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Ex-CBS CEO Les Moonves Denies Sexual Misconduct Allegations

This past weekend, Leslie Moonves, the man some have considered the most powerful person in the television industry, found himself out of his job as Chairman and CEO of CBS after more allegations of misconduct emerged. Given the number of accusing parties, the departure wasn’t a big surprise for those following the story, but Moonves himself is adamant that the allegations are untrue. You can read his full departure statement below…

The allegations came out in a long Ronan Farrow piece published at The New Yorker. In it, six women accuse Les Moonves of sexual misconduct including his former assistant Jessica Pallingston and Cape Fear actress Ileana Douglas. The stories occurred between the 1980s and the early to mid 2000s and are very detailed and very disturbing to read. Now, many observers are wondering how they might affect the golden parachute many ex-CEOs get when leaving a high profile job.

Last year, Moonves reportedly earned in the neighborhood of seventy million dollars. Even prior to these allegations, a possible exit from CBS has long been rumored thanks to a contentious behind-the-scenes battle with Shari Redstone. She owns a majority stake in both CBS and its former parent company Viacom and has long wanted to reunite the companies. Moonves has been way less excited about the move, and it has led to a lot of bitter feelings and lawsuits. Now, all of that has taken a backseat to these upsetting allegations.

It’s unclear what exactly will happen next. For the time being, Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello will take over as President and Acting CEO, and CBS has already promised to donate $20M of Moonves’ exit package (whenever that gets figured out) to an organization or organizations that support the #MeToo movement. There also may be civil lawsuits, as well.

We’ll keep you updated on this story as new details emerge and/ or if new alleged victims come forward.

Michael K. Williams Still Wants To Be In Star Wars Despite Previous Scheduling Conflicts

Michael K. Williams came closer than anybody to being in a Star Wars movie. He was actually in Solo: A Star Wars Story at one point, in the role of Dryden Vos. However, the additional shooting required by Ron Howard conflicted with Williams schedule, resulting in the need to bring in a new actor, Paul Bettany, to take over the role. Despite the fact that all his work was cut out of the film, he holds no ill will toward the franchise and would love another shot at being part of the galaxy, far, far, away. According to Williams…

Michael K. Williams still feels like a part of the movie, because from his perspective he was. He did the work and played the part and worked with the rest of the cast. Since he tells Variety he’s not actually seen Solo: A Star Wars Story yet, the only version of the Dryden Vos role that he knows is the one he played. Still, it doesn’t appear that he’s focusing on the part that the world never saw, but instead is looking toward the future and the potential for a future role in the Star Wars universe. Since the work he did isn’t technically canon, the actor is free to show up in some future movie in an entirely different role.

Since he was good enough to play a Star Wars character before, there’s every reason to believe that he will be again. And we know that there will certainly be opportunities for Michael K. Williams in the future. While the details of what Lucasfilm is planning post-Episode IX are far from clear, what is clear is that new Star Wars movies are coming. Rian Johnson is working on a new trilogy and the creative team behind Game of Thrones is also working on ideas. Beyond that numerous other projects have been rumored. There have even been rumors that a project surrounding Obi-Wan Kenobi is actually currently in pre-production and set to go before the camera early next year, though nothing has been officially confirmed.

Hopefully, Michael K. Williams will get his wish as I’d certainly love to see what the actor can bring to the Star Wars franchise. Perhaps one of the deleted scenes included in the new Solo: A Star Wars Story Blu-ray will show us the role that could have been.

Chris Pine Discusses His Full-Frontal Nudity In New Movie Outlaw King

We’ve been hearing a lot about Chris Pine’s next movie venture over the last few weeks. First we got a good look at the actor playing bearded historical character Robert The Bruce and then we were able to take a look at the first trailer for the movie. However, while the trailer was full of period costumes and fighting, there was one thing missing that we can expect to be a part of the final product when it hits Netflix: full-frontal nudity. Now the cat’s out of the bag, or the dick’s out of the box, Chris Pine is explaining what it was really like to film a scene naked for Outlaw King. He said:

Despite Chris Pine’s apparent lack of fondness for talking about his penis, the actor did reveal that filming the scenes wasn’t as comfortable as you might guess. Not only did he have to drop trou in front of people on the set, he also admits that while filming his nude scene it was “very cold” and also they were filming in a weird location next to a highway.

