Hollywood, #MeToo Leaders Tackle R Kelly: ‘Sony, Live Nation Can Drop Him’

The problematic relevance of R&B singer R. Kelly was among the hottest topics debated by Hollywood and media power players — and the founder of the #MeToo movement  — on Friday in Los Angeles.

Kelly has been accused of having sex with minors and was tried and acquitted for child pornography, among other assault accusations dating as far back as 1994. He still enjoys a music and touring career with a rapt fan base.

“I’m not sure how he plays on any radio station. I’m not sure how he tours,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

Graves participated in a discussion with Professor Anita Hill, whose landmark 1991 sexual harassment case against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas makes her an elder stateswoman for the dozens of sexual harassment scandals plaguing Hollywood, media and corporate America in the past months.

Also Read: Mika Brzezinski Questions #MeToo Movement: ‘I’m Just Wondering If All Women Need to Be Believed’

The event was held at United Talent Agency’s Beverly Hills headquarters, and attended by the likes of Harvey Weinstein accuser Mira Sorvino, Jeffrey Tambor accuser Trace Lysette, former APA agent Tyler Grasham accuser Blaise Lipman, #MeToo member Alyssa Milano and more.

“How there isn’t a similar, I don’t know if Weinstein is now a verb, but there isn’t a similar approach to this decades-long conduct that has happened under all of our noses?” Goss wondered about Kelly.

Roughly 80 women have come forward since October with allegations of rape, assault and sexual harassment at the hands of disgraced Weinstein (who denies any nonconsensual sex). He’s been fired as the CEO of his company, stripped of honorary titles, booted from the film academy and the Producers Guild, and is no longer accepted into polite society.

Kelly went on a nationwide tour in 2016 mounted by Live Nation. It was in support of his 13th studio album, “The Buffet,” from Sony Music imprint RCA Records. In July, BuzzFeed published an extensive report about a so-called “sex cult” where they said Kelly engaged in sex with underage women and attempted to control them. Jerhonda Pace said she was 16 when Kelly and an older female offered her sexual instruction while living with him, where he would lock her in a room for days at a time. The story is one of many accusations of sexual abuse or misconduct over nearly 25 years, an exhaustive timeline of which can be found at Rolling Stone.

Kelly “unequivocally” denied the July report through his attorneys, and also called it a “bunch of crap.”

Also Read: Uma Thurman Posts #MeToo Message, Calls Out Harvey Weinstein: ‘You Don’t Deserve a Bullet’

Tarana Burke, founder of the awareness group Me Too that became the hashtag #MeToo and a platform for the abused to speak out, weighed in with passion from her seat in the UTA auditorium.

“The R. Kelly issue is something that is an internal issue in our community,” said Burke, referring to the black community.

Burke said there are “ways in which people outside of the community can help. For instance, Sony can drop him from his record label. People across all races can petition Sony to drop R. Kelly, they can petition Live Nation to drop R. Kelly. Those are two corporations that support him.”

The sentiment was met with applause. Representatives for Kelly, Sony Music and Live Nation did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

After the July report from BuzzFeed hit, an online petition was created asking Sony to drop the singer (reminiscent of a similar campaign against the music giant after producer Dr. Luke was accused by artist Kesha of rape). It reached over 36,000 signatures. Kelly remains signed to RCA Records.

“Beyond that, we have to have some internal conversations in our own community … it’s a hard one and we’re going to have to approach it with some delicacy and some nuance. There are things that are very particular to certain communities. In the Latino-Latina community, in the black community, in the Asian community, we all have very specific ways that issues around sexual violence that we have to deal with,” Burke concluded.

Goss added that “it is OK to call out things that have even been tradition. Part of this moment is that it is one that will last, and move us to a place where there will be real change.”

Also Read: Time Magazine Snubs Trump, Names #MeToo ‘Silence Breakers’ as Person of the Year

Kelly is not actively promoting new music or touring, though he has a show scheduled for New York City’s Highline Ballroom in January and is co-headlining a gig with Charlie Wilson in Detroit this February.

The audience question that inspired Friday’s conversation about Kelly came from Jasmyne Cannick, a political strategist, who asked how the #MeToo movement could expand to include a conversation about widely accepted misogyny in hip-hop and how it affects the every day woman.

Read the question in full:

When we talk about hip hop and rap, and how we as black women and women of color are conditioned to support artists who call us bitches and hoes and all of these other words. When we talk about #MeToo, that has to be a part of it too, right?

