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Meghan Markle Prince Harry royals

Did Prince Harry negotiate a four-book publishing deal or is the Mail lying again?

Anzac Day Service of Commemoration

Let’s go in somewhat chronological order on this story, meaning let’s talk about the very strange article that dropped on Friday, and then we’ll get into the denial and fact-checking of the article. On Friday, Rebecca English at the Daily Mail dropped a big exclusive: in addition to the memoir Prince Harry is currently working on, he allegedly inked a contract with Penguin Random House for a four-book deal. This is what Becky English’s sources claim now, nevermind the fact that those same sources apparently had no idea what was happening one week ago before the news of the memoir dropped. Some highlights from the DM:

The deal: Prince Harry has clinched a lucrative four-book deal – with the second due out only after the Queen has died, the Mail can reveal today. In news sure to alarm Buckingham Palace, industry insiders said the ‘tell-all’ tome unveiled by Harry earlier this week is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Sources said the Duke of Sussex oversaw the bidding and told publishing houses to begin at £18million, with the final figure possibly reaching £29million. The deal will see a memoir released next year – when it is the Queen’s platinum jubilee – with the second book to be held back until after her death.

Meghan is part of the deal? Harry’s wife Meghan is to pen a ‘wellness’ guide as part of the contract with Penguin Random House. The subject and author of the fourth title is unknown.

Harry led negotiations from Montecito: Two publishers flew out from London to see him and others took part in the ‘auction’ by video call, sources say. ‘He conducted negotiations – he had a very ‘take it or leave it’ attitude,’ said an impeccably-placed source in the publishing industry. ‘His starting price was $25million (£18million) and the final figure was way north of that, possibly as much as $35-40million (£25-29million). Those involved were actually very shocked by his approach, which was to look at them coldly and state his demands – $25million. In Britain, publishing is still a rather ‘gentlemanly’ industry. It’s high stakes, but is still conducted in very genteel terms.’

When Granny Dies: ‘The final contract was actually for a four-book deal, with Harry writing one “when his granny dies”. Meghan will write a wellness-type book and people are unsure what the fourth will be. But what is most shocking, frankly, is Harry’s suggestion that the second book won’t be published until the Queen is no longer here. People [will] start asking ‘what has he got, who is he going to target?’ The very idea of this unexploded bomb, hanging about waiting for the Queen to pass, is just extraordinary and may strike many as being in very bad taste.’

The DM updated with Harry’s denial: After being alerted to the story in detail on Thursday and told that it would be published on Saturday, lawyers acting for Harry replied to the Mail yesterday afternoon saying that they would not be commenting. Five hours later however, and after early editions of the paper had gone to press, they then wrote to the Mail again saying the claims were ‘false and defamatory’. They said there was only one ‘memoir’ planned by Harry, which will be published next year.

[From The Daily Mail]

As the Mail updated, the Sussexes’ spokesperson went to certain outlets with the denial. Per Omid Scobie, “A report claiming Prince Harry is holding back a second book (of a multi-title deal) for after the Queen’s death seems to be wide of the mark. A Sussex rep says there’s NO project coordinated around such an event, adding that it would be factually inaccurate to suggest otherwise.”

I get that the hashtag #RebeccaEnglishIsALiar has been trending all weekend and there are huge chunks of her story which don’t make sense at all, which I will get to in a moment. But… I think it’s very likely that something simple got conflated into this psychodrama. I think there’s probably a good chance that Harry’s contract with Penguin Random House probably *does* include language about a possible second book, if Harry and the publisher agree to it. Publishers operate like Hollywood studios nowadays: they want to lock in their talent to multi-project deals, whether that means multi-film deals or multi-book deals. I think the Sussex spokesperson is being notably careful with how they’re denying the story.

Now, all of that being said, the details of English’s story make zero sense. There is no way the American wing of an international publishing house would agree to a “when granny dies” contractual clause. It also makes zero sense that a publishing house would send representatives FROM London… especially when Harry would likely have a literary agent or manager conducting the negotiations anyway. Also bizarre: the idea that Harry would negotiate his wife’s publishing contract. They would have separate contracts because they’re doing separate things with separate divisions at Penguin Random House. So… yeah, Rebecca English probably heard that Harry’s contract has a clause for a possible second book and she used that as a jumping off point for this ridiculous fiction.

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex arrives at the Easter Sunday church service at St.George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Sunday April 21, 2019

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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Ben Affleck jennifer lopez

Jennifer Lopez & Ben Affleck went Instagram-Official on her 52nd birthday

lopez affleck bday

For months now, I’ve been dying for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez to recreate parts – or one specific part – of the “Jenny From the Block” music video. I also recently talked about how J.Lo and Ben really missed an opportunity to be cool, young and hip by posting some Instagram-official photos on their social media. Well… it was foretold by the prophecy. On Friday, Jennifer and Ben boarded a flight to Monaco (probably more like Nice, France) and on Saturday, they were on a yacht off the South of France. We’re probably only hours away from Ben rubbing and kissing her bikini-clad ass on a yacht, just like the “Jenny From the Block” video.

