Michael Strahan reportedly felt unable to 'raise his voice' at ABC without being perceived as 'threatening'
Amid protests sparked by the killings of George Floyd and other unarmed black Americans at the hands of white police this year, major media groups are looking internally at systemic racism. As part of that effort, ABC reportedly held a town hall-esque call on racism and discrimination with employees of both ABC and its parent company, Disney. According to multiple outlets, Michael Strahan — who left his co-hosting post on "Live!" alongside Kelly Ripa for "Good Morning America" in 2016 — told fellow staffers he's felt he "couldn't speak up" as a black man at the company. A "source with knowledge of the [June 4] call" tells The Wrap Strahan never specified which show he was working for when he had that experience. But sources tell Page Six Strahan was referring to his time on "Live!," which ended on seemingly bad terms with Ripa, who was reportedly irked about being blindsided by his departure. Back in January, Strahan told the New York Times he felt like a "sidekick" on "Live!" when he thought he was hired "to be a partner." In the same interview, he recalled having been "asked to [move to 'GMA'] by the people who run the network," who he felt "mishandled" his exit by making it seem like it had been his "choice," when it was actually their "request." One Page Six source says of the June 4 town hall call: "Michael said there were some very tense situations with executives who got argumentative and loud on the show, and he was very aware he couldn't speak up or raise his voice as he was worried he would be seen as threatening." A rep for the network declined to comment on Strahan's admission to Page Six. But less than two weeks after the town hall discussion, in a Huffington Post report titled "At ABC News, Toxicity Thrives" an ABC rep confirmed the network has placed longtime ABC News exec Barbara Fedida on leave while it investigates allegations she has an "extensive history" of abusive behavior on the job, including allegedly making racist comments about "picking cotton" to "GMA" anchor Robin Roberts and calling Sunny Hostin of "The View," "low-rent."
Keep reading for Kristie Alley's late-to-the-game review of '13 Reasons Why' …
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Kirstie Alley is a little late on her '13 Reasons Why' warning
Kirstie Alley apparently missed the memo on "13 Reasons Why," the controversial Netflix show that uses a high school girl's suicide as a point of departure for tackling issues ranging from mental health problems to sexual assault to gun violence. The fourth and final season arrived earlier this month, but it sounds like Alley, 69, is just catching up on it. "Don't let your kids watch 13 Reasons Why…," she tweeted to her 1.3 million followers on Monday (via Today). "DARK so DARK and such an onslaught of the most non-stop f—-d upness to come down the high school pike since Caligula was 16," she added. Under pressure from various suicide awareness and mental health groups, as well as parents, producers ended up editing out the main character, Hannah Baker's suicide scene in Season 3, according to Today. When a user defended the show as "getting better" over the course of four seasons depsite being so "intense," Alley agreed — sort of. "I think it's a good show," she replied, "… for people over 40 or 70." Um. Nobody tell Alley about "Euphoria" …
Grimes and Elon Musk tweak son's name on birth certificate in accordance with state law
More than a month after Grimes and Elon Musk officially clinched the Weirdest Celebrity Offspring Baby Name title with the arrival of their son, "X Æ A-12," TMZ reports the pair has officially tweaked the kid's name in order to get an acceptable version on his birth certificate. In California, birth names must abide by the English alphabet and may not include numbers or special characters. So "Little X," as Grimes has said they call him, is now legally named as follows: First name, "X;" middle name, "AE A-XII;" last name: "Musk." As the singer explained on Twitter after her son's birth on May 4, the original "Æ" represented her "elven spelling of Ai," which in turn represents "love &/or Artifical intelligence [sic]." The original "A-12," now in Roman numeral form as "A-XII," is a nod to the couple's "favorite aircraft," a 1960s-era USAF spy plane Grimes described at the time as being cool for having "no weapons, no defenses, just speed … Great in battle, but non-violent." Plus, she added, she likes "A" because her favorite song is "Archangel." She also shouted out "metal rat," which, according to Business Insider, is "Little X's" sign, since the Chinese zodiac incorporates animal signs and the five elements, making 2020 the "year of the metal rat." Moving on …
