Archive for the ‘Celebrity Crime’ Category
BY CAITLIN KEATING @caitkeating 06/03/2015 AT 10:45 PM EDT
For a brief but emotional moment, Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard spoke out on Wednesday night about the allegations that their brother, Josh, had molested five underage girls as a teen.
In an interview with Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly, the sisters identified themselves as two of of the girls Josh had molested, and admitted they were overwhelmed when they learned that their story had gone national.
“We are victims, they can’t do this to us,” Jill, 24, said of the attention focused on her and her family as she wiped tears from her eyes.
Her younger sister, Jessa, 22, added: “The system that was set up to protect kids, both those who make stupid mistakes or have problems like this in their life and the ones that are affected by those choices. It’s greatly failed.”
While Jessa admitted that what their brother did was “very wrong,” she wanted to speak up against people who are calling Josh a child molester, pedophile or rapist. “I’m like, that is so overboard and a lie really,” she said. “I mean, people get mad at me for saying that but I can say this because I was one of the victims.”
The sisters will be speaking more in a one-hour special of The Kelly File airing Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Fox News.
(CNN)Erin Stoffel shuffled her 7-year-old son, Ezra, and 5-year-old daughter, Selah, off a pedestrian bridge in Menasha, Wisconsin, after a gunman randomly opened fire, killing her husband and her 11-year-old daughter.
She did this while taking three bullets.
“You can never underestimate the power of a mother to protect her children. To have three gunshot wounds and be able to get off that bridge and save two of her children is incredible to think about,” Dr. Ray Georgen at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah said Monday.
“It’s an amazing story of heroism on her part and certainly of her children.”
But Stoffel’s quick actions weren’t enough to save her daughter Olivia and her husband, Johnathon, 33. Adam Bentdahl, 31, an unrelated Appleton man, also died.
Police say Sergio Valencia Del Toro, 27, opened fire near the middle of the Trestle Trail Bridge on Sunday evening after an argument with his ex-fiancée, CNN affiliate WLUK reported. He then turned the gun on himself, taking his own life, police said.
The gunman didn’t know any of his victims, authorities said.
Chaos on the bridge
Even with the loss of life, Erin and Ezra Stoffel are being called heroes. The toll could have been higher.
Stoffel sent Ezra to get help amid the gunfire.
“Despite being shot multiple times, Ms. Stoffel was able to … (instruct) her young son to go run for assistance,” said Menasha police Chief Tim Styka. “Absolutely amazing.”
Barry Busby, the Winnebago County coroner, also praised her quick thinking.
“True heroes going into an act of fire, where they don’t know what’s out there on this unprotected bridge, but trying to save other people,” Busby said. “And I think their fast response helped save a lot of people.”
Georgen said the early stages of Stoffel’s recovery are going well. The medical center lists her condition as critical.
A gofundme page set up to help the family after the shooting had raised almost $75,000 by Tuesday morning.
CNN’s Tony Marco and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.
A.H’s arrogance during the trial was obvious to all. In the opinion of most, he is a narcissist who keeps his swagger by being a Master manipulator and by compartmentalizing.
He knows how to use his charm to get whatever he wants, and will never take responsibility for what he’s done. He creates his own reality (calls Jail a training camp)- Texbook.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who oversaw the jail where Aaron Hernandez was housed during his trial, shares insights into his time behind bars.
This article was originally posted on The Telegraph ( link below)
By Erin Conway-Smith, Johannesburg
Oscar Pistorius has been given new privileges in prison, including the right to wear jewellery, own a radio and have physical contact with visitors, as the double amputee sprinter serves a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.
Pistorius is said to have settled into life at Pretoria’s maximum security Kgosi Mampuru II prison, where he could serve just 10 months before being released to house arrest.
In October, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide in the death of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, after mistaking her for an intruder and firing four bullets through a lavatory door.
Don Lemon’s special, “The Cosby Show: A Legend Under Fire,” airs on CNN tonight at 9 ET.
(CNN) — It’s as if the other Bill Cosby never existed.
You remember the other Bill Cosby. For a long time, he was the only Bill Cosby.
He was a groundbreaking comedian, famed for his shaggy-dog storytelling on routines such as “Noah” and “To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With.” He worked clean, even when other comedians went blue.
