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London Prosecutor Calls Kevin Spacey ‘A Sexual Bully’ Who Preys On Men

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LONDON, England – A prosecution told jurors Friday at Spacey’s sexual assault trial in London that Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey got a rush from preying on other men and escalated his behavior from touchy-feely advances to violent fondling and worse.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Christine Agnew described Spacey as “a man who does not respect personal boundaries or space, a man who appears to delight in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable — a sexual bully.” “His preferred method of assault appears to be aggressively grabbing other men in the crotch.”

Kevin Spacey, 63, has pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges stemming from allegations made against him while working at London’s Old Vic Theatre from 2001 to 2013. Sexual assault, indecent assault, and inducing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent are among the charges.

Winner of two Academy Awards, Kevin Spacey, whose spectacular acting career was wrecked by sex assault claims, will go on trial this week in London, accused of sexual offenses.

The stakes are great for the American actor. A conviction might land him in prison, yet an acquittal could allow him to resume work.

Kevin Spacey, according to defense counsel Patrick Gibbs, disputed all claims of nonconsensual conduct and invited jurors to ask themselves as they listened to the evidence what, if anything, had happened when he was with the guys. He claimed the alleged victims had ulterior intentions and that Spacey had left himself vulnerable to opportunists by coming out as gay in 2020.

“What has been reimagined with a sinister spin?” Gibbs stated. “What has been fabricated or twisted, and why and when, because all of these allegations occurred a long time ago?”

He predicted jurors would hear truths, half-truths, purposeful exaggerations, and “many damned lies.”

Kevin Spacey leaned forward behind a dock window, wearing spectacles and dressed in a light grey suit, white shirt, and gold tie, eagerly listening as his lawyer presented a brief review of the case. After the prosecution has rested its case, Gibbs will make a longer opening statement.

From 2003 to 2015, he was the artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre. The four guys, now in their 30s or 40s, who have accused Spacey of sexual assault did not know each other, but all “had the misfortune to attract” his attention, according to Agnew.

kevin spacey

A prosecution told jurors Friday at Spacey’s sexual assault trial in London that Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey got a rush from preying on other men.

One victim claimed that Kevin Spacey repeatedly groped him against his will in the early 2000s, culminating in a day when he was driving and the actor, who had been drinking, grabbed his privates so firmly that it took his breath away and nearly drove him off the road. He warned Spacey not to do it again.

Kevin Spacey “laughed and commented that his getting angry simply turned him on,” according to Agnew.

As Agnew spoke, Spacey narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips, periodically scribbling notes in a huge black binder he took into court.

During a police interview last year, Kevin Spacey stated that he was “baffled and deeply hurt” by the charges made by someone he considered a friend. He said that the events had been recreated as lies.

Agnew claimed Spacey appeared to be convinced the men wouldn’t tell anyone — that the word of a celebrity would be more credible than that of a non-celebrity.

“None of the men wanted to be touched by Kevin Spacey… in a sexual way, but he doesn’t seem to have cared very much for their feelings,” the prosecutor added. “He did what he wanted to do for his own personal sexual gratification.”

Another man who claimed Spacey molested him at a charity event in 2005 told only one acquaintance about it before coming to the police in 2017.

“Kevin Spacey… was a star, a golden boy, as he put it,” said Agnew of the actor. “He wasn’t sure he’d be believed, and even if he was, he didn’t think he’d get any support.”

Spacey stated to the police that he had not done anything without consent. He admitted making a “clumsy pass” was “entirely possible and indeed likely,” but denied groping anyone’s crotch. He implied that some of the men were after money.

kevin spacey

A prosecution told jurors Friday at Spacey’s sexual assault trial in London that Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey got a rush from preying on other men.

In 2008, a young actor who claimed he sought help from Kevin Spacey ended up at his London flat drinking beer and smoking marijuana. He either fell asleep or passed out on the sofa and when he awoke, Spacey was having oral sex with him, according to Agnew.

The man in his early twenties claimed Spacey urged him not to tell anyone about what had happened or to reveal that he had been in Spacey’s flat. The man stated that he was shocked as Spacey held the door open for him to leave and that he then walked to a bus stop and cried.

He decided to speak with police in 2017 after reading about charges against Spacey in the United States, according to Agnew.

Kevin Spacey’s career was wrecked when sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him during the #MeToo movement. He was fired from Netflix’s political drama “House of Cards,” in which he portrayed Frank Underwood, a vicious and corrupt lawmaker who becomes president. He was deleted from the finished film “All the Money in the World,” the scenes with Christopher Plummer were reshot.

During the four-week trial in Southwark Crown Court, a jury of nine men and five women, including two alternates, will decide his fate. He is known by his full name, Kevin Spacey Fowler. The actor, who has homes in London and the United States, is on bail.

