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Future of groundbreaking show 'Transparent' may be in flux

When "Transparent" debuted four years ago on Amazon with a transgender lead character, it was a special moment for TV. It won Emmys and seemed a perfect fit for a burgeoning civil rights movement. Now the show's future may be in flux following allegations against star Jeffrey Tambor.

Fellow "Transparent" actress Trace Lysette alleges Tambor pressed his body against hers in a sexually aggressive manner and made inappropriate and unwanted sexual statements on the set of the show. Tambor denies the allegations saying in a statement that he has "never been a predator — ever." Lysette is the second woman to accuse Tambor of harassment.

Lysette, who is herself transgender, said on Twitter that when she emerged from wardrobe in a costume of a lingerie top and shorts for a scene with Tambor, he said, "My God, Trace. I want to attack you sexually."

Lysette said she and another actress laughed off the remark, but then Tambor approached her between scenes a few minutes later.

"He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrust back and forth against my body," Lysette said. "I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas."

Tambor has been hailed for his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman, the transgendered matriarch of the quirky Pfefferman family. He has won a best actor Emmy for his portrayal, and has also starred in such shows as "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Arrested Development."

Lysette urged Amazon to "remove the problem and let the show go on." The gay rights group GLAAD echoed her request, calling for the show to be refocused, presumably away from Tambor.

"For too long transgender women have been forced to hide stories of harassment and abuse in the work place, and Trace has taken a powerful stand in calling for an industry where all women can work in safe environments," GLADD said.

"GLAAD stands with Trace in her hope that the inappropriate situations she and others endured on set will be remedied, and that future seasons will focus on more of the many brilliant characters that audiences love and care about."

Several voices in the transgender community have also urged Amazon to continue the series without Tambor. "We cannot let trans content be taken down" by Tambor, wrote Our Lady J, a writer and producer of "Transparent." Actor and activist Omar Sharif Jr. also took to Twitter to say "it's critical" that "Transparent" continue "(without Tambor) as trans stories are needed more than ever!"

Amazon Studios said it is adding the information to an investigation of Tambor it opened last week when his assistant made similar allegations, which Tambor also denied, calling her "disgruntled."

Tambor said in a statement that he can be difficult to work with, but denied any sexual misbehavior.

"I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone," he said. "But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express. "

Tambor is the latest high profile Hollywood figure to be accused of misconduct in a wave that began when dozens of sexual harassment allegations were reported last month against film mogul Harvey Weinstein, who is being investigated for rape by police departments in London, New York and Los Angeles. An unnamed aspiring actress has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Weinstein and his former company in an attempt to hold them financially responsible for the producer's alleged actions.

On Friday, producer, radio and television host Ryan Seacrest said someone who worked as his wardrobe stylist at E! News nearly a decade ago suggested he had engaged in inappropriate behavior.

"If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry. I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result," Seacrest said in a statement, describing himself as "an advocate for women."

E! spokeswoman Joanne Park said the channel is investigating.

Also Friday, Los Angeles talent agent Cameron Mitchell said allegations that he sexually assaulted actress Demi Mann are false and egregious.

Mann filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that she had been sexually harassed and that Mitchell had forced her to perform oral sex on him twice. She also said she went to a bar with him and then only remembered waking up in her bed with him lying nude next to her.

CAA said it launched an immediate investigation and suspended Mitchell last month.

Also Friday, Vice Media said it has appointed a seven-woman advisory board to examine workplace issues at the media company following a report in The Daily Beast that Vice tolerated inappropriate behavior and harassment toward women.

Liz Phair fulfills a dream with 2-book deal at Random House

Liz Phair is fulfilling a longtime dream: to be an author.

The rock star known for "Exile in Guyville" and other albums has a two-book deal with Random House.

The publisher announced Thursday the first book is called "Horror Stories." It's billing the book as a "rich and kaleidoscopic memoir" about fame, parenthood, love and "everything in between." A release date has not been determined.

The 50-year-old Phair says in a statement issued through Random House she has been working on stories for the past decade.

No details have been given for the second book. But Phair has spoken in the past about writing a novel. She already has written reviews, praising Keith Richards' memoir "Life" in The New York Times.