We’re also talking about the same community where people like me — I don’t walk in my neighborhood, I don’t jog, because I have a big butt and I’m black. Men in my neighborhood think it’s OK to say, ‘Oh, look at your big ass’ or ‘Hey, where’s your man?’

When we talk about the different types of harassers, I’m talking about the sons, the fathers, the uncles, the grandfathers. How do we put that as a part of the conversation as well?

Related stories from TheWrap:

Mika Brzezinski Questions #MeToo Movement: ‘I’m Just Wondering If All Women Need to Be Believed’

Demi Lovato Is ‘Disappointed’ That Time Honored Trump Alongside #MeToo as POTY

Time Magazine Snubs Trump, Names #MeToo ‘Silence Breakers’ as Person of the Year

Uma Thurman Posts #MeToo Message, Calls Out Harvey Weinstein: ‘You Don’t Deserve a Bullet’

The problematic relevance of R&B singer R. Kelly was among the hottest topics debated by Hollywood and media power players — and the founder of the #MeToo movement  — on Friday in Los Angeles.

Kelly has been accused of having sex with minors and was tried and acquitted for child pornography, among other assault accusations dating as far back as 1994. He still enjoys a music and touring career with a rapt fan base.

“I’m not sure how he plays on any radio station. I’m not sure how he tours,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

Graves participated in a discussion with Professor Anita Hill, whose landmark 1991 sexual harassment case against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas makes her an elder stateswoman for the dozens of sexual harassment scandals plaguing Hollywood, media and corporate America in the past months.

The event was held at United Talent Agency’s Beverly Hills headquarters, and attended by the likes of Harvey Weinstein accuser Mira Sorvino, Jeffrey Tambor accuser Trace Lysette, former APA agent Tyler Grasham accuser Blaise Lipman, #MeToo member Alyssa Milano and more.

“How there isn’t a similar, I don’t know if Weinstein is now a verb, but there isn’t a similar approach to this decades-long conduct that has happened under all of our noses?” Goss wondered about Kelly.

Roughly 80 women have come forward since October with allegations of rape, assault and sexual harassment at the hands of disgraced Weinstein (who denies any nonconsensual sex). He’s been fired as the CEO of his company, stripped of honorary titles, booted from the film academy and the Producers Guild, and is no longer accepted into polite society.

Kelly went on a nationwide tour in 2016 mounted by Live Nation. It was in support of his 13th studio album, “The Buffet,” from Sony Music imprint RCA Records. In July, BuzzFeed published an extensive report about a so-called “sex cult” where they said Kelly engaged in sex with underage women and attempted to control them. Jerhonda Pace said she was 16 when Kelly and an older female offered her sexual instruction while living with him, where he would lock her in a room for days at a time. The story is one of many accusations of sexual abuse or misconduct over nearly 25 years, an exhaustive timeline of which can be found at Rolling Stone.

Kelly “unequivocally” denied the July report through his attorneys, and also called it a “bunch of crap.”

Tarana Burke, founder of the awareness group Me Too that became the hashtag #MeToo and a platform for the abused to speak out, weighed in with passion from her seat in the UTA auditorium.

“The R. Kelly issue is something that is an internal issue in our community,” said Burke, referring to the black community.

Burke said there are “ways in which people outside of the community can help. For instance, Sony can drop him from his record label. People across all races can petition Sony to drop R. Kelly, they can petition Live Nation to drop R. Kelly. Those are two corporations that support him.”

The sentiment was met with applause. Representatives for Kelly, Sony Music and Live Nation did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

After the July report from BuzzFeed hit, an online petition was created asking Sony to drop the singer (reminiscent of a similar campaign against the music giant after producer Dr. Luke was accused by artist Kesha of rape). It reached over 36,000 signatures. Kelly remains signed to RCA Records.

“Beyond that, we have to have some internal conversations in our own community … it’s a hard one and we’re going to have to approach it with some delicacy and some nuance. There are things that are very particular to certain communities. In the Latino-Latina community, in the black community, in the Asian community, we all have very specific ways that issues around sexual violence that we have to deal with,” Burke concluded.

Goss added that “it is OK to call out things that have even been tradition. Part of this moment is that it is one that will last, and move us to a place where there will be real change.”

Kelly is not actively promoting new music or touring, though he has a show scheduled for New York City’s Highline Ballroom in January and is co-headlining a gig with Charlie Wilson in Detroit this February.

