Harvey Weinstein, His Brother And Their Company Hit With Civil Rights Lawsuit

Harvey Weinstein, seen in May 2017 at the Cannes Film Festival.

Yann Coatsaliou/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Yann Coatsaliou/AFP/Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood megaproducer accused of sexual harassment and assault dating back decades, has been slapped with a civil rights lawsuit by New York’s attorney general. Eric Schneiderman announced the suit Sunday, saying his office has sued not only Weinstein, but also his brother, Robert, and The Weinstein Company.

“As alleged in our complaint, The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

“Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched. Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear.”

The lawsuit also threatens to disrupt a reported $500 million sale of the company the Weinstein brothers co-founded in 2005. As The Los Angeles Times reports, former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet had been in weeks-long negotiations to buy the troubled organization and set up a proposed fund for Weinstein’s alleged victims.

The Times notes the deal was expected to be inked Sunday and announced later this week, but Schneiderman reportedly has expressed strong reservations:

“According to a document reviewed by The Times, the attorney general’s office has been seeking assurances that the company will establish a fund that will adequately compensate accusers. The office has also demanded that the company put into escrow any proceeds from the sale that would go to Harvey Weinstein or his brother, Bob, who co-founded the studio in 2005.

“Schneiderman’s office has also demanded oversight over the company as part of the purchase agreement to ensure that the new company takes adequate steps to protect employees. Contreras-Sweet balked at the demand for government oversight, said two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.

“If a deal is not reached, the Weinstein Co. may be forced into bankruptcy. “

It has been roughly four months since a New York Times report surfaced disturbing allegations against Harvey Weinstein, detailing a decades-long record of claims against the producer ranging from harassment to rape. Since then, The New Yorker published its own investigation of Weinstein and multiple police departments have opened probes into the allegations.

At the same time, the allegations helped catalyze a vast movement to root out sexual misconduct in Hollywood, Capitol Hill and other industries.

Weinstein has apologized for some of his behavior, but “he denies many of the accusations as patently false,” Weinstein lawyer Lisa Bloom said shortly after the release of the New York Times report.

Schneider’s office says the lawsuit, which can be read below, “is the result of an ongoing four month investigation” into Weinstein and the company he co-founded. The office says the investigation uncovered “egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights, and business laws.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

On Stage, In Marriage, These 2 Alvin Ailey Dancers Learned The Steps Together

Glenn Allen Sims and Linda Celeste Sims perform the duet “Fix Me, Jesus” in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Revelations. The pair have been married for almost 20 years.

Nan Melville /Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

hide caption

toggle caption

Nan Melville /Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

She says she was born doing it. He says a schoolboy crush got him interested. Years later, their mutual love for their shared art form has brought them critical acclaim, awards, magazine covers — and each other.

Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims are two of the longest tenured dancers in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company — one of the best known and most loved dance companies in the country. They’re also married. The pair have danced together for years, forging their love story in the hard work, pain and drama of the dance world. And yet, it endures.

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the couple spoke with NPR’s Michel Martin about how they met, what it’s like to work together as spouses and what advice they have for sustaining a marriage.


Interview Highlights

On how they met

Glenn Allen Sims: Well, I guess I saw her first. It was one of those situations where we were on a five-minute break and we were in the dancers lounge, and I just started talking to her because she was also new and she was actually quite shy. I was new, so I was sitting back in the corner observing the room, and I noticed that she was kind of the same, as well … By the end of the day, when we left, I kind of did the, you know, “Hey guy” jog up to her, like, “Do you mind if I walk with you?” She was like, “No, totally.”

Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims are two of the longest tenured dancers in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company — one of the best known companies in the country.

Christopher Duggan /Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

hide caption

toggle caption

Christopher Duggan /Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

On if they kept their new relationship under wraps at work

Linda Celeste Sims: So Glenn and I love dance. We love it as a profession, and we knew that if we were going to start dating that we needed to respect the studio space and the work space and keep it separate from our relationship.

On what it’s like when they dance together

Glenn Allen Sims: I’ve had many partners — countless partners that I’ve worked with — that were wonderful to work with, great experiences, but when I got a chance to work with my wife, it was just like this is the feeling that I wanted to be able to have. This is the feeling that I think the audience should experience, when both people are being vulnerable enough and free enough because they are secure with one another.

