Entertainment

"Where are you?" In viral post, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson calls for leadership after George Floyd's death

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- While he doesn't mention President Donald Trump by name, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, is calling out the president, looking for leadership in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of cops in Minneapolis. 

"Where is our leader at this time when our country is down on its knees, begging, pleading, hurt, angry, frustrated, in pain with its arms out, just wanting to be heard?" he asks

"Where is our compassionate leader who's going to step up to our country who's down on its knees, and extend a hand and say, 'You stand up, stand up with me because I got you. I hear you, I'm listening to you. And you have my word that I’m going to do everything in my power, until my dying day, my last breath, to do everything I can to create the change that is needed, to normalize equality because Black Lives Matter?'"

"Where are you?"

The box office star adds, "Of course, all lives matter, but in this moment right now -- this defining, pivotal, explosive moment where our country is down on its knees --…we must say the words: Black Lives Matter."

Johnson, who has flirted with the idea of someday running for public office, offers, "We must become the leaders we are looking for...I’ll tell you what, we're here. We’re all here. The process to change has already begun. You can feel it across our country."

"Change is happening...We’re going to get beat up. We’re going to take our lumps. There’s going to be blood, but the process of change has already begun."

He concludes, "You would be surprised at how people in pain would respond when you say to them, 'I care about you...I'm listening to you. Together we're going to make that change.'"

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


So why was everybody making bread during lockdown? Celeb baker Chris Tucker knows

Chris Tucker(LOS ANGELES) -- It seems like just about everybody has been baking while under COVID-19 lockdown, at least according to countless social media posts of freshly-made sourdough and banana bread. 

A recent study found that online searches for banana bread recipes topped 2.7 million in April -- a nearly 590% increase from April of 2019. 

So what's up with that?

"I think everybody was just looking for something to do with all of their nervous energy," Chris Tucker, the owner of Betta with Butta and a veteran of The Great American Baking Show, tells ABC Audio. "Everyone's cooped up inside. People that are used to being artistic out of the house, they found themselves trapped inside the house. And so now they're like, 'Well, what can I do artistically from home?'"

To help, Tucker's Betta with Butta started selling pre-packaged baking kits that can be shipped to your door.  He says, "We just knew that we had to start something that was going to allow people to do their celebrations at home, allow people to get those indulgences at home."

A portion of the proceeds from the kits benefit the COVID Relief Fund.

Tucker adds, "We just want people to get in the kitchen. We wanted people to experiment...to just satisfy those cravings, that we're going to make them smile from their stomachs and just have some type of relief from everything that's going on in the world."

Tucker thinks the at-home cooking trend will continue post-pandemic. "It's probably showing a lot of people that they, too, can be a baker," he says. "They, too, can be a chef. And I think it's going to really inspire people to start doing more at home even when our food industry does get back up and running."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Patrick Warburton on suiting up for 'Space Force', and finding his inner Puddy amid COVID-19

Aaron Epstein/NETFLIX(LOS ANGELES) -- In the role of Elaine's sleepy-eyed, face-painting, on-again-off-again boyfriend David Puddy, Patrick Warburton only appeared in nine regular season episodes of Seinfeld -- but his character left an impression strong enough that even die-hard fans swear he was in more. 

Now the star, who is also a regular voice on Seth MacFarland's Family Guy, can be seen in Space Force, Steve Carell's new Netflix workplace comedy.

"That was a lot of fun to just to get invited to the party there. I play the head of the Marines, Warburton tells ABC Audio. "That was a great opportunity...to get to work with Steve, who's an awesome dude and [I've] always been a big fan of his."

Space Force is about the team tasked with establishing the United States Space Force, and Warburton says he's surprised that critics "were a little rough on" the comedy.

"This is a whole different animal...because even though it's Steve Carell with the creators of The Office, it's not The Office," he points out. "It's a different type of show, I think, with elements of that type of humor...I find it enjoyable to watch."

