An ‘indictment against Scientology’
On Sept. 7, Leah Remini accused the Church of Scientology of helping actor Danny Masterson “cover up his crimes” after the actor was sentenced to 30 years in prison for two rape convictions. In a long, scathing statement on social media, Leah wrote in part that Danny’s “conviction and sentence are indictments against Scientology, its operatives, and its criminal leader, David Miscavige,” given Danny’s prominence as a Scientologist.
Leah, who left the organization years ago and has been fighting to take the group down in and out of court, went on to assert, “Scientology managed to cover up Danny’s crimes with the help of its intelligence agency, the Office of Special Affairs, top ‘church’ officials like Kirsten Caetano Pedersen and Julian Swartz, its network of media-hungry unethical attorneys, private investigators, agents, and civilian Scientologists who engaged in a conspiracy to cover up crimes of sexual violence.”
She said she was in the courtroom when Danny’s sentence was read after the court heard statements from the women he assaulted, and praised them for speaking out despite “ruthless and criminal harassment by Scientology and its agents since they came forward to law enforcement.” According to Leah, the “consequences” of turning in a fellow Scientologist like those women did are “devastating.” She closed by thanking all authorities involved.
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Shadowboxing with the Pope
Who knew Pope Francis was a big “Rocky” fan? Sylvester Stallone and his family toured the Vatican on Sept. 8, and were able to enjoy a brief meeting with the pontiff. Footage of the moment published by TMZ shows Sly introducing his wife, daughters and brother to Pope Francis before thanking him for taking time out of his day to say hello to his family. That’s when the religious leader turns the tables on the star.
“I am honored,” says the Pope. “I’m honored, too,” the actor responds. Pope Francis then tells him, “We grew up with your films!” That seems to delight Sly enough that he throws up his fists for some jokey shadowboxing as he awkwardly quips, “Ready? We box!” Pope Francis gamely plays along, throwing two left hooks at his new famous friend.
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‘Small Town’ takedown?
Fans are pretty sure Maren Morris’ new song or project is a response to fellow country singer Jason Aldean’s controversial hit, “Try That in a Small Town.” Jason’s song lyrics were widely condemned for encouraging violence. The accompanying video initially featured footage of social protests and attacks in the streets projected on the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where an 18-year-old Black man named Henry Choate was lynched in 1927. It was pulled down from CMT’s rotation and a later edition of the video seemingly edited out that footage.
On Instagram on Sept. 7, Maren shared an image of herself on the ground looking startled, followed by a clip of music playing as the camera pans in on a billboard reading, “Welcome to Our Perfect Town, From Sunrise to Sundown.” In the caption, she wrote, “I’m done filling a cup with a hole in the bottom.” Though she didn’t mention Jason by name, the stars have a long-running feud. Maren, a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, famously called out Jason’s wife in 2022 for making transphobic comments.
Jason previously denied claims his “Small Town” song and video were “pro-lynching” and opposed the Black Lives Matter movement, calling the allegations “meritless” and “dangerous.”
Tiffany Haddish says she was offered $1,200 for her first starring role in a feature film, but she never saw one cent — even though the movie aired on network TV and streaming platforms after the success of her 2017 comedy, “Girls Trip.” She shared her story in a recent video interview with the Associated Press as SAG-AFTRA, the union representing Hollywood’s actors and performers, continues to strike against the major studios.
“My very first movie I ever did that I was the star in, I was homeless while I was shooting that movie. They were supposed to pay me $1,200 to do the movie. I wasn’t in the union. It was non-union film so there was nothing I could do about it. They never paid me. They never paid me a dime. The producers gave me 10 DVDs and said, ‘Sell those. Good luck,'” the comic shared, per Variety. “Then ‘Girls Trip’ comes out in 2017,” she continued. “That movie is all over BET, VH1…this network, this streaming. It’s everywhere, that movie! I don’t get a dime.”
Since they hit the picket lines in July, actors and performers have demanded, among other things, better compensation at a time when streaming has drastically changed Hollywood’s financial system. Their demands mirror those of the Writers Guild of America, the union that represents Hollywood’s writers and is also still on strike. As of Sept. 8, negotiations between studios and both unions remained at a standstill.
New arrest details
Country star Zach Bryan shared new details about his arrest in Vinita, Oklahoma, on Sept. 7, in a video message to fans following his booking at Craig County Jail. The singer, whose self-titled album hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart days before the incident, initially apologized to his arresting officers on X, formerly Twitter, and said he’d been “out of line.” In the video post that followed, Zach said he wanted to explain what happened in the interest of being “transparent.”
“I was an idiot,” he said near the start of the lengthy clip. He went on to rehash what he said began “around three days” prior, when he was pulled over for speeding. The officer asked for his license, registration and address and Zach said he told the officer he wasn’t comfortable sharing his address. “He says, ‘If you don’t give me your address, I’m going to have to take you to jail,'” Zach continued. He was ordered out of the car and handcuffed, he said, then sent on his way with a warning.
The next day, Zach said he and his security guard were driving in separate cars through Vinita when the security guard was pulled over. Zach pulled up nearby and got out of the car. “[The officer’s] like, ‘Get back in your vehicle or I’m going to have to take you to jail.’ Like a dumba** I said, ‘Take me to f****** jail? What do you mean?'” he continued, adding that he got “lippy” and was soon handcuffed, at which point he said he kept “mouthing off,” after which he was taken to jail and booked on an obstruction of investigation charge, according to TMZ. Near the end of the video, Zach concluded, “I don’t think I’m above the law.”
‘Ball of energy’
Jamie Foxx recently told fans he’s starting to feel like himself again after a “medical complication” sidelined him earlier this year. According to actor Kristen Radford Thom, he made good on that claim on the set of his new BetMGM commercial, which she also appears in. Speaking to People in an interview published Sept. 8, Kristen said Jamie was “a ball of energy” who kept everyone on the set smiling during the shoot. “One of my favorite actors, and he was kind and humble and hilarious — all wrapped up in a ball of energy!” she gushed. “As private as he is, he was pretty open to our table about his situation without telling us exactly what happened,” she said elsewhere in the interview. “He was funny. His improv abilities are unmatched. The entire set was laughing at his jokes.”
In August, Jamie shared an update on his health on Instagram. “Finally startin to feel like myself…,” he wrote in part. “It’s been an unexpected dark journey… but I can see the light….”
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