Rose McGowan, the actress whose public allegations helped lead to the imprisonment of the once-celebrated super-producer Harvey Weinstein, has accused the director Alexander Payne of sexually inappropriate behavior towards her when she was 15.In a series of tweets which McGowan sent Monday morning, the actress alleged that Payne, the Oscar-winning director of movies such as Sideways and Nebraska, played her a pornographic movie, and implied he had, at a minimum, exposed himself to her.> Alexander Payne. You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name. I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15. pic.twitter.com/mVqiN4S9NW> > — Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) August 17, 2020McGowan, one of the heroes of the metoo movement, followed up a few hours later by apparently urging Payne to confirm that her allegation was true and apologize for his alleged misconduct.> I just want an acknowledgement and an apology. I do not want to destroy. This was me at 15. pic.twitter.com/XeNpsrpY4s> > — Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) August 17, 2020McGowan’s shocking new claim appears to match up with a 90-minute talk she gave in February 2018 in conversation with journalist Ronan Farrow, which was reported by The Cut.In that conversation, which was organized to promote her autobiography Brave, McGowan and Farrow alluded to a powerful man in Hollywood who had sexually abused her. The details appear to overlap with her new public allegations against Payne.“You told me that, even long before the Harvey Weinstein incident, you recounted to me that there was a statutory rape by a prominent man in Hollywood,” Farrow said to the actress.“Yes, and I didn’t process that until—well, I’ll get to him,” McGowan responded. She didn’t name him at the time, but claimed that a “very famous” director abused her when she was 15 years old.“He took me home, after he met me, and showed me a soft-porn movie he’d made for Showtime, under a different name, of course… And then he had sex with me,” she said. “And then he left me next to Tropical in Silver Lake, standing on a street corner.”McGowan said that she had only realized much later that the encounter would qualify as a statutory rape allegation, saying: “I’d been attracted to him, so I always filed it away as a sexual experience... Two weeks after your [New Yorker] story came out, I’d processed it, but I removed myself from it.”In 2017, Time recognized McGowan as one of the “Silence Breakers” who were named her as Person of the Year for speaking out about sexual assault and harassment.In October 2017, The New York Times revealed that McGowan received a $100,000 settlement from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in relation to an alleged sexual assault in 1997. Weinstein, 67, has since been found guilty of rape and sexual assault and has been sentenced to 23 years in jail, but further cases against him may yet extend that term.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.
A few years ago, Gracie Cox moved back to her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. She’d spent 17 years in New York City, working her way up the ladder as a costume designer on films and television shows. You’ve probably seen her work—Gossip Girl, Orange Is the New Black, The Good Wife, Girls. Cox had grown weary of the incredible demands Hollywood places on its below-the-line crew members. So now, in lieu of dressing A-list stars in fabulous frocks, her days are filled with children. “I work as a therapist treating children’s mental health,” she says. “All of my clients are from under-resourced communities of color, so the work is very different. A lot of my clients are trauma survivors, so I feel my own experience has helped me inform the work I’m doing now. And I’m happy to be doing it.” That experience still haunts Cox. This is not the first time she’s shared it. Cox has told her story for years. She’s confided in friends, colleagues, her therapist. In late 2017, just after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, she spoke to reporters for BuzzFeed. She even tried hiring Gloria Allred, the famed women’s rights attorney. But thus far, what she says happened to her that night has not been made public. One reason is that the man who she says attacked her—Kevin Connolly, of Entourage fame—“may not seem like the most powerful guy but his reach is very far, and the people he knows have a lot of power.” (Connolly contends that it was a “consensual encounter.”) * * *Cox didn’t originally intend on entering the world of entertainment. After studying fashion and textile design at FIT, she was working at a tiny shop in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, sewing together handbags, when she befriended a costume designer who generously offered to let her intern on a film she was dressing. That was in 2002. She soon caught the eye of Amy Westcott, a rising East Coast costume designer responsible for Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale. “In