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R. Kelly sued by Texas woman for sexual battery, false imprisonment, claims he gave her STD

R&B singer R. Kelly is involved in yet another lawsuit in which he is accused of sexual assault.

The New York Times reported that Faith A. Rodgers, a 20-year-old Texas woman, filed a suit in a New York court. Rodgers said she was 19 when she started a relationship with Kelly.

>> Read more trending news 

NYT reported that, according to the filing, Rodgers said she met Kelly in March 2017 after he performed in San Antonio, Texas. She said she was flown to New York by Kelly after months of phone contact. It was in New York that Rodgers alleges Kelly “initiated unwanted sexual contact” in a hotel room and did not tell Rodgers he was infected with herpes. The suit claims she contracted the disease.

“He turns on all the lights ...And he’s like, ‘Take off your clothes.’ And he says it, you know, with authority in his voice,” Rodgers told CBS News Tuesday. “Not just, you know, he’s demanding me to do this. And I didn’t take off my clothes because why would I? I just wasn’t ready… Sex isn’t something, you know, I’m ready for.”

Rodgers said she ultimately submitted and had sex with Kelly even though she didn’t want to. She claimed Kelly recorded the act on his iPad without her consent.

Rodgers said after the incident, Kelly asked how old she was.  

“I told him and he’s like, ‘You know, if you’re really, you know, 16, that you can tell daddy, right?’ And he was like, ‘You know, you just look about 14, 15 or 16,’” she said.

Rodgers said in the suit that she was in a relationship with Kelly for a year, in which he “routinely engaged in intimidation, mental, verbal and sexual abuse, during and after sexual contact.” The suit alleges Kelly’s actions were “designed to humiliate, embarrass, intimate and shame her.”

The suit is seeking unspecified damages, alleging sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease. CBS News reported that Rodgers previously filed a criminal complaint with the Dallas Police Department in April.

In the past, Kelly has routinely denied allegations of sexual abuse. In response to the April criminal complaint, Kelly’s representative said the musician “categorically denies all claims and allegations.”

Prince Harry, Meghan at first royal event as newlyweds

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, on Tuesday attended their first royal event as newlyweds — a Buckingham Palace garden party honoring Harry's father, Prince Charles, for his many years of charitable work.

The long spell of sunny weather that gave their Saturday wedding a special glow continued Tuesday at the outdoor occasion.

More than 6,000 people involved with charities supported by Charles also attended the party in the vast palace gardens.

It is the first of many events to be held in advance of Charles' 70th birthday in November.

Meghan chose a pale pink dress by British label Goat for the occasion, worn with a matching saucer-style hat by milliner Philip Treacy.

Harry spoke in glowing words about his father's good deeds — despite being buzzed by a bee that momentarily threw him off his prepared remarks.

"It is your selfless drive to affect change, whether that is to improve the lives of those who are on the wrong path, to save an important piece of our national heritage or to protect a particular species under threat, which (Prince) William and I draw inspiration from every day," he said.

The event marks the first time Harry and Meghan have been seen in public since an evening reception on their wedding night.

GLAAD study finds LGBTQ representation in film fell in 2017

Despite high-profile Oscar wins for art house films like "Call Me By Your Name" and "A Fantastic Women," LGBTQ representation in films from the seven biggest Hollywood studios fell significantly in 2017 according to a study released Tuesday by the advocacy organization GLAAD.

GLAAD said in its sixth annual report that of the 109 major releases surveyed from 2017, 12.8 percent included LGBTQ characters, down from 18.4 percent the previous year. None of the major films had a transgender character either, although there was an increase in the racial diversity of LGBTQ characters after two years of decline.

Individually none of the studios received higher than the "insufficient" rating given to 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures. Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Studios all received "poor" ratings, and both Lionsgate and Warner Bros. got "failing" grades.

As usual, independent and art house releases included more LGBTQ characters. Of the 40 films released by Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions and Sony Pictures Classics, which distributed both "Call Me By Your Name" and "A Fantastic Woman," 28 percent were LGBTQ-inclusive, up from 17 percent in 2016.

The report says that Hollywood is at a tipping point with both the Time's Up and #MeToo movements and the huge box office successes of films like "Black Panther" and "Wonder Woman."

"Inclusion is good for the bottom line," said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. "It is time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) stories to be included in this conversation and in this movement."

According to GLAAD, 20 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 identify as LGBTQ.

