Joe Francis Tied Up, Robbed ... Hostage Scare in Mexico!!!

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Joe Francis was nearly taken in Mexico when several men with guns busted into a home, took everyone's money ... and attempted to kidnap Joe and a group of friends.

Sources close to the "Girls Gone Wild" founder tell TMZ ... he was at the home of one of his neighbors in Punta Mita on October 16 -- with about 20 other people -- when at least 5 armed men stormed in, threatening to take hostages.

We're told Joe and the others, mostly staff working at the house, were tied up with wire and robbed. Our sources say shortly after this, neighborhood security had a scuffle with the gunmen, who fled the area ... until police spotted them.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... cops got an anonymous call that morning from another residence near Joe's, claiming 4 suspicious-looking people were spotted inside the home.

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We're told 2 patrol cars with armed officers were sent to the scene and found 4 people making a run for it. Cops gave chase, but 3 of the 4 perps got away. It's unclear if the captured suspect was arrested or charged yet.

Our sources say military personnel also responded to the incident, and discarded guns and masks were discovered at nearby property. We're told the robbery victims believed the assailants planned to kidnap them.

We reached out to Francis ... so far, no word back.

Lizzo Back Me Up, Judge!!! These Guys Didn't Put in on 'Truth Hurts'

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Lizzo's going to war -- a legal war -- with three songwriters who've been making a lot of noise, claiming they wrote parts of her #1 hit ... but Lizzo says that's BS.

Lizzo filed legal docs Wednesday in federal court asking a judge to declare the 3 men have no copyright on "Truth Hurts," and no right to share in the song's immense profits.

You've probably seen this bubbling up on social media. One of the songwriters -- Justin Raisen -- has claimed he cowrote a song called "Healthy" with Lizzo last year. He claims Lizzo lifted the signature lyric, "I just took a DNA test turns out I'm 100% that bitch" from "Healthy."

According to the docs, obtained by TMZ, Lizzo says that line is actually from a 2017 tweet that became a popular meme -- and that's why she decided to sing it on the 'Truth' demo. On social media, Lizzo said producer Ricky Reed was the only other person in the room when she wrote 'Truth.'

She says Justin and his brother, Jeremiah, and their reps have on at least 2 occasions acknowledged in writing they have no claim to 'Truth.'

Lizzo suspects they are trying to set up an "opportunistic" lawsuit to cash in on her hit ... which has been #1 for 7 weeks.

To be clear, she's not suing anyone ... Lizzo just wants the judge to declare all 3 songwriters -- Justin, Jeremiah and Yves Rothman -- have no right to her "Truth Hurts" profits.

Tony Hawk Praises Skater With Cerebral Palsy 'The Stoke is Contagious'!!!

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A DREAM COME TRUE

This is the best video you'll see today!!!

7-year-old Avante Leaozinho -- who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months -- had the time of his life hitting the ramps at a skate park with his mom ... and his reaction is perfect!!!

As it turns out, the skating fanatic has always wanted to hit the ramps, but his mother had difficulty finding a way to make it happen.

After several failed attempts with bikes and walkers, Avante's mom teamed up with SkateAnima, a company that specializes in assistance mechanisms for skaters with disabilities, to make Avante's dream come true ... and he loved every second of it.

The video is amazing ... Avante's mom pushes him throughout the skate park and up all the ramps ... and the smile on his face couldn't be bigger.

The video went super viral (for obvious reasons) ... and now the greatest skater EVER, Tony Hawk, has taken notice ... saying, "The stoke is contagious"!

Keep skating, Avante!!!

By the way, Tony also does a ton of work helping special needs skaters find a way to do what they love.

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Earlier this month, he met with Renan Prasido -- a young skater with special needs -- after seeing an inspirational video of the kid hitting the ramps with his friends.

Inspiring stuff!!!

Rose McGowan Sues Harvey Weinstein ... You Tried Smearing Me!!!

