Breonna Taylor Georgia Teacher Says She Caused Her Own Death

FALSE BLAME
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A Georgia high school teacher is fending off calls for her firing after she told her students Breonna Taylor caused her own death by hanging out with bad people.

Susan McCoy, who teaches forensic science at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, GA, told her students in a Zoom class, "I'm sorry she was killed, but you know, when you hang out with people with guns and shooting, you're likely to get caught in the crossfire."

McCoy, who at one point said, "What's her name -- Breonna something" -- leveled false allegations against Breonna's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, saying Breonna was "hanging out with the guy who was wanted on charges ... and he fired at them, and they fired back."

As most people know by now, Walker was NOT the guy who was wanted on charges ... he and Breonna were simply sleeping when cops broke into their home. Walker says cops never ID'd themselves and he fired a shot in self-defense, striking a cop, and that's when police returned fire, killing Breonna.

I MISUNDERSTOOD

Now, McCoy is doing her mea culpa, saying, "I want to apologize sincerely publicly for things I said today in my class that had to do with something that I was very ignorant about. I'm just heartbroken that I said something so rude and disrespectful." She went on to say, "I should never have talked about something that I didn't understand and I truly, truly apologize and ask for forgiveness and hope that someday I can have that trust back with my students that I know that I lost."

School officials have not said what, if any, punishment McCoy will face.

Chris Harrison 'ATFR' Replacement Announced ... Emmanuel Acho Takes Host Seat!!!

Chris Harrison's out, and Emmanuel Acho is in -- he's officially set to fill in as host for 'The Bachelor' season finale episode ... this amid a racism scandal that won't go away.

The former NFLer and current FS1 sports broadcaster broke the news Saturday, taking to Twitter to write ... "IT’S OFFICIAL: I’ve accepted the Rose & am honored to be hosting the @bachelorabc After the Final Rose this year."

He adds, "It’s been a pivotal season & this episode will be one of the most storied shows in its history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. See y’all then! 🌹 ❤️"

It'd been widely rumored that Emmanuel would get a serious nod from ABC ... especially after Rachel Lindsay -- the first Black 'Bachelorette' in the franchise -- publicly name-dropped him recently as a great potential option to step in for Chris.

She said he'd be ideal since he has no affiliation with the franchise, and could be relatively neutral. Not just that, but Emmanuel is Black too ... and well-versed in issues of race, as he's quite vocal on his own programming. He seems pretty stoked for the opportunity too.

GMA confirmed the announcement as well, and Emmanuel responded ... "Life changing. I can't wait!" It'll be interesting to see how he moderates the convo with Matt James and whoever he ends up picking -- including potentially Rachael Kirkconnell, the problem-contestant from whose old racist photos this whole situation arose.

As we reported ... ABC execs were looking for a 'Bachelor' outsider to fill in -- and despite the fact that Emmanuel hadn't been approached as of Wednesday ... it looks like they came knocking shortly thereafter.

Remember, Rachel herself had also been approached ... but she respectfully declined. And while 'Bachelor' Nation thought Tayshia Adams -- the second Black 'Bachelorette' ever -- would also be ideal to serve as the 'ATFR' host ... she had not been approached.

The flip side to this is that Rachel Lindsay took a break from Instagram, apparently because she was getting bombarded with hostile 'Bachelor' fans who were sending hateful comments.

So, good news/bad news there. In any case, we're sure she's happy for her pal. 'After the Final Rose' airs on March 15 ... word is filming could happen as early as this weekend.

'Justice League' Actor Ray Fisher Re-Asserts Racism Allegations Amid Black Superman Rumors

5:18 PM PT -- A former federal judge, Katherine B. Forrest -- who was hired to head up WB's independent investigation -- is also speaking out on their behalf, saying unequivocally that Walter Hamada did NOT interfere in their probe by any stretch of the imagination, despite Fisher's allegations.

