What happens during a government shutdown? 7 things you should know

Jan 23, 2018 0

It’s over — at least for now, anyway.

President Trump gave his final stamp of approval Monday after the House and Senate passed a temporary spending bill to fund the government through Feb. 8.

“I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children,” Trump said in a written statement

Senate Democrats agreed to the deal with one condition: Republican leaders had to agree to immediately proceed to immigration reform. 

“After several discussions, offers, counter-offers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said on the Senate floor Monday. “We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement, with the commitment that, if an agreement isn’t reached by February 8, the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA.”

Fox News asked Marc Goldwein, senior policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget – a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that educates the public on fiscal policy issues – to explain a government shutdown, and he answered seven basic questions about the process that Americans should know.

What causes a government shutdown?

A shutdown occurs when Congress and the president fail to sign into law 12 appropriations bills (which determine spending for specific government agencies) in order to continue providing funding for government operations.

How can you prevent a government shutdown?

To avoid a shutdown, members of Congress can give themselves an extension, known as a continuing resolution (CR). The temporary funding measure keeps the federal government open and allows lawmakers more time to negotiate the remaining appropriations bills.

“The bar for a CR is pretty low. You’re not agreeing to anything new politically; it’s a no-brainer,” Goldwein told Fox News.

That’s exactly how the government has been operating since Oct. 1.

Funding has been extended twice since then. The House and Senate approved a temporary spending bill on Dec. 21, and Trump signed the measure to keep the government funded through Jan. 19.

How long does a government shutdown last?

As long as it takes. Congressional leaders from both parties have to reach an agreement to fund the government.

It usually takes a weekend for this to happen.

“We’re talking days or weeks – not months,” Goldwein said.

The federal government would be forced to shut down “nonessential services.” Who would be affected?

“Essential staff at top level agencies would continue working, but most federal employees whose jobs aren’t vital would likely be sent home,” Goldwein said.

For example, those who work at national parks, monuments and museums would be told to go home. 

“It doesn’t feel awesome to be told you’re not an essential employee. It’s a little demoralizing to go home because you’re not important,” Goldwein said.

In the 2013 shutdown, roughly 850,000 employees were furloughed per day, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

But not everyone is required to take unpaid leave.

The president, presidential appointees and members of Congress are exempt. The Postal Service, the TSA and Air Traffic Control will also continue business as usual.

Americans will still be able to get their Social Security and Medicare benefits and food stamps. However, people expecting VA benefits, unemployment benefits, farm subsidies and tax refunds may experience delays.

Do federal employees still get paid?

Most likely. The problem: They’re not sure when they’ll get their money. 

“Everyone loses from the government shutdown. An employee loses their paycheck at the time he or she needs it,” Goldwein said. “Ultimately, we’re going to fund it anyway. It’s kind of silly.”

Federal employees typically receive back pay shortly upon their return, though, Goldwein says, nothing is certain. Every agency has their own contingency plan in the event of a shutdown.

How many times has the government shut down?

Including Saturday’s stalemate, the government has shut down 19 times since 1976, the year Congress introduced the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s research. Half of the shutdowns occurred over a weekend.

“Before 1980, the government didn’t really shut down,” Goldwein explained. “A lot of others were over the course of weekends. I call them ‘fake shutdowns.’”

Goldwein says there have really only been three significant government shutdowns in the history of the U.S.

Two occurred during the Clinton administration in the winter of 1995 to 1996. Former President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress were at odds and shut the government down for a total of 26 days, Goldwein said.

The third occurred during the Obama administration in 2013, when a stalemate between the House and Senate led to a 16-day hiatus.

How much money can the country lose during a shutdown?

The 16-day government shutdown in 2013 cost the country $24 billion of lost economic activity, according to an analysis from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s

“The payroll cost of furloughed employee salaries alone – that is, the lost productivity of furloughed workers – was $2.0 billion,” the Office of Management and Budget reported in 2013.

Goldwein says shutdowns “waste money” more than they “cost money.”

