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Jussie Smollett pictured with heavy security after making return to stage following attack

Jussie Smollett pictured with heavy security after making return to stage following attack

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Jussie Smollett was flanked by security as he made his return to the stage on Saturday following a brutal attack last week.

The Empire star sang in front of a sold-out house at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California in his first public appearance since he was the victim of a hate crime on Tuesday in Chicago.

Police were stationed outside of the show where the 35-year-old performed and Jussie was escorted out of the venue by security.

Jussie Smollett pictured with heavy security after making return to stage following attack

Safety: Jussie Smollett was flanked by security as he made his return to the stage on Saturday following a brutal attack last week

Jussie was seen as he headed out into the rain following his emotional performance, protected by security guards.

The star was joined by his family and Lee Daniels as they ducked out of the West Hollywood club.

Jussie pulled the hood of a grey sweatshirt over his head as he departed into a waiting crowd.

Armed officers stood watch at the entrance of the Troubadour and several patrol cars were spotted on the street.  

Back to work: The Empire star sang in front of a sold-out house at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California in his first public appearance since he was the victim of a hate crime

Back to work: The Empire star sang in front of a sold-out house at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California in his first public appearance since he was the victim of a hate crime

Support: Film producer Lee Daniels (back right) stuck close to Smollet's side as he left the venue

Support: Film producer Lee Daniels (back right) stuck close to Smollet’s side as he left the venue

During the performance, the Empire star was joined on the stage by his siblings, who introduced him and embraced him.

‘My family and I have realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie’s healing. You see, he’s been a fighter since he was a baby,’ his brother Joel Smollett Jr said.

Before singing a note, Jussie teared up as he told the crowd he’s not fully healed yet, but he will be, and his music will help him. 

Protection: Police were stationed outside of the show where the 35-year-old performed

Protection: Police were stationed outside of the show where the 35-year-old performed

Cops: Several patrol cars were spotted parked outside of the Troubadour

Cops: Several patrol cars were spotted parked outside of the Troubadour

Keeping the peace: Armed officers were on hand to make sure the star and the crowd was safe

Keeping the peace: Armed officers were on hand to make sure the star and the crowd was safe

‘I couldn’t let the motherf**kers win,’ he said, to loud screams from the audience. ‘So I will always stand for love, I will never stand for anything other than that.’

Last week Jussie reported to police in Chicago that two masked men attacked him and put a rope around his neck while using homophobic and racial slurs. 

Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, sat in the crowd with Smollett’s family. Also in attendance were actor Jai Rodriguez and film producer Lee Daniels.

Moving on: Jussie was seen as he headed out into the rain following his emotional performance, protected by security guards

Moving on: Jussie was seen as he headed out into the rain following his emotional performance, protected by security guards

Together: The star was joined by his family and Lee Daniels as they ducked out of the West Hollywood club

Together: The star was joined by his family and Lee Daniels as they ducked out of the West Hollywood club

Daniels was later seen sticking close to Smollett as he left the club. 

During the performance, Smollett thanked his boyfriend for supporting him over the past four days, and sang as song he wrote for the boyfriend called Haha (I Love You). 

Smollett said he fought back against his attackers, and called himself the ‘gay Tupac,’ referring to the rapper who was gunned down in 1996.

The actor said that his ribs had been bruised, but not broken as TMZ had previously reported. 

Family support: Jussie's mom Janet was spotted exiting the performance with her family

Family support: Jussie’s mom Janet was spotted exiting the performance with her family

'My family and I have realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie's healing. You see, he's been a fighter since he was a baby,' his brother Joel Smollett Jr said

‘My family and I have realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie’s healing. You see, he’s been a fighter since he was a baby,’ his brother Joel Smollett Jr said

‘Be as black, be as brown, be as gay as the f**k you want to be!’ he said to end the set.  

On Tuesday, Jussie reported that he was attacked in Chicago as he walked home from a Subway restaurant.

The actor, who is gay and black, said he was punched, had bleach poured on him and had noose put around his neck. 