She says, "I am disappointed by continued public statements made suggesting that Walter Hamada in any way interfered with the Justice League investigation. He did not. I interviewed him extensively on more than one occasion and specifically interviewed him concerning his very limited interaction with Mr. Fisher. I found Mr. Hamada credible and forthcoming.  I concluded that he did nothing that impeded or interfered with the investigation. To the contrary, the information that he provided was useful and advanced the investigation."

A Black Superman film might be among us soon -- but a Black actor who already starred in a DC flick is pouring cold water on it, re-affirming his claim he experienced racism on WB's watch.

Ray Fisher -- who played Cyborg in 2017's 'Justice League' -- reminded folks Saturday that as hyped as they were on the idea of Michael B. Jordan potentially donning the red cape ... there are still issues he believes run deep at the studio.

He resurfaced claims he made last year against Warner Bros. and a handful of WB execs, including Walter Hamada ... whom Fisher alleges swept his concerns under the rug, and tried covering for another exec, Geoff Johns, while using other folks involved in 'JL' as scapegoats.

It's a long story, but essentially ... Fisher claims director Joss Whedon (who replaced Zack Snyder mid-shoot) was abusive on the set, while also alluding to racist behavior -- without getting into the nitty-gritty. Fisher alleges when he brought these issues to the attention of Hamada -- the Prez of DC Films -- the guy gave him lip service and brushed him off.

On top of all that ... Fisher claims WB's independent investigation into his claims -- which found no evidence to back his characterization -- was also BS, and hindered by Hamada.

The backdrop to all this, of course, is that it was reported this past week author Ta-Nehisi Coates, an African-American, would be penning a new Superman reboot -- with J.J. Abrams attached to produce -- and that WB's "intent" was to intro a Black Superman.

That kicked the rumor mill into high gear that MBJ would be brought on -- which had been speculated about some years back. Some say he could play Val-Zod ... a Black character from Krypton who's part of DC canon, and who's got all of Kal-El's superpowers.

It's a neat idea, but Fisher seems to think it's nothing but an empty make-good -- in light of what he claims happened to him. For the record, WB denied Fisher's claims before, and doubled down again Saturday ... saying there's simply no truth to it.

A rep for the studio says, "As we have stated before, an extensive and thorough third-party investigation was conducted. Our executives, including Walter Hamada, fully cooperated, no evidence was found of any interference whatsoever, and Warner Bros. did not lie in the press." They add, "It’s time to stop saying otherwise and move forward productively."

Originally Published -- 3:18 PM PT

Vanessa Bryant Slams Evan Rachel Wood ... For Calling Kobe 'Rapist' Upon Death

Vanessa Bryant caught wind not everyone had nice things to say about her late husband, Kobe, upon his death ... including Evan Rachel Wood, who labeled him a "rapist."

Kobe's widow is skewering ERW and others for comments they made about Kobe shortly after his passing in Jan. 2020 -- many of whom brought up his 2003 sexual assault case ... arguing his legacy was marred by the allegations, and straight-up calling him guilty.

For the record, the criminal charges he was facing were dropped after the accuser refused to testify. She later sued him over it, and both sides reached a settlement.

Of course, Kobe was never convicted ... and is presumed innocent in the eyes of the law -- which is exactly what Vanessa points out to ERW, in sharp terms more than a year later.

She writes ... "Your false, insensitive, defamatory and slanderous tweet on 1/26/20 is vile and disturbing to say the least? Behavior like this is part of the reason why innocent black men go to jail for crimes they didn't commit. An accusation doesn't make someone guilty."

VB adds, "YOU DON'T KNOW THE FACTS OF THE CASE." She had a similar message for film producer Abigail Disney, who also called Kobe a rapist not too long after he died.

Abigail still has her 2020 tweet up -- which links to a WaPo op-ed discussing Kobe's criminal case. Evan's Twitter account appears to have been deactivated. She still has an IG account though, where she's been detailing her allegations against Marilyn Manson.

Neither women have responded to Vanessa's criticism.

