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December 2015 Archives

Joy of Pain: 2015 Celebrity Scandal Roundup

Every year we like to cheer new cultural darlings while we watch others fall. The delight we take in the difficulties of others is called schadenfreude, or joy of pain, a word taken from German but increasingly popular in English.

Social scientists say it is a necessary emotion, per the New York Times. And somehow, when it comes to celebrities the joy of pain seems okay. So on that note, let us look at five celebrity scandals -- care of ABC -- that make the rest of us grateful for our relatively quiet lives.

Just weeks after he sued his accusers for defamation, and almost a full 12 years after Andrea Constand claims that he raped her, Bill Cosby has been charged with felony aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and assaulting Constand in 2004.

Although Montgomery County prosecutors declined to press charges when Constand first came forward, a deposition in her civil suit against Cosby became public earlier this year, in which Cosby admitted to obtaining Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with and giving it to at least one woman. Constand claims Cosby urged her to take pills and drink wine in order to assault her.

Will Justin Bieber Face Penalties for Graffiti Ads in San Francisco?

Justin Bieber is trying to get street, but is he in too deep? The pop star's latest marketing campaign to promote his new album called "Purpose" entails spray painting city streets and the the San Francisco City Attorney is not at all happy about the advertising.

Bieber is not the first major commercial artist to subvert rebellion for the purposes of making more money. But he is using permanent paints, unlike guerilla marketing campaigns done in chalk or paste-up, and he might end up paying for it.

Judge Judy Lists $11M Condo for Sale

Henry David Thoreau, historical advocate of simple living and author of Walden, wrote that wealth is the ability to fully experience life. But for some, people wealth is something less abstract and more tangible.

Celebrity real estate deals often demonstrate this point. Recently, Judge Judy joined the ranks of celebrities making over-the-top real estate deals. Let's marvel at the excesses as we count our blessings ahead of a new year.

Coldplay's Chris Martin Sued for Press Hit-and-Run

Just because Chris Martin is a front man for a huge pop band does not mean he wants attention. A paparazzo is suing Coldplay's lead singer for hitting him with a car when the Martin saw he and his now-ex Gwyneth Paltrow were being filmed.

The plaintiff claims he is permanently injured by the events of January 25, 2015, according to Courthouse News Service. Richard Terry says Martin intentionally jumped the sidewalk with his car to run him over and that is part of a long pattern of violence by the pop star against paparazzi.

Hacker Steals Scripts, Celeb Sex Tapes, Tries to Sell to Feds

Alonzo Knowles has unreleased movie scripts and audio tracks for sale, as well as celebrity sex tapes, and some of their personal emails. If you are looking to buy, you're too late. The feds already got him, according to Ars Technica.

Knowles, 23, is from the Bahamas. He was lured to the US by federal agents claiming interest in his stolen goods, specifically movie scripts and 6 episodes of a TV series. Knowles wanted $80,000 for the intellectual property. Instead he was charged by federal prosecutors and faces prison for copyright infringement and identity theft.

Famous Pastry Chef Mindy Segal to Bake Marijuana Edibles

Celebrity chef Mindy Segal is joining the canna-biz club. The award-winning pastry chef is looking for a new challenge to master and a new frontier to blaze a trail on, and she believes she has found these in marijuana baked goods, according to the Associated Press.

Banking and getting baked seem like a good combination to other foodies, too. The Huffington Post got a big scoop earlier this year when it wrote about ice cream giants Ben and Jerry contemplating creating cannabis ice creams. But Mindy Segal is taking it to the next level, and has already begun developing baked goods with cannabis infused butters and oils.

Madonna Submits Declaration in Penn v. Daniels Defamation Suit

In September, Sean Penn sued Lee Daniels, the co-creator of the TV show Empire for defamation after Daniels named Penn when talking about domestic abuse. Daniels was noting disparities in society's tolerance for violence in white and black men.

Penn was outraged by the mention and argued in his lawsuit that allegations of abuse against him are all false. He said that Daniels harmed his reputation with this statement. Daniels moved to dismiss the defamation case and Penn is firing back, bringing in the big guns, his ex-wife, pop goddess Madonna. In a sworn declaration attached to Penn's latest court filing, she denies that Penn ever hit her, according to Billboard.

Celebrity 'Hair Must-Have' Causes Hair Loss?

A hair miracle product hawked by celebrities is producing perplexing results for some, according to CBS News. Hundreds of women are suing for hair loss, rashes, and other injuries they say were caused by WEN products, which Brooke Shields claims are "hair must-haves."

Amy Davis, lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the class action, said that her clients got far less than the desired results. Rather than luscious locks: "It looked like they had a weed-whacker taken to their head." The company denied all allegations that WEN hair products caused the claimed harms.

Christina Milian Spills Secrets of Shocking Relationship Abuses

Christina Milian, a singer and actress, is spilling her secrets to the Huffington Post. Now 34, she spoke up about an abusive relationship she had at 18 because, she says, she is hoping to help other young women.

"I've been holding on to this for too long," she said. "I lived in fear for a long time. I'm here to save someone. I really want to help other people, especially the youth." Whether or not she is truly entirely motivated by her love of humanity (she might be slightly motivated to promote her television show, for example), her tale of domestic abuse is harrowing and possibly instructive to others.

