June 2, 2020

Jimmy Fallon has apologized on The Tonight Show in an emotional segment after coming under fire for wearing blackface in an old Saturday Night Live sketch.

A clip resurfaced last week of Fallon wearing blackface while playing Chris Rock on SNL in 2000, leading Fallon to apologize on Twitter for his "terrible decision." In his first episode of The Tonight Show since then, and in light of the ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, Fallon spoke further about the controversy.

"I was horrified," Fallon said. "Not of the fact that people were trying to cancel me, or cancel the show, which is scary enough. But the thing that haunted me the most was, how do I say I love this person? I respect this guy more than I respect most humans. I am not a racist. I don't feel this way."

Fallon went on to say that he was advised not to address the controversy at all but decided that "I can't not say I'm horrified, and I'm sorry, and I'm embarrassed," concluding that "the silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing."

In this "different" sort of edition of the show, Fallon then spoke with NAACP President Derrick Johnson about the "mistakes I made in the past" and asked how he "can do better," with Johnson praising Fallon's "powerful" apology and telling him that everyone is flawed. Fallon also interviewed CNN's Don Lemon, who similarly praised Fallon for his "honest" and "brave" opening monologue.

"That's exactly what we all need to do is examine ourselves," Lemon said. Brendan Morrow

March 8, 2019

Warner Bros Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara has apologized as he is investigated over allegations that he had an affair with an actress whose career he tried to help advance.

In a Friday memo, Tsujihara said that he regrets that "mistakes in my personal life" have "caused embarrassment to the company and to all of you," per The Hollywood Reporter. Employees are "right to expect more from me and I set a course to do better," he wrote.

This comes in response to an exposé published in the Reporter on Wednesday, which alleges that Tsujihara engaged in a sexual relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and promised he would help advance her career by introducing her to studio executives and getting her auditions. He allegedly tried to get her roles and auditions. Kirk has appeared in two recent Warner Bros. films, How to Be Single and Ocean's 8, but Tsujihara denies he had a direct role in her casting.

Kirk denies that Tsujihara ever "promised me anything" and says she has no claims of "inappropriate behavior." Alleged text messages published in the Reporter appear to show Kirk referencing having sex with Tsujihara and writing to him, "Are u going to help me like u said u would?" One text also reportedly shows Kirk becoming upset when she wasn't hearing back from a producer by writing to Tsujihara that she was trying to get "the help you promised me before luring me to that motel to have sex with you.” Another text reportedly shows her texting a producer about how simply receiving auditions falls short of "what Kevin promised me."

WarnerMedia is currently investigating the allegations against Tsujihara, and the Los Angeles Times reports his future at the company is now "in doubt." Brendan Morrow

November 29, 2016

A Pentagon investigation has found that in September, a chain of human errors caused the U.S.-led coalition to fire more than 36 airstrikes against forces loyal to the Syrian government rather than Islamic State fighters.

Syria says 62 people were killed, but the U.S. says it has only been able to confirm 15 deaths. Secretary of State John Kerry called the incident in Deir al-Zour, Syria, a "terrible mistake," while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asserts it was an intentional act. More than 70 military personnel from the U.S. and the coalition were interviewed for the four-page report, which declared that the "targets were struck in accordance with the law of armed conflict and the applicable rules of engagement for all nations involved."

The forces believed to be ISIS militants were not wearing recognizable uniforms, the report said, and they did not have unit flags or insignia or markings that could be observed. There were other reasons why they were misidentified, but those are still classified, NPR reports. It was the first time the U.S. coalition alerted Russia to inform them of an "imminent strike," the report said, but the coalition passed along incorrect coordinates. The airstrikes lasted for more than an hour, and ended four minutes after Russia told the coalition that Syrian regime forces were being hit. "In this instance, we did not rise to the high standard we hold ourselves to, and we must do better than this each and every time," Air Force Lt. Jeff Harrigian said Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

August 28, 2014

A black Hollywood producer says he was wrongly arrested by Beverly Hills police after apparently matching the description of a bank robber.

Charles Belk was leaving a restaurant Friday night when he was arrested, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police says he "matched the clothing and physical characteristics" of an African American man who allegedly robbed a nearby Citibank.

Belk wrote on his Facebook page that he was "wrongly arrested, locked up, denied a phone call, denied explanation of charges against me, denied ever being read my rights, denied being able to speak to my lawyer for a lengthy time, and denied being told that my car had been impounded." He was in jail for about six hours, and was let go after the police looked at evidence, including security camera footage. The police would not elaborate on how this video cleared Belk's name.

The Beverly Hills Police Department calls the incident "extremely unfortunate," but stands by its actions. The department expects more information on the case and Belk's accusations to come out on Thursday.

As for Belk, he's hoping this incident helps make positive change. "I have always stayed as far away from being on the wrong side of the law as much as possible," he wrote. "So please, be careful. If something like this can happen to me, it can certainly happen to anyone! Time has come for a change in the way our law enforcement officers 'serve and protect' us." Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2014

Wednesday was not a good day for government agencies that deal with infectious agents.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was in the hot seat during a hearing held by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Frieden was grilled about unsafe practices at the CDC, which resulted in employees being exposed to anthrax spores and other dangerous samples.

Last month, the anthrax was sent from one lab to another without being killed off, and could have infected people along the way. It was a "tipping point," Friedan said, showing the CDC that it needs to take a hard look at safety procedures. A memo by the subcommittee stated that employees did not know how to decontaminate the laboratory, physical exams were delayed, and the amount and location of the anthrax bacteria weren't recorded. A molecular biologist, Richard H. Ebright, testified that it is a conflict of interest for the CDC to fund and conduct research while overseeing its safety practices. He suggested that an independent agency regulate the research instead.

Officials also announced that the vials of freeze-dried smallpox found in a Food and Drug Administration lab on July 1 were part of a larger collection that included 327 vials of dengue, influenza, Q fever, and other infectious agents. While a few of the vials were destroyed, most were sent to the National Bioforensic Analysis Center, and officials said they were not sure if any of the materials ever posed a threat. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads