March 18, 2021

Actor Armie Hammer is reportedly under investigation after being accused of violently raping a woman in 2017.

A woman identified as Effie came forward in a Thursday press conference with attorney Gloria Allred to allege the Call Me By Your Name star "violently raped me for over four hours" in April 2017, slapped her head against a wall, and "committed other acts of violence against me to which I did not consent," The Wrap and Variety report.

"During those four hours, I tried to get away but he wouldn't let me," she alleged. "I thought that he was going to kill me. He then left with no concern for my well-being. I was completely in shock and couldn't believe someone I loved did that to me."

The woman, who says she and Hammer had an on-and-off relationship after meeting on Facebook when she was 20, is believed to have previously shared anonymous allegations against him on Instagram, according to Variety. Hammer is now under investigation, TMZ reports, citing law enforcement sources. Allred reportedly said during the press conference that the woman doesn't plan to sue him.

Hammer's attorney denied the allegations on Thursday, telling Variety that all of his interactions with the woman and "every other sexual partner of his for that matter" were "completely consensual, discussed and agreed upon in advance, and mutually participatory." The attorney also called this an "attention seeking and ill-advised legal bid" that will "only make it more difficult for real victims of sexual violence to get the justice they deserve." Brendan Morrow

March 1, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said it is "clear" that Iran was behind an attack in the Gulf of Oman last week that targeted an Israeli-owned cargo ship.

"Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel," Netanyahu told the Israeli public broadcaster Kan. "I am determined to halt it. We are hitting it in the entire region."

An explosion rocked the Helios Ray on Friday, as the cargo ship was on its way to Singapore. No one on the crew was injured in the blast, but U.S. defense officials told The Associated Press the ship did sustain damage above the waterline. The ship was carrying cars, and prior to the explosion had stopped in multiple ports in the Persian Gulf to drop off vehicles. The Helios Ray arrived in Dubai on Sunday for repairs and an inspection, and it remains unclear what caused the blast.

On Sunday night, Syrian state media reported several airstrikes took place near Damascus, with air defense systems intercepting most of the missiles. Israeli media says the airstrikes were against Iranian targets and carried out in response to the ship attack. The Israeli military declined to comment to AP.

Iran has pinned several recent attacks inside the country on Israel, including an explosion last summer at a nuclear facility and the killing of scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the founder of Iran's military nuclear program. Catherine Garcia

February 28, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Sunday night responded to a new allegation of sexual harassment made against him by a former aide, saying he now understands "that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel ways I never intended."

Charlotte Bennett, 25, told The New York Times that while serving as a senior briefer and executive assistant to Cuomo in 2019 and 2020, he asked her if she is monogamous and if she had ever slept with older men. At the time, Bennett said, Cuomo was saying he was lonely and wanted a girlfriend, and she felt he was "absolutely" making sexual overtures toward her.

In a statement, Cuomo, 63, said he would sometimes tease people "about their personal lives and relationships," but he "never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm." His remarks to Bennett could "have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation," he added. "To the extend anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that."

Last week, another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, accused Cuomo of harassing her on multiple occasions over the course of two years. Cuomo has called for an independent investigation into his behavior, and said he will grant subpoena power to an outside investigator designated by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Several politicians on both sides of the aisle have also said they would like to see an investigation, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Catherine Garcia

July 20, 2020

In a lawsuit filed Monday, Jennifer Eckhart, a former Fox Business associate producer, alleges that she was raped by ex-Fox News anchor Ed Henry.

The suit, filed in a New York federal court, claims that Henry "preyed upon, manipulated, and groomed Ms. Eckhart" to have a sexual relationship with him, and he told her if she did not go along with his sexual demands, she would receive "punishment and retaliation," BuzzFeed News reports. Eckhart also accused Henry of sexually assaulting her in the office and raping her at a hotel.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Cathy Areu, a regular guest on Fox News, was sexually harassed by Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Howard Kurtz and political analyst Gianno Caldwell; she also claims that Henry sent her sexually explicit messages and pictures. Areu says that in December 2018, Carlson let her know he was staying at a hotel without his wife and children, allegedly "probing to see whether Ms. Areu was interested in a sexual relationship." After she rebuffed his advances, Areu said she was no longer regularly invited to appear on his show.

Areu also claims that Hannity offered male staffers $100 to take her out on a date, Kurtz retaliated against her when she would not meet him in the lobby of the hotel he was staying in, and Caldwell attempted to coerce her into going on a date with him in exchange for setting up a meeting with right-wing personality Ann Coulter.

