Why Does CNN Have Such a Hard Time Finding (and Keeping) Pro-Trump Commentators?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Why does CNN have such a hard time holding on to its right-wing contributors? This weekend, former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller became the sixth conservative CNN contributor to lose his perch at the network since the 2016 election.

In just under two years, Corey Lewandowski, Scottie Nell Hughes, Jeffrey Lord, Ed Martin and Paris Dennard have also departed the network for reasons ranging from errant tweets to accusations of sexual misconduct.

While liberal stalwarts like Reza Azlan and Kathy Griffin have also been shown the door, Trump defenders have long been an endangered species at CNN.

Some suggest that the network has an antipathy for conservative voices. “People who support Trump, [CNN] treats them like second-class citizens,” said one insider who has appeared frequently on the channel but asked not to be identified. “There is an extraordinary target on anyone who is pro-Trump back at CNN.”

Also Read: CNN’s Pro-Trump Commentator Jason Miller Exits After Abortion Pill Accusations

“Sadly, CNN seems to have two standards: one for Trump supporters and an anything-goes standard for liberals or anti-Trumpers,” said Jeffrey Lord, a GOP strategist who was dumped by the network in August 2017 after tweeting the Nazi salute “Sieg heil” in an online spat.

CNN never announced any disciplinary action against liberal commentator Phil Mudd after he dropped the N-word on air in January during a live appearance with Don Lemon; he continues to appear frequently on the network. And Ryan Lizza, who was fired from the New Yorker last December after a sexual misconduct accusation, returned to CNN after a roughly six-week suspension by the network.

“One can sit on CNN and use all kinds of racial slurs, not to mention call the President of the United States Hitler or compare him to Stalin and more, and that’s OK,” Lord said. “It is incredibly sad to watch and I think very self-damaging to a network filled with serious professionals and good people for whom I have the greatest respect.”

Also Read: CNN’s Don Lemon Defends Antifa Despite Violence: ‘No Organization Is Perfect’ (Video)

Others suggest that the strongest and most reliably TV-ready right-wing commentators have been snapped up by Fox News, leaving its rival to lesser pundits who may not be as ready for the glare of the spotlight.

“If you’re talking about D-listers, it’s not people who are super-polished,” said another frequent CNN guest. “It’s people who were attracted to guerilla warfare. They won’t be the most accepted at the garden parties at the Louvre.”

For some, the network will face trouble no matter what given the extremes to which conservatives sometimes go to defend President Trump.

Also Read: CNN Suspends Pro-Trump Contributor After Old Sexual Misconduct Accusation

“The problem is with the position itself,” said Angelo Carusone, head of the left-wing watchdog group Media Matters for America, and the one on the receiving end of Lord’s tweeted Nazi salute.

“Trump says and does bigoted and contemptible things. So, when the job description is to always not merely defend but also often cheer Trump’s bigoted and contemptible conduct, it attracts a certain kind of applicant.”

CNN declined to comment for this story but an insider said the network was puzzled by the mass exodus of Trump commentators in the last two years.

“No one really knows,” the individual said. “It would be clearer if they were leaving all for the same reason, but that’s not the case.”

Also Read: CNN Slammed Over GOP Women Panel Defending Kavanaugh

Still, the network’s challenge in retaining right-leaning voices is real. In a statement on Saturday, Miller said he decided to voluntarily “step away” from CNN following an accusation by a former lover that he secretly gave another ex abortion pills contained in a smoothie (he has denied the accusation).

Miller’s ouster comes cuts one month after CNN suspended Paris Dennard, a former official in the George W. Bush administration who faced a sexual misconduct accusation stemming from his time as an events director at Arizona State University.

Just days before, Dennard had earned praise from conservatives — and a tweeted shout-out from President Trump — for a bruising on-air dog fight with Mudd over whether retired government officials like ex-CIA chief John Brennan could score extra cash by leveraging their security clearances.

A CNN spokesperson declined to elaborate on the status of its investigation into Dennard.

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Now in its fifth episode, Sacha Baron Cohen continues his crusade to dupe unsuspecting victims on his Showtime series Who Is America?  This week’s episode didn’t include the much-anticipated interview with Sarah Palin, but it did feature in…

Sacha Baron Cohen Tells Corey Lewandowski Bob Marley Was Behind Iraq War

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s interview of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on “Who Is America?” wasn’t Baron Cohen’s most ridiculous interview, but it did have some pretty ridiculous Bob Marley-related jokes baked in.

Playing his right-wing journalist character Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick, Baron Cohen interviewed Lewandowski about his sense of Donald Trump. Baron Cohen’s Ruddick started with a question about whether Trump is racist, which proved to be topical given the events of the last week.

