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Court refuses to revive defamation suit against Bill Cosby

A federal appeals court refused Wednesday to revive a defamation lawsuit filed against Bill Cosby by a woman who said he raped her decades ago.

A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld a lower court ruling dismissing Kathrine McKee's lawsuit against Cosby.

The former actress said Cosby defamed her in a letter that his lawyer sent to the New York Daily News demanding a retraction of a 2014 story about McKee's rape allegations. The judge who dismissed McKee's case said the letter was protected by the First Amendment.

McKee, who said Cosby raped her in a Detroit hotel room in 1974, was among dozens of women who came forward with allegations against the actor once known as "America's Dad" for his TV role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable. Cosby has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Alan Greenberg, an attorney for Cosby, said in an email that they are pleased with the appeals court's "well-reasoned decision confirming that there was no defamation."

An attorney for McKee did not immediately respond to an email on Wednesday.

McKee's lawyer argued earlier this month that McKee does not have to prove actual malice because she is not a public figure. To show actual malice, she would have to prove Cosby knew statements in the letter were false or entertained serious doubts as to whether they might be true.

But the appeals court said McKee became a public figure when she went public with the rape allegations in the newspaper.

"McKee took concerted steps meant to influence the public's perception of whether Cosby was, in fact, a sexual predator," Judge Sandra Lynch wrote for the panel.

A separate defamation lawsuit filed by seven other women also is pending in Massachusetts, where Cosby owns a home. The 80-year-old has filed a counter lawsuit accusing those women of defamation.

The only criminal case against Cosby ended in a mistrial in Pennsylvania in June. Cosby is expected to be retried in April on charges that he drugged and molested an employee of Temple University, his alma mater. Cosby insists their encounter was consensual.

Canada heartbroken: Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie dead at 53 of brain cancer 

The lead singer of the Canadian alt-rock band the Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, died Wednesday night after a battle with terminal brain cancer.

>> Read more trending news

Downie, 53, passed away surrounded by his children and family, according to a family statement on Twitter.

"Gord knew this day was coming – his response was to spend this precious time as he always had – making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived,” the statement said.

Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, or terminal brain cancer, in December of 2015, but didn’t reveal the diagnosis until May of 2016, according to Rolling Stone.

"Gord said he had lived many lives," the statement continued.

"As a musician, he lived 'the life' for over 30 years, lucky to do most of it with his high school buddies. At home, he worked just as tirelessly at being a good father, son, brother, husband and friend. No one worked harder on every part of their life than Gord. No one."

The five members of the Tragically Hip started playing together in the mid-1980s. They gained some traction in the United States in the 90s, but never really caught on among American audiences.

They are huge superstars in Canada, though, producing 14 studio albums over three decades, with most going platinum, Rolling Stone reported. They were featured on postage stamps and received the Order of Canada.

Downie was also an environmentalist who worked on behalf of indigenous people and social justice issues.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Downie’s command of language “profound.” 

He painted landscapes with his words, elevating Canadian geography, historical figures, and myths," Trudeau said.

"When he spoke, he gave us goosebumps and made us proud to be Canadian. 

>> Related: Tom Petty buried at famous cemetery in private funeral service

Downie’s family thanked fans for “the respect, admiration and love” given to Downie throughout the years, in their statement following his death .

"Those tender offerings touched his heart and he takes them with him now as he walks among the stars."

E! to end ‘Fashion Police’ after 22 years with celebration of Joan Rivers

E! is canceling its hit red carpet and style talk show “Fashion Police” after 22 years. Variety reported Wednesday that the series will end with a series-finale special celebrating Joan Rivers in November.

The finale, titled, “Fashion Police: The Farewell,” will have surprise celebrity guests as well as a look back at memorable moments. E! News reported that the special will include unaired footage of Joan Rivers.

>> Read more trending news

Rivers began covering red carpets with her daughter, Melissa, and brought her sharp humor and cutting wit to her interviews and critiques. The coverage evolved from red carpets to a show with other panelists. 

After Joan Rivers’ death in 2014, the show continued as specials around award show events. Melissa Rivers became the host, discussing celeb clothing choices with panelists Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski, NeNe Leakes, and Margaret Cho.

“Joan's beloved no-holds-barred style fueled the franchise's clever approach to fashion and comedy, and we are incredibly proud of its long-running success,” E! president Adam Stotsky said in a statement. We are also especially grateful to Melissa, as well as Giuliana, Brad, Nene, Margaret and the entire Fashion Police team, who have continued to deliver the laughs and make this iconic franchise truly one of a kind.”

“I am so proud to have been a part of this show and am so proud that it’s part of my mother’s legacy,” Melissa Rivers said of the series’ end. “It really changed, along with the red carpets, awards-show programming and fashion.”

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate the franchise, celebrate Joan and how much we miss her, and pull back the curtain and show fans some things that they haven’t seen,” Stotsky said.

“Fashion Police: The Farewell,” airs Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. on E!

Harvard rescinds 2014 medal awarded to Harvey Weinstein

Harvard University is rescinding a 2014 medal it awarded to Harvey Weinstein for his contributions to African American culture.

