It’s been a tough year for Paula Deen so far. After coming clean about her battle with Type 2 Diabetes and being slammed by Anthony Bourdain for her “dangerous cooking,” the comfort-food connoisseur has been hit with a lawsuit that claims her workplace was home to racist behavior and rampant sexual harassment, infliction of emotional distress, and assault. According to papers obtained by Radar, the plaintiff Lisa Jackson served as the general manager of Bubba’s Oyster House, co-owned by Deen and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers, for five years. She described Hiers’ behavior during that period as “physically threatening and universally humiliating.” UPDATE: Read a comment from Deen’s camp below.
Tag: Lawsuits (71-80 of 502)
James Murdoch is stepping down as executive chairman of News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper arm, the company said Wednesday. News Corp. said James, the son of 80-year-old media scion Rupert Murdoch, has relinquished his position at News International to focus on the company’s international TV business. He will remain deputy chief operating officer of News Corp.
James and his role at News International have come under scrutiny amid Britain’s expanding phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch-owned titles. The younger Murdoch has said he was unaware of any indication that hacking was rife at the company’s News of the World tabloid, a claim disputed by former colleagues. READ FULL STORY
A former Washington, D.C., police commander has threatened to file a whistleblower lawsuit after his decision to provide an escort for Charlie Sheen allegedly resulted in his demotion. According to Reuters, DCPD officer Hilton Burton claims he was transferred after admitting the kind of celebrity escorts he provided for Sheen were standard operating procedure.
Last April, Sheen arrived in D.C. for a “Violent Torpedo of Truth” booking. At the time, Burton was commander of the special operations division, which customarily provides escorts for visiting dignitaries. During the ride they provided for Sheen from Dulles International Airport to Washington’s Constitution Hall, Sheen reportedly posted pictures of the police car’s speedometer reaching 80 MPH and tweeted, “n car with Police escort in front and rear! driving like someone’s about to deliver a baby! Cop car lights #Spinning!”
The incident garnered much publicity because of the tweets and Sheen’s ongoing battle with CBS and Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre. Four months later, Burton was transferred to the DCPD’s medical services branch and demoted two ranks — he claims because Police Chief Cathy Lanier didn’t like the media attention.
Lanier responded in a statement Thursday that, after ”a review of command decisions, including several critical incidents,” and based on the recommendation of a supervisor, Burton was transferred. Burton will sue for his former rank to be restored, plus back pay, benefits, and damages.
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The founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload was released on bail Wednesday after a New Zealand judge decided Kim Dotcom lacked means to flee because his funds had been seized. “I am relieved to go home to see my family, my three little kids and my pregnant wife,” a smiling Dotcom told reporters outside court. “And I hope you understand that that is all I want to say right now.”
U.S. authorities allege Dotcom facilitated millions of illegal downloads through his company, costing movie makers and songwriters some half a billion dollars in lost copyright revenue. He was arrested Jan. 20. Dotcom was released without any monetary bail bond, which is standard in New Zealand’s district courts. Ministry of Justice officials declined to describe the conditions of his release, saying The Associated Press would need to apply to the judge for that information.
The U.S. is seeking extradition of Dotcom, 38, and three of his colleagues on racketeering charges. He confirmed he would be fighting U.S. extradition efforts.
Asked how he had been treated by the police after his high-profile arrest, Dotcom said, “Well, it felt a little bit like an audition to American Idol.”
New Zealand authorities have seized millions of dollars in investments and assets owned by Dotcom, including luxury cars and artworks. North Shore District Court Judge Nevin Dawson found that the German-born Dotcom no longer posed a significant flight risk because the court was unaware of any hidden money or assets that could help him flee the country. New Zealand courts turned down earlier bail requests, but Dawson said details about Dotcom’s assets had been unclear then.
“Mr. Dotcom’s submission that he has not concealed any assets or bank accounts has largely been borne out,” the judge found.
Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz but legally changed his name. He is a citizen of both Germany and Finland and was granted New Zealand residency in 2010. The Megaupload company is registered in Hong Kong. Dotcom’s colleagues were granted bail earlier.