“Is Donald Trump a racist, or is he the least racist man alive?” Ruddick, Baron Cohen’s pro-Trump character, asked Lewandowski to start the segment.

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#BillyWayne asks #CoreyLewandowski about his former boss, #DonaldTrump. #WhoIsAmerica #SachaBaronCohen #Showtime pic.twitter.com/lDkfcN3oMg

— Who Is America? (@SHOwhoisAmerica) August 13, 2018

“I can tell you this: I had the privilege of standing and sitting next to candidate Trump and now the president for thousands of hours over my tenure running his campaign,” Lewandowski answered. “Never ever ever did I ever hear him utter a racist word in his life. Ever.”

Accusations about Trump were back in the news this week after former White House aid Omarosa Manigault Newman said Trump was racist, and claimed she had recorded Trump and members of his administration during her time working with them.

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Baron Cohen’s Ruddick later pivoted to one of Trump’s favorite talking points: the “fake news” media. He started by asking Lewandowski if he thought Americans should be worried about who really owns the media — to which Lewandowski replied that he thought it was corporate shareholders who actually owned media companies.

Baron Cohen’s Ruddick continued the line of thinking by pulling up a PBS logo, then showing an altered version so that it looked like one of the faces in the logo was smoking a marijuana joint.

When Lewandowski looked confused, Ruddick explained that PBS was owned by the “biggest force in politics,” the “Rastafarian lobby.”

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“I wouldn’t know anything about that,” Lewandowski replied, looking bewildered.

“The Rastafarian lobby is behind a lot of the major military decisions of the last 30 years,” Ruddick explained while Lewandowski listened. “The invasion of Iraq as because the Rastafarian lobby, their leader, Gen. Robert Marley suggested that they had — they developed over 45,000 Buffalo soldiers. These dreadlocked Rastas who were marching through Africa into the heart of America, and then the plan was to take them into Iraq.”

“I don’t know if that qualifies as conclusive evidence. I’ve never seen that before,” Lewandowski told him.

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Barstool Sports Chief Tells 20-Year-Old Female Staffer She Will Look Too ‘Gross’ for On-Camera Work in 5 Years

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy had an uncomfortable moment on his SiriusXM radio show Wednesday after telling a 20-year-old female employee that she would be too “gross” to appear on air in five years and that people would vomit at the sight of her.

“She’s not going to be able to put her face in front of a camera in five years because people will throw up,” Portnoy said of Ria Ciuffo. “There is no apology coming for that.”

An outraged Ciuffo demanded one anyway.

Also Read: Barstool Sports Defends Corey Lewandowski’s ‘Womp Womp’ Comments

“I work on camera and you’re saying in five years I won’t even be able to have a job. I want to be working here in five years. I want to be on camera. I want to stay here,” she said. “That is horrible. That is really horrible.”

Portnoy then suggested she might have to consider working behind the camera.

Show co-hosts Kevin Clancy and Liz Gonzales were on Ciuffo’s side, meekly urging Portnoy to retreat from the statement.

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The Barstool founder dug in, however, saying that it was just a joke and one that he would make to any male. He added that he wouldn’t allow women any special exemption from his particular brand of humor.

“It’s obviously a f–ing joke,” he insisted. “Honestly if you’re going to cry, walk your f–ing ass out the door. That’s how we built this company. So people want girls and guys treated the same? They are.”

Portnoy has increasingly become a lightning rod for his provocative brand of bro-centric content. Just last week, he offered a defense of Corey Lewandowski’s infamous “womp womp” moment on Fox News on the grounds that it was humorous.

“It’s laugh-out-loud funny when he does it,” said Portnoy. “To use the womp womp womp right there. That’s an all-time womp womp womp.”

The news was first reported by Deadspin.

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Andy Richter Shreds CNN Over Corey Lewandowski Appearance: ‘Appalling and Shameful’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Andy Richter apparently isn’t afraid to bite the hand that feeds — or at least a finger of the hand that feeds.

“Conan” announcer and sidekick Richter tore into CNN on Friday, calling it “appalling and shameful” that the news network would continue to allow former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on the air, after he responded to a story about a child with Down Syndrome being separated from her parents by saying, “womp, womp.”

Richter issued his condemnation despite CNN and his own network, TBS, sharing a parent company in Turner.

Also Read: Barstool Sports Defends Corey Lewandowski’s ‘Womp Womp’ Comments

“I work (happily) for Turner, and I find it appalling and shameful that @CNN is still having Corey Lewandowski on their air after his repulsive insult towards disabled children,” Richter began.

“No mealy-mouthed explanation makes it okay. Wrong is wrong,” he concluded.

