Hannah Brown sparks controversy with N-word on Instagram
Former "The Bachelorette" star Hannah Brown got herself into hot water this month when she used the N-word in a video she posted to her Instagram Stories. She was trying to remember a TikTok dance to DaBaby's "Rockstar" and sang a few words from the track, including the slur. She apologized but Bachelor Nation members' reactions varied. Former "The Bachelorette" star Rachel Lindsay criticized Hannah, noting, "I don't care if you're singing along to it in a song… It is not an excuse for you to now take the word when it has so much hate and history behind it… Nonblack people should not feel OK saying that word." Tyler Cameron — who competed for Hannah's heart on her season and has remained close to her since — wrote on Instagram, "We need to lift HB up from this. She is learning and growing just like every single one of us. Love rids hate. Hate only makes more hate. Let's learn and lift each other up with love."
Kristin Cavallari announces that "Very Cavallari" is over
"Very Cavallari" is no more! On May 19 — on the heels of her public and messy split from husband Jay Cutler — Kristin Cavallari announced that she won't be continuing with her E! reality show, which co-starred Jay and ran for three seasons. On May 4, People magazine confirmed that the former couple had reached two agreements in the wake of their divorce filings. The first involves custody of their three kids, who will remain in the marital home in Nashville while their parents switch off being with them for one week at a time until Kristin can move to a new permanent residence. The second involves Jay agreeing to release funds so that Kristin can buy a new house after she accused him of initially blocking her home purchase.
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Ruby Rose is leaving "Batwoman"
The star of "Batwoman" is done. On May 19, news broke revealing that Ruby Rose, who played the titular character on the television show, had decided to leave the series after just one season. "I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season," she said in a statement. "This was not a decision I made lightly as I have the utmost respect for the cast, crew and everyone involved with the show in both Vancouver and in Los Angeles." The CW show was renewed for a second season in January. The character will be recast with a new actress.
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Jimmy Fallon responds to unearthed blackface video, Jamie Foxx defends him
In late May, a sketch from a 2000 episode of "Saturday Night Live" — in which Jimmy Fallon appeared in blackface to do an impression of comedian Chris Rock — resurfaced on Twitter. Many were outraged and criticized the late night host — the hashtag #JimmyFallonIsOverParty even briefly trended. Jimmy, who was an "SNL" cast member from 1998 to 2004, took to social media on May 26 to address the controversy. "In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this," he wrote. "I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable." Jamie Foxx made headlines when he came to Jimmy's defense, writing in the comments section of an E! News post about the controversy, "He was doing an impression of chris rock. It wasn't black face. We comedians I know it's a tough time right now. But this one is a stretch," Jamie shared. "On a show called in living color we played every race Let this one go. We got bigger fish to fry … #changecourse."
Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman announces engagement 10 months after wife's death
Ten months after wife Beth died from cancer, Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman found love again and proposed. The reality TV star announced on May 4 that he'd popped the question to girlfriend Francie Frane. The timing is problematic for some fans, who believe Dog moved on too fast. In the same interview, Francie — who was widowed six months before Dog lost Beth — defended their quick engagement, telling The Sun, "the truth is that both of us have spent three years walking alongside our spouses sick and we know that God brought us together and that's why we don't believe that it's too soon."
Gabrielle Union speaks out about "AGT" issues as investigation finds no wrongdoing
In late May, NBC, Fremantle and Syco publicly revealed the results of their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Gabrielle Union's firing from "America's Got Talent" in late 2019 following charges that there was a toxic environment behind the scenes. "Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union's appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time," a statement said, as reported by Deadline on May 27. "The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract." The same day, Variety published a cover story with Gabrielle in which she detailed many of her issues, including how judge/producer Simon Cowell smoked at work despite her complaint about a severe allergy, an incident where a white contestant donned black gloves to portray a black performer, unequal time for minorities in hair and makeup and inappropriate comments about her hairstyles as well as a racist joke Jay Leno allegedly made about Simon's dogs. Gabrielle said she felt "isolated" and "othered" for speaking up.
"American Idol" crowns a winner, but finale is full of surprises
The "American Idol" finale was filled with a lot of surprises… and not only because it was all done virtually. The biggest shock? Contestant Samantha Diaz (whose stage name is Sam) was crowned the winner over frontrunner Dibesh Pokharel (whose stage name is Arthur Gunn) — but before that happened, Arthur's family mistakenly thought he'd won when he was announced as one of the top two. The awkward moment resulted in a lot of confusion when Sam was later named the victor. While watching the show, some fans grew concerned that host Ryan Seacrest slurred his speech and appeared to have a swollen eye, as they believed he could have been suffering from a stroke. Ryan's rep quickly reassured fans that the host was just fine, chalking it up to "exhaustion."