Standing by: Jussie's brother was spotted leaving the Troubadour after the show

Before singing a note, Jussie  teared up as he told the crowd he's not fully healed yet, but he will be, and his music will help him.

Standing by: Jussie’s brother was spotted leaving the Troubadour after the show 

Standing together: During the performance, the Empire star was joined on the stage by his siblings, who introduced him and embraced him

Standing together: During the performance, the Empire star was joined on the stage by his siblings, who introduced him and embraced him

Moments later, he was filmed walking into his building with a rope hanging loosely around his neck. 

On Friday, Smollett broke his silence to thank fans for the outpouring of support he has received since the alleged attack. 

The Empire star told Essence in a statement: ‘Let me start by saying that I’m OK.  

Gratitude: During the performance, Smollett thanked his boyfriend for supporting him over the past four days, and sang as song he wrote for the boyfriend called Haha (I Love You)

Speaking out: 'Be as black, be as brown, be as gay as the f**k you want to be!' he said to end the set

Gratitude: During the performance, Smollett thanked his boyfriend for supporting him over the past four days, and sang as song he wrote for the boyfriend called Haha (I Love You) 

Performing: Smollett told the crowd 'I couldn't let these motherf**kers win' tho thunderous applause

Performing: Smollett told the crowd ‘I couldn’t let these motherf**kers win’ tho thunderous applause

‘My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. 

‘The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.’ 

He added that while he was ‘frustrated’ with ‘certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations’ about the case, he believes ‘justice will be served.’ 

Honesty: Smollett told the crowd that he hasn't fully healed yet but that he's on his way

Honesty: Smollett told the crowd that he hasn’t fully healed yet but that he’s on his way

Tragic: On Tuesday, Jussie reported that he was attacked in Chicago as he walked home from a Subway restaurant

Tragic: On Tuesday, Jussie reported that he was attacked in Chicago as he walked home from a Subway restaurant

‘ ‘I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. 

‘Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. 

Smollett is pictured in the hospital after a friend called the police to report him being attacked. He did not want to involve authorities 

Jussie Smollett, pictured in the hospital hours after the attack on Tuesday, has returned to the stage in Los Angeles

‘As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. 

‘I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. 

‘We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process.’ 

‘Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me. 

‘With Love, respect & honor…Jussie,’ he said. 

It is the first time he has spoken since being targeted in downtown Chicago by two men who he said shouted ‘this is MAGA country!’ and attacked him as he walked home.  

A week before the attack, Smollett reportedly received a homophobic and racist death threat in the mail. 

'Photos (pictured) of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member,' police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Wednesday evening

‘Photos (pictured) of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member,’ police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Wednesday evening

It was sent to the studio where he films Empire and is said to have terrified staff.

The letter was dated from January 18, and stated ‘You will die black f*g’ in cut out letters.

Cops said the mail threat was laced with powder substance that turned out t but crushed Tylenol. 

Police are working to find two men they believe may be responsible and are appealing to the public for information.  

The attacks are believed to be premeditated as Smollett received a cut out letter, that appears to be dated from January 18, stating that 'You will die black f*g'. Fox Studio received the letter on the 22nd and cops said it was laced with powder Tylenol

The attacks are believed to be premeditated as Smollett received a cut out letter, that appears to be dated from January 18, stating that ‘You will die black f*g’. Fox Studio received the letter on the 22nd and cops said it was laced with powder Tylenol

The attack has enraged the country and even caught the attention of the president who deemed it ‘horrible’ on Thursday. 

‘That’s horrible….there is nothing worse, as far as I am concerned,’ Trump said on when asked about the incident. 

The term MAGA, which was written on the threatening letter and allegedly yelled by the attackers, is an acronym for President Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan and a moniker adopted by his supporters. 

Smollett’s famous family released a statement abhorring the attack, and countless celebrities, including his Empire co-stars, have also spoken out to support him. 

JUSSIE SMOLLETT’S STATEMENT ON RACIST HOMOPHOBIC ATTACK 

Let me start by saying that I’m OK. 

My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.

I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. ‘

As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process.

‘Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me. 

With Love, respect & honor…Jussie.

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ENTERTAINMENT

The trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home is out and is that Doc Ock we see?

The trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home is out and is that Doc Ock we see?

The first teaser trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home has finally dropped. Marvel Studios and Sony debuted the highly-anticipated clip at CinemaCon on Tuesday (Aug 24) and it provides a glimpse of what to expect in the upcoming film, which is to say, a lot.

It picks up right after the events of Far From Home, the 2019 movie where spoiler alert: Spider-Man’s identity was revealed to the whole world to be Peter Parker (Tom Holland).

No Way Home sees Peter dealing with the fallout of his identity reveal. Desperate, he approaches Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help in making people forget he’s Spider-Man. But things go awry when Strange’s spell unleashes the multiverse, leading to the return of former villains and (possibly) other Spideys.

We see Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) at the end of the three-minute clip, as well as teasers of other villains such as Electro and the Green Goblin. And there have also been whispers that other versions of Spider-Man as played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will appear in this film.

“We tampered with the stability of space-time,” Doctor Strange told Peter in the trailer. “The multiverse is a concept about which we know frighteningly little.”

As we mentioned, it’s A LOT – and it’s just a teaser trailer.

On Sunday, leaked versions of what was rumoured to be the trailer began circulating on the Internet. The topic trended on Twitter as Spider-Man fans, eagerly awaiting their first look at the forthcoming film, shared the link.

Sony Studios quickly stepped in to take down links to the purported trailer and issue a copyright statement.

And in an ironic turn of events, Tom Holland – notorious for sharing spoilers at inopportune times – responded on Instagram Stories, saying  “You ain’t ready!”.

The latest installment in the Spider-Man series also sees the return of  Zendaya, Jacob Batalon and Marisa Tomei reprising their roles from previous films. On top of which, viewers can anticipate a few other familiar faces, such as the afore-mentioned villains and (possibly) Spideys.

Marvel boss Kevin Feige has also confirmed that the events of No Way Home will tie into the next Doctor Strange film, due out in March 2022.

Representing the third Spider-Man movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, No Way Home is currently slated for release in theatres on Dec 17. CNA

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Fast & Furious 10 gets official release date: Catch it in 2023

Fast & Furious 10 gets official release date: Catch it in 2023

Coming up fast after F9, Universal Pictures has just announced the release date of Fast & Furious 10.

Directed by Justin Lin, the second to last installment of the billion-dollar saga is set to hit theatres on Apr 7, 2023. The film will be the first in a two-part finale for the series, culminating in Fast 11.

Lead actor and producer Vin Diesel previously told Entertainment Weekly that filming will start in January 2022, with the possibility of the final two movies being shot back-to-back.

The 10th installation of the Fast saga is expected to include regulars such as Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges and Sung Kang.

Dwayne Johnson confirmed last month that he will not be returning to the series. Following the infamous feud between himself and Diesel, which the latter chalked up to tough love, the two eventually drifted apart.

“I wish them well on Fast 9,” Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the Fast & Furious movies they do that will be without me.

While this marks the finish line for the main franchise, fans can still expect more movies set in the Fast world. Similar to Hobbs & Shaw, further spin-offs are in the works. CNA

 

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ENTERTAINMENT

Christina Applegate Reveals Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Christina Applegate Reveals Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis
Christina Applegate has multiple sclerosis. GETTY IMAGES

TV star Christina Applegate revealed Tuesday that she’s been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The 49-year-old Dead to Me actor announced her condition on Twitter, saying it’s been a “tough road” since her diagnosis a few months ago.

“Hi friends. A few months ago I was diagnosed with MS,” read the tweet. “It’s been a strange journey. But I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition. It’s been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going. Unless some asshole blocks it.”

She didn’t provide any further details.

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with an estimated 90,000 people living with the disease, according to the MS Society of Canada. On average, the organization states, 12 Canadians are diagnosed with MS every day, with most diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 49. There are a myriad of symptoms, from muscle stiffness to vertigo to bladder issues.

Applegate is the latest celebrity to publicly reveal they have the disease; fellow actor Selma Blair has been very public with her condition, sharing details of her struggles and symptoms.

