Gabrielle Union and “America’s Got Talent” settled their differences as Kelly Clarkson’s divorce took a nasty turn as her father-in-law is now suing her through his management company. “The Lion King” sequel has landed “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins. Strange gossip hit Demi Lovato as her ex Max Erich isn’t ready to let her go like those gay rumors that keep haunting Hugh Jackman.
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Gabriell Union Settles “America’s Got Talent” Dispute
Gabrielle Union and NBC said Tuesday that they have settled their differences in their dispute over her firing as a judge on “America’s Got Talent,” which she said was retaliation for her complaints that the show tolerated racism on the set.
“We’ve reached an amicable resolution,” Union and the network said in a joint statement. “NBC Entertainment appreciates the important concerns raised by Gabrielle Union and remains committed to ensuring an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect.”
Both sides declined further comment and would not give further details.
Union, known for her roles in the films “Bring It On” and “Bad Boys II,” appeared on the talent showcase created by Simon Cowell for a season, until she and fellow first-year judge Julianne Hough weren’t asked to return.
Variety reported soon after that Union, who is Black, believed she was fired because she had asked NBC and the show’s producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks from judges and producers.
Union gave detailed accounts of the issues in a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that she filed in June, saying she received criticism of her hair from producers that were rooted in racism.
“Union, a black woman, was singled out due to her physical appearance and discriminated against by NBC due to the fact that her hair did not fit within the white image that NBC apparently sought to convey to the audience,” the complaint stated, adding that a network executive and a show producer “informed Union’s manager that her hair was ‘too wild’ and that it needed to be ‘toned down.’”
NBC said in May that outside investigators brought in by the network and producers found that Union’s allegations had no basis and no bearing on the decision to drop her as a judge.
NBC said the investigation “found an overarching culture of diversity on the show.”
Lion King Sequel With Barry Jenkins
The Walt Disney Co. will make a follow-up to the 2019 live-action “The Lion King,” with Barry Jenkins, the director of the Oscar-winning “Moonlight” and the James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk,” set to direct.
Disney announced plans Tuesday for a kind of prequel to last year’s poorly reviewed but highly popular photorealistic remake. The new “Lion King” grossed more than $1.6 billion worldwide, so a sequel was perhaps always likely. Less expected was a “Lion King” with Jenkins directing. The film, Disney said, will explore the mythology of “The Lion King,” including Mufasa’s origin story.
“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said in a statement. “Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”
Jenkins earlier this year completed shooting on the Amazon limited series “The Underground Railroad,” based on the Colson Whitehead novel. He won an Oscar for the script to the best-picture-winning “Moonlight” and was nominated for the screenplay to 2018′s “If Beale Street Could Talk.” He also last year made plans to direct a film based on the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey for Disney’s Searchlight Pictures.
Disney didn’t announce any further plot details or casting on the new “Lion King” project, which was first reported by Deadline Hollywood. Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the 2019 movie, is returning to pen the follow-up.
Directed by Jon Favreau, “The Lion King” featured a voice cast including Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Jon Oliver, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen and James Earl Jones. Reviews weren’t good (52% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) but it was more lucrative than any other “live-action” remake of a Disney classic. Unadjusted for inflation, 2019′s “Lion King” ranks as the seventh highest grossing film ever.
Kelly Clarkson Sued By Father In Law’s Company
Kelly Clarkson is being sued by her management company — which is run by her estranged husband’s dad — for allegedly stiffing them out of more than $1 million in commissions.
Starstruck Management Group filed a lawsuit against Clarkson, 38, on Tuesday, which was confirmed through Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
The company is run by Narvel Blackstock. The “Miss Independent” singer filed for divorce from his son Brandon in June 2020.
The “Stronger” singer worked with the company for the past 13 years and paid them 15 percent on her gross earnings, according to Variety. While she paid them $1.9 million so far this year, she still has an unpaid balance, the suit claims.
The suit also alleges that she will owe the company at least $5.4 million by the end of 2020.
However, the suit notes that the terms were verbally negotiated by Clarkson’s lawyer and business manager in 2007 and that there is no written management agreement, a potential complication in any legal wrangling.
Hugh Jackman Gay Rumors Back Again
For years, Hugh Jackman has been dogged with rumors surrounding his sexuality, despite his 24-year marriage to fellow Aussie actor, Deborra-Lee Furness.
Furness laughs off the whispers during her latest Q&A on Anh’s Brush With Fame, where she says there was a point where fans assumed she was gay as well.
“He’s been gay so many years,” she quipped in clips shared by The Daily Mail. “I was gay, too. You know when I did ‘Shame’? I was gay. They were shocked when I got married.”
“It’s just wrong,” she continued. “It’s like someone saying to Elton John, ‘He’s straight.’ I’m sure he’d be pissed.”
The 64-year-old thespian also shared her irritation at those who say she’s “lucky” to be married to the “Wolverine” star, 51.
“People don’t realize, it’s actually rude to say that,” she said. “‘Lucky’ because he’s a stud-muffin, you know, but that’s showbiz and Hollywood and the brand of Hugh Jackman.
When Jackman was deemed the Sexiest Man Alive back in 2008, the honor didn’t faze Furness, as she revealed the first thing she told him upon hearing the news was to “take out the trash.”
“Hey sexy, your turn with the garbage,” she added with a chuckle.
Demi Lovato Abuse Gossip From Max Ehrich
Max Ehrich posted messages to social media Tuesday seemingly alleging that ex-fiancèe Demi Lovato was being “abused,” but an insider told media outlets the singer is doing well and trying to move forward.
The actor from “The Young and the Restless” put up cryptic notes in an Instagram Story that said “#FreeDemi,” then “#FreeDemetria,” followed by a third note saying, “#FreeDemetria from people that have abused her,” according to screengrabs captured by Twitter account #onlyforeverddl.
Ehrich also posted concerning messages to his Instagram about Jeffrey Epstein, which have since been deleted.
“‘Jeffrey Epstein’ me = Try to silence me for exposing the truth to the world,” he wrote.
To his Instagram Story, he added, “I’m so grateful for social media… For it gives a voice to every human being. If used purposefully; It shines awareness on things that need to be addressed. I’ll be posting on here for updates every few hours with pics… In case people try to ‘Jeffrey Epstein’ me.”
But the insider told media outlets on Tuesday, “It’s unclear what Max is referring to with his posts,” and that “Demi is happy, healthy, and trying to move on from all this by staying busy with work.”
Last week, 28-year-old Lovato ended her engagement to Ehrich, 29, following news that there was trouble in paradise for the couple.
The actor then turned to social media to publicly beg Lovato to reconsider.
“I’m here in real time with y’all. I love Demetria and just want her to be healthy and safe,” he wrote on his Instagram Story, also sharing that they hadn’t spoken since their split. “I love you always,” he added.
The exes got engaged in July, just a few months after they began dating.
Ehrich’s rep did not return requests for comment.