He was “television’s Jackie Robinson,” the first African-American to star in a dramatic role on TV, and he earned three Emmys for his work on “I Spy,” the series on which he broke the barrier.
Cosby accuser: ‘I want him to suffer’
He was a promoter of education and values through “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” (“if you’re not careful, you may learn something”) and his philanthropy. He was an amusing, trusted pitchman, known for Jell-O and Coca-Cola commercials. He was a beloved TV father, the patriarch of “The Cosby Show.”
He was wealthy; he was generous; he was admired.
Who is Bill Cosby now?
In recent weeks, the news has provided a steady drip-drip-drip of rape accusations against the 77-year-old comedian. At least 20 women have spoken out to various media outlets, accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct. Many of the accusations date back decades.
Bill Cosby facing litany of allegations
Cosby has lost concert bookings and had a proposed NBC show scuttled and a concert movie premiere postponed. TV Land yanked the “Cosby Show” reruns from its lineup. He’s cut ties with his beloved Temple University, where he served on the board. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was defaced. Even the Navy revoked an honorary title granted Cosby in 2011.
It should be noted that Cosby has never faced a judge or jury, let alone been convicted, over the allegations. His camp has repeatedly and vigorously denied them.
It defies common sense that “so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years,” said Cosby’s attorney, Martin D. Singer, in a written statement sent to CNN.
But it’s clear that many people have already tried Cosby in their minds.
“The court of public opinion has cost him all of his projects,” said Michael Bilello, who heads Centurion Strategies, a PR and crisis-management shop. “His inactions, his mishandling of PR, his legal maneuvering — those are characteristics you do not want to display, especially when you’re accused of rape.”
The suddenness of Cosby’s tumble reminds Bilello of the downfall of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. For 50 years, Paterno was venerated as “Joe Pa,” a figure of such rectitude and honor that the college built a monument to him. Then, as the sexual abuse charges against his former assistant Jerry Sandusky accumulated, Paterno was accused of a cover-up and fired. He died two months later. His statue was later removed from campus.
“Cosby’s looking at the same sentence,” Bilello said. “He’s looking at this overshadowing everything he’s done simply because there is guilt by assumption.”
‘This story keeps just getting told’
Cosby is far from the first celebrity to be lowered, fairly or unfairly, from his pedestal.
In the 1920s, silent film star Fatty Arbuckle — one of the most influential comedians of his day, a mentor to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton — was accused of rape and manslaughter in the case of an actress, Virginia Rappe, who had attended a party for Arbuckle.
The case was tried three times. The first two trials ended in hung juries. Arbuckle, then 35, was acquitted in the third — the jury even gave him a written apology — but the damage was done: His reputation was shattered, his films were temporarily banned, and he had to take a pseudonym to find work. He died while attempting a comeback in the early ’30s.
More recently, there is the case of Michael Jackson. In 2003, the singer was accused of child molestation, conspiracy and alcohol charges. Eighteen months later, a jury exonerated him. However, despite the court’s decision, allegations of sexual abuse followed Jackson right up to his death in 2009.
What makes the Cosby situation even more challenging is that there has been no day in court, says Syracuse popular culture professor Robert Thompson.
“There was a trial (in Michael Jackson’s case). Evidence was presented; process was gone through,” he said. “Here, this story keeps just getting told, and it keeps getting told with very little new information.”
In addition, Cosby is more than an entertainer, Thompson observes. He’s also been an educator and a moralist, using his fame to promote schooling and propriety.
In that respect, says Thompson, the fall of Cosby can be compared to that of evangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, who were brought down by scandals in the late 1980s. Swaggart was defrocked by his denomination; Bakker was convicted of fraud and served time. Though both resumed ministries, neither has the power or following they did 30 years ago.
‘What do you say?’
However, those events all predated the social media age, which has kept Cosby’s situation on the front page when it conceivably could have vanished down the memory hole. A handful of accusers first went public almost 10 years ago, in 2005, after Cosby was named by a Temple University staffer, Andrea Constand, in a civil suit.
But it was a viral video by comedian Hannibal Buress that brought the Cosby story out of the shadows, and it was an attempt at creating memes — proposed by Cosby’s own Twitter account — that made it widespread.
It’s shaken up many who normally would be defending a man who they greatly respect. In fact, with a handful of exceptions — notably Jill Scott and Ben Vereen — Cosby has received little support among entertainers, though many of them are reserving judgment.
