. Pellicano is already serving a 33-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to weapons charges.
Campbell Sued for Attacking Aide
Feisty Naomi Campbell
is being sued by an aide who claims the supermodel attacked her and held her prisoner. Clerical assistant Simone Craig has accused the fiery British beauty of grabbing her and throwing her onto a sofa during a rage at the plush L'Hermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, two years ago. Craig alleges Campbell also hurled a phone at her and kept her prisoner in her hotel room, screaming, "You're going to stay here and do your job." The 29-year-old New Jersey native says she had been working for the catwalk star for just two weeks when the reported attack occurred, and quit immediately after the incident. Yesterday, Campbell rubbished the allegations and vowed to fight them. Her lawyer John Rosenberg says, "It's an unfortunate by-product of celebrity that individuals such as Ms Campbell are subjected to this sort of claim." In 2000, Campbell admitted beating former aide Georgina Galanis and subsequently underwent an anger management course.
Omar Quit After Embarrassing Banderas Flop
Movie veteran Omar Sharif
was so embarrassed by his role in Antonio Banderas
flop The 13th Warrior
he quit acting. The Lawrence Of Arabia
star was so disappointed with the 1999 movie he decided never to make another film. Sharif, who has only just come out of semi-retirement to film French movie Monsieur Ibrahim
, says, "After my small role in The 13th Warrior
, I said to myself, 'Let us stop this nonsense, these meal tickets that we do because it pays well.' I thought, 'Unless I find a stupendous film that I love and that makes me want to leave home to do, I will stop.' Bad pictures are very humiliating, I was really sick. It is terrifying to have to do the dialogue from bad scripts, to face a director who does not know what he is doing, in a film so bad that it is not even worth exploring."
Electra Looks Forward to MTV Series
Sexy star Carmen Electra
has no qualms about turning her wedding preparations into an TV series - because she wants to share her "great life" with the world The former Baywatch
actress is allowing MTV cameras to film her and Jane's Addiction fiance Dave Navarro
preparing for their upcoming nuptials in January, and is certain the show will be great entertainment. And Electra insists she will be as natural as ever on the series, as calculated behavior would ruin it. She says, "It wouldn't be interesting if we were careful. It makes for a better show. With any job you take, whether it's reality or not, you take that risk." Carmen also has no fears about being turned into a figure of fun like fellow MTV star Jessica Simpson
, whose airheaded comments have made her a laughing stock. Electra adds, "At the same time, Jessica's on the cover of Rolling Stone
, she's shooting covers for Allure
as we speak - it's actually, I think, done well for her."
Uma: Put Bush on TV
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Sexy actress Uma Thurman
is a big fan of American President George W. Bush
- but only because she finds him "entertaining". The Kill Bill
stunner - famous for her liberal views - is deeply disappointed with the political achievements of America's premier but is sure he could redeem himself as a television personality. She jokes, "He should have his own show. He's a very charismatic guy. He's funny. I really wish he wasn't running the country. I didn't want him to be elected, but I hoped he wouldn't do a bad job. I have to say it's been less than impressive."