Applegate has a 10-year-old daughter, Sadie, with her husband, Martyn LeNoble.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Barack Obama Is Hosting a Scaled-Down 60th Birthday Bash at His Martha’s Vineyard Home

Barack Obama Is Hosting a Scaled-Down 60th Birthday Bash at His Martha’s Vineyard Home
Then-President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama departed the White House for a trip to Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 6, 2016. Al Drago/NYT

Former President Barack Obama reached a major milestone this week, as the erstwhile commander-in-chief turned the big 6-0 on August 4, which also happened to be the same day as Meghan Markle’s 40th birthday. Like a true Leo, Obama wanted to celebrate his special day with a lavish party and hundreds of his closest friends, but alas, after months of planning, he had to seriously scale down the fête due to growing COVID-19 concerns and the Delta variant.

Barack and Michelle Obama initially invited around 475 guests to the glamorous party, scheduled for this Saturday, August 7, at their palatial 29-acre compound on Martha’s Vineyard. The couple has long vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard with their daughters, Sasha and Malia, the Obamas eventually purchased a seven-bedroom, 8.5-bathroom waterfront estate in Edgarton for $11.75 million in 2019.

The party, which was already going to be outside, had a strict COVID-19 testing regimen, and all guests would follow C.D.C. health protocols, and be required to submit a coronavirus test, which was then given to a medical “coronavirus coordinator” in order to be able to enter the Obama compound. Barack and Michelle Obama are both fully vaccinated, and have encouraged others to get their shots. Even with all of this, the optics were…not great, with the growing Delta variant and increased mask guidance.

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama.

The Obamas have seriously scaled down the celebration. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Since the former POTUS is, you know, a human being that understands that sometimes you have to change your plans because of a global pandemic, he decided to make the right decision and cancel his big bash. On the eve of his 60th, Obama informed a large number of guests (many of whom had already made their way to Martha’s Vineyard, per the New York Times) that he was canceling his 60th birthday party.

“This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with covid safeguards in place. Due to the new spread of the delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends,” an Obama spokesperson, Hannah Hankins, shared in a statement on Wednesday. “President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.”

And here the Obamas are on a casual bicycling ride in Martha's Vineyard.

And here the Obamas are on a casual bicycling ride in Martha’s Vineyard. Rick Friedman-Pool/Getty Images

The invitee list originally included the likes of George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, according to the New York Post, but now that it’s limited it’s to just family and close friends, so it’s unclear who, exactly, made the cut.

Just because it’s going to be a smaller crowd doesn’t mean that the Obamas aren’t going all out with the celebration, of course. The preparations for the party already started yesterday, as the Daily Mail spotted tents and catering arriving at the Obama compound. The party is still outdoors, though there will be fancy open-sided tents, a very impressive menu and chic set-up.

Lots of Impossible Foods on the menu! ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking of food, there will reportedly be plenty of seafood, of course, but the 44th President is also offering a plant-based menu, much like at the upcoming Met Gala next month. Bloomberg managed to score a peek at the vegan menu, and honestly, it sounds amazing, with options like meat-free cheesesteak egg roles and lots of dishes created with Impossible Foods beef and pork alternatives.

Those that did manage to keep their invite to Obama’s birthday celebration (and even those who didn’t make the cut) don’t need to bring gifts for the former Prez, as he’s reportedly encouraging guests to instead donate to youth-focused programs like My Brother’s Keeper and the Girls Opportunity Alliance, or the Obama Foundation’s Global Leadership programs.

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The frantic calls to replace Natalie Portman in new HBO film

The frantic calls to replace Natalie Portman in new HBO film
Natalie Portman. Shutterstock

Hollywood agents are desperately trying to replace Natalie Portman after she dropped out of HBO’s Days of Abandonment.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘frantic calls were made to Hollywood agents’ to find a last-minute replacement for Portman.

Unfortunately, due to Australia’s strict two-week quarantine rules and ongoing lockdowns, no A-listers were available to take the role at such short notice.