CPAC Stage Design Looks like Nazi Symbol ... Used by WWII SS Platoon

12:38 PM PT -- 2/28 Hyatt's spokesperson responded saying, "We take the concern raised about the prospect of symbols of hate being included in the stage design at CPAC 2021 very seriously as all such symbols are abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company."

They continued, "The CPAC 2021 event is hosted and managed by the American Conservative Union that manages all aspects of event logistics, including the stage design and aesthetics. We discussed directly with ACU leadership who told us that any resemblance to a symbol of hate is unintentional. We will continue to stay in dialogue with event organizers regarding our deep concerns. Any further questions can be directed to CPAC."

12:56 PM PT -- CPAC's chairman, Matt Schlapp, is shutting down the idea that the stage design is in any way a nod to Nazi history, saying ... "Stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous. We have a long standing commitment to the Jewish community. Cancel culture extremists must address antisemitism within their own ranks. CPAC proudly stands with our Jewish allies, including those speaking from this stage."

The main CPAC stage where Republicans and other conservatives are gathering this weekend in Florida looks eerily similar to an old Nazi symbol ... something that's causing utter outrage.

Somebody pointed out the design, noting the stage appears to be shaped like an emblem the Nazis proudly flashed during WWII. And no, it's not the swastika that everyone knows ... but it is an offshoot of it, one that's less known but still as hateful.

The symbol is called Odal rune, and it dates back to ancient Germanic languages. Its rough English translation is heritage, inheritance or inherited state. Yeah, pretty Nazi-ish.

This specific symbol ended up being emblazoned on uniforms of Nazi SS soldiers belonging to the 7th Volunteer Mountain Division, which was stationed in occupied Yugoslavia. The infantry formed in 1941, but it's unclear how the rune came to be adopted.

In any case, there's no question its part of Nazi history ... there are even photos of old Nazi soldiers with the rune prominently featured on their getups. As for how it came to be an apparent blueprint of the CPAC stage -- it's anyone's guess, but many feel it's no coincidence.

BTW, this doesn't seem to be a fake photo or a photoshop attempt -- the stage looks similar in design to where Ted Cruz did his best William Wallace/Mel Gibson and screamed "Freedom!" on Friday. Wide shots of Rep. Matt Gaetz's speech also seem to match.

Now, people are up in arms over this -- whether it was intentional or not -- and are demanding answers from the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, where this stage was built. We've reached out to the hotel, but no word back yet.

Originally Published -- 2/17 10:49 AM PT

Rachel Lindsay Off Instagram Because of Bachelor Nation Hate

Rachel Lindsay has disabled her Instagram account because of what's described as a torrent of hate by members of Bachelor Nation.

As you know by now, Rachel's interview with Chris Harrison led to him stepping away from the show after he defended current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell over a photo taken 2 years ago where she attended an antebellum party.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Van Lathan, who co-hosts the 'Higher Learning' podcast with Lindsay, tore into her critics, saying "Y'all have got to get a f***ing life." As he puts it, "Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can't read the room in these 2021 times."

For her part, Lindsay is done with "The Bachelor" franchise and has moved on, which may be an underlying reason why Bachelor Nation is so pissed off.

Bill Maher Cancel Culture is Destroying America

Bill Maher took aim at cancel culture, saying it's become McCarthyism in reverse.

Maher ended 'Real Time' Friday night with a blistering attack on cancel culture, using examples like Chris Harrison and Justin Timberlake, but warning it's not just about celebrities anymore ... he says it's coming to a neighborhood near you. Bill grouses he can't keep up anymore with who's on the s*** list.

Maher scoffs at the Chris Harrison and "The Bachelor" -- which he calls the "F*** a Stranger Show." And, he says San Francisco has canceled Abe Lincoln. In case you didn't know, back in the day, Lincoln embraced white supremacy ... despite ending slavery.

The 'Real Time' host who detests Trump, is a staunch liberal, an atheist and intolerant of intolerance ... has pretty much pissed off everybody.

Sen. Ted Cruz 'I Love Orlando, But It's No Cancun!!!' Too Soon? Not at CPAC

Ted Cruz is already cracking jokes about his infamous trip to Mexico during the deadly winter storm in Texas, and his audience -- in Florida -- is loving it.

