Kieran Culkin Opens Up About Michael Jackson Allegations

Kieran Culkin, brother child-star Macaulay Culkin and successful actor in his own right, has been making press rounds for the upcoming season HBO’s Succession. During a recent sit-down with The Guardian, Culkin answered some questions about Michael Jackson and the documentary Leaving Neverland from earlier this year.

When asked directly, Culkin claimed that he hasn’t spoken with a publicist on how to handle the situation but had this to say, “To me, it seems like there’s two sides to this thing and because I can’t be helpful on one side or the other, anything I say and anything that gets put out in print could only hurt somebody and there’s already a lot really hurt feelings. There are already a lot people who are in a difficult position and if I contribute in any way, it’s just going to hurt someone because I can’t actually help.”

Kieran Culkin Opens Up About Michael Jackson AllegationsWin McNamee /Getty s

Michael Jackson and his estate have always denied any allegations pertaining to sexual misconduct. Jackson has stated publically that he shared a bed with both Kieran and Macaulay Culkin at the Neverland ranch. In a 2003 documentary, Living With Michael, Jackson explained, “When Macaulay Culkin was little], Kieran Culkin would sleep on this side and Macaulay Culkin on this side, his sister is in there. We’re all just jammed in the bed. Then, we’d wake up, like, dawn and go in the hot air balloon.” Macaulay Culkin has defended Jackson in the past. 

 

Dutch Regulators Force Ticketmaster to Refund Fees on Canceled Events

Ticketmaster Netherlands has announced that it has adopted a new policy that will provide refunds on ticket service fees to events that were postponed or canceled.

They are the first ticket agency in the country to adopt such a policy, and they did so after both a Dutch consumer affairs association and a government regulatory agency requested them and others to modify the policy.

When fans in The Netherlands — and most other countries — buy a ticket to an event such as a concert, ticketing agencies like Ticketmaster add a bevy of surcharges.  These fees range anywhere from 2-10 euros and are mostly tolerated by consumers.  But until now, they were nonrefundable regardless of whether the event happened or not.

Last month, the Dutch Consumers Association, which is also known as the Consumentenbond, demanded that ticket agencies change their service fee policy. They indicated that there was no good legal reason not to refund the service fee along with the price of the actual ticket when a scheduled event fails to take place.

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), which is a government organization that protects consumer rights, agreed with Consumentenbond.

At the moment, the Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster is the largest ticket agency in the country. But Eventim, which is the second-largest agency, is said believed to be quickly narrowing the gap.  While Eventim has yet to change its service fee policy, the ACM is asking that it and other ticket agencies in the country follow the policy as well.

The price of seeing concerts in the Netherlands has been getting higher, irrespective of service fees. Not only did the price of concert tickets rise 3% this past year, but value-added taxes (VAT) on concert tickets rose as well, from 6% to 9%.

Real Estate Agent Found Stealing from Homes of Usher, Adam Lambert

A pair of real estate agents in Beverly Hills are accused of stealing from celebrities’ homes in Southern California.

Prosecutors say real estate agent Jason Emil Yaselli and Benjamin Eitan Ackerman have been charged with seven criminal counts. They are accused of stealing more than $500,000 through fraud and embezzlement.

According to the County district attorney’s office, some victims included and .

Ackerman was arrested on August 16th while Yaselli was arrested on Wednesday. For almost two years, the duo managed to steal luxury items from 14 homes. The items were then sold, and the money was used to make payments on Yaselli’s credit card.

Prosecutors say the men identified their targets and then committed the burglaries during open houses. Thefts occurred in Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of West Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, and Brentwood.

Both men have been charged with money laundering, residential burglary, and identify theft. Conspiracy to commit robbery and money laundering are also included in the charges.

Ackerman has pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment on Monday. His bail is currently set at $1.2 million. Yaselli is expected to be arraigned later today.

According to authorities, Ackerman was arrested in connection to the burglaries last year. However, he was released after prosecutors could not definitively link him to the thefts.

His attorneys say they will have no better chance to do so now. His attorneys accuse the district attorney of trying to attract public attention to the case by name dropping.

“The district attorney’s press release, by specifically naming Usher Raymond and Adam Lambert as alleged victims, only emphasizes what we have believed from day one, that this is a publicity driven prosecution.

The people’s case is no better today than it was a year ago. Unlike a fine wine, this case does not get better with age. Mr. Ackerman is not just presumed to be innocent; he is, in fact innocent.”

If the duo is convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 31 years in state prison.