Lewandowski tried to dismiss criticism of the administration’s policy of separating immigrant families during a Fox News interview Tuesday by mocking a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who had been separated from her mother after illegally crossing the border.

Also Read: Corey Lewandowski Dropped by Speech Bookers After ‘Womp Womp’ Uproar (Report)

“I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage,” Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist, said on during the Fox News panel discussion about the administration’s new immigration policy.

Lewandowski interjected by saying “womp, womp,” as he rolled his eyes.

On Wednesday, Lewandowski returned to Fox News to defend his reaction, saying that he was mocking Petkanas.

Also Read: Corey Lewandowski Doubles Down on ‘Womp Womp’ Comment Mocking Child With Down Syndrome

“I was mocking Zac, a liberal Democrat national committee activist who is doing nothing but politicizing the issue of making an example of one particular child,” he said, while also noting that he didn’t personally mention the young girl or family in question.

On Thursday, Richter reacting to a tweet asking CNN and “Cuomo Prime Time” host Chris Cuomo why they were continuing to have Lewandowski on the air.

“EXCELLENT QUESTION @CNN,” Richter responded.

TheWrap has reached out to CNN for comment.

I work (happily) for Turner, and I find it appalling and shameful that @CNN is still having Corey Lewandowski on their air after his repulsive insult towards disabled children. No mealy-mouthed explanation makes it okay. Wrong is wrong.

– Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) June 22, 2018

EXCELLENT QUESTION @CNN https://t.co/m0BsMjW1FL

– Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) June 22, 2018

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Barstool Sports Defends Corey Lewandowski’s ‘Womp Womp’ Comments

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Barstool Sports defended Corey Lewandowski’s widely derided “womp womp” moment. In the latest episode of the site’s show “Barstool Rundown,” Barstool’s Dave Portnoy, Sam Bozoian and Dan Katz said that regardless of what you think of what Lewandowski said, the moment was still funny.

“It’s laugh-out-loud funny when he does it,” said Portnoy. “To use the womp womp womp right there. That’s an all-time womp womp womp.”

“That is an all-time womp womp womp and the reply made me laugh even harder when the guy said ‘how dare you, how dare you. sir. Any time someone drops a sir,” added Katz. “He’s a terrible person, but you can still laugh at how ridiculously out of touch that was. “

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“Funny trumps everything,” said Bozoian after running some B-roll of Rachel Maddow crying. “We’ve said that here forever.”

The former Trump campaign manager spent much of this week doing damage control after saying “womp womp” in response to the news that a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome has been taken from her parents at the U.S. border. Lewandowski later explained on Fox News that his only intention was to mock the other guest on set, Democratic operative Zac Petkanas.

“I was mocking Zac, a liberal Democrat national committee activist who is doing nothing but politicizing the issue of making an example of one particular child,” he told Fox News host Sandra Smith Wednesday. “My comments were specifically about Zac trying to politicize the use of children as a political football in this discussion because the law is very clear.”

That explanation wasn’t enough however for Lewandowski’s speaker’s bureau, which dropped the Trump operative from its website on Thursday.

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Corey Lewandowski Dropped by Speech Bookers After ‘Womp Womp’ Uproar (Report)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Corey Lewandowski has been dropped by his speakers bureau, Leading Authorities, Inc., CNN reported on Thursday, noting that his name and information had been removed from the bureau’s list of speakers.

The decision represents a first sign of fallout to hit the former Trump campaign chairman since he dismissed the president’s policy of separating undocumented migrant families at the U.S. border on live television with a sad trombone “womp womp.”

Several public figures earn sizable pay days by booking speeches through groups like Leading Authorities — and the move should hit Lewandowski squarely in his pocket book.

During an interview on Fox News Tuesday, Lewandowski tried to dismiss criticism of the administration’s policy of separating immigrant families by mocking a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who had been separated from her mother after illegally crossing the border.

“I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage,” Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist, said during the panel discussion about the administration’s new immigration policy.

Lewandowski, who is also a frequent TV commentator, interjected by saying, “womp, womp,” as he rolled his eyes.

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Lewandowski came in for withering criticism from Democrats and Republicans for the moment that took place on Fox News earlier this week during an appearance with host Martha MacCallum and Democratic operative Zac Petkanas.

“I was mocking Zac, a liberal Democrat national committee activist who is doing nothing but politicizing the issue of making an example of one particular child,” he told Fox News host Sandra Smith Wednesday. “My comments were specifically about Zac trying to politicize the use of children as a political football in this discussion because the law is very clear,”

He also tweeted, saying the story was “fake news.”