Meryl Streep says violent experiences changed her profoundly

Meryl Streep says the two times in her life she dealt with violence were so profound it changed her "on a cellular level."

Streep made the remarks Wednesday at the Committee to Protect Journalists' 27th annual International Press Freedom Awards in New York. The Oscar-winner told the audience she did "know something about real terror."

She recounted two incidents, one in which she said she was attacked and "played dead and waited until the blows stopped."

Streep then described another incident when someone else was being abused.

She said in that case, she "went completely nuts" and chased the man off. It was after telling the stories that Streep said the experiences changed her permanently.

Streep did not give any more details, other than to say Cher witnessed the second incident.

Sylvester Stallone rep says sexual abuse allegations are ‘ridiculous, categorically false’

Sylvester Stallone has been accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 1986.

According to a report from The Daily Mail, the alleged victim filed a police report and claimed the actor, then 40 years old, sexually assaulted her in a hotel room in Las Vegas. Stallone’s bodyguard, Michael De Luca, was also involved in the assault, the accuser said, according to the report. Stallone was in the city filming “Over the Top,” the report said.

>> Read more trending news

The unnamed teenager said she was threatened not to tell anyone about the incident. The Daily Mail, which reported it obtained a copy of the original police report, said the teen said she was “humiliated and ashamed” and did not press charges against Stallone or the De Luca as a result.

The report alleges that retired Las Vegas Metro Police Department Detective Sgt. John Samolovitch, who was in change of the department’s sexual assault unit, confirmed that the police report “is in fact a true copy of the original report.”

A representative for Stallone says the report is not true.

“This is a ridiculous, categorically false story,” Stallone’s spokeswoman, Michelle Bega, told People in a statement. “No one was ever aware of this story until it was published today, including Mr. Stallone. At no time was Mr. Stallone ever contacted by any authorities or anyone else regarding this matter.”

NPR changes leadership as harassment issues linger

National Public Radio elected new leadership on its board of directors on Thursday as the organizations deals with sex harassment issues that led to its top news executive recently being ousted.

NPR said Paul Haaga, retired chairman of the Capital Research and Management Co., will be its new board chairman. He's a former acting CEO of NPR and has been active in the organization's management since 2011. Haaga replaces Roger LaMay, general manager of a public radio station in Philadelphia, who chose not to run for another term.

Jo Anne Wallace, an executive at KQED in San Francisco, will be vice chairman.

The changes to the oversight board come two weeks after Michael Oreskes, leader of NPR's newsroom, lost his job following complaints by women of uncomfortable conversations, and reports of unwanted advances toward women when he worked at The New York Times nearly two decades ago.

Oreskes was a vice president and senior managing editor at The Associated Press from 2008 until he joined NPR in 2015. The AP had one complaint of "unwelcome and inappropriate verbal communication" while Oreskes was at the news organization.

NPR correspondents David Folkenflik and Merrit Kennedy reported Thursday that three female journalists filed complaints about unexpected advances from another NPR news executive, David Sweeney. NPR said Sweeney, who would not comment on the case to the network's own journalists, had been placed on leave.

An NPR spokeswoman said the company would not discuss whether or not Sweeney had been the subject of complaints. "We encourage people to come forward with any concerns they may have about situations that have made them feel uncomfortable and we review them thoroughly to ensure a safe, comfortable and productive work environment," the network said.


Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber photographed kissing at hockey game

If a paparazzi photo is any indication, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are together again.

TMZ reported that the on-again-off-again couple are very much back on after Gomez was photographed kissing Bieber during one of his weekly hockey games Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

>> Read more trending news

Gomez was previously with The Weeknd, but the two broke up after dating for 10 months. People reported in October that distance was a reason for the breakup.

Around the same time, Gomez was photographer going to church with Bieber and meeting him for breakfast. According to E! News, the two were just friends around late October.

This latest photo indicates otherwise. 

Bieber and Gomez initially dated on and off from 2011-2014.

Comcast talking to Fox about a deal, source says

Comcast is in discussions with 21st Century Fox about buying its movie studio, some cable channels and its international arms, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. This person can't discuss the matter publicly.

The conversations are at a very early stage, and there's no guarantee that a deal would be finalized, this person says.