Jamie Foxx, Michael B Jordan & Brie Larson To Star In Upcoming Drama "Just Mercy"

Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan & Brie Larson are all set to star in a new drama titled Just Mercy based on the 2014 bestselling book Just Mercy: A Story Justice and Redemption. The film centers around the true story Walter McMillian in 1987. McMillian was wrongfully sentenced to death row for the murder a young white woman. It took the coercion by Sheriff Tom Tate and others as well as perjury by witnesses to land McMillian the false conviction. 

Luckily, he was exonerated in a famous decision. The forthcoming film will focus on McMillian’s lawyer as well as himself. The IMDb description for the film reads, “Just Mercy shadows world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson as he recounts his experiences and details the case a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free.” Stevenson will be played by Michael B. Jordan. Jamie Foxx will star as McMillian. O’Shea Jackson Jr. will support as another wrongly convicted black man whom Stevenson will defend. Rounding out the remarkable cast will be Brie Larson. Larson will take on the role the local operations director the Equal Justice Initiative, lending a hand to Stevenson.

Jamie Foxx, Michael B Jordan & Brie Larson To Star In Upcoming Drama "Just Mercy"Andrew Toth / Getty s

You’ll be able to catch the film in theaters on Christmas Day. 

Oregon Police Digitally Edit Mugshot To Match Witnesses Description Of Bank Robber

Police in Oregon were confident they had their man in Tyrone Lamont Allen. They received a tip that he was the man responsible for a string bank and credit union robberies; however, they faced one glaring issue. Allen is loaded in face tattoos, but none the witnesses claim the assailant had any facial tattoos to speak . 

So what did police do? As reported by The Washington Post, rather than let Allen walk free, they decided to digitally photoshop the tattoos f their suspects face and show his mugshot to witnesses. Police did not inform witnesses that the mugshot had been photoshopped to match their description. Two tellers then picked Allen out a lineup five other men’s mugshots, identifying him as the robber.

On the surface, this seems like a case blatant tampering with evidence, but ultimately, that decision will come down to a federal judge in Oregon. Allen’s attorney, Mark Ahlemeyer, believes allowing this type police behavior is a slippery slope injustice. “There would presumably be nothing wrong with adjusting various pixels to make someone’s face appear slimmer, so long as the government’s theory was that the suspect had gained weight since the crime,” the attorney wrote in a recent motion.

Perhaps most concerning about this story, is what the ficer who altered the image said in his testimony, “There are times it has been appropriate to make those small subtle changes. The main purpose is not to make the suspect stand out.’’ This is a clear allusion to having used the tactic in the past, and apparently, including this methodology in a report isn’t a requirement.

TikTok Introduces In-App Purchases To Start Generating Revenue

TikTok has launched a new feature that allows users to shop for products using sponsored hashtags.

Teens and young adults primarily dominate TikTok.  The new marketing campaign prompts users to post videos of themselves using the product being advertised.  It seems like a quick way to manufacture a viral trend for a variety of product promotions.

TikTok’s new Hashtag Challenge Plus creates opportunities for viewers to buy products associated with these viral moments.

The challenge allows users to create and view videos using the brand’s sponsored hashtag. A separate tab is available where products featured in the campaign can be purchased within TikTok itself.

Adweek first reported on the feature last week in a wider profile on Kroger.

Kroger used TikTok to encourage college kids to post videos of their cool dorm room transformations. The sponsored hashtag for the challenge was #TransformUrDorm. On the hashtag’s dedicated page, users could shop for Kroger products.

Kroger curated its targeted list to appeal to kids attending college. Some of the items that appeared include granola bars, laundry baskets, hangers, and a popcorn maker.

The campaign will appear in TikTok’s main discover feed to help increase visibility. To help the campaign feel natural, Kroger enlisted four TikTok influencers. Joey Klaasen, Cosette Rinab, Mia Finney, and Victoria Bachlet all participated in the hashtag challenge.

Advertising on TikTok is still in its nascent stage as the app continues to reach tremendous growth.

Many brands can run in-feed video ads that show up between user-generated content. TikTok also offers brand takeover ads, where users are exposed to the brand when opening the app.

The new sponsored hashtags are just one of the ways ByteDance will . The app reached in February, with India contributing to . With so many eyeballs focused on content, ByteDance’s advertising strategy is becoming clear.

Angry Investors Sue Over Sirius XM's "Invalid" $3.5 Billion Pandora Acquisition

Former Pandora investors, angered and frustrated by the details surrounding Sirius XM’s acquisition of Pandora, have filed a lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the was “invalid and void” because of earlier agreements made between Sirius XM and Pandora, as well as below-board tactics used by Sirius XM-backed Pandora board members.

