Russell Simmons and Brett Ratner accused of conspiring to commit sexual assault

A new article published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday accuses hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and film director Brett Ratner of conspiring to engage in sexual misconduct.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Simmons and Ratner had been investigated for an alleged sexual battery incident in 2001. The report came on the heels of a separate LA Times article in which six women — including actresses Olivia Munn, Natasha Henstridge, and Jaime Ray Newman — accused Ratner of sexual misconduct.

Today’s article in the Times specifically traces the relationship between Simmons and his one-time protégé Ratner. Simmons is best known as the co-founder of Def Jam Records, responsible for establishing the careers of Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J, among others. Ratner got his start working for Simmons as a music video producer in the early 1990’s. It was during this time, according to the Times, that the two men conspired to commit sexual misconduct.

One such incident took place in 1991 involving Keri Claussen Khaligh, then a 17-year-old fashion model. Khaligh said Simmons forced her to have oral and sexual intercourse as Ratner “just sat there and watched.”

“I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she recalled. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”

Khaligh told the Times she ran into Simmons in Los Angeles last year. She said he “poured his heart out in a really touching, remorseful apology” for the incident. Last month, she again spoke to him, this time in the wake of the Times’ article about Ratner. When she told him she was considering sharing her story and urged him to disclose his transgressions, she said Simmons again apologized and mentioned that he was the father of two children. When she asked specifically about a police investigation into his and Ratner’s alleged sexual battery, Simmons texted her saying the claims were “untrue.” He said the woman who filed the report “has made a fortune on this racket” and added, “I’m really in very scary space if u have time.”

When she reached out to Ratner, “he listened and he un-defensively acknowledged the truth of what had happened,” Khalighi recalled. “He said he was young and stupid and blinded by Russell’s sway over him.”

In a statement provided to the Times, Simmons said his relationship with Khaligh was consensual. “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation,” he said. His attorney, Brad D. Rose, said Simmons apologized to Khaligh in the “context for the embarrassment and upheaval the weekend caused her” related to her “infidelity.”

Meanwhile, through his attorney, Ratner said he had “no recollection” of Khalighi asking him for help.

Over the course of its investigation, the Times found four other women who say they were victims of Ratner’s sexual misconduct. One woman named Tanya Reid was an 18-year-old virgin when Ratner allegedly offered her a role in a music video in exchange for sexual favors. An actress named Jaymee Ong says she was invited to a private house party at Ratner’s Beverly Hills home. During the party, Ratner sought sex from Ong. When she refused, he masturbated and then ejaculated in front of her, she alleged. At another one of Ratner’s house parties, a woman named Brittny McCarthy said director James Toback made unwanted sexual advances. Similar to the hundreds of other women who have accused Toback of sexual misconduct, McCarthy specifically recalls an incident in which Toback humped her leg until he ejaculated.

You can read the full article here.

from Consequence of Sound


Justice League stumbles out of the gate with disappointing opening box office

Early box office numbers are in for Justice League, and it appears the $300 million estimated production that was ten years in the making is headed for a less than stellar opening weekend. The superhero ensemble film brought in $38.8M on Friday (including solid $13M Thursday) and $33M on Sunday, a 15% drop. The expectation is that Justice League declines 27% today to around $24.1M. Most films would be pretty pleased with a $96 million opening, but Justice League was intended to be the DC Universe’s flagship, and launch solo films for new characters like The Flash and Aquaman, so expectations were high. To put it into perspective, the much-maligned Batman v. Superman opening total was $166 million, which is 44% higher.

No doubt cutting into Justice League’s box office is the success of Thor: Ragnarok, which clocked in with a three-day total of $20.3M. There is also the fact Justice League’s Rotten Tomatoes’ score was delayed until the just before the film’s release, which many in the press and public suspected was a move forced by Warner Bros. In actuality, the move was Rotten Tomatoes’ idea new as a part of the site’s new Siskel & Ebert-esque Facebook show See It/Skip It, in which they exclusively reveal a wide release’s RT score before it hits their website.

