Catherina Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are the epitome of awards season couples goals.
The posh pair hit the carpet at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, where Douglas was nominated once again for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on The Kominsky Method.
Douglas kept it classic in a black tuxedo, while his wife was positively shimmering in her plunging, platinum long-sleeved gown by Welsh designer Julien McDonald and JULIEN X GABRIELA. “I have a bit of Wales with me tonight again accompanying my wonderful husband on his nomination,” Zeta-Jones told ET’s Keltie Knight on the carpet. “I’m so proud of him.”
Douglas has been an awards show regular over the past two years as The Kominsky Method has been showered with nominations. But the 75-year-old actor told ET that he values “good work” above any award.
“You always appreciate good work and everybody’s working,” he said. “[We’ve got] great scripts. Chuck Lorre got nominated, ensemble cast, which is always a really nice honor for the actors together and Alan [Arkin]. So I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had a lot of fun, other than we’re East Coast people, the show’s out here, so it takes a little bit away from home.”
The couple also gushed to ET about their recent holiday travels with their kids, Dylan and Carys, to “Africa, India and Turkey,” and Zeta-Jones, a U.K. native, offered her opinion on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent decision to step back from royal life.
“Oh my gosh, I wish them the best in whatever they do,” she said. “I think happiness is the most important thing in life and whatever makes you happy.”
South Korean thriller “Parasite” was the upset winner at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards on Sunday, while Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger were named best actors, cementing their roles as frontrunners at the Oscars next month.
“Parasite,” the Korean language social satire about the wealth gap in South Korea, was the first film in a foreign language to win the top prize of best cast ensemble in the 26 year-history of the SAG awards.
Despite an unknown cast, it beat homegrown Hollywood movies “The Irishman” and “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” which both have A-list stars.
The SAG awards, which focus entirely on performances, are closely watched as an indicator of Oscar success because actors form the largest voting group in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho said backstage that no-one could predict what might happen at the Oscars on Feb. 9
Speaking through an interpreter he added; “It is true that the momentum is building and we are a part of the awards race and campaign. But what happened today, what’s truly important, is that these actors were acknowledged by fellow peers as the best ensemble cast of this year.”
Phoenix’s terrifying performance as a loner who finds fame through violence in “Joker” has swept awards season.
“I am standing on the shoulders of my favorite actor – Heath Ledger,” Phoenix said on Sunday, referring to the actor who won a posthumous Oscar in 2009 for his turn playing the comic book villain.
Zellweger, likewise, has picked up most of the prizes so far for her performance as a desperate, aging Judy Garland in biopic “Judy.”
Brad Pitt picked up another trophy for his supporting role as a charming stunt man in “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” while Laura Dern was named best supporting actress for playing a ruthless divorce lawyer in Netflix domestic drama “Marriage Story.”
“It was a difficult part,” quipped Pitt of his role. “A guy who gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn’t get on with his wife. It was a big stretch,” he said to laughter, riffing on his own life as a twice-divorced Hollywood heartthrob.
26th Screen Actors Guild Awards – Photo Room – Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 19, 2020 – The cast of “Parasite” poses backstage with their Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award. REUTERS/Monica Almeida
DISAPPOINTING NIGHT FOR ‘IRISHMAN’
Sexual harassment drama “Bombshell” went into Sunday’s awards with a leading four nods but emerged empty-handed.
Martin Scorsese’s $170 million Netflix gangster movie “The Irishman” had another disappointing night, despite a cast that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
Several of the contenders for best picture at the Oscars on Feb. 9 were not nominated for best movie cast ensemble at SAG.
Those left out include immersive World War One film “1917,” the big winner at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, as well as “Joker,” “Marriage Story,” and novel adaptation “Little Women.”
De Niro, whose lead performance in “The Irishman” has been snubbed by the Oscars, Golden Globes and SAG, was given a lifetime achievement award at the SAG dinner and used his speech to take a veiled shot at U.S. President Donald Trump.