After buying into Pandora 2017, Sirius XM execs voiced an interest in purchasing the company outright. The deal came to fruition in February of this year, when Pandora shareholders voted to accept the $3.5 billion offer submitted by Sirius XM.

The lawsuit claims that Sirius XM violated the terms of the 2017 deal, which required Sirius XM to wait one year before purchasing a larger portion of Pandora.  While the actual buyout came after the one-year mark, the investors’ lawyers say that the planning itself came within the prohibited window, and therefore violated the agreement.

This legal argument’s basis is rooted in a Delaware law that imposes a three-year delay on buyouts from individuals and companies that own 15 percent or more of businesses.

Additionally, the investors’ lawyers, led by Richard J. Tornetta, allege that Sirius XM used the board seats it gained from the 2017 investment to pressure stockholders and Pandora execs into accepting an underwhelming deal.

At the time of writing, Sirius XM hadn’t publicly commented on the lawsuit.

Owing to aggressive business strategies and an emphasis on proprietary content, Sirius XM has grown substantially over the last five years.

The company, which is publicly traded under symbol SIRI, has seen its per-share price nearly double since 2015.

Prior to that, in 2009, Sirius and XM were having trouble competing in the marketplace; many considered their much-debated merger to be the only means of staying in business. While it’s almost impossible to prove or disprove this stance, there can be no denying that the last decade has been important — and fruitful — for Sirius XM.

Florida Man Arrested For Botched Castration On Man He Met On Dark Web Fetish Site

The Florida Man headlines are wild but this one might take the cake. According to Daily Beast, police arrested 74-year-old Gary Van Ryswyk after the found a man bleeding from his groin inside the 74-year-old’s home. Police shared an unusually detailed press release on their Facebook page where they essentially described the entire situation. 

Police responded to a 911 hang-up which they said is “pretty routine and deputies respond to many them per shift. But most them don’t make the cut when it comes to being memorable.” So, Ryswyk opened the door and the police ultimately found the victim with a towel over his bleeding groin. Authorities also said that the man’s testicles were found in a pink container near the victim. 

Ryswyk admitted to police when they came to his door that he attempted to perform a castration on a man he met on a dark web site for people who have a castration fetish. He also said that he told the victim that he had experience with castrating animals and even removed one his own testicles in 2012. But this wasn’t his first time trying to perform this procedure on a human. He said he tried to perform a castration on another man a few years ago and the results were nearly identical. Police weren’t notified. 

Van Ryswyk was charged with practicing medicine without a license resulting in bodily harm which is a second-degree felony. His bond’s set at $250K.  

Spider-Man Set To Leave Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man: Far From Home was recently declared Sony’s highest-grossing film all time and it seems that may end up being bad news for Marvel fans. According to Deadline, Disney and Sony have ficially failed to reach a co-financing agreement, meaning Peter Parker will no longer be a member the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

This means that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will no longer be serving a producing role on the two upcoming Spider-Man movies in the works. With Feige’s recent Avengers: Endgame being named the highest-grossing film all-time, there is a lot money on the table.

Spider-Man Set To Leave Marvel Cinematic Universe
Kevin Winter / Getty s

Disney apparently fered up a 50/50 split all earnings from Spider-Man films going forward; to which, Sony replied with a flat rejection. “Sony turned that fer down flat, and I don’t believe they even came back to the table to figure out a compromise. Led by Tom Rothman and Tony Vinciquerra, Sony just simply didn’t want to share its biggest franchise. Sony proposed keeping the arrangement going under the current terms where Marvel receives in the range 5% first dollar gross, sources said. Disney refused.” the Deadline report reads.

With sequels to both Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse already on the way, as well as the upcoming Spider-Man movies, Sony thinks they’ll be just fine without Marvel’s support. As for Marvel, Spidey has played an important role in the recent Avengers films and his absence will certainly be missed.

YouTube Takes Legal Action In the Wake of DMCA Extortion Plot

 

Copyright infringement lawsuits are nothing new.  But one recently filed by YouTube against one of its users isn’t your typical copyright infringement lawsuit.

YouTube is suing Christopher Brady, based on allegations that Brady attempted to extort money from other YouTube users by threatening them with copyright strikes against their accounts.

YouTube is targeting Brady for exploiting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, specifically to file false claims and subsequently terrorize content creators.  According to the lawsuit and various reports, they are seeking compensatory damages from Brady in the hope that this dissuades others from attempting to follow in Brady’s footsteps.

The video giant  in the U.S. District Court for Nebraska, with a demand for a jury trial.