“I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do,” Chris Rock told New York magazine. “I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin (Williams), we lost Joan (Rivers), and we kind of lost Cosby.”
Cedric the Entertainer agreed. In an “Entertainment Tonight” interview on the red carpet for Rock’s movie “Top Five,” he expressed both admiration and sadness.
“We all grew up on him, and we know and respect him, not just as a comedian but for the things that he’s done outside of comedy, with the colleges and giving back (to the community) and spending his money where his mouth is,” he said. “But if the allegations have any truth to them, you want the truth to come out. You want justification for all the people. That’s all you can really say. It’s an unfortunate scenario.”
Jerry Seinfeld was brief.
“It’s sad and incomprehensible,” he said.
At least one comedy celebrity has become notably anti-Cosby. Judd Apatow, the writer and director of such films as “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” attacked Cosby on his Twitter feed.
“I have numerous personal connections to this situation and the victims. I think he is a coward and clearly a sociopath,” Apatow wrote November 26.
It’s shaken up some journalists too, prompting many to offer mea culpas for not asking Cosby about the allegations.
Author Mark Whitaker, a former CNN managing editor who wrote a recent biography of Cosby, apologized for not including the accusations in his book. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote a long piece grappling with Cosby’s conservatism in 2008, recently wrote that he should have included more than “a brief and limp mention” of the allegations. And The New York Times’ David Carr wrote that he should have asked Cosby about the accusations when interviewing him for an in-flight magazine.
Carr believes there’s no repairing the damage to Cosby’s reputation.
“For decades, entertainers have been able to maintain custody of their image, regardless of their conduct,” he concluded. “Those days are history. It doesn’t really matter now what the courts or the press do or decide. When enough evidence and pushback rears into view, a new apparatus takes over, one that is viral, relentless and not going to forgive or forget.”
‘He has to engage the public’
Is there any way for Cosby to restore his name?
Except for a short exchange with a South Florida publication, he has been silent on the matter — literally so, in the case of a response to NPR’s Scott Simon.
Bilello believes that Cosby is beyond the standard media apology tour, usually capped by a visit to Oprah Winfrey’s couch. Cosby has been hurt by social media, he says, and only social media will save him.
“If he wants to have his final chapter written the way he wants to be recalled, he has to engage the public,” he said. “Perhaps something social media-based, an open forum for maybe two hours, taking all questions — and having a moderator who’s not a celebrity.” A Reddit AMA, say, or a live chat.
On the other hand, 15 Minutes Public Relations’ Howard Bragman says Cosby should just stay quiet.
“He should shut the f*** up!” Bragman told TheWrap. “He should have his lawyers shut the f*** up and his PR people shut the f*** up.”
Cosby does run the risk of becoming a sad punchline, says Thompson. He’s seen it happen. When he shows “Roots” in his television history classes, his students burst out laughing when O.J. Simpson enters the picture.
“The entire mode of the show can’t proceed,” he said. “O.J. completely trumps everything else that’s been happening in the episode.”
Either way, says Thompson, Cosby is already fading into history. His college students know the comedian as “a grumpy guy” more familiar from parodies than from his actual work. After all, Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the fatherly Cosby of “The Cosby Show,” left the air in 1992 — more than two decades ago.
“Talk to a 20-year-old (about Cosby), and they think, ‘Oh, that’s really creepy, that old guy was hitting on women,’ but they don’t feel about Cliff Huxtable the way people a little older do,” he says.
Cosby doesn’t have to do anything, of course. For civil claims, the statute of limitations has expired for many of the claims about him, though it varies from state to state, observes Cornell law professor Cynthia G. Bowman. The statute of limitations also varies widely for criminal claims, she adds, but it would be “extremely difficult to reconstruct events,” never mind prove anything so many decades later.
Cosby also remains one of America’s wealthiest entertainers. He can return quietly to private life and enjoy the rest of his days in seclusion, if that’s what he desires. He has about two dozen concert appearances still scheduled, but after a May date in Atlanta, there’s nothing on his calendar.
Still, without a final word, Cosby goes from perceived hero to Greek-level tragedy. His circumstance brings to mind “The Natural’s” Roy Hobbs, the exalted fictional baseball star who, in Bernard Malamud’s novel, is left in ruins.
