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Women Slam Music Industry for Ignoring Sexual Misconduct by Major Stars on January 27, 2024 at 12:00 am Us Weekly

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After years of allegedly being silenced, 10 female survivors of sexual assault took a stand against the music industry — and exposed their experiences with Axl Rose, Nick Carter and more musicians.

“The secrets we have unveiled are horrifying,” attorney Jeff Anderson said in a press release on Thursday, January 25. “What may be even more horrifying is that we know this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

The lawyer hosted a live press event with several women who claimed to have been sexually assaulted while working in the music industry or as fans.

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Former Dream singer Melissa Schuman detailed being allegedly assaulted by Backstreet Boys’ Carter, 43, when she was a teenager, while Sheila Kennedy recalled Guns N’ Roses frontman Rose, 61, allegedly attacking her in the ‘80s.

Related: Hollywood’s Sexual Misconduct Scandals

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While Hollywood may appear to be all glitz and glam on the surface, the industry has seen its fair share of scandals through the years. The New York Times and the New Yorker first published investigative pieces in 2017 that accused disgruntled movie producer Harvey Weinstein of decades of sexual assault and harassment. Soon after, Weinstein stood trial and was […]

“The music industry should thrive on talent, dedication, and passion not coercion, not exploitation, not harassment, and certainly not rape,” Schuman, 39, said on Thursday. “In sharing my story, I aim to empower others to break the cycle of silence that has allowed this issue to persist. It’s about time the music industry is no longer a breeding ground for abuse.”

Kari Krome, who is part of the Make Music Safe Program and a former songwriter for the Runaways, slammed Rodney Bingenheimer for being a “well-known predator” while asking his employer SiriusXM to cut ties with the rocker.

Scroll down to learn more about the survivors’ alleged attacks — and what they want the music industry to do in response:

Women Are ‘Cheap Labor’ in Music Industry

Schuman, who previously spoke about her alleged assault in 2016, recounted her start in music, saying she was part of the girl group Dream in 1999. The band was signed to Sean “Diddy” Combs‘ Bad Boy Records.

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“I was in the middle of school at the time, actually barely out of the eighth grade. And I believe that all my dreams were on the verge of coming true,” she said on Thursday, noting that after the group gained multi-platinum status, she thought her career would take off.

Schuman confessed, “I never, ever considered the darker motives behind discovering and shaping young talent, like the girls in Dream and myself besides us being used as cheap labor.” She alleged that the girls were “a prime age for grooming.”

When she was about to turn 18, Schuman remembered picking up on “this sort of silent understanding by those around me, that success would come at the expense of the exchange of my body.” Schuman alleged that it was joked about among the adults in the industry that “the cost of saying yes to uncomfortable advances” would help with “career advancement.”

Nick Carter Allegedly ‘Weaponized’ Fandom After Assault Claims

Schuman told the press on Thursday that she was “sexually assaulted by Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys when I was only 18 years old.” She alleged that the incident completely derailed her music career.

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“I believed it was impossible to safeguard myself from his control and his influence while pursuing music,” she explained. “And so at the young age of 20 years I abandoned my recording career as a solo artist, I was trapped by skewed power dynamics.”

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Schuman claimed that the industry was not only made up of “predators,” but she argued that “those profiting from the predators that shield them at all costs” were just as bad. When Schuman came forward with her story, first on her blog in 2017 and then to police the next year, she alleged that Carter had his fans shame her.

“I have since become a target of retaliation through orchestrated PR,” she claimed. “Read the headlines and social media attacks my abuser and his boy band are well funded, they have access to extensive resources and they even weapon weaponize their fandom to shield their bandmate and brand from accountability.”

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Related: Nick Carter’s Ups and Downs Through the Years: Legal Trouble and More

As a member of one of the only boy bands with true longevity, Nick Carter has seen it all. Despite his success with the Backstreet Boys, Carter has experienced turmoil in his personal life. In January 2002, he was arrested in Florida and charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting/opposing a law enforcement officer without […]

Schuman sued Carter in April 2023 for sexual assault and battery. In court documents obtained by Us Weekly, Schuman claimed that Carter raped her when she was 18 and he was 22. She alleged in the filing that Carter performed oral sex on her and then forced her to do the same.