But that’s not all, as you can see! They are now Instagram-Official, on Jen’s IG. She was posting some hot photos of her hot birthday body and at the end of the photoshoot, she shared this hot/awkward shot of the kiss! And yes, this trip was for Jennifer’s birthday. That ass is 52 years old and it’s about to get rubbed on a yacht (honestly, it’s probably already been rubbed on a yacht during this trip, but we need it to happen in front of cameras).

Anyway, happy birthday to Jen and welcome to Leo Season. Bennifer on a Yacht = pure happiness and joy. They are amazing.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez celebrating her bday in Monaco

📸July 24, 2021

Via @jlogallery

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JLO pic.twitter.com/qd1lPLc2S4

— bennifer tea (@jloaffleck) July 24, 2021

pic.twitter.com/nqaVXn32tw

— Keaton Patti (@KeatonPatti) July 24, 2021

Broooo🥺 pic.twitter.com/P8tKYPIFFv

— 𝐋𝐢𝐳𝐳𝐲🖤 (@tatli_lizvl) July 24, 2021

Photos courtesy of social media.

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Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa covers Vanity Fair: ‘I’m going to prove to people that I can do this’

firo: 29.06.2021, Fuvuball, Soccer: EURO 2021, EM 2020, EURO 2020, European Championship 2020, round of 16 ENG, England - GER, Germany

I’ve been a Dua Lipa stan since “New Rules” and “IDGAF,” meaning since her first album. It has pleased me so much that Dua went from almost a secondary, regional pop star (“Dula Peep,” as Wendy Williams famously called her) to one of the biggest names in pop music globally. Her second album Future Nostalgia came out just as everyone was going into lockdown. The album is full of breezy, fun, dance-party music and people spent the pandemic dancing alone in their homes to “Levitating” and “Don’t Start Now.” And now here we are: Dua Lipa on the cover of Vanity Fair. She has truly arrived. What’s hilarious (to me) is that Dua is beautiful, talented, ambitious and cool, but she’s never been, like, particularly dramatic. No one is like “Dua is spilling tea” or “I wish I could read more about this fascinating person!” Her background has drama, for sure. But mostly she’s not looking to bad-mouth anyone or lie or bitch about her life. She’s very chill, professional and well-adjusted, which this VF piece kind of reveals. Some highlights:

The pressure of a second album: “There was just this pressure. People just telling me that I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t deserving of it or whatever it was…. I was like, ‘All right, I’m just going to shut everything out. And I’m going to make sure that I get this album the way that I want it to. And I’m really just going to focus on being great at everything that I do.’ ”

Leaving Kosovo for England when she was a child: “Everything was Albanian at home, and English was my school life. I had so much family in Kosovo, but also because of the situation and not being able to go back, I had never really met my family.” Because she was young during the open conflict that lasted until the summer of 1999, Lipa didn’t know much about it. “I guess my parents also didn’t want to upset me at such a young age. After the war, my dad’s father passed away and my dad couldn’t make it back in time, because obviously all the borders were closed, but it was just one of those things they didn’t tell me until a little bit later on.”

She’s unapologetic about politics: “It mainly came because of my roots in Kosovo, and wanting to take a stand on that and talk about that and the refugee situation. And then slowly starting to understand how, you know, the politics of war, how that all happens, why so many children are displaced. Things stemmed from a personal experience into then wanting to learn more and trying to also be a voice for lots of other people.” It’s also a matter of using the platform she regards as a privilege: “As my profile is growing, especially online, I feel like I need to use that to do something better than, you know, posting cute pictures or whatever.”

Social media jokes about her bad dancing & on-stage nonchalance: “It’s one thing when people are mean about you, but you know that you did your best. But it’s another thing when people are mean about you and you know that you actually haven’t had the opportunity to be the best because you’ve spread yourself so thinly in trying to do everything at once.”

She wanted to show that she could prepare this time around: “You want to show that you’re here to stay and you want to show that it’s not just about one album or one big song or whatever it is. I just wanted to make sure that this time around, I was very much in control of the fact that I’m going to do the music, then I’m going to rehearse. And then when I come in and I do the performances, they’re all going to be amazing. I’m going to prove to people that I can do this and that I’m here to stay.”

Her boyfriend Anwar Hadid: “Anwar is half Dutch, so he’s also quite European in some senses,” she said. In keeping with her general policy for posting on social media, she asks Hadid before sharing any photos of him, though she isn’t necessarily upset if he doesn’t do the same. “I always like to ask if he likes a picture before I post it. But I also think sometimes it’s sweet that he really likes kind of ugly pictures of me. And I look at him, I’m like, ‘Really?’ And he’s like, ‘I love it.’ And then I let him post it, although I hate it.”