As for his Seinfeld alter-ego, Warburton says he's found himself thinking of Puddy while in lockdown.

"Sometimes you just find him sitting on the couch, staring out from the distance. When he's flying on the plane with Elaine, just staring at the back seat, didn't need a magazine," he recalls.

"And I thought, 'You know what? That's the personality you really need during a pandemic because, after a while, you just can't watch any more shows or play online backgammon."

"He seems to be just fine in the empty space in his head," Warburton jokes. "He's not stupid, just meditative. He's a deep, deep guy."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


LEGO pulled ads for police-related sets in wake of George Floyd death, protests

Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The industry trade The Toybook has reported that building toy giant LEGO requested that its marketers pull online ads "ASAP" for building sets regarding police, in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of now-terminated Minneapolis cops.

Floyd's death May 25 sparked ongoing protests worldwide as well as looting in major cities, including a LEGO Store in Lower Manhattan.

Some 30 building sets, including a White House set, as well as police-themed mini-figures and accessories are reportedly among the toys in question. 

The products -- which include police station houses, patrol cars, fire stations, and even a donut shop that featured police figures -- are still available for sale, but they won't be advertised, according to the trade. 

In a statement to The Toybook, a rep for LEGO explained, "We requested that our affiliate partners refrain from posting promotional LEGO content as part of our decision to respect #BlackOutTuesday and pause posting content on our social media channels in response to the tragic events in the US. We regret any misunderstanding and will ensure that we are clearer about our intentions in the future."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


In 2020 graduation message, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaks about George Floyd's death

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, delivered a powerful speech to the 2020 graduates of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, her alma mater, urging them to "lead with love," "lead with compassion," and to "use your voice."

Her video, shared Wednesday evening for the class of 2020's virtual graduation, begins with Markle telling the all-girls school she was "really nervous" to address the "absolutely devastating" times we're living in until coming to an important realization: "I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing."

Meghan continued by stating that "George Floyd's life mattered," as do the lives of, "so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know."

Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd's death sparked protests across the globe.

Meghan said she experienced the LA riots during her youth, an event she noted was "also triggered by a senseless act of racism" in the police beating of Rodney King.

"I'm so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present," the former Suits actress said.  "Now you get to be part of rebuilding," adding, "when the foundation is broken, so are we."

The Duchess signed off with the grads: "You are equipped, you are ready, we need you and you are prepared...Please know that I am cheering you on all along the way, I am exceptionally proud of you and I'm wishing you a huge congratulations on today, the start of all the impact you're going to make in the world as the leaders that we all so deeply crave. Congratulations, ladies, and thank you in advance."

By Carson Blackwelder and Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Richard Schiff hints at a 'West Wing' reunion to benefit Black Lives Matter

"The West Wing" cast -- Photo by: James Sorensen/NBCU Photo Bank(LOS ANGELES) -- Richard Schiff is hinting that a reunion of the cast of the Emmy-winning NBC drama The West Wing could be in the works, and like those that brought the casts of shows like Community back together, a charity component would be involved. 

Schiff had been posting photos on his Twitter showing he was a part of the protests over George Floyd, who died May 25 while in police custody when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck. The incident led to ongoing worldwide protests. 

Schiff was asked by a fan whether his current show, ABC's The Good Doctor, would somehow address the Black Lives Matter movement, and if he'd heard about how the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine had donated $100,000 to the Bail Relief Fund for those arrested during the protests. 

While Schiff said it wasn't his place to speak for The Good Doctor's producers, he noted, "I am working with my cast mates from The West Wing for these purposes. Including a cast reunion and reading coming soon. Good for Brooklyn 99. I hope it makes a difference."

Schiff won an Emmy for his role as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, which starred actors whose activism remains a big part of their off-screen lives, including Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, and Rob Lowe.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Alicia Silverstone reveals she and her 9-year-old son bathe together

Photo by Toni Anne Barson/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- When talking about her vegan lifestyle, actress Alicia Silverstone turned heads when she revealed an unconventional activity she and her nine-year-old son enjoy while quarantining during COVID-19.

