- News The Daily Beast
David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs, said in his closed-door impeachment testimony that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Fox News host Sean Hannity last spring to ask about the smear campaign launched against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to a transcript that was made public Monday night.Discussing efforts by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and pro-Trump media to besmirch the reputation of Yovanovitch ahead of her ouster as ambassador, Hale noted that Pompeo spoke to Giuliani twice in late March regarding the allegations. At the time, conservative columnist John Solomon had reported that former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said Yovanovitch had given him a “do not prosecute list.” (Lutsenko would later walk back that claim.)Hale, the third-ranking official in the State Department, then testified he was aware that Hannity was pushing this particular narrative on his Fox News primetime program, and that Pompeo contacted the conservative star.“It did come up at some point with the secretary,” Hale said. “I understood that he did call Sean Hannity.”Asked what he understood Pompeo said to Hannity, Hale claimed that if there are any allegations, “I need to see what the evidence is.”Hale further declared that no one within the State Department thought the allegations that were being spread about Yovanovitch had any credibility or validity. At the same time, he acknowledged that despite the belief there was no basis behind the smears, the word got back to Yovanovitch there would be no statement of support for her.Hale’s testimony tracks with that of both Yovanovitch and senior State Department official George Kent, who both said it was their understanding that Pompeo or someone from State called the Fox host to see “what is going on” with coverage of the allegations.Hannity, meanwhile, has repeatedly denied that Pompeo contacted him at the time, calling the testimony “fake news” and insisting that he barely covered Yovanovitch during the spring, claiming that he didn’t “know anything about this woman.” He has also threatened to file a lawsuit if officials didn’t “stop spreading bogus rumors and smears about” him.Shortly after Hale’s testimony was dropped on Monday night, Hannity reiterated his denials that Pompeo or anyone from State called him, exclaiming that “we barely mentioned this woman.”“I never got a call from Secretary Pompeo,” Hannity fumed. “Why would they lie about this?!”“You are being smeared,” Fox News legal analyst and frequent Hannity guest Gregg Jarrett responded, going on to add, “Donald Trump has been smeared for the better part of three years.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Kanye West corrected Pastor Joel Osteen after the televangelist introduced West’s wife, née Kim Kardashian, at a Texas church event on November 17 without mentioning that she had taken his last name.The rapper and fashion designer appeared at a Sunday service at Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, to preach and pray alongside Osteen. After he finished a prayer with the packed megachurch, Osteen drew the crowd’s attention to Kim Kardashian, the reality television star, and North West, her eldest child with West, who were in the front row.Osteen was met with rapturous applause when he said: “Hey guys, can we make Kim Kardashian and North feel welcome right here?” West stood smiling down at his wife before pivoting and quickly whispering in Osteen’s ear: “It’s Kim Kardashian West.”“Kim Kardashian West, sorry,” Osteen replied.Earlier in the sermon, West had referred to himself as the “greatest artist that God has ever created,” and spoke about how his faith has allowed him to be “in service to God.”“Jesus has won the victory. I told you about my arrogance and cockiness already. Now the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for him,” he added. Credit: Lakewood Church via Storyful
- entertainment The Wrap
All the Women Featured on GQ’s Men of the Year Covers, From Jennifer Lopez to Jennifer Aniston (Photos)
Jennifer Lopez graced the cover of GQ’s Men of the Year issue on Monday and was honored as the magazine’s Icon of the Year. She joins Serena Williams, Gal Gadot, Shailene Woodley, Rihanna, Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston as the eighth women to be featured on the cover of GQ’s Men of the Year Issue.The “Hustlers” star spoke with Jessica Pressler, the New York magazine writer who wrote the original story that “Hustlers” is based on, about her prolific career.“There is no reason to ever be ashamed of where you’re at. Not when you’re doing your best. Not when you’re in your best moment,” Lopez told Pressler. “There’s always gonna be people to tell you no. Or ‘You can’t.’ Or ‘You shouldn’t.’ It’s gonna happen. No matter what anybody says, you just have to still be like, ‘I’m still doing this. I’m still gonna succeed. I’m still gonna do my best.’ Defy the odds. Why not?”Last year, 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams graced GQ’s Men of the Year cover. In her cover story, Williams talked about the double standard when it comes to who is allowed to display anger and who isn’t, her relationship with her sister Venus, and taking on the French Tennis Federation’s dated standards for how women players must dress on court. “Tennis players in general didn’t look like me. Especially the top players or anyone that ever won Grand Slams. Nothing like me. So it was, Can I win looking like this? Can I perform looking like this?” Williams told GQ. “And that was something that I realized that I could do.”Read original story All the Women Featured on GQ’s Men of the Year Covers, From Jennifer Lopez to Jennifer Aniston (Photos) At TheWrap
- entertainment The Wrap