The organization is calling on the industry to commit to hitting a target of 20 percent of major releases including LGBTQ characters by 2021, and 50 percent by 2024. It is also making a plea to studios to integrate LGBTQ characters more directly into the plot and not to leave a character's queer identity to subtext or interpretation as was the case with "Power Rangers."

GLAAD notes that 2018 is off to a more promising start with releases like Fox's "Love, Simon," Paramount's "Annihilation" and Universal's "Blockers," all of which played on thousands of screens in North America and "included central queer characters who have agency over their own stories."

"Films like 'Love, Simon' have helped accelerate acceptance around the world with many outlets covering the stories of LGBTQ young people who were inspired and empowered to come out after seeing the movie," Ellis wrote. "This is the unique power of entertainment — to change hearts and minds by sharing our stories, and helping people find understanding and common experiences with people who may not be exactly like them."

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

EPA blocks some media from Pruitt water contaminants summit

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday blocked The Associated Press and at least two other news organizations from attending a national summit on harmful water contaminants.

The meeting, convened in Washington by EPA chief Scott Pruitt, was open to invited media only, EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said. Wilcox said there was no room at the event for an AP reporter.

Some other news outlets were allowed to cover the meeting, and a portion of it was livestreamed.

"The Environmental Protection Agency's selective barring of news organizations, including the AP, from covering today's meeting is alarming and a direct threat to the public's right to know about what is happening inside their government," AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement. "It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed."

E&E News, which covers energy and environment issues, confirmed to the AP that reporter Corbin Hiar was kept out of the meeting.

CNN said in a statement that its reporter also was turned away from covering the event "after multiple attempts to attend."

"We understand the importance of an open and free press and we hope the EPA does, too," CNN said.

The summit was on a class of chemicals present in dangerous amounts in many water systems around the country. Pruitt told about 200 people at the meeting that dealing with the contaminants is a "national priority."

An AP reporter attempted to attend the meeting but was told she was not the invitation list. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, security guards grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her out of the EPA building.

Fans say Brandi Chastain's Hall of Fame plaque is a bust

American soccer legend Brandi Chastain is one of the most recognizable women athletes in the world. But sports fans were scratching their heads after viewing her plaque as she was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night.

>> Read more trending news

In their minds, Chastain’s bust was, well, a bust.

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, who wrote inscription for the plaque, called the rendition “shameful” and tweeted that Chastain’s plaque makes Cristiano Ronaldo’s plaque “look perfect.”

“Brandi Chastain is one of the most beautiful athletes I’ve ever covered. How this became her plaque is a freaking embarrassment,” she tweeted.

Chastain was inducted during a ceremony at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. She has won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles with the United States women’s soccer team.

Chastain was diplomatic about the plaque, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“It’s not the most flattering,” Chastain said. “But it’s nice.”

On a lighter note, social media posters were having a field day. Some compared Chastain’s likeness to Gary Busey, Rex Ryan, Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Glanville, Peter King, Jerry Lewis, John Goodman, Bill Belichick and even Mickey Rooney. Others were comparing it to a hideous rendition of another soccer legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Cristiano Ronaldo sculptor: Eh, this isn’t too bad. Brandi Chastain sculptor: Hold my chisel,” The Washington Post tweeted.

“I don’t know about Brandi Chastain, but they nailed Mickey Rooney,” Jason Davis tweeted.

There are no plans to redo the plaque, Andy Savick, the vice president of finance and administration for BASHOF told the Mercury News. He told the newspaper that images on the plaques are “representations” and not intended to be photographic likenesses. 

Chastain’s bust was on a more favorable view at the 1999 World Cup. She scored the game-winning penalty kick and celebrated by sinking to her knees, ripping off her jersey to reveal her sports bra while clenching her fists. The photograph of that moment has become an iconic moment of celebration in sports history.

There are no plans to redo the plaque, Andy Savick, the vice president of finance and administration for BASHOF told the Mercury News. He told the newspaper that images on the plaques are “representations” and not intended to be photographic likenesses. 

Chastain’s bust was on a more favorable view at the 1999 World Cup. She scored the game-winning penalty kick and celebrated by sinking to her knees, ripping off her jersey to reveal her sports bra while clenching her fists. The photograph of that moment has become an iconic moment of celebration in sports history.

Here are some other infamous renditions of athletes. How does the Chastain plaque measure up?

Trump appeals again to delay 'Apprentice' contestant's suit

President Donald Trump wants New York's highest court to delay a defamation suit filed by a former "Apprentice" contestant who accused him of unwanted groping and kissing.

