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Woodstock 50: How the Golden Anniversary Festival Went Off Track

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When the organizers of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary festival put the rock band Hollis Brown on the lineup, lead singer Mike Montali was elated. 

“It’s such an iconic and legendary thing, man,” Montali said, referring to the paisley-printed, mud-splattered 1969 original. “For us, a couple of guys who started our band in a garage in Queens a few years ago, getting on the bill of a Woodstock festival was a huge achievement. It was a dream come true.” 

But now, less than a month before Woodstock 50 is scheduled to begin, the event is in doubt, plagued by a series of behind-the-scenes money headaches and legal setbacks. 

The festival has lost its financial backer, key producing partners and at least one venue, and tickets have not even been put up for sale yet for the Aug. 16-18 concert dates. The parallels to 2017’s calamitous Fyre Festival have not been lost on online skeptics.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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President Trump Praises Appointment of Special Prosecutor in Smollett Case

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After former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb was appointed as a special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case, President Donald Trump endorsed the move on social media.

The president sent out a tweet commending the selection of Webb for the post, calling it “great”:

“He said MAGA country did it. So terrible!” the president said.

When Smollett reported that he had been assaulted by two men on Jan. 29, 2019, he said that the pair had called him racial and homophobic slurs and had said “this is MAGA country” during the attack.

President Trump described the reported attack as “horrible” after the news became public.

Smollett was later charged with fabricating the attack, but the Cook County state’s attorney’s office later dropped the charges. President Trump criticized the decision as “an embarrassment to our nation,” and called for the FBI and the Department of Justice to look into the incident.

Currently, Smollett is facing a lawsuit from the city of Chicago, alleging that the actor owes the city approximately $130,000 in overtime costs for officers investigating the attack, and a defamation lawsuit from two Nigerian brothers who claim that Smollett paid them to stage the attack.

On Friday, Webb was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case.

“First, (I’ll) investigate if any persons or offices involved in the Smollett case engaged in any wrongdoing,” Webb said at a press conference. “Number two, determine if reasonable grounds do exist to further prosecute Mr. Smollett. And number three, to submit a written report to the court of our findings and conclusions at the end of the special prosecutor’s investigation.”

The Cook County Inspector General’s office is also looking into the case, and is expected to issue a report later this year.  

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Lara Spencer Apologizes for Mocking Prince George’s Interest in Ballet on ‘GMA’

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ABC’s “Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer apologized Friday after outrage erupted on social media when she mocked and laughed at the inclusion of ballet in 6-year-old Prince George’s upcoming school year curriculum.

During a Thursday “Hot News” segment on the morning show, Spencer listed off what the royal prince would be studying when he goes back to school in the fall. 

“In addition to the usual first or second grade things, like math, science and history, the future King of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things,” she said.

Her emphasis on the word “ballet” was met with raucous laughter from the studio audience, NBC News reported.

“You couldn’t contain … oh, he looks so happy about the ballet class,” Spencer said laughing, as a picture of Prince George smiling ear-to-ear in while wearing a soccer jersey appeared on screen.

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Celebrities React to the Raging Fires in the Amazon

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Amid global concern about raging fires in the Amazon, celebrities are using their platforms to increase awareness and urge world leaders to curb the widespread deforestation.

Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, whose degradation could have severe consequences for global climate and rainfall.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro previously described rainforest protections as an obstacle to economic development and has said he wants to convert land for cattle pastures and soybean farms. 

Leonardo DiCaprio regrammed an Instagram post by Rainforest Alliance in which they said Bolsonaro “issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January.”

Madonna was also critical of the president on social media.

“President Bolsonaro please change your policies and help not only your country but the whole planet,” the “Material Girl” singer said in an Instagram post.

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, singer Miguel, “Queer Eye” host Bobby Berk, pop star Camila Cabello, and numerous celebs also took to social media with their reactions to the devastating situation. 

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