In a May 31 interview with The New York Times, the Clueless star opened up about how she and her son Bear Blu have been riding out the pandemic, to which she candidly revealed, "My son and I take baths together."

The 43-year-old actress, who shares Bear with ex-husband Christopher Jarecki, added that "when he’s not with me, I take a bath and that really feels nourishing and comforting."

Beyond bathing, Silverstone touched upon the other activities she's turned to in order to keep her son entertained, which revolve around a lot of jumping -- like trampolines and jump roping.

This isn't the first time the Golden Globe nominee has raised eyebrows when talking about the close bond she shares with her son.  In 2012, Silverstone uploaded a video of her feeding Bear, who was 10 months old at the time, directly from her mouth.

"It’s his favorite … and mine," She gushed in the blog post. "He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating." 

Nowadays, she and Bear eat an exclusively vegan diet, another decision that has been scrutinized by the public.   However, the Batman and Robin star isn't too worried about what others think anymore.

"People said lots of different things, and I was sort of 'the freak,'" Silverstone told the Times. "And I guess I’ll take pride in that because it is hard to be the person that’s speaking out, and it is hard to be the person that is saying the thing that isn’t what everybody else wants to hear."

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Saturday Night Live''s Chris Redd launches COVID-19 relief fund for protestors

Ashley Good/NBC(NEW YORK) -- With protests erupting across the nation demanding justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, health officials have raised concerns about the demonstrations sparking a second wave of COVID-19.

Despite that a majority of protestors have been photographed wearing masks, it's the lack of social distancing that has health officials worried.

Saturday Night Live star Chris Redd is also concerned about the possibility of a spike in new cases, particularly within the black community, which has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.  The stand-up comedian has announced that he was inspired to organize a COVID-19 fundraiser to explicitly benefit protestors.

"I’m working on a relief fund for front line protestors who may contract COVID19 over the next couple of weeks due to body to body contact," Redd declared on Twitter. "I would hate for my people fighting for justice struggle later because of it."

The fund went live on Tuesday, with the SNL star excitedly proclaiming "Give if you can, share if it’s in your heart!! #BlackLivesMatter and more to come!!"

Redd vows in the GoFundMe's welcoming message that all the money raised will go directly toward "those that contract this disease while protesting" and help cover "other protest related injuries." 

He also broke down exactly what the funds will pay for: COVID-19 testing, medical bills, bail relief, and treating injuries sustained while protesting.

The 35-year-old also acknowledged that, "We haven't been able to get ahead of COVID-19 thus far, but this is certainly another step in the right direction!"

So far, more than 4,000 people have donated to Redd's COVID-19 Protest Relief Fund.  As of early Thursday, the charity raised over $213,000 and is rapidly approaching its $250,000 fundraising goal.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Leslie Jones opens up about the sobering advice she'd give her younger self about rioting

Barbara Nitke/Bravo(LOS ANGELES) -- Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones opened up about the one piece of advice she wishes she could give to her past self when discussing her first brush with rioting during a Tuesday appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers.

The Ghostbusters star revealed that, in hindsight, she wishes she did things differently. 

If given the opportunity to confront her past self, who was "running out to the riots" 30 years ago, Jones revealed, "I would say, 'Don’t take that sledgehammer.'" 

The comic explained that, at the time, weilding the heavy tool made her 22-year-old self feel powerful because she "opened so many doors with that sledgehammer."

Said Jones with a laugh, "I remember I broke...and I have to tell you this.  It was a supermarket and there was a chain fence and [the other protestors] couldn’t get it open. So, I came with my sledgehammer and I was like 'guh-gash' and it went open and everybody was like, 'Yeah!'"

Now, many years later, she sees her actions in an entirely new light.  "I can laugh about it now, but imma tell you, I didn’t laugh when I was riding through my city after that and seeing burnt down buildings and having nowhere to shop," The 52-year-old soberly explained.  "And, you know, seeing black people crying about their business being burnt down. It wasn’t funny then, you know?"

