April 21, 2018

Last of the Newsies?

“So many hurricanes I can remember,” he said with a rueful chuckle. “Three hundred and 65 days, without fail.”

He has an uneasy relationship with this White House, which has alternately welcomed and shunned him; the current administration has restricted entry to a foyer where Mr. Singh would shelter on the coldest and wettest nights. The past months’ relentless chill has been especially punishing.

But there are two good reasons Mr. Singh has prevailed so long at this Upper West Side corner: his iron devotion to the job, and his customers’ devotion to him.

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Mr. Singh in more bustling times (note the number of papers available for sale).

One by one over the years, they have each made the silent decision to continue buying from him, paying full newsstand prices and often walking blocks out of their way, past other vendors, rather than reading the news online or getting home delivery.

They fetch his takeout meals and draw him into conversation. They buy him warm coats and scarves and sneakers. Some trade emails about his health, which has been remarkably robust despite an occasional scare. (“He didn’t get to the corner until 5:30 instead of his usual 3,” a neighbor messaged to another on a morning in 2014. “He said he has to down cough syrup twice in the night now, and this time it knocked him out.”)

A physician in the White House arranged for a free chest X-ray. The superintendent at another building lets Mr. Singh into the basement for bathroom breaks. Customers stand guard over his papers until he returns.

A man of quiet ways, Mr. Singh can be gloomy and taciturn one day, lively and opinionated the next; his mood varies with the weather and the headlines. Yet his regulars, most of them middle-aged or older, speak of him with warmth, and something more.

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“I’ve stayed with Singh out of loyalty,” said Ken Coughlin, who runs a legal-information website and has been buying The New York Times from him every day for at least 20 years, at a cost now of about $1,250 a year. “He’s a fixture in the neighborhood, a fixture in my life. I want to support him.”

Lee Herman, a curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, has been a patron since Mr. Singh first showed up. “You see this guy, with wind chill of 11 below, out there selling papers,” Mr. Herman said. “He’s got a life that’s extraordinary — what he has to go through to live.”

These neighbors know little about that life, or one another’s, but Mr. Singh knows all their preferences and quirks. He notices when they miss a day, and offers to save their papers. He serves noncustomers, too — clearing trash from the sidewalk, warning subway riders when trains aren’t running, feeding the birds and dogs (“my other customers,” he calls them), holding the door when White House residents need a hand.

His own home is a rent-controlled apartment in an S.R.O. hotel 20 blocks north, where he lives alone. He has no family in the United States. For Mr. Singh, it’s all about the corner.

“If I am not there for my neighbors, then I feel bad,” he said. “I like my customers. I do my duty.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/dining/last-of-the-newsies.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Lee Holley, Cartoonist of Teenage Life in ‘Ponytail,’ Dies at 85

Newspapers liked “Ponytail” because the strip attracted younger readers, Greg Beda, who is writing a biography of Mr. Holley, said in a phone interview.

“I think ‘Ponytail’ was the best panel to get teenagers to read the newspaper versus other comics,” he said.

Gordon Leroy Holley was born on April 20, 1932, in Phoenix and grew up, with a brother and sister, in Watsonville, Calif. His father, Gordon Virgil Holley, was a machinist; his mother, the former Vida Marie Canada, was a nurse’s aide.

Lee Holley showed artistic talent from a young age. In high school he began taking on commissioned work and painted a wall mural for a local ice cream shop depicting archetypal teenagers playing basketball and sharing milkshakes with two straws.

After graduating, he joined the Navy in 1951 and was stationed on an aircraft carrier during the Korean War as a weapons inspector. He spent his free time drawing cartoons and comic strips for the Navy publications “Our Navy Magazine” and “All Hands.”

Mr. Holley attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1955 and was later hired by Warner Bros. Studios to work for the animator Friz Freleng’s award-winning “Looney Tunes” unit.

Lee Holley draws Dennis the Menace Ponytail in Color – 9/2/2013 – Aptos, CA Video by TheEphemeralNow

By 1958, he was assisting Mr. Ketcham as a ghost illustrator of the popular “Dennis the Menace” strip, handling the comic’s art for the Sunday papers, cereal box advertisements and “Dennis the Menace” books. In a 2005 autobiography, Mr. Ketcham described Mr. Holley as a “young fitness nut and a clever cartoonist with a special affinity for the younger generation.”