"The Voice" also crowns a winner virtually
"American Idol" wasn't the only singing competition with a virtual finale this month! "The Voice" also crowned a winner from a distance — Todd Tilghman from Blake Shelton's team became season 18's victor on May 19. At 42, he's the oldest contestant to win the show.
Night Angel aka Kandi Burruss wins "The Masked Singer"
The other music competition show that named a winner in May? FOX's "The Masked Singer," which saw Xscape singer-songwriter and "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss — who performed as Night Angel — take top honors on May 20. Turtle came in second and was unmasked as actor-singer Jesse McCartney, while Frog placed third and was revealed to be rapper-actor Shad "Bow Wow" Moss.
Lori Loughlin and husband plead guilty in college admissions cheating scandal case
After more than a year of proclaiming their innocence and fighting the charges, former "Full House" star Lori Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, did a major about-face and agreed to plead guilty, serve prison time and pay large fines in their college admissions cheating scam case, authorities announced on May 21. They were arrested in March 2019 and accused of paying a $500,000 bribe to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits despite neither girl participating in the sport. Lori's deal, pending a judge's approval, comes with two months in prison and two years of supervised release, a $150,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Mossimo will serve five months in prison and two years of supervised release and also pay a $250,000 fine and complete 250 hours of community service. On May 22 — the day they pleaded via a Zoom call — reports emerged speculating that both could end up serving less time behind bars due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jerry Stiller passes away at 92
The TV world lost a legend: Ben Stiller announced on May 11 that his dad, comedy great Jerry Stiller, had passed away at 92. Jerry — who found success as one-half of the comedy duo Stiller and Meara with his late wife, Anne Meara — famously played Frank Costanza on "Seinfeld" and Arthur Spooner on "The King of Queens." "I'm sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes. He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad," Ben wrote on Twitter.
Fred Willard is dead at 86
Scene-stealer Fred Willard died on May 16 of natural causes at 86. The hilarious actor and four-time Primetime Emmy nominee — who won a Daytime Emmy for his work on the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" in 2015 — was known for his performances on TV sitcoms like "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Modern Family" (he'll posthumously appear on the 2020 Netflix series "Space Force," in which he plays the father of star Steve Carell's character). Dozens of celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to Fred, who also memorably appeared in movies like "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind," "Waiting for Guffman" and "This Is Spinal Tap."
More TV stars who died in May
Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard (pictured) died after being caught in a riptide off California's Venice Beach on May 17 while swimming with his young son. A lifeguard was able to save the boy but Shad got pulled under the waves. His body was found on May 20… Former child star Ken Osmond, who played Wally Cleaver's best friend Eddie Haskell on "Leave It to Beaver," died at his Los Angeles home on May 18 from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and peripheral artery disease. He was 76… Phyllis George — the Miss America 1971 who became a broadcast TV pioneer when she was named the first female co-anchor of "The NFL Today" — died on May 16 at a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, from complications of the blood disorder polycythemia vera. The former "Candid Camera" host and first lady of Kentucky was 70… "Trading Spaces" designer Frank Bielec died at a Houston hospital on May 15 from complications following a heart attack. He was 72… Filmmaker Lynn Shelton, who was known for her work in the mumblecore genre and for directing TV shows including "The Mindy Project," "Mad Men," "GLOW," "Fresh Off the Boat" and, most recently, Hulu's "Little Fires Everywhere," died of a previously undiagnosed blood disorder on May 16 at 54… "Baskets" actor Hagen Mills, 29, died in Kentucky on May 19 in what authorities described as an attempted murder-suicide. According to police, Hagen shot Erica Price — the mother of his young daughter — then turned the gun on himself. She survived.
Mary-Kate Olsen splits from husband Olivier Sarkozy
On May 13, TMZ reported that former "Full House" actress Mary-Kate Olsen's four-year marriage to French banker Olivier Sarkozy is over. The news broke after the actress-turned-fashion designer sought an emergency court order to try to get her divorce moving, enforce the terms of their prenuptial agreement and "trigger an automatic court order preventing [Olivier] from disposing of her property," TMZ reported. A judge denied it on May 45, saying it was not essential, though Mary-Kate was finally able to formally file for divorce on May 25 — the first day NYC courts reopened to accept electronic filings. It emerged that the Olsen twin first signed a divorce petition on April 17 but was shut down as, at the time, New York courts were only handling emergency cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brian Austin Green confirms he and Megan Fox have separated
On the May 18 episode of his eponymous podcast, former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Brian Austin Green confirmed that he and Megan Fox separated in late 2019 after nearly a decade of marriage and 15 years as a couple. She's since been spotted spending time with her "Midnight in the Switchgrass" co-star Machine Gun Kelly.
"Riverdale" co-stars end real-life romance
On May 25, Page Six reported that "Riverdale" co-stars and real-life couple Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse had split after about three years of dating. A source told the New York Post's gossip column, "Cole and Lili split before the [coronavirus] pandemic hit and have been quarantining separately. They remain good friends."