“Defendant, Christopher L. Brady (“Brady), has repeatedly attempted to harass and extort money from YouTube content creators through bogus allegations of copyright infringement,” the complaint begins.  “This lawsuit seeks to hold him accountable for that misconduct, and for the damage he has caused to YouTube.”

The lawsuit alleges that in January of this year, Brady asked YouTube to remove a number of videos from its platform because of copyright infringements.

YouTube complied in accordance with its policy of DMCA compliance, and removed Minecraft videos that were produced by users named ObbyRaidz and Kenzo.

But YouTube says that Brady did not stop there. Brady further sent notices to both account owners and threatened to issue further copyright infringement requests if they didn’t pay him sums of money that varied from $75 to $300. Such requests would have further resulted in what is known as “third-strike” violations and would have potentially resulted in both having had their YouTube accounts suspended.

The suspension of an account, even if temporary, can devastate the owner and immediately impact audiences and revenues.

Both ObbyRaidz and Kenzo say that they were only able to stop Brady when they openly talked about what Brady was doing to them in their videos. ObbyRaidz insists that YouTube ignored all his requests to take action until that point.

The video giant has indicated that Brady went after other users as well.  They further believe that Brady’s actions were at least in part driven by “his failings in his Minecraft interactions.”  YouTube also states that Brady used 15 different identities when extorting money from users and that the company has had to spend considerable sums of money to investigate all of them.

YouTube’s filing against Brady can be found .

Spotify Is Upgrading Its Family Plan With Actual Family Features

Spotify is upgrading its Family Plan subscription with new features that are family-oriented.

Spotify is currently running a new test of family plan features in Ireland, with some enhancements geared towards parental oversight.  As part of the upgraded offering, for example, parents can set up an explicit content filter on their children’s accounts, blocking explicit content. The filter is password-protected, so only parental accounts can access the feature.

Spotify first in 2014 by allowing six people to share a $14.99 monthly subscription.  But despite being called a family plan, until now, the subscription tier has had few family features.  Spotify has required that all six ‘family’ members need to live in the same place, but that requirement has been easy to game.

The loose restrictions have led to a rampant sharing of Family Plan subscriptions with friends and close acquaintances.  After years of abuse, Spotify has engaged in more stringent IP checks to .

During Spotify’s last , the company even blamed account sharing for a revenue drop.  A recent report showed that revenue per listener has been on the decline since 2015, thanks partly to gamed accounts.  Spotify knows this, and they’re planning on jacking up the price to compensate.

The streaming service tested a family plan price hike in Norway — but that largely went unnoticed amongst price-insensitive Norwegians.  Now, Spotify is testing the price hike across the rest of Scandina.  Reports could be as high as 13% in that region, though Spotify has declined to comment on speculation.

Scandina is a good test bed for price increases since the service is firmly entrenched in the region.  Overall, Scandinans are also less price-sensitive than other developing markets, so the streaming giant has more leeway to experiment.

Other plans Spotify has tinkered around with include a two-person plan for $14/month.  But its biggest push currently is towards a beefed-up, pricier family tier.

And that makes sense. At this point, Spotify desperately needs to do something before its family plan simply becomes dead weight.

Black Homebuyer Finds KKK Application In Cop’s Home He Was About To Buy

A police ficer from Michigan is being investigated after a KKK application was found in his home under incredibly peculiar circumstances. Rob Mathis, a Black homebuyer, was checking out a five-bedroom home in Holton, Mich. that he and his wife thought would be the perfect place. The home belonged to a police ficer who had a Confederate flag placemat on the dining room table and two other flags in his garage. Mathis and his son later checked out one the bedrooms when they discovered a framed applications for the KKK.

Rob Mathis went on Facebook where he posted about his discovery in the home. “I feel sick to my stomach knowing that I walk to the home one the most racist people in Muskegon hiding behind his uniform and possibly harassing people color and different nationalities,” he wrote before making it abundantly clear that the ficer will be held accountable. Police have since announced that the ficer is on administrative leave as authorities investigate the matter. 

Turns out, the ficer’s name is Charles Anderson and he fatally shot a 23-year-old Black man over a traffic stop. Although it isn’t surprising in the least, it was later determined Anderson acted out “self-defense” and was clearly allowed back on the job. We’ll have to see what action, if any, will be taken against Anderson in the wake this revelation. 

Iggy Azalea Admits That She Hates Some Of Her Own Songs

Iggy Azalea‘s thrown the race card and the gender card as a way to explain why hip-hop doesn’t accept her. While she thinks being a white woman in hip-hop is difficult, she fails to acknowledge that it’s even more difficult being a Woman Of Color anywhere else. However, that’s not the point that’s supposed to be made in this article. This article is meant to highlight the growth and self-realization Iggy Azalea. Although she continues to make music that no one listens to, she may have realized why no one’s actually tuning in.