Producers are also hoping that the female moviegoers who helped make Wonder Woman such a smash will help the film’s numbers in the coming weeks, just as they did with Patty Jenkins smash hit.

Justice League’s production was a chaotic one, as both original director Zack Snyder stepped down after the tragic passing of his daughter; as well Junkie XL being replaced being replaced by Danny Elfman as the film’s composer. You can revisit Justice League’s four-minute trialer that was unvieled at Comic Con early this year below.

from Consequence of Sound

Weekend Link Love — Edition 478

weekend_linklove in-lineResearch of the Week

Cold water plunges work better than cryotherapy.

In Kenya, kids who are habitually barefoot have healthier feet and lower rates of lower limb injury than habitually shod kids.

Epileptic babies who go keto get better gut biomes.                         .

Yoga pairs well with a low-FODMAP diet against IBS.

Ancient humans really liked their rice.

Climate change coincided with the shift to agriculture in Europe.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 195: Chris Kresser: I chat with Chris Kresser about his new book on the modern health epidemic facing the world today: chronic disease. Chris has some great ideas for fighting it.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

How to use L-serine to phase shift your circadian rhythm.

If you have treatment-resistant depression, try folate.

Media, Schmedia

Another 30 million customers, coming right up!

A digital pill that tracks when you take it.

Everything Else

Not even zombie Lennon performing “Imagine” on repeat could save us if the entire world went vegan.

In the earliest images of dogs yet discovered, they’re wearing leashes.

Research scientists are trying to figure out how a false study managed to get 400 citations.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Giveaway I’m excited to, well, give away: The Primal Kitchen® Instant Pot giveaway. Go through Facebook or Instagram for your chance to win.

I had a great time talking keto, oils, and Ultimate with the Thrive Market folks (and answering reader questions) this week on Facebook Live.

I’m sure they’ve finally nailed manmade fats this time: Bring on the Creamelt 600 LS!

I bought a whole case of these to hand out to friends and family for the big day: Stovetop Stuffing elastic-waist pants.

 It bears repeating: Sleep is still really, really important for brain health.

Maybe poor bioavailability is the point: Curcumin improves gut barrier function.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Nov 19– Nov 25)

Comment of the Week

One day I decided to have a feast of various meats cooked on a shovel head over the fire and when I got full I stopped cooking some chicken that was just cooked on the outside. It ended up on the ground somehow; I think I accidentally knocked over the shovel head after leaving it with the chicken on it sitting on a couple tree branches. My camp was frequented by wildlife looking for food (for example I pretty much had an ongoing war with a family of raccoons – ended up finding one trapped in a dumpster and taking advantage of its helplessness to hit it with some rocks after I got sick of them trying to bluff me out of my camp, sneak up on me, surround me, steal my food etc.) and a chipmunk came over to the chicken and started eating it, clawing through the outside with both “hands” and going for the raw stuff underneath.

– Glad to have you back, Animanarchy.

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The post Weekend Link Love — Edition 478 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark’s Daily Apple

She’s Gotta Have It and So Do We

The following preview takes the first three episodes of the new series into account. Some spoilers contained. 

“I’m not a freak, I’m not a sex addict, and I’m damn sure nobody’s property,” declares Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) near the end of the first episode of Netflix’s new series She’s Gotta Have It. It largely echoes the message taken away from Spike Lee’s 1986 debut film of the same name, one that revolutionized independent film, Black cinema, and how movies address matters of sexuality. For a woman, particularly one of color, to speak openly about her sexual desires and break with social norms (keeping multiple partners) on screen was liberating, shocking, or threatening depending upon whom you asked back in the mid-’80s. And that’s one of the main reservations modern audiences might legitimately bring to this straight-to-streaming reboot: how often does taboo subject matter from three decades ago still seem highly relevant? However, after Nola makes the above declaration, she soon asserts what can be considered the character’s 2017 addendum: “And my name definitely ain’t no motherfuckin’ black bitch.” Those are the words of the man who sexually assaults her late in the first episode, and her denunciation of them makes it clear that Lee (credited as creator, director, and producer) and his team are ready to stir up fresh and vital conversations for these troubled times.