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Branching out on his own with “Ponytail” in 1960, Mr. Holley signed on with King Features Syndicate, which began distributing the comic to about 300 newspapers internationally.

Although “Emmy Lou” and “Penny” predated “Ponytail” in focusing on American teenagers, the dialogue in Mr. Holley’s comics was often considered the most authentic.

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In 1963, he revealed on the television quiz show “To Tell the Truth” that he conducted field research by chatting up teenagers at pizza parlors and attending dances. He subscribed to publications like “Teen Beat” and “Seventeen” and even went back to his own high school to sit in on classes, he told Hogan’s Alley, a magazine of the comic arts, in 1999.

He also wove his own family members into the story lines.

“Ponytail’s boyfriend, Donald, was our brother Donald; Ponytail’s father was like our dad,” his sister, Donna Roberts, said in an interview. “He drew on those memories.”

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Mr. Holley also drew characters for the “Looney Tunes” and “Porky Pig” books by Gold Key Comics during the 1970s, and succeeded Greg Walker in drawing the “Bugs Bunny” newspaper comic from 1980 to 1988.

By 1988, the number of newspapers still publishing “Ponytail” had dwindled, and Mr. Holley retired the following year.

In addition to his daughter and sister, he is survived by his wife, Patricia; his brother, Donald; another daughter from a previous marriage, Susan Carothers; two grandchildren and a great-grandson. His first marriage, to Dorothy Crosetti, ended in divorce in the 1950s.

What Mr. Holley enjoyed most about his career was the freedom it gave him, he told Hogan’s Alley.

“There was no one telling me what to do,” he said. “I had deadlines, but other than that I was on my own. It really wasn’t work to me.”

Cartoonist Lee Holley draws Bugs Bunny – 7/12/2013 – Aptos, CA Video by TheEphemeralNow

Doris Burke contributed research.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/obituaries/lee-holley-cartoonist-of-teenage-life-in-ponytail-dies-at-85.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Toxicologists Clash on Drug in Cosby Sex Assault Trial

Dr. Rohrig said diphenhydramine has been used in numerous cases of “drug-facilitated sexual assault.” He said the effects of Benadryl would take 15-30 minutes to begin, and would reach their peak in one to two hours. The drug has been produced in round, blue pills, like the ones Ms. Constand said she took, but has also been available in oblong or oval shapes, Dr. Rohrig said.

When Mr. Ryan asked Dr. Rohrig to describe the effects of quaaludes, which Mr. Cosby has said he has given to women he wanted to have sex with, Dr. Rohrig said the sedative would make the user sleepy. He said quaaludes were used as a party drug in the 1970s and were believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Dr. Harry A. Milman, a pharmacologist and toxicologist from Rockville, Md., who has worked for the American Cancer Institute, a prosecution witness, denied that Ms. Constand would have experienced the symptoms she described by taking the amount of Benadryl that came up in the case, as stated by Mr. Cosby.

“The symptoms that she described after taking a therapeutic dose would not have occurred within 10 to 15 minutes,” Dr. Milman said, under direct examination from Becky James, an attorney for Mr. Cosby.

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He said the symptoms Ms. Constand described were “severe” and would have led regulators to prevent the drugs’ being sold over the counter.

Ms. James asked Dr. Milman whether he agreed with Dr. Rohrig that Ms. Constand’s symptoms could have been caused by Benadryl.

“I saw no evidence that Ms. Constand took any drug, Benadryl or otherwise,” he said during more than four hours on the witness stand. He argued that there was “absolutely no objective evidence” such as blood, hair or urine samples to back up Ms. Constand’s claims.

Because Ms. Constand did not report the incident to police immediately, no traces of any drug she might have taken would be present.

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Under cross-examination from Mr. Ryan, Dr. Milman told the court that he was being paid $675 an hour as an expert witness in the case.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas told the jury of seven men and five women that testimony is likely to end early next week, sooner than he had previously anticipated, after several more defense witnesses are called on Friday and Monday.

Mr. Cosby faces three charges of aggravated indecent assault in connection with the episode Ms. Constand reported. Mr. Cosby denies the charges and says the sexual contact was consensual. Five other women testified last week that they believed Mr. Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Mr. Cosby’s first trial in the case ended in a hung jury last June.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/arts/television/bill-cosby-sexual-assault-trial.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

AT&T Chief Attacks Lawsuit to Block Time Warner Merger

The trial is expected to wrap up in coming days after rebuttal arguments by the Justice Department and closing statements by both sides. Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who is presiding over the case, is expected to make a decision on the suit as early as the end of May.

