New York, Jun 22 (AP/UNB) — Harvey Weinstein's lawyers sought Friday to toss out the sex trafficking claims of an actress the disgraced movie-making mogul maintains is trying to capitalize on the legal success of other women.
The lawyers filed papers in Manhattan federal court to try to persuade a judge to reject Wedil David's trafficking claims.
David's lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles in 2017 and moved to New York, said Weinstein raped her in late 2015 after using the promise of a role in a television series, "Marco Polo," to lure her to a Beverly Hills hotel.
According to the lawsuit, David met Weinstein at a 2011 party, and he offered to assist her acting career. It said he invited her to awards show parties for several years afterward.
The latest Weinstein filing in the lawsuit asks a judge to reject her sex trafficking claims, which followed similar claims made by women that other judges have approved. Weinstein is appealing those rulings.
The lawyers urged a judge to stop "the further improper expansion of the laws against human trafficking."
They argued that the sex trafficking act was established to criminalize slavery, involuntary servitude and human trafficking for commercial gain.
"Attempting to apply the Act to this case is an utter perversion of the legislative intent behind the statute," they wrote. "There are no allegations of slavery, involuntary servitude, or human trafficking in the instant case."
They said Weinstein denies even meeting David. Weinstein has denied sexually assaulting any of the women who have made claims against him. Any sex that occurred, his representatives have asserted, was consensual.
The lawyers said David was trying to "draw further headlines and get her case in the public eye by adding a Sex Trafficking claim for no other reason than because other plaintiffs are doing it too."
Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, lawyers for David, did not immediately comment Friday after Weinstein's lawyers filed their papers.
Wigdor and Mintzer issued a statement last month to say David "steadfastly rejected" a proposed $44 million deal designed to resolve over 15 lawsuits brought by multiple women against Weinstein.
The lawyers said the proposed settlement would let Weinstein and the men who enabled him escape liability and accountability without contributing any money to the deal themselves.
"Our client does not begrudge any victim who accepts a settlement that she finds acceptable. But she will not participate in a process that is fundamentally flawed and unfair," they said.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people alleging sexual assault, but David has spoken publicly about her claims.
Paris, Jun 22 (AP/UNB) — Elton John, a newly awarded Legion of honor pinned to his suit, joined a call Friday by French President Emmanuel Macron to fund AIDS research and treatment.
The world-acclaimed singer spoke alongside Macron before thousands of people packed into the presidential Elysee Palace courtyard for an event of the annual Fete de la Musique.
John was clearly moved at receiving France's highest award, pinned on him by Macron in a private ceremony, attended by the singer's husband David Furnish and their two children, among some 20 people in his entourage present.
The president saluted the virtuoso musician as "an icon that knew how to set an example," the Elysee Palace said.
"To receive this decoration the day of the Fete de la Musique makes it even more special," John said later in the palace courtyard.
Macron used the occasion to make a call to youth and world leaders to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria before an October summit in Lyon, France.
He said that 27 million people have been treated and saved through the Global Fund that raised about 13 billion euros in 2016.
"We must do better," he said, calling on all to mobilize over the next 110 days. "Make life impossible for us," he told the crowd, appealing to the youth of Europe and the world to badger their leaders.
John took up the call.
"Success is essential," he said, adding, "It is of great importance to me."
John has his own AIDS foundation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
Macron said he had just "decorated someone who created a unique foundation" that gathered 450 million euros for the fight against AIDS.
That fight, the singer said, reminds him "each day of the extraordinary power of the human spirit." He added, "It is this magical human spirit that I will carry with me as a proud member of the Legion of Honor."
John performed in Paris on Thursday night in what is billed as a farewell tour.
New York, June 22 (AP/UNB) - Scamp the Tramp's looks have made him a winner — but it wasn't a beauty contest.
The snaggle-haired, bug-eyed pooch took the top prize Friday at the 31st annual World's Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, California.
Owner Yvonne Morones of Santa Rosa won an appearance with Scamp on the "Today" show, $1,500 in cash, another $1,500 to donate to an animal shelter — and bragging rights.
Scamp, an adopted street dog, beat out 18 other contestants who showed off their droopy tongues, bowed legs and other strange attributes.
Organizers say the contest isn't just skin-deep. It's also about bringing attention to the needs of rescue dogs. Most competitors were previously abandoned or rescued from kill shelters in the U.S.
Things are starting to get ugly in the picturesque California town of Petaluma.
Indeed, the place will go to the dogs when the winner of what's being billed as the World's Ugliest Dog Contest is announced Friday night.
Nineteen contestants featuring droopy tongues, bowed legs, perpetually confused looks and other strange attributes are going nose-to-nose in the annual competition.
Most competitors were previously abandoned or rescued from kill shelters in the U.S.
First they'll walk the red carpet and preen for adoring fans at Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in the heart of Northern California wine country.
The winner gets $1,500, a trophy the size of a Rottweiler, and a future appearance on the "Today" show.
Publicist Cindy Gentry says the competition is about bringing attention to the needs of rescue dogs.