“We’re not going to spend more money. We’re just going to spend it on worse stuff,” he explained. “Instead of paying employees to work, we’re paying them not to work.”

“This is not a time to play politics,”  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. added Wednesday, suggesting that Democratic leaders are telling members not to support a GOP temporary spending plan that would fund the government through Feb. 16.
“This is not a time to play politics,”  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. added Wednesday, suggesting that Democratic leaders are telling members not to support a GOP temporary spending plan that would fund the government through Feb. 16.

Ann Curry says 'meanness' at 'Today' show should not be tolerated

Jan 23, 2018 0

So is it NBC that’s mean? Matt Lauer? Megyn Kelly? Or all of the above?

A seemingly uncomfortable Ann Curry did her best to deflect questions regarding her former network when she joined ABC’s “The View” as a guest co-host Tuesday morning. But the former “Today” host had to say something when pressed on Matt Lauer and the show’s Megyn Kelly/Jane Fonda feud.

“The View’s” Sunny Hostin asked Curry, “Given what has happened at NBC, given what has happened with Matt Lauer, Ann, how bad is this for NBC at this point? What Megyn [Kelly] did and just the culture there?”

A hesitant Curry, Curry, who was infamously pushed out of the “Today” show by the now-disgraced Lauer in 2012, told Hostin, “The decision is really what the viewers will accept or not accept.

“I think there is a feeling listening to some of this…a certain amount of meanness which we should not tolerate,” she said. “We are better than this. We are made of good stuff we can reach out to each other.”

Co-host Joy Behar interrupted with, “Well they were mean to you over at the ‘Today’ show.”

Curry threw her hands up in the air saying she was trying to take the high road.

“Here we go! I mean, I’m trying to go here and they’re going here,” a frustrated Curry told Behar.

Hostin pushed Curry further to address her interview with “CBS This Morning” last week where the former NBC host said there was a culture of verbal harassment at the peacock network. But before Curry could respond, co-host Whoopi Goldberg cut to a break.

“The View” co-hosts wasted no time jumping right back into Curry’s time at NBC when the morning show returned.

“During the break, we were talking about the sexual allegations against Matt Lauer,” Behar explained to which Curry jokingly asked, “Who?”

The 61-year-old then said the focus should be on the victims not the alleged abusers.

“What we are now waking up to is that enough is enough! That we don’t need to put up with this…what we really need to focus on is the victims.”

While the audience applauded Curry’s passionate response, Behar pressed her to address the allegations that Lauer had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock the door.

Curry said, “I don’t know” before the subject was dropped.

You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.

Flu deaths prompt warnings from victims' families as outbreak continues

Jan 23, 2018 1

It doesn’t matter if you run marathons or play sports, when it comes to the flu, no one is completely immune.

That’s the warning families of flu victims and health officials are hoping to spread throughout this year’s flu season as the epidemic continues to plague the U.S.

The flu is now widespread in every state except Hawaii and it has claimed the lives of at least 20 children, according to the CDC’s latest report. California is being hit particularly hard, with reports of at least 27 deaths of people under the age of 65 in the state since October.

The virus that’s predominating this year is Influenza A (H3N2), and that tends to be more severe. It affects the elderly and the very young, epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer, who leads the CDC’s Domestic Influenza Surveillance Team, told Fox News.

But the flu can hit anyone.

“Sadly, we hear every year of people that were previously healthy and active and they get influenza and die and for reasons we don’t understand,” Brammer said. “[But] if you get sick and you’re not getting better…call your doctor.”

Brammer says we’re getting “pretty close” to the peak of flu season, but flu activity is likely to continue for several more weeks.

As the nation continues to fight the illness, some families are sharing their stories in hopes of preventing others from facing similar tragedies.

“We want to…make a change in some way,” Keila Lino, the mother of 12-year-old flu victim Alyssa Alcaraz, told Fox News. “It’s not fair. We know it’s not fair. We don’t want revenge. We want changes.”

Read Lino’s story and those of other victims lost this year because of the flu.