Henry was fired earlier this month, and in a statement to BuzzFeed News, Fox News said "swift action" was taken after the network learned about the allegations against him. Fox News also said it hired an outside law firm to conduct a "comprehensive independent investigation," which determined that "all of Cathy Areu's claims against Fox News, including its management, as well as its hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Howard Kurtz and its contributor Gianno Caldwell, are false, patently frivolous, and utterly devoid of any merit."

Henry's attorney released a statement denying the allegations, claiming that Eckhart "initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship." Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2020

Fifteen former Washington Redskins employees, all women, told The Washington Post that during their time working for the team, they experienced sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

The allegations span from 2006 to 2019. One former marketing coordinator, Emily Applegate, told the Post would cry several times a week after being berated by her boss; he would tell her she was "f--king stupid" and then immediately compliment her on her body. "It was the most miserable experience of my life," Applegate told the Post. "And we all tolerated it, because we knew if we complained — and they reminded us of this — there were 1,000 people out there who would take our job in a heartbeat."

The 14 other women spoke with the Post anonymously, and several had signed nondisclosure agreements. Some of the women said they were propositioned while at training camp, while others received unwanted shoulder rubs and pinches and were told to wear tight clothing when meeting with wealthy clients. "It was my first job, so I kind of normalized it," one woman told the Post. "And it was happening to every single one of my female co-workers under the age of 40."

The Redskins had just one full-time employee working in human resources, the women told the Post, and female employees would pull aside new workers to tell them to avoid certain people and places, including a staircase where someone standing at the bottom could look up the skirt of a woman standing at the top.

Two employees flagged by the Post during its investigations were fired: Alex Santos, the director of pro personnel, and Richard Mann II, the assistant director of pro personnel.

The Redskins said it has hired a firm to review the matter and "help the team set new employee standards for the future." The women did not accuse owner Daniel Snyder of sexual harassment, but did say he fostered a toxic environment that encouraged sophomoric behavior and bullying tactics. They do believe that he knew about the inappropriate behavior, as did former team president Bruce Allen. "I would assume Bruce knew, because he sat 30 feet away from me ... and saw me sobbing at my desk several times every week," Applegate told the Post. Snyder declined requests for an interview. Read more at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

March 1, 2020

An attorney for Vanessa Bryant said she is "absolutely devastated" by allegations that Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies shared graphic photos from the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others in January.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the photos showed the crash scene and victims' remains, and first responders were talking about the pictures in the days after the accident. Vanessa Bryant's attorney, Gary Robb, released a statement Sunday saying if the report is accurate, this is an "unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families," and anyone involved must "face the harshest possible discipline."

Robb said that on the day of the crash, Bryant asked the sheriff's department to enact a no-fly zone around the crash scene. "This was of critical important to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims and their families," he said, adding that Sheriff Alex Villanueva "assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families' privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honor those requests." The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation on Friday, saying Villanueva is "deeply disturbed at the thought deputies could allegedly engage in such an insensitive act." Catherine Garcia

August 4, 2019

Actress Afton Williamson announced on Sunday she is not returning to The Rookie next season, saying she was sexually harassed, assaulted, and bullied on the set.

Williamson played LAPD officer Talia Bishop opposite star and executive producer Nathan Fillion. In an Instagram post, Williamson said the incidents took place while shooting episodes throughout the show's first season. Williamson alleged she was bullied by the executive producers and experienced "racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department." She also accused a "recurring guest star" of sexually harassing her and said the "racist commentary and bullying from the hair department head escalated into sexual assault at our wrap party."

Williamson said she told showrunner Alexi Hawley about the sexual harassment, but "it remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised." She decided to leave the show for good after learning that a promised investigation had never been launched, she said, adding, "Now is the best time in the world to be a woman and I have a platform, so it's time to use my voice." Representatives for Fillion and ABC did not respond to USA Today's request for comment. Catherine Garcia

April 23, 2019

Luke Walton, the former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and brand new head coach of the Sacramento Kings, has been accused of sexual assault, ABC 7 Los Angeles reports.

The news station obtained court documents showing that sports reporter Kelli Tennant is suing Walton, accusing him of sexual battery, sexual assault, and gender violence. Tennant said the incident took place in Walton's hotel room while he was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. Tennant said she wanted to show him her new book, and once in the room, Walton allegedly forced himself on her twice before she was able to escape.

The Kings released a statement saying the team is "aware of the report" about Walton and "gathering additional information." The Lakers said the alleged incident took place before he became coach, and "at no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA." Catherine Garcia

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