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Russell Simmons, who has now been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 11 women, is being investigated by the New York Police Department.
Russell Simmons, who has now been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 11 women, is being investigated by the New York Police Department. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Following at least 11 accusations of sexual misconduct against Russell Simmons — seven of which allegedly happened in New York City — the New York Police Department’s special victims unit has opened an investigation of the embattled music mogul.

A person at the NYPD who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that detectives are in the initial stages of reaching out to women who have alleged that Simmons assaulted them in New York.

Sherri Hines, who went by the name Sheri Sher when she was in the all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies, told The Times on Thursday that she was contacted by the NYPD earlier in the day. She says Simmons raped her in his New York office around 1983.

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  • Music
  • Celebrity
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Music mogul Russell Simmons took to Instagram on Thursday morning to fight back against the multiple sexual misconduct accusations levied against him in recent weeks. 

“Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges,” Simmons posted, alongside a stark black-and-white image with the hashtag #NOTME. 

Simmons’ response comes a day after stories in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times revealed several new accusations of rape by women against the co-founder of record label Def Jam Recordings. Simmons has denied all allegations.

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  • Movies
  • Awards
  • Celebrity
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Former daytime TV queen Oprah Winfrey will receive the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards next month, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced Wednesday.

“What an honor,” the OWN exec tweeted in response to the news. (Alas, her response was not “You get a Golden Globe! And you get a Globe! And I get a Globe!”)

The HFPA board of directors selected the influential industry mogul for her “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”

  • TV
  • Celebrity
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Tavis Smiley is fighting back against sexual misconduct accusations that resulted in PBS suspending distribution of his late-night talk show.

In a Facebook video posted Wednesday evening, the “Tavis Smiley” host said that he was shocked by the announcement from PBS, stating that Variety knew before he did. 

“I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth,” Smiley said. “To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering six networks over 30 years.”

  • Movies
John Cho and Alia Shawkat will host the Spirit Awards brunch and announce the winners of five cash grants.
John Cho and Alia Shawkat will host the Spirit Awards brunch and announce the winners of five cash grants. (Film Independent)

Alia Shawkat and John Cho will host the upcoming Spirit Awards nominees brunch on Jan. 6 and announce the winners of five cash grants. (What independent filmmaker couldn’t use actual money instead of just a trophy?)

“John Cho and Alia Shawkat are both such fantastically talented actors, in independent film and beyond, so we couldn't be happier to have them hosting our Spirit Awards brunch,” Josh Welsh, president of Film Independent, which puts on the Spirit Awards, said in a statement.

Also in a statement, Shawkat captured the freewheeling spirit of the event: “I’m very excited to host the Spirit Awards brunch, as I love brunch and independent cinema.”

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Illuminating the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s longtime struggle with addiction, Mimi O’Donnell, his partner and mother of his three children, opened up about their relationship in a heartbreaking new essay for Vogue.

O’Donnell also wrote about the triggers that led to Hoffman’s relapse after two decades of sobriety and his death at age 46.

The Oscar-winning “Capote” star died of an overdose in 2014 involving a powerful cocktail of drugs. Hoffman’s body was found in the bathroom of his New York apartment with a syringe still in his forearm — heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine were found in his system, causing “acute drug intoxication,” the coroner’s report said.

  • Movies
Mel Brooks will be part of the TCM Classic Film Festival next year.
Mel Brooks will be part of the TCM Classic Film Festival next year. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The ninth TCM Classic Film Festival will open next year with a 50th anniversary screening of “The Producers.” The April 26 screening will mark the world premiere of a new restoration of the film, and Mel Brooks — director, writer, producer and actor — is expected to attend.

The film won an Oscar for Brooks for original screenplay and a nomination for supporting actor for Gene Wilder. It was later adapted into a stage musical that was then re-adapted back to the screen for a 2005 film.

In a statement, Ben Mankiewicz, “TCM Prime Time” host and official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival, said, “From ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’ to ‘Spaceballs,’ Brooks' uniquely keen eye can both spoof and celebrate classic Hollywood.”

  • TV
  • Politics
  • Late-night

Stephen Colbert had so many feelings about Roy Moore’s loss that he had to sing about it. 

The “Late Show” host kicked off Wednesday night’s episode addressing the biggest night for Democrats since Nov. 7: Doug Jones winning Alabama’s Senate race. 

“If you’ll excuse me, I’m a little shaky tonight,” said Colbert at the top of his show. “Because my heart has been hurting all day due to a condition my doctor calls ‘hope.’”

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  • Celebrity
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock published an essay Wednesday night that opened up in great detail about his own sexual misconduct.

The confession comes after months of women — and men — stepped forward with allegations of sexual harassment against high-profile men, both inside and outside the workplace.

“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’” Spurlock wrote in the essay linked to his verified Twitter account. 

  • Birthdays
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

I'm happy [fame] didn't happen for me as a kid because I really got to figure out who I am. But it's an ongoing thing, though. Even if you start to do well, there's still that argument of doubt.