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Major media players start commission for sexual misconduct

The biggest figures and institutions in entertainment have established a commission to be chaired by Anita Hill that intends to combat sexual misconduct and inequality in the industry in the wake of the huge wave of revelations spurred by allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

A statement Friday announced the founding of the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, a group that grew out of a meeting called by "Star Wars" producer Kathleen Kennedy and several other prominent women in the industry.

"The Commission will not seek just one solution, but a comprehensive strategy to address the complex and interrelated causes of the problems of parity and power," Kennedy said in a statement.

The chief executives of nearly every major Hollywood studio, TV network and record label attended the meeting and agreed to found and to fund the group, the statement said. The long list includes Disney CEO Bob Iger, Paramount CEO Karen Stuart, Universal Music Group CEO Sir Lucian Grainge and CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves.

The movie and music academies and many of the major agencies and unions that represent entertainers also signed on.

"The fact that so many industry leaders — across film, television, music, digital, unions, agencies ... and guilds — came together, in one room, to explore solutions speaks to a new era," Kennedy said.

The group chose as its chair the law professor Hill, who brought the concept of sexual harassment to national consciousness in 1991 when she testified during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas.

"It is time to end the culture of silence," Hill said in a statement. "I've been at this work for 26 years. This moment presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change."

The commission said in its statement that it would reconvene immediately after the first of the year to hone its mission, scope and priorities.

The revelations about Weinstein in The New York Times and the New Yorker in October have brought on two months unlike any the media world has ever seen, with nearly daily allegations of sexual harassment assault and abuse involving some of the most prominent players in entertainment including Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Dustin Hoffman and Russell Simmons.

Hill has been making appearances in Southern California in recent days before Friday's announcement, speaking to a gathering of entertainers and executives in Beverly Hills last week.

She said there that she knew that despite Thomas' confirmation to the Supreme Court, the issue would one day return.

"I never believed 1991 was the end," she said, "and I was going to make sure in my life that I never saw that as the defining moment for me or for this issue."

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This story corrects the name of Universal Music Group CEO Sir Lucian Grainge.

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AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this story.

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Follow Andrew Dalton at www.twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Billionaire’s son sues ex-fiancée to get $250,000 engagement ring back

Billionaire Bill Koch’s son Wyatt is no longer engaged, and he wants the quarter-million dollar ring back from his ex-fiancee.

>> Read more trending news 

Lawyers filed a civil lawsuit on Wyatt Koch’s behalf Tuesday to attempt to force Ivie Gabrielle Slocumb to return the expensive piece of jewelry.

“The ring is wrongfully detained by (Slocumb),” the lawsuit says. “She received the ring as a conditional gift. She refuses to return it despite proper demand and the condition not being fulfilled.”

Slocumb was the one who broke off the engagement, according to the complaint. Koch demanded the ring back multiple times and she refused, the complaint says.

Koch, a Palm Beach resident and fashion designer, purchased the 8.24 carat diamond ring for $180,000 at Manufacturing Jewelers on Madison Avenue in New York on March 27, 2017, according to an invoice attached to the complaint. An attorney for Koch said the ring was last appraised for $250,000.

Koch declined comment through an attorney. It’s unclear if Slocumb has hired an attorney, and there was no answer at a phone number associated with her.

Wyatt Koch founded the company Wyatt Ingraham LLC — an apparel line for men that caters to an international audience, according to the company’s website. His sense of fashion is bold and he thinks clothing should be a conversation starter, the site says.

>> Related: Stranger spends days in water to find couple's lost engagement ring

Industrialist Bill Koch is the son of Fred C. Koch, who founded Koch Industries — a multinational company based in Wichita, Kansas. Bill Koch, whose net worth is about 1.7 billion, according to Forbes, is the co-founder of Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach.

Spurlock's 'Super Size Me' sequel pulled from Sundance fest

Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary will not premiere at the Sundance Film Festival as planned.

The remaining partners in his production company said Friday that they removed "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!" from the Sundance slate in light of Spurlock's confessions of sexual misconduct this week.

Warrior Poets partners Jeremy Chilnick and Matthew Galkin said in a statement that "this is not the appropriate time" for the film to premiere.

YouTube Red, which was to distribute the film, also had a change of heart. YouTube said Friday it would not release the film, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Producers of another documentary set to premiere at Sundance next month also said Friday they were distancing themselves from Spurlock.

"In light of Morgan's recent revelations, we agreed to end his association with 'The Devil We Know,'" producer Kristin Lazure said in a statement. She said she hoped to keep the focus on the film, which explores the effects of toxic chemical pollution.

Spurlock said Wednesday in a lengthy online post that he was accused of rape while in college and settled a sexual harassment case with a female assistant at his office eight years ago. He said he would immediately step down from the production company he co-founded.

Representatives for Spurlock did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Disney-Fox deal may create a new nerdy nirvana

The coming union of Disney and Fox is set to create a new nirvana for fanboys and -girls. It will reunite superheroes and science-fiction characters long separated by an energy barrier of corporate legalism.

For years, Marvel characters from the X-Men and the Fantastic Four have battled bad dudes from the studios of 20th Century Fox.

Meanwhile, Marvel's Avengers such as Iron Man and Black Widow vanquished villains in Disney's corner of the galaxy.

And the rights to various "Star Wars" films have been scattered far, far away from each other.

Those will all be unified under the Magic Kingdom. Disney announced Thursday it's buying most of Fox for $52 billion.

The combined company will account for more than a third of theatrical revenues in the U.S. and Canada.

Billie Lourd shares photo of mom Carrie Fisher, honoring ‘Star Wars, her last movie

Billie Lourd is remembering her late mother, Carrie Fisher, in a touching Instagram post.

