We got the iconic "Reading Rainbow" host out Thursday at LAX and just had to know if he thinks America's more racist now than ever ... what with Trump's administration establishing divisive policies since being ushered into the White House in 2016.
LeVar dropped some serious knowledge ... saying what we're experiencing now was ALWAYS lying under the surface champing at the bit to be out in the open. And, now they are.
He adds being black in America is not for the weak of the heart ... he tells us why and it's sad.
President Trump just did something you might never have expected him to do -- tweet in another language ... and that language happens to be aimed at the people of Iran.
DT took to Twitter Saturday with a message to the folks protesting in Tehran right now, decrying their government recently shooting down a Ukraine International Airlines plane by mistake ... and killing over 150 passengers, many of whom were Canadian citizens.
The Prez wrote, "به مردم شجاع و رنج کشیده ایران: من از ابتدای دوره ریاست جمهوریم با شما ایستادهام و دولت من همچنان با شما خواهد ایستاد. ما اعتراضات شما را از نزدیک دنبال می کنیم. شجاعت شما الهام بخش است."
We know what you might be thinking if you're a native English speaker ... THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?!? Not to worry, 'cause 45 sent out an accompanying translation. En ingles, it means ... "To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you." He adds, "We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage."
He wasn't done with the Farsi ... Trump followed up by tweeting the above message, which translates, "The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people. There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching."
Don't worry ... we Google Translated it ourselves, and it looks like Donnie got it right here.
Tehran: University students chanting “Soleimani is a murderer. His leader, Ali Khamenei is also a murderer.” Protest by thousands of Iranians in Tehran burst the propaganda balloon of the regime regarding Qassem Soleimani’s elimination. #Iran #IranPlaneCrash Via #MEK network. pic.twitter.com/n0hmasMSgj— Shahin Gobadi (@gobadi) January 11, 2020 @gobadi
If you haven't seen the protests on the ground in Tehran yet, they're pretty crazy -- with thousands taking to the streets and demanding the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei resign after Iranian officials admitted they shot the Flight 752 in error ... mistaking it for a threat, this amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran after Soleimani's death.
Some folks were even reportedly chanting "Death to liars" during the demonstrations, in their own language of course.
Anyway, looks like Trump is with Iran after all ... or with their outraged citizenry, more like.
2:58 PM PT -- Meghan and Harry's path to financial independence might come easier than some thought, because the Duchess of Sussex has reportedly partnered up with Disney ... even though it doesn't sound like she'll be holding on to any of the cash.
According to the Times of London, Meghan recently agreed to do voice-over work for the Mouse House in return for a donation to a charity she supports ... Elephants Without Borders. Apparently, she's already done her part for the quid-pro-quo deal, reportedly having completed the voice-over work before the holidays last month.
The exact nature of the voice-over and the pay-out is unclear, but it could be a sign of moves to come for Meg and Harry. BTW, they've linked up with Disney before ... specifically, for the rebooted 'Lion King,' for which they attended the premiere earlier this year.
Just one more thing on Monday's agenda, probably.
TMZ has confirmed that Her Majesty has summoned Harry, Prince William and their dad, Prince Charles, for what's said to be an unprecedented meeting Monday at her country home of Sandringham, Norfolk to discuss next steps for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
It's the first time the immediate family has gotten together in person since the Sussexes said they were out (ish) and wanted to seek financial independence from across the pond.
Prince Harry's military buddy says the decision to bolt from the Royal fam was to protect his family ... and it's clear from listening to him -- the death of Harry's mom loomed large in the decision.
JJ Chalmers appeared on UK's "The One Show" Friday and said Harry's #1 priority is his wife and kid.
It's interesting ... JJ thinks part of Harry's thinking was so little Archie would know when he gets older his pops did right by him.
And, then there's this ... watch the video as JJ talks about Harry's need to be proactive before something goes terribly wrong ... there's no doubt he's talking about the death of Princess Diana, which has haunted Harry to this day.
The "Property Brothers" are giving Americans one less thing to worry about in the country's ongoing conflict with Iran ... dishing out advice on how to feel at home underground.
We got Drew and Jonathan Scott in New York City, and our camera guy asked the brothers the best way for concerned citizens to deal with the prospect of spending 20 years in a bunker. They tell us it all comes down to making your shelter seem spacious.
The "Property Brothers" say the best way to not go crazy in your burrow is to choose light colors to make it feel bright ... and they're recommending a special type of plant.
Jonathan also tells us the single best thing for bunkers ... hopefully, Trump gets the message.
O announced her decision to distance herself from the project Friday, this after getting dragged by 50 Cent and The Game, who said she was targeting black men accused of being sexual predators instead of their white counterparts.
Oprah says, “I have decided that I will no longer be executive producer on The Untitled Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Documentary and it will not air on Apple TV+."
The doc, which features a former music exec who accused Russell of sexual misconduct, is set to premiere next month at the Sundance Film Festival.