In television, Jennifer Aniston was an upset winner for her role as a TV anchor in “The Morning Show,” bringing the second award this year for the new Apple TV+ streaming service. Her co-star Billy Crudup won a Critics Choice award last week.
Comedy “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” and British royal drama “The Crown” took the prizes for their TV ensemble casts. But “Mrs Maisel” actress Alex Borstein said the comedy prize should have gone to quirky British comedy “Fleabag.”
Moments earlier, “Fleabag” creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge accepted the best television comedy actress statuette, capping a year of multiple awards for her and the show.
“This whole thing has been a dream and if I wake up tomorrow and find it’s been just that, thank you. It’s been the most beautiful dream,” Waller-Bridge said.
Destin Daniel Cretton’s film “Just Mercy” gives a rare glimpse into how messed up our criminal justice system really is. Michael B. Jordan, “Black Panther” and “Creed” star, plays Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard lawyer from Delaware who relocates to Monroeville, Alabama to form the Equal Justice Initiative, a government-funded firm that provides Death Row inmates with fair legal representation.
Stevenson brilliantly documents this journey in his bestselling book of the same name, which many fans, including myself, feel should have been adapted to film a long time ago. But that is Stevenson; s you get to know him in the film or book, you’ll notice that he’s fully committed to the work and makes almost no reference to his personal life. You begin to feel that his work is his life: It’s extremely demanding, couldn’t be more urgent, and leaves little time for many of the extras that most of us deem relevant. Like a doctor, Stevenson’s work saves lives.
The film is centered around one of Stevenson’s most notable clients, Walter “Johnny D” McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx), an Alabama small business owner who was charged with murdering a white woman named Ronda Morrison. But this was based on evidence fabricated by white police officers who coerced a white criminal, Ralph Bernard Myers, to make up a story. As a result, McMillian was found guilty by an all-white jury and sentenced to death by a white judge.
The fact that no real evidence tying McMillian to the murder existed didn’t matter, or that the key witness was a criminal trying to cut a deal, or that his truck, that was supposedly spotted at the murder seen was in the shop having the transmission worked on or that many of McMillan’s family and friends, (even a police officer) were with him during the time of the murder didn’t matter. What mattered? The fact that McMillan had an affair with a white woman was enough for these racists to label him murderer and end his life. Like many in that situation would do, McMillian lost all hope. Unlike many in that situation, McMillan was granted a second chance at life, and how that happened is the most interesting part of the film.
The “Just Mercy” backstory and trailer clearly shows us that racism is a character in the film. We see or hear that Stevenson is a black man fighting for justice and racial equality in Alabama and think, wow, this guy must love pain. And then eventually knowing that Stevenson’s work freed a black man who was convicted of killing a white woman in the south, slightly injects some faith into our historically flawed system. But should it? Seeing Stevenson fight for McMillian on film and winning the battle should be inspiring; however, it depressed me because McMillian’s freedom was a miracle, an accident, or a combination of both.
Walter McMillian’s chances of becoming free were weaker than a house of cards next to an open window on a windy day. There were a number of impossible factors that all had to work in his favor that ultimately granted his freedom. These included:
The McMillian family: Walter McMillian had a family of believers. I have plenty of friends who are sentenced 10 or 20 years in jail and they feel doomed as soon as the judge slams the gavel. The visits normally stop after the first year, and the letters after the second. Pretty soon, they feel like they have they nothing to come home to and many start acting as such after losing those ties.
McMillian was mainly incarcerated because of an extramarital affair–– giving his wife every reason to split, but she didn’t. She supported him and worked with Stevenson, playing a role that was pivotal in achieving McMillian’s freedom.
Bryan Stevenson: Obviously Stevenson is the MVP. He never quit. McMillian had a paid lawyer prior to Stevenson, who sucked all of his family’s resources so there was no money left to pay another attorney. Stevenson was able to represent him for free, and for that, Stevenson received the cold shoulder from everyone in town, threats to his life, police harassment, and flat out hate that would make any lawyer quit, but he didn’t. He saw McMillian as a person who was innocent and deserved to be free –– something that many paid lawyers fail to do. If McMillian was still incarcerated in 2020 (he passed in 2013), I believe Stevenson would still be filing appeals. His work ethic was relentless; at the time he had already appealed over 100 cases for inmates on death row.