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12:09 PM PT -- Harvey's lawyer, Phyllis Kupferstein, got back to us ... "Once and for all, Rose McGowan will be shown to be what she is; a publicity seeker looking for money. From the moment she sought a multi-million dollar payout in return for not making these baseless allegations, which we rejected, we knew that she was waiting for an opportune time to begin this." She continued on ... "We will demonstrate that this case has no legal merit."

Rose McGowan is going after Harvey Weinstein and his former attornies ... claiming they conspired to smear her and discredit her rape allegations against the disgraced studio mogul.

According to legal docs obtained by TMZ ... McGowan claims "this case is about a diabolical and illegal effort by one of America's most powerful men and his representatives to silence sexual-assault victims."

McGowan -- who is also suing Weinstein's ex-lawyers, Lisa Bloom and David Boies -- claims back in 2016 she was going to write a memoir and motivational book called "Brave" that would include details about Weinstein allegedly raping her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival.

She then claims that when Weinstein learned about these plans, "he tapped into his team of fixers" with the goal of ensuring McGowan's story never saw the light of day ... "and -- if it did -- that no one would believe her."

McGowan then alleges Weinstein's lawyers -- in conjunction with the international spy agency, Black Cube -- worked together and "tried to steal McGowan's unpublished book" and attempted to buy her silence. She claims that Weinstein's plans were that if they couldn't stop her, they'd do everything in their power to ruin her reputation.

What's more ... she brought up what we had previously reported -- McGowan insisted Weinstein may have had a hand in having coke planted in her wallet back in 2017.

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She claims, in docs, her lawyer, Jose Baez, advised her to drop that defense and instead plead no contest, which she did. McGowan says it's odd that 9 days after she pled no contest, Baez then signed up as Weinstein's criminal defense attorneys.

The actress, of course, is one of the first women to accuse Weinstein of sexually assaulting her. She helped spearhead the #MeToo Movement, which prompted scores of women to come forward.

McGown is suing for damages. A rep for Lisa Bloom tells us, "It is inexcusable that Ms. McGowan chose to include my client in her lawsuit. Facts matter. There is simply no credible factual or legal basis for her claims against my client. We look forward to our day in court to set the record straight."

We've reached out to Boies, so far, no word back.

Originally Published -- 12:00 PM PT

Team USA's Alex Morgan I'M PREGGO!!!

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Team USA soccer co-captain Alex Morgan is pregnant with a baby girl -- which means Team USA is probably gonna win the 2039 Women's World Cup!!!

The 30-year-old striker announced the big news Wednesday with her husband, L.A. Galaxy midfielder Servando Carrasco ... saying their baby girl is due in April 2020.

FYI, Morgan and 31-year-old Carrasco have been together for years and tied the knot on New Year's Eve back in 2014. This will be their first child together.

Obviously, the news is GREAT for their family but it means Morgan will likely put her playing career on hold for a bit. Besides her spot on Team USA, Morgan also plays for the Orlando Pride of the NWSL.

Both Alex and Servando Instagrammed about the news. Serv wrote, "Can’t wait to meet my baby girl."

Alex said, "We are already in love and we haven’t even met her yet. Newest member of the Carrasco family, coming soon."

Congrats!!!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wins $1 Million Human Rights Prize ... Donating To Charity

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is getting a big fat check for her contributions to social justice and gender equality ... and she's paying it forward.

RBG was just announced the winner of the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture, given annually to folks who shape "human self-understanding and advancement." It has not been announced which charity the 86-year-old is donating her $1 million prize to.

The Notorious RBG, who has served on the Supreme Court since 1993, is scheduled to accept the award in December at the New York Public Library.

The Berggruen Institute, founded by billionaire philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen, cited RBG's honorable work before and during her tenure on the highest court in the land ... including authoring the first law textbook on gender discrimination and her efforts in the 1970s with the ACLU's Women's Rights Project.

We're guessing the recognition will add a little pep to RBG's step ... not that she needs it.

MOOVIN' AND GROOVIN'
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RBG's still plugging along after her 4th bout with cancer ... and when we spotted her in New York City last month, she was walking without assistance.

And, get this ... RBG told a crowd at UC Berkeley this week she never stopped working out during her fight with cancer, and she still does push-ups every day.