Replacement: Hollywood agents are desperately trying to replace Natalie Portman after she dropped out of HBO's Days of Abandonment

Replacement: Hollywood agents are desperately trying to replace Natalie Portman after she dropped out of HBO’s Days of Abandonment

The news comes after she pulled out from her new movie just a day before filming was set to commence, effectively putting a stop to production, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

‘Due to unforeseen personal reasons, Natalie Portman has stepped down from HBO’s Days of Abandonment prior to the start of filming,’ HBO said in a statement.

‘Unfortunately, the production will not move forward. We are very sorry we won’t be able to bring this beautiful story to the screen with our talented writer/director and cast.

No luck: Unfortunately, due to Australia's strict two-week quarantine rules and ongoing lockdowns, no A-listers were available to take the role at such short notice

No luck: Unfortunately, due to Australia’s strict two-week quarantine rules and ongoing lockdowns, no A-listers were available to take the role at such short notice

‘We send our sincere thanks to our cast, producers, and crew for all their passion and hard work.’

Natalie was also set to executive produce the film, based on the best-selling novel by Elena Ferrante.

The film had been in pre-production, and centred around a woman named Tess, who abandoned her own dreams in favour of maintaining a stable home life, only for her husband to walk out on her.

Exit: The news comes after she pulled out from her new movie just a day before filming was set to commence, effectively putting a stop to production

Exit: The news comes after she pulled out from her new movie just a day before filming was set to commence, effectively putting a stop to production

The Federal Government had committed $3.4million to the project as part of its location incentive program, while Communication Minister Paul Fletcher had said he expected the production to generate more than $25million for the local economy.

While it’s not known what ‘personal reasons’ prevented her from going ahead with the film, Natalie has deleted the majority of posts from her Instagram account.

Natalie and her family relocated Down Under in September last year, ahead of her filming Thor: Love and Thunder in Sydney.

Film: The film had been in pre-production, and centred around a woman named Tess, who abandoned her own dreams in favour of maintaining a stable home life, only for her husband to walk out on her

Film: The film had been in pre-production, and centred around a woman named Tess, who abandoned her own dreams in favour of maintaining a stable home life, only for her husband to walk out on her.

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Britney Spears’ guardians say still concerned about her mental health

“She raised potential options including a 5150 psychiatric hold,”

Britney Spears’ guardians say still concerned about her mental health
Supporter of pop star Britney Spears Melanie Mandarano holds a postcard on the day of a conservatorship case hearing at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The father of Britney Spears on Friday rejected efforts to remove him as the controller of his daughter’s estate and said there have been recent discussions over whether to place the singer again in a mental health facility for evaluation.

Jamie Spears said in court documents that Jodi Montgomery, who is in charge of the singer’s personal and medical affairs, had called him in early July to express concern that Spears was not taking her medications properly.

“Ms. Montgomery felt that Ms. Spears was spiraling out of control,” Jamie Spears said in the court documents.

“She raised potential options including a 5150 psychiatric hold,” Jamie Spears said. Under California law, a 5150 order allows a person to be held for psychiatric evaluation if they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

In June, Spears, 39, made an emotional public address to the Los Angeles court handling her conservatorship, calling it abusive and saying she wanted her life back.

Spears has been under the court-appointed conservatorship since 2008 when she had a mental health breakdown and was briefly placed under a 5150 hold. The nature of her health issues have never been disclosed.

Her lawyer last month filed a formal request for Jamie Spears to step down as conservator of her estate, saying his presence in her life was harmful.

Montgomery’s lawyer on Friday said she does have concerns about the “Toxic” singer’s mental health but that Jamie Spears had misrepresented their conversation.

“At no time did Ms. Montgomery express to Mr. Spears that Ms. Spears would currently qualify for such a (5150) hold,” Montgomery’s lawyer said in a statement issued in response to the court documents. The statement said Montgomery believed that having her father as conservator was having a “serious impact” on the singer’s mental health.

Jamie Spears said in his filing that “there are no grounds whatsoever” to remove him as conservator, citing his work in taking his daughter from debt and millions of dollars in lawsuits to a current value of more than $60 million.

The bid to remove Jamie Spears as conservator was initially set for a court hearing in late September but lawyers on both sides say they support an earlier date.

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