Rihanna Pops Into Porn; Redford Disses Obama; Gadhafi's Son, the Movie Mogul

Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011 01:30 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Rihanna Moves From Pop to Porn
2. Eddie Murphy to Host Oscar Broadcast
3. Chaz Bono, Dancing With the Controversy
4. Robert Redford Disses President Obama
5. Gadhafi's Son Bankrolled Hollywood Career
 

1. Rihanna Moves From Pop to Porn

Rihanna was once known for her fresh music and innovative style, but all that seems long ago and far away.

In an apparent attempt to out-shock the female pop singer competition a la Lady Gaga et al., Rihanna has quickly become notorious for her pornographic performances on stage and base behavior off stage.

During a recent tour stop in Miami, the singer performed an X-rated lap dance on a female fan. Her current music video is littered with lewd images including purient props and clothing, and aberrant behavior of the darkest kind.

This alone would be reason enough for parents, grandparents, and guardians to rise up and insist that their children and teens be shielded from Rihanna's music videos and stage shows.

But there are additional incidents involving the singer which exacerbate matters and bring a sense of urgency to protecting those within our personal spheres.

Rihanna appeared in public wearing a necklace that spelled out the "c" word, no doubt offensive for most, but particularly debasing for women. She proudly sported the necklace as she walked out of Giorgio Baldi in Beverly Hills.

If I had my druthers, Rihanna songs and visuals would be deleted until they were made suitable for general audiences, including tender ears and eyes.

In the meantime, I am strongly urging folks to protect those in their charge from exposure.


2. Eddie Murphy to Host Oscar Broadcast

After the experiment of using two actors, Ann Hathaway and James Franco, as comedic co-hosts, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has returned to naming a professional comedian as its master of ceremonies.

Following in the footsteps of successful comic hosts including Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy will host the next Academy Awards show, the Academy announced Tuesday.

The sixth annual ceremony back in 1934 was the first to feature a comedic host, humorist Will Rogers. Hope hosted the most awards shows, having started with 12th annual awards in 1939, and gave out Oscars a record 18 times, which included co-hosting. Crystal had the host gig eight times, while Carson handled the duties five times.

The tapping of Murphy is hardly unexpected, given that the producer of the upcoming 84th Oscars, Brett Ratner, just wrapped up a film in which he directed Murphy, "Tower Heist."

You have to admit it would be great to hear "Shrek's" Donkey go into his trademark rapid-fire spiel just when the show's timing really needs it.


3. Chaz Bono, Dancing With the Controversy

ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" sure knows how to keep its ratings high. There's nothing like a political-correctness controversy to keep the buzz going.

ABC routinely uses the announcement of celebrities in its participant list to create powerful PR for the ballroom dance reality show. The choice of openly gay Lance Bass, openly Republican Tom Delay and openly Sarah's daughter Bristol Palin did the job in the past.

"DWTS's" latest publicity generator comes in its pick of Chaz Bono to participate in the upcoming season. Bono may have created the most noise ever because he's not only the progeny of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, he underwent a female-to-male gender transition via surgery.

Almost immediately after the official announcement that transgendered Chaz was in the show's lineup, ABC's message board was swamped with postings for and against the choice. Some groups have called for a boycott of the show.

Longtime celebrity PR pro Howard Bragman, who is currently Bono's publicist, appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" to bump up the water cooler talk.

"He's really using [the controversy] to motivate himself," Bragman said. "He's working incredibly hard, dancing hours at a time, and he's committed to being a great dancer and having a great time on the show."

"This has really reinforced his decision to be part of the show," Bragman added. "No way is he going to back down."

No, Chaz isn't backing down. ABC's publicity department would never stand, sit, or samba for it.


4. Robert Redford Disses President Obama

Robert Redford recently slammed President Obama in a scathing commentary that he put up on the Huffington Post. It was titled "Is the Obama Administration Putting Corporate Profits Above Public Health?"

After writing that he supported Obama because of his environmental promises, Redford groused, "But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it?"

Redford has been upset with the president's leadership in the past, but he's really steamed over the administration's recent decision to put the Environmental Protection Agency's new ozone rules on ice. The actor-activist also cited the State Department's stamp of approval on the proposed Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry crude oil from Canada to Texas.

Redford is essentially accusing the administration of engaging in crony capitalism, and he puts the blame on "a withering industry lobbying campaign based on the usual mix of fear mongering and lies."

Redford apparently still has faith that the president believes that cleaning up air, water, and land is important.

"I'm waiting for him to stand up for all that," the actor wrote, adding this caveat: "I'm waiting for him to stand up for our future. But we can't wait forever."


5. Gadhafi's Son Bankrolled Hollywood Career

Moammar Gadhafi actually had a connection with Hollywood.

The Libyan dictator's third son, Saadi, was a movie mogul of sorts, with a film production company called Natural Selection, which he co-founded in 2009.

In addition to funding from Saadi, Natural Selection was backed by various private equity groups both domestically and internationally. The company announced that it had amassed $100 million to use for new film projects.

Natural Selection apparently planned to produce a slate of approximately 20 films over a five-year span.

The company was represented by WME Global, a newly re-branded arm of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, the largest agency in Hollywood.

As is fairly typical with regard to Hollywood funding, there weren't a whole lot of people who seemed to care whether or not the source of the seed money might be coming from a notorious Middle East regime.

Saadi and his American partner Mathew Beckerman, an entertainment businessman from New Jersey, had produced a movie called "The Experiment," which featured two Academy Award recipients, Forest Whitaker and Adrien Brody. However, the film went directly to DVD in 2010.

A few years ago, Natural Selection produced the horror film "Isolation," which also went directly to DVD. The movie starred Susan Sarandon's daughter, Eva Amurri ("Saved," "Middle of Nowhere") and veteran actor David Harbour ("Quantum of Solace," "War of the Worlds"), with Steven Kay of the hit television program "The Shield" directing.

Natural Selection was developing "The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer," with Mickey Rourke in the lead role. However, the project never went beyond script rewrites.

The movie business is accustomed to seeing the best-laid plans go awry. But Natural Selection had to shut its doors for reasons that not even the most wildly imaginative scriptwriters could have foreseen.

In March 2011 Saadi was added to the list of Gadhafi family members whose assets would be frozen by the United Sates. Then in late August 2011, rebel forces arrested him after he had returned to Libya to serve as commander of special forces in his father's wretched regime.

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