RBG ... an inspiration to us all.

Nelly UK Sexual Assault Case Settled

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Nelly is putting a sexual assault case behind him by reaching an agreement with his accuser to settle the matter out of court.

A woman in England had filed a lawsuit, about a year ago, against Nelly for allegedly sexually assaulting her after a 2017 concert in Essex. The accuser, who filed as Jane Doe, had claimed the rapper forced her to perform oral sex during a meet-and-greet.

According to docs filed Tuesday in federal court, and obtained by TMZ, the accuser has informed the judge that she and Nelly recently settled their dispute.

Neither side is saying whether money changed hands ... terms of the agreement are confidential.

Nelly's girlfriend, Shantel Jackson, is also in the clear now. The accuser had included her in the lawsuit, claiming Shantel lied when she dismissed the accuser as a liar.

As TMZ first reported, Nelly had similarly reached a settlement last year with another woman who claimed he sexually assaulted her on his tour bus.

AOC 'Joker' Stairs are a Bronx Classic ... Tourists Can't Claim It!!!

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STAY OFF OUR STEPS, JOKERS!!!
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is all for "Joker" putting a spotlight on a local NYC attraction she's known her whole life, but it sounds like she'd like to keep it a neighborhood secret.

We got AOC Tuesday on Capitol Hill and she dished on the famous Bronx stairs featured in the new flick. No spoiler here, but Joaquin Phoenix's Clown Prince of Gotham dances his way down the landmark to celebrate his transformation to the Joker.

The Congresswoman from the block says those stairs have been there since forever, and folks have been busting moves -- and maybe a few asses -- down them long before Joaquin made 'em trendy with tourists. AOC added it wasn't always the safest hang either.

If you haven't noticed, the stairs have been showing up all over Instagram -- as "Joker" fans anywhere near the borough wanna pull off their own versions of Arthur Fleck's dance.

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As much as AOC appreciates the shine on her district, she also doesn't want locals to lose their sense of ownership. You gotta see AOC as she declares, "Keep your Instagram posts outside of the Boogie Down! This is for us!!!"

You can take the girl outta the Bronx, but ...

Marieke Vervoort Paralympic Gold Medalist Dies By Euthanasia in Belgium

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A famous gold medal-winning Paralympic athlete died Tuesday after taking her own life through euthanasia in Belgium, officials confirm.

40-year-old Marieke Vervoort battled degenerative spinal disease -- yet was able to compete in wheelchair racing at the highest levels.

She won two medals at the 2016 Paralympic games in Brazil and famously clinched a GOLD medal during the 2012 Paralympics in London.

But, when she wasn't competing, Vervoort lived with extreme physical pain which sometimes limited her to only sleeping for 10 minutes a night.

Vervoort also suffered epileptic seizures -- and in one case in 2014, a seizure caused her to spill boiling water on her legs while cooking pasta. She suffered major injuries and was hospitalized for several months as a result.

Vervoort had considered euthanasia for years and began planning for the end of her life back in 2016.

In fact, Vervoort spent her last night surrounded by friends and family, sipping on sparkling wine ... just as she planned.

After her passing, the Belgian royal family issued a statement praising their Paralympic hero -- saying, "Marieke 'Wielemie' Vervoort was an athlete tough as nails and a great lady. Her death touches us deeply."

RIP

Offset Baby Mama Says ... We Need More $upport!!!

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One of Offset's baby mamas is taking the rapper to court ... 'cause she wants him to pony up more dough to support their daughter.

Nicole Marie Algarin, who goes by the stage name Shya L'amour, has filed legal docs making several requests but chief among them ... child support for their 4-year-old daughter, Kalea. According to legal docs obtained by TMZ ... Nicole says the Migos rapper has "provided limited financial support" for Kalea, but she's now looking for the judge to order more. Or, at the very least, to formalize court-ordered payments.

In docs, Nicole says they've already taken DNA tests that confirm Offset is Kalea's father. What's more, she says Offset has publicly acknowledged he's Kalea's father -- Offset earlier this year posed with Kalea and captioned a picture on Instagram "Daddy's Girl."

