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Police raids on two properties owned by rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs were an “unprecedented ambush” and a “gross use of military-level force”, his lawyer has said.

Combs’s homes in Los Angeles and Miami were searched by Homeland Security Investigations agents on Monday.

The searches were connected to a sex trafficking investigation by federal authorities in New York, US news outlets reported on Tuesday.

In the first statement released on behalf of the rapper and music mogul since Monday’s raids, his lawyer Aaron Dyer said: “Yesterday, there was a gross overuse of military-level force as search warrants were executed at Mr Combs’ residences.

“There is no excuse for the excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities or the way his children and employees were treated.

“Mr Combs was never detained but spoke to and cooperated with authorities.

“Despite media speculation, neither Mr Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested nor has their ability to travel been restricted in any way. This unprecedented ambush – paired with an advanced, coordinated media presence – leads to a premature rush to judgment of Mr Combs and is nothing more than a witch hunt based on meritless accusations made in civil lawsuits.

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“There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations. Mr Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name.”

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Diddy’s homes raided

Sean Comb's home raided by federal law enforcement.
Sean Combs’s home in Los Angeles is raided by federal law enforcement.

Sky’s US partner network NBC News understands that several phones were seized from Combs in Miami on Monday before he was scheduled to depart on a trip to the Bahamas.

According to NBC News, three women and a man have been interviewed by federal officials in Manhattan in relation to the sex-trafficking investigation and further allegations of sexual assault, solicitation and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms.

Representatives for Combs did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

The American music mogul, 54, has been the subject of several lawsuits, including for sexual assault, in recent months.

Sean Comb's home raided by federal law enforcement.
Sean Combs’s Los Angeles home is raided by federal law enforcement.

In February, a music producer filed a lawsuit alleging Combs coerced him to solicit sex workers and pressured him to have sex with them.

Combs’s lawyer said that for those allegations, “we have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies”.

The rapper’s former protege and girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie, sued him in November alleging she was trafficked, raped, plied with drugs and beaten by Combs over a 10-year period.

The lawsuit said he forced her to have sex with male sex workers while he filmed them. The suit was settled the day after it was filed.

Also in November, Combs was sued by Joie Dickerson-Neal who claimed he drugged and sexually assaulted her when she was a psychology student at Syracuse University in January 1991 and filmed the attack.

But rejecting the claims as “made up and not credible”, a spokesperson for the star branded them “purely a money grab and nothing more”.

Sean Comb's home raided by federal law enforcement.

Another of Combs’s accusers is a woman who claims he “gang raped” her two decades ago after she was plied with drugs and alcohol when she was 17 years old.

Combs has denied all the allegations.

In a statement in December, he described the claims as “sickening” and said his accusers were “looking for a quick payday”.

“Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth,” he said.

Combs is among the most influential hip-hop producers and executives of the past three decades.

Also known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy, he built one of hip-hop’s biggest empires, blazing a trail with several entities attached to his name.

He is the founder of Bad Boy Records and a three-time Grammy winner who has worked with several top-tier artists including Notorious B.I.G., Mary J Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Faith Evans and 112.

His latest album, The Love Album – Off the Grid, was released last year days after Combs was honoured at the MTV VMAs. It was nominated for best progressive R&B album at February’s Grammy Awards, which he did not attend.

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Kevin Bacon visits scene of Footloose four decades later




Kevin Bacon visits scene of Footloose four decades later

Actor Kevin Bacon has returned to the US high school where his movie Footloose was filmed more than 40 years ago.

The 65-year-old visited Payson High School in the state of Utah to greet students following a years-long campaign which started on social media under the hashtag #BaconToPayson.

According to news reports last month, the school had gone Footloose-crazy – holding a Footloose movie night, staging a Footloose musical, renaming the annual Mr Payson pageant after the actor, and even holding a competition for essays persuading Bacon to visit.

The mission turned into a community-wide campaign to partner with the actor’s charity, with students helping to put together 5,000 care packages for SixDegrees.

Kevin Bacon visits Payson High School, where Footloose was filmed. Pic: NBC
Students welcome Kevin Bacon. Pic: NBC

Actor Kevin Bacon, centre, helps fill care packages for his charity in Payson, Utah, while visiting the Utah high school where Footloose was filmed. Pic: Jesse Sorenson via AP
Kevin Bacon helps fill care packages for his charity. Pic: Jesse Sorenson/AP

And on Saturday, the actor came to help about 700 students and 300 community members fill the care packages.

“You talked me into it,” he said to the students.

“It’s great to see that kind of commitment to anything.

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“I also think that it’s amazing to see the power that this movie has had to bring people together.”

In March, when he accepted the invitation to visit, he said: “I have been so impressed with everything that has been going on there with this crazy idea to get me back, so thank you, thank you, and I’m gonna come. I gotta come.”

Kevin Bacon visits Payson High School, where Footloose was filmed. Pic: NBC
Pic: NBC

In Footloose, Bacon played a teenager from Chicago who moved to a small town and fought its ban on dancing.

The town of Payson, about 60 miles south of Salt Lake City, was the film’s setting.

Some of its 21,000 residents remember being extras and can point out parts of the town used in the film.

At the end of the day, Payson High School students held their prom.

It is likely to be the last prom at the school before its outdated buildings are torn down next year.

The theme of the prom? Footloose, of course.