Megaupload (and Megavideo) shut down by the Feds
Megaupload has been shut down. But can the government shut down the Internet?
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Gasland director Josh Fox, whose 2010 documentary investigated the potential hazards of natural gas drilling, was arrested by Capitol police after he attempted to film a hearing of the House Science Committee on Wednesday. (Watch here.) Though the hearing was broadcast on the committee’s website, Rep. Andy Harris (MD-R) objected to Fox and his camera crew being there and had them handcuffed and removed — they were later charged with unlawful entry. “This is a public hearing!” Mr. Fox shouted as he was led away, according to several news reports. “I’m being denied my First Amendment rights.”
Fox, who is filming a sequel to Gasland, was later released with a misdemeanor citation and a Feb. 15 court date. In a statement posted on IndieWire, Fox said, “I was arrested today for exercising my First Amendment rights to freedom of the press on Capitol Hill. I was not expecting to be arrested for practicing journalism. … It is my understanding that public speech is allowed to be filmed. Congress should be no exception. No one on Capitol Hill should regard themselves exempt from the Constitution…”
Lindsay Lohan’s bad luck with cars continues after a woman who claims she was struck by the actress’ sports car sued over her injuries Wednesday.
Nubia Del Carmen Preza claims she was struck by Lohan’s Maserati while walking through a West Hollywood intersection in September 2010. READ FULL STORY
A hospital executive discussed country singer Garth Brooks’ request that the facility return a $500,000 donation in an email to staff members in March 2009, according to trial testimony Thursday.
Brooks wants the Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in his hometown of Yukon to return the money, claiming in a lawsuit that hospital administrators reneged on their pledge to name a part of a medical complex after Colleen Brooks.
The Tulsa World reports that the hospital president’s March 2009 email about Brooks’ request for the money back was discussed during testimony Thursday. The email from CEO and President James Moore stated the hospital “may not deny Garth access to the money,” but could “make him work to get it.”
Moore on Thursday reiterated his earlier testimony that he never made an agreement with Brooks on naming rights in connection with the $500,000. He said the gift from Brooks was anonymous and “unrestricted,” meaning Integris could use the money at its discretion.
Defense attorney Terry Thomas showed jurors a September 2008 email from Brooks to Moore. In it, Brooks said, “… I’m not sure what our understanding is,” but “… we have to come to some agreement …”
Earlier, Moore testified that Brooks considered donating up to $15 million if the facility would rename itself after his mother. An internal document from the hospital quotes Brooks as saying a $15 million gift for naming rights was “exactly” what he had in mind.
Colleen Brooks died of cancer in 1999. A women’s center never was built.
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire apologized and agreed to cash payouts Thursday to 37 people — including a movie star, a soccer player, a top British politician and the son of a serial killer — who were harassed and phone-hacked by his tabloid press.
The four — Jude Law, Ashley Cole, John Prescott and Chris Shipman — were among three dozen victims who received financial damages from Murdoch’s British newspaper company for illegal eavesdropping and other intrusions, including email snooping.
Lawyers for the claimants said the settlements vindicated their accusation that senior Murdoch executives had long known about the scale of illegal phone hacking and had tried to cover it up. READ FULL STORY
Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper company on Thursday agreed to pay damages to 36 high-profile victims of tabloid phone hacking, including actor Jude Law, soccer player Ashley Cole, and former British deputy prime minister John Prescott.
In the 15 settlements whose financial terms were made public, amounts generally ran into the tens of thousands of pounds (dollars) — although Law received 130,000 pounds (about $200,000) to settle claims against the now-shuttered News of the World tabloid and its sister paper, The Sun. READ FULL STORY
Lindsay Lohan is facing a lien for nearly $94,000 that the federal government claims she owes in unpaid income taxes. According to the lien filed in Los Angeles County last Thursday, Lohan has an unpaid balance of $93,701.57 from the 2009 tax year.
Lohan’s rep Steve Honig responded to EW’s request for comment with the following statement: “Lindsay’s personal finances are her business and no one else’s.”
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