Speaking to THR at the Toronto International Film Festival, Chris Pine did say that he felt the nude scene was important, which is why he chose to go full-frontal in Outlaw King.

While some projects like Starz’s Spartacus have previously embraced full-frontal nudity, the idea of a dude laying it all out there is still fairly novel, especially on TV. (Game of Thrones has also shown a fair number of dick shots, although Emilia Clarke has previously noted fans see way more boobs.) Netflix has embraced full-frontal a bit more than the average theatrical studio, as evidenced when Adam Devine also showed his penis in Game Over, Man!, also a Netflix original movie. So, although Chris Pine doesn’t think it’s a big deal he decided to get nude for Outlaw King, the fact that it’s still a new-ish thing for Netflix or other at-home entertainment to be doing makes it a bit of a talking point.

While we’ll have to wait for the nude scene in the movie, the scruffy beard Chris Pine sports in the upcoming movie is still worth taking a look at. Check out the trailer, below.

Netflix has been busy signing on for a slew of original movies over the last couple of years, and this year at TIFF the subscription streaming service premiered a slew of content, including Outlaw King, which is set to hit the streaming service on November 9. To see more of what Netflix has coming, take a look at our full movie schedule.

The Walking Dead Season 9 Premiere Will Be Really Long

The premiere of The Walking Dead Season 9 is just around the corner, and slowly but surely, more information about how this exciting season will go down is rolling out to the masses. The show will have a lot of ground to cover as it prepares for some pretty major character exits, which might be why news is circulating that the premiere will supposedly be a lot longer than the series’ usual runtime. Allegedly, the Season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead will run for around 86 minutes.

The run-time, if accurate, is just short of the standard length of a feature film. Of course, there will probably be commercials figured into that, but nevertheless, it would seem The Walking Dead is taking a page out of Game of Thrones book and throwing traditional television episode lengths to the wayside. Comicbook reports the alleged elongated episode will be followed by a new episode of Talking Dead, although it did not mention if its standard run-time would be affected by it in any way.

The news that The Walking Dead could be kicking off Season 9 with an extended episode isn’t totally surprising, as the series will have to work a lot of things out to prepare for Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan’s upcoming exits. In addition to that, there’s also a significant time jump between the end of Season 8 and the beginning of Season 9; so, we’re not sure that time will be put to use bringing fans up to speed on what’s happening with everyone or if it’ll focus on a smaller number of characters. Not much has been revealed about the premiere, although Lincoln has said in prior interviews that portions of the opening feel very similar to the pilot episode.

What that means is completely up to interpretation. The Walking Dead pilot primarily focused on Rick and moments that flashed between his life before and after the Walkers over-ran the world. Andrew Lincoln’s statement could mean viewers will see a story similar to that in the Season 9 premiere, where another character is isolated and brought into the currently existing faction of survivors. It could also just be scenes that feature callbacks or references to the pilot as if to signal a new beginning to a franchise that will attempt to find new life following its lead’s exit. Much of the upcoming season has been shrouded in mystery, so it’s really anyone’s guess, although the pro is that AMC should confirm the news about the extended premiere before too long.

The Walking Dead will kick off Season 9 on AMC Sunday, October 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out what’s happening throughout the rest of October and other fall months via CinemaBlend’s fall premiere guide.