The first episode ensures that those unfamiliar with Lee’s original won’t even need to queue it up on Netflix. Consider it an abridged version of the film, setting up the dynamics between Nola and the very different lovers in her life: the steady Jaime (Lyriq Bent), the goofball Mars (Anthony Ramos), and the ridiculously self-absorbed Greer (Cleo Anthony). As in the original, all offer Nola something different she wants in a man while each desperately wants to believe he alone can offer what she truly needs. Wise proves absolutely irresistible as the modern Nola — confident, sharp, and sexy but with realistic layers of confusion and vulnerability as she tries to sort out who she is as a woman, artist, and friend — and the updated versions of her three fellas — more extreme in their defining characteristics than in the original — begin feeling more natural by the second episode. More difficult for some audiences will be the “millennial” reboot. Nearly everything, especially the humor, gets less subtle treatment, and while it’s important to see the changes to Fort Greene, cool to discover that this Nola is a card-carrying cinephile, and stomachable that Mars works in a Brooklyn coffee/bike-repair shop called Joey Chainz, some are going to undeniably cringe at already-dated hashtag, hipster, and selfie jokes. Luckily, Greer can still outfold any Abercrombie & Fitch employee.

Up until the five-minute warning of the opening episode, Lee lets you believe the first installment (and, God forbid, the series) might offer little more than an updated rehash of a celebrated property. Hell, we can count on two hands (maybe one) the number of great films that have translated even remotely well to a television format (even one that’s binge-able), so while we can usually count on Lee to be interesting, if not revelatory, there was legit reason to doubt She’s Gotta Have It could work three decades later in a different medium. But then the series really begins and in such a sobering way that you almost feel bad having ever doubted Lee. On her way home at night from her girlfriend Clorinda’s, Nola gets catcalled and then grabbed by a stranger on the street. She’s able to fight him off and get away, but it’s an encounter that she struggles to process moving forward. While Nola the radical artist pulls a Banksy and secretly plasters the neighborhood with a series of powerful, anti-catcalling images (artwork that’ll later be defaced with slurs like “cunt” and “slut” spray painted on it), Nola the person finds herself truly shaken by the event, struggling to reclaim normalcy, regain her confidence, or figure out how she wants to inform the men in her life about the incident.

If the early parts of this season are any indication, one of the merits of Lee’s reboot will be that it takes the time and compassion necessary to seriously address what women (regardless of color) sadly endure in our society on a regular basis. While shows might try to wrap up the topic of sexual assault in one neat and tidy episode, Nola’s encounter clearly will be a through line that the series returns to because that type of experience would be one that a victim must return to in order to move beyond. Lee also sheds light on more nuanced examples of how men, even trusted ones, can be part of the problem for modern women. In the third episode, Nola, on the advice of her therapist, buys a LBD (little black dress) that allows her to feel confident again as a sexual person, and each of three caring men in her life unintentionally sets back her recovery: Jaime can’t handle her dressing that way at a fancy restaurant, Mars blames an incident at a rap show on her sexy appearance, and Greer sees the outfit as a license to pose and control her like one of his models. As more allegations about Hollywood sexual predators surface each day and we men take to social media platforms and other pulpits to denounce those behaviors and separate ourselves from the scum of our gender, an episode like this one causes even us decent dudes to have to reflect on how our words and actions might unknowingly be hurting the very women we love and aim to bolster.