Another weekend, another box office flop. This past weekend, Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels” fizzled out in theaters with just $8.35 million grossed domestically against a reported $48 million budget, becoming the third film in as many weeks to tank in theaters.At a time when there’s a stronger than ever push for women to be represented both in front of and behind the camera, Sony made the decision to bring “Charlie’s Angels” back to theaters for the first time in 16 years. Elizabeth Banks, who found box office success as director of “Pitch Perfect 2,” signed on to both direct and star as the Angels’ new Bosley. Kristen Stewart, having spent her post-“Twilight” career mostly on the indie scene, returned to mainstream films alongside Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott in the lead roles.With pre-weekend tracking not exceeding $20 million, “Charlie’s Angels” wasn’t expected to be a major hit, but not even its target female demographic showed up. Here’s why we think that happened.Also Read: 5 Reasons 'Doctor Sleep' Snoozed at the Box Office1\. Reboots are slumping “Charlie’s Angels” is the latest in a series of attempts by major studios to revive major IP from a past generation, only to fail to generate any interest beyond a very small following.Just this month, Paramount, Skydance, 20th Century Fox and Tencent took a big loss on the theatrical release of “Terminator: Dark Fate” - a $185 million reboot of the sci-fi franchise that first launched in 1984 and that has seen two other unsuccessful big-screen reboots since 2009. And earlier this month, Warner Bros.’ “The Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep” dozed to a dismal $14 million opening despite critical praise and a modest $50 million budget.“Charlie’s Angels” is a different film from the past two weekends’ box office flops, but they are all trying to appeal to nostalgia for projects that came out more than 25 years ago. The problem is that it has been so long since those original titles came out that younger moviegoers are not as familiar or as attached to them as older audiences, diminishing their ability to generate strong moviegoer turnout.Also Read: 5 Reasons Why 'Terminator: Dark Fate' Misfired at the Box Office With $70 Million-Plus Loss2\. Mixed reviews put off potential moviegoers With a smaller marketing campaign, “Charlie’s Angels” needed strong reviews to fuel widespread interest. Critical praise is no guarantee of box office success - just ask recent disappointment “Doctor Sleep” - but strong reviews could have built awareness among female moviegoers.Instead, a 59% Rotten Tomatoes score sank the film’s hopes, and even many of the the positive reviews were not exactly glowing. The best praise was reserved for Stewart’s humorous performance and Banks’ moves to modernize the male gaze-oriented tone of the original “Charlie’s Angels” with a more feminist aura that gives the Angels more agency.But even then, that girl power focus didn’t work with all critics, who also faulted the action scenes and the by-the-numbers plot. “The film is stuffed with noble intentions, starting with an early montage of anonymous girls and young women doing kickass things,” wrote Inkoo Kang in a review for Slate. “But Banks’ vision of women-empowerment heaven plays more like a checklist of topics from the feminist discourse of the past few years than a coherent movie, let alone a crowd-pleasing one.”3\. Girl Power alone isn’t enough The phrase “get woke, go broke” has been thrown around recently following the demise of films like “Terminator: Dark Fate,” but it’s not necessarily true. Films like “Captain Marvel,” “Wonder Woman” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” have shown that audiences can respond to films with a strong feminist message - that just can’t be the only draw.As Kang’s review suggested, a film that uses “girl power” as its core draw may not interest potential moviegoers if the marketing doesn’t also show that the film offers something else unique or compelling. Take “Frozen,” a film that has earned praise for its boldfaced message of female empowerment and sisterhood, but also had a fresh story and memorable songs as well. It’s safe to say that all of those things are major reasons why “Frozen II” is expected to open to over $100 million this coming weekend.“Charlie’s Angels”‘ feminist take may have been a paradigm shift for the franchise, but movies can’t sell tickets on well-intentioned messages alone.Also Read: How 'Joker' Beat Up Several Superheroes en Route to $1 Billion at Global Box Office4\. No star power McG’s two “Charlie’s Angels” films in 2000 and 2003 may have had stereotypes that Banks’ film sought to avoid, but there’s no denying they had star power. Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu were at the top of their popularity in the early 2000s, and original songs written for the film by Destiny’s Child and Pink helped raise the film’s awareness.This iteration of “Angels” had none of this. While Kristen Stewart became a box office draw with the “Twilight” franchise, she’s shrugged off commercial projects and spent the seven years since that blockbuster series ended winning over critics with indies like “Clouds of Sils Maria.” Co-star Naomi Scott has only started to make a name for herself in films like “Power Rangers” and the “Aladdin” remake, and Ella Balinska hasn’t yet become a recognizable name outside of England.5\. Whose Angels?If 2019 audiences were too unfamiliar with “Terminator” to turn out for “Dark Fate,” the situation is even worse for “Charlie’s Angels” - and there was little sign that younger generations were clamoring for the series’ return.With the exception of a short-lived TV reboot in 2011 that only lasted eight episodes, “Charlie’s Angels” has been left untouched in the 16 years since it was last in theaters, making it even more obscure project for audiences under 25. With no big names that teens could recognize, “Charlie’s Angels” likely felt too obscure to gain traction with Generation Z.For what it’s worth, Banks doesn’t seem to be fazed by the disappointing box office returns for her film. She implored people to show support for her film in a pre-release interview with the Herald Sun, saying that “If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.”But in a tweet posted Monday, she shrugged off how the weekend played out and noted that she’s still proud of a film that gave her a chance to have total control over a mainstream film in a way that women, until recently, haven’t had a chance to have.“Well, if you’re going to have a flop, make sure your name is on it at least 4x,” she quipped, noting her credits as director, writer, producer, and star on the film. “I’m proud of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and happy it’s in the world.”Read original story 5 Reasons ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Tanked at the Box Office - And Why Elizabeth Banks Isn’t Fazed At TheWrap