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Culture lane

I didn’t assault women: Freeman

Morgan Freeman has said any suggestion he assaulted women or created an unsafe workplace is false but apologised to anyone he may have upset, after media reported that women have accused him of inappropriate behavior or harassment. The accusations against the Oscar-winning actor are the latest in a torrent against male actors, filmmakers and agents that have roiled Hollywood since October 2017, leading in some cases to resignations and the halting of projects.

Last Friday, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was charged with rape and other sex crimes. Similar accusations have also engulfed men in politics and business and inspired a #MeToo social media movement by victims sharing their stories of sexual harassment or abuse. CNN reported on Thursday that it spoke with 16 people as part of its investigation into the 80-year-old actor, some of whom also alleged inappropriate behavior by Freeman at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.

“I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday’s media reports,” Freeman said in a statement on Friday, a day after he first apologized. “But I also want to be clear: I did not create unsafe work environments. I did not assault women. I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false.”

Trump considering Stewart pardon

Donald Trump has offered a full pardon to the far-right documentary film-maker Dinesh D’Souza and talked about pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. In a flurry of controversial moves on Thursday, the president tweeted his intention to pardon D’Souza and then while aboard Air Force One on his way to Texas, brought up the other two names, noting that home cooking and decor expert Stewart “used to be one of my biggest fans”.

Last year Trump pardoned Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was known for racial profiling in his hardline immigration enforcement and the harsh treatment of prisoners, who were made to sleep outdoors and work on chain gangs.

D’Souza, best known as the 57-year-old director of 2016’s anti-Clinton documentary Hillary’s America, had pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in 2014, and  Trump has claimed he was “treated very unfairly” by the government.

D’Souza had been sentenced to five years of probation and a $30,000 fine after illegally using straw donors to contribute to the campaign of Wendy Long, a Republican Senate candidate in 2012. He initially expressed regret but later claimed he was targeted. D’Souza has a history of making wild statements on Twitter.

Solo: A Star Wars Story disappoints

Solo: A Star Wars Story has performed disappointingly on its box-office debut, recording much poorer results than the previous Star Wars standalone, Rogue One, and becoming the lowest-performing live-action Star Wars film at the US box office since Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones in 2002.

After its US release on the Memorial day weekend, Solo, starring Alden Ehrenreich, took an estimated $83.3m (£63m) for its first three days, well short of Rogue One’s $155.1m for the same period. With an extra day’s results for the “four-day weekend”, Solo has reached an estimated $103m — but that is well down on the projected take of $130m -$150m. Solo’s figures are also well behind Episode III — Revenge of the Sith’s $158.4m in 2005, which also benefited from a four-day opening weekend. Solo’s problems have been compounded by dismal international returns, having taken only $68m outside the US (including $10.1m in China). By comparison, Rogue One managed $134.9m on its international debut — and that was before its sizeable China release.

 
 
 
 
 

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15 Aug 2018 | PNS

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