[From Vanity Fair]

Everyone is trying so hard to make it sound like Dua is, like, being bullied on social media. I’m sure there are people trashing her, because the internet is a dark and terrible place, but most of the comments she specifically references (like the “go on girl give us nothing” tweet) are more like jokes from people who genuinely like her. It’s like teasing a beautiful, successful, talented pop star for not being 100% perfect. I’m sorry that she sees that stuff and that it bugs her, but honestly, she has a thriving and supportive fanbase online.

Also, a weird moment in the VF profile: she expresses support for Bernie Sanders and Bernie is quoted in the piece, defending Dua politically. It was… a lot.

Cover & IG courtesy of Vanity Fair.

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Simone Biles

Simone Biles: ‘I feel like now I don’t have to prove anything to anybody’

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When Simone Biles is photographed for magazine editorials, the photographer usually tries to capture her youthful, fun energy, or they do “in motion” poses to show off her physicality and grace. But I kind of love that WSJ. Magazine went in a different direction. They styled her in mostly sedate, almost conservative clothing. The setting looks like her grandma’s house. She looks like a woman, not a girl. She still looks like Simone, of course. But it’s just nice to see her photographed and styled a different way. Anyway, Simone is one of the few major athletic stars going to Tokyo shortly. Simone walks into Tokyo as a sure thing, or as much of a sure thing as any athlete can be. She spoke to WSJ. Magazine (via People) about preparing for the Olympics:

She thought she already peaked in 2016: She “thought [she’d] hit the peak of [her] career” in 2016, after nabbing four gold medals and one bronze at the Games in Rio de Janeiro. “I was like, ‘How can I get any better than that?’ ” said Biles, who will compete as part of Team USA once more this year. She added of her time after Rio, “And so I was really nervous walking into the gym.”

Learning to enjoy gymnastics on her terms: “Now I can enjoy my gymnastics. It’s really up to me. And that probably also comes along with how many titles I’ve won and everything I’ve established. It’s like, okay, well, the facts are on the paper. I feel like now I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. I’m trying to level up.”

She still can’t believe she kept racking up medals: “I wouldn’t say I thought ’13 was a fluke. But I was like, ‘Oh, whatever, I won; next year somebody else will be the winner.’ And then ’14 happened and I won, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh; what is happening?’ And then ’15 happened, and I was like, ‘Who am I? This could be really good. I could make the Olympic team!’ ”

Her future: “I feel like for all these years I’ve kind of let gymnastics do the talking, and I’ve kind of stamped my position there. So at the end of the day, I can say I’ve done it all, and more.”

[From People]

I think the people around Simone always knew she was good, good enough to eventually make the Olympic team, but they didn’t want to stress her out about it. She seems happier when she doesn’t have that pressure of “I have to do this and this by age whatever” etc. She was 19 years old when she swept the Olympics in Rio – to do it again at the age of 24, she has to believe that she has nothing else to prove. She doesn’t! Like Serena Williams said when she reached a certain number of Slams, she’s playing for history and for fun. That’s Simone now – just seeing how much further she can go. I’m so excited for this!!

Cover & IGs courtesy of WSJ. Magazine.

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Links

“This six-minute ‘Dune’ trailer seems to give away a lot of the plot” links

A new, six-minute trailer for Dune is here. Dune was supposed to come out last year and now it’s coming out in October. [OMG Blog]


Henry Golding is very attractive. [Go Fug Yourself]


Mindy Kaling talks about the stupid backlash she’s getting for making Scooby Doo’s Velma South Asian. [Buzzfeed]


TikToker’s mom has a pantry full of two-year-old fast food. [Dlisted]


Just how close are the Clooneys and the Sussexes? [LaineyGossip]


Matt Damon is back on American soil for the first time since before the pandemic. He spent the past year & a half in Ireland, Australia and France. [Just Jared]


Review of M. Night Shyamalan’s Old. [Pajiba]


Kevin Hart bought a billboard to troll Nick Cannon. [Seriously OMG]


I would love it if Dua Lipa fired her stylist and hired me to do it. [RCFA]


Love After Lockup star was arrested for assault. [Starcasm]


Oof I’m jealous of Lady Gaga’s pool. [Egotastic]

Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle commemorate Anzac Day in London

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Cardi B

Cardi B won’t have a baby shower for her second pregnancy: ‘Not doing it’

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Cardi B recently threw a huge, excessive princess-themed birthday party for her daughter Kulture. To be fair, it seemed like Offset was involved in the planning, and he was right there celebrating his little princess too. Kulture is three years old now and just about to become a big sister. We don’t know when Cardi’s second child is due, but it will probably be in the next few months. And Cardi says that after the princess party, she’s not having a baby shower for her second pregnancy:

During a surprise interview with live radio app Stationhead Tuesday,Cardi B, 28, explained why she’s not having a baby shower for her second child with her husband Offset.

