Bastille Day Attack: Truck Crashes Into Crowd in France, 75 Killed

Bastille Day Attack: Truck Crashes Into Crowd in France, 75 Killed

Horrifying news out of France today:

At least 75 people were killed late when a man driving a large truck drove into a large crowd in Nice that had gathered to celebrate Bastille Day.

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According to The Associated Press, via a witness who was on hand for the heinous act, a driver plowed directly into a throng of citizens prior to getting out of the vehicle with a gun, firing away in all directions.

The culprit was shot to death, authorities have confirmed. 

At least 100 people were injured in the slaughter, the same authorities have also said.

“There was carnage on the road,” Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native, told The Associated Press. “Bodies everywhere.” 

Another individual who was present told Fox News that cops did, indeed, shoot and kill the gunman; his name has not yet been released.

Various photos, meanwhile, depict police trucks riddled with bullets, a result of a gunfight between the suspect and police.

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CNN reports that the tractor-trailer drove for two kilometers along the pavement of the Boulevard des Anglais, the main street in Nice, taking out pedestrians along the way.

Regional President Christian Estrosi says police discovered firearms, explosives and grenades in the truck after the shooter was taken out.

“This is the worst tragedy in the history of Nice with more than 70 victims already reported,” Estrosi Tweeted this evening.

Another person on the scene told the Telegraph that the area was “absolute chaos” and that there were cops “flooding the streets, including anti-terrorism officers.”

And then there was a local reporter who also spoke to The Telegraph, stating the following:

“People ran, there was panic. He drove onto the promenade and plowed into the crowd. There is a huge amount of blood and without doubt a lot of people have been hurt.”

Awful, scary, incomprehensible stuff.

Bastille Day marks the storming of the Bastille in 1789. It is a bank holiday in France, with restaurants and hotels especially crowded with revelers.

Soon after news of the tragedy went public, President Barack Obama issued a statement condemning the attack, saying:

“We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.”

We’ll update this sad story as more news breaks.

Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the victims.

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Zachary Quinto hopes George Takei changes his mind about Sulu being gay

Australian outlet Pedestrian.TV asked Star Trek: Beyond star and openly gay actor Zachary Quinto (Spock) to respond to George Takei’s negative take on the fact that the character he played in the original TV series, Sulu, was going to be made gay in the upcoming prequel. As you may recall, Takei said that while he was “delighted that there’s a gay character” that he found it to be a “twisting of [creator] Gene [Rodenberry’s] creation, to which he put in so much thought.” and that he thought it was “really unfortunate.” Takei had explained to both John Cho, who plays him in the reboot, and director Justin Lin why he didn’t want Sulu to be gay and how it was unrealistic for the character that he be closeted throughout his life essentially. They went ahead with that direction for the character despite Takei’s objections.

So Quinto has a response for Takei and while the headlines make it seem like he’s going hard against Takei’s statement, in the actual video he’s more measured and makes it about the broader point on inclusion.

As a member of the LGBT community myself I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed. I think any member of the LGBT community that takes issue with the normalized and positive portrayal of members of our community in Hollywood and in mainstream blockbuster cinema… I get it that he has his own personal journey and his own personal relationship with this character but, you know, as we’ve established in the first Star Trek Film in 2009 we’ve created an alternate universe and my hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response especially from young people who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world and should be.

So Quinto kind of gets why Takei would object to his character having an entirely different backstory but doesn’t think it matters in the long run, which kind of goes to show how Takei got ignored in the first place. Of course it’s nice to have a gay character in Star Trek but I think they should have listened to Takei and respected his wishes instead of assuming they were doing homage to him. Takei made it clear ahead of time that wasn’t the case and it’s like they expected him to come around, that’s basically what Quino is saying. Also, I tried to go to George Takei’s twitter account to see if he’s responded to Quinto and I just got lost in all the excellent links he shares. (I searched on “Zachary” and “Quinto” on his account and there’s nothing recent.)