“Lots of Fake News today,” he said. I mocked a liberal who attempted to politicize children as opposed to discussing the real issue which is fixing a broken immigration system. It’s offenseive that the MSM doesn’t want to talk about the fact these policies were started under Obama.”

Lots of Fake News today. I mocked a liberal who attempted to politicize children as opposed to discussing the real issue which is fixing a broken immigration system. It’s offenseive that the MSM doesn’t want to talk about the fact these policies were started under Obama.

— Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) June 20, 2018

The outrage has not abated however, and T-Mobile, which also employs Lewandowski has also come under pressure to cut ties with him.

A rep for Leading Authorities did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

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Stephen Colbert: Corey Lewandowski Hung Out To Dry By Donald Trump’s “Sudden Ethical Backpedal”

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Seth Meyers: Trump ‘Concocts Racist Lies, Uses Dehumanizing Language to Justify Cruelty Towards Immigrants and Outsiders’

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For the third night in a row, there was just one topic on the minds of politically minded late night hosts: Donald Trump’s policy that demands that immigrant children be separated from their families at the border. After a week of pretending that this was Congress’s problem, Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order that maybe/sorta will end the practice. But Seth Meyers Wednesday night wanted to make sure you don’t give Trump too much credit for this move.

“Let’s be clear about one thing: you don’t get credit for solving a problem when you’re the one who created the problem,” Meyers said in a new “A Closer Look” segment on Wednesday’s “Late Night.” “You can’t eat half a cheeseburger, put it down, and say you’re a vegan. Especially when everyone knows you’re just waiting for people to stop paying attention so you can finish your cheeseburger. Now whether it’s the birther lie, or the ‘Mexicans are rapists’ lie, or the idea that Democrats are responsible for separating families, Trump’s paranoid fantasies are a Rosetta Stone for understanding what’s happening right now.”

During the segment, Meyers recapped the past week of madness, which included Trump and his people saying over and over that the family separation policy was actually something that Congress, and the Democrats specifically, would have to deal with. And also the various Trump supporters on Fox News acting like the outrage over Trump’s policy was over nothing and claiming it’s no big deal that children were being locked in detention centers.

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This is all, Meyers said, just what Trump does.

“The throughline of Trump’s political career is blindingly clear. He concocts racist lies, uses dehumanizing language to justify cruelty towards immigrants and outsiders,” Meyers said. “t wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a law. it was a choice by Trump and his supporters. And lest you have any doubt at all about how the people who support this policy really feel, here is Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, on Fox News last night.”

The clip in question, which went viral Tuesday night saw Fox News panelist Zak Petkanas bring up the story of a 10 year old girl with Down syndrome, only to be interrupted by a “womp womp” from Lewandowski.

Also Read: Kimmel Calls out Trump for ‘BS’ Immigration Rhetoric: ‘When Did Donald Trump Start Caring About Laws?’

“Man, I thought when you showed a dick on TV, you had to blur it,” Meyer quipped, as this image appeared on screen next to him:

“You know, something you hear a lot on days like today, or days like yesterday, is ‘this is not who we are.’ But it is who we are right now,” Meyers said as he was closing the segment.

“It might change tomorrow, or the day after that. But today we are this. And you personally may not be this, but who we are is too often decided by those in power. Which is why you vote. So remember, if you want who we are to match with who you are, you have to get up early and vote next chance you have.”

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You can watch all of the “A Closer Look” segment from Wednesday’s episode of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in the video embedded at the top of this post.

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Corey Lewandowski Doubles Down on ‘Womp Womp’ Comment Mocking Child With Down Syndrome

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Corey Lewandowski was back on Fox News Wednesday to vigorously defend his “womp womp” reaction to news that a 10-year-old child with Down Syndrome had been separated from her parents at the U.S. border as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy for immigrants entering the country without paperwork.

The former Trump campaign manager insisted that he was only mocking Democratic operative Zac Petkanas, who had raised the example of the girl, and that everyone was politicizing the issue.

“I was mocking Zac, a liberal Democrat national committee activist who is doing nothing but politicizing the issue of making an example of one particular child,” he said, while also noting that he didn’t personally mention the young girl or family in question.

Also Read: Corey Lewandowski Defends ‘Womp Womp’ Comment: ‘I Mocked a Liberal Who Attempted to Politicize Children’

“My comments were specifically about Zac trying to politicize the use of children as a political football in this discussion because the law is very clear,” he told Fox News host Sandra Smith on Wednesday morning.

He refused to apologize for his sad-trombone remark.

Lewandowksi reiterated the same refrain on Twitter, calling the story — what else? — fake news.