Emily Muth, 6

When Emily Muth started feeling sick, her parents took her to an urgent care location, where she tested positive for the flu.

The doctor handed the 6-year-old’s mother, Rhonda, a prescription for Tamiflu, an anti-viral medication, and told the little girl to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Three days after her flu diagnosis, Muth started to have difficulty breathing. Her mom called an ambulance.

A paramedic who arrived at the house told Rhonda labored breathing was a side effect of the flu. It wasn’t cause for concern.

“He asked us you know, ‘We can take her.’ And, you know, they’re the medical personnel,” Rhonda told WTVD. “I trust what they know. And they said she was fine.”

But she wasn’t.

Hours later, Muth’s breathing got worse.

“She was breathing a little bit heavier. And all of sudden she just raised up and went back down,” Rhonda described. “I went, ‘Emily, Emily.’ And I noticed she wasn’t breathing.”

Again, Rhonda called 911. But it was too late.

By the time the ambulance reached WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, Muth was gone. The 6-year-old died on Jan. 19.

“This flu is no joke and didn’t have to happen,” Rhonda wrote on a GoFundMe page to raise money for her daughter’s funeral. “Please, all of you who have children, please hold them tight and [at the] first sign of flu get them to the ER.”

Nico Mallozzi, 10

Nico Mallozzi, 10, died on Sunday after suffering from flu complications, according to a medical examiner.  (Kirsten Morin, courtesy of the Mallozzi family)

Nico Mallozzi started feeling sick before participating in The Cup North American Championship hockey tournament in Buffalo, New York.

The 10-year-old from New Canaan, Conn., reportedly left the tournament early, and was later rushed to a hospital, where he died on Jan. 13.

The fourth-grader’s death was a result of “Flu type B that was complicated by pneumonia,” a medical examiner confirmed to Fox 61 two days after the boy’s death.

Dr. Bryan Luizzi, superintendent of New Canaan Public Schools, sent a letter home to parents memorializing Mallozzi and urging students to get the flu vaccine recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

“Nico was a wonderful, enthusiastic, outgoing boy who was known school-wide for his high spirits, limitless energy and quick smile,” Luizzi wrote in the letter, which was posted on the school’s website Monday. “We will miss Nico terribly, and will always cherish our memories of him as a vibrant, fun-loving boy.”

Alyssa Alcaraz, 12

Alyssa Alcaraz, 12, Visalia, California, died from a strep blood infection on Dec. 17 — just days after her parents say she was misdiagnosed with the flu.  (Jeremy Alcaraz)

Four days before her death, Alyssa Alcaraz was diagnosed with the flu and sent home from a local urgent care with some nausea medicine and cough syrup.

But the 12-year-old girl’s health continued to deteriorate over the next four days. She became lethargic and had trouble breathing.

Her mom, Keila Lino, took her back to urgent care, where she was told her oxygen levels were low and was transported to a nearby hospital.

Hours after arriving at the hospital, Alcaraz went into cardiac arrest and died on Dec. 17.

It wasn’t until days later, that Lino learned her daughter’s death was a result of septic shock from a strep infection in her blood – an infection she had no idea her daughter was suffering from.

“I know right now with the flu season clinics, hospitals, everyone is just busy and assuming that’s what everyone has,” Lino said. “But it’s more than that. In order for us to know, with simple blood work, it could have been caught. Something so simple.”

Alani Murrieta, 20

Alani Murrieta leaves behind two sons, ages 2 and 6 months.  (Fox 10 Phoenix)

Alani Murrieta, a 20-year-old mother of two, died just one day after being diagnosed with the flu, family members told Fox 10.

The Arizona mom, who had a 2-year-old and 6-month-old, left work early after feeling sick.

“Monday she was still feeling sick, so her sister took her to urgent care, her and her kids,” Stephanie Gonzales, the woman’s aunt, told Fox 10. “They diagnosed them with the flu, sent her home with flu meds.”