Trump's lawyers filed notice late Monday that they're asking the state Court of Appeals to freeze Summer Zervos' suit while a lower appellate court considers Trump's request to dismiss it or postpone it until after his presidency.

The president has denied Zervos' claims.

Zervos' lawyer, Mariann Wang, noted Tuesday that Trump has lost bids so far to delay the case — "and for good reason," she said.

"No one is above the law," Wang said in a statement. She said that she believed the "sound reasoning" behind the denials so far would prevail.

Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared in 2006 on Trump's former reality show, "The Apprentice." She says he made unwelcome advances when she sought career advice in 2007.

Zervos was among more than a dozen women who came forward late in the 2016 presidential race to say Trump had sexually harassed or assaulted them.

Trump denied all the claims, saying they were "100 percent fabricated" and "totally false" and his accusers were "liars." He specifically contested Zervos' allegations in a statement and retweeted a message that included her photo and described her claims as a "hoax."

Zervos' suit argues Trump defamed her by calling her a liar. She says his words hurt her reputation, harmed her business and led to threats against her.

She's seeking a retraction, an apology and compensatory and punitive damages.

Trump's attorneys have said his remarks were "non-defamatory opinions."

A Manhattan judge ruled in March that the case could go forward. Last week, a mid-level appeals court turned down Trump's bid to halt information-gathering in the case while appeals judges weigh his argument that a private citizen can't sue a sitting president in a state court.

Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz said last week there was "no valid reason" to reject the request.

Zervos' lawyers have issued subpoenas seeking a range of information about Trump's behavior toward women, including any Trump campaign documents concerning any woman who accused him of inappropriate touching and any unaired "Apprentice" footage that might feature Trump discussing female contestants in a sexual or inappropriate way.

A pregnant Claire Danes mulls motherhood stress in new film

A radiant Claire Danes walked the red carpet for the New York premiere of her new film, "A Kid Like Jake." She was glowing for a good reason — not just a new movie.

"I'm quite pregnant, but feeling good so far," Danes told The Associated Press. The actress is in her second trimester. It will be the second child for Danes and husband, Hugh Dancy.

Her co-star, Jim Parsons, was feeling good, too, though he strolled in with a cane and walking cast. It was the result of an onstage accident he sustained during his Broadway play, "The Boys in the Band."

"I injured it going to curtain call. I don't have any physical feats in this play that require me to jump or anything like that, I just tripped going down a goddamn stair, and cracked my foot and tore a ligament in my ankle," Parsons said.

As for the film, Danes and Parsons play the parents of a 4-year old boy named Jake who likes dressing up as a princess. The couple wonders if they should exploit Jake's gender nonconformity to gain an edge in school applications.

Danes identified with the challenge of finding the right school, because she was experiencing a similar issue while making the film.

"I related immediately to the story," she said. "When I shot the movie, my son was 4 years old, and I had just gone through that gauntlet of applying to kindergartens here in New York City, which is a unique kind of torture, really."

While the story deals with the topical discussion of gender identity, it's told through the lens of parenting, so it could easily apply to other types of family struggles. Danes said it taps into "that anxiety that we parents have that our children might be vulnerable out in the world."

Parsons agrees: "There's a big blowout fight scene between the parents that me and Claire play in this. And the thing I've heard many, many times is people saying, 'I've had the exact same argument, not about this obviously, but basically the exact same argument.'"

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Follow John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci

A farewell to the road for Paul Simon

Farewell tours don't always mean farewell, but are a ripe time for appreciation and appraisal. Paul Simon's concerts and a new biography offer the opportunity for both.

Simon's "Homeward Bound" tour began last week in Vancouver and takes him across North America, to Europe and an eventual conclusion with three dates back home in New York City.

Simon, who's 76, isn't retiring. He has an album due out this fall and promises he'll still occasionally appear on stage. Since he started writing songs as a teen-ager, it's hard to imagine that impulse shutting off forever. He's done with the idea of long concert tours, though, so if you live in Greensboro, North Carolina, Austin, Texas or Orlando, Florida, and want to see him perform, this is probably it.

The death of his lead guitarist and friend, Vincent N'guini, last December influenced his decision to step away, Simon said in a statement when the tour was announced. (He has declined interview requests).

"Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing," he said.

The set list from the tour's opener in Vancouver indicates that he's exploring the breadth of his career — from Simon & Garfunkel favorites like "Mrs. Robinson" and "America" to touchstones from "Graceland" and recent fare "Dazzling Blue" and "Rewrite." With a 16-piece band, he often searches for new ways to tell familiar stories.