Ellen DeGeneres is sick of all the negative press
Stories alleging that Ellen DeGeneres may not be the friendly, nice person everyone believes her to be have repeatedly surfaced in recent months. In the wake of all the negative press, Us Weekly reported on May 13 that the star is "at the end of her rope." A source told the outlet, "She thought this was all just sour grapes from a few haters. But it's not a passing thing — the hits just keep coming." The allegations started back in March when comedian Kevin T. Porter took to Twitter to brand Ellen "notoriously one of the meanest people alive" and continued in April when YouTube beauty vlogger Nikkie de Jager alleged that the comedian was "cold and distant" when she appeared on her show back in January. Then in early May, a former bodyguard described the talk show host as "very cold" and said "the way that she treats people other than those who are in her circle" is "actually kind of demeaning."
Nicolas Cage will play Joe Exotic in new "Tiger King"-inspired show
"Tiger King" mania continues! On May 4, news broke revealing that Nicolas Cage will star as Joe Exotic on a series about the now-incarcerated controversy-plagued big cat keeper who was made famous in a Netflix documentary this spring. While the casting seems perfect, the move comes a surprise to some Nic fans since it marks his first TV project. The upcoming show will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Imagine TV Studios and will be based on the Texas Monthly article "Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild" by Leif Reigstad.
"Ink Master" star arrested for murder
"Ink Master" star Daniel Silva was arrested and booked for murder after a car he was driving ran off the road and collided with a stop sign and a tree after a night of alleged partying in Los Angeles on May 10. The accident resulted in the death of YouTube star Corey La Barrie, who was riding in the passenger seat, on Corey's 25th birthday. "Entertainment Tonight" obtained the police report, which revealed Daniel's car was traveling "at a high rate of speed" when he "lost control." After the accident, he allegedly "exited the vehicle and attempted to leave the scene but was stopped by citizens who came to render aid." Eyewitnesses from the birthday party the men attended confirmed to TMZ that they saw Daniel drinking ahead of the accident. Corey's parents have since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the tattoo artist.
Jeff Probst admits he's had "Survivor" gender bias
"Survivor: Winners at War" came to an end on May 13. On the finale of the 40th season of the show, host Jeff Probst opened up and admitted he was guilty of gender bias on earlier seasons of the long-running reality show. The topic came up when they touched on contestant Sarah Lacina's experience with gender bias and Jeff shared, "I am certain if I look back at all of the comments I have made over 20 years, I would find the exact same bias in me — who I call by last names. Guys have different relationships with each other, and I might not know how to have that relationship with a woman. … I'll definitely own the fact that I don't think I saw it when 'Survivor' started, and I don't think I even knew I was supposed to look for it. But I'm very much aware of it now, and I'm grateful that we can open up and investigate, even though it comes with crisis or it comes with hardship or it comes with some tears." He later told Entertainment Weekly, "I've been with 'Survivor' for 20 years and I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. … Gender bias is something that has become such an important topic that this one felt it was timely and relevant for many reasons. I'm grateful to Sarah for bringing up the topic. It gave me the opportunity to address my own life lessons!"
Rosie O'Donnell alleges Bill Cosby was inappropriate on her talk show set
While appearing on "Watch What Happens Live" on May 3, Rosie O'Donnell revealed a previously untold story about Bill Cosby that went down on her popular '90s and early-aughts talk show. The comedian told host Andy Cohen that there was an incident backstage when Bill was a surprise guest on her show, as he told a female producer, she claimed, "'All [Rosie] has to do is put her hand right here,' and he put his hand near his penis, 'and she'll know it's me.'" A male producer took over with Bill after the female producer asked to leave, Rosie said, adding that when Bill — who's currently in prison for sexual assault — was later accused of drugging and raping women, she was not surprised.
Anderson Cooper says his mom gave her blessing for the CNN anchor to have kids
On May 4, Anderson Cooper revealed that before mom Gloria Vanderbilt died in 2019, he told her that he was on his way to being a father — and she was thrilled. The CNN anchor explained on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" that he "was able to tell her shortly before she died that I was going to have a baby. [My son] Wyatt hadn't been created, was not a being at that point, but I had the idea in my head. I was in the process." Anderson also referenced his late brother, Carter, who committed suicide, and his late father, adding, "I do wish my mom and dad and my brother, Carter, were alive to meet Wyatt, but I like to believe they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing, happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt, and that our family continues."
John Krasinski reveals where that famous "The Office" teapot ended up
"The Office" fans, listen up! If you ever wondered what happened to that teapot Jim gifted Pam, the mystery was solved this month thanks to the "Office Ladies" podcast. John Krasinski participated in the May 12 episode of former co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey's podcast and confessed that prop master Phil Shea sent him the green teapot and other props "three or four years" after the sitcom wrapped back in 2013.