The next day, Murietta took a turn for the worse. Her mom rushed her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia, placed on a ventilator and pronounced dead within hours on Nov. 28.

“Never in a million years would we have thought we would have lost her that day like this,” Gonzales told the news outlet.

Kyler Baughman, 21

As an avid bodybuilder, a chiseled Kyler Baughman was the picture of health.

So, when the 21-year-old from Pittsburgh said he felt too sick to exercise, his family knew something was wrong.

Baughman came home early from work one night with a mild cough.

“He kinda just laid down and went about his day, and that was the day he was coughing and said his chest hurt,” his fiancée, Olivia Marcanio, told WPXI.

Nearly 48 hours later, Baughman was taken to the emergency room and airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he died of organ failure caused by septic shock from the flu, Baughman’s family said.

Katharine Gallagher, 27

When Katharine Gallagher fell ill with the flu, she planned to just sleep it off.

But as time passed, the 27-year-old’s symptoms only got worse.

So, she decided to go to urgent care, where she was given fluids and antibiotics. Two days later, on Dec. 5, she was dead.

“The next thing we know, we got a call from her boyfriend…saying that it was bad and the paramedics were there,” Katharine’s mom, Liz, told KTLA. “And so after about 10 minutes, he said to me, ‘They’ve called it’ — worst thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Gallagher’s sudden death was a result of severe acute bronchial pneumonia — a complication caused by the flu, her mom said.

Now Liz is warning others who catch the flu this season to seek treatment early.

“Young people just think they’re invincible, and most of them don’t want to pay what it costs now to go to doctors,” she told KTLA. “Life is short…nobody ever thinks it will happen to them.”

Katie Denise Oxley Thomas, 40

Katie Oxley, a 40-year-old mother from San Jose, died two days after catching the flu, according to reports.  (Facebook/Katie Oxley)

With three kids, Katie Oxley Thomas was always running around. And on top of that, somehow the San Jose mother also squeezed in marathons and the occasional yoga session.

Her family never expected she would die from the flu.

“It was very shocking for us. We just thought she was going to leave the hospital in a couple of days and come home,” Thomas’ stepmother, Adrienne Oxley, told KTVU.

But on Jan. 4, just four days after she was diagnosed, Thomas died. Doctors said the flu lead to pneumonia, and Thomas’ death was a result of septic shock.

“The one doctor said I’ve never seen anything progress like this. He said this is just incredible,” Thomas’ father, Walt, told the news station. “Most of us get the flu and recover from it and a handful of people every year don’t. And you just don’t think it’s going to be your daughter. But you really want to take it serious.”

'Teletubbies' actor Simon Shelton Barnes dead at 52

Jan 23, 2018 3

Simon Shelton Barnes, a British actor best known for his role as purple Teletubby Tinky Winky, has died at the age of 52.

Barnes’ niece, “Inbetweeners” actress Emily Atack, shared the news of her uncle’s passing on Instagram.

“My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken from us all so suddenly. The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever. X”

The actor was also honored on the official “Teletubbies” Twitter page.

“Very sad to hear that actor Simon Shelton, who played Tinky Winky in the late [’90s], has sadly passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Big hugs.”

According to the BBC, Barnes died on Jan. 17.

Barnes, a trained ballet dancer and choreographer, joined the cast of the “Teletubbies” 1998. He took over the role as the Tinky Winky after the original actor was fired. Barnes’ Teletubby became famous for carrying the show’s magic bag until the series ended 2001.

Actor John Simmit, who stared with Barnes as the green Teletubby, Dipsy, paid his respects to Barnes on Twitter.

“What a week! RIP Simon Shelton aka Tinky Winky: remembering the many good times,” he wrote. “Rest easy.”

In a 2008 interview with the BBC Barnes said he was surprised by the success of “Teletubbies.”

“I didn’t know it would be as big as it was, but I did know as soon as I started working on it that it had something special,” Barnes said.

According to the BBC, the original “Teletubbies” was syndicated around the world in more than 120 countries in 45 languages.