“I’m not having a baby shower. That’s why I did Kulture’s birthday really, really big,” she said. “I just get overwhelmed when I do these big birthdays and I just feel like the baby shower with Kulture’s birthday is just too close. Just to see the same people over again, and it’s like, not doing it.”

Cardi and the Migos member, 29, share daughter Kulture, 3, and recently celebrated her July 10 birthday with a lavish fairytale-themed party. The big bash included an outdoor petting zoo, a balloon tunnel, Disney princesses, a towering birthday cake, a ball pit, bowling lanes and more. Mom and daughter matched in pink princess gowns, while Offset sported a black and white three-piece suit without a jacket. The family arrived in a Cinderella-inspired horse-drawn carriage, and the birthday girl entered her celebration on a pony.

Also during her appearance on the Stationhead show, the “WAP” rapper revealed how she told her husband that she was expecting. After she began showing pregnancy symptoms two weeks before the Grammys — Cardi said she noticed her “mouth started to get watery” and she was experiencing headaches and carsickness — she simply told her husband, “I think I’m pregnant, bro!”

[From People]

“Just to see the same people over again” cracked me up. She’s like “I just saw them at my daughter’s birthday, I don’t need to see ‘em again for six months.” I would imagine that Cardi was trying to give Kulture a really special day because Cardi is perhaps nervous about how Kulture will react to having a little brother or sister. As for not having the baby shower… I mean, it’s her call, and she can afford to buy all of the baby gear she would have gotten at a baby shower anyway. Ideally, someone should host the baby shower for her so she doesn’t have to plan her own shower anyway. But she’s probably told friends and family she doesn’t want one. And that goes along with baby-shower etiquette too – most people don’t believe in having big showers or any showers for the second/third/fourth babies.

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Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Cardi’s IG.

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Court Appearances Cults Keith Raniere NXIVM

NXIVM’s Keith Raniere ordered to pay victims $3.46 million in restitution

keithreniere1


Trigger warning for this story


Since finding out about the NXIVM cult I have been riveted with Keith Raniere’s downfall. I watched both documentaries, The Vow on HBO and Seduced on Starz. Smallville actress Allison Mack was recently sentenced to three years in federal prison for her role as a lead recruiter. Catherine Oxenberg’s daughter India needed to go through months of deprograming after spending years in the cult. Last year, leader Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking and abuse. But Keith’s punishment for his reign of terror was still not complete. Earlier this week, a judge ruled that Keith must pay the women who part of his inner circle $3.46 million in restitution. His youngest victim, who was fifteen at the time of her branding, is to be paid $500,000. Below are a few more highlights from People:

During a restitution hearing on Tuesday, Raniere, 60 — who appeared in court virtually from prison — was ordered by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who presided over Raniere’s trial, to pay funds to victims who were in an all-female group called DOS, characterized by many as a sex cult.

Investigators said that Raniere, who was known as “Vanguard” to his followers, occupied the top of the DOS pyramid, with tiers of female “slaves,” each of whom could become a “master” to slaves beneath them. Prosecutors said DOS members were held down and branded with Raniere’s initials just below their bikini lines.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Garaufis ordered Raniere to pay $2,500 to victims who were branded in order to cover the costs of having them removed and additional restitution payments to victims for mental health services due to his “psychological torture,” CNN reports.

According to the outlet, prosecutors said the victim who was ordered to receive the highest amount ($500,000) was 15 years old when she was branded, forced to have sex with Raniere, and coerced to take pornographic photos as a minor.

Raniere is currently serving his 120-year prison sentence at a federal facility in Arizona.

[From People]

I honestly don’t believe $3.46 million is enough for the trauma these women endured in NXIVM. And only rewarding them $2500 to have the brand removed doesn’t seem like a fair amount either. Just having my chin hairs removed cost me $2500. I am sure an actual brand would cost more. Hopefully the fund will cover therapy but the trauma and abuse is not being fairly considered. These women should be compensated millions each. Allison Mack should have gotten way more than three years in prison for her participation also, but here we are. I am glad that the victim who was fifteen when she was abused received such a large amount but I am sure that it is not enough. Also, Keith needs to lose everything. The fact that Keith showed no remorse at his sentencing lets me know he doesn’t give a sh*t about his victims. I am happy that the judge at least ruled to have Keith’s victims be compensated but I really think this order needs to be revisited if possible and more compensation given. I hope these women and some of the men that were caught up in this cult the help that they need so that can start to heal. In the meantime, I will patiently await season two of The Vow, which is coming out in October and will cover the trial.

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Screenshots via YouTube from the creepy channel Keith Raniere Conversations.