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“Melissa Schuman has been peddling this tale for many years, but her allegation was false when she first made it back in 2017 —and it still is,” Carter’s lawyer, Liane K. Wakayama, told Us in a statement at the time. “A judge in Nevada recently ruled, after reviewing the extensive evidence we laid out, that there are strong grounds for Nick Carter to proceed with his lawsuit against Ms. Schuman for plotting to damage, defame and extort Nick, his associates, his friends and his family.”

Wakayama continued: “In light of our progress in Nevada, this kind of response is at once both predictable and pathetic. But this PR stunt won’t shake Nick from his determination to hold Ms. Schuman and her co-conspirators to account for the immeasurable pain and suffering their extortionate conduct has caused.”

Carter and Schuman appeared in court on January 17, during which time he asked for a judge to dismiss the case. Carter’s plea was denied. He has also filed a counter claim against Schuman and two others for allegedly harassing him.

Axl Rose Is a ‘Monster’

Us confirmed in November 2023 that Kennedy, 61, filed a lawsuit against Rose, accusing him of sexually assaulting her in 1989. Kennedy alleged that after she tried to leave Rose’s hotel room because he wanted to engage in group sex with two other models, Rose reportedly “knocked her to the floor” and dragged her to the bed.

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“Simply put, this incident never happened. Notably, these fictional claims were filed the day before the New York State filing deadline expires,” Rose’s attorney, Alan S. Gutman, told Us in a statement at the time. “Though he doesn’t deny the possibility of a fan photo taken in passing, Mr. Rose has no recollection of ever meeting or speaking to the Plaintiff, and has never heard about these fictional allegations prior to today. Mr. Rose is confident this case will be resolved in his favor.”

Harry Durrant/Getty Images

Kennedy, who was a former Penthouse model, has not backed down from her claims and has continued to allege that the assault has left her traumatized. “I have a voice and I don’t want to be called a victim. I want other women to hear this about Axl Rose, he’s a monster and he needs to be held accountable,” she said on Thursday. “And I’m here today to make sure that happens.”

Kennedy noted that it was “difficult” to talk about the assault but she wanted to get her story out there. “I think it’s really important that we need to make this industry safe for women,” she explained. “There are so many victims that feel shame, that feel guilty. Feel like they when they go to sleep at night, they have nightmares and it needs to stop this monster needs to be stopped: Axl Rose.”

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A Call for Rodney Bingenheimer to Be Fired

Krome (legal name Carrie Mitchell) filed two lawsuits in April 2023, one against the late Runaways manager Kim Fowley and the second against former KROQ disc jokey Bingenheimer, 76. Krome claimed that Fowley, who died in 2015, sexually assaulted her in the 1970s when she was a teen. Fowley was previously accused of sexual assault by Runaways’ bassist Jackie Fox.

Krome alleged that Bingenheimer also sexually assaulted her during that decade after grooming her. Bingenheimer has recently been accused of sexual assault by five other women. He has not publicly commented on the case. Bingenheimer currently has a SiriusXM radio show called “Rodney Bingenheimer in the Underground Garage,” which Krome argued on Thursday should get shut down due to the allegations.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

“I’m here to demand Sirius XM to remove Rodney Bingenheimer a well-known serial predator and pedophile,” Krome told reporters. “What I want to know is how do listeners feel about having an abuser and a pedophile employed by Sirius XM? How many more victims need to come forward for Sirius to take this seriously? This is a cancer that’s affected every aspect of the industry and I’m here to call for it to stop and I would just like to say flat out shame on Sirius XM. Remove Rodney Bingenheimer.”

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Us Weekly has reached out to Rose, Carter and Bingenheimer’s reps for comment.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

After years of allegedly being silenced, 10 female survivors of sexual assault took a stand against the music industry — and exposed their experiences with Axl Rose, Nick Carter and more musicians. “The secrets we have unveiled are horrifying,” attorney Jeff Anderson said in a press release on Thursday, January 25. “What may be even 

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Rosie Maddox: Rom-Com Wins with Best Screenplay!

