Alec Baldwin claims 'Rust' contract protects him from liability in Halyna Hutchins' fatal shooting
In a new court filing related to the "Rust" set shooting death of Halyna Hutchins, lawyers for Alec Baldwin seek to distance the star from culpability for the cinematographer's death. On March 11, Alec filed an arbitration demand against the other producers in which his lawyers argue he bears no financial responsibility for Halyna's death, given the terms of his contract, the New York Times reported. The filing offers new details about the shooting; it also seeks coverage of Alec's legal fees amid multiple lawsuits, including a wrongful death suit filed by Halyna's husband and estate. Alec's attorneys argue the star was responsible for "creative matters," while "others had authority over hiring and budgets," according to the Times. Some of the lawsuits have come from crew members who alleged cost-cutting measures enacted on the set ultimately created an unsafe working environment. The court docs also assert Alec bore no responsibility for checking firearm safety on set — that duty largely fell to armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who allegedly told Alec directly "it was her job to check the gun — not his," the filing said. In breaking down the events that led to Alec fatally shooting Halyna and injuring director Joel Souza, the filing stated: "[Halyna] directed [Alec] to hold the gun higher, to a point where it was directed toward her. She was looking carefully at the monitor and then at [Alec], and then back again, as she gave these instructions. In giving and following these instructions, [Halyna and Alec] shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was 'cold' and contained no live rounds." The docs continued: "Mr. Baldwin then asked Ms. Hutchins if she wanted him to pull back the hammer, as the script instructed, and she said yes. … Baldwin then pulled back the hammer, but not far enough to actually cock the gun. When Baldwin let go of the hammer, the gun went off." Later in the filing, Alec's lawyer wrote: "Someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than [Alec]." The arbitration filing also reveals text messages between Alec and Halyna's widow, Matthew Hutchins, that allegedly suggest Matthew did not initially seem to blame Alec for Halyna's death. That apparently changed after Alec's interview with George Stephanopoulos, in which he said he was not responsible for Halyna's death. Finally, the documents deny claims made by some crew members that Alec failed to attend weapon safety trainings. The actor's lawyers argue he asked about taking the training lessons about a month before he arrived on the New Mexico set. Halyna, who shared a 9-year-old son with her husband, died on Oct. 21. She was 42.
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Ben Affleck cameos in new Jennifer Lopez video decades after 'Jenny From the Block'
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are poised to fuel a new round of engagement rumors, thanks to Ben's subtle cameo in Jen's latest music video. And if the thought of Ben appearing in a J.Lo video gives you flashbacks to the on-again couple's first stab at romance in the early aughts, you're not alone. During their "Bennifer" heyday nearly 20 years ago, Ben appeared as the singer's love interest throughout her 2002 "Jenny from the Block" music video. Now, he's back as Jen's main squeeze in the new video for the ballad version of her song, "Marry Me" from her recent movie. In the new video, released on March 11, Ben's screen time is much more subdued now than it was in his 2002 video cameo. In fact, we don't see Ben's face — just snaps of Jen with a guy (who's clearly Ben, given what we do see) as they commence snuggling, holding hands and playfully flirting in bed. Jen and Ben previously called off their engagement in 2004. Though they haven't confirmed whether marriage is on the table in 2022, Jen said on the "Today" show last fall, "I still believe in happily ever after, for sure," when asked if she'd consider another trip down the aisle. The actress and singer also gushed about Ben to People earlier this year. "I feel so lucky and happy and proud to be with him," she said at the time. "It's a beautiful love story that we got a second chance."