Barnes is survived by his three children and his wife Emma Robbins.

Report: Gulf Coast wreck could be last US slave ship

Jan 23, 2018 0

The remains of a wooden vessel found near Mobile, Alabama, may be the last slave-carrying ship to land in the United States.

Experts say the wreckage could be the Clotilda, which was burned after delivering African captives to Mobile in 1860.

The remains were found by a reporter who covers the coast for Al.com.

The wreck is normally covered by water in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta. It was recently exposed by unusually low tides and examined by archaeologists.

The Clotilda delivered 110 captives to Mobile in 1860 in the last known instance of a slave ship landing in the United States. The captain took the ship up the delta and burned it; the human cargo became slaves.

The wreckage is located near the area where the Clotilda’s captain wrote about scuttling the ship.

Prosecutors to seek death penalty against alleged Seminole Heights serial killer

Jan 23, 2018 0

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the 24-year-old man accused of randomly killing four people in Florida and sparking a months-long manhunt, authorities said Tuesday.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren revealed his decision in the case against Howell Emanuel Donaldson III during a mid-morning press conference in Tampa.

“The death penalty is for the worst of the worst, crimes that are far more egregious than the typical murder, and that’s exactly what we have here,” Warren said, adding that Donaldson is accused of killing four people in a “cold, calculating and premeditated manner.”

Donaldson, who is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, was caught on Nov. 28 at a McDonald’s near the Seminole Heights neighborhood where the killings took place. Police received a tip that he had brought a loaded gun to his job and asked a co-worker to hold it for him.

The employee told the manager, who alerted a police officer who happened to be at the restaurant.

Parents of suspected Tampa serial killer refuse to testify against him, lawyer says

Police said the gun, a .40-caliber Glock, was the missing evidence authorities need to connect the killings to the images previously released from surveillance video of the suspect leaving the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa where the victims were apparently picked at random.

The victims, who were killed between Oct. 9 and Nov. 14, were identified as Benjamin Mitchell, 22, Monica Hoffa, 32, Anthony Naiboa, 20, and Ronald Felton, 60.

“A prosecutor’s pursuit of justice should be tempered by mercy, but some crimes are so unconscionable, so hard to fathom that we must leave mercy to a higher power and instead focus on achieving justice for the victims and their families,” Warren said.

According to prosecutors, some of the families of the victims said they favored the death penalty for Donaldson, while others preferred a life sentence.

In the end, Warren said, all of the families were OK with proceeding with the death penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jake Paul on brother Logan's 'suicide forest' YouTube video: 'He did not mean to offend anyone'

Jan 23, 2018 5

Jake Paul on Monday addressed his brother Logan’s controversial video that showed a body hanging in a Japanese forest known as a suicide destination, saying his older sibling didn’t “mean to offend anyone.”

Jake, 21, spoke about his brother’s now-deleted video in a clip titled “YouTube, Let’s Talk About Brother Logan Paul.” Jake said he wanted to wait and let “the situation have some time to breathe” before he talked about it himself.

“It didn’t feel right to comment on it right away. But as his brother and as someone who knows Logan the best, I do feel it’s necessary to say something about it,” Jake said in an 13-minute video.

Jake Paul said his brother Logan “did not mean to offend or hurt anybody” when he posted the controversial YouTube video.  (Reuters)

“I think what Logan did was very, very, very, very wrong, and he made a huge mistake,” Jake added. “And not only is he paying for it, but he is learning from it. I thindk that in no way, shape, or form is suicide a joke or should be made fun of.”

Jake said that his brother “did not mean to offend or hurt anybody, or create such a big frustration.”

He added, “And he is honestly, truly, truly sorry.”

YOUTUBE ON LOGAN PAUL VIDEO: ‘SUICIDE IS NOT A JOKE’

Jake said his brother will learn from the situation and “bounce back.”

Logan, 22, got major backlash earlier this month after he posted a YouTube video titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest.” He appeared to be giggling and joking about the body he encountered hanging in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. The video was deleted, but garnered more than 6 million views in less than one day.

