Britney Spears makes rare statement at hearing; requests an end to conservatorship
As Britney Spears’ fans gathered holding #FreeBritney signs in downtown Los Angeles late in the day on June 23, the singer made a rare, direct statement to the judge overseeing her conservatorship case about the future of her father, Jamie Spears’ role as conservator. During her 20-minute statement, Britney specifically asked Judge Brenda Penny to end her conservatorship, the New York Times reported from the hearing, which featured a public audio feed. “I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized,” she told the judge, speaking remotely. “I just want my life back.” Britney, who’s life has been rigidly controlled by her father under the terms of the arrangement he set up 13 years ago, then asked to have the conservatorship end, “without having to be evaluated,” telling the court, “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive.” She also said she was put on Lithium against her will, according to CNN, recalling that she “felt drunk” during the years she was not speaking out. New details uncovered by the Times earlier this week seemed to support the singer’s claims. Citing court documents, the outlet quoted a case investigator whose conversations with Britney indicated she was afraid of her father and subject to “very harsh” punishments when he didn’t follow the rules he’d set for her, all while paying himself a salary out of the money she earned performing, including at least one time when she was extremely ill and terrified to be onstage.
Keep reading to see Scooter Braun’s take on the Taylor Swift masters drama and more …
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Scooter Braun expresses ‘regret’ about how Taylor Swift’s masters deal went down
Scooter Braun is telling his side of the story about his 2019 purchase of Big Machine Records, which included the masters from Taylor Swift’s first six albums. In a new interview with Variety, the 40-year-old pop manager expresses regret over how the deal transpired and the way Taylor felt about it afterwards — feelings she expressed on social media with no small amount of anger. “I regret and it makes me sad that Taylor had that reaction to the deal,” Scooter says. ” … All of what happened has been very confusing and not based on anything factual. I don’t know what story she was told. I asked for her to sit down with me several times, but she refused. I offered to sell her the catalog back and went under NDA, but her team refused,” he continues. While Taylor tweeted in November 2020 that Scooter “would never even quote my team a price” to buy her own masters unless she signed an NDA that would prevent her from trashing Scooter in public, Scooter and his team have claimed negotiations were in progress. “It all seems very unfortunate,” says Scooter. “… She and I only met briefly three or four times in the past, and all our interactions were really friendly and kind. I find her to be an incredibly talented artist and wish her nothing but the best.” Rather than sell Taylor her masters, he sold them to Shamrock Holding, a private equity company, for a reported net profit of $160 million. “I’m firmly against anyone ever being bullied,” he adds. “I always try to lead with appreciation and understanding. The one thing I’m proudest of in that moment was that my artists and team stood by me. They know my character and my truth.” Taylor is currently in the process of re-recording the albums in question, “Taylor’s Version”-style, so she can regain control of the master rights to the music.
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Jennifer Aniston vows she’ll never use dating apps
When it comes to finding love, Jennifer Aniston’s search will never begin online. Asked if she’d ever use a dating app, the “Morning Show” star recently laughed and told People, “Absolutely no,” adding, “I’m going to just stick to the normal ways of dating. Having someone ask you out. That’s the way I would prefer it.” The “Friends” alum, 52, also knows what her priorities are in a relationship the next time she does fall in love. Marriage, it seems is not high on the list. “It’s not on my radar,” she explained. “I’m interested in finding a fantastic partner and just living an enjoyable life and having fun with one another. That’s all we should hope for. It doesn’t have to be etched in stone in legal documents.” Besides, she added, things are pretty great for Jen right now just as they are.”I’m in a really peaceful place. I have a job that I love, I have people in my life who are everything to me, and I have beautiful dogs,” she said. I’m just a very fortunate and blessed human being.” As for the times when things feel less-than-ideal? Thanks to what she learned in therapy, Jen said she now meditates regularly, having learned “self-awareness is key” to her happiness.