Ralph Bernard Myers: Myers had a change of heart. For a reason beyond me, Myers developed a conscious and realized the pain his lie caused the McMillian family. He was facing the death penalty and offered a chance to exchange that for 30 years if he lied against McMillian. Those lies tortured him to the point where he recanted his statement. Myers reversing his confession wasn’t enough to gain McMillian freedom; however, it garnered the attention needed for Stevenson to continue the fight and bring more attention to the case.
“60 Minutes”: Before going viral was a thing, McMillian’s case kind of went viral. Stevenson’s collection of evidence, statements from family and friends, Myers’ new testimony, and his growing reputation made for good television. Stevenson was able to compile all of that information and get “60 Minutes” to run a feature story.
That “60 Minutes” feature brought the kind of national attention needed to highlight the racist people involved in McMillian’s convection, the racist system McMillian had to go up against, and showed how trash the justice system in Monroeville, Alabama is.
If Myers had stayed silent, or Stevenson was a quitter or motivated by money, or if “60 Minutes” decided to run a different story, McMillian would have died in prison like so many other innocent people trapped in the system right now. Justice in America isn’t black and white or by the book or even based on case law–– it’s about money, attention and opportunity–– if you don’t have two out of three, you can easily rot in jail for a crime you did not commit, and no one will care.
A long time ago, Stevenson said, “You are better off being rich and guilty than being poor and innocent.”
Sadly, it’s 2020 and “Just Mercy” shows us that remains true.
Officially, twenty-one vehicles owned by the late actor Paul Walker raised $2.33 million at Arizona car auction.
The collection assembled by Walker posted strong results at the week-long Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, with an Alpine White 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight fetching the top single price of $385,000 in the final day of sales on Saturday. It was one of five such BMW lightweights, of which 126 were produced, sold at the auction.
Walker, an avid car enthusiast, was a passenger in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT driven by Roger Rodas when the vehicle careened into trees and a utility pole in Santa Clarita, northwest of Los Angeles, killing both men in November 2013. Walker was 40. Excessive speed was cited as the cause.
“People were clearly paying a premium for his cars,” said Jonathan Klinger, a spokesman for Michigan-based classic car insurer Hagerty. “With these prices, the late actor appears to be poised to become the next Paul Newman of celebrity car collectors.”
Klinger said star power does not always generate high bids, but Walker’s combination of celebrity and passion for cars made the vehicles must-haves for some collectors.
Eighteen vehicles and three motorcycles owned by Walker that spanned five decades crossed the block before the hammer came down for the final time.
Among the crowd favorites were a custom 2009 Nissan 370Z, which made an appearance in the “Fast Five” movie. The low-mileage vehicle sold on Thursday for $105,600, the most expensive price paid for a 370Z at auction.
A never-raced 2013 Ford Boss 302S race car given to Walker as a gift by another car buff and put into storage sold for $95,700 on Saturday, auction officials said.
The vehicles were put up for bids with no minimum asking price and sales figures include a buyer’s commission.
Proceeds from the sale will go to a trust for Walker’s daughter, Meadow. She manages the late actor’s foundation.
Yesturday Kim Kardashian West said she had successfully completed her first year of law studies. Now she is preparing to release a documentary about her advocacy work.
“Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project” will debut on the Oxygen cable network on April 5. The two-hour film will show West visiting prisons and working alongside legal experts on four cases of people they believe have been unfairly sentenced.
West is best known for developing beauty and fashion products and chronicling her life with her sisters on TV’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” She became interested in criminal justice reform after helping to win the release two women from prison.
At a discussion about her new documentary, West was asked how she would respond to people who may think she had attached herself to the cause in order to burnish her well-known brand.