In the 1990s, Spacey rose to prominence as one of the most recognized performers of his generation, appearing in films such as “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “LA Confidential.”

 kevin spacey

A prosecution told jurors Friday at Spacey’s sexual assault trial in London that Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey got a rush from preying on other men.

He has received numerous prestigious acting honors for his theatre, film, and television work. He earned an Academy Award for supporting actor in “The Usual Suspects” in 1995 and a Best Actor Oscar in 1999 for his performance in “American Beauty.”

Kevin Spacey just had his first film appearance in several years, starring in 2022 in Italian filmmaker Franco Nero’s “The Man Who Drew God,” and as late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in the biopic “Once Upon a Time in Croatia.” He also has a role in the unreleased American film “Peter Five Eight.”

He has stated that he will be in high demand if he is acquitted.

“There are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges,” Spacey stated in a recent interview with Germany’s Zeit magazine.

Agnew informed jurors that they would have to assess the credibility of the victims and determine whether they were telling the truth or fabricating charges for financial gain.

“The prosecution suggests that Mr. Spacey… abused the power and influence that his reputation and fame afforded him,” Agnew said. “Taking what he wanted and who he wanted, when he wanted.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

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Reddit, the discussion board site noted for its constantly online user base and for sparking much internet debate, filed for its long-awaited initial public offering on Thursday.

This would make Reddit the first social media business to go public since Snapchat in 2017. The offering will include a twist that may allow some of the most ardent of its more than 70 million daily users to purchase shares in the IPO — something generally reserved for institutional investors.

reddit

Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

The company  claimed that top users can buy shares based on their “karma,” a term the network uses to describe its users’ contributions and reputation on the website.

“Our users feel a strong feeling of ownership over the communities they form on Reddit. We want this sense of ownership to translate into real ownership — for our users to be our owners’, co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman wrote in a Thursday filing letter. “Becoming a public company makes this possible.”

The company’s registration comes amid a dip in the overall IPO market, with Wall Street hoping that a blockbuster offering will help revitalise dealmaking.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the San Francisco-based company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the “RDDT.” The filing comes nearly three years after Reddit recruited its first CFO, and officials, including co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman, began publicly discussing the potential of an IPO to raise the company’s visibility.

Reddit, which has not been profitable, plans to expand its revenue through advertising, offering more e-commerce options, and licensing its data to other companies to train their artificial intelligence models.

“Our work to make Reddit faster, easier to use, easier to moderate and govern, and simpler to navigate and find relevant communities is driving growth today and will continue to be our focus into the future,” Ms. Huffman said.

The company was sold to media giant Condé Nast in 2006 by its co-founders Alexis Ohanian, who left the company in 2020, and Huffman, who now owns 3.3%. According to the IPO filing, the company’s top shareholders are currently Advance Publications (30.1%), which owns Condé Nast, Tencent (11%) from China, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (8.7%).

History of the ‘Front Page of the Internet’
The company, dubbed the “front page of the internet,” is a social media veteran; the firm was founded in 2005, the year college buddies Huffman and Ohanian graduated from the University of Virginia. It was the same year that Facebook became Facebook, YouTube released its first video, and Twitter (now known as X) launched.

Reddit’s 18-year history as an online social hub has witnessed tremendous growth, occasional controversy, and sometimes market-shifting pranks.

The network is well-known for its “subreddits,” which are distinct, user-generated discussion boards where users establish communities around various topics ranging from sports to politics to religion and everything in between. the company  users frequently post anonymously in these areas, debating topics ranging from memes to big news events.

reddit

Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

In 2021, Reddit created widespread market disruption when a community of day traders on the WallStreetBets platform began buying up GameStop shares in an attempt to harm hedge funds that bet against it. Many Redditors who joined the craze late suffered big losses.

Still, the episode highlighted the power of the company communities. Following the WallStreetBets incident, Reddit announced a fresh $250 million investment round, valuing the firm at $6 billion. It also declared plans to grow its workforce and enter overseas markets.

A significant user outcry earlier this year over a proposal to charge some third-party apps millions of dollars in fees to continue using the network brought the company back into the public eye. As a result, hundreds of the platform’s most popular subreddits were offline for weeks. The protest ended after Reddit threatened to expel forum moderators if the blackout continued.

Thursday’s filing provides the most extensive look yet at Reddit’s business, which aims to expand beyond the traditional ad-supported model on which other social networks still rely heavily.

The company  says it had more than 73 million daily active users in the latter three months of 2023, up from 52 million in 2021. In its filing, the company stated that the platform would have over 100,000 active communities by December 2023.