In cross-examination of Mr. Stephenson, the Justice Department’s lead litigator, Craig Conrath, picked apart the portrayal of ATT as under siege by Silicon Valley. Mr. Conrath said the key difference between ATT and tech companies is that ATT is in a powerful position as the company that provides broadband access to the internet — a service that Netflix and Amazon don’t offer.

Mr. Conrath also presented a friendly email from June 2017 between Mr. Stephenson and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, in which Mr. Zuckerberg offered to help build ATT’s ad platform. Mr. Conrath questioned the offer of “cooperation,” suggesting there was less of a rivalry between the companies than Mr. Stephenson had said.

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Mr. Stephenson dismissed the significance of the email with Mr. Zuckerberg. Mr. Zuckerberg was following up on a casual meeting the executives had during an annual media industry gathering of executives in Sun Valley, Idaho, he said.

Mr. Stephenson’s testimony followed that of Jeffrey Bewkes, the chief executive of Time Warner, on Wednesday. On the stand, Mr. Bewkes voiced similar arguments about the threats that their legacy companies face from tech companies. The executives said their deal was struck in August 2016 over a long lunch in New York where they became convinced they needed to merge.

The key disadvantage that ATT and Time Warner face is their slow start in behavioral advertising and marketing, Mr. Stephenson said. Both companies do not collect or analyze the habits of television and web users in the same way that Comcast does with cable subscribers and that Google and Facebook do on their platforms.

Mr. Stephenson said Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook are all investing in premium video content to collect increasing amounts of data on users who would spend longer times on their sites and visit more often.

The ATT chief spent much of his time talking about the history of the company. He spoke directly to Judge Leon to explain the company’s evolution from a phone company to one that seeks to make money from advertising and subscriptions for consumers who will watch much of their videos on mobile devices.

Mr. Stephenson attacked the Justice Department’s underlying theory that the company would threaten to withhold Time Warner content to raise prices on other cable and satellite distributors. He said that argument “defies logic.”

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“The value of a content company is how many people watch the content. Period,” Mr. Stephenson said.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/technology/att-ceo-time-warner-merger.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Up Next: BuzzFeed’s Eugene Lee Yang Mixes Humor With Social Commentary

Age 32

Hometown: Pflugerville, Tex.

Now Lives: In a 1950s two-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood, Calif.

Claim to Fame: Mr. Yang is an online personality and film director who is best known for his role on BuzzFeed’s “The Try Guys.” The show blends whimsical humor with earnest social commentary through outlandish scenarios, like simulating labor pains and checking for prostate cancer in a doctor’s office. As the series has taken off over multiple seasons, he has become a prolific comedic performer and a role model for other Asian-American social media stars.

Big Break: After graduating from film school at the University of Southern California, Mr. Yang found his way to the video branch of BuzzFeed in 2014, where he was given free rein to experiment with writing and directing novel story formats. His early work explored pervasive stereotypes about Asian-Americans and body issues, including the popular, “Women’s Ideal Body Types Throughout History,” which, with more than 44 million views on YouTube, remains one of BuzzFeed’s most watched. The positive reaction to the candor and reliability of some of these early works encouraged sketches examining even more provocative topics, leading to the conception of the Try Guys.

Latest Project: Mr. Yang plans to leave BuzzFeed this year and start his own production company with the rest of the Try Guys cast. There he hopes to create innovative unscripted comedy that digs into the psyche of millennials and sensationalized internet culture.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/style/buzzfeed-eugene-lee-yang.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

He Won $1 Million to Make a Movie. Then the Problems Set in.

The film, “Nigerian Prince,” follows a Nigerian-American high schooler, Eze (Antonio J. Bell), whose mother sends him to live with his aunt (played by the Nigerian actress Tina Mba) in Lagos. There, Eze befriends his cousin, Pius (Chinaza Uche), a professional scammer who sends phishing emails, among other deceitful business pursuits.

Mr. Okoro wrote the story with Andrew Long, a fellow Howard University alumnus. As they developed the script, they were guided by the director Spike Lee, who mentored Mr. Okoro at N.Y.U. (Mr. Lee is also an executive producer of the film.)

The project was long-gestating. “This is classic Faraday,” Sheldon Chau, the film’s cinematographer, said in a phone interview. “He comes up to me and he asks me, ‘Sheldon, what are you doing summer 2017?’ This is in 2014. And I was like, ‘I think I’m free.’ And he was like, ‘Well, that’s when I want to do my feature.’”