“I’m very used to criticism, so nothing really fazes me,” West said at the event organized by the Television Critics Association.
“I really genuinely just stay focused on the cases and the people,” she added. “I’m not doing it for publicity. I really do care.”
West, 39, said she works daily on her law studies for a total of 20 hours per week and just completed her first year of a four-year apprenticeship program in California. She is aiming to take the bar exam in 2022.
Her late father, Robert Kardashian, was a prominent Los Angeles lawyer who was part of the legal team that represented football star O.J. Simpson in his 1995 trial and acquittal for double murder.
Vince DiPersio, an executive producer of “The Justice Project,” said West was taking on a “fair amount of risk” by advocating for the release of prisoners.
“She is a nationally known figure and she has a big brand. God forbid someone gets out and does something terrible, but Kim is willing to take that risk,” he said.
In 2018, West successfully lobbied President Donald Trump to commute the life sentence of a 63-year-old Tennessee woman convicted of a first drug offense. In early 2019, she helped win clemency for another Tennessee woman who had been convicted as a teenager of murdering a man who paid to have sex with her.
Some of the people featured in the documentary were brought to West’s attention by letters sent directly to her. She said she works on some of the cases herself and sends others to attorneys she believes can help.
West said she hopes the documentary will convince viewers that there are people who deserve a second chance even if they were involved in a violent crime.
“You really have no idea what was on the other end and what led them to those decisions,” West said. “I hope people can be more empathetic.”
Netflix plans to develop more than 20 original French-language productions in 2020. The streaming company has opened a new Paris office.
Launched in 2014 in France – where it employs 40 people, and has existing operations in Paris – Netflix has developed 24 French titles, including six films, nine series and three documentaries.
It plans to produce several new shows over the coming years as well as a range of series and films made by production partners, it said.
“This office is a sign of our long-term commitment to the country,” Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in a statement.
“(It) will enable us to work even more closely with the French creative community on great shows and films that are made in France and watched all around the world.”
Netflix has more than 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries, it said. The new French headquarters will be its fourth office in Europe.
Lawyers in the former film mogul’s case strive to choose 12 impartial New Yorkers among more than 100 potential jurors in Manhattan criminal court on Thursday.
The potential jurors, who have passed an initial round of pre-screening, include supermodel Gigi Hadid, who said she had met Weinstein before but could nonetheless be fair.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused him of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Weinstein has denied the allegations, saying any sexual encounters he had were consensual.
The allegations helped fuel the #MeToo movement, in which women have gone public with misconduct allegations against powerful men in business, entertainment and politics.
Weinstein’s trial kicked off on Jan. 6 and is expected to last up to months.
During pre-screening, hundreds of potential jurors were asked whether they could be impartial and if their schedules and health allowed them to sit on the trial. In the next phase, known as voir dire, they will face detailed questions about their backgrounds and beliefs by lawyers on both sides.
Legal experts have said selecting impartial jurors in a case that has attracted a great deal of publicity could be difficult.
Both sides will likely question potential jurors about their knowledge and opinion of the case, their work history and whether they have been victims of sexual misconduct, experts said.
Many potential jurors were dismissed in pre-screening after saying they could not be fair and impartial in the case.
Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, made his mark with critically acclaimed films such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
On Jan. 6, as the New York trial began, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced new sexual assault charges against Weinstein.
On Wednesday, Weinstein filed a last-minute motion with a New York appellate court to have his trial delayed and moved out of Manhattan.
Weinstein last year sought to move the case to Long Island or Albany, saying media scrutiny in Manhattan would make a fair trial impossible, but the motion was denied.
You still have a few weeks to study up before the winners are revealed at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT on ABC.
Below, our guide on where to watch this year’s top nominees — keep track of the ones you’ve seen with the Academy’s official ballot.
