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Sundance Film Festival Sexual Assault Hotline Returning Deemed Success Amid Weinstein Scandal

1/17/2019 12:50 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Cops in Park City -- site of the annual Sundance Film Festival -- will be utilizing a hotline to combat sexual assault again this year ... after it was established in 2018 in the wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Park City PD and the Utah Attorney General's Office are reopening the "code of conduct" hotline, and spreading the word for festival attendees to utilize it and report any signs of sexual misconduct.

We're told the AG's Office is staffing the phone lines while cops will handle any investigations. Park City officers also held a meeting with hotel managers and event security staff last week to go over proper protocols and reinforce their motto -- "if you see something, say something."

Our sources say flyers will also be put up around busy Sundance spots to promote the hotline and the importance of reporting sexual assault and other crimes during the film fest.

The hotline was launched during last year's festival in wake of the Weinstein scandal, which included Rose McGowan accusing the film producer of raping her at Sundance in 1997. Weinstein was also sued in December by a woman claiming he sexually assaulted her at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City in 2013 after meeting her at Sundance.

We're told the hotline was deemed a successful and effective tool in curbing incidents of sexual misconduct last year. It also reportedly led to an investigation of an alleged incident from the '90s.

Sundance 2019 kicks off Thursday, January 24. The hotline number is 801-834-1944.

'Celebrity Big Brother' New Cast Making $$$ame Amount ... To Start Season 2

1/17/2019 12:40 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The new batch of celebs who'll be living in the 'Big Brother' house for another season of drama are filling with one thing in common -- starting salaries ... TMZ has learned.

Sources familiar with the contacts for all 12 stars in season 2 of "Celebrity Big Brother" tell us each of them will rake in $100k ... just for entering the house. The winner can walk away with an additional $250k.

In other words, Anthony Scaramucci isn't more important than Dina Lohan this year ... at least not from the jump, money-wise.

Our production sources also tell us the houseguests had been sequestered in separate hotel rooms for 4 days prior to entering the house Wednesday. We're told CBS brass didn't want anyone in the cast knowing who else was set to appear until the premiere.

Other celebs set to appear on 'CBB' include Natalie Eva Marie, Ryan Lochte, Joey Lawrence, Kato Kaelin, Lolo Jones, Tom Green, Kandi Burruss, Tamar Braxton, Jonathan Bennett and Ricky Williams.

Side note ... the American version of 'CBB' doesn't pay nearly as much as its U.K. counterpart. Just look at what Speidi made, not to mention Ray J. Big difference.

The Mountain Of Bev Hills $400 Million Offer Rejected By Owners That's Chump Change, Bro

1/17/2019 12:30 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

There's a real estate battle brewing for the most expensive property in the history of Los Angeles, fittingly dubbed "The Mountain," because we've learned the owners of the incredible mountaintop property just laughed off a developer's $400 MILLION offer!!!

Sources familiar with the negotiations tell TMZ ... builder Scott Gillen recently submitted a $400 mil bid, but the estate's ownership group scoffed and came back with a $600 million counter! 

It's interesting ... "The Mountain" is listed for $1 BILLION, but the counteroffer from ownership group Secure Capital Partners is $400 mil below the 10-figure asking price. Overvalued much? 

Gillen tells us, "I saw an opportunity to expand my brand in the city, something I've wanted to do for some time. If they're smart, they'll take the offer." 

We're told Gillen has grand plans to build 6 homes on the sprawling 157-acre plot of land in Bev Hills, which sits atop a mountain overlooking all of L.A. ... while the owners envision a single home being built on the 1.5 million square foot property. Regardless, the impasse is all about money. 

Scott's no stranger to massive land purchases. Last year, he set a Malibu real estate record when he plunked down $50 mil on a 24-acre plot. Still, we're told "The Mountain" deal is likely going nowhere because Gillen doesn't want to budge.

We reached out to the listing agent, Aaron Kirman, who had no comment.

The good news ... if you're part of the 3 comma club, "The Mountain" could still be yours!

Super Bowl Halftime Show Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri Involved ... Says Jazze Pha

1/17/2019 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Two more huge names are helping out with the Super Bowl 53 halftime show -- Lil Jon and Jermaine Dupri -- this according to mega-producer Jazze Pha

Pha is a producing legend who's from ATL and is one of the most plugged-in people in town -- and when we saw him at LAX, he told us he had just come back from halftime show rehearsals. 

The big bombshell here ... Pha strongly suggests Lil Jon and J.D. are now a part of the show -- but he wasn't specific about what their roles will be. 

"I think Lil Jon and Jermaine Dupri and everybody gonna make it hot," Pha says ... "They gonna make it live. Maybe I let the cat outta the bag, I don't know!"