early 2005, I started to work on this film that was directed by Kevin Connolly. The designer, Amy Westcott, had already worked with him on Entourage. I was the assistant costume designer on this film, called The Gardener of Eden,” Cox says. “I’d been in the industry for a few years at this point—so not a very long time.” 10 Women Accuse Porn Star Ryan Madison of Sexual Abuse: ‘There Was Blood Everywhere’How the Horror Movie ‘Condemned’ Became a Real-Life NightmareThe indie, Connolly’s feature directorial debut, centers on a twentysomething slacker (Lukas Haas) in New Jersey who, after accidentally catching a serial rapist in the act, transforms into a crime-fighting vigilante. The Gardener of Eden was a family affair of sorts for Connolly, given that it starred his longtime pal Haas and was produced by his best friend, Leonardo DiCaprio, through his production company Appian Way.Things soon became awkward between Cox and Connolly, who she says appeared to take an interest in her. “I was around the set every day. Kevin was friendly and mildly flirtatious but I just laughed it off and didn’t take it too seriously,” says Cox. “I wasn’t interested but he was the director, so I was cordial. There was nothing that made me fearful though, it just made me a little uncomfortable, because he was my boss. So not acknowledging the smiles or comments didn’t feel like an option.” She says Connolly would do small things, like take pauses from filming to publicly acknowledge her on set, or make complimentary comments in passing. It felt odd being singled out in such a manner, she explains, since she was a mere assistant costume designer—and one of two, no less. “I was pretty surprised by all of it. He was dating Nicky Hilton and I’m this sort of shy woman who wears vintage clothes,” she offers. “I don’t know.” The Daily Beast spoke with four of Cox’s friends for this story, two of whom remember her complaining to them at the time about Connolly’s on-set behavior. “She had previously told me that he had been flirting with her a bit at work and it made her uncomfortable, because he often did it when people weren’t around, and then other times would act like he didn’t know who she was,” remembers Kristen Gallagher, a longtime friend of Cox’s who works as a creative writing professor at LaGuardia Community College. (Connolly claims the flirtation was “mutual.”) * * *The wrap party for The Gardener of Eden was held at the downtown Manhattan lounge Butter in December of 2005 (it’s since been shuttered). “My department had gone out to dinner prior to the party, compliments of [Westcott]. We were at the party and I don’t think I’d been there for more than an hour or so when Kevin [Connolly] approached me and asked if I’d go with him for a smoke,” recalls Cox, who was 29 at the time. (Connolly alleges he “was not smoking during this time period.”)By that point in the evening, she says she was a bit tipsy. “I didn’t smoke but didn’t want to seem rude. This was the first social setting I’d been in with him, other than being on set. He led me down a hall to what I guess was the VIP lounge area. As soon as we were alone in that area, he started to kiss me. I didn’t know how to respond—but before I could even think about what to do about it, he pulled me into one of these little side [booths], and pulled down my pants, and turned me around, and within no time was inside of me. I was just in shock.” Cox’s voice begins to crack. “There was not really a chance in my mind to object or resist. It just happened really fast. I froze and was in shock. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before in any way, shape or form. I was completely caught off-guard.”She says Connolly came—he was not wearing a condom—and then did something she’ll “never forget.” “He took a pillow off of a couch, threw it at me, and told me to ‘clean myself up.’ He then told me that he was going to leave and to wait a few minutes, because he didn’t want anyone to see us together,” she says. Cox says she quickly gathered herself and attempted to re-enter the party—“because that was the only way to leave,” she explains—catching the eye of Westcott in the hallway. “Amy saw me and could see that I was distressed,” says Cox. “She had seen [Connolly] walk by too, and she immediately was like, ‘What just happened?’ Her radar went off and she pulled me aside.” After exchanging a few muddled words, and witnessing her distraught state, “Amy was immediately enraged and protective, and then went after [Connolly]. Then they had an argument in the middle of the party, yelling at each other,” Cox says. “Amy said, ‘Let’s get you home,’ and put me in a cab.” Westcott confirmed to me that Cox told her what had happened immediately after the incident, and that she confronted Connolly over it. The Daily Beast also reviewed emails between Westcott and Cox, with Westcott writing, “I knew it wasn’t consensual, and went after him.” In another email, she wrote to Cox, “I thought you’re [sic] ability to consent was impaired by alcohol.” (Connolly alleges that Cox “was not extremely inebriated.”)The Daily Beast spoke with two other Gardener of Eden crew members who were present at Butter that night. They have asked us to withhold their names in fear of retaliation. “I saw Amy [Westcott] get upset with Kevin [Connolly] at the party,” says one crew member. “That’s what I saw. It was a burst, as far as I remember. She was very upset. And it was between the costume designer [Westcott] and Kevin Connolly.” Another crew member in attendance alleges that Cox looked “disheveled” when she emerged from the venue’s back room and remembers seeing Westcott “confront” Connolly soon after. (Connolly says that Westcott was angry at both Cox and him for being “unprofessional”; the crew members who witnessed the altercation and Westcott contradict this claim.) Four of Cox’s friends confirmed to The Daily Beast that Cox told them within days of the alleged incident that she had been “assaulted” by Connolly, and that Westcott had gotten in Connolly’s face over it at the party. “It was an assault. She was a deer in the headlights. Also, she told me that he had a girlfriend at the time, Nicky Hilton, and Gracie was thinking, ‘How is this happening? He even has a girlfriend,’” says Bessie Gantt, who grew up with Cox in South Carolina and has been friends with her for over 30 years. “She’s a great person. She’s incapable of lying, and very sincere.” (Hilton did not respond to requests for comment.) “She told me within days of it happening,” adds Gallagher. “We were hanging out at her place, like usual, and she said ‘something really weird happened.’ I remember her saying that she had been drinking, they were at this party, and he said ‘come with me to this back room, I want to show you something.’ They were alone in this back-room space, and basically, he just flipped her over and shoved it in and didn’t talk or get consent or check in with her or anything. It was really weird. He just lured her back there and did that. He knew what he was doing, she didn’t, and she just kind of froze. And it was at the wrap party and he was the boss, and she’d been drinking. She felt like he’d raped her.” Cox also told her therapist back then what had happened; The Daily Beast has seen a letter from her therapist dated Dec. 14, 2005, that reads, in part, “[Cox] felt she could not say no because of the director’s power over her employment, but that she did not want to have sex with him and was emotionally upset by the incident.” Susanna Vapnek, who describes herself as one of Cox’s “best friends in New York,” says that Cox also told her about the episode the very next day. “She told me that she was at the party and she got a little drunk, and he was talking to her and then was like, ‘Come with me,’ and he took her into some back room and kissed her and then the next thing she knew he had pulled down her pants and penetrated her—and not used a condom,” says Vapnek. “She said the next thing he said to her was, ‘Clean yourself up.’ I remember her saying she was in shock.” “Gracie definitely saw it as an assault, and I was very clear to her on that as well, telling her that it was an assault,” Vapnek continues. “I told her to go visit a doctor, because he had not used a condom. But her greatest concern was losing her job and being listed as someone who was ‘not cool’ to work with.” (The Daily Beast reviewed the results of an STD test that Cox had administered at the time.) For her part, Cox says she regrets not getting a rape kit done. But she was scared, and worried about her future. “The casual nature, the way that it felt, was like something that he had done before and thinks nothing of it,” she maintains. “He thinks he’s untouchable, and that’s part of the reason why it’s been hard to come forward about it. I was definitely fearful of not being able to work again in TV and film.” * * *Connolly, through his attorney Marty Singer, denies that he assaulted Cox. He issued a lengthy statement to The Daily Beast that read, in part: “Kevin strongly supports victims of sexual assault and believes their claims should always be heard. As someone who has worked in this industry for four decades, he has treated people with nothing but respect and has maintained a stellar reputation. Therefore, he was completely shocked to learn of the allegations made by Gracie Cox from a wrap party in 2005. The incident with Ms. Cox was consensual, and he categorically denies any claim that it was assault… Kevin completely understands Amy’s displeasure with the consensual act that transpired between Kevin and Gracie 15 years ago, after production had wrapped and they were no longer working together on the movie. Kevin acknowledges the lack of professionalism on his part, but he adamantly denies that it was anything other than a mutual consensual encounter.”In addition to an STD test, Vapnek suggested Cox reach out to attorney Gloria Allred for counsel. Cox says she did in 2017, after the Weinstein story broke, but that