“Lots of Fake News today. I mocked a liberal who attempted to politicize children as opposed to discussing the real issue which is fixing a broken immigration system,” he tweeted. “It’s offenseive [sic] that the MSM doesn’t want to talk about the fact these policies were started under Obama.”

Lots of Fake News today. I mocked a liberal who attempted to politicize children as opposed to discussing the real issue which is fixing a broken immigration system. It’s offenseive that the MSM doesn’t want to talk about the fact these policies were started under Obama.

— Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) June 20, 2018

Lewandowski’s defense of the family separation policy on Fox News comes amid rising anger over the subject from both Democrats and Republicans.

On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen held a contentious press briefing at the White House where she too defended the policy. On Tuesday evening, she was heckled out of a Mexican restaurant by pro-immigration activists chanting that she was a fascist.

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Corey Lewandowski Defends ‘Womp Womp’ Comment: ‘I Mocked a Liberal Who Attempted to Politicize Children’

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Corey Lewandowski Responds With ‘Womp, Womp’ to Story About Girl With Down Syndrome Separated From Her Mother (Video)

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Corey Lewandowski tried to dismiss criticism of the administration’s policy of separating immigrant families during a Fox News interview Tuesday by mocking a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who had been separated from her mother after illegally crossing the border.

“I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage,” Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist, said on during the Fox News panel discussion about the administration’s new immigration policy.

Lewandowski, a former Trump campaign manager and frequent TV commentator, interjected by saying “womp, womp,” as he rolled his eyes.

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“Did you just say ‘womp, womp’ to a 10-year-old with Down syndrome being taken from her mother?” Petkanas asked incredulously. “How dare you!”

Lewandowski tried to recover but was downed out by Petkanas.

According to the Washington Post, the girl in question was sent to a Texas shelter even though Mexican authorities said that her father, a legal U.S. resident, lived an hour away down the highway.

Also Read: Fox News Stands by Laura Ingraham Amid Boycott Effort Over Immigration Policy Comments

This is the second time in less than 24 hours that Fox News has come under fire for incendiary on-air remarks. On Tuesday, Parkland student David Hogg called for an advertiser boycott against Fox News personality Laura Ingraham, after she compared detention centers to “summer camp.”

Reps for Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

.@Zac_Petkanas says on Fox News a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome was separated from her mother at the border.

Corey Lewandowski responds: “Womp womp.” pic.twitter.com/cZMXWmwbjw

— Jon Passantino (@passantino) June 19, 2018

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Director Michael Apted Accused of 1985 Sexual Assault – He Cites Calendar to Deny It (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Michael Apted, a filmmaker known for female-empowerment dramas, is defending himself against an accusation of sexual assault with a 33-year-old calendar.

Film executive Rhonda Talbot told TheWrap that in 1985, the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” director invited her to his hotel room in Paris to look at some photos. There, she said, he took off his clothes, pinned her to the bed and tried to rape her. She said she only escaped by kneeing him in the groin.

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“He chased me out the door, still naked, saying: ‘Stop resisting! Stop resisting!,” she said.

She has corroboration from two friends and a psychoanalyst who treated her, all of whom say they remember her telling them decades ago that Apted attacked her.

But she did not come forward until this month, when she spoke at length with TheWrap – motivated, she said, by Apted’s recent comments calling the #MeToo movement “hysterical.” When TheWrap approached Apted for comment, his attorneys provided images of calendar entries and other information that they say discredit Talbot’s account. (TheWrap has no way of verifying the calendar’s authenticity.)

Apted’s calendar shows that the director, now 77, had five meals with Talbot in the seven months after she said she kneed him in the groin to stop a sexual assault.

Apted’s attorneys, including Marty Singer, say there are flaws in Talbot’s account — including her assertion that she saw the Rolling Stones with Apted.

Another detail of her story is clearly wrong: She said she watched an orchestra record the score for Apted’s film “Gorillas in the Mist,” just months after the 1985 interaction with Apted. But the score wasn’t recorded until nearly three years later.

“It is clear that Ms. Talbot has materially changed her story when she was challenged on the specific details thereof,” Singer wrote in a letter to TheWrap.

But memories are imperfect on both sides. A couple of hours before he dug up the 33-year-old calendar, Apted said he didn’t remember meeting Talbot at all, or even know who she was.

“None of this makes any sense to me,” he told TheWrap, when first asked about the accusation. “The name doesn’t mean anything to me.”

‘You’ll Be Like an Uncle’

Apted is perhaps best known for the “Up” series of documentaries, which began in 1964 with interviews of British schoolchildren. Every seven years since, he has checked in to see how their lives have changed.

