Terrence Howards Fright Club is a bad idea. The one-hour Halloween-themed special that aired on Thursday night, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, is ill-timed in more ways than one.
Even a spook-fest would be a bad look for Howard, a man who really should know better than to cast himself as the terrifying master of ceremonies in a haunted mansion. No one asked for this Fox special, and Im shocked that Howards PR team let the Empire actor anywhere near it.
On Terrence Howards Fright Club, fans whose only crime is loving the shit out of Terrence Howard are offered an exclusive vacation to meet their problematic fave. Instead, theyre given a window into the real Howard, as the actor spends the majority of their trip cackling from inside a hidden control room while the dream sweepstakes turns into a living hell. Perhaps an A-lister with a less controversial background would have been able to pull off this hosting gig without presenting himself as a cruel sadist who revels in other peoples discomfort and misfortune. But Howard is not that A-lister.
As his first elaborate prank culminates with a die-hard fan screaming bloody murder in his living room, restrained by actors she believes to be cursed, Howard begins to pace with a voodoo doll, screaming, I have the power now!
I have the power to put you on my TV show. Youve been spooked! he announces, confusingly, since the contestant already thought she was being filmed for a sweepstakes special. (Also, who would be excited to learn that their sweating, screaming footage just got picked up for primetime?) Youre my biggest fan and I appreciate you so much, Howard continues.
In addition to raising existential questions like how did they get random people to sign up for this without reading the fine print and why, though, Terrence Howards Fright Club begs us to revisit the many, many accusations of abuse against its host. Fox clearly doesnt care, so somebody has to.
If weve learned anything from #MeToo, #MuteRKelly, and the cinnamon roll recipe Mario Batali attached to the end of his sexual misconduct apology letter, its that men who have done (allegedly) horrible things continue to expect, and to get, unlimited second chances. Apathy is an age-old illness when it comes to these sorts of crimes, especially when the perpetrators are famous, handsome, well-liked, or really good at making pasta. The fact that even #MeToo-era men outed for bad behavior are creeping back into Hollywood's good graces bodes well, I guess, for the abusers grandfathered into collective amnesiamen like Terrence Howard, who was landing jobs in spite of his personal history back when Harvey Weinstein was still an open secret.
Whereas these days the accused are expected to make heartfelt apologies and see themselves out on sexual misconduct sabbatical (ideally early retirement, but who are we kidding), Howard more or less worked through it. His abusive history weaves in and out of his interviews and public persona, somehow managing to coexist with a successful career as Empire patriarch Lucious Lyon. That Howard doesnt shy away from violent roles or terrifying prank specials just shows how unafraid he isunderstandably, since so many accusations never managed to slow him down.
In 2000, the actor was arrested for causing a disturbance when he allegedly assaulted a flight attendant on an airplane. The Smoking Gun reported that, according to police officers, Howard grabbed the flight attendant by the wrist and tried to push her. The charge was eventually dropped for lack of jurisdiction.
The next year, Howard was arrested again in Whitemarsh, PA. According to the police report, the victim, Howards then-estranged wife Lori McCommas, contacted 911 after a phone call with her ex. According to the report, the two were arguing on the phone when Howard reportedly announced, Dont disrespect me by hanging up on me or Ill come over and hurt you. Subsequently, while on the phone with 911, Howard showed up at the victims residence and began breaking the door down. The victim ran to the kitchen and went into the back yard. Howard broke the front door down and ran through the house breaking through the screen door in the kitchen. Howard then grabbed the victims left arm and punched her twice with a closed fist in the left side of her face.
According to the report, when officers did arrive, Howard was forthright and told police, I broke down the door and hit my wife.
In 2013, in response to a series of accusations well get to in a minute, Philadelphia magazine unearthed another altercation from 2005. The report alleges that Howard attacked two strangers, Danielle DiStefano and her fiance Kevin Saffell, because they were seated before him at a diner. When the hostess began seating Saffell and DiStefano ahead of Howard, the actor stepped in front of them and asked why he wasnt being seated first, Philadelphia reported. DiStefano told him that she and Saffell were first in line. Howard told her, Fuck you, I wasnt talking to you.