There Are Lots Of Different Reasons Captain Marvel Is Set In The Past

One of the more interesting things about Captain Marvel is its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the MCU has told a mostly chronological story since the debut of Iron Man, the next film in the franchise will drop back in time a couple of decades to the 1990s. It turns out, there actually a lot of different reasons why this decision makes sense. First and foremost, it takes the MCU back to a point when it’s not full of heroes, which will give Brie Larson‘s Captain Marvel the space to shine on her own. According to producer Jonathan Schwartz…

The Marvel Universe has expanded quite a bit on film in 10 years, and there’re now more heroes and villains than we know what to do with. There’s more than one reason to not make Captain Marvel just another face in the crowd as Jonathan Schwartz tells Entertainment Weekly Marvel wanted to do. Being the first female hero to headline her own Marvel movie, it’s nice to be able to give her some space to see what she can do. In addition, the story of the MCU is putting a lot of weight on her to come in and save the day in Avengers 4, which makes her important, another reason to give her separation from the rest.

Of course, that’s not the only reason that we’ve been given as to why setting the movie in the 1990s is important. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige had previously stated an interest in looking at the MCU at a point when nobody, not even Nick Fury, knew that superpowered individuals existed.

Kevin Feige also gave yet another reason for setting the film in the 1990s. It seems that, in addition to taking place there, Captain Marvel will also be something of a throwback when it comes to the film’s action. Marvel seemingly wanted to do something a little different when it came to the storytelling, and by making a movie in the 90s, the studio had an excuse to make a 90s action movie. According to Feige…

While setting Captain Marvel so early in the MCU timeline seemed like an odd choice at the beginning, it’s clear that Marvel has really thought this through and had many reasons for doing so. We’ll see them all plan out when Captain Marvel hits theaters next year.

Warner Bros. Is Absolutely Dominating At The Box Office Right Now

You know, we’ve talked a lot in the last year about Disney/Buena Vista movies dominating at the box office. The studio has had some big grossers in 2018, mostly of the Marvel variety, but also thanks to flicks like Incredibles 2. However, while Disney may have dominated early in the year, right now another studio is taking the cake. Warner Bros. is having a wonderful late summer and is totally dominating at the box office right now thanks to three late-in-the-year wins.

If you’ve been to the movies lately, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen a Warner Bros. release. Right now, Warner Bros. has three huge movies in theaters: The Meg, Crazy Rich Asians and this weekend’s big release The Nun. If you’ve been paying attention to the box office numbers of late, you may already know that The Nun overperformed this weekend, bringing a record $53.5 million in during opening weekend (on only a $22 million budget, to boot.) Thanks to those hefty numbers, the movie landed the number 1 slot at the box office. It’s competitors just so happened to be other Warner Bros. films.

In previous weeks, both The Meg and Crazy Rich Asians have been big box office winners as well, with one Warner Bros. movie taking over for another in that first place slot as the weeks wear on and the season begins to change. The Meg won its opening weekend back in August, also blowing estimations out of the water. The following weekend, Crazy Rich Asians hit theaters, just edging out The Meg in the numbers. For three weeks, Crazy Rich Asians led the pack and then this weekend The Nun came out to higher numbers than expected, soundly whupping the book adaptations that came before it. It should be noted that while Peppermint jumped into the #3 slot in terms of box office numbers this weekend, the rest of the top 4 movies were still the aforementioned Warner Bros. titles.

If you’ve been paying to attention to the number of weeks I just listed, this weekend actually is the fifth weekend in a row that a Warner Bros. film has been in first place, at least where domestic numbers are concerned. (The Meg has done considerably better than Crazy Rich Asians worldwide, for example.) Fox News mentions it’s also the first time a studio has held the top domestic movie slots in nearly three decades. Way back in 1989, Universal Pictures had Parenthood, Uncle Buck and Sea of Love out all at once.