Beyond confronting her past self about the sledgehammer, what Jones really wishes she could ask is, "What do you think you’re gonna change by going out there with [that sledgehammer]?"

Protests have erupted across the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death, with many cities imposing curfews following the destructive rioting and looting taking place overnight.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bill Murray's son arrested for disorderly conduct at protest rally

iStock/LukaTBD(MASSACHUSETTS) -- Caleb Murray, the son of actor Bill Murray, was arrested on Monday for disorderly conduct at an otherwise peaceful Tillsbury, Massachusetts rally protesting the death of George Floyd, according to a police report obtained by the Martha’s Vineyard Times.

Caleb, one of Murray's six children, was charged with with malicious destruction of property, a threat to commit a crime, three counts of assault and battery on a police officer, making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct.  Additional charges of making terrorist threats and malicious destruction of property were later thrown out, due to a lack of probable cause, the newspaper reported.

The police report, as per the MV Times, alleges Murray was uncooperative while being transported to the lockup after his arrest, as well as spitting on and biting an officer.

The report further claims Murray was uncooperative at the jail, "attacking deputies" and using "a piece of the cell [he was put into] to not only cut himself but cut the deputies."  He’s also accused of threatening to burn down buildings once he was released.

Murray was arraigned on Tuesday, during which he was ordered to be held without bail until there was an opening at an evaluation facility.  His bail was later set to $10,000 and he has since been released from custody.

Murray's case has since been postponed to July 31.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Glee' Star Heather Morris calls working with Lea Michele “unpleasant”

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage,Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Following Samantha Marie Ware's accusation the Lea Michele made her life on the set of Glee a “living hell, another one of of her co-stars on the show, Heather Morris, has also described working with Michele as “unpleasant.”

"Let me be very clear, Hate is a disease in America that we are trying to cure, so I would never wish for that hate to be spread to anyone else," Morris wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

"Was she unpleasant to work with?" Heather continued.  "Very much so; for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out."

"And yet, it's also on us because to allow it to go on for so long without speaking out is something else we're learning along with the rest of society,” she continued.

Added Morris, “But, at the current moment its implied that she is a racist and although I cannot comment on her beliefs, I think we're assuming, and you know what happens when we all assume..."

pic.twitter.com/C9CZSZc6k5

— heather (@HeatherMorrisTV) June 3, 2020

 Former Glee producer Marti Noxon also weighed in on the Lea Michele bullying controversy.

In a since-deleted tweet, captured by the New York Post, she wrote, “I’m all for calling out bad behavior...That said, on GLEE there were LOTS of bad actors. Who were NOT women. People in the industry know who I’m talking about. Why aren’t we calling them out?”

Added Noxon, “It seems to me that women are the first to go under the bus. But a lot of males get away with being the bullies-in-chief. How come we let them get away with it? Maybe it’s because as long as they earn someone money, they get a pass.”

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Mythic Quest' co-star Charlotte Nicdao talks about the cast donating $600,000 to COVID relief

AppleTV (LOS ANGELES) - The cast of Apple TV 's workplace comedy series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet centered on its characters in lockdown, and while a subplot of the episode has the characters competing to raise money for COVID-related charities, its cast actually donated a real-life $600,000.

The cast passed the hat for half that amount, and show co-creator and star Rob McElhenney and his wife, Always Sunny co-star Kaitlin Olsen, matched the sum.

"[Rob] came up with this idea...because...most people that have something to give have been giving," Charlotte Nicdao, who plays frazzled project manager Poppy, tells ABC Audio. "And we thought it would be nice if we could say, 'Yes, we raised the amount of money that in the episode we say we raised, and...if you don't have anything left to give. That's fine. We've done it.'"

