News Briefs TV, movie and music news

TV pioneer Larry Auerbach dies at 91

On Saturday, the television industry lost another one of its giants; TV director Larry Auerbach died at age 91 in La Jolla, California, from complications of glioblastoma.

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Sony responds to Obama's comments, says it had 'no choice'

Responding to President Obama’s comments that the company made a “mistake” in pulling The Interview, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said that Sony has “not backed down” in an interview with CNN. The company also released a statement in which it said that it had “no choice” but to cancel the theatrical release after theaters decided not to screen it.

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Obama says Sony made a mistake pulling 'The Interview'

During his end-of-year press conference today, President Barack Obama said he believes that Sony made a “mistake” in halting the release of their film The Interview, after they came under attack from hackers now linked to North KoreaREAD FULL STORY

Sony's Amy Pascal meets with Al Sharpton to discuss race and Hollywood

Dealing with the fallout from hacked emails which revealed a conversation full of racist jokes about President Obama’s taste in movies, Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal met with Al Sharpton and Marc H. Morial, President of the National Urban League, on Thursday.  READ FULL STORY

Sony shares, quickly pulls new trailer for 'The Interview'

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In what we can only assume was a colossal slip-up, Sony released a new trailer for The Interview on Thursday, just one day after the company canceled its Christmas release and announced it had no plans to release it on DVD or VOD. READ FULL STORY

Investigation reveals how hackers accessed Sony's computers

Weeks after the Sony hacking attack that resulted in the leak of sensitive employee information and private email and most recently prompted the company to cancel the highly contentious The Interview, U.S. investigators are learning more about how the hackers initially gained access to the company’s computers.  READ FULL STORY

Former employees file another lawsuit against Sony

Two former Sony employees, Joshua Foster and Ella Carline Archibeque, have filed a class action lawsuit against Sony, the third lawsuit filed against the company in the past week.

According to the lawsuit obtained by EW, the plaintiffs allege that Sony “failed to adequately safeguard its current and former employees’ personal information” and as a result are seeking “injunctive relief requiring [Sony Pictures Entertainment] to implement and maintain security practices to comply with regulations designed to prevent and remedy these types of breaches.” READ FULL STORY

White House is treating Sony hack as 'serious national security matter'

At a Thursday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that the FBI and the National Security Division of the Department of Defense are continuing to investigate the recent Sony hack, which he says is “being treated as a serious national security matter.”

Although Earnest didn’t provide details about the investigation, he was clear that President Obama’s administration stands “squarely on the side of artists and other private citizens who seek to freely express their views.” READ FULL STORY

Rapper Bobby Shmurda faces gun, drug trafficking charges (Updated)

Rapper Bobby Shmurda, best known for his hit song “Hot Boy,” will face gun and drug trafficking charges in court. According to the Associated Press, Shmurda, whose real name is Ackquille Pollard, was taken into custody on Wednesday in connection with an investigation of gang-related shootings and drug trafficking in New York City.

Pollard was arrested just after leaving a recording studio in Manhattan where the police reportedly found hand guns. Chad Marshal, a fellow hip-hop artist known as Rowdy Rebel, was also arrested.

Pollard’s criminal history reportedly includes two previous arrests for gun and drug possession.

His attorney, Howard Greenberg, told AP that his client was innocent and had been falsely accused.

UPDATE: Pollard appeared before a judge on Thursday, where The Wall Street Journal reports that he was described as “the driving force behind a drug-dealing operation and deadly gunfights.” Pollard’s arrest came at the same time as 14 others, all of whom are allegedly part of a street gang known as GS9, which operates out of Brooklyn. Prosecutors claimed the gang sold drugs—mostly crack cocaine—and then used the money from the sales to buy guns used in 24 shootings, three of which were homicides.

On Thursday, Pollard’s bail was set at $2 million. As of noon on Friday, Pollard had not yet posted bail.

Greenberg told EW, “The indictment is a bunch of bullshit,” before citing its specific weaknesses, such as how counts 5 through 22 recount an open case “where the defendant has a complete defense.”

More generally, Greenberg said: “The government hates rap and it hates rappers, so they target a rapper. Then they construct a narrative around him and then enter into denial and rationalization in order to support the narrative. I’m not going to let them crucify my guys. They recruit guiltless and loveless people, tell them truth is a meaningless concept, and induce them to say what they want to say about a brother who’s on his way up. These people for the most part are jealous. My guy’s rich, he’s busy, he’s on tour. He doesn’t have time for this.”

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