>> Read more trending news 

The touching photo Lourd shared Friday shows the pair clinging to each other on the red carpet of a recent movie premiere.

The mother and daughter starred in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” back in 2015, and now Fisher’s last movie, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” premiered in theaters on Friday. Lourd said she will forever cherish those memories.

“I’m a big believer of things happening for a reason and I think I ended up on that movie for a reason,” Lourd said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres after losing her mother. “It was really incredible for us to get to have that experience together.”

Lourd lost both her mother and grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, within one day of each other last year.

Fisher died after going into cardiac arrest aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. She died four days later.

>> Related: Mark Hamill admits he and Carrie Fisher once ‘made out like teenagers’

Lourd has posted several tributes to her mother over the past year.

On Fisher’s birthday, she posted a photo of the two of them wearing matching night gowns when Lourde was a child.

In May, also shared another photo of her and her mother riding what appeared to be a train.

>> Related: Carrie Fisher once sent producer a cow tongue after friend was allegedly assaulted

Prosecutors decline to charge rapper Nelly with rape

The rapper Nelly will not face rape charges because the accuser is not cooperating, prosecutors in Washington state said.

The woman said Nelly raped her on his tour bus in October in a Seattle suburb. Auburn police arrested Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., in his bus at a Walmart and he was booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree rape, then released.

Shortly afterward, the woman said she wanted to stop the investigation.

King County prosecutors said in a statement Thursday that they have reviewed the investigation, but without the woman's help, they can't "proceed or fully assess the merits of the case."

Nelly's attorney, Scott Rosenblum, said in a statement to The Associated Press that the performer had been the victim of a "deceitful allegation devoid of credibility."

Rosenblum said Nelly supports advocacy groups that deal with sexual assault and violence against women and is dedicated to raising awareness about such issues.

"However, this type of reckless false allegation cannot be tolerated, as it is an affront to the real survivors of sexual assault," he said.

Vincent Nguini, guitarist for Paul Simon, dead at 65

Vincent Nguini, a guitarist from Cameroon who worked with Paul Simon since the late 1980s, died last week in Brazil. He was 65.

Simon's publicist, Elizabeth Freund, confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday. Freund said Nguini died on Dec. 8 with his wife, Florence Nombulelo Yawa, by his side.

No more details or cause of death were provided.

Nguini co-wrote "The Coast" from Simon's 1992 album, "The Rhythm of the Saints." He also played guitar throughout the album.

Nguini also worked in recording sessions with Peter Gabriel, Jimmy Buffett, Josh Groban, the Neville Brothers and Angelique Kidjo.

Nguini is also survived by his daughter Olivia Michelle; his sisters Nomo Cecile, Meyo Virginie; his brother Jean Marie; his ex-wife Stephanie Batchelor; and three grandchildren.

The top 10 songs and albums on the iTunes Store

iTunes Official Music Charts for the week ending December 14, 2017:

Top Songs

1. Perfect, Ed Sheeran

2. rockstar (feat. 21 Savage), Post Malone

3. Havana (feat. Young Thug), Camila Cabello

4. Perfect Duet (with Beyoncé), Ed Sheeran

5. Never Be the Same, Camila Cabello

6. Thunder, Imagine Dragons

7. I Want to Know What Love Is, Chloe Kohanski

8. Both Sides Now, Addison Agen

9. Meant to Be (feat. Florida Geo..., Bebe Rexha

10. Bad at Love, Halsey

Top Albums

1. What Makes You Country, Luke Bryan

2. ÷, Ed Sheeran

3. A Pentatonix Christmas Deluxe, Pentatonix

4. Double Or Nothing, Big Sean & Metro Boomin

5. Reputation, Taylor Swift

6. From A Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton

7. You Make It Feel Like Christmas, Gwen Stefani

8. The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Various Artists

9. boom., Walker Hayes

10. Christmas, Michael Bublé

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(copyright) 2017 Apple Inc.

Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus to perform Elton John tribute show

Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus and Coldplay's Chris Martin are set to honor Elton John at a tribute concert next month.

The Recording Academy announced Friday that it will tape "Elton John: I'm Still Standing — A GRAMMY Salute" at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 30, two days after the 2018 Grammy Awards.

The concert will broadcast at a later date on CBS. The Grammys will air live from Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28.

Others set to honor John onstage include John Legend, Miranda Lambert, Kesha, Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Maren Morris. John will also perform.

John has won five Grammys and received 34 nominations. He is also the recipient of the Grammy Legend Award.

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Online:

https://www.grammy.com/

https://www.eltonjohn.com

Peter Jackson's Weinstein story opens old wounds for Sorvino

Director Peter Jackson says he is now realizing that Harvey Weinstein's advice to avoid working with Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd was likely part of a smear campaign against the two actresses.

Jackson tells Stuff that he was told by Miramax in the late 1990s that they were "a nightmare" to work with and thus didn't consider either for his Lord of the Rings films.

Sorvino said on Twitter that she burst out crying when she saw the article. She says it is confirmation that Weinstein derailed her career.

Judd and Sorvino are among dozens of women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

A spokesperson for Weinstein disputed the account, saying that his company Miramax was not involved in casting, which was handled by New Line.

Jackson said late Friday that "aspects of Harvey's denial are insincere."

In a statement on behalf of himself and producer Fran Walsh, he says that they both expressed enthusiasm for Judd and Sorvino.

"We were immediately told by Miramax to steer clear of them, because they claimed to have had "bad experiences" with these particular actresses in the past," Jackson wrote. "We have no direct evidence linking Ashley and Mira's allegations to our Lord of the Rings casting conversations of 20 years ago — but we stand by what we were told by Miramax when we raised both of their names, and we are recounting it accurately. If we were unwitting accomplices in harming their careers, Fran and I unreservedly apologize to both Ashley and Mira."

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