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Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to new charges in ‘Rust’ film set shooting case

Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to new charges in ‘Rust’ film set shooting case

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Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to new charges in 'Rust' film set shooting case

Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges over the death of a young woman who was fatally shot on the set of a budget Western, US court documents showed Wednesday.

Baldwin, a producer and star of the film, was charged last month for his role in the 2021 death of Halyna Hutchins during the filming of period piece “Rust” in New Mexico. He was holding a Colt .45 when it discharged, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has repeatedly denied responsibility, insisting he did not pull the trigger on the gun, which should not have been loaded with a live round.

The incident sent shockwaves through Hollywood, and led to calls for a tightening of the rules around the use of firearms on movie sets.

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But it also led to accusations of sloppy management, with some in the industry saying regulations were already tight, and that they had simply not been properly followed during the making of “Rust.”

Baldwin’s lawyers Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro have filed a request for a quick trial in order to “minimise public vilification and suspicion and to avoid the hazards of proving his innocence that often arise after a lengthy delay in prosecution.

Baldwin had been due to appear virtually in the New Mexico court on Thursday for an arraignment, but his lawyers submitted a waiver that also contained his plea of not guilty.

Initial manslaughter charges against 65-year-old Baldwin were dropped in April last year, due to what prosecutors called “new facts” that demanded “further investigation and forensic analysis.”

That led to the empaneling of a grand jury, which ultimately handed down the indictment he is now facing — and could see him jailed for up to 18 months, if convicted.

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Baldwin faces two alternative counts of involuntary manslaughter — one involving “negligent use of a firearm” and one of acting “without due caution or circumspection.” It will be up to the jury to decide whether to convict him on one or the other, or neither (but not both).

The charges relate to the action, not to the oversight of the movie, meaning he is being held culpable as an actor, not in his capacity as producer.

Actors’ union SAG-AFTRA criticised the charges, which it said were based on “an incorrect assessment of the actual duties of an actor.”

“An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert,” the union said. “Firearms are provided for use on set under the guidance of multiple expert professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate operation of that firearm.”

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer — the person responsible for supplying and maintaining weapons — is set to go on trial later in the month on charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

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Dave Halls, the film’s safety coordinator and assistant director who handed Baldwin the loaded gun, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to six months’ probation.

Filming of “Rust” was halted by the tragedy, but resumed last year.

The cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, who has already settled a wrongful death suit with “Rust” producers, served as an executive producer on the project.

Director Souza also returned, saying at the time that completing the movie would be “bittersweet” but that the cast and crew “are committed to completing what Halyna and I started.”

Baldwin remains free on bail. 

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R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

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R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

 R.E.M. performed onstage together for the first time in well over a decade Thursday, reuniting to play their classic “Losing My Religion” as they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills broke up in 2011, and the last time all four members played onstage together — Bill Berry left in 1997 — was in 2007. But entrance into the who’s who of music that is the prestigious songwriting pantheon got the band back together.

“Songwriting is the very foundation of why we came together in the first place,” lead vocalist Michael Stipes told AFP. “We’re really proud.”

The band was inducted by Jason Isbell, who performed a cover of R.E.M’s “It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at the event. “R.E.M. was greater than the sum of its parts. R.E.M. moved like a single instrument,” Isbell said.

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The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates its inductees with a festive dinner and intimate concert instead of a televised event.

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael — the duo known as The Bacon Brothers — opened the show with a foot-stomping rendition of “Footloose,” the Oscar-nominated title track of the hit 1984 film of the same name.

Bacon starred in the movie — but Dean Pitchford wrote it and much of its music, and was among the elite group inducted Thursday.

The writer of many hit film and musical tracks, Pitchford thanked the adoring audience “for hearing all these years, and above all, thank you for listening to me.”

Trey Anastasio of Phish inducted Steely Dan, while chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Nile Rodgers — the beloved co-founder of Chic — bestowed SZA with a special award for songwriters “at an apex in their careers.”

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It’s “just beyond all of my wildest dreams,” SZA said, before performing an acoustic rendition of “Snooze.”

Rodgers took his moment onstage to emphasize that “there would be no music industry if there were no songs,” specifically calling out streaming platform Spotify to “acknowledge and make a point of songwriters being your priority.”

Hip hop, country, and Oscar royalty

None other than Missy Elliott had the crowd on its feet as she inducted Timbaland into the coveted class.

