Actor Kevin Spacey Charged in UK with 4 Counts of Sexual Assault

British prosecutors said Thursday they have charged actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexual assault against three men. 

The Crown Prosecution Service said Spacey “has also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.” 

The alleged incidents took place in London between March 2005 and August 2008, and one in western England in April 2013. The alleged victims are now in their 30s and 40s. 

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the service’s Special Crime Division, said the charges follow a review of evidence gathered by London’s Metropolitan Police. 

Spacey, a 62-year-old double Academy Award winner, was questioned by British police in 2019 about claims by several men that he had assaulted them. The former “House of Cards” star ran London’s Old Vic Theatre between 2004 and 2015. 

Spacey won a best supporting actor Academy Award for the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects” and a lead actor Oscar for the 1999 movie “American Beauty.” 

His celebrated career came to an abrupt halt in 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused the star of assaulting him at a party in the 1980s, when Rapp was a teenager. Spacey denies the allegations. 

The charges were announced as Spacey was testifying in a courtroom in New York City in the civil lawsuit filed by Rapp. He was on the witness stand Thursday and not immediately available for comment. 

A criminal case brought against him, an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019. 

 

Biden to Host K-pop Stars BTS, Discuss Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

K-pop superstars BTS will head to the White House next week to address hate crimes targeting Asians and people of Asian descent with U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

Biden would host the global phenomenon musical group on Tuesday and would “discuss Asian inclusion and representation, and to address anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination which have become more prominent issues in recent years,” it said.

The seven members of the South Korean boy band are known for their upbeat songs and dances and have built a loyal global fan base, winning the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year crown in February for the second straight year.  

The meeting comes as May’s recognition of Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) month comes to a close amid a sharp upswing in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the past year. Attacks against people of Asian descent have escalated as some politicians and pundits have encouraged Americans to blame China for COVID-19, amid other tensions.

Just this month, a man was charged with allegedly shooting three women of Asian descent at a hair salon in Dallas, while another man in California was accused of killing one person and wounding five others in a shooting at a Taiwanese-American church. Authorities are investigating both incidents as potential hate crimes.

The K-pop stars are also known for using their lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering youngsters since debuting in 2013.

“Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world,” the White House said in its statement.

В Офісі президента хочуть «переосмислити необхідність існування» Конституційного суду

Заступник голови ОП вважає, що конституційна реформа часів Порошенка «створила КСУ як орган, який взагалі є недоторканим»

Кулеба закликав бізнес і світових лідерів «вбити російський експорт»

«Припиніть купувати в Росії. Припиніть дозволяти їм заробляти гроші, які вони можуть інвестувати у військову машину, яка знищує, вбиває, ґвалтує й катує людей в Україні»

Controversial Russian Opera Star Takes Stage in Paris

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Western nations have sidelined a raft of Russian artists, dancers and musicians with links to President Vladimir Putin. That includes star opera singer Anna Netrebko, who was dropped by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Netrebko, however, is making a comeback of sorts with an appearance Wednesday night in Paris — underscoring a broader debate over the limits of cultural boycotts.

Soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska received a standing ovation starring earlier this month in Puccini’s Turandot. The Ukrainian singer took her curtain call at New York’s Metropolitan Opera draped in her country’s flag. 

Celebrated Russian sorprano Anna Netrebko was originally tapped for the role. But the war in Ukraine changed that. Netrebko has condemned the conflict, but not Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

She publicly endorsed Putin’s reelection in 2012, although not in 2018. In 2014, she was photographed alongside a Russian-backed separatist leader from Ukraine’s Donbas region. She recently told Le Monde newspaper her intentions hadn’t been political, and said she was uninformed about the area’s history. 

Now Netrebko is back on stage — singing at the Paris Philharmonic with another Russian, mezzo-soprano Elena Maximova. Beyond a last-minute appearance in Monaco, the event is considered her formal return to the Western stage.

The Paris Philharmonic declined an interview request. But in a statement, it said that while it has canceled artists formally linked to the Russian government, it aims to keep ties whenever possible with those who are not. After Netrebko’s criticism of the war, it noted, Russia’s Duma, the lower house of parliament, called her a traitor. 

The Paris institution has a different position from the Metropolitan’s, where Netrebko will not be singing for the foreseeable future. 

Russian singers aren’t the only ones under Western scrutiny. Dancers and other Russian artists are being boycotted for their ties to Moscow. It’s a very different situation from Cold War days, when artists from the United States and the former Soviet Union were often welcomed on each other’s stages. 

“The two superpowers were in a competition for hearts and minds the world over, and they were attempting to demonstrate to the world and to one another’s populations that theirs was the superior system,” said Kenneth Platt, a professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. “So from the perspective of each of the superpowers, it was their interest to showcase their culture and to engage their cultural exchanges.”

Today, it will be hard for Russia to overcome Western revulsion over its reported atrocities in Ukraine. Still, Platt is one who does not support a blanket boycott of Russian artists.  

“My basic position on canceling and national identities is if you want to cancel people, cancel them because they are in support of the war, or aligned with this inimical Russian state or because their books and films are pro-war.  Not because they are Russians, or their books are Russian,” he said.

That’s also the position of Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, who spoke to France 24 TV at the Cannes Film Festival going on now. The festival has banned Russians with official ties to the Kremlin and slotted time for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at the venue via video link. 

“Yet I do not agree with excluding those Russian authors, artists, filmmakers who are against this war, who are just like the rest of the civilized world — just trying to fight against the evil,” he said. 

Loznitsa is not in lockstep with some of his compatriots who back a broader ban of Russian artists. 

Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania’s Platt has his doubts about Netrebko’s operatic return. 

“I think Ms. Netrebko has a prominent public voice,” he said. “I would want her to see her using that voice far more vociferously to condemn this war and Putin’s dictatorial regime in the strongest possible terms — much more so than she has done — before welcoming her back into the limelight.” 

The Paris Philharmonic has also welcomed Ukrainian musicians who fled the war in their homeland, It’s working with the head of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra to place them in various French orchestras. Some have already performed in concerts in recent weeks.

Gallaudet University Celebrates its Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Graduates

Gallaudet University in Washington hosted its first undergraduate commencement ceremony since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Gallaudet is the only university in the world where deaf, deaf-blind and hard-of-hearing students live and learn bilingually in American Sign Language and English. Keynote speaker Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, among others, addressed the graduating students. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has the story

про уродов и людей