13 Times Kanye West Fanned Flames of Political Strife (Photos)

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Hurricane Katrina Controversy – Sept. 2005
During a televised NBC benefit concert for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Kanye West seemed to have gone off-script and made the broadcast an opportunity to call out former GOP president George W. Bus…

Ebay Says Amazon ‘Illegally’ Poached High-Value Sellers in New Lawsuit

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Ebay is suing Amazon, claiming the e-commerce giant illegally leveraged its internal messaging service to poach high-value sellers.

The “startling” scheme was orchestrated by hundreds of Amazon reps with ties to the company’s Seattle headquarters, eBay said in its lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Jose, California.

“For years, and unbeknownst to eBay, Amazon has been engaged in a systematic, coordinated effort to infiltrate and exploit eBay’s proprietary M2M system on eBay’s platform to lure top eBay sellers to Amazon,” eBay said in the suit.

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Ebay’s M2M system is the company’s member-t0-member emailing system and it claims that Amazon representatives “violated” its user agreement, which prohibits its M2M system from being used to lure sellers away. Amazon employees often recruited eBay sellers within five minutes of opening accounts, the lawsuit claims. Like Amazon, eBay relies on a network of independent sellers on its site.

Ebay, pointing to messages being nearly identical from several Amazon reps, said this was a “coordinated, targeted” attack “designed to inflict harm on eBay.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. The company told the Wall Street Journal it was conducting an investigation into eBay’s accusations.

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Ebay added that Amazon was often successful in poaching sellers. “Amazon’s clandestine efforts have borne fruit. Its representatives have discussed the success 0f their scheme with eBay seller prospects.” The lawsuit said Amazon violated California’s penal code and business and professions code, with eBay seeking monetary damages and a court order prohibiting Amazon from recruiting more of its sellers.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report. 

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Helen Mirren Is Really Sad ‘Star Wars’ Stormtroopers Have to Die: ‘They’re All Human’

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Helen Mirren has one criticism of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and is deeply concerned about the fate of some of the Stormtroopers in the “Star Wars” franchise.

“I saw [‘The Force Awakens’] and I thought they made a terrible mistake because they took the Stormtrooper’s hat off,” Mirren told The Los Angeles Times.

“There was this lovely young actor [John Boyega] — which means one of the Stormtroopers is a human being,” she added. “And if he’s a human, they’re all human. And you have been indiscriminately killing Stormtroopers for the last [six] ‘Star Wars’ movies without any consideration to their humanity!”

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Mirren will next star in the biographical thriller “Winchester” as Sarah Winchester, the heiress of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. She felt her family was cursed by the spirits of people who had been killed by Winchester rifles, and therefore famously built the Winchester House. A medium had told her that construction should never stop, otherwise she would join her dead husband. She continuously added more rooms to a house she bought in San Jose, California, working 24 hours a day, seven hours a week. Doors open into walls, and staircases lead into nowhere to confuse the ghosts, according to popular legend.

The Mansion has 160 rooms with 47 fireplaces, 40 stairways, 13 bathrooms and six kitchens.

See Video: Watch First Teaser for Helen Mirren’s Spooky ‘Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built’

Jason Clarke and Sarah Snook also star in “Winchester,” which is directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and will hit theaters on Feb. 2.

Read Mirren’s full interview here.

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NBA Finals: Can Cavs-Warriors ‘Three-Match’ Top Last Year’s Record Ratings?

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LeBron James restored glory to Titletown, USA, last year, when the Cleveland Cavaliers upset the favored Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. In doing so, the Cavs also enacted revenge, as the ballers from the Bay Area beat them for the Larry O’Brien Trophy a year earlier.

Tonight, a “three-match” tips off, as the two dominant pro-hoops squads do battle in a best-of-seven championship series yet again. No matter who hoists the hardware in the end, there will be one clear winner: ABC. But can the struggling broadcaster come anywhere near last year’s huge Nielsen TV ratings?

In a phrase, probably not — but here’s hoping. After all, this is Disney we’re talking about, and you can never discount magic.

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That’s exactly what the 2017 NBA Finals had going for them. The showdown went the full seven games, which is really the most important ingredient to the host network getting a smash hit.

Those extra contests are worth even more than better media markets would be, which is something ESPN’s sister network found out about last year. After all, while San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose is the sixth-largest market in America, Cleveland-Akron is down at No. 19.

In other words, in terms of potential tune-in, the last three years hasn’t exactly been Lakers-Knicks — but you won’t hear advertisers complaining.

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Plus, a long series breeds more interest from casual fans, the kind that are more interested in witnessing history and keeping up at the water-cooler than they are invested in the actual outcome of a few games.

Last year’s Game 7 hauled in 30.799 million total viewers, the most ever for a basketball game on ABC. Counting all networks, that was the largest overall audience since Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, way back when Michael Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls. He’d come back after trying his swing at baseball, but never wear red again.

All-told, the 2016 Finals on ABC averaged 20.166 million total viewers, making them the most-watched National Basketball Association championship series since that same Jordan triumph. One No. 23 keeping up with another.

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But the big question on Thursday is whether or not history can repeat itself, from a standpoint of both game quality and quantity. If the NBA’s two top teams prove to be as evenly matched as last year, then maybe. Even 2015’s performance would put smiles on the faces of ABC executives — that initial modern-day Cavs-Warriors match-up was the second most-watched NBA Finals on ABC. Not bad.

The problem this year is that new Warriors’ Kevin Durant could single handedly make this a five or six-game series, as opposed to seven. His inclusion — along with very different regular season records between the two teams — explains why Golden State is currently favored over the defending champs. They’ve also got home-court advantage.

The Cavs? Well, they’ve still got King James. And right now, he’s angry.

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Admittedly, last year had a little more oomph than this current one. After all, Cleveland hadn’t won a professional sports championship in 52 years, and prodigal son James had yet to make good on that big promise. Plus, Golden State had set a regular season record with 73 wins, besting Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls and setting up a David vs. Goliath-style scenario — one that ended up with a Biblical payoff.

To steal a final reference from the good book, we’ll find out soon enough if viewership for this year’s NBA Finals will fill up an entire ark, or simply a (last) supper table.

The 2017 NBA Finals tip off tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on ABC.

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Carrie Fisher’s Bulldog Gary to Make First Solo Public Appearance Since Her Death

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Gary Fisher is set to make his first solo public appearance since his beloved owner, Carrie, died in December.

The service dog belonging to the late “Star Wars” actress will be a VIP guest at the Silicon Valley Comic Con in San Jose, California, next weekend, according to People.

The French Bulldog is a red carpet veteran, having traveled around the world with his mom while she promoted 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and on the book tour for “Wishful Drinking” shortly before her death last December.

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Earlier this week, Gary was in Orlando for the annual “Star Wars Celebration Day,” posting a very happy photo from The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, on his Instagram.

Hello Orlando ???? #garyloveshisfans #garyfisher #garymisseshismom #garyloveshismom #garyinorlando2017

A post shared by Gary Fisher (@garyfisher) on Apr 12, 2017 at 10:53pm PDT

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Presented by Steve Wozniak, Silicon Valley Comic Con brings together America’s two greatest superheroes: Pop Culture and Technology, according to the event’s website.

Along with Gary, it also features top celebrities, comics, independent artists, cosplay, video games, consumer electronics, music and apps.

All proceeds from Gary’s appearance will go towards his upkeep.

SVCC 2017 will take place on Friday, April 21, 2017, through Sunday, April 23, 2017, at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California.

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