The issue ... there are huge stars calling for African-Americans to boycott the show -- including Common, who says the NFL doesn't support black people

In fact, Common said he wishes Travis Scott would pull out from the show over the way the league has treated Colin Kaepernick.

Now, with two gigantic hip-hop legends seemingly signing on -- ya gotta wonder what the reaction will be. 

Either way, Jazze says he was super impressed with what he saw at rehearsals and expects the show to blow people's minds! 

We'll see! 

Guess Who This Cool Kid Turned Into!

1/17/2019 12:01 AM PST

Before this straight-faced young man was playing a plastic surgeon on a hit medical drama, he was just another kid growing up in Chicago, Illinois. Can you guess who he is?

Ariana Grande I'm Dropping '7 Rings' ... But My Friends Got 7 Rings Too!!!

1/16/2019 4:20 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" drops Friday ... and we're told Ariana and Co. expect the song will become an anthem for female empowerment ... with more than a mention of retail therapy as a cure for breakups.

Sources involved in the recording say "7 Rings" wasn't just a random song title ... the name was inspired by something that happened shortly after her breakup with Pete Davidson. Ariana went out with her girls on a shopping spree, meandered into a jewelry store and bought 7 engagement rings for her friends. 

One verse goes like this ... 

       They say money doesn't solve your problems

       Whoever said that must not have enough money to solve them.

The lyrics also reference her breakups -- just like "Thank U, Next" 

"7 Rings" is Ariana's first single since releasing "Thank U, Next" ... and her people think the new song will do at least as well as its predecessor. 

We're told the song will also feature a new music video. 

Mariah Carey Assistant Fires Back with Lawsuit Alleged Butt Slapping, Racist Language

1/16/2019 4:40 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Mariah Carey's former assistant has just fired back at the singer's blackmail allegation with her own lawsuit, claiming she was the victim of horrible abuse by one of Mariah's key people, and the singer did nothing about it.

Lianna Azarian claims in a new lawsuit, Mariah's former manager, Stella Bulochnikov committed various acts of abuse, including slapping her butt and breasts, urinating on her, tackling her to the ground and sitting on her. Azarian also claims Stella called her the n-word, and a "f***ing Armenian whore."

According to the lawsuit, Azarian says Stella ridiculed her breasts, "including placing objects under her breasts such as iPhones, television remote controls and utensils."

Azarian claims a lot of the alleged abuse occurred in Mariah's presence and she did nothing.

Azarian also says Mariah committed acts of physical, emotional and psychological abuse against her.

TMZ broke the story ... Mariah sued Azarian, claiming she secretly videotaped embarrassing and intimate activities and then blackmailed after Mariah fired her ... saying if she didn't get $8 million she'd release the videos.

Azarian is suing Mariah, Stella and others. 

We reached out to Stella and are waiting for a comment. And, we reached out to Mariah's folks ... so far, no word back.

Azarian's lawyer, Mark Quigley, responding to Mariah's blackmail lawsuit, calls the allegations "baseless" and "an attempt to attack my client's character and deflect attention away from a workplace harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit." He adds, "My client never did anything she wasn't specifically asked to do."

Arctic Monkeys Drummer Matt Helders Files For Divorce ... From Wife Breana Helders

1/16/2019 5:26 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE


1/17 -- According to the divorce docs, obtained by TMZ, Helders says he and Breana split at the end of October. He's asking for joint legal and physical custody of their daughter. In the docs, Helders says they've mutually agreed to not pay each other spousal support.Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders is calling it quits on his marriage ... we've learned he just filed for divorce from his wife. 

Matt filed docs Wednesday to divorce his wife Breana McDow Helders, after just over two years of marriage. The couple got hitched in Italy back in June 2016. They have a 3-year-old daughter, Amelia Darling, together. It's unclear what led to the split. 

Matt and Breanna started dating way back in 2011, and they got engaged in 2013 before tying the knot in Europe. 

Matt is one of the founding members of the indie rock band, and he's recorded six studio albums with the Arctic Monkeys. The band has also been nominated for five Grammy Awards.

It seems Matt is going solo in more ways than one ... because back in October, the drummer, vocalist and songwriter announced plans for a solo album.

Rep. Greg Pence Read My Lips ... VP Pence & His Wife Are Not Anti-LGBT

1/16/2019 3:38 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The Vice President and his wife are getting a bad rap when it comes to LGBTQ rights, despite their track record ... at least according to Mike Pence's older brother.

Indiana Congressman Greg Pence was on Capitol Hill Wednesday when we asked him about the backlash over the VP's wife, Karen Pence, going back to teach at Virginia's Immanuel Christian School ... which has a policy of refusing admission to gay students.

Rep. Pence did an artful DC two-step -- especially for a freshman -- dodging the question by saying he can't speak for Karen. However, when we asked point-blank if his brother and sister-in-law are anti-LGBT ... he answered. Definitively.