The company’s revenues in 2023 were $804 million, up 21% from $666.7 million in 2022. Reddit recorded a net loss of $90.8 million in 2023, less than the $158.6 million loss it experienced in 2022.

reddit

Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

While the company estimates its total addressable market in advertising to reach $1.4 trillion by 2027, it also stated in the filing’s risk factors statement that it has “a history of net losses and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future.”

The company  also announced intentions to increase revenue by selling data to AI startups and focusing on the “user economy.” The filing outlines a future goal to enhance e-commerce on the site and increase user incomes through the Reddit Contributor Programme and Reddit Collectible Avatars Creators Programme. According to the filing, these systems allow users to earn monetary gifts and prizes, from which the corporation may receive a share.

On Thursday, the company also announced an expanded cooperation with Google, which includes access to Reddit data to train Google’s AI models and improve the display of Reddit content across Google platforms.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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2024: Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

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Bridgit Mendler, known for appearing on Good Luck Charlie and other Disney productions, is venturing into new territory: space.

Disney has effectively launched the careers of major stars such as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. However, one former child actor who starred on the network is pursuing a different venture: a space corporation.

mendler

Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Bridgit, a 31-year-old singer and actor best known for her role as Teddy Duncan on the Disney Channel original series Good Luck Charlie, announced this week on X (formerly Twitter) that she is venturing into uncharted territory by launching Northwood Space, a California-based satellite data startup.

Bridgit will lead the company as CEO, while her husband, Gryphon Cleverly, whom she married in 2019, will serve as chief technical officer. “Expect the unexpected!” she posted on X, reacting to a CNBC reporter who broke the story.

According to Ari Eisenstat, the space programme director for the upcoming Texas Eclipse Festival, Bridgit’s venture into science “is a great example of space moving from the domain of governments to becoming accessible to everyone”. Eisenstadt adds that we should all look to “younger generations to see diverse entrepreneurs create social, economic, and environmental impact in the space community”.

According to Bridgit’s post on X, investors have already provided $6.3 million (£4.9 million) in preliminary funding for the startup to create “a data highway between Earth and space.” Mendler said, “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but that’s the fun part.”

While it may come as a surprise to her followers, Mendler has always had interests beyond performing. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016 and began working at the MIT Media Lab in 2017. She enrolled in the graduate programme in 2018 and will begin her doctorate in philosophy at MIT in 2020. The next year, Mendler enrolled at Harvard Law School.

mendler

Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Then, Mendler told CNBC that the seed of the Northwood idea was planted while she was in New Hampshire during the COVID-19 lockdown. “While everyone else was preparing their sourdough starts, we created antennae from whatever we could find at Home Depot. For me, the ground side is important because it brings the effects of space closer to people. However, it wasn’t until she started working at the Federal Communications Commission in 2022 that she understood her new path: she told CNBC it was when she “completely fell in love with space law”.

Mendler’s big news has her admirers excited to follow up, and her X announcement currently has over 23,000 likes. Northwood Space, which plans to mass-produce massive terrestrial antennas that connect to satellites in space, says: “The one-lane rickety road for space data needs to adapt to a ten-lane highway routing continuous traffic across the globe.”And, as a woman in science who changed careers to pursue her ambition, Mendler is likely to inspire other women to make timely career changes.

mendler

Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Laurie Bardon Syphard, an environmental science educator, says she’s impressed by Mendler’s credentials and is already excited about her new business. “My gut is telling me that she is going to go really far with this career in science and technology,” she adds, adding that the young scientist’s Disney admirers would most certainly keep an eye on her, especially given space is “one of the areas that just is exciting and inspires people”.

Mendler’s followers appear to agree and have taken to X to celebrate her continuous success. One fan wrote, “She’s Barbie. Like 12 different careers. Singer/songwriter, actor, Harvard PhD in law, MIT PHD student, startup CEO.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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Soccer Star Dani Alves Found Guilty Of Rape, Sentenced To Four And A Half Years In Prison

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Barcelona, Spain – Dani Alves, one of his generation’s most accomplished soccer players, was convicted of raping a woman in a Barcelona nightclub and sentenced to four years and six months in prison on Thursday.

The former Brazil and Barcelona right back was convicted in Spain under a new sexual liberty law that emphasizes the victim’s lack of agreement as the most important factor in assessing sex offences.

alves

Soccer Star Dani Alves was Guilty Of Rape, Sentenced To Four And A Half Years In Prison

A three-judge bench at the Barcelona Provincial Court convicted Alves, 40, of sexual assault for the event on December 31, 2022.

The court ordered Alves to pay the victim 150,000 euros ($162,000) in compensation and refrain from entering her home or workplace and communicating with her in any way for the next nine years.

“I still believe Mr. Alves is innocent,” Alves’ lawyer, Inés Guardiola, said. “I need to study the ruling, but I can tell you that of course we will appeal.”