Linda Celeste Sims: And, you know, just to add to that, for me what it feels like to me is freedom. The ability to draw the space with my body with someone that I know that if I just take a breath he can come and catch me, and every day your breath is different, every day you feel different. And I know for a guarantee that this man has my back.

On what advice they have for how to sustain a relationship

Linda Celeste Sims: Just don’t forget the reason why you loved him, or, you know, vice versa. The reason why you chose this person to live [with] forever.

Glenn Allen Sims: I would say for us definitely remembering that she is my friend first and foremost. An older person told me this: To keep the romance in your marriage. It’s something that in this day and age we think, you know, “Valentine’s Day, this is the one day that I should appreciate my spouse.” No — you should try to find those spaces, finding time to pull away from the rest of the world and just being with one another.

NPR’s Isabel Dobrin produced this story for the Web.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

PHOTOS: These Images Were Captured Nearly 3.8 Billion Miles From Earth

At first glance the images are unremarkable. They’re grainy, ill-defined, seemingly more akin to television static or an 8-bit video game than they are to the high-resolution masterworks sent back by the Hubble Space Telescope.

These false-color images of Kuiper Belt objects now occupy a place in history: Never before have images been captured as far from Earth as these.

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

hide caption

toggle caption

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

But take another look.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured these images at a distance of 3.79 billion miles from Earth — the farthest from our planet an image has ever been made. In a span of just a few hours on Dec. 5, the craft trained its camera first on the glittering “Wishing Well” star cluster (seen below) and then on two objects in the Kuiper Belt (seen above), the huge band of rocks and dwarf planets that rings the outer fringes of our solar system.

For a short time, this New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) frame of the “Wishing Well” star cluster, taken Dec. 5, was the farthest image ever made by a spacecraft, breaking a record set by Voyager 1. About two hours later, New Horizons broke the record again.

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

hide caption

toggle caption

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

“New Horizons has long been a mission of firsts — first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched,” Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, said in a statement released Thursday.

“And now, we’ve been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history.”

In so doing, they also broke a record that had stood untouched since 1990, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft sent back a final glimpse of Earth before its cameras went dark. That shot — which was, in fact, part of a composite of 60 images — came to be known as the “Pale Blue Dot,” famously memorialized by Carl Sagan for depicting Earth as “a mote of dust suspended on a sunbeam.”

That image was made at a vantage point of 3.75 billion miles from Earth.

This color image, known as the “Pale Blue Dot,” is part of the first-ever portrait of the solar system, which was taken by Voyager 1 in 1990. See that tiny dot caught in the middle of the rightmost beam? That’s us: all of us.

NASA/JPL

hide caption

toggle caption

NASA/JPL

It’s not the first time New Horizons has managed an unprecedented feat.

Launched in 2006, the piano-sized spacecraft made worldwide headlines in 2015, when it made a flyby of one of its principal subjects of investigation: Pluto. In the process, it sent back vivid, high-definition images of the distant world, which for decades had appeared as little more than a smudge to even the most advanced telescopes on Earth.

“With New Horizons, all that has changed,” NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel reported at the time.

“Scientists can now see craters and regions of dark-reddish ground. A large, white, heart-shaped feature on the equator is made of ice, though Pluto is so cold it’s probably an ice of nitrogen or methane, rather than water. A new close-up of a small region on Pluto’s surface also reveals towering ice mountains, up to 11,000 feet high.”

The probe then turned its attention to the distant Kuiper Belt. There, NASA says it plans for New Horizons to make flyby investigations of at least two dozen objects, such as “dwarf planets and ‘Centaurs,’ former [Kuiper Belt objects] in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the giant planets.”

“Mission scientists study the images to determine the objects’ shapes and surface properties, and to check for moons and rings,” the space agency says. “The spacecraft also is making nearly continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment along its path.”

For now, though, New Horizons is now enjoying some well-deserved hibernation as it hurtles away from us at a rate of roughly 700,000 miles a day. NASA says mission controllers will “bring the spacecraft out of its electronic slumber” this coming summer in anticipation of its next major close encounter, with an object known as 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019.