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Spice Girls reunite for Victoria Beckham’s 50th birthday with Stop singalong




Spice Girls reunite for Victoria Beckham's 50th birthday with Stop singalong

The Spice Girls have reunited for one night only in a bar for Victoria Beckham’s birthday.

The fashion designer and singer – famously also known as Posh Spice – celebrated with her bandmates at Oswald’s club in Mayfair, London, on Saturday, after turning 50 on Wednesday last week.

David Beckham had a front row seat to the reunion when Victoria, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Geri Horner and Melanie Chisholm sang their single Stop.

The five grinned as they danced and performed the track while David, who filmed the throwback moment, smiled and sang along.

Posting the clip on Instagram on Sunday, Victoria called it “the best night ever” and wrote the hashtag “#SpiceUpYourLife”.

The last time all five Spice Girls performed together was at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.

The Spice Girls perform during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium, August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS ENTERTAINMENT)
Victoria declined to join the Spice Girls last tour in 2019. Pic: Reuters

Before her birthday celebrations, Victoria posted on Instagram that she felt “so incredibly blessed to have reached this milestone” and added she was grateful for the “unconditional love and support” of David.

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While the girl group also went on tour in 2019, Victoria declined to join them as she focused on her fashion brand.

She also told American television presenter Ellen DeGeneres the same year that “it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” but said: “I’ll always be Posh Spice, always.”

Singer Marc Anthony, who is godfather to Victoria and David’s son Cruz, and actress Eva Longoria – godmother to their daughter Harper – also attended the party.

Other celebrities out for Posh Spice’s birthday included Tom Cruise and Salma Hayek, as well as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jason Statham and Gordon Ramsay.

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It comes after Melanie B – also known as Scary Spice – hinted at another Spice Girls reunion in an interview with Reuters, this time with Victoria joining in.

“I can’t say exactly… but us five have been talking… for a long, long time now, many, many months,” she said.

“So, we’re going to announce something soon… and I know the fans are not going to be disappointed. It’s going to be very exciting.”

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Rebel Moon: Zack Snyder and Ed Skrein on ‘mad’ reaction and ‘media storms’ following first movie




Rebel Moon: Zack Snyder and Ed Skrein on 'mad' reaction and 'media storms' following first movie

British actor Ed Skrein says he hasn’t paid attention to any of the reactions Rebel Moon has received online.

The Deadpool star told Sky News: “The weather system of media storms does not affect me, I don’t live in the media.”

Ed Skrein as Atticus Noble in Rebel Moon. Pic: Netflix
Ed Skrein as Atticus Noble in Rebel Moon. Pic: Netflix

The first instalment of Zack Snyder’s new franchise had a limited theatrical release before being added to Netflix in December last year.

The movie was the recipient of some less-favourable reviews, a 21% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and it averaged a two out of five-star score from over 100,000 accounts on Letterboxd.

The actor, who plays Admiral Atticus Noble in the franchise, says it’s the art itself that maintains his attention.

“The process of filming is my bit, you know, when we were out there, that’s my part.”

He adds: “I’ll pass the baton on and let people run with it.”

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Skrein returns for Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver despite his character meeting his fate in the first film.

“My friend is a painter from Andalusia in Spain and said to me the other day, when we make art, it’s like putting a message in a bottle and you throw it out and occasionally after a while you get a message back or you just get your bottle back.”

He continues: “In filmmaking, I thought about it, it’s like you have your initial reaction but then five years later, 10 years later, it’s like, now we can judge it.”

Djimon Hounsou as Titus and Staz Nair as Tarak. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix
Djimon Hounsou as Titus and Staz Nair as Tarak. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver continues with the storyline of orphan and ex-soldier Kora, played by Sofia Boutella, who looks to protect a peaceful colony from the ruthless Mother World.

Inspired by a rejection

Aside from Skrein, the cast includes Game Of Thrones Staz Nair, Gladiator actor Djimon Hounsou and The Age of Adeline’s Michiel Huisman.

The Rebel Moon franchise came into being after director Zack Snyder pitched the idea to Disney as a Star Wars film, but was rejected.

Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix
Rhian Rees as The Queen, Cary Elwes as The King, Sofia Boutella as Kora and Stella Grace Fitzgerald as Princess Issa. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix

He signed an agreement with Netflix to create an entirely new franchise with the plan to extend into other formats like comic books.

The Army Of The Dead director recently went viral for his comments comparing the success of the first Rebel Moon film to Barbie, suggesting to the Joe Rogan podcast that “more people probably saw Rebel Moon than saw Barbie in the theatre”.

‘Everyone got mad at me’

Speaking to Sky News, he stands by the statement and says he’s “really impressed” by Netflix‘s business model.

Zack Snyder talking at the Rebel Moon Part Two: Songs Of The Rebellion Album release event in New York. Pic: Noam Galai/Netflix
Zack Snyder talking at the Rebel Moon Part Two: Songs Of The Rebellion Album release event in New York. Pic: Noam Galai/Netflix

He explains: “I think that was what I was getting at with the whole Barbie thing.”

Then adding: “Everyone got mad at me, but I’m just telling you what I heard, like, sorry if Netflix has such a giant audience. The point of what I was getting at was that the pipeline is so robust that it’s unbelievable. What a filmmaker wants is the movies to be seen.”

A third film hasn’t yet been greenlit by Netflix but the storyline and recent interviews with the director suggest there could be more on the horizon for Rebel Moon fans.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is available to stream now on Netflix.

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