“In hip hop, there was certain ways that hip hop music sounds — Timbaland… literally changed the cadence,” she said, adding that the producer, rapper and singer whose hits include “Give It To Me” was a master at marrying sensibilities of rap and R&B.

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“Thank you for giving me a seat at the table,” Timbaland said in a lengthy acceptance speech, before conducting a house band through a medley of his hits and those he produced for the likes of Elliott, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce.

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban performed in honor of Hillary Lindsey, a Nashville songwriting star who’s written for artists including Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Shakira.

And Diane Warren — the songwriter who’s earned 15 Oscar nominations, including for “Because You Loved Me” performed by Celine Dion and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” — received the night’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer award.

She, like all of the inductees, said being honored by her peers was particularly special. “It’s songwriters — what’s cooler than that?” she said. 

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King Charles’ portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

King Charles’ portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

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King Charles' portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

King Charles’ first completed official portrait since his coronation in May 2023 has been defaced by animal rights activists in London.

On June 11, two supporters from the group Animal Rising approached the King’s dramatic portrait by Jonathan Yeo at the Philip Mould Gallery and affixed posters inspired by Wallace and Gromit to the image.

The protesters overlaid the King’s face with the character of Wallace, adding a speech bubble reading, “No Cheese Gromit. Look At All This Cruelty On RSPCA Farms!”

The stunt was meant to draw attention to the findings of a new report by Animal Rising, which describes itself as a nonviolent organization working towards a more sustainable future “where humanity shares a positive relationship with animals and nature.”

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The report, published on June 9, claimed that “cruelty and suffering” were found across 45 randomly sampled farms affiliated with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (RSPCA) Assured program, a statement said.

The RSPCA Assured is the organization’s non-profit farm animal welfare assurance initiative, upholding higher farm animal welfare standards from birth to slaughter.

King Charles, 75, is the royal patron of the RSPCA, following in the footsteps of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

“The lighthearted action played on the King’s love of Wallace and Gromit and his status as Royal Patron of the RSPCA,” Animal Rising said in the statement.

“Animal Rising has called on the King to suspend his support for the charity until they drop the Assured Scheme.”

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The activists defaced an image significant as the King’s first portrait since his ceremonial crowning last spring.

The fiery red portrait by Yeo was revealed at Buckingham Palace on May 14, unveiling a commission in the works for four years.
The artwork was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate Charles marking 50 years as a member of The Draper’s Company in 2022.

Yeo is considered to be one of the world’s leading portrait artists and joked on social media that the image “sparked a million memes” after it was unveiled.

Queen Camilla reportedly had a thoughtful reaction when she saw it for the first time, telling Yeo, “Yes, you’ve got him,” according to the BBC.

The piece measures about 8 ½ by 6 ½ feet, framed to fit in with the architecture of Drapers’ Hall, the hub of the historic guild. It has been displayed to the public for free at the Philip Mould Gallery in London since May 16 and was scheduled to be on view until June 21.

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Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent ‘controversial’ statements

Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent ‘controversial’ statements

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Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent 'controversial' statements

Eminent TV host and actor Nadia Khan appearing on her show has taken famous veteran actor Behroze Sabzwari to task for his controversial statements about women and PIT founder Imran Khan.

Nadia Khan called out Behroze Sabzwari for his recent disputed statements.

Nadia Khan said, “I think it is okay if he only talks about himself, I have a problem when he passes statements on women.

In a recent podcast, he talked about his ex-daughter-in-law. Some time, he talks against other women. He criticises women for their dress. He keeps an eye on how women dress up.

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Sometimes, he talks against me. It has become a pattern now.”

On a show, Marina Khan said, “Actors are ambassadors as they represent themselves. They represent media fraternity and they should not talk against anyone.”

Behroze Sabzwari once had said Nadia Khan used to degrade her guests on her morning show.

Nadia Khan is a super gorgeous, famous and talented Pakistani television host & actor.

She has so far appeared in many notable television dramas which include Des Pardes, Bandhan, Kaisi Aurat Hoon Main, Dolly Darling, Aisi Hai Tanhai and Kamzarf.

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The talented host is happily married and has adorable kids. Nadia Khan is also known for her YouTube channel Out Style With Nadia.

She is currently appearing in the show Kia Drama Hai as co-host and reviewer. Nadia Khan is a fearless celebrity who always speaks her heart out.

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