The audience question that inspired Friday’s conversation about Kelly came from Jasmyne Cannick, a political strategist, who asked how the #MeToo movement could expand to include a conversation about widely accepted misogyny in hip-hop and how it affects the every day woman.

Read the question in full:

When we talk about hip hop and rap, and how we as black women and women of color are conditioned to support artists who call us bitches and hoes and all of these other words. When we talk about #MeToo, that has to be a part of it too, right?

We’re also talking about the same community where people like me — I don’t walk in my neighborhood, I don’t jog, because I have a big butt and I’m black. Men in my neighborhood think it’s OK to say, ‘Oh, look at your big ass’ or ‘Hey, where’s your man?’

When we talk about the different types of harassers, I’m talking about the sons, the fathers, the uncles, the grandfathers. How do we put that as a part of the conversation as well?

Related stories from TheWrap:

Mika Brzezinski Questions #MeToo Movement: 'I'm Just Wondering If All Women Need to Be Believed'

Demi Lovato Is 'Disappointed' That Time Honored Trump Alongside #MeToo as POTY

Time Magazine Snubs Trump, Names #MeToo 'Silence Breakers' as Person of the Year

Uma Thurman Posts #MeToo Message, Calls Out Harvey Weinstein: 'You Don't Deserve a Bullet'

All 8 Aaron Sorkin Movies Ranked From Worst to Best (Photos)

Aaron Sorkin was probably born in the wrong era. And yet here he is, still kicking in 2017. His characters operate under an impossibly witty and clever language, engaging in exchanges only experienced in the movies of Howard Hawks or Frank Capra. It’s fueled by a rapid-fire repartee. For better or worse, Sorkin has replicated this breathless style of dialogue. With the upcoming release of Molly’s Game, Sorkin’s directorial debut, we decided to rank every film the man has penned over the course of 25 years.

 

  1. “Malice” (1993)

 

Sorkin’s shoddiest screenplay is also his most dated. In “Malice”, Nicole Kidman plays a happily married woman who wants to have children and start a family. Upon a visit to the hospital, she finds herself under the care of Jed (Alec Baldwin). It’s quickly made clear that Jed is some kind of malevolent figure. Someone to not be trusted. Directed by Harold Becker, it’s actually Sorkin’s writing that is the most clumsy. “You ask me if I have a God complex?” asks Baldwin, before continuing. “Let me tell you something: I am God.” Yikes.

 

  1. “Molly’s Game” (2017)

 

Off the top: Sorkin is a writer first and everything else second. That includes the role of filmmaker. Sorkin’s prose sings under the direction of David Fincher or Mike Nichols. Assured talents whose visions are inimitable. Here Sorkin–adapting from Molly Bloom’s book–has difficulty with pulling off double-duty. The language is still sharp and cutting, but the bite isn’t there. Surprisingly, Molly packs little punch.

 

  1. “Steve Jobs” (2015)

 

This unorthodox imagining of Steve Jobs’ life should work better than it does. Under Danny Boyle, there are moments of power. The heated exchanges between Michael Fassbender and Seth Rogen; the even more heated exchanges between Fassbender and Jeff Daniels. Sorkin does anger perfectly. Fragmenting Jobs’ varied career into a triptych structure ends up undoing some of its narrative impact.

 

  1. “A Few Good Men” (1992)

 

Movies like “A Few Good Men”–i.e. ones with monumentally popular lines of dialogue–become mythologized in the culture. This is an unavoidable tendency. We gravitate to what we can easily recall. Dramatic sequences like the goodbye in “Casablanca” or Marlon Brandon’s tragic lamenting in “On the Waterfront”. Moving past Jack Nicholson’s “you can’t handle the truth” throw-down, the Rob Reiner-directed courtroom drama is more subtle than we remember. It derives strength from its performances (namely Tom Cruise and Demi Moore) who use Sorkin’s words to great affect.

 

  1. “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007)

 

Look, this one is just fun. Re-watching the Mike Nichols’ directed biopic about the titular Texas congressmen (Tom Hanks), it’s clear Sorkin’s work plays better if its, well, playful. The less serious the project takes it self, the stronger it ends up being. That’s not a general rule–but it is when it comes to Sorkin’s filmography. “Charlie Wilson” shines when it narrows its focus on the complex (sometimes romantic) dynamic between Hanks and Julie Roberts. Sorkin seems interested in exploring relationships that oscillate from person to professional. The lines are blurred, and that’s when characters become interesting.