Saffell, a U.S. Marine, took exception to Howards words and stepped toward the actor and told him to apologize," the magazine reported, citing police and court documents that describe Howard then punching Saffell in the face, dropping him to the ground, then punching him again in the chest. Saffell tried to get up, but Howard continued hitting him, causing him to lose consciousness, according to the police incident report. Charges of assault and harassment were eventually withdrawn, although Howard did plead guilty to disorderly conduct, according to Philadelphia.
In January 2011, Howards second wife, Michelle Ghent, filed for divorce. Her explosive filings alleged a pattern of violence that pervaded their year-long marriage. As previously reported by the Daily Beast, Ghent claimed there were multiple occasions of abuse. During one July 2010 trip to South Africa, she alleged that Howard grabbed her by the neck, threw her across the room, causing her head to hit the corner of the beds headboard. She says he then picked her up and took her to the balcony and said, Im gonna f**king throw you off this balcony. When she screamed for him to stop, he dropped her on the ground. Later, he apologized when he saw the lump on her head.
Then, in 2012, Howards on-again off-again girlfriend of ten years, May Seng Yang, claimed that Howard had assaulted her while his current girlfriend, Erica Jiles looked on. According to Gawker, Yang told Whitemarsh police that Howard had choked her, thrown her to the ground and punched her in the eye, then told his girlfriend, Fuck this, Im going to jail for this tonight. Yang also wrote to police that Howard acknowledged during an argument that he had given her herpes. Howard went on to file assault charges against Yang, and the issue was settled privately.
One year later, in the midst of an attempted reconciliation, Howard allegedly assaulted Ghent again. The New York Daily News reported Ghents claims that Howard sucker punched her in the face, grabbed her neck, threw her against a mirror and tried to choke her three times during a July 29 argument in a vacation rental home. She included color photos of her injuries in a legal filing; one showed a badly blackened eye.
When asked about the damning allegations on The Butler red carpet, Howard insisted, As far as me harming somebody, anybody that knows me, I really can't harm a fly, you know? It's completely against my spirit.
And then came the Rolling Stone interview. In 2015, the magazine attempted to profile Howard in an interview that ranged from damning to plain wacky. On the subject of the 2013 incident with Ghent, Howard claimed that she was trying to mace me, continuing, and you cant see anything so all you can do is try to bat somebody away, and I think that something caught her. But I wasnt trying to hit her. He did, however, admit to assaulting his first wife, telling the magazine that, She was talking to me real strong, and I lost my mind and slapped her in front of the kidsHer lawyer said it was a closed fist, but even slapping her was wrong. He also tried to argue that one times one does not equal one, and that this non-truth can be demonstrated through his own language, Terryology, but thats neither here nor there.
Because English, unlike Terryology, can be confusing, Howard later found himself clarifying a 2017 People interview in which he copped to making terrible mistakes. In a Twitter thread, the actor wrote, Ive never been abusive to anyone in my entire life. I have loved and paid the price for love. I am the same loving being since day 1! When I say that Ive made mistakes, it is not regarding violence but judgement. Trusting the wrong people!
This double standard that has permitted abusive women to feel that they can assault a man and not reap where they have sowed is wrong! he continued, adding that, Having an altercation is very different than abuse.Read More
Before he rocked the seven kingdoms with truth bombs and drunken wit, Tyrion Lannister A.K.A. Peter Dinklage rocked the stage with his punk band. In the early ’90s, Dinklage was part of Whizzy, a punk/rap/funk outfit based in New York. Dinklage was in his 20s at the time and had recently moved to New York after college.
An article from the Columbia Spectator archives describes a song called “Omnivore Lord” with the following lyrics:
I’m an omnivore yet I do much more
I rock a party with my mike
get people out on the floor
but when the show is over and my rhymes are through
I head to the kitchen
’cause I need some food
Here are some more pictures of the young lion roaring on stage:
It’s 2017 so everywhere you turn there’s a film reboot or a beloved TV series getting revived. The latest is the forthcoming 12-episode coda to Will & Grace from NBC of which a second season has already been ordered, because in the Peak TV era, more is definitely more.
In an interview with Deadline, NBC President Bob Greenblatt detailed some of his other burgeoning revival plans, specifically mentioning his desire to bring back 30 Rock or The Office.