The school's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research decided to revoke the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal on Tuesday in light of allegations of sexual abuse against the movie mogul.

Weinstein was given the award in 2014 along with seven others, including Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou. It's considered Harvard's highest honor in the field of African and African American Studies.

The center's leaders said they stand with "the women who have courageously come forward" to fight for themselves and "all of those who have experienced similar abuse."

Weinstein was fired from the film company he started following allegations of sexual harassment and rape from more than three dozen women.

Billy Joel, Alexis Roderick expecting second baby

Billy Joel and his wife of two years, Alexis Roderick, are expecting their second child together.

Joel, 68, said his wife is due next month during an interview with The Belfast Telegraph

“This one is pretty good,” he said of his 2-year-old daughter, Della Rose. “She sleeps through the night. I hope the next one will.”

>> Read more trending news

The couple welcomed Della Rose in August 2015, a little more than a month after their secret wedding at Joel’s Long Island estate. The Los Angeles Times reported that two had been dating since 2009. Joel had been married three times before.

A representative for Joel confirmed to E! News that Roderick, 35, is due in November.

Joel is also father to 31-year-old Alexa Ray Joel with ex-wife Christie Brinkley.

Christy Turlington Burns: model harassment widely tolerated

Sexual harassment and mistreatment of models have always been widely known and tolerated in the fashion industry, Christy Turlington Burns said.

"The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experienced at some point in our careers. I feel fortunate that I did not personally experience anything traumatic, but also know that is not the norm," she told Women's Wear Daily in an interview published Wednesday.

The former supermodel, who is married to actor-director Ed Burns, said her mother was often by her side in the early days and once she grew successful, "I was handled with extra care."

In hindsight, Burns said she wondered whether she served as a "honeypot," meaning she was used to make others feel protected.

"There were no chaperones on sets to monitor the hours worked or appropriateness of the themes of shoots and behavior of the crews, no tutors required or penalties if standards were broken," said Burns, who was at her height as a model in the 1980s and '90s.

Burns went on to earn her master's degree in public health and has a nonprofit organization that trains midwives in Guatemala.

Montgomery Gentry’s new video is the perfect tribute to Troy Gentry

Nearly six weeks after country musician Troy Gentry died in a helicopter crash, fans and friends are still grieving over half of the Montgomery Gentry duo.

>> Read more trending news

Eddie Montgomery and the band immortalized Gentry’s legacy in a lyric video for the band’s latest single, “Better Me.”

Both concert and personal photos of Troy flood the clip as the duo sings, “I ain’t saying I’m perfect, but I’m working on a better me.”

Related: Eddie Montgomery breaks his silence about life without Troy Gentry

“Better Me” is part of the duo’s new album that was reportedly slated for release next year. No details have been revealed regarding that album’s potential release date.

Watch the lyric video below.

Judge: Michael Douglas' son can go to Los Angeles to act

A judge who sentenced Michael Douglas' son to nearly a decade in prison several years ago told him on Wednesday that he can go to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman cleared a path to Hollywood for Cameron Douglas after attorney Ben Brafman said his client planned to initially live with his grandfather, 100-year-old screen legend Kirk Douglas, as he looks for his own place.

The clearance came after probation authorities indicated that the 38-year-old New York City resident has remained clean during drug testing and obeyed court-ordered conditions since his release from a halfway house in March.

One of his first projects could be his own story. The lawyer said Douglas is considering writing a book about his life after his long stint behind bars.

He was initially sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in connection with selling methamphetamine in July 2009 from a high-end Manhattan hotel.

The judge added 4 ½ years to the sentence after it was discovered that Douglas had successfully smuggled drugs into prison.

In court, Brafman called Douglas' confinement difficult, saying "being the son of a famous person" and being housed with prisoners who knew he had cooperated with prosecutors at a drug supplier's trial had made him a target.

Brafman said it was necessary for Douglas to live in Los Angeles, so that he can audition for acting roles and be on set during filming.

At a sentencing hearing in 2010, Douglas called being an entertainer his "true passion in life." Before imprisonment, Douglas had landed minor film roles, including one in 2003's "It Runs in the Family," starring his father and grandfather.

The lawyer said Douglas has the support of his famous family, including his Oscar winning father.

"The whole family's on board to see that he continues his treatment and continues to improve," Brafman said.

Douglas' girlfriend is expected to deliver their child in late November or early December, Brafman said. The couple plans to spend the holidays in New York with his father and the rest of his family after Douglas moves to Los Angeles Nov. 1 to pursue film opportunities.

The judge said he was disappointed Douglas had not yet begun 450 hours of community service he is required to perform.

Brafman said it had been decided that Douglas would be better off starting his community service in Los Angeles instead of New York because any location has to clear potential liability issues related to a volunteer who has spent time in prison.

Douglas also declined comment as he walked hand-in-hand from the courthouse with his girlfriend.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Cameron Douglas is 38 years old, not 39.

Behind the Mic: N.O.R.E

Behind the Mic: N.O.R.E

Behind the Mic: Chingy

Behind the MIc: Chingy
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