Taylor Swift Turns 26, Seeks to Trademark 1989

For her 26th birthday, Taylor Swift wants the English language. If you need to say anything, do it now, as she may soon own a number of phrases and a date, 1989.

To be fair, the pop diva -- who turned 26 on Sunday -- is actually only looking to trademark her birth year, 1989, in a specific, stylized sequence, according to Mashable. Still, she has, through her legal arm TAS Rights Management, recently made numerous intellectual property claims that seem stunning to onlookers yet succeed. Let's review.

Cosby Counterclaims Against 7 Accusers

Bill Cosby is countersuing seven women who accused him of defamation, seeking damages "to the full extent of the law," according to the Associated Press. The once-revered comedian, accused of sexual misconduct by about 50 women nationally, argued in his filing that the seven women he is suing are "engaged in a campaign to assassinate" his reputation and character.

Cosby's counterclaim was made in federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts. In it, his lawyers recalled Cosby's work as an entertainer and philanthropist, writing that he "prides himself in the legacy and reputation he has earned throughout his life." He says the women suing him were motivated by money to besmirch his good name and denies rape allegations.

Sometimes, you just need to hit the reset button and say goodbye to all those new and complicated things you introduced into your life. And that's how last night's episode felt.

All those new associates causing trouble at Lockhart, Agos & Lee? Jason Crouse's complicated relationship with Alicia? Courtney Paige mucking up Eli's love life? Even Alicia's beef with Judge Schakowsky -- all getting reset to zero. But not without some fireworks in between. Here's what you need to know about last night's episode, entitled "KSR."

Meek Mill's Probation Violation Hearing

Hip-Hop recording artist, Meek Mill, also known as pop diva Nicky Minaj's beau, posted on Instagram about his probation violation. He was convicted for a gun charge in 2009 and has been incarcerated for violations since. He is in court now, according to TMZ. pleading for his freedom and invoking Nicky Minaj's name, saying she will not marry a criminal or a bum.

The story got started with the rapper's own social media musings. Accompanied by an image that read, "Prayers go up, blessings come down," Meek Mill wrote, "I'm actually fighting for my life and freedom. Something I've been going thru from a case I caught at 19 years old and been on probation since ... I am 28 now." The probationary term he allegedly violated was leaving Philadelphia without permission.

Man Who Voiced Charlie Brown Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

Sometimes a charmed life has a limited run. That seems to be the case for the man who, as a child, was the voice of Charlie Brown on the Peanuts animated TV show and is now sentenced to nearly five years in prison for making various threats, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Former Peanuts voice actor, Peter Robbins, previously pled guilty to charges of threatening a mobile home park manager. On Monday, he was in San Diego Superior Court for sentencing. Although his lawyer tried to withdraw the plea, he did not succeed and Robbins will have to serve a prison sentence of four years and eight months.

Thieves Steal $173K in Goods From Gwyneth Paltrow's Pop-Up Shop

Three men stole $173,000 worth of merchandise from Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's pop-up shop in New York City, People reports. The temporary Goop store in Columbus Circle, opened just ahead of Christmas, reported that three men forced open a cabinet and walked off with merchandise while the store was open ... But given the price of Gwyneth's Goop, they may not have taken much.

Goop is Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle publication, which also sells clothes, furniture, cookware, soaps, and pretty much anything Paltrow can think of. Recently, Goop collaborated with fashion brand Valentino to create a Wonder Woman-themed line of clothes. A pair of Valentino x Goop denim shorts with little stars printed on them, for example, cost $1,000, while a leather jacket costs about ten times that.

Who Owns the Rights to a Dead Celebrity's Hologram?

Technology has not quite conquered death yet. But we can resurrect great artists who are gone using holographic projections. In other words, the dead can put on a show.

In 2012, when Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performed at the Coachella music festival with the deceased Tupac Shakur, the notion of touring ghosts was a shocking novelty. This year, plans were announced for the deceased singer Selena to tour using technology, raising a slew of legal questions about these illusions.

Top Celebrities Accused of Animal Abuse

Celebrities face critiques for nearly everything -- from their fashion styles to the number of divorces they've had. But not all celebrity critiques are trivial. When it comes to animal abuse, no one should escape criticism -- especially not celebrities.

It turns out that the list of supposed animal abuses by celebrities is fairly extensive. Here are a few recent highlights, starting with Kylie Jenner's treatment of her Italian Greyhound.

Mary-Kate Olsen's Secret and Smokey Wedding

Mary-Kate Olsen reportedly married Olivier Sarkozy in a private ceremony in Manhattan this past weekend. She is one of the Olsen twins, famous for their childhood television roles on "Full House" and now for their fashion labels. He is the brother of former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The couple married in front of 50 guests in the garden of a private residence. Then the group moved inside for a party decorated with "bowls and bowls filled with cigarettes and everyone smoked the whole night," a source told Page Six.

Keeping It Reelz: Reality TV Mom Sues Romeo

Rapper and reality TV star Romeo is not feeling the love this week. Sued by his mother for conspiring with his dad, Master P, to swindle her in the parents' divorce, Romeo told reporters that mom's lawyers were behind the lawsuit, according to TMZ.

"Today I was served by my own mother and although it hurts, I know that she can't be 100 percent behind all of these ridiculous moves but instead is being guided by another's greed," Romeo said. He added, "It sucks because the only reason I've ever worked so hard was to make my mother proud."