spike lee netflix Shes Gotta Have It and So Do We

“She’s juggling a lot: men, ambitions, emotions,” Dr. Jamison, Nola’s therapist, tells the crew (as in the original, a project is supposedly being filmed to better understand Nola and her situation), and that’s perhaps the largest takeaway for audiences of this reboot. Black women like Nola are still juggling questions of self and sexuality 30 years on, but it’s high time to acknowledge all the other pins cycling through the air at the same time. In only three episodes, Lee and his team of writers raise issues of sexual freedom, sexual violence, misogyny in many forms, gentrification, Black Lives Matter, gender and racial stereotypes, body image issues, and even SWB (shopping while black). Yes, the series will return to its roots and no doubt continue to find its leading lady struggling to juggle three men at once (as they deal with being one-third of her love life), but there’s just so much more going on for this Nola. At a time when racial tensions are intensifying and all of us are reflecting on how our sisters of all colors (or anyone else who might find themselves on the vulnerable side of a power dynamic) are treated in American society, a filmmaker like Lee, who doesn’t skirt difficult dialogues for comfortable ones, and a show like She’s Gotta Have It remains painfully needed.

from Consequence of Sound

Chance the Rapper hosts SNL: Watch the sketches

When Chance the Rapper was first announced as the host of tonight’s episode of Saturday Night Live, it seemed like an opportunity to build on his starring role in a Kit-Kat commercial and his portrayal of Rev. Run in an SNL parody of Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis”. That turned out to be the case, as he starred in a series of skits which took advantage of his irresistible charm while also leaning on his musical talents.

In the funniest skit of the night, Chance appealed for Barack Obama to come back in a catchy 90s R&B group parody.

During the opening monologue, Chance debuted an original song called “Mariah Carey of Thanksgiving” after realizing he doesn’t actually have the money he pledged to Chicago public schools.

Other skits featured Chance skewering Batman and playing Steve Harvey’s illegitimate son. Check out all the sketches below.

from Consequence of Sound

Eminem performs “Walk on Water” on Saturday Night Live: Watch

Eminem made his return to Saturday Night Live tonight, performing an eight-minute medley comprised of his just-released single “Walk on Water” plus fan favorites “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie”.

Just like last weekend’s debut performance of “Walk on Water” at the 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards, Eminem was accompanied by Skylar Grey on the piano. The singer-songwriter stood in for Beyoncé on “Walk on Water” and Rihanna on “Love the Way You Lie”, a logical choice since she wrote the hooks on both songs. Watch it above.

“Walk on Water” is the first single released in advance of Eminem’s upcoming album Revival.

from Consequence of Sound

Dead and Company perform “Uncle John’s Band” on Colbert : Watch

Dead and Company completed their two-night residency on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Friday night with a performance of the Grateful Dead classic, “Uncle John’s Band”.

Once again, John Mayer’s easy chemistry with his bandmates demonstrated why he was chosen to fill out the supergroup. The ensemble features original Dead members Bob WeirMickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann alongside former Allman Brother Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. Replay the performance above.

(Read: Grateful Dead in 10 Songs)

On Thursday night, Dead and Company performed “Jack Straw” during their return to late night. The band’s residency was in promotion of Dead and Company’s East Coast tour. Check out the full itinerary here.

from Consequence of Sound

New Netflix survey reveals Americans like streaming content on the toilet

It’s hard to remember how we got through long commutes and prolonged bathroom spells before smartphones, which now allow us the luxury of browsing social media, Googling what’s wrong with you, and, apparently, streaming Netflix content. A new study from the streaming juggernaut, as reported by The New York Times, shows that two-thirds of Americans stream movies and TV shows out in the wild.

The poll encompassed roughly 1,600 Americans of varying ages, though it all sought data on thousands of other viewers from across the globe. There’s some fun takeaways, such as that Mexicans, Columbians, and Chileans are the most voracious binge watchers. Germans, meanwhile, are the “least likely to say they’ve cried in public while watching a show. If that was something you were curious about.

Much of the data included in the Times, however, centers around American viewing habits. Apparently, 12 percent of your friends and family are prone to watching streaming content on the can, while 37 percent say they’ve done it at work. Airplanes, buses, and trains are also popular viewing spots, with each ranging between 30 and 45 percent of users. Amusingly, 12 percent of that 1,600 admitted to missing a public transit stop due to “Ozymandias” or some such episode of some such show.