While searching on Twitter I found that Simon Pegg issued a lengthy response to Takei as well. Pegg defended their decision to make Sulu gay and wrote that they never suggest in the film that Sulu was ever closeted, that it’s an “alternate timeline” with “alternate details” and that “We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?” Ok, so when Takei said he objected to his character being gay because it wasn’t right for Sulu, did they consider making a different core character gay, like Scotty?

Here’s the video and check out John Cho’s body language:

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Taylor Swift took Tom Hiddleston for a ride on her fancy private plane, huh

Taylor Swift took Tom Hiddleston for a ride on her fancy private plane, huh

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At long last, my Tiddles high is finally wearing off. I was positively giddy for 24 hours because I was just excited about the TIDDLES. Glorious Tiddles. But now it’s time for the come-down. After enjoying some Rhode Island Tiddlesbanging, Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift are off! They flew out of Rhode Island on her private plane yesterday, and the Daily Mail and TMZ had the photos (I’m including them below). While this is not the first time Lord Dragonfly has flown on a private plane, I would imagine it’s the first time he’s flown on a girlfriend’s private plane.

So what do we know? We know that Tom and Taylor are still together. He wasn’t scared off by the immediate craziness that came with their staged beach canoodle. We know that Taylor is treating Tom like he’s fancy, complete with trips to her huge Rhode Island mansion for makeout sessions and then maybe some under-the-sweater action on her private plane. Is Tom in it to win it? Unknown. But the tabloids are having a great time trying to figure it out! Here are some assorted stories:

Calvin Harris is still pissy. E! News had a new story about Calvin yesterday afternoon in which sources say Calvin was the one who had “checked out” of the relationship for a while and “Their rhythm as a couple was just off. They beated to a different beat. Taylor and Adam have been checked out for sometime now.” But how does Calvin feel about the Tiddlesbanging? “Adam is over Taylor in every way shape and form. He knew she was talking to someone towards the end of their relationship.” Uh-huh.

Taylor did the dumping! Page Six is still insisting that Swift dumped Calvin Harris, but now they say she dumped him for Tom, and she gave Calvin “a bulls–t excuse about her career. He was ring shopping.”

Taylor and Tom’s Met Gala dance. The Sun brought in a body-language expert to analyze Tom and Taylor’s awkward, flailing dancing at the Met Gala. The expert determined that they were definitely showing their interest for each other back then

Tom pounced right away. Sources tell Reveal Mag that as soon as Tom found out that Taylor and Calvin were over, he called her that day AND had flowers delivered to her. Considering they were in the same city (LA) when the break-up announcement was made, wouldn’t it have been easier for him to just stop by her house?

Tom’s suede boots. For the Rhode Island staged photo op, Tom wore $425 suede Aquatalia Ace boots. Who wears suede boots to the beach?

And finally, this:

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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Special thanks Cele Bitch

Amber Heard & Johnny Depp’s restraining order hearing has been postponed

Amber Heard & Johnny Depp’s restraining order hearing has been postponed

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I was being completely selfish about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s scheduled restraining order hearing. All I kept thinking was, “Is every entertainment journalist and gossip blogger going to have to hang around for hours on a Friday afternoon and evening to learn the details about the hearing?” But it looks like the much-anticipated hearing has been postponed. And Amber Heard wants you to know that it wasn’t her call. The postponement came after a conference call between Depp’s lawyer, Laura Wasser, Amber’s lawyer and the judge. Wasser asked for the continuance and Wasser also wanted the judge to give both sides to talk about a settlement.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s hearing on domestic violence claims has been pushed to August, and a temporary restraining order against the actor has been reissued, PEOPLE has confirmed.

The former couple were set to face off in a Los Angeles courtroom to address Heard’s domestic violence restraining order request.

The hearing “was advanced and vacated,” the L.A. County Superior Court said in a statement after a phone conference involving Depp and Heard’s lawyers. The official hearing on Heard’s permanent restraining order request has been rescheduled for Aug. 15 and 16, but a status conference has been set for Aug. 2. Heard and Depp are not required to attended the status conference. A source tells PEOPLE that Depp’s attorney Laura Wasser asked for a continuance to postpone the hearing.