New York, June 22 (AP/ UNB) - There are two movies opening this weekend that feature iconic anthropomorphic dolls. Be very careful which one you choose.
“Toy Story 4” has the usual gang of lovable toys led by Woody and Buzz. (Bring tissues.) Then there’s the remake of “Child’s Play,” which has Chucky, the freckle-faced homicidal doll who likes stabbing things. (Bring a strong stomach.)
The reviews for “Toy Story 4″ are pretty good and you might be surprised to find that the ”Child’s Play ” reboot is actually pretty solid, too. It’s a winking, self-aware horror movie that will make you laugh even when things are drenched in blood.
The original “Child’s Play” came out in 1988 and featured the nightmare-creating concept of your dolls coming to life and harming you. It was a fairly straight-ahead horror flick with a dash of commentary on consumerism. But the franchise — six sequels — gradually grew camp, most recently with “Cult of Chucky” in 2017.
The reboot this summer has sidestepped Chuck’s real dad — the writer and director Don Mancini — and freshened the concept for 2019: Chucky is no longer possessed. Now he’s a cloud-connected, self-learning AI doll with wide powers: He controls the lights, TVs, Roomba, cars and other electronic devices. Underneath the gleeful horror is a commentary on our dependence and the interconnectivity of our devices.
Director Lars Klevberg and screenwriter Tyler Burton Smith don’t pretend the killer doll trope hasn’t been done before. They fully dive into it, gently mocking the genre as they exploit it and signal to the audience all along what they’re doing. “You’re my best friend,” says Chucky when he’s taken out of the box. To which his new owner naturally says: “It’s kind of creepy.”
This time, Chucky is created by the nefarious Kaslan Corporation, which has a range of interconnected products. A sweatshop worker in Vietnam tasked with assembling the dolls disconnects one of its security protocols in a fit of pique. It ends up in the hands of a single mother (Aubrey Plaza) and her lonely son, Andy (Gabriel Bateman). Chucky tries to understand human behavior but stumbles at subtlety. He’s imprinted to Andy and lashes out at anything that Andy dislikes, whether that’s the family cat or his mom’s new boyfriend.
The filmmakers have left little Easter eggs throughout the film, from references to “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to “Office Space.” They have a jokey tendency to use old-school lightning whenever they want to signal something ominous is happening. The final climactic fight scene happens in a dark basement sporting industrial spinning fans with light and smoke pouring out of them. At one point, there’s a “Star Wars” joke that is extra funny because Mark Hamill is voicing Chucky.
There’s so much tongue-in-cheek humor that even though the body count mounts — and some in the audience may be surprised that death comes to animals and beloved figures alike — there’s really no dread. Somehow, despite “Silence of the Lambs”-level carnage, the gore level doesn’t shock, inoculated as we are by being in on the joke. Riffing off that, composer Bear McCreary leans in on “Omen”-like, ever-building horror music.
The film’s tautness comes and goes, to be honest, never really building to edge-of-your-seat stuff. And it could have had more glee messing with our love of digital convenience. But it takes care of fans of the franchise. The doll comes up with the name Chucky for itself, even though plenty of other options are available. It’s owning its past.
Plaza, known for her comedic chops on “Parks and Recreation,” shows off a winning dramatic side, while Bateman proves to be an actor to watch, able to play alienated teen, surrogate brother, aghast victim and vengeful son. Brian Tyree Henry once again makes the most of his small role as a kindly cop. And Hamill goes to his creepiest place to say things like “Are we having fun now?”
Surprisingly, we are having fun. While most of the oxygen will be taken up this weekend with “Toy Story 4,” credit goes to “Child’s Play” for turning in a solid valentine to the darker side of what “Toy Story” also does — including movie posters that drag the bigger franchise.
“Child’s Play,” an Orion Pictures release, is rated R for “bloody horror violence and language throughout.” Running time: 88 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Dhaka, June 22 (UNB) - After a four-day countdown, Marvel's mystery Spider-Man project has been revealed.
JJ Abrams, director of Star Wars: Episode VII and IX and Star Trek, will co-write a Spiderman comic-book with his son, Henry.
The father and son pair announced the new comic in a video on twitter.
In the comic-book, the illustrations will be drawn by Sara Pichelli, the co-creator of Miles Morales, the character who became really famous after the movie Into the Spider-Verse.
After the long wait for fans, Marvel also revealed the title of the new comic... It will be called... Spider-Man.
Yep, that's it, just Spider-Man.
While the name might be basic, the creative team working on the project is anything but.
Apparently the idea of JJ Abrams working on a comic with Marvel has actually been in the works for a while. In an interview with the New York Times, Marvel editor Nick Lowe says he contacted JJ Abrams ten years ago, but it wasn't until Abram's teamed up with his 20-year-old son that he became keen on the idea of writing Spider-Man.
Not a lot is known about the plot of the comic-book yet, but the artwork from the cover suggests that Peter Parker's love interest Mary Jane will appear, and JJ said that the story will feature a new villain named Cadaverous.