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Demi Lovato's beau Max Ehrich calls her the 'love of my life,' fueling engagement rumors
Maybe Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich really do have a trip down the aisle in their future. Us Weekly recently reported the PDA-prone couple have been "talking about getting engaged." And judging from their latest round of social media smitten-ness, they're certainly on the right track. On Monday, Max shared photos of the two kissing before a gorgeous sunset, captioning them, "Magical weekend in Joshua Tree with the love of my life 💘 @ddlovato," (via Elle). Demi posted the same shots, along with with an explanation of their mini-trip that doubled as an ode to her new guy. "Had an amazing weekend in the magical desert of Joshua Tree with my love @maxehrich ❤️.. I went to work on a project but it was so nice to get away for a couple days..," she wrote. "Thank you for making me so happy my dear.. I love going on adventures with you 🥰🌵☀️ p.s. thanks @lyndan99 for taking these sappy pics and bein our third wheel this weekend!! You rock 😝" The singer and Daytime Emmy nominee reportedly began dating in March.
Tyler Perry to pay for Rayshard Brooks' funeral, college education for his four children
At the beginning of the pandemic, Tyler Perry was credited with quietly surprising elderly grocery shoppers in Atlanta, where he lives and works, and New Orleans, where he was born, by paying their entire bill. Now, in the wake of the killing of Rayshard Brooks, a black man shot in the back by a white Atlanta police officer as he resisted arrest after falling asleep in his car in a Wendy's parking lot on Friday, Perry is stepping up to help Brooks' grieving family. People reports the "Madea" franchise creator is paying for Brooks' funeral and has offered to cover the cost of college for each of the 27-year-old's four children, who range in age from 1 to 13. "[He] spoke to Rayshard's family and wanted to do something to help," a source tells the outlet. "His heart goes out to the family during this tragic time." Brooks, who was 27 when he died in the hospital following surgery for his shooting wounds, was stopped by police after they were called about a man sleeping in his car in the drive-through of the fast food eatery. Police body cam footage shows him calmly offering to "walk home" to where his daughters are after his blood alcohol level registered as 35 percent above the legal limit. Instead, police attempted to arrest him, during which he reportedly grabbed a taser belonging to one of the two officers. When he tried to run off, officer Garrett Rolfe shot him, according to People. Rolfe has been fired and the other officer on the scene, Devin Brosnan, was put on administrative duty. The Atlanta Chief of Police, Erika Shields, resigned after Brooks' death. Brooks had been planning to celebrate the 8th birthday of his daughter, Blessing, the following day, according to his wife of eight years, Tomika Miller. A GoFundMe has been set up in Brooks' name, with all proceeds going to support his family.
Katy Perry to co-headline virtual concerts for Rock the Vote, COVID-19 relief for the LGBTQ+ community
Katy Perry wasn't kidding when she told fans this spring that she had a big summer ahead. In addition to prepping for the arrival of her first child with Orlando Bloom, the singer just announced two major — if virtual — performances coming up in June. Sharing a link to Rock the Vote's kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 event, a get-out-the-vote campaign / live stream slated for Thursday, Katy appealed to fans on Instagram writing: "The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots." On Tuesday, she announced she'll also appear at iHeartRadio's Can't Cancel Pride event on June 25, which also features performances by Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Ricky Martin, Sia and Melissa Etheridge. Pegged to Pride, the concert will serve as a COVID-19 relief fundraiser for the LGBTQ+ community.