The director is widely respected by fellow filmmakers, in part for his empathetic, female-driven dramas. Sigourney Weaver received an Oscar nomination for his 1988 film “Gorillas in the Mist.” He has served as president of the Directors Guild of America and as a governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This month, the guild named him an honorary life member, and he presently serves as DGA’s secretary-treasurer.

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He was already well-known for “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and other films when he crossed paths with Talbot at a party for their mutual friend, journalist Ann Louise Bardach, at her Beverly Hills home in early 1985. His calendar says it was on Feb. 8, 1985, but Talbot and Bardach said it was in April.

Bardach said she remembers that Talbot caught Apted’s eye, and that he asked about her. Talbot was in her twenties, looking to break into the business. He was in his 40s, which felt “ancient” to her at the time, Talbot said.

Bardach told TheWrap she believes she was the one who gave Apted Talbot’s number after introducing them at her birthday party. Talbot said she got a call from Apted a week or so later and she eagerly accepted — thinking it would be about business, she said.

Polaroid of Rhonda Talbot on the night she says she met Michael Apted

Apted’s diary said they first met for drinks on Feb. 28, 1985, then had dinner on March 21 and March 23. She remembers only two lunches. At one, she said, she sensed him putting out a “romantic vibe.”

“Every time I’d try to talk about work, he’d change the subject or compliment me on my eyes,” she said.

Apted drove her home, she said, and without warning, “lunged” at her before she exited his car.

“He moves over and pulls me into a kiss,” she said. He stuck his tongue down her throat, and she pulled away, she said.

“I apologized for not kissing him,” she said. “I felt guilty because he was older and wiser and much more important than me.”

She said Apted assured her that everything was “fine,” and that she believed him.

She said she told him: “You’ll be like an uncle.”

Apted said he remembers nothing like that happening.

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Sting or Stones

Talbot said she bumped into Apted a few months later on a work trip to Paris — Apted’s calendar shows he was there from May 9-28 – and that both happened to be staying at the Hotel Raphael.

“It was great to see him,” she said. “I was by myself in a foreign place, didn’t really speak the language and had been away from home for a long time.”

She initially told TheWrap that Apted was working on a Rolling Stones documentary, but he said that is impossible: He was working on the Sting documentary “Bring on the Night,” released later that year, and didn’t make his Rolling Stones documentary until 2002. (It was never released.)

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Talbot said Apted invited her to see the Stones perform. Though the band recorded the “Dirty Work” album in Paris around that time, Apted’s attorney said they gave no live performances.

“Ms. Talbot did not attend any movie shoot with Mr. Apted,” Singer said in his letter to TheWrap. “For if she had, she would certainly know the difference between The Rolling Stones and Sting.”

Asked about this, Talbot said it was possible she had seen Sting, not the Stones – and that she didn’t have a strong memory because she wasn’t a big fan of either at the time.

What she says she does remember clearly, however, is Apted inviting her to his room to see the photographs.

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“It was all very professional,” she said. He offered her a Perrier, and things soon turned, she said. He suddenly tried to kiss her, she said, and pinned her to the sofa.

“He’s big,” Talbot said, “and I’m little so I squirmed my way out of there and as I’m looking for my purse, I grab it. I’m a little freaked out. I turn around and he was completely naked. It was so fast, I was shocked.”

Talbot said that Apted blocked her exit, telling her: “I know you good girls, deep down all you want is to be taken.”

“And that’s when he grabbed me naked with his huge arms and threw me down on the bed and got on top of me, telling me to ‘relax,’ and ‘stop resisting! Stop resisting! You just need to relax!,’” she said.

She said he had a “bear grip,” and he became angrier as she struggled. She was face down, and he ran his hands up her thighs and under her skirt, then flipped her over, she said.

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“It was an opening,” she said, “and I just kneed him in the groin.”

She said she fled and he still yelled after her: “Stop resisting!”

Apted said he had never said anything like that, to Talbot or anyone else. He also said no one had ever kneed him in the groin to end a sexual encounter.

“I’m sure I would remember that,” he said.

The Score

She didn’t go to the police.

“I was in his hotel room,” Talbot said. “I was hanging out with him. Who would believe me? And also, this was my first work trip, there was no way in hell I was going to make problems. I felt like I would get blamed and that my company would see me as ineffective.”

She initially told TheWrap he invited her to the “Gorillas in the Mist” recording a few months later. In fact, as Apted noted, the recording took place in 1988, the year of the film’s release. She said she made it clear there was “nothing romantic” and that she had a boyfriend, but that as they watched the orchestra, Apted nonetheless put his hand on her lower back.

That was when she knew a professional relationship would be impossible, she said.

Apted says she wasn’t there.