Allred turned her down because it was past the statute of limitations. (Allred told The Daily Beast, “It is the policy of our law firm that we do not comment on who does or does not contact us.”) Cox also spoke to a young reporter for BuzzFeed News in the fall of 2017, who briefly looked into her story. The reporter told The Daily Beast that Cox’s story appeared solid but they and Cox agreed it would be better to try to find other Connolly accusers, since this was the early days of MeToo and multiple accusers seemed to be the industry norm for sexual-assault pieces. The reporter also says the investigation was soon sidelined due to organizational shifts in the reporting team. At the time, BuzzFeed was also looking into numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against another Entourage star, Jeremy Piven. It’s important to remember that this alleged incident occurred in 2005, at a time when it was almost unheard of to publicly accuse a big-name actor of sexual assault. And not only was Connolly best buds with one of the most powerful people in Hollywood—Leonardo DiCaprio, who was a producer on Gardener of Eden—but Connolly’s star was also on the rise, with a supporting role in 2004’s The Notebook and a leading one on the hit HBO series. (DiCaprio did not respond to requests for comment.) “In the weeks and months following the assault, I had to endure seeing Kevin’s face on my daily commute, literally larger than life and plastered all over NYC city buses and subway stations,” remembers Cox. “It was the ad campaign for the new season of Entourage. I recall it being especially difficult to have this relentless visual assault on top of an already painful experience; his power and dominance continuing to occupy my mind and my space.” Her friends found it troubling as well. “I’ve also carried this around. It’s really upsetting when you’re in the position of knowing that this has happened,” says Gallagher. “For a while I used to carry around a Sharpie, and not long after he was in this movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, and his face was always around, so I used to circle his face and write ‘rapist.’ It just felt like too much to have his face around everywhere. It was like, God, this is bullshit.”* * *On top of everything else, Cox was planning to move to Los Angeles in order to work under Westcott on the upcoming season of Entourage when the wrap party incident happened (The Daily Beast has reviewed emails indicating as much). Two of Cox’s friends also confirmed that she backed out of plans to relocate across the country to L.A. and work on Entourage, which would have been a big career move for her at the time. “[Connolly] went on to continue doing Entourage. I was going to go work on Entourage, and that was going to be my big chance to move to L.A. and try and work in the industry there. But I obviously had no interest in pursuing that particular opportunity after this happened,” says Cox. “I continued to think about that long after. I’m not sure if I would have been more successful or not. But since that experience, I was able to work on projects like Girls and Orange Is the New Black that made me feel proud.” In addition to his DiCaprio connection, Connolly has managed to maintain a degree of influence in Hollywood. He’s starred in the Entourage movie (full disclosure: I interviewed him and the cast for it) and the upcoming Chick Fight, opposite Alec Baldwin, and directed the films Dear Eleanor and Gotti, the latter featuring John Travolta and the late Kelly Preston. Connolly described Dear Eleanor as a “female empowerment movie” in several press interviews surrounding the film’s release, which Cox found “infuriating.” “I want it to be known that he is dangerous,” she says, “and I want him to not get away with it any longer.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
Billionaire rapper and shoe designer Kanye West’s company has received a multimillion-dollar loan as part of the federal government’s coronavirus stimulus package, according to records released Thursday by the U.S. Treasury’s Small Business Administration.The money was handed out in the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion CARES Act designed to provide economic relief to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.Yeezy LLC, a California company, is listed in the Treasury’s log as a recipient of a loan worth between $2 million and $5 million. The company self-identified as being male-owned and a Black or African-American business. It said 160 jobs were saved using the loan.Trump’s Small Biz Rescue Bailed Out Kushner’s Family, Obama’s Aides and Other Political EliteCalifornia business records list Kanye West as the manager of Yeezy LLC, a holding company established in Delaware and run out of a La Palma, California, office. West’s Yeezy sneaker empire reportedly made $1.5 billion last year.West’s loan poses major questions of conflict of interest, given West’s outspoken support for President Donald Trump, his multiple