George Zimmerman; Benedict Cumberbatch; J.K. Rowling
George Zimmerman has signed a deal to take part in a celebrity boxing match—and hopes his opponent is an African-American hip-hop star, says TMZ.com. Zimmerman, who recently auctioned a painting he made on eBay for $100,000, hopes to capitalize on the attention he gained last year after being acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman said he would donate some of the proceeds of the event—to be held in a secret location and streamed online—to an animal rescue charity. He’s said to be training for the event, and to be negotiating with rapper DMX for a three-round bout. DMX vowed to “beat the living f---’’ out of Zimmerman.
The British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played a slave owner in the movie 12 Years a Slave, says he took the role as a form of penance for ancestors who were real slave owners in Barbados. In the 18th century, Cumberbatch’s seventh-great-grandfather was the owner of the Cleland sugar plantation in Barbados, a property that became home to 250 slaves who lived in appalling conditions of brutality, says the Daily Mail (U.K.). The slaves were ruthlessly used to build up the Cumberbatch family fortune—the proceeds of which allegedly helped Benedict attend an elite, $54,000-a-year boarding school in Britain. Cumberbatch says he took the role of a slave owner in 12 Years a Slave as a “sort of apology.”
J.K. Rowling has caused a furor among Harry Potter fans by saying she regrets marrying off the character Hermione Granger to Ron Weasley in the final installment of her best-selling series. “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” said Rowling, in a magazine interview conducted by actress Emma Watson—who played Hermione in the films. Rowling now thinks Hermione would have been better off with Harry, and that she and Ron would have had serious marital trouble. “I know, I’m sorry. I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans,” said Rowling. “WHAT??? I am heartbroken!” responded one fan on MuggleNet.com.