• Movies
The film critic Richard Roeper.
The film critic Richard Roeper. (

Veteran Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Richard Roeper has been re-instated from a suspension after being caught purchasing tens of thousands of fake followers on Twitter. 

The writer was one of many media figures and celebrities named in a New York Times investigation of the shadowy firm Devumi, which along with another firm brought him over 50,000 followers “on at least six separate occasions” for an alleged fee of $650. 

“We took these steps because, in addition to our expectation of professional accuracy, authenticity is particularly important to the profession of journalism,” the Sun-Times said in a statement. Roeper had claimed he was unaware that the followers were fake. 

  • Birthdays
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

When you're a young black man, you're not allowed to be emotional. One of the reasons I act is people pay me to be emotional.

  • Arts
Edgar Degas' “Les Choristes” (“The Chorus Singers”), stolen in 2009, was recovered on Feb. 16.
Edgar Degas' “Les Choristes” (“The Chorus Singers”), stolen in 2009, was recovered on Feb. 16. (Marc Bonodot / French Customs via AP)

French customs officials say they have found an impressionist painting by Edgar Degas stowed on a bus, more than eight years after it was reported stolen.

The French Culture Ministry said Friday that customs agents in Marne-la-Vallee were surprised to find a work of art bearing the signature “Degas” inside a suitcase in the bus' luggage compartment. The ministry says none of the passengers claimed the suitcase during the Feb. 16 search.

Experts verified the artwork as Degas' “Les Choristes” (“The Chorus Singers”), which depicts a scene from Mozart's opera “Don Giovanni.”

  • Movies
  • Awards
  • Celebrity
In a GQ interview, actor Brendan Fraser detailed an incident of alleged sexual assault with former HFPA President Philip Berk.
In a GQ interview, actor Brendan Fraser detailed an incident of alleged sexual assault with former HFPA President Philip Berk. (Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. issued a statement Friday addressing a sexual assault allegation by actor Brendan Fraser.

Fraser, in a GQ profile published Thursday, recounted an incident of alleged sexual assault by former HFPA President Philip Berk, which the actor said hurt his career. It was the first time Fraser had spoken of the encounter publicly.

“The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article. Over the years we’ve continued a positive working relationship with Brendan, which includes announcing Golden Globe nominees, attending the ceremony and participating in press conferences,” the organization said in a statement to The Times.

  • TV
  • Music
  • Awards
Mary J. Blige.
Mary J. Blige. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The 90th Academy Awards are coming together with a bevy of performers now slated to take the stage.

Gael García Bernal, Mary J. Blige, Common, Andra Day, Natalia LaFourcade, Miguel, Keala Settle and Sufjan Stevens will perform this year’s Oscar-nominated songs during the upcoming ceremony, show producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced Friday.

The trio of Bernal, LaFourcade and Miguel will perform “Remember Me” from the animated film “Coco.” The song was written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who earned Oscars in 2014 for “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”

  • TV
  • Politics
Ted Cruz at CPAC, right, and most of "The Simpsons," left.
Ted Cruz at CPAC, right, and most of "The Simpsons," left. (Fox, left; Jim Watson / Getty Images, right)

The culture wars are real, and Ted Cruz found out the hard way.

When speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland on Thursday, the senator from Texas referenced iconic animated television series “The Simpsons,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Cruz was asked to speak about gun control in the context of a specific “Simpsons” episode from 1997 in which Homer becomes obsessed with guns, leading to the following exchange with daughter Lisa.

  • Arts
David Mamet.
David Mamet. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

David Mamet has written a play about disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.

The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright, known for “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Wag the Dog,” spilled the beans while promoting his newspaper-centric book “Chicago.”

“I was talking with my Broadway producer and he said, ‘Why don’t you write a play about Harvey Weinstein?’ And so I did.” Mamet told the Chicago Tribune in an interview published Thursday.

  • Celebrity
(Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

“Community” alum Chevy Chase was involved in a road rage incident in New York earlier this month during which he says he was kicked in the shoulder.

On Feb. 9, the  74-year-old “Vacation” star — believing that his 2015 Dodge Ram was struck — chased a pickup truck that reportedly cut him off on Interstate 87 near the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, according to a New York State police spokesperson. 

Police said the “Saturday Night Live” veteran flashed his headlights while pursuing the vehicle and followed the 22-year-old driver until they ultimately pulled over in the village of South Nyack in Rockland Country.

  • TV
  • Late-night

It’s difficult to find humor in the wake of gun violence, but Stephen Colbert is doing his best.

The host of “The Late Show” dedicated much of his Thursday night monologue to the president’s ideas on quelling school shootings, to hilarious effect.

“Everyone acknowledges this is a crisis. So for the president, the Republican Party, for the NRA, every option is on the table,” Colbert began. “Except fewer guns.”

  • Birthdays
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The chance for an Indian guy to star in his own show and do an episode like 'Indians on TV' — that doesn't come around a lot, right?

Director Joss Whedon works on set for "Avengers: Age Of Ultron."
Director Joss Whedon works on set for "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment/ Disney/Marvel)

Joss Whedon is stepping away from writing and directing a “Batgirl” project for DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., it was reported Thursday.

At a moment when inclusion and representation within the world of superhero adaptations are proving to be of increasing importance to studios and audiences alike, the first standalone film for the enduringly popular Batgirl character would seem a priority item.

Last year, DC and Warner Bros’ “Wonder Woman” earned more than $821 million at the worldwide box office. Marvel and Disney have their “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, in the works.