Best Picture, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Supporting Actor (Al Pacino), Best Supporting Actor (Joe Pesci), Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design, Film Editing, Visual Effects
Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Scarlett Johansson), Best Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Production Design, Film Editing
Best Picture, Best Director (Todd Phillips), Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Best Picture, Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Florence Pugh), Best Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Original Score
Best Picture, Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson), Best Actor (Adam Driver), Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern), Best Original Screenplay, Original Score
Best Picture, Best Director (Sam Mendes), Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
Best Picture, Best Director (Quentin Tarantino), Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt), Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Best Picture, Best Director (Bong Joon-ho), Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, Production Design, Film Editing
Best Actor (Antonio Banderas), Best International Feature Film
Best Actor (Jonathan Pryce), Best Supporting Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Actress (Cynthia Erivo), Best Original Song (“Stand Up”)
Best Actress (Charlize Theron), Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hanks)
Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates)
Animated Feature Film, Original Song (“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” music and lyrics by Randy Newman)
Documentary Feature (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert)
Documentary Feature (Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjaer)
Documentary Feature (Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, Tiago Pavan)
Documentary Feature (Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts)
Documentary Feature (Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov), International Feature Film (Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov)
International Feature Film (Jan Komasa)
International Feature Film (Ladj Ly)
Each product has been selected, and each product’s style has been reviewed, by our editorial team; however, we may receive affiliate commissions from some links to products on this page. Prices listed are subject to change by the retailer.
Tuesday night offered one of the most damning illustrations of one of the most persistent problems in politics: The way a seemingly inconsequential culture-war fight can loom larger in the public imagination during elections than meatier issues like the economy, foreign policy and whether or not our democracy can survive a wannabe fascist president.
The Democratic primary debate touched on a large number of serious issues pressing down on the country: De-escalating tensions that Trump has escalated with Iran, affordable health care, tax policy, climate change, accessible child care, trade policy. But one of the big flashpoints, which threatened to loom over the rest of the debate, was what, on the surface, appears to be a quarrel between Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont over whether he was kind of mansplainy to her that one time about whether a woman could win the presidency.
Meanwhile, at Donald Trump’s rally scheduled as counter-programming to the Democratic debate, the president — who is facing down impeachment and trying to recover from nearly starting a war with Iran — decided to spend his time doing a comedy routine that would have felt hackneyed in the ’80s, about his grievances with common household appliances like showers, toilets, light bulbs and dishwashers.
Trump’s rant about low-flow showers and the supposedly ugly lighting of light bulbs was so painfully dumb that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was reduced to laughter on-air.
Elections always get bogged down in minor bullshit — see also Hillary Clinton’s emails, false accusations that Al Gore said he “invented” the internet, John Kerry’s wind-surfing — but it’s particularly galling to see it happen in an election cycle where the very survival of our democracy could very well be at stake.
I’m frustrated by it. Most people I know are frustrated by it. And yet, even when we’re frustrated by it, it’s often hard to pull away from these culture war flashpoints.
Why can’t we all just collectively rise above it? Why are Americans so petty?
One possible answer, one that might allow ourselves to forgive ourselves somewhat, is that a lot of these petty political tiffs aren’t actually as minor as they seem on the surface. On the contrary, some of these apparently silly culture-war battles are a form of symbolic politics. What they symbolize is often not small potatoes at all, but something that cuts to the heart of some of the biggest tension points and issues facing our country.
Take Trump’s dumb obsession with toilets and light bulbs. He returns to that well time and again because his audience eats this nonsense up. There’s clearly a lot of anger and resentment there, so much so that it’s safe to say it isn’t really about water-efficient toilets.
Right now there is a growing movement among young people, not just in the U.S. but internationally, who are deservedly angry and correctly accusing older generations of ignoring the global environmental crisis. The effects of decades of neglect are being seen as Australia burns and so many animals are dead that scientists fear major species may go extinct.
It’s not a reach to say that the aging, conservative demographic that supports Trump is feeling a wee bit defensive in light of being told — again, accurately — that they screwed up big time, due solely to their own laziness and selfishness.