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Get ready to applaud because Rosie Maddox, the creative genius behind “Wishing on Stars,” is making waves with her latest triumph as the winner of the Best Romantic Comedy Screenplay Award! Her captivating storytelling has earned her a well-deserved spotlight at the Houston Comedy Film Festival, where her heartwarming screenplay stole hearts and tickled funny bones.

From the bustling streets of Washington to the vibrant cityscape of Seattle, Rosie’s narrative prowess shines as she crafts a tale of serendipitous reunions and unexpected love. With “Wishing on Stars,” Rosie invites audiences on an enchanting journey of rediscovery, friendship, and the magic of second chances.

This isn’t just any rom-com—it’s a testament to Rosie’s innate ability to infuse depth and authenticity into her characters, making them leap off the page and into our hearts. As we eagerly await the cinematic adaptation of “Wishing on Stars,” Rosie continues to captivate audiences with her unique brand of storytelling, proving that she’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of film.

Join us in celebrating Rosie Maddox’s remarkable achievement and stay tuned for more updates as she continues to enchant us with her magical tales of laughter, love, and the endless possibilities of the human heart. Congratulations, Rosie—you’ve truly earned your place among the stars!

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Please feel free to check out on online store here.

 

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Shoutout to our sponsor Travis Whitbeck from Roots & Spores. Check out their instagram follow and support here.

Roots & Spores Coffee Owner Travis Whitbeck

From the Film Festival Circuit Founder, Mikal Fair:

“Explore the ‘Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook 2024,’ your ultimate guide to conquering the film festival circuit. Whether you’re a filmmaker or screenwriter, this essential resource provides practical strategies to navigate the competitive landscape of film festivals successfully. From crafting compelling titles, taglines, and synopses to creating impactful director’s and writer’s statements, this handbook equips you with the tools to shine in the festival circuit. Learn to develop effective marketing materials, including posters and trailers, and discover the importance of communication and presenting a professional package. With insights tailored to the evolving role of social media and marketing in the film industry, this handbook is your key to festival triumph. Get your copy now and embark on your journey to festival success!”

 

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“Changing Spots”: A Heartwarming Family Journey

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In “Changing Spots,” Lauren L. Owen masterfully weaves a heartwarming tale centered around Lizzie Jennings, a black anthropology student in her mid-30s, and her aging father, Walter. As Walter grapples with the challenges of living independently for the first time, Lizzie steps in to assist him, embarking on a dual mission to help her father become self-sustainable while documenting their progress for her thesis. Through candid interviews and her own camera footage, the story unfolds in a captivating mockumentary style, offering a glimpse into the tender moments and humorous mishaps that define their journey.

Owen, a trailblazing talent in the industry and the first Black or African American graduate of NYU’s MBA/MFA dual master’s degree program, brings her unique perspective to “Changing Spots.” With a remarkable background in producing, writing, and directing, including collaborations with acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee and notable projects like “BlacKkKlansman” and “See You Yesterday,” Owen’s work is deeply rooted in promoting diversity both on and off the screen. Through her storytelling, she celebrates the bond between black women and their fathers, shedding light on the often overlooked narratives that resonate with audiences on a profound level.

Fun fact: Lauren Owen is also an Associate Producer for the Netflix Original Film, “See You Yesterday,” further showcasing her versatility and impact in the industry.

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As Owen shares her personal connection to the story, drawing inspiration from her own experiences and her playful sense of humor inherited from her father, she invites viewers to embrace the complexities of familial relationships and the importance of staying connected despite life’s challenges. “Changing Spots” serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring power of love, laughter, and shared moments, resonating with audiences of all backgrounds and generations.