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A scene from “Nigerian Prince,” starring Antonio J. Bell and Tina Mba. Credit Sheldon Chau, via ATT/Tribeca

The plot is based in part on Mr. Okoro’s own life. A Nigerian-American raised in Maryland, Mr. Okoro was sent to live with his extended family in Lagos for his first two years of high school, in the early 2000s.

Like his character, Eze, he reluctantly left his friends and home. “I definitely resented it,” he said.

He eventually learned to appreciate the new culture; one of his hopes is that the film will resonate with other young Nigerian-Americans who have felt disconnected from their roots.

But shooting a movie in the West African city brought a host of unforeseen challenges.

“We shot during the end of the rainy season,” said Mr. Okoro, who was familiar with the region’s climate but hadn’t bargained for all the difficulty it would present in filming. “There were some days where we’d go to set at 6 a.m., and it’d rain at 6:30 and flood.”

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The week before filming began, the crew arrived to a space meant to double as a police station onscreen, but it, too, was flooded. They didn’t end up using that location, though not because of the flooding; as at several other sites, the owner decided at the last minute that despite a signed contract, filming would no longer be allowed there. With little leverage and less time, Mr. Okoro and his team went searching for an alternative.

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In addition to the frequent rains and notoriously unreliable power, they ran up against in the city’s heavy traffic, which the director described as “like L.A. times five or 10.”

Mr. Okoro and his team did have assistance. Several of his collaborators were peers from N.Y.U. To help them navigate, they hired artists from the prosperous Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood. Most of the crew members were Nigerian, and the American heads of creative departments were paired with Nigerian artists.

“It just became apparent that all the departments needed a partner to show us the proper way to do things,” Ari Fulton, the costume designer who met Mr. Okoro at N.Y.U., said in a phone interview.

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Mr. Okoro set his film in Lagos. In the early 2000s, he himself had been sent to Nigeria to live with his extended family for his first two years of high school. Credit Caroline Tompkins for The New York Times

For Ms. Fulton, the assistance came from Olaogun Opeyemi, a Nigerian costume designer and the film’s costume supervisor, who helped make nuanced choices. One example is a red hat worn by Pius, the cousin, that’s an adaptation of an Igbo cap. Ms. Opeyemi helped fill out the history of the cap, which younger Nigerians have adapted for more casual use.

Another learning experience was realizing that despite the size of the budget, financial decisions still had to be carefully considered.

“The million dollars just flies,” said Mr. Chau, the cinematographer. He described the days after winning the grant, when he and Mr. Okoro would fantasize about using elaborate film gear. But they quickly realized that they were being unrealistic; after all, their budget, while several times higher than the $150,000 or $200,000 they’d initially hoped to shoot the movie for, was still modest for a feature film.

“We went back to pretty much our initial approach,” Mr. Chau said. “It was a humbling experience.”

Still, Mr. Chau also noted that while Mr. Okoro was the ostensible winner, the money had a trickle-down effect, bolstering the professional portfolios of his young collaborators.

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“The profiles of all of us came up,” Mr. Chau said.

The pressure trickled down, too.

“If someone hands you a million dollars, they expect you to turn out an amazing product,” Ms. Fulton observed. “It’s a huge thing to carry on your shoulders.”

Mr. Okoro has carried it for a year.

The morning after the film was finished — the sound mixed, the color corrected — less than two weeks before the film’s April 24 premiere, the director was standing in a Tribeca restaurant where this year’s award finalists were scheduled to pitch their films.

After exchanging greetings with two of the new judges, the actor Griffin Dunne and the comedian Ilana Glazer, Mr. Okoro took a seat, waiting for the new finalists to appear.

On the floor at his feet sat a hard plastic carrying case he’d brought with him. Inside it was a computer drive with the copy of “Nigerian Prince” that will be used for the Tribeca screenings. The film was finally ready, and Mr. Okoro would not let it out of his sight.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/movies/tribeca-film-festival-winner-faraday-okoro.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Harper’s Editor Insists He Was Fired Over Katie Roiphe Essay

Told of Ms. Melucci’s remarks, Mr. Marcus said that she “was not present at my firing.” He added that “the bulk of the conversation” he had with Mr. MacArthur, which took place last Friday afternoon, “was about Katie Roiphe’s piece.”