visits to the White House, and the outrageously lavish lifestyle he leads with wife Kim Kardashian West. Both he and his wife have celebrated attaining billionaire status recently. After being effectively broke years ago, West turned his fortunes around with his best-selling Yeezy sneakers and attained billionaire status in April, according to Forbes. Last week, his wife claimed to be a billionaire, too. “I am so proud of my beautiful wife Kim Kardashian West for officially becoming a billionaire,” West tweeted, alongside a photo of some vegetables.PPP loans, available for companies with fewer than 500 employees, are written off by the government if companies spend the money on eligible costs and retain a certain percentage of staff during the pandemic.The list of 40,000 companies to receive loans of $150,000 and above was made public on Monday after complaints from Democrats that previous rounds of funding were not transparent. The program has been plagued with issues, from digital portals that crashed as soon as applications opened, to banks prioritizing their biggest customers, to Trump-friendly companies receiving big loans. Several large companies, like Shake Shack and Harvard, returned loans after attracting negative publicity.Loans of $150,000 and above represent about 13 percent of all loans approved but about three quarters of total loan dollars approved, according to CNBC.Yeezy LLC has been contacted for comment.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
The Florida sheriff whose territory includes Carole Baskin’s exotic-animal sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, has told TMZ that he has suspicions that she may have been involved in the disappearance of her second husband, Don Lewis, who mysteriously vanished 23 years ago.Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister also told TMZ that he is not “yet” ready to say that Baskin is a person of interest in the cold case.‘Tiger King’s’ Carole Baskin Denies Murdering Second Husband, Mincing Him and Feeding Him to Big CatsThe Baskins have used their website to strongly deny allegations made in the Netflix show Tiger King by the documentary’s antihero, Joe Exotic, that Carole murdered Lewis and fed his body to their big cats.As viewers of the series will know, Exotic is in prison, serving 22 years for plotting to murder Baskin.Chronister told TMZ: “I’m extremely suspicious, but not just of her, of this whole circle here. I don’t want to allude to the fact or insinuate that she’s a person of interest and that this is who we are focusing on. I’m not comfortable saying that yet.“Listen, there’s normally not one person that commits a homicide, it’s always a couple of people. This had to be extremely planned out, this had to be well thought out, there’s someone else involved in this, there is someone who is paid to do it, there is someone who helped do it. I’m hoping that person wants to come and get this off their chest and help law enforcement do the right thing.”Chronister said there would be a possibility such a person would be given a deal, saying: “You start talking about different things with immunity, you know. Deals are cut and every deal is on the table right now. Help us solve this case.”Last week, Chronister tweeted a message seeking new information on the disappearance of Lewis in August 1997, fanning the flames of rumors that Baskin was involved in his vanishing.Baskin said in her post that she believed Lewis had Alzheimer’s disease and admitted he was “not easy to live with.”Three months before his abandoned van was found at a small airport near the couple’s home in Tampa, he had sought a domestic-violence injunction against Baskin, which a court rejected. However, Baskin has long maintained that she had nothing to do with the disappearance of her former husband.The Baskins claim their sanctuary is grossly misrepresented in the hit Netflix docuseries, which lifts the lid on the bizarre world of backyard tiger-keepers, zookeeper rivalries, blackmail, and betrayal in the exotic-animal trade.The Baskins have slammed the directors of the series, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chalking. They said they agreed to co-operate because the pair told them “they wanted to make the big-cat version of Blackfish [the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld] that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big-cat cubs for cub-petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and backyards if they survive.“There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the series not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers. “As part of that, it has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don in 1997. The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims. They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers.”The interview will be aired as part of TMZ Investigates Tiger King: What Really Went Down? at 9 p.m. Monday on Fox. 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.