Comcast is interested in the same Fox assets that Disney reportedly showed interest in, the person says. Those would include European broadcaster Sky and Star India, the National Geographic and FX cable channels and the film studio.

If such a deal took place, it would leave Fox with its Fox News channel, sports channels, the Fox broadcast network and several TV stations.

The Latest: 'Despacito' takes home 4 Latin Grammy Awards

The Latest on the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards being presented Thursday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

"Despacito" won big at the Latin Grammys.

Luis Fonsi's megahit featuring Daddy Yankee was the biggest winner of the night Thursday, picking up four trophies. The song, whose video is the most watched on YouTube, was honored for record of the year, best short-form music video, best urban fusion/performance and song of the year.

Puerto Rican rapper Residente, who lead the nominations ahead of the ceremony in Las Vegas, took home trophies for best urban music album for his self-titled album and best urban song for "Somos anormales."

Meanwhile, Colombian megastar Juanes claimed the trophy for best pop/rock album, breaking the record of 21 awards that he shared with Calle 13.

The last award of the night went to "Salsa Big Band" of Ruben Blades with Roberto Delgado and orchestra.


7:30 p.m.

Alejandro Sanz has dedicated his person of the year award at the Latin Grammys to the young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, commonly referred to as "dreamers."

Sanz also dedicated the award to Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Texas and Florida, all areas that were recently affected by natural disasters. He sang his hits "Corazon partio" and "No es lo mismo" with a group of "dreamers."

Sanz, who is celebrating two decades since the "Mas" album launched him to international stardom, was earned the award for his achievements in music and his philanthropic contributions to organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and Greenpeace.

Sanz told reporters backstage that laws sometimes "are written in law firms and people are not given consideration."

The 18th annual Latin Grammy Awards are being presented at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.


5:30 p.m.

Luis Fonsi's megahit "Despacito" featuring Daddy Yankee has won the record of the year award at this year's Latin Grammys.

The Latin Grammy Awards opened Thursday with a moment of silence for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, followed by a performance by one of its native sons.

Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Puerto Rican flag, rapper Residente kicked off this year's show with a performance of his song "Hijos del Canaveral," a tribute to his homeland.

Actor-singer Jaime Camil and singer-actress Roselyn Sanchez are hosting the ceremony that's airing live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Univision.

Colombian megastar Juanes claimed the first prize awarded during the live show. He took home the trophy for best pop/rock album, breaking the record of 21 awards that he shared with Calle 13.

Residente leads the nominations with nine nods for his work post-Calle 13.

"Hijos de del Canaveral" is a best tropical song contender.


4:20 p.m.

The megahit "Despacito," which highlights the color and beauty of a now-devastated San Juan, Puerto Rico neighborhood, has won the Latin Grammy for best short-form music video.

The video that has become the most watched music video ever on YouTube, with over 4.3 billion views. The award was handed out Thursday during a pre-telecast event in which the bulk of the awards were distributed.

Video director Carlos R. Perez says the success of the video and song in Spanish is a clear indication that "the Latino culture is becoming more and more of an influential part of not only the U.S. but globally."

The Luis Fonsi megahit earned four nominations this year: record and song of the year, as well as best urban fusion/performance for its remix with Justin Bieber and best short form music video for its clip.

The 18th annual Latin Grammy Awards will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. EST on Univision. More than 15 performances are scheduled for the show.


3:20 p.m.

Residente, Mon Laferte and the megahit "Despacito" have each earned trophies ahead of Thursday's 18th annual Latin Grammy Awards.

Residente takes home the trophy for the best urban music album during a pre-telecast event in which the bulk of the categories are awarded. He leads nominations with nine nods for his first solo album post-Calle 13.

The show will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. EST on Univision. The Latin Recording Academy has promised performances by Alejandro Sanz, Maluma, Residente and more.

Laferte won the first Latin Grammy of her career in the category of best alternative song for "Amarrame."

"Despacito (Remix)," a version of the megahit of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber won the award for best urban fusion/performance.


2:30 p.m.

With his first solo album, Residente has everything to gain at this year's Latin Grammy Awards.

The Puerto Rican rapper leads the nominations ahead of the Thursday ceremony in Las Vegas with nine nods for his work post-Calle 13, including album, record and song of the year. Colombian sensation Maluma has the second most nominations this year with seven, while Shakira's comeback garnered six.

