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Kevin Hart stunned after friend arrested on sex-tape extortion charges

Kevin Hart said he was “simply in complete disbelief” after authorities brought charges against his longtime friend, Jonathan Jackson, who allegedly tried to extort the actor-comedian, ABC News reported

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"Mind blown … Hurt … at a lost(sic) for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment. WOW," Hart tweeted after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced charges against Jackson, 41, who allegedly tried blackmailing the comedian last year.

In a statement released by the prosecutor’s office Jackson was charged with attempted extortion and extortion by threatening letter. According to authorities, Jackson threatened to release a video he secretly recorded of Hart having sex with a woman in Las Vegas, ABC News reported.

"Jackson is accused of trying to extort an undisclosed amount of money from Hart between Aug. 25 and Aug. 30, 2017," the statement said. "Jackson allegedly had a videotape of the actor with a woman in Las Vegas and then is accused of trying to sell the recording to numerous celebrity news websites."

Jackson was arrested Monday and is being held on $100,000 bail, according to jail records. He could face up to four years in county jail if convicted.

Jackson's attorney, Chad Lewin, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment, ABC News reported.

Angels slugger Albert Pujols joins 3,000-hit club

Angels slugger Albert Pujols became the 32nd major-leaguer to collect 3,000 career hits, hitting a soft single off Mike Leake in the fifth inning Friday night at Seattle’s Safeco Field.

Pujols, 38, also joined an exclusive club, becoming only the fourth player to achieve the 3,000-hit plateau while hitting 600 home runs, ESPN reported. He joins Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez.

Pujols joins Adrian Beltre as the only Dominican-born players to reach the milestone. He is also the fourth player in four seasons to connect for 3,000 hits; Rodriguez did it in 2015, followed by Ichiro Suzuki in 2016 and Beltre last season, ESPN reported.

With his 3,000th hit, Pujols tied Roberto Clemente for 31st on the all-time list, MLB.com reported. He is seventh on the all-time home run list with 620.

Pujols also joins Rod Carew as the only players to collect their 3,000th hit while playing for the Angels. He will receive a $3 million bonus for hitting the milestone, MLB.com reported.

Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z ordered to make court appearance after ignoring SEC subpoenas 

Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z ignored two subpoenas earlier this year related to an investigation into the company he sold his Rocawear apparel brand to for $200 million. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to force the entertainer to talk to investigators through a court order, according to news outlets.

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A federal judge ordered the rap star-turned-businessman to appear in court next Tuesday to explain why he ignored the SEC subpoenas relating to an investigation into Iconix.

Jay-Z, whose birth name is Shawn Carter, is not the focus of the probe. Investigators are looking into why Iconix has lowered the value of Rocawear repeatedly in recent years and whether it violated any securities laws, according to The Washington Post.

>> Related: Beyonce, Jay-Z announce ‘On the Run 2’ tour

Jay-Z, a co-founder of Rocawear, sold it to Iconix in 2007. His attorney said the rapper refused to testify because he has nothing to do with Iconix or any business decisions the company has made.

‘Dancing with the Stars’ Cheryl Burke, actor Matthew Lawrence engaged

“Dancing with the Stars” pro Cheryl Burke is engaged to actor Matthew Lawrence.

People reported that the dancer announced the news in the form of an Instagram post Thursday night. The two got engaged at Montage Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, California, where they celebrated Burke’s birthday.

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“OMG! So far so good for 34!” she captioned the post, which includes photos of her embracing Lawrence, 38, and showing off her round cut halo ring.

According to UsWeekly, the ring has special meaning. It’s the same diamond ring Burke’s late father, Steve Burke, gave to her mother, Sherri Burke. It was reset with more diamonds. Sherri Burke and Lawrence’s mother, Donna, helped with the ring.

Burke and Lawrence, known for roles in “Boy Meets World” and “Brotherly Love,” initially dated for a year in 2007 before breaking up in 2008. They rekindled their romance in 2017.