 

  1. “Moneyball” (2011)

 

Sorkin is best when adapting events that (on the page) don’t appear inherently cinematic. “Moneyball” is a film about number-crunching statisticians obsessed with a calculable solution to sport. Like most of Sorkin’s work, it benefits from two factors: it’s directed by Bennett Miller, and it casts a movie star like Brad Pitt. Oh, and then there’s Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill, Spike Jonze, the list goes on. Michael Lewis’ book may have discovered the story of the Oakland A’s, but it’s Sorkin who unearths the heart.

 

  1. “The American President” (1995)

 

Pure joy.

 

That could be the end of this capsule, but let’s continue. “The American President” is not based on a true story. It’s not adapting an acclaimed New York Times bestseller. Sorkin’s script is simply an amalgamation of his desires: politics, sex, and power (note: not always in that order). Starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening, every frame of this movie feels like an anomaly in 2017–and it’s not just because Douglas’ is an irresistibly charming Commander-in-Chief. It’s an Adult endeavor. A drama that’s not Oscar-bait (although it did receive one nomination for original score) or contrived, with no intentions of spinoffs or sequels. It’s about two people abating loneliness through love, and how that is made a bit more challenging when one person is running the free world.

 

  1. “The Social Network”

 

Sorkin’s filmic output can’t compare to his work on television. Maybe that’s harsh, but it’s definitely the truth. All things considered, it’s “The Social Network” that ends being Sorkin’s crowning achievement. The actors–especially Jesse Eisenberg playing infamous Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg–understand Sorkin’s intent. They lean into the nastiness when the script asks for it, and replicate the epigrammatic wit that Sorkin has been chasing since the early ’90s. Above all, though, the film finds a remarkable emotional balance. Neither effusive nor dry, “Social Network” is unafraid of vulnerability. It’s not just jokes or just gut-wrenching drama. Sorkin, like anyone else, can so rarely manage to do both well. But he does here. When it hits it hits. There’s a deep sadness that Sorkin captures in Zuckerberg. Egotism gone awry, youthful creativity turned into commerce, friendship jettisoned for, well, greener pastures.

It’s a true masterpiece.

Aaron Sorkin was probably born in the wrong era. And yet here he is, still kicking in 2017. His characters operate under an impossibly witty and clever language, engaging in exchanges only experienced in the movies of Howard Hawks or Frank Capra. It’s fueled by a rapid-fire repartee. For better or worse, Sorkin has replicated this breathless style of dialogue. With the upcoming release of Molly’s Game, Sorkin’s directorial debut, we decided to rank every film the man has penned over the course of 25 years.

 

  1. “Malice” (1993)

 

Sorkin’s shoddiest screenplay is also his most dated. In “Malice”, Nicole Kidman plays a happily married woman who wants to have children and start a family. Upon a visit to the hospital, she finds herself under the care of Jed (Alec Baldwin). It’s quickly made clear that Jed is some kind of malevolent figure. Someone to not be trusted. Directed by Harold Becker, it’s actually Sorkin’s writing that is the most clumsy. “You ask me if I have a God complex?” asks Baldwin, before continuing. “Let me tell you something: I am God.” Yikes.

 

  1. “Molly’s Game” (2017)

 

Off the top: Sorkin is a writer first and everything else second. That includes the role of filmmaker. Sorkin’s prose sings under the direction of David Fincher or Mike Nichols. Assured talents whose visions are inimitable. Here Sorkin–adapting from Molly Bloom’s book–has difficulty with pulling off double-duty. The language is still sharp and cutting, but the bite isn’t there. Surprisingly, Molly packs little punch.

 

  1. “Steve Jobs” (2015)

 

This unorthodox imagining of Steve Jobs’ life should work better than it does. Under Danny Boyle, there are moments of power. The heated exchanges between Michael Fassbender and Seth Rogen; the even more heated exchanges between Fassbender and Jeff Daniels. Sorkin does anger perfectly. Fragmenting Jobs’ varied career into a triptych structure ends up undoing some of its narrative impact.

 

  1. “A Few Good Men” (1992)

 

Movies like “A Few Good Men”–i.e. ones with monumentally popular lines of dialogue–become mythologized in the culture. This is an unavoidable tendency. We gravitate to what we can easily recall. Dramatic sequences like the goodbye in “Casablanca” or Marlon Brandon’s tragic lamenting in “On the Waterfront”. Moving past Jack Nicholson’s “you can’t handle the truth” throw-down, the Rob Reiner-directed courtroom drama is more subtle than we remember. It derives strength from its performances (namely Tom Cruise and Demi Moore) who use Sorkin’s words to great affect.

