'Teletubbies' actor Simon Shelton Barnes dead at 52

Jan 23, 2018 1

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.

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

Jan 23, 2018 3

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

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

Jan 23, 2018 4

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 5

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.

Prince William honors Princess Diana in personal speech about charity work

Jan 23, 2018 5

Opening up for a good cause!

Prince William gave an unusually long and personal speech on Tuesday at the Charity Commission Annual Public Meeting. The 35-year-old Duke of Cambridge touched on his family’s influence in how he raised his two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and his approach to charitable work.

“I thought I’d start with something personal — a tribute to my parents. I have two children as you probably know (I gather it has been widely reported),” he quipped to the crowd. “When I first became a father about four and half years ago, I began a process of thinking about the way I had been brought up, and the values that my parents had instilled in me.”

He noted that he hadn’t intended to soul search, saying “As any parent will know, this process is not necessarily one that you undertake consciously – you find that certain values and habits, ones that you didn’t know you had, start bubbling up to the surface. Some of my earliest memories relate to times that my parents spoke to me or — even better — showed me what it meant to have both privilege and responsibilities.”

William first spoke of his mother, the late Princess Diana, who was known for her charity work. The family marked the 20th anniversary of her death last year.

“I remember being taken by my mother to a homelessness shelter at a young age, her explaining to me why the people I met there matter; why no society can be healthy unless we take other people seriously,” he said.

“From my father, I learned how central charity was to his life his sense of purpose,” William added of Prince Charles. “The Prince’s Trust is not an arms-length organization for my father. He cares deeply about The Prince’s Trust because it is a living projection of his values. As a young child, I recall evening after evening my father’s diligence and compassion as he applied himself to answering thousands of letters and reading endless reports in order to stay on top of his ambition to do all he could to help the underprivileged.”

William went on to note that Prince Charles was instilled with the same sense of duty and purpose from his own parents – William’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

“My grandfather Prince Philip has been one of the most tireless public servants of this country, deeply committed to helping young people fulfil their potential. My grandmother The Queen has never given a Christmas broadcast without paying tribute to charitable organizations, volunteers and people who care for others,” he noted. “My family have not done this because it looks good — they do it because charity is not an optional extra in society.”

William then called for charity organizations to collaborate for what he believes will be a more effective outcome. While the Duke was giving his speech, his wife, Kate Middleton, made an appearance at the Roe Junior School in Brent, London.

The Duchess of Cambridge launched the Mentally Healthy Schools online resource to help teachers get access to the best support for their students.

This article originally appeared on ET.

Oscars snubs: Tom Hanks, Spielberg and James Franco left out

Jan 23, 2018 5

It looks like water may be as good as gold.

Nominations for the 90th annual Academy Awards were announced in Beverly Hills this morning. The Cold War era fantasy film “The Shape of Water” received a near-record 13 bids, positioning it as the best picture frontrunner.

The British World War II epic “Dunkirk” finished second with eight. Reflecting the change in the Academy’s demographics, the popular horror/satire movie “Get Out” got four nods, including best picture and best actor for star Daniel Kaluuya.

But for every person who made it in, there was someone who had to “get out” in order to make room.

Here are the five most notable snubs from today’s Oscar nominations.

1. Steven Spielberg for ‘The Post’

 (2017 Invision)

Arguably the most famous director on the planet, he received his first best director invitation 40 years ago – for the science fiction classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” He would finally take home Oscars for helming “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan.” Based on early buzz for the Pentagon Papers drama “The Post,” he seemed poised for his third encounter with the Academy Award. Instead, the Spielberg feature made just two categories, best actress for designated hitter Meryl Streep plus best picture. That’s still good news, though not quite the headline that the director was hoping for.

2. Tom Hanks in ‘The Post’

A current Academy governor, he won back-to-back Oscars for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” back in the mid-1990s. He’s had less awards success in the twenty-first century. In fact, his last best actor bid came back in 2001, for the box office smash “Cast Away.” His well-reviewed portrayal of journalist Ben Bradlee in “The Post” looked like the perfect reason for the Academy to deliver him a sixth nomination. Cast aside again? As Mr. Gump himself would explain – it happens.

3. James Franco in ‘The Disaster Artist’

Playing the star of what is often considered the “best” bad movie ever made, Franco’s notices for “The Disaster Artist” have been anything but disastrous. Just weeks ago, he was on stage at the Golden Globes accepting the prize for best actor in a musical or comedy. Further recognition at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and a Screen Actors Guild nod seemed to bode well for his Oscar chances. Alas, late-breaking allegations of inappropriate conduct might have come at the worst possible time. Talk about disaster for a motion picture artist.

4. Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Stronger’

When the film debuted in cinemas last fall, Gyllenhaal’s work as a real-life survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing made him a strong favorite for an Oscar nomination. The movie’s lukewarm ticket sales and somewhat early release might have caused voters to forget about his exceptional emoting by the end of the year. His absence from the best actor lineup is a most unfortunate one. It’s hard to find a stronger performance by anyone in 2017.

5. Judi Dench in ‘Victoria and Abdul’

 (Reuters)

There is nothing like a dame. And there’s certainly nothing like Dame Judi Dench’s sensational second outing as Queen Victoria in the follow-up to 1997’s “Mrs. Brown.” Many thought her role reprisal would lead her to victory as best actress at the Academy Awards. Unfortunately, Dench was squeezed out of the final five – likely due to the fierce competition. The dame still holds one statuette, for best supporting actress in “Shakespeare in Love.” The Bard himself would perhaps describe her “Victoria and Abdul” best actress failure as the ultimate Oscar tragedy.

Sarah Ferguson skips TV appearance after odd tweets about Princess Eugenie's engagement

Jan 23, 2018 7

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has seemingly been silenced after she published a series of odd tweets following the announcement that her daughter Princess Eugenie is engaged to Jack Brooksbank.

On Monday, Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, announced her engagement to Jack Brooksbank. Following the nuptial news, her mom, Fergie, took to Twitter. 

Princess Eugenie announces her engagement to Jack Brooksbank on Monday, Jan. 22.  (AP)

The happy mother tweeted five separate posts featuring romantic photos of Eugenie and Brooksbank with detailed greeting card-like captions on each photo.

Ferguson’s first tweet of the day was a black and white image of the couple which read in a Hallmark card-style font: “A total embrace of goodness AND JOY, we love jack and I AM SO EXCITED to have a son, a brother and a best friend, Eugenie is one of the finest people I know and so together it will BE PURE HARMONY’ #total joy #engagement @TheDukeOfYork.“

In another candid photo The Duchess shared of the newly engaged couple, she wrote: “They make laughter and we feel the joy…Thank you for the magic. Jack and Eugie so proud of you.” 

Fergie was scheduled to do a TV interview with the BBC on Tuesday, but the interview was abruptly canceled leaving people to wonder if the Duchess had been silenced by the royal family due her elaborate Twitter spree.

The princess’ father Andrew, stayed away from social media. He released a statement about the engagement news while in Norfolk stating, “I am absolutely overjoyed, I’m thrilled.”

“Jack is an absolutely outstanding young man and Eugenie and he have got to know each over a number of years, and I’m really thrilled for them,” Andrew said. “I can’t speak for the Duchess but we… and for [Eugenie’s sister] Beatrice … we are overjoyed today that Eugenie and Jack have got engaged.”

The royal couple will be married in the fall, several months after the highly anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.