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Idris Elba ‘frustrated’ with writers’ claims

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Idris Elba has spoken of his “frustration” at accusations of plagiarism and discrimination by two former writers on his new play, Tree.

A row broke out on Tuesday after Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley claimed they were shut out and suffered “intimidation and disrespect”.

Tree, which premiered at the Manchester International Festival on Thursday, is credited to Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah.

The women say they were “pushed off” after four years and got no credit.

  • Dispute over Idris Elba play Tree as writers claim they were ‘pushed off’
  • Idris Elba helps fainting woman at Tree performance

Now in a lengthy social media post, Elba has responded saying the writing duo are acknowledged in the programme for being on the “original journey” of the project and he will continue to support “new, emerging and diverse talent”.

“We wanted to offer an opportunity to support these new writers while creating a piece of work of scale and to a director’s vision,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

“The outcome is an accusation of plagiarism and discrimination. However frustrating this has been for all, we will continue to offer opportunities and to support the next generation of writers and talent.”

The 46-year-old said he thought the drama, dance and music production, which centres around his 2014 album Mi Mandela, would provide an incredible opportunity for Allen-Martin and Henley to “hone their craft further”.

“Tori and Sarah decided they didn’t want to pursue the early thoughts and declined to work any further on the project. This is not uncommon in the development process.

“They expressed their reasoning and we respected their decision. We were left without any writers and hard to start work very quickly.”

Elba, who does not appear in the play himself, came to the aid of a woman who collapsed as she watched an early showing on Thursday, ahead of its official evening premiere – after which it will head to the Young Vic in London.

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Harvey Weinstein: Four more women accuse producer of assault

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Harvey WeinsteinImage copyright
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Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison earlier this year

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault by four further women as he serves a 23-year prison sentence.

Court documents filed in New York on Thursday allege several sexual offences dating from 1984 to 2013.

One of the four anonymous women was 17 at the time of an alleged attack.

Weinstein’s legal representative told BBC News: “Mr Weinstein intends to defend against the claims filed anonymously against him yesterday.”

The lawyer, Imran H Ansari of Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins PC, added: “Some of these claims, including those alleged to have occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, may be barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and not subject to any exceptions under the law, as these plaintiffs do not appear to be complainants in Mr Weinstein’s criminal case.”

  • Weinstein convicted of rape and sexual assault
  • How the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded

The latest legal cases allege multiple sexual offences against four women, who currently reside in Tennessee, New York, Ecuador and Hungary.

Some of the attacks allegedly took place after meetings with Weinstein at the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals.

The new allegations include:

  • A 43-year-old woman from Tennesee claims that in 1994, when she was 17, Weinstein “falsely imprisoned, sexually assaulted, sexually battered and raped her” in his hotel room. The plaintiff, who wanted to break into the entertainment industry, alleges Weinstein demanded she perform oral sex on him.
  • A 70-year-old woman from Ecuador claims that in 1984, when she was 34, Weinstein allegedly pinned her against a door and fondled her in his hotel room in Cannes, when she was looking to start a career as a documentary filmmaker.
  • A 38-year old woman said she met Weinstein in Manhattan in 2008 and he offered to “help take her career to the next level”. He allegedly raped her in his Soho apartment a few days later, telling her he would ruin her if she told anyone.
  • A 35-year-old woman from Hungary claims that in 2013, when she was 26, she met Weinstein at the Venice Film Festival. A few months later, he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him when she met him in a hotel room.

Allegations against Weinstein began to emerge in October 2017, when The New York Times first reported incidents dating back decades.

At least 80 women have since accused him of sexual misconduct, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek.

The allegations were at the centre of the #MeToo movement that inspired women to go public with misconduct allegations against powerful men.

Weinstein issued an apology acknowledging he had “caused a lot of pain”, but denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

In February, Weinstein was convicted in New York City of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act, and later sentenced to 23 years in jail.

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Remi Wolf on how she makes music videos in lockdown

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Music videos are often big budget affairs filmed in glamorous locations with a cast and crew to rival a movie. But what happens when a pandemic strikes and everyone is told to practise social distancing and not leave their home?

Rising star Remi Wolf told the BBC’s Sophie van Brugen how she got around the problem, and what coronavirus could mean for the future of the music video.



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Coronavirus: Cultural sector “first to suffer and last to come back” – Bjorn Ulvaeus

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Bjorn Ulvaeus, one quarter of ABBA and President of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) said the cultural sector is ‘extra vulnerable’ due to Coronavirus and urged governments for support.

The musician told the BBC that he hopes to use technology to help creators get payments ‘more efficiently and accurately’.



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