In a recent interview with Delish, Iggy Azalea was asked whether she has ever gotten sick her own song. Not only did she admit that there are several cuts in her catalog that she finds regrettable (although she didn’t reveal if her “Look Out For Detox” freestyle falls under that category), she revealed that some them didn’t age as well as she thought. 

“Of course I get sick my own songs. In fact, some them I hate. Some songs I make and then they don’t age well, and like a year or two later I’m like, ugh, what was I thinking?! But people still like them! So some the songs I decide I hate, I still have to perform because the fans want to hear them. So, yes, I have gotten sick a song. A lot songs.”

Just a suggestion but maybe she might find better luck if she gets her boyfriend to ghostwrite her songs for her. 

iHeartMedia CEO Says '73% of Spotify's Listening Comes from Just 3% of Their Audience'

Bob Pittman came out swinging against Spotify in iHeartMedia’s recent Q2 earnings call. Now, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has responded.

Pittman noted that quarterly digital revenue for iHeart increased by 32.8% year-over-year.  iHeart now reaches around 275 million Americans each month, which Pittman was quick to point out is more than the company’s two closest broadcast radio competitors.

Later in the call, Pittman fired shots at Spotify when explaining a fundamental difference between streaming and radio platforms.  Pittman said that 75% of iHeartMedia’s listening comes from 34% of its audience.  He contrasted that against Spotify and Pandora, attacking both streaming services.

Pittman cited the following stats for those services.

  • 73% of Spotify listening comes from 3% of their audience
  • 72% of Pandora listening comes from 5% of their audience

Neither Spotify nor Pandora have confirmed those stats, and it’s unclear if Pittman’s estimates are even close. But without delving into specifics, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek quickly offered a retort on Twitter.

Quoting an analyst who cited Pittman, Ek stated: “Not sure where that data is from, but it’s far from true.”

Analysts were quick to do the math and see if Pittman’s numbers added up. Media analyst Rich Greenfield did some quick and dirty math and proved Pittman’s numbers seem a little skewed.

listed 232 million monthly active users, with 17 billion hours of content played. That’s around 49 hours of consumption per day, per user. But plugging those stats into Pittman’s numbers just don’t add up.

If Spotify’s plays come from 3% of the audience, that means those 3% listen for more than 20 hours a day. The remaining 97% would listen to roughly 14 minutes of music a day. Suddenly, Pittman’s claims look a bit nonsensical, though if Spotify has a high number of completely inactive users (listening to 0 minutes a day), then Pittman could be onto something. Of course, all of this is assuming that Spotify’s supplied numbers are accurate, as well.

Regardless, Spotify and other streaming services benefit from radio as a discovery tool.

 

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Snags Scott Weiland's Publishing Rights

Sony/ATV Music Publishing just announced a deal that will allow them to represent the song catalog of Scott Weiland during his time as the frontman of the famed ’90s grunge band Stone Temple Pilots.

Confusingly, the deal comes moments after a — but more on that in a moment.

Scott Weiland was one of the co-founders of the band and co-wrote many of its biggest hits, such as “Plush,” “Sex Type Thing” and “Interstate Love Song.” He was the singer on the band’s first 6 albums. This included Purple, which reached number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 1994.

This is an iconic catalog getting lots of play — from both longtime and newfound fans.  Unfortunately, the creative well known as STP ground to a halt long ago.

Weiland’s drug use and erratic behavior led to his dismissal from the band in 2013. Two years later, he died from an overdose while touring. He was 48 at the time. But not even his death could quiet the discord within the band. While all the original members of the band previously signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group back in 2010, less than a week earlier the 3 other original members — Dean and Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz — signed their own publishing deal with Warner Chappell.

To make matters even more confusing, Jeff Gutt, who replaced Weiland as the frontman in the band, has his own separate publishing deal with Reservoir, which he signed a year ago this month. Gutt co-wrote the songs on Stone Temple Pilots’ eponymous album from last year.

Jon Platt, who is the chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV, said that they are excited to provide a home to Scott Weiland’s work and that they hope to bring it to a wider audience. Weiland’s former wife Mary also commented on the deal. She said that her family is happy to work with Sony/ATV to bring Scott’s music to a new generation of fans, though nothing was mentioned about the rest of STP.

Unfortunately, that simmering discord could prevent more complex licensing pacts involving the STP catalog in the future.