Why Eva Marcille won't return to 'RHOA' for Season 13
"Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Eva Marcille is leaving the popular series in what appears to be a change of heart inspired at least in part by the country's current reckoning with systemic racism in America. In a statement about her decision not to return for Season 13, Marcille told E! News: "I appreciate the bond of friendship that I have made with several of my cast mates, and the strong personal relationships I have cultivated with numerous executives and producers from Bravo and Truly Original. I am thankful for the opportunity I was provided. However, after speaking with my family and representatives, I believe what I am hoping to accomplish for the culture and community will be better served by focusing on other opportunities. I look forward to serving my community on the 'Rickey Smiley' morning show and finding ways to be a voice during this transformational time in our country for people of color." E! adds that Porsha Williams hinted on her Instagram Story Tuesday that she's returning to "RHOA," while NeNe Leakes continues to say she's on the fence about sticking with the series.
Queen Latifah weighs in on 'Gone With Wind' ahead of its return to HBO Max
Queen Latifah, who played Hattie McDaniel on Ryan Murphy's "Hollywood," does not want to see "Gone With the Wind" made available to viewers again, despite its upcoming return to HBO Max, which dropped it amid ongoing protests against racism and police brutality. "Let 'Gone With the Wind' be gone with the wind," she recently told the Associated Press (via ET). In "Hollywood," Latifah's McDaniel details the actress' utterly unsavory experience as the first black woman to win an Academy Award. "They didn't even let her in the theater until right before she got that award," Latifah said. "Someone came outside and brought her into the auditorium. She wasn't even allowed to sit in there. And then she had to read a speech that was written by a studio. You know that's not what the hell she wanted to say." She added: "Then after that, all she could do was play the same kinds of roles. …So the opportunities at that time and the way that those in power in that business were relegating us and marginalizing us and not allowing us to grow and thrive after that was just terrible. And a lot of that is still around today." HBO Max has said that the 1939 film will return to the platform with an explanatory and context-giving intro by Jacqueline Stewart, who hosts "Silent Sunday Nights" on Turner Classic Movies and is a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.
Tarek El Moussa calls new home with Heather Rae Young his 'next chapter'
In the new issue of People, "Flip or Flop" star Tarek El Moussa and his girlfriend, reality TV realtor Heather Rae Young of "Selling Sunset," show off the beach house El Moussa says represents the next "chapter" of his life. The couple had been living in the bungalow El Moussa bought following his 2016 split from Christina Anstead, and Young says that while it "was sad to move on," the two were "really excited to get something together and make it our own." They managed to move — while social distancing — into the five-bedroom home in Newport Beach, California, this spring. And as El Moussa admits to People, despite his years of work in real estate, he's just discovering that "living in a different location" can "change the way you live." For him, that includes finding his outdoorsy side. "I was never an outdoor guy before, but now I come home from work and I look outside and there are people everywhere having fun. Now I want to be active with the kids," he says of the son and daughter he shares with Anstead. According to Young, the home is almost attached to a tennis court, so they've all been practicing their court skills, as well as swimming and riding bikes. "The biggest thing was obviously making the kids feel comfortable," says El Moussa. "In selling my old home, I let a piece of the past go," he adds. "It was a very defining moment in my life. But now it's time to move on to the next chapter. And that's right here." El Moussa and Young were first linked romantically last summer.
Ruby Rose introduces a new, Pride-themed Crocs design
One of the most colorful heads in showbiz has launched her very own Pride-ready line of rainbow Crocs. JustJared reports Ruby Rose, who's been toying with a veritable rainbow of hair transformations since the pandemic began, announced this week she's designed "Just Love," a new version of the Crocs Classic Bae Clogs that feature marbled rainbow colors on the body of the shoe, along with "distinctive Pride laces." "I've been incredibly excited these past few months to design another shoe with @Crocs!" the actress wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. "While Just Love is a collaboration celebrating Pride, the message of equality and acceptance is one that resonates across movements and communities,"she continued. "In honor of this partnership, we've made a donation to @GLAAD, a leading media advocacy organization working to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance. Always lead with love and #ComeAsYouAre." The shoes retail for $69.99 on the Crocs website.