Harper’s is a nonprofit publication supported in large part by a foundation established by Mr. MacArthur, who is known as Rick, and his father, J. Roderick MacArthur. That structure provides some financial stability but also allows the younger MacArthur to wield more control over the publication, which was on the verge of folding before he helped rescue it in 1980.

The venerable monthly has had unstable leadership since Lewis H. Lapham left Harper’s in 2006, after a 28-year run as its top editor. First there was Roger Hodge, who was fired after a disagreement with Mr. MacArthur in 2010. Next to hold the position was Ellen Rosenbush, who was replaced by Christopher Cox in 2015. Mr. MacArthur ended up firing Mr. Cox after he had been in the job a scant three months, and Ms. Rosenbush returned to duty on an interim basis. She was followed in February 2016 by Mr. Marcus, an early Amazon employee and the author of “Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.com Juggernaut.”

“He’s looking for a doormat at this point,” Mr. Marcus said of Mr. MacArthur.

The news of Mr. Marcus’s firing was first reported by Publisher’s Marketplace.

The essay by Ms. Roiphe attracted attention before it was published, while it was going through the fact-checking process. Concerned writers and editors began a Twitter campaign warning that the article would reveal the identity of the main creator of a crowdsourced spreadsheet that named roughly 70 men in the media industry who were said to have acted in a predatory manner toward women.

The online complaints intensified, arguing that the safety of the spreadsheet’s creator would be jeopardized by the publication of Ms. Roiphe’s essay. Before the social media campaign had died down, the writer Moira Donegan revealed that she was the main person behind the list in a first-person story for New York magazine’s web vertical The Cut.

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Ms. Roiphe’s essay had a similarly troubled pre-publication history inside the Manhattan offices of Harper’s. The idea began, Mr. Marcus said, with the publisher, who suggested that the magazine “run a contrarian piece on #MeToo movement.” The editor countered that he was uncomfortable with such an assignment, because of the magazine’s “longtime reputation as a gentleman’s smoking club.”

“I expressed my opposition in the beginning, but I was overruled by the publisher,” Mr. Marcus said. “It’s the publisher’s prerogative to essentially assign a piece.”

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Mr. Marcus said that the magazine approached “one or two” writers, who passed on the idea, before Ms. Melucci, the Harper’s publicist, reached out to Ms. Roiphe. He added, “We can quibble over who technically assigned the piece. She’s a publicist and doesn’t have the power to assign anything. You could say she assigned it with Rick’s permission. She had no role in the editing of the piece.”

Ms. Melucci suggested that she got involved in the editorial process only because of unusual circumstances at the magazine. “Maybe think about the fact that the publicist had to assign stories because the editor didn’t have ideas?” she said in a phone interview. “I don’t know — maybe that’s how bad it was.”

Mr. Marcus disagreed with that, saying that during the discussion last week that ended with his firing, “there was no complaint about my failure to generate story ideas.”

“The editorial process was breaking down,” he continued. “It’s Rick’s magazine, but usually the publisher does not intercede during the editing process. The piece was widely disliked by the entire staff, but I want to stress that they worked with absolute professionalism on it, whatever they thought of it.”

Ms. Melucci said that she did not understand Mr. Marcus’s objection to the essay. “I don’t know why,” she said. “Maybe because it was a good story? It was the most successful story we’ve had in a couple years. He may have been against it, but it was good for the magazine.”

In addition to discussing the Roiphe article last Friday afternoon, Mr. Marcus said that Mr. MacArthur, the publisher, had expressed his disappointment that Harper’s had not been reaching more readers. The magazine’s circulation, now at 120,000, has been in decline for years. Mr. Marcus said that the publisher’s resistance to bolstering the website and expanding readership engagement by hosting events impeded opportunities for growth.

Ms. Melucci said that Mr. MacArthur had no comment for this article. She also declined to comment on whether the magazine had interviewed prospective editors. Ms. Rosenbush, listed as editor at large on the Harper’s masthead, will oversee the publication on an interim basis, Ms. Melucci said.

Mr. Marcus described being fired as “painful,” but said he still had respect for Harper’s.