That’s where Trump’s dumb appliance rants come in. Trump reframes the environmental issue not as a matter of planetary survival and the quality of life we are leaving to those who come after us, but as a bunch of nanny-state scolds trying to take away your water pressure. This, in turn, allows his supporters to reimagine themselves not as the bad guys who turned their backs on climate change for decades, but as the noble victims of “elites” who supposedly have ulterior motives in wanting to reduce resource usage. He is giving them a way to escape responsibility and continue lying to themselves about how serious this problem is.
In other words, Trump’s light bulb obsession is ultimately about the environment and climate change — which are not small issues at all, but the most pressing issues facing our world. That means his tactics are much worse than dumb. They are plain evil.
A similar thing is going on with the Warren/Sanders spat. On its surface, it’s a minor disagreement, which is over whether or not Sanders was discouraging Warren from running for president by suggesting that the sexism firewall was too much to overcome. As I’ve argued earlier, it would have likely have gone away almost completely if Sanders had just apologized, because it was really an inconsequential episode and few people would care.
But instead, Sanders is digging in and casting Warren as a liar. So now this minor kerfuffle is morphing into a symbolic event touching on all manner of ways that women are held back, marginalized, and otherwise discounted: By being called liars when they talk about sexism, no matter how obvious it is that they’re likely telling the truth. By being expected to cater to men’s needs, even as men pour cold water over women’s ambitions. By having their expertise and authority, even over their own lives, ignored in favor of self-serving narratives offered by men.
These concerns are not minor issues. We have all witnessed, with the outpouring of outrage from the #MeToo movement in recent years, how the cultural tendency to assume a woman is lying until proven otherwise gives license to rapists and other sexual predators. We have seen how valuing men’s comfort over women’s equality contributes to serious social problems ranging from the wealth and pay gap to the lack of female representation in politics. And our society’s skepticism about women’s ability to manage and understand their own lives undergirds the ongoing assault over a woman’s basic right to control her own fertility.
Whether or not liberal men will be willing to truly accept women as equals is not a minor concern, but literally a make-or-break question, since achieving feminist goals without liberal male support — robust support, not tepid support — is probably impossible. So what appears at first glance to be a minor issue, once again, is standing in for a whole ocean of anxieties and conflicts that matter quite a bit to quite a few people.
So it’s OK to be frustrated that silly culture-war flotsam seems to clog up political discourse. At least sometimes (not always: See Clinton’s emails), those culture war flashpoints aren’t nearly as minor as they initially seem. Big, complex issues can be hard to talk about in a meaningful way, especially in the fast-moving, soundbite-oriented political environment of the 21st century. Symbolic politics are ciphers for all the complex emotions and power struggles that can otherwise be hard to boil down to a five-minute debate on cable news. That’s why these “minor” issues that are really bite-size stand-ins for much bigger issues will always capture the public’s attention.
Five prisoners was killed in the last two weeks in Mississippi prison. Rapper Jay-Z on Tuesday sued two prison officials on behalf of 29 inmates who say authorities did nothing to stop violence.
The lawsuit, filed by Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro in the U.S. District Court in Greenville, Mississippi, says “these deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights,” according to the report nbcnews.to/2tmTUm7.
Spiro, on behalf of Jay-Z and hip-hop artist Yo Gotti, wrote a letter to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and DOC Commissoner Pelicia Hall dated Jan. 9 saying that they were “prepared to pursue all potential avenues to obtain relief for the people living in Mississippi’s prisons and their families,” according to NBC News.
The letter added that the deaths were as a result of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi’s prisons, NBC said.
“As Mississippi has incarcerated increasing numbers of people, it has dramatically reduced its funding of prisons. As a result, prison conditions fail to meet even the most basic human rights,” NBC reported, citing the contents of the letter.
The lawsuit, filed against the head of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the warden of the state penitentiary in Parchman, seeks damages for the prisoners and an order forcing the department to address the issues, mainly by increasing staff and cleaning up sewage, celebrity website TMZ reported bit.ly/3a5ExPz.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections and Spiro’s law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.