There are times during the year that are primed for moviegoers, which is why we often get tentpole movies midsummer and family and awards releases around the holidays. However, in recent years, studios have looked for other spaces in the schedule to try to make movie work. Disney and Marvel have experimented with late winter releases, with Black Panther hitting theaters and totally dominating in February of this year. For Warner Bros. late summer has worked out this year, despite Warner Bros.’ Jeffrey Goldstein revealing the studio landed “a fair amount of criticism” for holding all of its big movies until late summer.

Currently, Disney still leads the cumulative box office, with Universal in second place, but Warner Bros. is definitely on a hot streak and the studio still has quite a few hotly anticipated movies hitting the schedule in 2018. This includes the likes of A Star is Born, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Aquaman. You can look into those with our full movie premiere schedule.

Black Actors Won All Four Guest Star Emmy Awards for the First Time

The 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony won’t be happening for another week, but four actors have already made history. They are Tiffany Haddish, Ron Cephas Jones, Samira Wiley, and Katt Williams, who swept the four guest actor categories during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday. In addition to this being all four actors’ first Emmy wins, according to CNN, this marks the first time all four awards have been won by black actors.

The best guest actor and actress in a comedy series awards went to Katt Williams for his role as Uncle Willie in Atlanta and Tiffany Haddish for her Saturday Night Live episode last November, respectively, according to Complex. Meanwhile, the corresponding drama awards went to Samira Wiley for her performance as Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale and Ron Cephas Jones as William in This Is Us, according to Deadline.

“I’d like to thank my higher power because without her I wouldn’t be here,” Wiley said during her acceptance speech, according to Deadline. She also thanked her wife, Lauren Morelli, who “every day shows me what real passion is for your work and every hour gives me a reason to bring it,” and gave a shout-out to costar Elisabeth Moss, a.k.a. “the most amazing scene partner a girl could ask for.”

Meanwhile, Cephas Jones thanked his daughter, agent, and This Is Us cast in his acceptance speech, as well as This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman “for giving me the opportunity and being in the room where it happens,” per Deadline. “God bless my mother,” he added. “I know you’re looking down on me.” According to Deadline, backstage, he talked about researching the works of August Wilson and James Baldwin to inspire his performance as William, whom he described as a “flawed man with a checkered past.” “It would have been difficult,” he said when asked if a character like William could have existed “years ago,” according to Deadline. “We are moving forward and moving ahead.”

According to Deadline, neither Haddish nor Williams were present to pick up their awards.

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Why Meghan Markle Reportedly Turned Down an Invite to the Emmy Awards

Meryl Streep’s Facial Reactions at the U.S. Open Have Spawned the Best Memes

Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning face has just created a whole new batch of memes. After becoming immortalized in the hallowed halls of meme history for cheering on Debbie Reynolds at the 2015 SAG Awards (a moment she recreated at the 2018 Oscars), not to mention the countless Miranda Priestly GIFs that rule Twitter with an impeccably-manicured fist, the iconic actress has once again spawned another meme—this time from the U.S. Open.

According to Time, it all went down during the men’s final on Sunday between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martín del Potro. The cameras zoomed in on Streep’s face during their super-intense match, and the results are absolutely priceless. ESPN and SB Nation described it best: Gasping with the suspense of it all, hands pressed against her cheeks, she was pretty much the IRL embodiment of the scream emoji (😱). Naturally, the Internet couldn’t get enough, and it pretty much took over Twitter for the duration of the match. (According to HuffPost, Streep soon became aware of herself becoming a meme in real time, and cracked open a cold one just for the cameras.)

Celebrities Attend The 2018 US Open Tennis Championships - Day 14

PHOTO: Getty Images

Below, here are some of the best memes created from Streep’s reactions:

Remarkably, this isn’t the only Streep meme from this year, or even over the past month. Back in August, a picture from the Big Little Lies season two set took the internet by storm. Truly a work of art, it features Reese Witherspoon (in character as Madeline Martha Mackenzie) tossing a massive ice cream cone at Streep (who’s playing Perry’s mother). Oh, Meryl. Never stop.

