One of the NHL teams hit by the mumps outbreak is north of the border right now ... potentially exposing opponents to the virus -- but Canadian health officials are pretty damn laid back about the risk.
As we previously reported -- players from the Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, NY Rangers, and NJ Devils ... have come down with mumps in recent weeks. The Ducks played Tuesday night in Toronto ... and are taking on the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night.
TMZ Sports spoke to the Montreal Dept. of Public Health, and shockingly ... officials say they haven't reached out to their hometown team, or any visiting teams to discuss preventing the spread of the virus.
Health officials in Winnipeg -- where the Jets are getting ready for a road trip to play the Wild -- gave us a similar response.
Mumps -- a painful swelling of the salivary glands -- spreads fairly easily from coughing, sneezing or kissing ... and enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Meanwhile, the NHL seems to be doing its part -- sending all 30 teams a memo with tips on dealing with the outbreak.
Ex-MLB Star Brad Halsey
NO BOOZE or DRUGS
At Time of Mysterious Death
12/17/2014 4:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Former baseball star Brad Halsey was clean and sober when he fell more than 100 feet to his death in a remote area of Texas ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Halsey died on Halloween from blunt force trauma ... according to the docs we obtained. Sheriff's deputies in Halsey's hometown of New Braunsfels, TX say he either jumped or fell off the cliff which was on private property.
The autopsy report says Halsey's body was screened for a slew of drugs, including ... opiates, cocaine, oxycodone, barbiturates, amphetamines, marijuana, benzodiazepines ... and many more -- but pathologists found nothing. Same result for alcohol.
Halsey had pitched for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and A's. In 2006, he famously gave up Barry Bonds' 714th career home run ... tying Babe Ruth for #2 on the all-time list
Sony Hacking Is An Act of War ...
Let's Hunt Them Down
12/17/2014 3:50 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Newt Gingrich wants President Obama to treat the Sony hackers just like Osama Bin Laden -- by tracking them down and getting revenge for what he calls America's first defeat in a cyber war.
We talked to the former Speaker of the House in NYC ... right after Sony announced it was pulling "The Interview" from theaters and he did not try to hide his anger over the hack.
Gingrich says we've now opened the door for foreign terrorists to control American media. As he puts it ... "If they [the Sony hackers] can pull it off, do the Iranians come next?"
Watch the video ... Newt does suggest a plan for Sony to save face and stick it to the hackers.
Victim Says Apology NOT Accepted
12/17/2014 1:44 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The woman who was just 10 when Stephen Collins molested her and placed her hand on his penis says she's not buying his belated apology.
The woman -- now in her 50s -- is telling family members, "Stephen is minimizing the incident. It was not just a spontaneous touching ... that aggression resulted in him ejaculating."
She also scoffs at Collins decision not to apologize to her and another one of his victims, saying, "His assertion that he wanted to avoid reopening an old wound seems nonsensical to me."
She doesn't believe there are only 3 victims -- the ones he confessed to on audio.
The woman has filed a police report with the NYPD and an investigation is underway, but we're told any case would be rejected because of the statute of limitations.
She clearly wants more than a mea culpa, asking, "Why isn't he donating any disposable income, beyond what he needs to survive, to a child-abuse charity?" And shes says, "Maybe he should at least try apologizing to his victims."
We Know How to Make This Movie Go Away
12/17/2014 8:36 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
2:00 PM PT -- AMC Theaters has decided to pull the plug as well, saying, "At this time, to best enable AMC guests to plan their holiday movie-going with certainty and confidence, AMC is programming its theatres without 'The Interview.'"
1:15 PM PT -- Canada's top theater chain, Cineplex, has postponed screening "The Interview."
12:10 PM PT -- Two more major movie chains -- Regal Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas -- have now decided to drop the film as well.
10:10 AM PT -- Bow Tie Cinemas became the second major chain to announce they will not be showing the film on any of their 350 screens. Bow Tie CEO Ben Moss said "the safety and comfort of our patrons is foremost in our minds."Sony execs think there's a way to yank "The Interview" and still not give in to the cyber-terrorists.
Industry insiders with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... studio heads are now banking on a flurry of cancellations from the various movie distributors across the country ... to the point where it would not make economic sense to release it.
We're told the execs are actually viewing the latest threat as having a silver lining ... the threat of a 9/11-type attack will make so many theaters pull the flick themselves -- and Sony won't have to do it. One movie chain has already reportedly folded -- the Carmike Cinemas. ArcLight is mulling over what to do.
We're told Sony execs want the bleeding to stop ... especially attacks against mid and low-level employees whose lives, finances and health issues have been exposed.
Surprisingly ... there's talk about the movie getting play on some sort of pay-per-view platform, but that seems odd if they want the hacking to stop.
I'm Going Nowhere
12/17/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal will NOT step down ... and we're told there has been a groundswell of celebrity support for her to keep her job.
Our industry sources tell TMZ ... more than 50 showbiz bigwigs -- many of whom are celebrities -- have contacted Pascal and other honchos at Sony voicing support for her. Ironically, a number of the supporters voice their sentiment via email to various execs at Sony.
We're told the celebs who have come forward include Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Singleton, Jack Nicholson and Tyler Perry. As for that pic of Jolie with the steely look as Pascal hugged her ... we're told it was just a moment in time.