Oprah adds, "First and foremost, I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women. Their stories deserve to be told and heard."
12:30 PM PT -- We spoke with Jane after the protest about climate change and the recent convo Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had with our guy about her fears of bringing a baby into a world of global warming ... Jane had an interesting take.
10:22 AM PT -- Joaquin and Martin Sheen were just detained along with a bunch of others at the protest.
All protesters were just warned by cops that arrests are imminent if they don't cooperate and disperse. Friday's crowd is among the largest we've seen since Jane started the Fire Drill Friday protests. Joaquin, for his part, urged others to follow his steps and go vegan to help the environment.
This week, the environmental protesters are calling for an end to all new fossil fuel exploration/extraction and the immediate stop to taxpayer subsidies to oil companies.
Juice is trying to avoid arbitration in his lawsuit against the Las Vegas hotel -- in which he claims he was defamed -- because he argues the Cosmo's history of "intentionally and recklessly attacking well-known public figures by placing them in a false light and defaming them" warrants a jury trial.
Simpson refers to the rapper in the docs as "another African American public figure" who was defamed by The Cosmopolitan, and says the hotel was "forced to apologize" only because Meek went public with his grievances.
Essentially, O.J. wants to go public with his as well ... which is why he seeks to put the kibosh on a much more private arbitration process. According to the docs ... he also expects a jury to award him much more money in punitive damages.
As you'll recall ... Simpson was banned from Cosmo in 2017 just weeks after his prison release for allegedly being drunk and disruptive. He claims he was neither drunk nor belligerent and was falsely accused.
Meek Mill, on the other hand, was threatened with an arrest by the hotel back in May for trespassing. The rapper accused Cosmo of going to "extreme racist levels" to keep black entertainers off its property.
The hotel apologized for the incident and Meek accepted it ... and didn't pursue legal action.
Her Majesty was spotted driving her Land Rover down some country roads Friday, away from Sandringham in Norfolk, to head to a photo shoot in a field ... and she doesn't look too happy about the current state of affairs.
As we reported ... the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made the shocking call this week to step down from their senior duties and split their time between Canada, and it has the Royal Fam in crisis mode.
Prince Charles and William have reportedly ordered their teams to find a "workable solution" to the situation with Harry and Meghan, but unless something changes ... the couple will be living in North America soon and supporting their Queen from afar. The question -- will the Queen play ball with part-timers? And, there's evidence she will not.
The backlash from their decision has already begun -- their wax figures got yanked from the Royal Family display at Madame Tussauds in London.
The shocking news has also had a ripple effect ... on Oprah. She's had to come out and denied reports she advised Harry and Meghan to break free from the Royals and head to North America.
She says the couple doesn't need her help figuring out what's best for them ... but adds that she cares about them and supports their decisions. Oprah famously attended their wedding in May 2018.
Kevin Durant thinks Perkins was a trash player who constantly underperformed.
... This was just the beginning of an epic Twitter war between the former NBA teammates on Thursday -- and it's clear, the beef is REAL.
It all started with Perkins saying Russell Westbrook is the best OKC Thunder player ever -- even calling Russ, "Mr. Thunder!"
When NBA analyst Marc D'Amico challenged Perk, saying KD has the better resume, Perk took another swipe at Durant.
"KD lost in the second round without Russ when I was there. So what that mean?"
That's when Durant got involved -- clapping back HARD at Perk.
"Yeah and our starting center [Kendrick Perkins] averaged a whopping 2 and 3 during that series. U played hard tho champ lol."
Perk didn't back down and responded again ... burning Durant for leaving OKC to go to the Warriors.
"Boy stop you did the weakest move in NBA History!!! Up on a team 3-1 in the western conference finals and then go join them the following season?! Heart of Champion right there."
Again, KD clapped back ...
"Weak is starting at center, playing real minutes with no production. Should've worked on your skills as much as I did."
"That's fine!!! You worked that hard and still had to go join a 73-9 team. Truth be told, you don't even feel like a real champ, you have hard time sleeping at night huh knowing that you took the coward way out!!!"
That's where the tweets stopped -- but we're guessing this ain't the last we're gonna hear from either side about this.
We got the award-winning producer/screenwriter Thursday night on his way out of Craig's in WeHo, and laid out a simple premise: would he consider a reboot of 'West Wing' with a Trump-esque Commander-in-Chief?
It's obvious Sorkin's already discussed it, if only privately -- because he didn't hesitate to fire off a response that's a direct shot at Trump's personality.
Aaron makes it clear his answer has NOTHING to do with politics, and explains why ... basically, Trump couldn't carry Prez Bartlet's water. Best part of the clip, though, might be Sorkin's own reaction to what came out of his mouth.
Take it easy, Aaron -- we don't think you're in George Lopez territory here.
Then again, we ain't the Secret Service!