As the book ends, Hobbs buys a newspaper and reads of his demise.
“And there was also a statement by the baseball commissioner. ‘If this alleged report is true, that is the last of Roy Hobbs in organized baseball. He will be excluded from the game and all his records forever destroyed.’
“Roy handed the paper back to the kid.
” ‘Say it ain’t true, Roy.’
“When Roy looked into the boy’s eyes he wanted to say it wasn’t but couldn’t, and he lifted his hands to his face and wept many bitter tears.”
Like most Americans, I spent the 60s, 70s, and part of the 80s in awe of Bill Cosby and his total domination of popular culture. He was the first African American to star in a dramatic television series, I Spy, a show my family in Buffalo, New York, always watched. Cosby cut a striking figure on-screen then. He was funny, smart, and even elegant—all those wonderful things many white Americans didn’t associate with people of color. In fact, as I thought of going public with what follows, a voice in my head kept whispering, “Black men have enough enemies out there already, they certainly don’t need someone like you, an African American with a familiar face and a famous name, fanning the flames.”
Imagine my joy in the mid-80s when an agent called to say Bill Cosby wanted me to audition for a role on the The Cosby Show. Cosby played an obstetrician, and he sometimes used models to portray pregnant women sitting in his office waiting room. It was a small part with one or two speaking lines at most, but I wanted in.
I was in the midst of an ugly custody battle for my only child. I needed a big break badly and appearing on The Cosby Show seemed like an excellent way of getting Hollywood’s attention. I’d appeared in one or two movies already, but my phone wasn’t exactly ringing off the hook with acting jobs.
Cosby’s handlers invited me to a taping of the show so I could get the lay of the land and an idea of what my role required. After the taping I met all the cast and then met with Cosby in his office to talk a bit about the hell I’d been through in my marriage. He appeared concerned and then asked what I wanted from my career going forward. He seemed genuinely interested in guiding me to the next level. I was on cloud nine.
I brought my daughter to the next taping I attended. Afterward, Cosby asked if I could meet him at his home that weekend to read for the part. My ex-husband had primary custody of my daughter at the time, and I usually spent my weekends with her. Cosby suggested I bring her along, which really reeled me in. He was the Jell-O Pudding man; like most kids, my daughter loved him. When my daughter and I visited Cosby’s New York brownstone, his staff served us a delicious brunch. Then he gave us a tour of the exceptional multi-level home.
Looking back, that first invite from Cosby to his home seems like part of a perfectly laid out plan, a way to make me feel secure with him at all times. It worked like a charm. Cosby suggested I come back to his house a few days later to read for the part. I agreed, and one late afternoon the following week I returned. His staff served a light dinner and Bill and I talked more about my plans for the future.
After the meal, we walked upstairs to a huge living area of his home that featured a massive bar. A huge brass espresso contraption took up half the counter. At the time, it seemed rare for someone to have such a machine in his home for personal use.
Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes, so he suggested that I pretend to be drunk. (When did a pregnant woman ever appear drunk on The Cosby Show? Probably never, but I went with it.)
As I readied myself to be the best drunk I could be, he offered me a cappuccino from the espresso machine. I told him I didn’t drink coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn’t let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model on the market and promised I’d never tasted a cappuccino quite like this one.
It’s nuts, I know, but it felt oddly inappropriate arguing with Bill Cosby so I took a few sips of the coffee just to appease him.
Now let me explain this: I was a top model during the 70s, a period when drugs flowed at parties and photo shoots like bottled water at a health spa. I’d had my fun and experimented with my fair share of mood enhancers. I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I’d been drugged—and drugged good.
BY DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STARBill Cosby in 1978.
[Editor’s Note: Cosby’s attorneys did not respond to Vanity Fair’s requests for comment.]
My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop. Cosby motioned for me to come over to him as though we were really about to act out the scene. He put his hands around my waist, and I managed to put my hand on his shoulder in order to steady myself.
As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment.
“You are a motherfucker aren’t you?”
That’s the exact question I yelled at him as he stood there holding me, expecting me to bend to his will. I rapidly called him several more “motherfuckers.” By the fifth, I could tell that I was really pissing him off. At one point he dropped his hands from my waist and just stood there looking at me like I’d lost my mind.
What happened next is somewhat cloudy for me because the drug was in fuller play by that time. I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all 110 pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs.