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Michael B. Jordan apologizes, promises to rename ‘J’Overt’ rum amid backlash
Michael B. Jordan plans to re-introduce his new rum brand after backlash sparked largely by a post from Nicki Minaj left the actor and his partners apologizing for the “J’Ouvert” moniker they originally chose. The intention, Michael explained, was to honor the Caribbean street party of the same name. But as Trinidad-born Nicki and others pointed out on social media, the backstory of J’Ouvert involves colonizers who “mocked” enslaved people as they forced them to continue harvesting sugar in fields that were burning. After emancipation, the story goes, the slaves reenacted the fiery harvest — but this time, they made fun of the masters. “It’s not just the name, it’s what it represents about enslavement and freedom,” Nicki’s repost read. “I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive— but now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper. 🙏🏾🇹🇹 #jouvert,” Nicki captioned the post. On his Instagram Story on June 22, Michael wrote: “I just wanna say on behalf of myself & my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture (we love & respect) & hoped to celebrate & shine a positive light on. Last few days has been a lot of listening, A lot of learning & engaging in countless conversations. We hear you. I hear you & want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming,” he continued, adding, “We sincerely apologize & look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”
Elizabeth Olsen recalls ‘awful’ ‘Game of Thrones’ audition
Long before she landed the Scarlet Witch/ Wanda Maximoff role in “WandaVision,” Elizabeth Olsen auditioned to play Daenerys Targaryen, aka the Mother of Dragons, in “Game of Thrones.” Ten years later, she still touts the “awful” audition as being among the worst she’s ever done. As Elizabeth noted on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast this week, she actually likes auditioning — but that affection didn’t help her in the case of “GOT.” “I auditioned for ‘Game of Thrones.’ I auditioned for, like, the assistant to the casting director in a small room in New York with just a camera on me and them reading the script,” recalled the Marvel star, 32. “I was doing the Khaleesi speech when she comes out of the fire …” And? “It was awful,” she said. “I didn’t get a callback.” The part, of course, went to Emilia Clarke.
Taraji P. Henson reveals why Cookie’s ‘Empire’ spin-off was put on hold
Last summer, “Empire” fans were buzzing about the planned Cookie Lyon spin-off that was in the works, starring Taraji P. Henson as the Lyon family matriarch. In December, Variety reported the project had stalled; now, Taraji’s explaining a bit more about why the new series has yet to come together. “I think we’re gonna put it to rest for a sec,” she told ET this week. “For me, the script has to be right. It has to be worthy of the audience. We have to give the audience something incredible, and sometimes, I think you need time, time away. I think absence makes the heart grow fonder.” In the meantime, Taraji — who spent much of the coronavirus pandemic working with her foundation to eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the Black community — is set to host the 2021 BET Awards on June 27.
Miley Cyrus teases upcoming Pride special concert: ‘This feels like a peaceful protest’
Ahead of the June 25 broadcast of her hour-long Pride concert special on NBC’s Peacock platform, Miley Cyrus has been sharing behind-the-scenes clips from thetaping, along with posts about why the performance was important to her. “This feels like a peaceful protest,” the singer tweeted on June 22, sharing a teaser from “Miley Cyrus Presents Stand By You.” “There are laws endangering the lgbtq+ community all around the country and even here in my home state – We can’t stop and we won’t stop doing everything in our power to create the changes we want to see not just here but AROUND THE WORLD!” she added. Featuring guests like Maren Morris, Little Big Town, Mickey Guyton and Orville Peck — and a whole lot of feathery, sparkling costume changes from Miley, the show was taped on June 8 in front of a live audience at Nashville, Tennessee’s historic Ryman Auditorium, in honor of Pride Month, which comes to a close next week. According to her posts so far, the performance includes a mix of Miley’s own hits, like “Party in the U.S.A.,” and covers, like Cher’s “Believe” and Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”
Angelina Jolie reflects on health care disparities tied to her kids’ different skin colors
In a new piece for Time, Angelina Jolie shines a light on the disparities in health care for people with different skin colors and tones. It’s a problem Angelina’s personally familiar with, given the different backgrounds of the six kids she shares with ex, Brad Pitt. Speaking to medical student Malone Mukwende, who recently published a “handbook” and online platform about how “medical symptoms can present very differently on Black and brown skin, leading to misdiagnosis, suffering and even death,” Angelina recalls seeing firsthand how a rash all her kids once had “looked drastically different depending on their skin color.” Thinking back, she tells Malone that despite the differences, “… whenever I looked at medical charts, the reference point was always white skin.” Angelina adds that her daughter Zahara Jolie-Pitt, “whom I adopted from Ethiopia, had surgery, and afterward a nurse told me to call them if her skin ‘turned pink.'” Malone says he’s noticed the same thing happening: “Almost the entirety of medicine is taught in that way. There’s a language and a culture that exists in the medical profession, because it’s been done for so many years and because we are still doing it so many years later it doesn’t seem like it’s a problem.” He says he hopes his website, Hutano, and handbook, “Mind the Gap,” will help “empower the individual” as a first step in reducing health care disparities.
Kim Kardashian West gets permanent restraining order against alleged stalker
Kim Kardashian West has been granted a permanent restraining order against a man she says has been stalking and harassing her and posting about his inability to enter her house. At a June 23 hearing Kim attended virtually via audio feed, Charles Peter Zelenoff was ordered to stay away from and stop contacting Kim and members of her family, according TMZ. The outlet noted that the man was not deemed “threatening, per se,” by the court, which is why her legal team’s request for a five-year order of protection was reduced. Back in 2017, after Kim was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, she and her sister, Kendall Jenner, both updated the security at their homes. Kendall and other members of the Kardashian-Jenner family have also taken alleged stalkers to court, in search of formal legal protection.
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