Now, whether anyone buys his answer is another thing. The Veep's reputation in the LGBTQ community stems from a stance he took in 2000 during a campaign. 

His website stated the following regarding the Ryan White Care Act, which provided funding to HIV/AIDS patients: 

Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

That paragraph is why it's widely believed VP Pence supports conversion therapy for gays. He's also backed a law defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.

Still, Greg seems to think his brother's reputation is undeserved.

Common NFL Doesn't Support Black People ... 'I'm with Kap'

1/16/2019 3:37 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Common says he loves Travis Scott -- but really wishes the guy would PULL OUT of the Super Bowl halftime show over the way the league has treated Colin Kaepernick.

"I ain't with supporting the NFL," Common told us ... "They don't really support black people."

"Kaepernick said he's standing up for people who are being shot down, black and brown. The NFL basically blackballed him. They've shown how they feel about us for real."

Common says he respects the NFL players -- his beef is squarely with the owners. 

As for Travis Scott, Common says ... "He's a dope dude, but I really don't want to support none of that stuff."

"Travis is doing what he's gotta do ... I feel like man, I wish he wouldn't [do the halftime show] to be honest."

Common says he has great respect for artists like Rihanna who have reportedly turned down the NFL in a show of support to Colin. 

"All I know is that I'm supporting Kaepernick," Common added ... "I just want you to know that."

As we previously reported, Travis Scott reached out to Colin to discuss the Super Bowl halftime show before he officially signed on. 

The two men had a cordial conversation but Colin explained why he would NOT give Travis his blessing to perform. 

Travis negotiated with the NFL to have $500,000 donated to Van Jones' social justice organization in exchange for his participation -- and ultimately, Scott felt it was worth it. 

R. Kelly Officials Find Evidence of Residency ... At His Chicago Studio

1/16/2019 2:10 PM PST
Exclusive Details

2:03 PM PT -- A spokesperson for the City of Chicago tells TMZ that officials who searched R. Kelly's studio Wednesday did, in fact, find building code violations, including evidence that the space was being used for residential purposes.

We're also told officials discovered work that had been done inside without permits. The city will file an amended complaint against R. Kelly for a future court hearing.

Police are at R. Kelly's recording studio in Chicago, and while it has nothing to do with the allegations put forth in "Surviving R. Kelly" ... it is related to potential illegal activity.

The issue appears to be Kelly's studio being used as a residence. Law enforcement sources tell us Chicago PD showed up there Wednesday afternoon with the Cook County Building and Zoning Dept. We're told the B & Z is there because the building is only zoned for industrial use, so if anyone is living there ... that's a no-no.

We're told police typically accompany the Building Dept. on such matters ... and officers did NOT go just because it's Kelly's place. BTW, the singer reportedly owes a ton of back rent -- $166k -- and is facing eviction before the month's end.

Obviously, the sight of police swarming Kelly's crib immediately made people think an arrest was going down.

No dice. Yet.

Originally Published -- 11:13 AM PST

Rosie O'Donnell Trump Will Be Arrested ... Before the 2020 Election!!!

1/16/2019 12:42 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Rosie O'Donnell thinks Donald Trump has a snowball's chance in hell of being reelected in 2020 ... because it's really hard to run for office when you're sitting in prison.

We got the comedian Wednesday in NYC, and asked if she had any thoughts on Trump's chances to be a two-term President. Rosie says there's no way in hell that's happening and adds ... the American people won't let it happen.

She makes it clear she has faith citizens will bounce back from what she describes as Trump's "tyranny," and -- to borrow one of his fave phrases -- lock HIM up.

Watch ... Rosie also has some fiery thoughts on Trump's chances of getting his beloved border wall.

Ex-NFLer Tony Beckham Breaks Man's Face For Allegedly Masturbating Near Daughter's Window

1/16/2019 12:15 PM PST
Breaking News

Former NFL DB Tony Beckham -- a Titans 4th-round pick in 2002 -- beat the hell out of a man after he allegedly caught the guy masturbating outside his 15-year-old daughter's window.

Cops in Palm Beach County, Florida say Tony saw a man with his hands down his pants in the bushes next to his daughter's window Monday morning ... and went after him when he saw the guy making masturbating motions.

Police say Tony chased the guy down about 50 feet from his house ... and proceeded to smash the guy up bad -- breaking his face in a couple different places.

Cops arrested the man -- a 48-year-old named Geoffrey Cassidy (who claimed he was a transient) -- and booked him for Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition in the Presence of a Child.

If convicted on that count, Cassidy faces up to 15 years in prison.

Cassidy is still being held in Palm Beach County Jail on $1,500 bond.

Beckham played 5 seasons in the NFL from 2002 to 2007 ... logging 6 total starts and 1 career interception.

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