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Russell Simmons released a statement Thursday morning announcing that he would be stepping down from his companies in the wake of a new sexual misconduct accusation.

The announcement came after screenwriter Jenny Lumet detailed an encounter she had with Simmons in 1991, during which, she alleged, the music mogul intimidated her into having sex.

Lumet – daughter of director Sidney Lumet and granddaughter of music legend Lena Horne – is not the first woman to accuse the Def Jam Recordings co-founder of misconduct. In an interview with The Times earlier this month, Keri Claussen Khalighi accused Simmons of assaulting her in 1991, in the presence of director Brett Ratner. Simmons dismissed Khalighi’s allegations, claiming whatever happened between them was consensual.

  • Movies
Liu Yifei will star as Mulan.
Liu Yifei will star as Mulan. (Matt Sayles / Associated Press)

Disney has enlisted a Chinese actress to star in the title role of its live-action version of “Mulan.”

Liu Yifei, who also goes by Crystal Liu, will play the legendary Chinese warrior in the 2019 epic, Walt Disney Studios announced Wednesday.

Niki Caro, who directed “Whale Rider,” “North Country” and Disney’s “McFarland, USA,” will helm the project, Disney said, and Jason Reed, Chris Bender and Jake Weiner will produce. “House of Flying Daggers” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” producer Bill Kong will be executive producer.


Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

Just three weeks after actor Kevin Spacey was dropped from his role as J. Paul Getty in the upcoming kidnapping thriller “All the Money in the World,” Sony/TriStar is releasing a new TV spot that offers the first glimpse of Christopher Plummer, Spacey’s replacement as the tycoon.

As Spacey quickly became engulfed in a sexual misconduct scandal, some were skeptical that the film’s director, Ridley Scott, could swap out the actor in time to make the planned Dec. 22 release date. But in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Scott says he never doubted for a second that he could pull it off. 

  • Celebrity

Garrison Keillor, the former host of "A Prairie Home Companion," said Wednesday he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior.

Keillor told the Associated Press of his firing in an email. In a follow-up statement, he said he was fired over "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard." He didn't give details of the allegations.

"It's some sort of poetic irony to be knocked off the air by a story, having told so many of them myself, but I'm 75 and don't have any interest in arguing about this. And I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I've worked hard for since 1969," Keillor said.

  • Movies

As it prepares to ring in the 10th anniversary of its cinematic universe next year, Marvel Studios already has its eyes on infinity.

On Wednesday, Marvel released the first trailer for its next – and biggest – comic-book mash-up, “Avengers: Infinity War,” due in theaters in May.

The culmination of a number of storylines that have been building for nearly a decade, the film brings together every Marvel hero introduced to date – including Avengers newbies Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy – to battle against the cosmic supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin), whose plot to take over the galaxy was first teed up five years ago in the first “Avengers” film.

  • TV
  • Late-night

Donald Trump found an unusual ally Tuesday night as Trevor Noah tackled the problematic Elizabeth Warren behavior that spawned the president’s “Pocahontas” nickname. 

On Monday, during a ceremony honoring Navajo code talkers, Trump again used his nickname for Warren in derogatory fashion.

“This whole beef between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren is a tricky one to process because all the other nicknames that he uses on other people are self-explanatory,” Noah explained on “The Daily Show.” 

Matt Lauer is out at "Today."
Matt Lauer is out at "Today." (Neilson Barnard / Getty Images)

Matt Lauer’s firing from “Today” had social media hopping Wednesday morning after the show’s female anchors talked about still “trying to process” their colleague’s departure. 

“I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many, many people here," Savannah Guthrie, near tears, said on the show. “And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story.”

Echoing Sarah Silverman talking about her friend Louis C.K., Hoda Kotb said it was “hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know who walks in this building every single day.” 

  • Birthdays
(Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times)

The majority of scripts out there I don't believe are written for me, or written for my type. Without there being black writers and producers en masse out there, people are going to write about their perspective, from their points of view. It would be as if I were writing about a bar mitzvah.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: From Mouse to Rat Pack


It turns out new Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski has a hidden past: He used to moonlight as a Japanese comic book writer. No, not as a writer of Japanese comics.  

The Times has confirmed that Cebulski used to write for Marvel Comics under the name Akira Yoshida. 

“I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year. It wasn’t transparent, but it taught me a lot about writing, communication and pressure,” Cebulski told Bleeding Cool, which first reported the news. “I was young and naïve and had a lot to learn back then.”

  • Movies
Meryl Streep, left, talks to director Steven Spielberg and costar Tom Hanks on the set of "The Post."
Meryl Streep, left, talks to director Steven Spielberg and costar Tom Hanks on the set of "The Post." (Niko Tavernise)

Steven Spielberg’s "The Post" received its first major honor of awards season on Tuesday, as the movie about the journalism industry was named the year's best picture by the National Board of Review.

The film, which will not be released in theaters until Dec. 22, documents how the Washington Post covered the Pentagon Papers. It stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, who were each recognized by the NBR as the best actor and actress of the year, respectively. 

Spielberg, however, missed out on the directing nod — that went to Greta Gerwig, the actress who wrote and directed the coming-of-age tale "Lady Bird." Jordan Peele was recognized for having the year's best directorial debut, "Get Out," which also was called one of the best 10 movies of the year. Other top acting awards went to Willem Dafoe ("The Florida Project"), Laurie Metcalf ("Lady Bird") and Timothée Chalamet ("Call Me by Your Name").

Unlike other awards groups, the NBR's taste does not always align with the majority of critics and prognosticators. The NBR — which was founded in 1909 and describes itself as a "select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals and academics of varying ages and backgrounds" — last picked the same best picture as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2008, when "Slumdog Millionaire" won the Oscar.

This year's NBR honorees will receive their prizes at a New York City gala hosted by Willie Geist in January. 

Here’s the full list of nominees:

“The Post”

Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”

Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

“Get Out”

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

“Coco” (Disney/Pixar)

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”

“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson

“The Disaster Artist” (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber)

“Foxtrot” (Sony Classics, Israel)

“A Fantastic Woman”
“Summer 1993”
“The Square”

“Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot

John Ridley’s “Let it Fall: Los Angeles, 1982-1992”
Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father”

“Jane” (Nat Geo)

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Brimstone & Glory”
“Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars”
“Faces Places”
“Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”

“Baby Driver”
“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Disaster Artist”
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”

“Beatriz at Dinner”
“Brigsby Bear”
“A Ghost Story”
“Lady Macbeth”
“Logan Lucky”
“Loving Vincent”
“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer”
“Patti Cake$”
“Wind River”