Guardiola stated that Alves was “calm and collected” when he heard the verdict in court.

“We are satisfied,” David Sáenz, a member of the victim’s legal team, said, “because this verdict acknowledges what we have always known, that the victim told the truth and suffered.”

On Wednesday, Ester García, the victim’s lawyer, stated that she and her client would not be present for the verdict.

On the morning of December 31, 2022, the victim claimed Alves raped her at a Barcelona nightclub’s toilet. The court determined that the victim did not consent to sex and that, in addition to the defendant’s testimony, she was raped.

During his three-day trial last month, Alves denied raping the woman, telling the court, “I am not that kind of man.”

State prosecutors sought a nine-year prison sentence for Alves, while his accuser’s lawyers sought twelve years. His defence requested for his acquittal or, if found guilty, a one-year term and 50,000 euros in compensation for the victim.

The penalty of four years and six months is close to the minimum punishment for a rape conviction under Spanish law, which ranged from four to twelve years at the time of the incident. That has recently been changed to six to twelve years. In its punishment, the court stated that it favoured Alves since he had “before the trial paid the court 150,000 euros to be given to the victim without any conditions attached.”

alves

Soccer Star Dani Alves was Guilty Of Rape, Sentenced To Four And A Half Years In Prison

Sáenz stated that his legal team disagreed with the application of the extenuating situation, claiming that the money did not compensate for the harm done to their client. During the trial, medical experts testified that she had experienced post-traumatic stress.

“Clearly (it does not compensate), but that is what the court decided,” Sáenz told the court. “We have to examine the sentence to see if its contents are adequate for his acts.”

The state prosecutor’s office said it will review the verdict and decide whether to appeal.

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz expressed hope that the verdict “serves as an exemplary measure for all sexist behaviours that women suffer in all areas of our lives.”

The Alves case was the first high-profile sex crime after Spain revised its rules in 2022 to make consent key to defining a sex crime in response to a surge in protests following a gang rape case at the San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona in 2016.

The legislation, known as the “only yes means yes” law, defines permission as an unequivocal declaration of a person’s choice, emphasizing that silence or inactivity do not constitute consent. The statute, however, initially resulted in decreased terms for hundreds of sex offenders since it established lower minimum penalties, such as the one imposed on Alves, before being amended.

Irene Montero, the former equality minister who championed the “only yes means yes” statute, praised the decision.

“The sentence against Dani Alves plainly indicates that he committed sexual assault without the victim’s consent. It is the result of the feminist fight for sexual liberation and putting consent first,” she wrote on X, which was once Twitter.

alves

Soccer Star Dani Alves was Guilty Of Rape, Sentenced To Four And A Half Years In Prison

Guardiola’s defence during the trial was based on the film from nightclub security cameras, which she claimed showed the lady dancing “with sexualized movements” that “showed her interest” in Alves before the alleged attack.

García, the victim’s lawyer, stated at the end of the trial that the new statute rendered her client’s previous behaviour with Alves meaningless.

“I don’t care (how she was dancing); when she said ‘No’, she meant ‘No.’ “That is why the law was changed,” García explained. “The debate is no longer whether the victim put up resistance.”

Alves has been in jail since January 20, 2023. His bail requests were denied because the judge considered him a flight risk. Brazil does not extradite its citizens, who are condemned in other countries.

The woman told state authorities that she danced with Alves and willingly entered the nightclub bathroom, but when she wanted to leave, he refused to allow her. She claimed he slapped her, humiliated her, and forced her to engage in sexual encounters against her will.

A police officer who testified at the trial stated that the victim had to overcome her concern that “nobody would believe her” before formally accusing Alves. Another officer reported that the woman told him, “I don’t want money, I want justice.”

Alves changed his defence during the investigation while in detention, initially denying any sexual contact with her before confessing to consensual sexual intercourse. He claimed that not admitting to the encounter initially was an attempt to save his marriage.

During the trial, his defence concentrated on proving that Alves was drunk when he met the woman. However, the court did not consider this an extenuating circumstance in its ruling.

His conviction shatters Alves’ reputation as one of soccer’s greatest players.

Alves won titles with top clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain. He also helped Brazil win two Copa Americas and an Olympic gold medal at 38. He competed in his third World Cup, the only major trophy he has not won, in 2022. He played for Barcelona from 2008 until 2016, helping the club win three Champions and six Spanish titles, before briefly returning in 2022. He still has a home near the city.

He was detained while with the Mexican team Pumas. Pumas terminated his contract immediately.

Three days after his arrest, Alves was transported to the Brians 2 prison, located approximately 45 minutes northwest of Barcelona, for safety reasons. He has remained there ever since.

SOURCE – (AP)

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