Moreover, Owen’s exceptional talent as a writer shines through as she clinched the prestigious Best Comedy Short Screenplay Award at the Houston Comedy Film Festival, further cementing her status as a rising star in the industry. This accolade not only recognizes Owen’s remarkable storytelling skills but also underscores the universal appeal and relatability of “Changing Spots.” As audiences continue to embrace this heartwarming tale, Owen’s win serves as a testament to the enduring impact of stories that celebrate the beauty of family bonds and the journey of self-discovery.

Please feel free to check out on online store here.

From the Film Festival Circuit Founder, Mikal Fair:

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Explore the ‘Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook 2024,’ your ultimate guide to conquering the film festival circuit. Whether you’re a filmmaker or screenwriter, this essential resource provides practical strategies to navigate the competitive landscape of film festivals successfully. From crafting compelling titles, taglines, and synopses to creating impactful director’s and writer’s statements, this handbook equips you with the tools to shine in the festival circuit. Learn to develop effective marketing materials, including posters and trailers, and discover the importance of communication and presenting a professional package. With insights tailored to the evolving role of social media and marketing in the film industry, this handbook is your key to festival triumph. Get your copy now and embark on your journey to festival success!

 

Shoutout to our sponsor Travis Whitbeck from Roots & Spores. Check out their instagram follow and support here.

Roots & Spores Coffee Owner Travis Whitbeck

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“A Messy Divorce” Named Finalist for Best Dark Comedy Film Award

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Award Winning Filmmaker, Phil Grishayev

Phil Grishayev, a talented filmmaker based in Los Angeles, is making waves in the comedy film scene with his uproarious short film, “A Messy Divorce.” Born and raised in Poland, Grishayev relocated to the United States in his early twenties, where his passion for storytelling and visual arts blossomed. Despite being relatively new to directing and producing, Grishayev’s creative vision and dedication have propelled him into the spotlight of the entertainment industry.

“A Messy Divorce” is not only Grishayev’s directorial debut but also a testament to his ability to breathe life into captivating narratives. The film, originally conceived as a screenplay by Grishayev’s friend Lenar Kamalov, follows the misadventures of a newly divorced couple who accidentally run over a man on the road and hilariously attempt to cover up their tracks. With its clever twists and comedic timing, “A Messy Divorce” has earned critical acclaim and audience praise alike.

Despite its humble beginnings, “A Messy Divorce” has already achieved notable success in the film festival circuit. Grishayev’s screenplay won a prestigious award at SWN, and the film was selected as an Official Entry at the Houston Comedy Festival in 2021. Now, as a finalist for the Best Dark Comedy Film Award at the esteemed Houston Comedy Film Festival, “A Messy Divorce” continues to captivate audiences with its unique blend of humor and wit.

Looking ahead, Grishayev has ambitious plans to expand “A Messy Divorce” into a full-length feature film, showcasing his commitment to storytelling and filmmaking. With his innovative approach and creative flair, Grishayev is poised to make a lasting impact on the comedy genre and beyond.

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As the anticipation builds for the Houston Comedy Film Festival, all eyes are on Phil Grishayev and “A Messy Divorce,” eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winners. In the meantime, audiences can experience the comedic brilliance of Grishayev’s work and witness the rise of a promising filmmaker in the entertainment industry.

He is an incredible Experiential Designer for major Paramount movie premiere sets with films apart of the Barbie franchise and Batman. Check him out here. grishayev.com

Award Winning Filmmaker, Phil Grishayev, and Hollywood Executive Producer and Houston Comedy Film Festival Director, Roselyn Omaka

From the Film Festival Circuit Founder, Mikal Fair:

Explore the ‘Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook 2024,’ your ultimate guide to conquering the film festival circuit. Whether you’re a filmmaker or screenwriter, this essential resource provides practical strategies to navigate the competitive landscape of film festivals successfully. From crafting compelling titles, taglines, and synopses to creating impactful director’s and writer’s statements, this handbook equips you with the tools to shine in the festival circuit. Learn to develop effective marketing materials, including posters and trailers, and discover the importance of communication and presenting a professional package. With insights tailored to the evolving role of social media and marketing in the film industry, this handbook is your key to festival triumph. Get your copy now and embark on your journey to festival success!

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