We got Kitti out Friday morning in NYC, and it's crystal clear she has strong feelings after seeing the video of Azriel come to blows with Joycelyn in Kelly's condo. Kitti, a former Dallas radio DJ, says she was 33 when she met Kelly.
Still, she says she knows what it's like to be in Azriel's shoes, and offered some tips on recovering.
Kitti appeared in both 'Surviving R. Kelly' docs, and tells us even though Azriel and Joycelyn were brawling, they could ultimately end up being allies. As Kitti puts it ... that shared experience of dealing with Kelly is a powerful one.
TMZ broke the story ... cops responded to Kelly's Trump Tower condo after Azriel and Joycelyn came to blows. During the fight, Azriel threatened to send Joycelyn to jail ... for having sex with her when she was a minor.
Joycelyn was ultimately arrested and booked for misdemeanor battery. Azriel's adamant she's telling the truth about underage sex with Joycelyn -- and sources connected to her say she wants to help the feds with their cases against Kelly.
Longtime NFL executive Marc Ross says the "Rooney Rule" is a "mockery" and a "sham" and if it isn't fixed, talented minority coaches will continue to be overlooked.
If you're not familiar with Ross ... he has 21 years of front office experience and was most recently the NY Giants VP of Player Evaluation. Ross was responsible for helping draft players like Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, and Jason Pierre-Paul.
In December 2017, Ross interviewed for Big Blues general manager job after the organization fired Jerry Reese.
Ross didn't get the gig ... and he says that's not the only time he's interviewed and been passed over for a GM job.
In fact, Ross -- who graduated from Princeton and was at one time the youngest college scouting director in the NFL (27 years old) -- says he interviewed 12 times for the position ... but was never hired.
So, why are we talking about this?
The NFL's "Rooney Rule" has been under major scrutiny this off-season after all but 1 (Ron Rivera in Washington) of the available head coaching jobs went to white coaches.
The Rooney Rule is a policy that was instituted in 2003 ... which mandated all teams interview a minority candidate prior to hiring a coach or GM.
In theory, it was designed to help minorities land jobs ... but Ross says it clearly hasn't worked.
"The intent of it was to put minority candidates in front of the owners and think that once the owners saw these candidates that were qualified and capable of the job that they would start hiring them," Ross tells us.
"The problem was that the owners already in their mind, for the most part, knew who they wanted to hire and were just going through the routine of interviewing a minority candidate without any true intentions of making them a viable candidate for the job, so it turned to just kind of a mockery or a sham."
Ross says although the Rooney Rule hasn't been effective, it's not a complete lost cause ... but changes need to be made.
"If we're going to use the Rooney rule, increase the number of minority candidates that are required to be in the interview pool."
Olympic athletes looking to follow Colin Kaepernick's lead will have to do it somewhere other than Tokyo ... 'cause the IOC has banned kneeling and raising fists in protests at the 2020 games.
The International Olympic Committee released its guidelines for the upcoming Summer Games ... and it's clear the committee is trying very hard to keep politics out of it.
"The unique nature of the Olympic Games enables athletes from all over the world to come together in peace and harmony," the guidelines say.
"We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world."
"This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations."
Just hours after the royal couple shocked the world -- and pissed off all the other royals -- by announcing they were stepping down from their senior duties ... the famed wax museum yanked Harry and Meghan. Their figures previously stood alongside Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Madame Tussauds London tells us Harry and Meghan's wax figures were removed to reflect the upcoming shakeup with the Royals. The museum says, "Alongside the rest of the world we are reacting to the surprising news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be stepping back as senior Royals. From today Meghan and Harry’s figures will no longer appear in our Royal Family set ... to mirror their ‘progressive new role within the Royal institution’."
That last line definitely feels like a jab at Harry and Meg's official announcement.
Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli have a secret weapon in their college admissions criminal case -- the former head of the USC athletics department, who made it clear during his tenure -- the school gave him a clear directive to raise money, and lots of it.
As we reported, our sources say Lori and Mossimo will NOT enter a plea bargain ... they are determined to win at trial. Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ, one of the key witnesses could be former Athletic Director Pat Haden, who is on video from 2011 talking about his mission from the University to fundraise.
We're told at its core Lori and Mossimo's defense is that they did NOT bribe the former Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel, something the U.S. Attorney disputes. Thing is ... we found out Mossimo did indeed send Heinel a check for $50,000 but it could not have been a bribe because the payee was USC. That money was sent at the direction of the ringleader, Rick Singer.
Singer also told Mossimo to give him a check for $200,000, to help fund one of Singer's charities. Again, not a bribe.
The U.S. Attorney says the smoking gun is that Heinel received $20,000 a month from Rick Singer, which prosecutors say is proof of a bribe. The thing about this ... both of Lori's daughters were accepted BEFORE Heinel received a penny, and our sources say that money was sent to her only by Singer and for various things Heinel did for several families. But, Lori and Mossimo's position is that whatever Singer did in terms of paying money, he did on his own.