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Here Are All the Details on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s First Royal Tour

In just over a month, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will embark on their very first royal tour together, and now we have all the exact dates and stops on their trip. Kensington Palace announced the details early Monday morning with a set of tweets and a post on the royal family’s official website, revealing that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be visiting Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, and New Zealand from October 16 to October 31.

“The programme across these four Commonwealth countries will focus on youth leadership, environmental and conservation efforts – including the dedication of several new Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy projects – and the recovery and rehabilitation of servicemen and women through the Invictus Games Sydney 2018,” the post reads.

Based on the itinerary, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will start in Sydney, Australia, where they’ll reportedly stay in a super fancy, Infinity pool-and-wine-cellar-stocked mega-mansion called the Villa del Mare four days before the start of the Invictus Games, which opens October 20. From there, they’ll hit Fraser Island in Australia, before leaving for Suva, Fiji. Then, on October 25, they’ll visit Nadi, Fiji and Nuku’alofa, Tonga, before visiting Sydney again on the 26th after concluding the Tongan leg of their tour. They’ll wrap things up in New Zealand, with stops in Wellington, Abel Tasman, Auckland, and Rotorua.

According to Kensington Palace, more details will be announced in “due course.”

The full dates and stops are below.

Tuesday 16th October: Sydney, Australia

Wednesday 17th October: Dubbo, Australia

Thursday 18th October: Melbourne, Australia

Friday 19th October: Sydney, Australia

Saturday 20th October: Sydney, Australia

Sunday 21st October: Sydney, Australia

Monday 22nd October: Fraser Island, Australia

Tuesday 23rd October: Suva, Fiji

Wednesday 24th October: Suva, Fiji

Thursday 25th October: Nadi, Fiji and Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Friday 26th October: Nuku’alofa, Tonga and Sydney, Australia

Saturday 27th October: Sydney, Australia

Sunday 28th October: Wellington, New Zealand

Monday 29th October: Wellington and Abel Tasman, New Zealand

Tuesday 30th October: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday 31st October: Rotorua, New Zealand

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At the U.S. Open, Serena Williams Demanded the Apology All Black Women Deserve

When Naomi Osaka was in the third grade, she chose the subject of her class report carefully, settling on her idol before coloring her paper. It was Serena Williams, already a powerful force in the tennis world, already the type of athlete Osaka dreamed of being. And on Saturday, the world watched as the young woman finally faced off with Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open Finals. It was a full-circle moment—when Osaka was just a toddler, Williams was taking home her first Grand Slam title in 1999.

More than being a special moment between two women who love the game, it was also a rare show of diversity in the exclusive, male-dominated world of tennis. The world would watch a young Japanese-Haitian-American woman take on a black woman from Compton who rose up the ranks to be one of the sport’s fiercest competitors. It is what dreams are made of; the moments that fill women of color with pride because we know just how unique and improbable they can be.

Instead, what we witnessed were the insidious prongs of sexism and racism: How the world often doles out injustice and insult on women of color, expecting them to accept it gracefully, and when they don’t, chastise them for the rage they instigated.

That’s exactly what happened. Osaka’s win was overshadowed with guilt and anger after Williams was given a controversial series of game code violations. First, a warning because chair umpire Carlos Ramos believed coach Patrick Mouratoglou was in violation of secretly coaching Williams. As an athlete who has never called for on-court coaching or used dishonest measures to win, Williams took offense. “I don’t cheat to win,” she told Ramos. “I’d rather lose.” Understandably angry that her character and integrity had been called into question, Williams received a point penalty for smashing her racket. The game penalty came as a result of Williams calling Ramos “a thief” for the point penalty. (As watchers of the sport have pointed out, this was much less than what men of the sport have shouted out from the court). Sure, tensions were high. Here was Williams, after coming back to the game ranked lower, having literally fought for her life post-childbirth, being accused of cheating. What came next wasn’t a meltdown. It wasn’t “un-serene.” It was simply what anyone being unfairly accused would do.