A photocopy of Michael Apted’s calendar provided to TheWrap by his attorney

But his calendar says they met for dinner on June 17, 1985 — about a month after she said she kneed him in the groin to escape an assault — and then for lunches on July 16, Sept. 4, Sept. 14, and Jan. 17 of the following year, 1986.

“That Ms. Talbot would choose to dine with Mr. Apted on five separate occasions only a month after he allegedly forced himself on her in a Paris hotel room simply makes no sense,” Singer’s letter argues. “It is not plausible that she would accept an invitation to see him even one more time if he had acted as she alleges.”

“That’s a lot of lunch,” Talbot told TheWrap. “It’s possible I had a lunch with him, but five times? That is a stretch. … It’s possible, but I don’t remember them.”

Singer’s letter said it would not make sense that “Mr. Apted would invite Ms. Talbot to a film scoring sessions after she allegedly rebuffed his advances and kneed him in the groin, whether it be three months or three years prior.”

Given the differences in their accounts, TheWrap sought comment from others who spoke with them around the time in question.

‘Not a Whisper of Misconduct’

Producer David Manson, who worked with Apted on the Sting documentary, said in a statement to TheWrap that he “was on location for the entire period of the shoot and spent a great deal of time with Mr. Apted throughout.”

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“During the shoot, I do not remember seeing him accompanied by any woman in a social context. In the thirty-three years since, I have subsequently worked with Mr. Apted and have never heard a whisper of misconduct.”

Singer’s letter said that the editor of “Gorillas in the Mist,” Stuart Baird, had no memory of Apted having any “female guest” present during the scoring or editing.

Talbot said she discussed the situation with other women decades ago. She has receipts (pictured left) for at least 41 group sexual assault therapy sessions and two individual sessions between 1992 and 1993. The receipts indicate she attended 35 of the sessions.

Talbot’s therapist, Dr. Arlene Drake, spoke to TheWrap with Talbot’s permission. She said she remembered Talbot saying Talbot had tried to rape her, and remembered his name because he was a famous director. She said she diagnosed Talbot with depression and post-traumatic stress.

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“People think, ‘Oh well, nothing really happened. She didn’t really get raped,” Drake said. “But that trauma of being held down and not knowing what will happen next, that’s a very traumatic experience. It’s like being in a war and coming out alive, you’re still traumatized.”

One friend of Talbot’s, Nancy Rowe, told TheWrap that Talbot told her about Apted roughly eight months after the Paris trip.

“It happened in a hotel room and she got out by the skin of her teeth and she had to kick the guy in the groin to get out of it. I may have laughed a little bit, because it was just like in the movies… but because she got out without getting raped, we could just cheer her on.”

Another friend, who asked not to be named, said Talbot told her about Apted in 1991.

“I remember it was in Paris. I remember the part about him standing naked, blocking the door, because I was horrified by it,” she said, adding that she had been a fan of Apted’s until Talbot told her the story.

Singer noted that Talbot’s ex-husband, Jeff Kober, acted in an Apted film, the Jennifer Lopez drama “Enough,” in 2002, about a decade after they divorced.

“Presumably, while they were married, Ms. Talbot would have told her husband about the alleged assault and he would have had reservations about working with Mr. Apted as a result,” Singer wrote.

Kober told TheWrap that Talbot had told him in 1986 that something happened in Paris with Apted, but had not gone into specifics.

‘Hysterical’

Rhonda Talbot, June 2017

Talbot hadn’t planned to come forward — until she read Apted’s recent comments about the #MeToo movement.

“It seems to be hysterical at the moment and it seems to be flooding at you all the time. Clearly there were serious goings on, and there was some bad behavior. But I think it will settle down,” Apted told Variety in November. “Once we are through the first blood of it — you know, everybody is hysterical about it now and rightly so — there has to be a pattern of behavior that is civilized and proper and not ridiculous.”

“That made me mad,” Talbot said. “The way they phrased it. When he said it seemed to be ‘hysterical,’ that’s a trigger word for me. It seemed like he was trying to downplay it… He sounded like someone who had no expectations of real change: ‘Let the girls settle down and things will get to normal soon enough,’ that’s how I read it. How could he say that?”

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Joy Villa on Sexual Assault Accusation Against Corey Lewandowski: ‘This Is a Crime’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

.@Joy_Villa after accusing Corey Lewandowski of sexual assault: “I really want an apology…I don’t want to keep dragging his name through the mud.” pic.twitter.com/4gb0Y6vCsz

— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 29, 2017

Joy Vila is not standing down.

The pro-Trump singer who filed a report with police in Washington, D.C., after accusing the president’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of slapping her butt at a party last month, told “Good Morning America” on Friday she had been a victim of “sexual assault.”