“I think it’s still a magnificent publication,” Mr. Marcus said. “I share Rick’s pride in what he has accomplished there, but I think the anxiety and increasing sense that he needs to grab the reins editorially are going to make it hard for anybody who stands in that job. Whoever that poor sod is, I wish him or her good luck.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/media/harpers-editor-fired.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Amazon Reboots the Studio Where ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘E.T.’ Were Made

As a string of owners struggled to adapt to changing audience tastes, new technology and rising costs, vast sections of the campus were sold. (Condominiums now occupy part of the area where Selznick ignited monumental outdoor sets to simulate the burning of Atlanta.) As waves of consolidation buffeted the movie business and fewer films were made, idling some of Culver Studios’ stages, the facility turned to television production to pay its bills, much like Hollywood as a whole.

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Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the $12 million restoration of four studio buildings. Credit Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

By 2004, when a struggling Sony sold the property, years of underinvestment had taken a toll. The old star bungalows were in poor repair. Soundstages were outdated. The mansion smelled like Grandma’s house. “It needed a lot of work, to say the least,” Mr. Hackman said. (Contrary to popular belief, the mansion was not Tara in “Gone With the Wind.”)

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Amazon, which has roughly 700 entertainment employees, began moving staff here late last year. More will follow as buildings are completed.

“It’s about recognizing the traditions and legacy of Hollywood, while also recognizing that we have the ability to reshape it,” Mr. Cheng, chief operating officer of Amazon Studios, said of the decision to make Culver Studios the unit’s headquarters.

Last month, Amazon said it would also lease a four-story building that is going up across the street, giving its Hollywood division a total of 355,000 square feet of office space in Culver City. (Apple recently leased a building three blocks away for its own original content group.)

Amazon revealed Wednesday that more than 100 million people globally had a Prime membership, which includes access to its streaming service, and the company is expected to spend $5 billion on movies and television programming this year, according to the J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth. Its 44 original series include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Man in the High Castle.” Amazon has at least 10 movies in various stages of production, including “Life Itself,” a highly anticipated romance set for release on Sept. 21.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/media/amazon-reboots-the-studio-where-citizen-kane-and-et-were-made.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Comcast Bid 16% More Than Disney for 21st Century Fox, Filing Shows


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The 21st First Century Fox board accepted Disney’s bid after Comcast refused to agree to a breakup fee in case federal regulators rejected a deal, according to a filing on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Credit Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

LOS ANGELES — Rupert Murdoch sold most of 21st Century Fox to Disney in December for $52.4 billion, spurning a proposal from Comcast that was 16 percent higher on a per-share basis, in part because Comcast refused to offer protections in the event of regulatory rejection.

Although Comcast’s interest in 21st Century Fox was previously known, details of Comcast’s proposal — and Fox’s reasoning for rebuffing it — were disclosed for the first time on Wednesday as part of a 456-page filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The paperwork, required under securities law, also disclosed that senior Fox executives, including Mr. Murdoch and his two sons, James and Lachlan, are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in “golden parachute” payments.

Disney’s all-stock deal with 21st Century Fox, announced on Dec. 14, valued Mr. Murdoch’s company at $29.54 a share. Among other assets, Disney bought the 20th Century Fox studio, Hulu, the FX cable network, and stakes in two overseas television-service providers, Sky of Britain and Star of India. Disney did not buy Fox News or the Fox broadcast network.

Comcast, identified in the filing as Party B, made an all-stock proposal worth $34.41 per share in November. The filing portrays Mr. Murdoch and the Fox board as taking Comcast’s interest seriously — until Comcast repeatedly refused to agree to a breakup fee in case Department of Justice regulators rejected the deal. Disney, perhaps showing more confidence in its chances with regulators, had offered a $2.5 billion fee.

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Comcast also proposed unacceptable plans for divesting any assets singled out by antitrust regulators as problematic, according to the filing. Mr. Murdoch’s camp ultimately decided that a transaction with Comcast “carried a qualitatively higher level of regulatory risk, including the possibility of an outright prohibition, than such a transaction with Disney.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/media/comcast-21st-century-fox-disney.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Cosby Accuser Talked of Framing a Celebrity, Witness Says

Ms. Jackson testified that Ms. Constand then changed her story and told her that it actually hadn’t happened after all.

“She said: ‘No it didn’t. I could say it did. I could quit my job. I could get that money,’” Ms. Jackson recalled.

Ms. Jackson, 56, is a 31-year employee of the university and now works as an academic adviser in Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Mr. Cosby’s defense team hopes the testimony from an experienced, mature voice will be taken seriously by the jurors and undercut Ms. Constand’s credibility.