YouTube

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Dogged Competitors Chase Fame In Westminster's Friskier Face-Off

A dog leaps into the Masters Agility Championship in New York City.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The formal 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show kicks off Monday, although it’s not like one of its perfectly poised pooch contenders would kick. The canines that are more into moving than grooming competed in Saturday’s Masters Agility Championship in New York City.

That is where a black and white border collie named Fame(US) — pronounced “famous” — lived up to her name, winning the contest that tests dogs’ agility and speed as they maneuver through an obstacle course.

The 7-and-a-half-year-old from Sparta, N.J., nicknamed Fame, beat more than 300 competitors for the top spot.

“It’s difficult to top her athletic ability,” Fame’s owner and handler Jessica Ajoux, a professional agility trainer, told The Associated Press. “I’m privileged to have her as a teacher, really.”

In a blur of fur, Fame navigated a course that includes a seesaw, hurdles and tunnels with a time of 29.53 seconds, reports NJ.com. Fame bested last year’s winner, another border collie named Trick, by a bit more than three seconds.

Westminster Kennel Club will donate $10,000 in Fame’s name to an American Kennel Club dog club of Ajoux’s choice. The web site reports she has not yet decided on one.

A dog seeks to lick the competition.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

A Chihuahua-terrier mix named Jefe (pronounced HEFF-ay) from Sebastopol, Calif., was awarded a separate prize for the top mixed-breed agility dog.

Jefe’s handler Liza Buckner told the AP that he was among a litter of starving puppies found under a house, which has helped make him the resilient pooch he is today.

“He’s just a cool little dog,” Buckner said.

Some of the contenders Saturday opted to take the time to exercise their comedy chops over racing. An English springer spaniel named Mia and a Pomeranian named Kenzi elicited laughs when they paused at the top of a ramp to check out the crowd, reports the wire service.

A dog tries not to get stuck Saturday in New York City.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Westminster added the agility championship in 2014 to precede its more traditional contest.

Close to 3,000 entries are competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show beginning Monday. Best in show is awarded Tuesday night at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Gilded Prison No More Riyadh Ritz Reopens

The Riyadh Ritz was back in business Sunday after having detained dozens of Saudi elite in an anti-corruption purge. The hotel is seen here in a 2013 photo.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Those seeking five-star accommodations in Riyadh now have one more option available, after the Ritz-Carlton reopened its doors on Sunday, more than three months after being converted into an ad-hoc luxury prison for some of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent prisoners.

Dozens of Saudi princes, billionaire businessmen, former ministers and others were rounded up in an early-November anti-corruption crackdown at the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The reasoning behind the purge was murky.

“Based on our investigations over the past three years, we estimate that at least $100 billion USD has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades,” Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib said in a statement at the time. According to him, 159 people were detained.

But it was unclear exactly who was among them and why. And critics have accused Mohammed of making a power grab.

The attorney general said most of the detainees had agreed to a settlement and were let go. Late last month, he estimated that the value of those settlements had surpassed $100 billion “including real estate, commercial entities, securities, cash and other assets.”

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman of international renown, who also happens to be Prince Mohammed’s cousin, was among those who reportedly settled.

He was freed from the hotel prison late last month. But hours before he walked away, he gave Reuters a tour of his sixth floor suite-cum-cell, putting a rosy spin on his detention and chalking it up to a misunderstanding.

ReutersYouTube

On Sunday, Reuters reports no trace of the hotel’s prison past could be detected. The hotel’s gates were reopened, the royal guards removed and the lobby’s crystal chandeliers gleamed as before.

The attorney general said late last month that 56 people had refused to settle and remain in custody. And as with so much in the process, their fate remains unclear. Reuters says it is believed they have been moved to actual prison for refusing to admit wrongdoing and may end up in court.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Chris Mazdzer Slides Into History As First U.S. Man To Medal In Singles Luge

Chris Mazdzer, on a run Saturday in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Mazdzer would go on to make the podium at the 2018 Winter Olympics — a first for a U.S. athlete in men’s singles luge.

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Chris Mazdzer has used his runners to etch himself a place in history.

The 29-year-old won silver in singles luge on Sunday, becoming the first American man ever to medal in the event. His podium finish ends a drought that extends to the sport’s Olympic debut back in 1964.