One wonders what those numbers would like it if it were only comprised of millennials. That’s not a slam, but it’s understood that the younger generation is savvier in both navigating streaming options and knowing the best ways to close that window when the boss comes a’knockin’. We’re also a generation that struggles with a lack of stimuli, a natural consequence of spending our entire lives staring into glowing rectangles.

“Disruption is occurring across the board,” Lee Rainie, the director of internet and technology research at Pew, told the Times. “It’s in businesses, it’s in social norms, it’s in the boundaries or lack of boundaries between public and private spaces.”

One wonders what that kind of “disruption” will look like in terms of the streaming world’s strategy. Will the fact that people tend to watch TV shows and movies in small bursts on planes, trains, and automobiles affect the way content is created? One can imagine that the web series and Adult Swim model of 15-minute episodes could very well begin permeating the streaming-verse.

from Consequence of Sound

Morrissey had some dumb shit to say in defense of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein

Most people agree that the ongoing purge of predators is a painful but necessary step in tackling sexual misconduct in our society. However, in a new interview with Germany’s Spiegel Online, Morrissey came out in defense of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, worrying that they’re being caught up in a sort-of witch hunt.  (Editor’s Note: Morrissey’s comments were translated from German to English)

“Anyone who has ever said to someone else, “I like you,” is suddenly being charged with sexual harassment. You have to put these things in the right relations. If I can not tell anyone that I like him, how should he ever know?” Morrissey griped in response to a question the ongoing #MeToo campaign.

“Of course, there are extreme cases, rape is disgusting, every physical attack is repulsive. But we have to see it in relative terms,” he added. “Otherwise, every person on this planet is guilty. We can not permanently decide from above what we are allowed to do and what we can not do. Because then we are all trapped. Some people are very awkward when it comes to romance anyway. They do not know what to do and then their behavior is aggressive.”

He was then asked specifically about Kevin Spacey, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old boy. In Morrissey’s opinion, the bigger crime falls on the boy and his parents.

“[I] was wondering where the boy’s parents were. One wonders if the boy did not know what could happen. I do not know about you, but I’ve never been in situations like this in my youth. Never. I always knew what could happen. When you are in somebody’s bedroom, you have to be aware of where that can lead to. That’s why it does not sound very credible to me. It seems to me Spacey has been unnecessarily attacked.”

Similarly, he believes Weinstein’s multitude of accusers are at fault because “they play[ed] along.”

“People know exactly what happens. And they play along. Afterward, they feel embarrassed, or they do not like it. And then they turn it around and say: ‘I was attacked, I was surprised, I was dragged into the room.’ But if everything had gone well and had it given them a great career, they would not talk about it. I hate rape. I hate attacks. I hate sexual situations that are forced on someone. But in many cases, one looks at the circumstances and thinks that the person referred to as a victim is merely disappointed. Throughout the history of music and rock ‘n’ roll there have been musicians who have slept with their groupies. If you go through history, almost everyone is guilty of sleeping with minors.” While that last point is certainly true, not really sure how that justifies the behavior of men of today — or is reason to victim-shame their accusers.

So, yeah, fuck Morrissey.

from Consequence of Sound

Dave Grohl pays tribute to AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, who inspired him to start a band

Earlier today, AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young died at the age of 64. In a tribute posted to Foo Fighters’ Facebook page, frontman Dave Grohl revealed how AC/DC’s 1978 movie Let There Be Rock “changed my life” and thanked Young for inspiring him to start a band.

“The film… is everything that live and roll should be. Sweaty. Loose. Loud. A relentless performance from the perfect band. It was the first time I lost control to music. The first time I wanted to be in a band. I didn’t wanted to play my guitar anymore. I wanted to smash it,” Grohl wrote.

“Thank you, Malcolm for the songs, and the feel, and the cool, and the years of losing control to rock and roll,” Grohl added. “I will do just that tonight, for you.”

from Consequence of Sound