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Mr. Cosby with his publicist, Ebonee Benson, during a break at the courthouse. Credit Pool photo by Corey Perrine

The defense has portrayed Ms. Constand, 45, as a con artist who preyed on a lonely, older, wealthy entertainer and hatched a plot to siphon money from him. He paid her $3.38 million in a settlement that closed a 2005 lawsuit that she had filed against him after prosecutors initially balked at filing criminal charges in the case.

Ms. Constand’s account — that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby at his home near here in January 2004 after he incapacitated her with three blue pills — was bolstered last week by the accounts of five other women who testified that they, too, believe they were drugged and sexually assaulted by him.

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Mr. Cosby, 80, has said the sexual contact with Ms. Constand was consensual, and he has denied the other women’s accounts.

Ms. Constand’s credibility has been a prime focus of the retrial, as it was last summer when the first trial ended with a hung jury.

Ms. Jackson, who worked with the athletic department as an adviser between 2002 and 2006, told the jury Wednesday that she recalled her hotel room conversation with Ms. Constand in 2005, when the story broke that Mr. Cosby had been accused of assault.

“The conversation we had came back to me,” she said.

She said she decided to come forward in 2016, after Mr. Cosby had been charged in the case, when she met a comedian on a cruise who said he could put her in touch with Mr. Cosby’s representatives.

On cross-examination, M. Stewart Ryan, an assistant district attorney, pointed to discrepancies and elaborations between statements Ms. Jackson has given at various points, such as quote marks that were added to the phrases she says Ms. Constand uttered. He suggested they had been added at the suggestion of Mr. Cosby’s lawyers, such as Kathleen Bliss, who had questioned Ms. Jackson during direct examination.

“Who put the quotation marks?” Mr. Ryan asked.

“Kathleen. Kathleen put the quotation marks because it is a direct quote,” she said. Later she said that she and Ms. Bliss had made other changes together.

The prosecution questioned why she had taken so long to come forward and also produced Temple expense records that showed she had not submitted any claims for reimbursement associated with travel with the team in 2004, though she had in 2003. Ms. Jackson said she had traveled with the team a half-dozen times but did not remember filing any expenses.

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The editor and publisher Judith Regan at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., where she testified on Wednesday. Credit Pool photo by Corey Perrine

Ms. Jackson had been blocked from testifying at the first trial after Ms. Constand said that she did not know her. But in a major victory for the defense side, Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas allowed her testimony this time after the defense brought forward two former Temple colleagues who said Ms. Jackson and Ms. Constand did know each other.

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During her testimony this week, Ms. Constand said of Ms. Jackson, “I recognize the name,” but she denied ever having shared a room with her.

Mr. Cosby is presenting a more extended defense in this trial after calling only a single witness last summer, a detective who testified for only six minutes.

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Earlier in the day, the prosecution finished presenting its case, which included testimony from Judith Regan, the publisher of a 2002 memoir by one of Mr. Cosby’s accusers. She told the jury that the accuser, Janice Dickinson, had told her about being drugged and raped by Mr. Cosby but that her legal department would not allow publication of the accusation because there was no corroboration of the claim. Ms. Dickinson told the jury last week that her efforts to publish the accusation had been blocked by the publisher of “No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel.”

Ms. Regan confirmed that account, saying, “She wanted the rape story in the book, and she was insistent and angry that we wouldn’t include it.”

Under questioning by Mr. Ryan, Ms. Regan said she believed Ms. Dickinson’s claim that she had been raped, saying she found her “credible” and indicating that she had given her account “with great emotion.”

During the civil suit that Ms. Constand filed against Mr. Cosby, he acknowledged in a deposition that he had once obtained quaaludes, a powerful sedative, to give to women he wanted to have sex with. That testimony was read out loud in the courtroom Wednesday to the jury as part of an effort by the prosecution to show that Mr. Cosby had a predilection for using drugs to incapacitate women.

Mr. Cosby’s lawyer had objected to the reading, suggesting there was no evidence that the three pills Mr. Cosby acknowledges giving Ms. Constand at his home were quaaludes. Mr. Cosby has said they were Benadryl.

In the deposition from 2005, Mr. Cosby had been asked by Ms. Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, “When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” according to a transcript read in court.

“Yes,” Mr. Cosby replied.

Correction: April 18, 2018

An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect name for the corporate parent of Regan Arts, the company led by Judith Regan. The corporate parent is Phaidon Global.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/arts/television/bill-cosby-sexual-assault-trial.html?partner=rss&emc=rss