“This is a crime that was committed against me,” Villa said of the incident she said happened in November at the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital. “I really want an apology.”

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Villa said it was her original intention to file a sexual harassment complaint but was informed by law enforcement that the conduct she described was actually sexual assault.

“I was scared. I thought I don’t want to cause any ruckus. I don’t want to create any bad press based around the president,” Villa said when asked why she didn’t come forward earlier. “I want this to be resolved in a manner that all of us can come out feeling good about it. I don’t want to keep dragging [Corey’s] name through the mud.”

“GMA” Reporter Paula Faris also pressed Villa about cellphone video first surfaced by TheWrap on Thursday showing the singer slapping the behind of a man she met at another party in Las Vegas on an unknown date.

The man, George Harris, told ABC News the moment was not consensual.

Singer @Joy_Villa accuses Corey Lewandowski of sexual assault for allegedly slapping her butt at a Nov. 28 holiday party. “I was shocked and embarrassed.” pic.twitter.com/T0XwGxCRdP

– Good Morning America (@GMA) December 29, 2017

“I was being stupid it was at a party in Las Vegas, and I did stop,” said Villa. “If I offended George, you know, I totally apologize, and I’ve made it clear. I reached out to his best friend. I’ve talked it over. I said listen, ‘If this offended you, I’m sorry.’ I’ve owned up to it. It’s wrong.”

Villa dodged questions on whether she believed the numerous women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct over the years.

Watch above.

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Corey Lewandowski Buttocks ‘Smack’ Accuser Files Police Report

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A woman who has accused President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, of inappropriate touching has filed a police report.

Joy Villa, a singer who memorably wore a “Make America Great Again” dress to the Grammy Awards in February, filed a sexual assault report — obtained by TheWrap — with the Metropolitan Police Department the day before Christmas. Villa said Lewandowski slapped her on her buttocks twice at a recent party — even after she objected.

“I don’t regret that I came forward, even though I was fearful and ashamed to at first,” Villa told TheWrap. “I was shocked by his behavior, but even more so by his reaction after I asked him to stop.”

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Villa told Politico on Friday that Lewandowski slapped her on the backside at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in late November.

According to Villa, she and a friend were at an invitation-only party to celebrate the president’s first year in office when another guest pushed her towards Lewandowski for a photo. She said it was then that Lewandowski slapped her rear end.

“I said, ‘Watch it,’” she told Politico. “‘Half-joking, I said, ‘I can report you for sexual harassment.’”

But Lewandowski’s response, she said, was more of the same.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, I work in the private sector,’” Villa recalled. “Then he smacks my ass again.”

Villa told TheWrap she thought about filing a report on Lewandowski following the incident but was too afraid to come forward until recently.

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“I didn’t file that night because Lewandowski has a lot of power and influence, and I was terrified of what he might do for my potential congress run,” she said.

On Twitter, Villa posted a photo which she says was taken just moments before the alleged incident.

“Here’s the photo of @CLewandowski_ seconds before he slapped my ass, I told him to stop, and then he did it again,” she wrote. “I was shocked and embarrassed by his behavior.”

Here’s the photo of @CLewandowski_ seconds before he slapped my ass, I told him to stop, and then he did it again. I was shocked and embarrassed by his behavior. https://t.co/61EYvOG4e9 pic.twitter.com/a8NgLnvCEZ

— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) December 23, 2017

A person who chose to remain anonymous, told TheWrap that they witnessed the incident and that it happened as Villa has described.

“I cannot stay silent when this happened to me, in full public view,” Villa told TheWrap. “No one should abuse their power to take liberties like this. He is at fault, not me, not the president, not anyone else.”

“If my story can help other women and men come forward and help put an end to this ugliness, it’s worth it,” she continued.

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In March 2016, while still serving as Trump’s campaign manager, Lewandowski was charged with simple battery after a reporter for Breitbart News, Michelle Fields, accused him of violently grabbing her arm at a campaign event.

The charges were eventually dropped.

Lewandowski was fired from the Trump campaign in June. He is currently promoting his tell-all book “Let Trump Be Trump,” which gives an insider’s perspective of Trump’s run for office and how every person involved in the campaign became, at one point or another, a target of his wrath.

TheWrap reached out to Lewandowski through his publishers and speaking engagement reps, but didn’t immediately receive a response.

“Every other man at that party was a gentleman and I’ve never seen anything but courteous and graceful behavior from my fellow Trump supporters and campaigners,” Villa said. “Corey Lewandowski has betrayed our trust, and behaved unethically and shamefully.”

Rosemary Rossi contributed to this report. 

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