The Senator, who'd been on the PR ropes since jetting to Cancun, took a shot -- at himself and his haters -- by opening his speech at CPAC in Orlando with a shout-out to the host city, but added, "It's not as nice as Cancun." Ba dum tss.

Ted tries to let the punchline sink in and waits a few beats before wrapping up the rest of the joke -- which, btw, didn't exactly kill, even with a conservative crowd. It was definitely mixed applause.

2/18/21
BACK TO TEXAS
BACKGRID

As you know ... Cruz jetted off to warm and sunny Cancun while his constituents were without power, some literally freezing to death. He was shamed into flying back the next day.

Cruz apologized when he was back in the Lone Star State, handing out water and BBQ to his fellow Texans. Gotta wonder if those constituents are ready to laugh at his Cancun jokes.

Rachael Kirkconnell Opens Up About 'Bachelor' Controversy ... Stop Defending Me!!!!

WORKING ON IT

Rachael Kirkconnell -- "The Bachelor" contestant who sparked the racism controversy this season due to her past -- says she's making changes for the better, and telling her defenders to stand down.

Rachael -- who's one of the remaining finalists still vying for Matt James' final rose -- says she's going to use her platform and privilege to amplify voices in the fight against racism.

She specifically calls on white people to step up, take accountability and work toward "racial progress and unity" ... which simply starts with being vocal, not staying silent.

Rachael has a lot more to say, but concludes by telling people who are excusing or defending her past behavior to "please stop." She doesn't mention host Chris Harrison by name ... but, of course, his staunch defense of Rachael is why he won't be on the 'After the Final Rose' reunion episode.

As we've reported ... it was Harrison's excusing of Rachael's actions -- and historical racism in general -- that landed him in hot water and led to him apologizing and stepping away from the show.

It's unclear when or if he'll return to the franchise, but the controversy's clearly not going away anytime soon.

BTW, Rachael's post certainly fuels rumors Matt picked her in the end. So, now the question: is this mea culpa video intended for the 'Bachelor' audience ... or Matt?

Jeff Ross Lighten Up, Folks ... Michael Che's Joke was Hilarious!!!

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LIGHTEN UP PEOPLE!
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Don't count Jeff Ross among the people -- Jewish or otherwise -- outraged over Michael Che's joke about Israel on last week's 'SNL' ... he thinks Che should keep it up.

We got the "Roastmaster General" out in Bev Hills and asked for his take on the joke ... which many decried as anti-Semitic, but Jeff had another word for it -- "hilarious."

The comedian says people need to have thicker skin and just enjoy comedy ... which he describes as "essential business" after nearly a year of COVID lockdowns.

As for those who were offended by Che's joke, Jeff says Israel jokes aren't off-limits ... neither are jokes about our camera guy.

Ross also weighed in on the recent Mr. Potato Head news, and in classic Roastmaster fashion ... he used it to poke fun at a late comedy legend.

RIP, Don Rickles.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic LeBron Should Stay Out Of Politics ... 'Do What You're Good At'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants LeBron James to stay in his lane when it comes to politics ... saying the L.A. Lakers superstar (and other athletes) should stick to what they're good at, and leave politics to politicians.

The 39-year-old A.C. Milan striker criticized politically outspoken athletes in an interview with UEFA and Discovery+ Sweden ... calling it a "mistake" to get involved.

"I like (LeBron) a lot, and he is phenomenal at what he's doing, but I don't like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time what they're doing. Do what you're good at," Zlatan said in the clip.

Of course, LBJ is one of the most socially and politically active athletes today -- he's gotten into public beefs with former President Donald Trump and has continuously used his platform to speak out against injustice and inequality in America.

Zlatan clearly thinks it's best he keeps his opinions to himself.

"Do the category you do," Ibrahimovic continued. "I play football because I'm the best at playing football. I don't do politics. If I would be a political politician, I would do politics."

"That is the big first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best because it doesn't look good."