Logan apologized for the post and said he was “ashamed” of himself. YouTube said it was severing all business ties with the vlogger about a week later.

Jake has dealt with his own controversy before. He announced last July he was leaving his TV show Disney “Bizaardvark” after neighbors called him a public nuisance.

Jake burned furniture in his empty pool, causing flames and smoke to billow high above the home, KTLA reported. The street was also constantly flooded with people, mostly young girls, after the 21-year-old gave out his address to fans. 

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

2 12-year-olds charged with cyberstalking in girl's suicide

Jan 23, 2018 2

Two 12-year-olds in Florida have been charged with cyberstalking in connection with the death of a middle school student who killed herself two weeks ago.

The circumstances around the death of 12-year-old Gabriella Green on Jan. 10 led to the arrests of the two Surfside Middle School students, Panama City Beach officials said in a news release Monday.

Police did not release the names of the two children who were arrested because they are minors.

Investigators were made aware of the potential cyberbullying against the girl, which led them to examine several cellphones and social media accounts, the news release said.

They interviewed two suspects with their parents’ permission, and say both confessed to cyberbullying.

Gabriella’s mother, Tanya Green, told the Panama City News Herald the arrests “were gratifying” but added she puts the blame on parents and the school system.

“It’s going to help others at her school,” Green told the newspaper. “It’s going to start at her school. It’s going to help others around the world.”

Police said the two children arrested acknowledged their conduct was directed at Gabriella Green “knowing that said conduct would result in emotional distress.”

Even so, police said the investigation did not reveal that the cyberbullying caused the girl’s death, just that it was occurring at the time.

Police said that during the investigation, they discovered several middle school children with unrestricted and unmonitored access to social media apps, and said the department will hold a training in the coming weeks for parents about how to manage this access.

“These specific cellphone applications have been found to be the root of several dangerous and negative situations, such as cyberbullying, sexting and potential access by online predators,” police said.

The medical examiner is still working to determine Green’s cause of death, police said.

NFL rejects veteran-submitted 'Please Stand' Super Bowl LII ad for being too political

Jan 23, 2018 6

National veterans group American Veterans (AMVETS) said the NFL rejected its full-page Super Bowl ad over the words “Please Stand.”

The proposed ad, which would have been printed in the official Super Bowl LII program, featured a color guard holding the American flag with a call to donate to AMVETS.

The NFL told Fox News they objected to the words “Please Stand” due to its political nature. The decision comes amid the controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem, sparked by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season.

“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl. It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Fox News.

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, told Fox News the NFL “has become too politically correct for its own good.”

“It wouldn’t let the Dallas Cowboys honor the slain police officers who died defending its citizens, but it bends over backward to support the anthem protests,” Gainor told us. “Now it won’t even allow a fantastic organization to call for fans to stand up for our veterans. It turns out the NFL has been lying to us for years. It doesn’t represent patriotic Americans. It doesn’t represent veterans. It is simply a sport for whiny millionaires.”

The NFL did not take issue with last year’s Budweiser commercial which drummed up controversy for its political nature.

[embedded content]

Budweiser’s ad featured the story of its immigrant co-founder Adolphus Busch’s journey in the 1850s from Germany to the U.S., where locals tell him he should “go back home” and that he doesn’t “look like you’re from around here.”

Budweiser Vice President Richard Marques said at the time it would be “foolish” to think the current political environment isn’t fueling attention for the ad. Marques added that Budweiser as a beer brand is inherently bipartisan.

According to AMVETS, the ad was accepted by the NHL and the NBA.

McCarthy told Fox News that the NFL asked AMVETs to consider using the words “Please Honor our Veterans” or “Please Stand for Our Veterans” instead, however, the group rejected their modification. McCarthy said the back-and forth caused a production delay and AMVETS failed to meet the deadline to get an ad in. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.

Macaulay Culkin claims father was 'mentally and physically' abusive: 'Do good or I'll hit you'

Jan 23, 2018 6

Former child star Macaulay Culkin has opened up about the shocking abuse which led him to leave Hollywood.