[From People]

It doesn’t surprise me that the hearing has been postponed, although it would surprise me if Amber and her lawyers were seriously considering a settlement. Just my opinion: Amber has Depp by the short hairs and she could probably run the table for a possible settlement, but everything seems to indicate that she wants her day in court. Will Amber hold out until August? It could go either way, depending on Depp’s ability to agree to Amber’s terms, I would guess.

In the lead-up to the postponement, Amber and Johnny’s teams were sniping at each other in the press too. TMZ reported earlier Thursday afternoon that Depp wanted the postponement and he was willing to come to the table and negotiate a settlement for everything, including spousal support. Amber’s team then leaked stories about how she would never settle and that Depp is “terrified about what she’ll say on the stand.”

There was also some question about why Amber was in LA this week when she had told everybody that she would be in London for costume fittings. According to TMZ, she returned to LA early because the Aquaman/Justice League costumers thought she was too skinny for a fitting. Apparently, she’s lost 20 pounds in the past few months just from the stress. And here are some photos of a very slender Amber out in West Hollywood yesterday:

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Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN.

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Debra Messing apologizes for gun safety selfie at time of UCLA shooting

Debra Messing apologizes for gun safety selfie at time of UCLA shooting

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Debra Messing is involved with the same charity for gun safety and awareness which Julianne Moore supports: Everytown for Gun Safety. The way Moore has explained it, Everytown has some very practical solutions to control access to guns, namely running background checks and closing the loopholes which exist for gun shows and online sales. Incidentally Obama issued an executive order earlier this year to accomplish this, but without the support of the legislative branch it will be hard to effect change. Hopefully we can see some of these changes under President Clinton. (Yes I’m an optimist on several fronts.)

Wednesday there was a tragic shooting at UCLA, which ended up being a murder suicide in which a man from Minnesota murdered his former engineering professor, William S. Klug. The latest in that terrible case is that the shooter also murdered his estranged wife in Minnesota before driving to Los Angeles, where he intended to kill Klug and another professor, who was not harmed. It was yet another senseless shooting which organizations like Everytown hope to prevent.

Messing was taking part in a pre-planned awareness day for gun safety, and so instead of putting it off or just tweeting support for the victims at UCLA, she decided to incorporate the shootings into her selfie, and the result was… not good. She posted a photo of herself in a gun control T-shirt and tweeted that she was watching the shooting on TV. (She’s since deleted the tweet but the NY Daily News had it.)

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Yes that came across as self absorbed. At least she didn’t use a bunch of hashtags though, props for that. Many people started calling her out for it and the good news is that she apologized. Here’s her apology. I would assume that someone else wrote it for her, judging by her tweets.

If that was the case why didn’t Messing just tweet a simple message that she was saddened by events at UCLA, that she hopes everyone is safe and her thoughts go out to the families and loved ones? Instead she made it about herself and it was tone deaf, but it does make sense in context.

Just before posting her full apology, Messing posted a series of tweets explaining herself, stating “The pix was being taken just AS the news broke. I thought the horrendous irony of the timing shown [sic] a brighter light in the crisis and need for all of us to do something together to make the US safer. Sorry if it was misconstrued and caused offense. That’s the last thing I want to do.

As far as celebrity apologies go, her full apology is a decent one. I wish celebrities wouldn’t use the “sorry you misunderstood/sorry you were offended” line. She should have just said “I messed up, this was dumb and I acted in the heat of the moment,” but she explained the circumstances and it wasn’t bad.