"He was far more a curious musician than a self-congratulatory, self-repeating pop star," wrote Jon Pareles of The New York Times in his review of opening night.

Simon's musical restlessness sets him apart from many peers, said Robert Hilburn, author of the just-released book "Paul Simon: The Life." Simon was interviewed by Hilburn for the book. Many of Simon's contemporaries aren't interested in pushing boundaries or have fans who resist if they do. Simon's last few albums have been adventurous, earning him critical and commercial success.

Many people forget that Simon spent years as a mediocre writer searching for pop hits until his breakthrough song, "The Sound of Silence," Hilburn said.

"Once he became this great songwriter, he realized right away that you're always in jeopardy," he said. "There are always these distractions and temptations. He had this determination and intelligence to know that music is the most important thing — that you could never master it and never take it for granted."

Hilburn believes that the desire to stretch himself musically was the biggest factor in Simon's break with partner Art Garfunkel in 1970, not the famous prickly relationship between the childhood chums. "If he hadn't left Simon & Garfunkel, he'd have burned out like all the others," Hilburn said.

The two are more distant than ever after an unpleasant end to the "Old Friends" tour in 2012, and Garfunkel declined requests to be interviewed for Hilburn's biography. So it would be wise not to expect another reunion soon.

For the book, Hilburn pressed Simon to reveal details of the 2014 incident where Simon and his wife, Edie Brickell, were arrested on disorderly conduct charges for a fight at their Connecticut home. Without setting the record straight, it would remain a defining image of their marriage, he argued. Simon refused; instead, a photo of him and Brickell later renewing their vows at their Montauk, New York, home is in the book, standing as Simon's testimony to the endurance of their relationship.

Even though two of his three wives — Brickell and Carrie Fisher — were celebrities in their own right when they were married, Simon has generally been reluctant to feed the media machine. Hilburn believes that has cost him popularity through the years. Instead, people know Simon through his songs, and they're likely to be remembered long after he's gone, he said.

In fact, that legacy drives the album he's been working on for release this fall. He records again some of the compositions he's particularly proud of that were lost along the way in terms of public attention. One song on the Vancouver playlist, "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War," is a likely target.

Even though Hilburn was the first biographer that Simon cooperated with, they had their clashes. Hilburn wrote that he feared the project was close to breaking down. But ultimately he said Simon kept his word that Hilburn would be the final arbiter of what was written, and gradually opened up.

"With all of the success he's had, he still loves it when people love the music," Hilburn said. "He wants people to love the music, not necessarily to like him. But I think if they got to know him, they will get to like him."

Marc Summers returning to ‘Double Dare’ reboot in new role, Liza Koshy to host

The new host of Nickelodeon’s reboot of “Double Dare” was announced by the network Tuesday, and it’s not Marc Summers -- although he will be on the show in a new role.

YouTuber and actress Liza Koshy will host the new version of the classic late ‘80s, early ‘90s children’s game show. According to a news release, Marc Summers, the host of the original show, “returns to give color commentary on the challenges, lending his vast knowledge of the game and expertise to each episode.”

>> Read more trending news 

“I can’t think of many shows like ‘Double Dare’ that have the ability to bond people together -- those who grew up watching the original series can now pass along their love for this game show to today’s kids,” Summers said in a statement. “It’s an honor to be a part of this reboot.”

The competition features two teams that compete to win prizes by answering trivia questions, completing messy physical challenges and going through the show’s signature obstacle course, which includes a human hamster wheel and the “Double Dare” giant nose.

“This is a dream that I have been dreaming to live!” Koshy said in a statement. “From watching Double Dare to hosting it!? I am ready for a summer of slime and nose picking.”

The reboot, which consists of 40 new episodes, premieres June 25 at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon.

Avicii's family says DJ-producer's funeral will be private

The family of late Swedish DJ-producer Avicii says his funeral will be private.

In a statement released Tuesday, Avicii's family says the funeral will include "people who were closest" to the performer. The family also asked the media to respect their decision.

They added that no more information about the funeral will be made publicly.

Avicii, born Tim Bergling, was found dead last month in Muscat, Oman at age 28. He earned Grammy nominations, had success on U.S. radio and performed his music around the world at music festivals.

He retired from touring in 2016. He had in the past suffered acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. After having his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014, he canceled a series of shows in attempt to recover.

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