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Ukraine-born Mila Kunis says the Russian people are not 'enemy'
On March 11, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher announced they've raised more than $20 million in less than one week to support refugees fleeing Ukraine in the wake of Russia's invasion. As the couple continues working toward their fundraising goal of $30,000, Mila, 38, is opening up about her experience as a native Ukrainian watching what's happened there since Russian president Vladimir Putin sent troops into the country on Feb. 24. "I was born in Ukraine. I came to the States in 1991 and we were the last of my family to migrate," Mila recently told Maria Shriver in an in-depth interview for The Sunday Paper (via Yahoo). "I very much have always felt like an American," she explained, recalling how she was surprised when people would tell her she seemed "so Eastern European" despite having moved to the U.S. as a little girl. "My whole life I was like L.A. through and through. Then this happens — and mind you, we have friends in Ukraine, Ash and I went and met with [President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy right before COVID. I've been there, but have always considered myself very much an American," she continued. "This happens, and I can't express or explain what came over me, but all of a sudden I genuinely was, I was like, oh my God, I feel like a part of my heart just got ripped out. It was the weirdest feeling." Elsewhere in the interview, she said she works hard to remind the kids she shares with Ashton — their daughter Wyatt is 7, and son Dimitri is 5 — that they are "half Iowa, half Ukraine," given their parents' heritages. She also talked about wanting the public to see that Russians are separate from their government and should not be faulted for actions their leader has taken. "I don't think that we need to consider the people of Russia an enemy. I do really want to emphasize that," she said. "I don't think that that's being said enough in the press. I think that there's now, 'If you're not with us, you're against us' mentality. I don't want people to conflate the two problems that are happening. I don't think it's the people of Russia. I don't want there to be a thing of 'all Russians are horrible human beings.' I don't want that to be the rhetoric. I do encourage people to look at it from the perspective of, 'It's the people in power, not the people themselves.'" Mila's full interview is slated for release on March 13 via Maria's website.
Heidi Montag explains her raw organ meat diet
Heidi Montag says she's taken to eating a raw meat diet — including plenty of organ meats — to increase her fertility potential. After the "Hills: New Beginnings" cast member, 35, was photographed in Los Angeles holding a plastic baggie that contained what looked like bloody flesh, People checked in with the star and learned that in fact that's just what was in the bag. "I love trying new things! I've always been very interested in various types of diets," she told the outlet in a report published March 10. "When you think about where the most nutrients are that are bio available to humans without toxins, organs are very nutritious parts of animals. Culturally organs are a critical part. Eating raw liver is going to preserve as many nutrients as possible," Heidi explained. Adding that there's "always risk eating raw just like eating raw sushi," she said she actually enjoys "eating sushi-style organs." Heidi, who shares 4-year-old son Gunner with her husband Spencer Pratt, said that after "trying to get pregnant for over a year and a half," she was ready to try a new approach. "I have felt incredible on this diet. A lot more energy, clarity, increased libido, and overall improvement on chronic pain I have had. Also now I've been taking the supplements called 'Her Package' from Heart and Soil that has improved my menstrual cycle," she said. She even likes the flavor of raw meat, though that took some time. "I have definitely adjusted to the taste. I do like the taste cooked. I mean I love Foie gras," Heidi admitted. Last year, the "Hills" star revealed she'd had surgery to remove non-cancerous uterine polyps.
Billy Joel won't grant music, name rights to upcoming biopic
Billy Joel's upcoming biopic, "Piano Man," won't be made with the singer's participation or approval, his rep told Variety this week. "No rights in music, name/likeness or life story will be granted," Billy's rep later confirmed to People. While the singer-songwriter won't be involved in any way, the film's producers have "acquired life rights" to Billy's former music rep Irwin Mazur, who worked with Billy from 1970 until 1972, according to Variety. It was Irwin whose dad owned the club where Billy kicked off his career on Long Island in 1966. Irwin went on to manage The Hassles, the band Billy joined when he was just a teen. "These are the real-life events I witnessed first-hand that shaped Billy from a keyboard player in the local Long Island band, The Hassles, into the iconic musician, singer-songwriter, and entertainer who thrills audiences around the world, today," Irwin told Variety. Set to be produced by Michael Jai White's Jaigantic Studios, "Piano Man" will be written and directed by Adam Ripp, the outlet reported. Like Irwin, Adam has roots that connect back to Billy's early career. "Billy Joel has been a part of my life since my father signed him to his record label when I was 4 years old," Adam told Variety in a statement. "His music is ingrained in my DNA and it's been a dream of mine as a filmmaker to explore and celebrate the untold story of how Billy Joel became the Piano Man." Pamela Anderson was also not involved in the making of Hulu's "Pam & Tommy." She announced a Netflix deal to make a documentary about her life shortly after the limited series was released earlier this year.