The show was shot by each cast member themselves, and Charlotte says they had to do "location scouting" in their own homes with the producers. "I...showed them different parts of my house. And I mean, this is going to seem like a weird flex that I think that my home is like more beautiful than what Poppy's would be."

Nicdao says, giggling, "I put work into my space. You know, it's a small space, but I've tried to make it look nice. And so I was like, "Well, we can't do it in here. It's too nice. Poppy wouldn't live here.'"

However, her wardrobe was a snap. "I felt really lucky, actually, that Poppy is having a rough time and she's not looking her best...So I felt absolutely no pressure to...look good or pick out good clothes to wear or even really wash my hair."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"I apologize..." -- Lea Michele responds to racism accusations from former 'Glee' co-stars

ABC/Kelsey McNeal(LOS ANGELES) -- Lea Michele has responded to allegations of racism and on-set bullying made by former Glee co-stars by apologizing for acting "in ways which hurt other people."

It all started when Michele tweeted last week in reaction to the death of George Floyd in police custody, "George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter."

In response, fellow Glee alum Samantha Marie Ware accused the star of treating her horribly when they worked together.

"LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISION GIG A LIVING HELL?!?!" Ware replied, adding that she would "never forget" the "traumatic" microaggressions she experienced that made her "question a career in Hollywood."

Her fellow Glee co-stars of color seemed to agree, with both Amber Riley and Alex Newell sharing sarcastic GIFs on Twitter.

Michele finally spoke out Wednesday, sharing a lengthy statement to Instagram.  In it, she denied judging others by the color of their skin, and claimed not to remember one specific offense of which Ware accused her.  But, she admitted, "That's not really the point, what matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people."

"Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused," Michele continued.

The expectant actress added,  "I know I keep working to better myself and take responsibility for my actions, so that I can be a real role model for my child...I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience."

By Carson Blackwelder and Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge', the first-ever 'Star Wars' game show, premieres today

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Every hero's journey has the part where the main character returns home, transformed after facing down monsters.  For actor Ahmed Best, who played the controversial Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks, his triumphant return after confronting his own trials comes in the form of the first-ever game show set in that galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge debuts Wednesday with two episodes on StarWarsKids.com and the Star Wars YouTube channel. In every episode, three teams of young "padawans" test their strength, knowledge and bravery on the path to becoming a Jedi Knight.  Best plays Jedi Knight-turned-host Kelleran Beq, along with his trusty droids AD-3 and LX-R5.

The 10 episode series was originally slated for the Disney subscription streaming service, but Lucasfilm says this way, more kids will be able to watch it for free.

The game show marks a return to the Star Wars universe for Best, who found himself in a very dark place after portraying the digital character Jar Jar Binks in the prequel films, starting with 1999's Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  Binks quickly became an object of both fan loathing and critical derision -- toxic reactions that eventually drove Best to consider suicide.

"I felt alone...I was crumbling...” Best tells ABC News, revealing that it became so bad that at one point, he found himself standing on the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge. Best decided not to jump that night, and recalled the moment years later, when he returned to the same spot.

"I looked at my son and I realized that, 'I almost didn't have you.' And he's the best thing that ever happened to me in my life," Best tells ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bill & Ted, aka Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, surprise virtual graduation of real-life San Dimas High School

Orion Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- Monday night, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves surprised the 2020 video graduation of California's San Dimas High School, which as fans know is also the alma mater of their Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure alter-egos Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted "Theodore" Logan.

"We know it's a tough time right now and you're having have to do this virtual graduation," Winter said, to which Reeves, on a split-screen, grunted in agreement.

Winter said, "We want to wish you the best of luck moving forward."

Reeves added, "Congratulations class of 2020, well done!"

Then, aping some lines from the original Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, the actors said, "San Dimas High School football does rule." 

Winter closed with, "Most importantly we wanted to tell you to be excellent to each other.

"And party on," Reeves added.

The long-awaited third film in the Bill & Ted franchise, titled Bill & Ted Face the Music, is set for an August 21 release.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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