 

  1. “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007)

 

Look, this one is just fun. Re-watching the Mike Nichols’ directed biopic about the titular Texas congressmen (Tom Hanks), it’s clear Sorkin’s work plays better if its, well, playful. The less serious the project takes it self, the stronger it ends up being. That’s not a general rule–but it is when it comes to Sorkin’s filmography. “Charlie Wilson” shines when it narrows its focus on the complex (sometimes romantic) dynamic between Hanks and Julie Roberts. Sorkin seems interested in exploring relationships that oscillate from person to professional. The lines are blurred, and that’s when characters become interesting.

 

  1. “Moneyball” (2011)

 

Sorkin is best when adapting events that (on the page) don’t appear inherently cinematic. “Moneyball” is a film about number-crunching statisticians obsessed with a calculable solution to sport. Like most of Sorkin’s work, it benefits from two factors: it’s directed by Bennett Miller, and it casts a movie star like Brad Pitt. Oh, and then there’s Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill, Spike Jonze, the list goes on. Michael Lewis’ book may have discovered the story of the Oakland A’s, but it’s Sorkin who unearths the heart.

 

  1. “The American President” (1995)

 

Pure joy.

 

That could be the end of this capsule, but let’s continue. “The American President” is not based on a true story. It’s not adapting an acclaimed New York Times bestseller. Sorkin’s script is simply an amalgamation of his desires: politics, sex, and power (note: not always in that order). Starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening, every frame of this movie feels like an anomaly in 2017–and it’s not just because Douglas’ is an irresistibly charming Commander-in-Chief. It’s an Adult endeavor. A drama that’s not Oscar-bait (although it did receive one nomination for original score) or contrived, with no intentions of spinoffs or sequels. It’s about two people abating loneliness through love, and how that is made a bit more challenging when one person is running the free world.

 

  1. “The Social Network”

 

Sorkin’s filmic output can’t compare to his work on television. Maybe that’s harsh, but it’s definitely the truth. All things considered, it’s “The Social Network” that ends being Sorkin’s crowning achievement. The actors–especially Jesse Eisenberg playing infamous Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg–understand Sorkin’s intent. They lean into the nastiness when the script asks for it, and replicate the epigrammatic wit that Sorkin has been chasing since the early ’90s. Above all, though, the film finds a remarkable emotional balance. Neither effusive nor dry, “Social Network” is unafraid of vulnerability. It’s not just jokes or just gut-wrenching drama. Sorkin, like anyone else, can so rarely manage to do both well. But he does here. When it hits it hits. There’s a deep sadness that Sorkin captures in Zuckerberg. Egotism gone awry, youthful creativity turned into commerce, friendship jettisoned for, well, greener pastures.

It’s a true masterpiece.

Om Puri, ‘Ghandi’ and ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ Actor, Dies at 66 (Report)

Om Puri, a veteran actor known for his work in both Indian and Hollywood films, died Thursday. He was 66.

He suffered a heart attack that morning, according got tweets, NDTV in India reported.

Puri’s notable roles included in “Ghandi,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “The Ghost and the Darkness” and “The Jungle Book.”

Born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Punjabi family, Puri began his career in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal. He went on to star in some of India’s biggest movies such as “Ardh Satya”, “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” and “Paar.”

Along with his acting accolades, Puri was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Survivor’ Alum Dan Kay Dies at 40

George Kosana, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Actor, Dies at 81

William Christopher, Actor Known as Father Mulcahy on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 84

Om Puri, a veteran actor known for his work in both Indian and Hollywood films, died Thursday. He was 66.

He suffered a heart attack that morning, according got tweets, NDTV in India reported.

Puri’s notable roles included in “Ghandi,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “The Ghost and the Darkness” and “The Jungle Book.”

Born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Punjabi family, Puri began his career in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal. He went on to star in some of India’s biggest movies such as “Ardh Satya”, “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” and “Paar.”

Along with his acting accolades, Puri was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Survivor' Alum Dan Kay Dies at 40

George Kosana, 'Night of the Living Dead' Actor, Dies at 81

William Christopher, Actor Known as Father Mulcahy on 'M*A*S*H,' Dies at 84