It was still late afternoon and the sun hadn’t completely gone down yet. When we reached the front door, he pulled me outside of the brownstone and then, with his hand still tightly clenched around my arm, stood in the middle of the street waving down taxis.
When one stopped, Cosby opened the door, shoved me into it and slammed the door behind me without ever saying a word. I somehow managed to tell the driver my address and before blacking out, I looked at the cabbie and asked, as if he knew: “Did I really just call Bill Cosby ‘a motherfucker’?”
Why that was even a concern of mine after what I’d just been through is still a mystery to me? I think my mind refused to process it.
The next day I woke up in my own bed after falling into a deep sleep that lasted most of the day. I had no memory of how I got into my apartment or into my bed, though most likely my doorman helped me out.
I sat in there still stunned by what happened the night before, confused and devastated by the idea that someone I admired so much had tried to take advantage of me, and used drugs to do so. Had I done something to encourage his actions?
In reality, I knew I’d done nothing to encourage Cosby but my mind kept turning with question after question.
It took a few days for the drug to completely wear off and soon I had to get back to work. I headed to California for an acting audition. Not long after arriving, I decided I needed to confront Cosby for my own sanity’s sake. I thought if I just called him, he would come clean and explain why he’d done what he had.
I dialed the private number he’d given me expecting to hear his voice on the other end. But he didn’t answer. His wife did. A little shocked, I quickly identified myself to her in the most respectful way possible and then asked to speak to Bill. Camille politely informed me that it was very late, 11:00 P.M. and that they were both in bed together.
I apologized for the late call and explained that I was in Los Angeles and had forgotten about the three-hour time difference. I added that I would call back tomorrow.
I didn’t call back the next day or any other day after that. At a certain moment it became clear that I would be fighting a losing battle with a powerful man so callous he not only drugged me, but he also gave me the number to the bedroom he shared with his wife. How could I fight someone that boldly arrogant and out of touch? In the end, just like the other women, I had too much to lose to go after Bill Cosby. I had a career that would no doubt take a huge hit if I went public with my story and I certainly couldn’t afford that after my costly divorce and on going court fees.
For a long time I thought it was something that only happened to me, and that I was somehow responsible. So I kept my secret to myself, believing this truth needed to remain in the darkness. But the last four weeks have changed everything, as so many women have shared similar stories, of which the press have belatedly taken heed.
Still I struggled with how to reveal my big secret, and more importantly, what would people think when and if I did? Would they dismiss me as an angry black woman intent on ruining the image of one of the most revered men in the African American community over the last 40 years? Or would they see my open and honest account of being betrayed by one of the country’s most powerful, influential, and beloved entertainers?
As I wrestled with the idea of telling my story of the day Bill Cosby drugged me with the intention of doing God knows what, the faces of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other brown and black men took residence in my mind.
As if I needed to be reminded. The current plight of the black male was behind my silence when Barbara Bowman came out to tell the horrific details of being drugged and raped by Cosby to the Washington Post in November. And I watched in horror as my longtime friend and fellow model Janice Dickinson was raked over the coals for telling her account of rape at Cosby’s hands. Over the years I’ve met other women who also claim to have been violated by Cosby. Many are still afraid to speak up. I couldn’t sit back and watch the other women be vilified and shamed for something I knew was true.
When I sat down to write my memoir in 2013, I pondered if I should include my Cosby experience. I didn’t want to get involved in a he-said/she-said situation. Now that other women have come forward with their nightmare stories, I join them.
Finally, I reached the conclusion that the current attack on African American men has absolutely nothing to do at all with Bill Cosby. He brought this on himself when he decided he had the right to have his way with who knows how many women over the last four decades. If anything, Cosby is distinguished from the majority of black men in this country because he could depend on the powers that be for support and protection.
I had to use my voice as a sister, mother, and grandmother, and as a woman who knows that, according to the C.D.C., nearly one in five women has been sexually assaulted at some time in her life, and that women of color face an even higher attack rate.
In part because of what happened to me nearly 30 years ago, I have agreed to serve on the board of the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children. The experience has been as humbling as it has been rewarding. Many of the young children I work with have been sexually abused and I watch in awe of their bravery as they work to recover and feel better.
How could I be any less brave?
Beverly Johnson was a top model during the 70s and 80s and was the first African American woman to appear on the cover of American Vogue in 1974.