Twitter lit up, but let’s shut this down before speculation really begins. This is a terrible no good very bad idea and right now, there’s only one thing stopping this bad idea train from leaving the tracks: Stars who at least for the moment know better.
It’s every actor’s dream to embody an iconic television or film character. Those opportunities are rare, so it makes sense to cling to them when they do serendipitously arrive.
But there is that adage about beating a dead horse. Timing must be ripe for a revival; the audience must want it or feel its relevance. When Netflix picked up Arrested Development in 2013, it was a triumphant swan song for a series which, a decade previously, was tragically canceled and years ahead of its time. This was around the same time Disney began production on Girl Meets World, a strategic followup to Boy Meets World with just the right amount of cast overlap and a shifted target audience.
The chances of Greenblatt or one of his colleagues at the top passing on a reboot in the interest of artistic integrity are, quite frankly, laughable.
Revivals can work. The 2015 Netflix revival of Wet Hot American Summer reunited the cult classic’s hilarious cast to much success and critical acclaim. It was so unexpectedly not-terrible that a second season was ordered…and fell flat this past weekend.
There’s the frequent refrain that actors and producers are in it for the money. While that may be true and they’re often promised exorbitant paychecks, let’s gut-check this. No A-list celeb needs that extra money. The cast of Will & Grace will be living off residuals for years. Actors love to joke about how they’re unemployed between jobs, but when your last paycheck was for millions, let’s be real: You don’t actually need to work again in your life. You work because you want to, and you take a reboot to kickstart your career and make yourself relevant again.
Revivals are an almost foolproof financial plan, which is why networks and studios bet on them more and more frequently. The chances of Greenblatt or one of his colleagues at the top passing on a reboot of The Office in the interests of artistic integrity are, quite frankly, laughable.
So the onus of assessing what fits a reboot and what must be left alone falls to those who allegedly do care about the aforementioned integrity: Artists. Tina Fey told Greenblatt that more 30 Rock might not make sense; Aaron Sorkin said that while he’d love to revisit The West Wing, the timing isn’t right. Greg Daniels speaks for The Office, which was content to do two seasons without Steve Carell but shouldn’t dare touch a revival without him.
We thank you, stars who know better. Stay strong out there. We may say we want more Dunder-Mifflin, but all that would really accomplish is make us long for the original (the early days, natch). Say no to more reboots, and leave well enough alone.Read More
Tributes paid to genius and beautiful soul after actor who played Lafayette Reynolds suffers complications from heart failure
The actor Nelsan Ellis, best known for his portrayal of Lafayette Reynolds on HBOs series True Blood, has died at the age of 39.
Ellis manager, Emily Gerson Saines, confirmed the actors death on Saturday. The Hollywood Reporter, which was first to report Elliss death, quoted her as saying he had died from complications of heart failure.
The Illinois-born actor played Lafayette, a gay short order cook, on the HBO drama from 2008 to 2014, and more recently appeared in the CBS detective series Elementary. He was also a playwright and a stage director.
Ellis appeared as Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels film The Butler and as singer Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get On Up. He also appeared in The Help, and his fellow cast member Octavia Spencer mourned his death on Instagram. My heart breaks for his kids and family, she wrote.
Some fans tweeted one of his more famous scenes as Lafayette, in which the character marches out of the kitchen to confront some bigoted diners.
HBO released a statement saying the network was extremely saddened by Elliss death. Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood, the statement read. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.
True Bloods creator, Alan Ball, called Ellis a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.
In a 2012 TV interview in Chicago, Ellis recalled that it took four auditions for him to win the role of Lafayette. At first, he said, he was playing the role as a caricature and was told to go back to the drawing board and figure it out.
He then began to channel his mother. Once I started to act like my Mama, my fourth audition, I got the part, he said.
Born in Harvey, Illinois, Ellis attended Thornridge high school, where he credited teachers with instilling in him a love of theatre. He later attended the Juilliard performing arts school in New York City.
Also among those paying tribute to him were his True Blood co-stars Aisha Hinds, Michael McMillian, Lauren Bowles and Kristin Bauer.
Bauer wrote on Instagram: One of the sweetest most talented men Ive ever met. A terrible loss for all of us. Rest In Peace Nelsan. You will be missed. I dont know how else to put words to this terribly sad news
McMillian said on Twitter:Read More