“You owe me an apology,” she repeated, her finger pointed at the man who ruined both Williams’ comeback and Osaka’s introduction to the U.S. Open. And he did. Ramos exerted his power in an otherwise straight-forward match because he could. And when he couldn’t get his way…when he couldn’t take the heat Williams was giving him, he took the game (and Osaka’s win) away.

The fragility of the male ego does not have room for any woman—much less a Black woman—demanding an apology. Nevertheless, Williams persisted in her pursuit of one. She is tired, and rightfully so. From the moment the world was introduced to Serena Williams the tennis star, her existence on the court has been met with the disapproval that only racism and sexism can allow. Refusing to abandon her beaded hair style, Williams didn’t conform to the right kind of black girl for tennis. As she continued to dominate the sport, she has been subjected to unwarranted drug testing. Her body remains the subject of scrutiny, so much so that officials changed dress code policies around her, despite Williams’ health concerns that warrant specific attire. And what could only be viewed as the peak of sexism, Williams returned to the game only to be ranked lower due to childbirth.

2018 US Open - Day 13

PHOTO: Michael Owens

Every attempt is made to discredit her success and minimize her legacy. For years, it seemed that tennis wanted Williams to simply be grateful for her space in the room. How dare she demand to be treated equally? After all, she gets to play and, for someone like her, that should be enough.

Black women knew why Serena was angry. We know all too well what it means for someone else’s [perceived] errors to be made our own. We know what it is like for our passionate responses to be read as antagonistic. Even U.S. Open commentators defended and chastised her at the same time, suggesting her tone was inappropriate and that the umpire should have reprimanded her “like a child” to get her to calm down. If Williams, a black woman of considerable wealth and status, experiences this without reprieve, those with fewer resources are left completely unprotected. When she told the umpire, “you owe me an apology,” it was for all of us.

Black women deserve apologies for every time our self-advocacy was viewed as threatening and antagonistic. We deserve apologies for all the times we expressed ourselves and were told we could have said it differently. We deserve apologies when we were not believed and the worst was assumed of us. We deserve apologies for consistently telling this country what was in its political best interest and being ignored. Black women are owed apologies for our daily navigation of spaces that require us to be anxiously preoccupied with how our actions could be viewed by others.

US Open Tennis Tournament 2018

PHOTO: Tim Clayton – Corbis

Serena Williams comforts Naomi Osaka after the 20 year old’s U.S. Open win.

Apologies matter. They signal that the offender recognizes their actions were wrong and caused harm. Yet, an apology isn’t the final step. Corrective and restorative actions must be taken. The match may be over, but tennis must reckon with the deeply sexist and racist politics that were at play. Williams deserves better treatment all around and she’s demanding it.

In her post match interview, Williams said “I’m here, fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff … Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.” And the fight is a necessary. We saw this no more clearly than when Naomi Osaka tearfully apologized for winning. Girls and women of color are taught to apologize for the space they take up in this world. They are to be invisible and, when they are noticed, it is their fault. But the apology wasn’t on Osaka to deliver. Systems that believe women of color cannot be victims are the only guilty parties.

Though it will not erase what was stolen from them in this moment (and how Williams, like so many black women before her, was made fixer of the moment when she publicly celebrated a tearful Osaka post-match), I hope these two professionals get another chance to face each other on the court. And I hope the moment is beyond what Naomi thought possible in the third grade, a moment in which tennis recognizes what an honor it is that Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka choose to play this game, when they could have taken their magic anywhere else.

As Gillian B. White writes for The Atlantic: “Being the best may not be enough to take home the Grand Slam trophy, but Williams is winning at something much more consequential.” For challenging the status quo in that way, Williams will always be a winner in the eyes of women of color, who too are owed apologies from society.

We’re waiting.


Candice Benbow is a writer and the creator of The Lemonade Syllabus, whose work focuses on faith, feminism and pop culture.