“When we first dated, we were both young and immature, and I was so new to this world,” Burke said of their first break up. “Now we are both adults and feel balanced.”

This will be the first marriage for Lawrence and Burke.

Pioneering pro wrestler 'Prince' Neff Maiava dead at 93

Former professional wrestler “Prince” Neff Maiava, who battled legendary foes such as Fritz Von Erich and Killer Kowalski and even grappled with a real bear in the ring, died April 21, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

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He was 93.

Maiava was noted for wearing a necklace of boar’s teeth as he entered the ring.

During a National Wrestling Alliance event, the top wrestlers drew names to determine who their opponent would be. Maiava drew the bear, the Star Advertiser reported.

Maiava won the match when he put honey on his chest and lay on the canvas. While the bear licked the honey, Maiava rolled the animal over and “pinned” it, the Star Advertiser reported.

In his prime, Maiava stood 6 feet and weighed 285 pounds. Born in Samoa, he set the standard for future wrestlers of Polynesian descent, including Peter Maivia, the Wild Samoans and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Maiava’s wrestling career spanned four decades, and he punctuated his entrance to the ring by breaking wooden boards over his head or walking on a board of nails, the Star Advertiser reported.

After retiring, Maiava started a tree-trimming business and also wrote several children’s books, the newspaper reported.

“He was a very colorful man,” Maiava’s daughter Pamela Maiava, told the Star Advertiser. “He was also the nicest man I’ve ever known. So many of his friends have told me how much he helped other people.”

Rapper 21 Savage blamed for ‘paintball wars’ that are causing trouble for Atlanta police

An Atlanta rapper credited with starting a social media campaign to discourage gun violence – by encouraging paintball guns instead – is now being blamed for a nationwide wave of paintball gun shootings.

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Three weeks ago, rapper 21 Savage publicly stepped up to pay for the funeral of 3-year-old T’Rhigi Diggs, a DeKalb County boy who was killed by a stray bullet as he slept in the back of his mother’s SUV.

Police determined that the boy was caught in the cross hairs of a “paintball war” taking place at a nearby gas station.

He was shot when a teenager who had been paintball-splattered by pranksters tried to retaliate with a real gun.

Paintball wars are becoming more and more common in cities across the country, according to a story posted Wednesday in USA Today, and in some cases, the paintball wars have ended with real bullets.

>> Related: Rapper 21 Savage covers funeral costs for 3-year-old killed in drive-by on Easter

Atlanta police have responded to 34 paintball-related incidents this year, with a particular uptick in April, said Stephanie Brown, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta Police Department. Brown said most of these incidents have involved groups of people targeting each other as part of a game. At least one innocent person has been hit by a paintball, and private property has been struck as well.

Paintball guns use pressurized air to shoot paint-filled gel capsules at up to 300 feet per second, or just over 200 miles per hour. At this speed, the pellets can do damage to property and cause injuries. However, some people — like Christopher Cullins, the middle school student accused of shooting 3-year-old T’Rhigi -- have been responding to attacks with real violence.

Besides T’Rhigi, one other death in North Carolina has been linked to the trend.

>> Related: 2-year-old pelted 9 times with paintball, mother says

The rash of paintball attacks started in late March, around the same time 21 Savage, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, began posting videos to YouTube and social media that depicted him driving around to various Atlanta neighborhoods and spraying cars using a paintball gun. The campaign, which has gained traction under the mantra “paintballs up, guns down,” was initially intended to curb gun violence by encouraging people to shoot paintballs instead of bullets.

Read more here.

Cars singer Ric Ocasek, model Paulina Porizkova ‘peacefully separate’ after 28 years together

Model Paulina Porizkova and the Cars singer Ric Ocasek have announced they are separating after 28 years of marriage.

CNN reported that Porizkova, 58, made the announcement on Instagram Wednesday. She also revealed that she and Ocasek have been separated for a year.