Author Elizabeth Wurtzel, who chronicled her struggle with depression and drug addiction in several best-selling memoirs, died on Tuesday at a Manhattan hospital at the age of 52. Wurtzel, who announced in 2015 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, was best known for her 1994 memoir Prozac Nation, which turned her into a celebrity at 26 and helped jumpstart the genre of confessional writing.The author underwent a double mastectomy in 2015, but the breast cancer had already spread to her brain. According to her husband, Jim Freed, Wurtzel died due to complications from leptomeningeal disease, which occurs when cancer spreads to the cerebrospinal fluid.Wurtzel described her battle against breast cancer as “nothing” compared to giving up drugs. Right before she underwent surgery for the disease, she posted a picture of herself in the hospital with the caption, “Of the bad things that have happened to me, breast cancer does not make the top ten.”Thank You, Elizabeth Wurtzel: ‘Prozac Nation’ Turns 20Wurtzel began her writing career in the '90s, pushing her way into the public scene with her extreme candor and use of the personal memoir after being previously unknown outside New York literary circles. She was also a one-time writer for The Daily Beast. Her 1994 literary debut, Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America, openly spoke about her difficult childhood, time at Harvard, and ongoing depression. The book’s title was inspired by the antidepressant she was prescribed.In her memoir, Wurtzel chronicles her tormented adolescence and the challenges of growing up with divorced parents, who separated when she was a baby. By age 11, Wurtzel wrote about her first overdose at a summer camp on the allergy medicine Atarax. She explicitly described cutting herself on her legs with razor blades when she was 12-years-old. A year later, she was spiraling into depression. Towards the end of her book, she describes a “black wave” of depression that led to a suicide attempt and how she recovered with the help of the drug Prozac. Four years later, Wurtzel wrote Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women—a series of five extended essays in which she links the lives of four very different women.The New York Times noted that while the book is “full of enormous contradictions, bizarre digressions and illogical outbursts,” it’s also “one of the more honest, insightful and witty books on the subject of women to have come along in a while.” Wurtzel is also known for More, Now Again, a 2001 series of essays in which she talks about her Ritalin addiction, shoplifting habit, and smuggling cocaine into Stockholm inside her diaphragm.Elizabeth Wurtzel: My Tea Party Mom Loves Al Jazeera AmericaAfter testing positive for the BRCA genetic mutation and receiving her cancer diagnosis, Wurtzel became a vocal advocate for BRCA testing—all the while maintaining her well-known candor. In 2018, Wurtzel wrote an opinion piece about her cancer battle in The Guardian, titled, “I have cancer. Don’t tell me you’re sorry.” She wrote, “Everyone else can hate cancer. I don’t. Everyone else can be afraid of cancer. I am not. It is part of me. It is my companion. I live with it. It’s inside of me.” She described herself as “the most impossible person ever,” “worse than cancer,” and said that the disease “must be a blessing,” and she was “excited to be alive.” Writers and journalists alike showed an outpouring of support for Wurtzel on Twitter after the news of her death. Journalist Ronan Farrow wrote that he and Wurtzel met in law school as “misfits.” “She was kind and generous and filled spaces that might have otherwise been lonely with her warmth and humor and idiosyncratic voice,” he added. “She gave a lot to a lot of us.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
In the midst of promoting three of his latest starring turns, Adam Driver sat for an interview with NPR’s highly influential talk show Fresh Air. But listeners will never hear it.Sources at NPR told The Daily Beast that Driver walked out of an interview earlier this month with Fresh Air host Terry Gross after expressing displeasure at the idea of listening to a clip of himself singing “Being Alive” from the musical Company. Driver’s character sings the song late in Noah Baumbach’s new Netflix film Marriage Story. According to one source, Gross’ team was aware that Driver prefers not to listen to recordings of himself and encouraged him to remove his headphones while any clips played back.Danny Miller, Fresh Air’s executive producer, confirmed that Driver left during a break in the interview “while we were playing back a clip from the film.” The star actor recorded his end of the interview from NPR’s New York studios, while Gross was in Fresh Air’s base at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia.“We don’t really understand why he left,” Miller said in an email. “We were looking forward to the interview—Terry thinks he’s a terrific actor, he was a great guest when he was on [Fresh Air] in 2015—so we were disappointed that we didn’t have a new interview to share with our listeners about Marriage Story.”Before airing a rerun last week of an earlier interview with TBS late-night host Conan O’Brien, Gross briefly mentioned that the show “had promised you an interview with actor Adam Driver today, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it as planned.”Adam Driver Is the Year’s Best Actor...TwiceWhile his abrupt exit from this month’s chat may seem odd, Driver has routinely expressed displeasure with listening to or watching his own performances—including on Fresh Air in 2015. In that interview, more than four years ago, Gross and Driver had a fairly cordial exchange, but at one point, Driver declined to listen to an audio clip of himself—a point Gross inquired about.