We're told Pascal is winning some points by spending much of her time in the last few days focusing on the security and safety of the employees.
Pascal is under fire for her emails with producer Scott Rudin about Prez Obama's film preferences, which Rudin said ranged from "12 Years a Slave" to "Ride Along."
The people voicing support have gone out of their way to say they do not think Pascal is racist.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
I've Reached A Verdict on O.J.
12/17/2014 7:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cuba Gooding Jr. is already stepping into OJ Simpson's Bruno Magli's ... and he's made up his mind about whether the Juice is guilty of murder.
Outside the Paley Center in NYC ... Cuba told us he's excited about playing Simpson in Ryan Murphy's miniseries “American Crime Story: The People V. OJ Simpson." But to really nail the role, Cuba says he has to go all in -- which raises the million dollar question.
Watch the video -- Cuba gives us an answer. It's cryptic, but telling.
So, we gotta ask ...
Patrick Schwarzenegger's Fooling Everyone ...
He's a Party Animal
12/17/2014 5:55 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Miley Cyrus and Patrick Schwarzenegger took Miami by storm together, but don't get it twisted -- one of them is fueling that party train more than the other... according to their pal Cody Simpson.
The Aussie pop star was shopping at Cotton On in Santa Monica, and talking about his New Year's party plan (he's got a great one) ... which got us on Patrick, Miley, and Cody's raging times at Art Basel last week on South Beach.
We asked who goes harder in the club -- and he backs up what TMZ first told you a couple weeks ago.
You gotta hear Cody gush about Patrick though -- bromance in full bloom.
Sony Hacking Scandal
Execs Convinced It's an Inside Job
12/17/2014 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Sony execs are now convinced someone who worked for the studio is behind the massive hacking ... because no one from the outside could so precisely target the compromising information.
Multiple sources connected to the studio tell TMZ ... the strong, prevailing view is that the North Koreans are probably involved, but they used someone with intimate knowledge of the Sony email system to laser in on the most embarrassing information.
We're told the people at Sony who are investigating believe the hackers had intimate knowledge of mail systems and their configurations. They also believe the hackers have knowledge of the internal media distribution systems and the internal IT systems, including human resources and payroll.
Several people suggested a possible link between the hackers and Sony layoffs, which included a large number of IT employees.
B-Day Party Sold a Load of S**t
12/17/2014 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Not everybody was hatin' on Taylor Swift's celeb-crammed 25TH b-day bash in NYC -- a toy company just made a crap ton of money off it thanks to Justin Timberlake.
Turns out the takeaway from Taylor's now famous IG shot -- with Beyonce, Jay Z, Sam Smith, Haim, and JT -- was the poop emoji mask on Justin.
The people who make JT's turd face say they've seen a huge spike in sales since Taylor posted the shot. A rep for BigMouth Inc. tells TMZ they've seen a 315% increase and are almost sold out.
So, yeah ... #2 is now #1 on the charts.
The Game and YG
The Grammys Hate Gangster Rappers
12/17/2014 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Game and YG think the Grammys are rigged ... because gangster rappers are getting screwed over.
Game tells TMZ ... people at the Grammys "don't respect our culture or our music. Unless we cross over, we ain't winning s**t."
YG is incredulous ... his album, "My Krazy Life," debuted at #1 on Billboard yet he didn't get a single nomination. He told Big Boy Tuesday his music was way better than most, but he wouldn't be specific.
The irony ... both YG and Game think the Grammys shut out any rapper who is not mainstream, which is ironic given that YG sold more albums than just about anyone in the rap category in 2014.
Game's parting shot ... "We can’t even get police convicted of coldblooded murder, so we definitely ain't winning no f**king Grammy."
Rampage Is The Funniest Fighter
[Unless This Video of Me in the Gym Counts]
12/17/2014 12:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Breaking Bad" star Lavell Crawford knows funny ... even when funny can kick the living crap out you -- 'cause he thinks Quentin "Rampage" Jackson is the most hilarious fighter in the world.
Crawford was at Gracie Barra Ju-Jitsu in Los Angeles -- on his way to a workout -- when we asked the veteran stand up comedian which MMA fighters make him laugh ... intentionally or not.
We'll let Lavell explain his choice, but please, please, please -- watch this video to see LC get his grapple on with an instructor. We promise ... the aftermath is worth the wait.
Tyler Perry Star Tasha Smith
Getting the Big D
... And Paying For It
12/17/2014 12:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Actress Tasha Smith has jumped from filing a restraining order against her estranged husband ... to slapping him with divorce papers ... and right off the bat it's costing her a bundle of cash.
The "Why Did I Get Married?" star sought the split after she and Keith Douglas filed dueling TROs against each other -- and since she's the bread winner in the family ... the judge is making her pay him $50k in spousal support up front.
We broke the stories ... a judge ordered Smith to stay a bizarre 2 yards away from Douglas -- while they were estranged, but still shacking up in the same house. A week later she filed similar docs to get protection from him.
They'll be back in court next month for the restraining orders. As for the $50k payment -- we're told that's just to hold Douglas over until a permanent support agreement is hammered out in divorce court.
Tyler Perry and his 'WDIGM?' writers should be taking notes.