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“Our family always has been -- and still is -- a well-built car,” Porizkova’s Instagram post said. “When the four of us are together, we can go wherever the road takes us. But as a bicycle, my husband and I no longer pedal in unison. So, we're ditching the bicycle.

“Ric and I have been peacefully separated for the past year. The photos of our happy family are, in fact, happy family photos; we are just no longer a couple.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that Porizkova and Ocasek met in 1984 when Porizkova appeared in the Car’s “Drive” music video. They were married five years later in 1989.

Porizkova and Ocasek have two adult sons together, Jonathan, born in 1993, and Oliver, born in 1999.

The pair were photographed together in April at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in which the Cars were inducted.

Kanye West tweets clarification of slavery ‘sounds like a choice’ comments

Soon after receiving criticism and being the cause of #IfSlaveryWasAChoice, Kanye West tweeted some clarification on his remark that 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice” on TMZ Live.

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West made the comment on the Tuesday afternoon episode of the show and was met with a quick rebuke from TMZ newsroom employee Van Lathan.

Related: Kanye West at center of uproar after saying 400 years of slavery a ‘choice’

“Do you feel like I’m thinking free and feeling free?” West asked the newsroom after making the comment.

“I actually don't think you’re thinking anything,” Lathan said. “I think what you're doing right now is actually the absence of thought and the reason why I think that is because, Kanye, you’re entitled to your option. You’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said and while you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice.

“Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and, brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real,” Lathan said.

West offered to come over and give Lathan a hug. He also repeatedly said that he loved him.

Related: Kanye West talks breakdown, JAY-Z, Kim Kardashian robbery and more with Charlamagne tha God

“To make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will,” West tweeted after appearing on TMZ Live. 

Related: #IfSlaveryWasAChoice surfaces after Kanye West slavery comments

He continued the thought with a series of other tweets, including a reference to the William Lynch speech, widely considered to be a hoax, and a quote attributed to Harriet Tubman that she never actually said.

#IfSlaveryWasAChoice surfaces after Kanye West slavery comments

After Kanye West suggested slavery was a choice during a recent TMZ interview, several have disputed his comments on social media with the viral hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice.

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On Tuesday, the rapper made an appearance on the show to chat about his return to Twitter and his definition of free thought. 

While explaining his views, he mentioned slavery.

>> Related: Kanye West at center of uproar after saying 400 years of slavery a 'choice'

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” he said.

His remarks not only roused TMZ’s Van Lathan, but he also seemingly sparked #IfSlaveryWasAChoice across social media

>> Related: Kanye West's new song defends his support for Trump

Many used the trend to create fictitious scenarios, where enslaved African-Americans from previous centuries experienced freedom without suffering dangerous consequences.

>> Related: Kim Kardashian defends Kanye West, accuses Twitter users of ‘demonizing’ him

Several imagined what it would have been like had slaves refused to work or follow rules without punishment.

Kanye West at center of uproar after saying 400 years of slavery a 'choice'

Rapper Kanye West visited the TMZ newsroom for an eye-popping interview Tuesday morning which included professing his love for President Donald Trump and ended with a staff member sternly reprimanding him after West made comments suggesting slavery was “a choice.”

>> Read more trending news 

“I just love Trump. That’s my boy,” he said in response to a question from TMZ chief Harvey Levin about West’s penchant for wearing a “Make America Great Hat.”

He discussed various topics including his “free thought” stance in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style before things went off the rails.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” he said, provoking looks of stunned silence, then this impassioned rebuke from TMZ’s Van Lathan.

Related: Kanye West talks breakdown, JAY-Z, Kim Kardashian robbery and more with Charlamagne tha God

“I don’t think you’re thinking anything. I think what you’re doing is the absence of thought. Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion, you’re entitled to believe whatever you want. But there is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said,” Lathan said.

While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice,” he said.

“Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled, and brother I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something that for me, is not real.”

A twitter storm followed.

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