Chris Mazdzer celebrates his silver following run 4 on Sunday in Pyeongchang, South Korea. His performance marks the first time an American has earned an Olympic medal in the men’s singles luge.

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Also on that podium were Austria’s David Gleirscher, who won gold in a shocker of his own, and bronze medalist Johannes Ludwig of Germany.

Noticeably absent from the medal ceremony: Felix Loch, the German powerhouse who won gold at the past two Winter Games. Loch had appeared well on his way to earning his third Olympic gold medal in a row — but a disastrous final run unraveled his bid for a three-peat, knocking him not only out of the top spot but also off the podium entirely.

Loch’s loss translated into big gains for Mazdzer and Gleirscher, who beat out the American by just over two hundredths of a second to become the first Austrian to win the event in five decades.

After the event Sunday, Mazdzer said his silver capped years of struggle.

“It’s 16 years in the making,” Mazdzer, a three-time Olympian, told NBC afterward. “I’ve had a rough last two years, and it just shows: Don’t ever give up. Whenever you lose, keep fighting.”

Indeed, his previous Olympic showings didn’t exactly augur this historic feat. Mazdzer finished both the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2014 Sochi Games in 13th place.

Wearing a No. 13 bib this time around, Mazdzer set himself up in better position in Pyeongchang with a fifth-place standing after the opening run. But it was only with his second and third runs — which he finished second and first, respectively — that Mazdzer climbed the leader board. His solid final run then shored up his claim on silver.

NPR’s Melissa Block reports he leaped from his sled after that final run, vaulting “into the stands to hug his family and grab an American flag.”

The U.S. had already medaled in women’s singles luge — Erin Hamlin was the first to do so, winning bronze in 2014 — as well as doubles luge. Now that an American has earned a medal in men’s singles luge too, team spokesman Sandy Caligiore said Sunday they’ve got their sights set even higher.

“The men’s medal and then the gold medal, and then we’ll be a happy organization,” Caligiore said. “We like bronze, we like silver. We want gold!”

Chris Mazdzer waves the American flag after earning his silver medal in men’s singles luge Sunday in Pyeongchang.

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

4 Killed In Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash

A sight-seeing helicopter carrying seven went down in the Grand Canyon Saturday, killing four people and critically injuring the others.

Julie Jacobson/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Julie Jacobson/AP

A Grand Canyon sight-seeing helicopter crashed at the bottom of a rocky ravine early Saturday evening, killing four people and seriously injuring three others, according to police.

Police Chief Francis E. Bradley of the Hualapai Nation Police Department said in a statement that the accident occurred around 5:20 p.m. local time near Quartermaster Canyon on the Hualapai Nation, a federally recognized Indian reservation in northwestern Arizona.

The survivors of the EC-130 helicopter wreck were all “Level One trauma patients,” said Bradley, indicating the highest category of injury.

ABC News published photos showing black smoke emanating from the fiery wreckage below a steep gorge.

NEW PHOTOS: 3 dead, 4 injured after helicopter crashes in Grand Canyon National Park https://t.co/R1K526uaQ0pic.twitter.com/tNWM2dY5e7

— ABC News (@ABC) February 11, 2018

Rescue workers had difficulty accessing the scene, said Bradley, owing to “high winds, the darkness, and the extreme rugged terrain.”

He added, “The only access to the crash site area is by foot on a 20-mile hike or by helicopter.”

There were six passengers and one pilot on board, reports The Associated Press.

The chopper was with Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, which provides numerous tours mostly taking off from Las Vegas. The company says it operates the world’s largest fleet of sightseeing aircraft, flying more than 600,000 passengers each year, and that safety is their “top priority.”

In 2001, six people died and one person was badly burned in another Papillon helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon.

The AP spoke to Gary C. Robb, the lawyer of the lone survivor, who said the company’s safety standards have gotten better since then.

“They’ve improved their piloting qualifications as well as their maintenance over the last 10 years and as far as I know they’ve not had a crash since 2001,” he said.

Robb added that the sheer volume of helicopters in the Grand Canyon can make flying there treacherous.

Tourists thrill at the vast vistas and stunning sweeps of the tours, which can be guided through passenger-to-pilot communication via headset.

Investigators are looking into the cause of Saturday’s crash.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)