Nicole says she just wants the court to follow suit and officially recognize him as dear ol' dad.

She also wants Offset to have regular visits on weekends, holidays and in the summer. Kalea is Offset's fourth kid. Of course, he has Kulture with Cardi B, and 2 sons from previous relationships.

Piers Morgan Trump's 'Lynching' Scandal is Fake Let He Who is Without Sin ...

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IT GOES BOTH WAYS
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Piers Morgan says President Trump's use of "lynching" is lazy and ignorant, but Joe Biden's guilty of it too ... so all the outrage is a bunch of rubbish.

We got the British TV host leaving Staples Center Tuesday night and asked about Trump's "lynching" tweet to describe his potential impeachment, and he points out many politicians have used the language for many years ... so going after the Prez is totally disingenuous.

Or, as he puts it ... it's just another fake scandal.

Morgan's case in point is Biden -- who called Trump's tweet "abhorrent" -- using the same term in 1998 to describe the impeachment process at the time against President Bill Clinton.

THE '98 BROADCAST
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Joe said in a CNN interview ... "Even if the president should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense."

After the clip surfaced, Biden apologized for using the word, but stuck to his criticism of Trump ... claiming POTUS chose his words deliberately to continue to stoke racial divides in America.

Whether or not that's true, it seems Joe and Piers are on the same page about it being time to stop using "lynching" language ... even if Lindsey Graham's still all about it.

10:21 AM PT -- Common's echoing Morgan about one thing -- dropping the "lynching" term when discussing politics shows a major lack of understanding of the negative history of the treatment of people of color in the U.S.

FOR HUMANITY'S SAKE
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The rapper/actor/activist adds that going forward ... it's the wrong choice of words, period.

Originally Published -- 6:56 AM PT

40 Glocc Cops Plea Deal in Prostitution Case

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40 Glocc is close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in his prostitution case ... he's just cut a plea deal with prosecutors.

According to court docs, obtained by TMZ, the rapper has agreed to plead guilty to 1 felony count of promoting prostitution of an individual. As part of the plea deal ... prosecutors have agreed to drop 2 other felony charges -- fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and engaging in the sex trafficking of an individual.

Under the terms of the deal ... Glocc can argue for a jail sentence of between 4 and 12 months.

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For now ... the rapper will be out on bail until his next hearing in February. Until then, Glocc's gotta keep his nose clean.

A judge still has to sign off on the deal and sentence Glocc before it's all official. So, Glocc's not outta the woods just yet, but he's inching closer.

As we first reported ... Glocc was nabbed in a prostitution ring back in 2017. He had allegedly driven a woman to an unknown location after an undercover cop contacted her through an ad posted on Backpage.com.

The woman was busted but Glocc took off. He was ultimately tracked down ... and cops say they found him with cuts on his hands from allegedly smashing multiple cell phones in his possession to avoid detection.

Antonio Brown Lists Oakland Pad After Raiders Stint ... $3.3 Million!!!

Antonio Brown got "FREEEE" from the Raiders ... and now he's trying to get "FREEEE" from his awesome Oakland pad ... listing the Bay Area home for $3.3 million!!!

Of course, AB's time in the Silver and Black lasted a whoppin' 181 days ... but prior to all the drama during that short time, Brown bought the Alamo home earlier this year.

Now, the NFL superstar has listed the pad through listing agent Maria Afzal and Next Move.

The 4,199 square-foot crib has 6 beds, 5.5 bathrooms, a master suite with a huge walk-in closet and a marble bathroom ... as well as a big patio with a huge pool and hot tub.

The backyard is where AB's infamous celebration went down after the Raiders released him ... so if you wanna channel your inner Antonio Brown, all you gotta do is cough up $3,375,000!!!

Brown briefly switched coasts to play for the Patriots for one game ... before eventually going without a team for the rest of the season (so far).

As we previously reported ... Brown is also parting ways with his Pittsburgh mansion (which is listed at $2.3 million) ... so there's a lot of AB property on the market right now.

But, the dude ain't homeless ... he's still got that palace in Florida.