The largest celebration of Spanish-language music comes at a time when many Latinos are wondering if there's anything to celebrate this year as they've felt the effects of the Trump administration's immigration agenda and their communities were destroyed by natural disasters. The Latin Recording Academy has promised performances by Alejandro Sanz, Luis Fonsi, Maluma, Residente and more.

The show airs at 8 p.m. EST on Univision.

In only 4 days, Taylor Swift sells the most albums of 2017

In just four days, Taylor Swift's new album has sold more traditional albums than any other release this year.

Billboard reports the album, "reputation," sold 1.05 million copies in the first four days after its Nov. 10 release.

Before Swift released her album, Ed Sheeran's "Divide" was the year's best-selling album, with 919,000 units sold. Kendrick Lamar's "Damn" has sold 842,000 units.

Since Billboard changed how it views albums sales — incorporating single track sales (10 song sales = 1 album sale) and streaming (1,500 streams = 1 album sale) — Sheeran's album has sold 2.3 million units overall. Lamar's has moved 2.5 million units.

Swift's "reputation" is not available on streaming services, pushing fans to buy it or wait until it appears on Spotify or Apple Music. It's Swift's fourth album to sell more than 1 million units in its first week of release.

Swift became the first artist to have three albums sell more than 1 million copies in their first week when "1989" reached the feat in 2014. Her albums "Speak Now" and "Red" also sold more than 1 million units in their debut weeks.

Latin Grammys pay tribute to Puerto Rico in songs, speeches

Thursday's Latin Grammy Awards were a love letter to Puerto Rico, with several artists dedicating their performances and awards to the island hard hit by Hurricane Maria.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, rapper Residente and singer-songwriter Luis Fonsi, all of Puerto Rican heritage, dedicated their awards to their homeland.

Fonsi's global hit "Despacito" was the night's big winner, making good on all four of its nominations, including record and song of the year.

"This song is a hymn to Puerto Rico," Fonsi said backstage. "Everything I do, and everything I will do, now more than ever, is to continue celebrating my island, my culture, my homeland and my music, and to make sure the public knows that Puerto Rico needs help."

Miranda, recognized for his artistic and philanthropic work with the President's Merit Award, thanked his wife, his parents, his many collaborators and his Puerto Rican roots. He said he intended to remind the U.S. government that the residents of the island territory "are human beings, too."

The ceremony, held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and broadcast live on Univision, opened with a moment of silence for Puerto Rico, followed by a performance by one of its native sons. Residente wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the Puerto Rican flag he performed his song "Hijos del Canaveral" ("Sons of Canaveral"), a tribute to his country.

He also won two awards: urban album for his self-titled solo debut and urban song for "Somos Anormales" ("We Are Abnormal"). Ruben Blades won the top prize, album of the year, for "Salsa Big Band." Other winners included Shakira, for contemporary pop album, Juanes, for pop-rock album, and Vicente Garcia, who was named best new artist.

Most of the night's awards were presented during a pre-telecast ceremony, while the live broadcast was dominated by performances, including Natalia Lafourcade, Maluma, Juanes, J Balvin, Lila Downs, CNCO, Mon Laferte, Nicky Jam and Carlos Vives.

Besides Puerto Rico, the Latin Grammys also had a political element. Multiple nominee Danay Suarez spoke about sexual harassment. Presenter Wilmer Valderrama urged viewers to "make history in the next three years." Other artists noted that music has no borders and no walls.

Alejandro Sanz, who received a special award, used his time onstage to call attention to the "dreamers" affected by President Donald Trump's suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

As the Latin Recording Academy's 2017 Person of the Year, Sanz was feted during a starry gala earlier this week. On Thursday, he performed a medley of his hits, closing with a group of young people onstage wearing T-shirts that read, "We have one dream."

Sanz said backstage he was incredulous that such a decision could be made "in this century, in this country" with apparent disregard for the people it would impact.

"This is their country, in the end," he said. "These are the kids who will have the courage to say a border is not going to stop me. That's why I say that for every stone that's placed or every wall that's built, there will always be a call behind it to take it down."


Cohen reported from Los Angeles.

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