Jussie Smollett to be held in protective custody while behind bars
Former "Empire" star Jussie Smollett will be held in protective custody during his 150-day prison sentence, according to a March 11 report from TMZ. The actor was sentenced to jail time, plus 30 months of felony probation and nearly $150,000 in restitution and fines on March 10 after being found guilty of lying to police when he said he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago in 2019. He's maintained he is innocent and did not stage the attack throughout the past three years. A spokesperson for the Cook County Sheriff's Office reportedly told TMZ Jussie will have 24/7 security camera monitoring in his cell and will not have to interact with other inmates while using common areas, per his protective custody request. After his sentencing was announced, Jussie reportedly told the court, "if anything happens to me when I go in there [to jail], I did not do it to myself," as he was being taken into custody. A separate civil action was also filed against the star by the City of Chicago over money spent investigating his claims about the alleged assault. That suit is still pending, according to TMZ.
Bella Hadid joins Gigi in donating Fashion Week earnings to Ukraine relief
Like her sister, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid has vowed to donate her Fashion Week earnings to Ukraine relief as the country continues fighting to maintain its sovereignty amid Russia's invasion. "To watch my Ukrainian friends and colleagues working hard here in Europe, so close but so far from their families/friends/homes in Ukraine who are experiencing one of many brutal occupations and invasions happening right now in the world is a very emotional and humbling experience for me," Bella wrote on Instagram on March 9. She posted the words alongside a gallery of photos, the first of which featured the model in a blue and yellow ensemble, a la Ukraine's flag. "We rarely have control of our work schedules and this week has really shown me the strength and perseverance of the people around me who are going through pure terror," Bella continued. "To hear their stories and emotions first hand is devastating and I wholeheartedly stand with them in support. I stand along side every person that has been affected by this war and the innocent people who's lives have been changed forever from the hands of 'power.'" She went on to credit Gigi and their friend, Argentine model Mica Arganaraz for the donation idea. "Taking after Mica and My amazing Sis, I will be donating all of my earnings from this Fashion Week directly to organizations that are providing help, refuge and medical aide to those in need on the ground in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support our Palestinian people and land," she wrote. In closing, Bella quoted a line from her sister's Instagram about the importance of keeping "eyes and hearts open to … injustice," and listed countries including Ukraine and Palestine where residents, as she put it, are "dealing with power trippers." Among the celebs who applauded her efforts were Camilla Cabello, who replied with two red heart emojis, and supermodel Amber Valletta, who wrote in the comments, "❤️Amen. Love you women! ❤️ peace, love and forgiveness to prevail in all of us."
Prince Harry won't return to England for Prince Philip service
Having been denied police protection for his family in the U.K., Prince Harry will not attend the March 29 service honoring his late grandfather, Prince Philip, at Westminster Abbey. A rep for the Duke of Cambridge tells Entertainment Tonight Harry still "hopes to visit his grandmother [Queen Elizabeth] as soon as possible." Harry previously requested permission to personally pay for police security while visiting his family in England — a service that would have been covered by taxpayers had he and his wife, Meghan Markle, not relocated to the United States and stepped down from their roles as senior members of the royal family. In a statement regarding the protection request, a spokesperson for the duke said that while he and Meghan "personally fund a private security team for their family … that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the U.K.," adding that, "In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home." Harry and Prince William's mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash after being chased by paparazzi, something he's admitted he still suffers anxiety and stress over. He shares two children, Archie, 2, and Lilibet, 9 months, with Meghan.