Culkin, 37, claimed his father, Kit, was “mentally and physically” abusive and “jealous” of him, and made threats including, “Do good or I’ll hit you.”

The “Home Alone” actor made the claims in a revealing interview with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast.

“Everything he (Culkin’s father) tried to do in life, I excelled at before I was 10 years old,” Culkin told Maron’s WTF podcast.

Culkin’s parents divorced after he filmed “Richie Rich” in 1994. He called their split “one of the best things that’s ever happened” because it led to him leaving the industry.

“I even wanted to take a break for a while and eventually I was like ‘I’m done guys, hope you all made your money because there is no more coming from me,’” Culkin said.

The “Saved!” actor famously sued his parents over his $17 million earnings in a custody dispute when he was 15 years old.

He had their names removed as his legal guardians so they could no longer control his fortune.

Meantime, Culkin — who was close friends with Michael Jackson — also spoke about his friendship with Jackson’s daughter, Paris Jackson, 19. Culkin is her godfather and the pair share matching tattoos on their arms.

“I am close with Paris,” Culkin told WTF, according to E!. “I’m going to warn you now I am very protective of her so just look out.

“I am a very open book when it comes to things but like with her, she is beloved by me.”

Culkin met Jackson at the height of his “Home Alone” fame in 1990. They remained friends and spent time at the Neverland Ranch in California. Paris has also spoken of given Culkin a pedicure once.

The child star has changed his look many times. He has gone from looking like a wholesome child actor to a grungy Kurt Cobain-style.

In 2004, Culkin ran into trouble with the law and was charged in Oklahoma City with marijuana possession and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

He was a passenger in a Pontiac Bonneville, when the driver was arrested for speeding.

Police seized 17.3 grams of marijuana, eight Xanax pills and 16 round white pills identified by police as clonazepam, a sedative used to treat anxiety and seizures that can be addictive. Police said Culkin told them he did not have a prescription for the pills.

He was released after posting a $4,000 bond.

In an interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in May 2004, Culkin said he consumed alcohol and smoked marijuana over the years, but said, “I never had a problem.”

“Everything that I do for some reason becomes this big crazy thing, you know, even though any normal person does it. Like, yes I’m a kid, I had a beer, I smoked a joint. Big deal,” he said.

In an interview with The Guardian in 2016, the star also addressed rumors of drug addiction by saying: “No, I was not pounding six grand of heroin every month or whatever. The thing that bugged me was tabloids wrapping it all in this weird guise of concern. No, you’re trying to shift papers.”

In 2012, photographs showed him looking very gaunt and unwell, while rumours swirled about him battling a drug addiction.

He previously dated Mila Kunis for nine years, after their relationship began in 2002. Kunis once told Howard Stern that Culkin’s fame was difficult to deal with.

“He was huge because you couldn’t walk down the street with him,” she said on Stern’s Sirius XM radio show. “He always had this weird (attraction) … fans just screamed — they didn’t know how to react. It wasn’t like a normal response to a celebrity. The fans responded in a very abnormal way to him.”

The actor now seems to be looking healthier, and is understood to be dating Disney Channel star Brenda Song.

She has called him a “stud” on her Instagram account.

In September last year, the two were spotted at Instagram’s Knott’s Scary Farm celebrity night. They were seen holding hands and being very “affectionate,” according to an Entertainment Tonight source.

“Park-goers said they were very cute with each other, holding hands and very affectionate,” the source told ET. “Looked like they were having a great time.”

Culkin is set to return to Hollywood this year with a role in “Changeland,” which co-stars his rumored girlfriend Brenda Song and was directed by “Robot Chicken’s” Seth Green.

Song posted an image of her with friends, including Culkin and Green in August last year. It is understood that Green may have introduced them.

When Entertainment Tonight asked Song about her relationship to Culkin, she said: “Ah, I don’t like to talk about my personal life.”

This article originally appeared on news.com.au.