Of course, it's not the first time LeBron has been criticized for his involvement in politics -- remember, TV host Laura Ingraham famously told the 4-time champ to "shut up and dribble" after speaking out against Trump.

LeBron hasn't backed down since -- voicing support for President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris, Colin Kaepernick and more.

Rep. Lauren Boebert Who Says I'm Not Armed at Work??? Rips Pelosi's New Rules

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Rep. Lauren Boebert is thumbing her nose at the new rules in Congress -- metal detectors be damned, she's strongly suggesting she still brings a weapon to work at the Capitol.

We got Colorado's freshman Congresswoman Thursday afternoon on her way to Capitol Hill, and asked a pretty loaded question: How's the first year on the j-o-b going?

Boebert, a noted gun enthusiast from Rifle, CO, immediately teed off on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's new regulations -- some for COVID safety and others due to the Jan. 6 insurrection ... including the installment of metal detectors.

But, you gotta see what she said when we asked if she hoped she'd eventually be allowed to pack a pistol again at work. She insinuates she never stopped.

Boebert -- who recently had a display of firearms behind her during a Zoom meeting -- took one last parting shot ... labeling the Capitol and its still fenced-in protective zone, "Fort Pelosi."

For the record, she could have a gun with her while going to her Congressional office ... which is not in the Capitol. While there are metal detectors, members of Congress are generally allowed to go around them.

However, at the Capitol and while going to the House floor ... all members must go through the metal detectors. It's no secret who Boebert's blaming for that. Hint: it's not the insurrectionists.

Donald Trump Cracked Fat Joke With Golf Legends At Private Ceremony Day After Insurrection

Incredible video shot less than 24 hours after the raid on the U.S. Capitol shows Donald Trump joking around with golf legends Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam ... while the rest of the country was still in shock.

Remember, Player and Sorenstam had each been booked to receive the Presidential Medal of Honor -- the highest civilian award in the country -- from Trump at a White House ceremony set for January 7.

The issue ... the insurrection at the capitol occurred on Jan. 6 -- where 5 people died and many more were injured. Several buildings in the Capitol complex were evacuated and locked down.

Yet, Trump forged ahead with the medal ceremony -- but decided to make it a private affair instead of a big public display.

Footage of the ceremony was captured by reporter Graham Bensinger -- and shows Trump joking around with the golfers as if everything was normal.

"Gary earned the title 'Mr. Fitness,' Trump said ... "He just told me, he said, 'Sir, lose a couple of pounds.' I said, 'Okay, Gary’' ... he said it in front of Annika. That was very rude, don't you think?!! How rude can you be?"

The jokes were met with huge laughs from people in the room -- and both Player and Sorenstam proceeded to praise Trump when they stepped in front if the mic.

"I want to say thank you for all that you've done and the service to our country," Sorenstam said ... "particularly, during the coronavirus crisis. I know it's been very tough and challenging, but many congratulations on the rollout of the vaccine and warp speed."

Player added that Trump's White House has "changed the world for the better."

In the weeks that followed, Trump was impeached -- with officials accusing him of inciting the insurrection.

Bensinger sat down with Sorenstam one month later for his show "In Depth with Graham Bensinger" -- and she admitted she's heard the negative criticism about her decision to accept the award while others like Bill Belichick declined.

"I've received quite a bit of positive feedback from friends and family. But, then there've been some not so positive," Sorenstam said ... "And, I've heard those, and I've listened to those."

Bensinger asked specifically what the negative criticism has been.

"I'm gonna be honest, I haven't been on social media since then. The other things that I've heard, the negativities: not necessarily my achievements, but the timing."

As for Trump, after he was impeached ... the case went to the Senate, where he was ultimately acquitted.

The entire "In Depth" episode airs this weekend.

Ahmaud Arbery Mom Blasts 2:23 Foundation ... Org Says It Has Dad's Support

Ahmaud Arbery's mother claims an organization continues to raise funds in his name despite agreeing months ago to stop, but the org claims it's doing good work ... and Ahmaud's father is behind it.