“I don’t want to hear the bad acting that probably was happening during that clip,” Driver joked in response at the time.“Does it throw you off to hear yourself?” Gross asked.“Yeah, no, I’ve watched myself or listened to myself before, then always hate it,” Driver said. “And then wish I could change it, but you can’t. And I think I have, like, a tendency to try to make things better or drive myself and the other people around me crazy with the things I wanted to change or I wish I could change.”And in a New Yorker profile in October 2019, interlocutor Michael Schulman described Driver’s reluctance to watch himself as a “phobia.” The actor himself recalled feeling nauseous during a première of Star Wars: The Force Awakens; and hiding out in a greenroom during a screening of BlacKkKlansmen.Marriage Story, which was released on Netflix earlier this month, follows a young married couple (Driver and Scarlett Johansson) as they navigate an increasingly contentious divorce. The release of the latest Baumbach film on the streaming platform has fueled praise for Driver and interest in some of the film’s key moments: Critics have analyzed and lauded the actor’s performance of “Being Alive,” while clips of a major blow-up between the two leads have become a popular meme format. Driver has been on a press binge promoting three major, nearly simultaneous movie releases: On Friday, he’s set to close out the Star Wars sequel trilogy as the villain Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker; and he’s received overwhelmingly positive reviews for his starring role in Marriage Story and as a dogged investigator in the re-telling of the U.S. Senate report on Bush-era torture in Amazon’s The Report. In walking out on Gross, the actor joins an eclectic group of famous (and occasionally prickly) celebrities who have spurned the iconic Philadelphia-based radio host, who has long held the reputation as one of the most renowned U.S. radio journalists and interviewers. Gross recalled in the early 2000s that rock icon Lou Reed stormed out of an interview after just a few questions. Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner didn’t like what Gross asked about magazine subscriptions, while former Fox News host and accused sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly famously hung up on Gross during a 2003 interview, arguing that her tough questions were unfair. —Lloyd Grove and Marlow Stern contributed to this story.Adam Driver: ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ Is ‘Remarkable’ Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
Sandy Hook Promise / YouTubeA chilling new ad spot by Sandy Hook Promise depicts kids showing off their new “back to school” gear while a mass shooting suddenly erupts around them and—be warned—it’s a tough watch.It’s the latest public service announcement from the group that was set up to help protect children from gun violence in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, 2012. The Connecticut massacre claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six adult staff members.The video, titled “Back to School Essentials,” shows the kids using their new colored pencils, scissors, and socks to help them as they try to survive a school shooting that’s going on around them. It’s part of Sandy Hook Promise’s “Know the Signs” campaign that aims to warn students, teachers, and parents about the signs that someone is planning a shooting.One student running from a shooter says: “These new sneakers are just what I needed for the new year.” Another wraps her long socks around a bleeding classmate’s leg that has been wounded by a bullet, and says: “These new socks? They can be a real lifesaver.” A third student uses his new skateboard to smash a window in a desperate attempt to escape the shooter.The terrifying end of the video comes with a girl weeping in a bathroom stall and texting her mom that she loves her before the door creaks opens followed by the sound of approaching footsteps. “I finally got my own phone to stay in touch with my mom,” the student says.The video, which debuted on Today this morning, concludes with the message: “It’s back to school time and you know what that means. School shootings are preventable when you know the signs.”It’s the latest in a string of powerful PSAs from the group. Last year, it released a video from the point of view of a school shooter as everyone around him ignores the warning signs of what he’s planning. Another mimicked a local news broadcast about a shooting that’s due to happen the next day with the tagline: “You can stop tomorrow’s shooting.”As part of its “Know the Signs” campaign, Sandy Hook Promise has published a long list of warning signs to look out for that could give an indication that someone is planning a mass shooting.The group gives the chilling statistic that, every day, eight children die from gun violence in the U.S. and 32 more are shot and injured.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.