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photos credit: WENN.com

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Prince Harry got the Queen involved with trash-talking America ahead of Invictus

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Many of you already discussed this in Friday’s KING HARRY post, but it’s worth dedicating a full post to this. The Invictus Games are almost here, and this year’s games are being held in Florida. Considering First Lady Michelle Obama’s dedicated work with military families and veterans, she’s been all over the Invictus Games and she and Prince Harry have gotten quite close in the past few years in particular. Even when the Obamas came for dinner at Kensington Palace, Michelle and Harry were the only ones who greeted each other as intimate friends (Harry couldn’t help but go in for a kiss, right in front of the PRESIDENT!). The point is that Michelle and Harry enjoy each other. Michelle is one of us, I suspect: she sees Harry as the dirty-sexy, roguish ginger snap that we see too. So, on Friday, the First Lady and Pres. Obama issued a video challenge to Harry and Team Britain ahead of the Invictus Games:

Which is so cute. First the KP Twitter account tweeted out some special messages which came directly from Harry (as denoted by the “-H”).

Then the KP account retweeted this from David Wiseman, the captain of the British team.

Ooooh, shots fired!! You know it’s going down when a Brit starts sh-t talking PAUL REVERE. Before the Yanks could set fire to #AllTheTea, Harry decided to drop the coup de grace of sh-t talking though: he involved Her Majesty the Queen. Mic drop. BOOM.

First of all, does Harry just call FLOTUS “Michelle”? O RLY? While this trash-talking was obviously planned out, I still love it. I love that the Queen played along. I love that Harry pulled out the big guns with the Queen. What I don’t love? That Michelle hasn’t responded. Yet. Michelle will make him pay. Probably by making Harry give her a foot rub.

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AMC may allow texting in some theaters (Update: they have nixed this idea)

AMC may allow texting in some theaters (Update: they have nixed this idea)

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The movie industry is trying to adapt to new technology as you know. We can watch almost anything, anywhere except for first run movies in our homes and on the go on our devices. It’s even changing to the point where we will probably be able to rent first run movies at home soon at a premium. This should give us the opportunity to pause the show to go to the bathroom (although there’s an app for that*), get snacks and just not go through the hassle of traveling to watch a film with friends and family.

There are a lot of inconveniences to watching movies away from home, not least of which (to some people) is the fact that we’re expected to turn off our phones for two hours. In a new interview with Variety, AMC head Adam Aron said that they’re looking into ways to allow texting during movies. AMC is now the world’s largest theater chain after their acquisition of Carmike Cinemas last month, so this is significant.

Would appealing to millennials involve allowing texting or cellphone use
Yes. When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.

At the same time, though, we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences. There’s a reason there are ads up there saying turn off your phone, because today’s moviegoer doesn’t want somebody sitting next to them texting or having their phone on.

Would you have a certain section for texting?
That’s one possibility. What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting friendly.

[From Variety]

Variety also asked Aron about The Screening Room, which would allow consumers to rent first run films at home. (Creator Sean Parker has been trying to make deals with theater chains for a cut of the profits.) He wouldn’t comment, simply saying that he prefers “To keep our counsel private right now.

As far as checking phones and texting during movies, I was watching American Hustle when the news came through that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died. Bedhead had been trying to contact me. I know an extra two hours doesn’t make that much of a difference but I felt like I missed this sad news. So now I check my phone a few times during a movie. I’m careful to sit away from people if possible, I have the sound turned off and in the winter I’ll only check it under a poncho or oversized sweater to block the light from my phone. In the summer I just bring a light jacket or poke my head under my shirt.

This is a good idea to allow texting I think, as long as it’s disclosed to everyone and moviegoers have a choice whether to attend texting-allowed movies or sit in that section. Maybe they can provide little blocking devices that you put in your lap where you can only see the light from your phone at certain angles. This doesn’t seem that hard to implement. Also, theaters should specify that all sounds must be turned off. No one wants to hear that tap-tap.

Update: AMC has issued a statement saying that they have “Heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want” and that they will not be implementing this idea. I have also heard from you that it is very rude of me to check my phone, even under a sweater, while in a movie. I will stop doing this and have taken your feedback to heart.

*Thanks CL for the tip!

Jennifer Lopez during an appearance on CBS's 'The Late Late Show with James Corden.'

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Photos credit: WENN.com

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