Wanda Cooper tells TMZ ... the 2:23 Foundation is using her son's name and likeness without permission, and says the org hauled in a massive amount of cash Tuesday -- $226,000 on the anniversary of his death -- from donations.

She says 2:23 is not affiliated with her, and claims that's confusing the public. Meanwhile, she says the official Ahmaud Arbery Foundation -- which Wanda started -- is struggling to get donations.

Wanda's repped by civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, and he's now warning 2:23 that the family is going to escalate litigation, claiming the org is violating an agreement it struck with Wanda in September to stop doing what it's doing. We broke the story back then that Wanda was upset people were allegedly profiting off Ahmaud's tragedy.

Here's the flip side -- the 2:23 Foundation has responded to her claims, insisting it has the support of the majority of Ahmaud's family ... including his father, Marcus Arbery Sr.

2:23 claims it's also been on Wanda's side from the get-go, adding ... "Our team has gone to great lengths to ensure she was aware of the work we were doing to help pursue justice for Ahmaud."

The org also claims it helped raise $2 million for Wanda, and says the contentious "I RUN WITH MAUD" trademark it filed was done on the family's behalf.

As for the September agreement with Wanda it's allegedly violated ... we've reached out to 2:23, but haven't heard back yet.

Barack Obama I Broke a Friend's Nose in School ... For Calling Me a Racial Slur

TEACHIN' LESSONS
Spotify/Renegades: Born in the USA

Barack Obama revealed when he was a kid, he once responded to racism with violence ... by popping his own friend in the nose.

The former President was speaking with Bruce Springsteen on their new Spotify podcast, "Renegades: Born in the USA," and amid a wide-ranging conversation about their lives, politics, music and race ... Obama recalled the incident with a classmate.

He says the kid was a friend he played basketball with, and one time they got into a fight and his friend called him a racial slur ... different from the n-word.

Obama says he doesn't even think his schoolmate knew what the word meant -- just that it was meant to be hurtful -- so he "popped him in the face and broke his nose" while they were in the locker room.

Obama says his friend asked him why he did that, and he told him ... "Don't ever call me something like that."

According to Spotify ... Barack and Bruce have been friends since they met on the campaign trail in 2008. The Prez awarded the famous singer the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Their podcast series is a 6-parter ... with the third episode coming soon.

'The Bachelor' Outsider Sought to Host 'ATFR' ... Replacing Chris Harrison

With Chris Harrison stepping aside for Matt James' "After the Final Rose" ceremony, it's up in the air who will fill his shoes -- but we've learned it might be someone outside the franchise.

Sources directly familiar with the production tell TMZ ... ABC appears to be seeking someone who's not part of 'Bachelor' nation to replace Harrison for the swiftly-approaching shoot. That means no former bachelors, bachelorettes or their suitors ... no matter how popular they are.

Essentially, our sources say producers now seem to have their sights set on someone without ties to the series -- but who's still part of ABC's talent pool. That said, they did make a run at one alum.

We're told Rachel Lindsay -- the first Black 'Bachelorette' -- was asked to take up the mantle, but she declined. She's publicly suggested they consider FS1 sports analyst Emmanuel Acho -- who's not only Black, but also outspoken on issues of race. Let's face it, that's going to be a major topic when cameras roll for 'ATFR.'

Despite Rachel's endorsement, Emmanuel's rep tells us no one's reached out to them yet.

Fans have also been clamoring for Tayshia Adams -- the second-ever Black 'Bachelorette' -- to step up in Harrison's place. She's been vocal about the show's racism controversy lately, but producers have not tapped her

It's unclear if ABC's specifically looking for a POC for this gig -- but all signs seem to point to that being highly considered. It's gonna be a sensitive episode ... not just because of the Harrison fallout, but a potential faceoff between Matt and Rachael Kirkconnell, who's rumored to be the winner.

Matt has already touched on the range of emotions he's feeling now -- and only time will tell how it plays out in front of a live audience. Stay tuned ...

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