Details, details: The colorful story of Russell Crowe's alleged phone-throwing attack on a New York City hotel employee is flooding the morning papers. Here's what seems to have happened. Crowe, just back in New York from a weekend in Manchester, England, goes to a SoHo bar and downs a few brewskies. Then he returns to the Mercer Hotel in the wee hours and tries to make a phone call to his wife in Australia. He can't get an international line and is told by a hotel employee that none are available at the moment. So Crowe takes his phone down to the concierge on duty, Nestor Estrada, an aspiring musician who is said to look "like a young Erik Estrada" and lives in a Brooklyn apartment with a broken buzzer and peeling paint. An altercation ensues, and Crowe allegedly completely loses it and chucks the phone at Estrada, "hitting him in the face and causing a laceration and substantial pain," according to the complaint filed against him. Estrada retreats into an office and closes the door as Crowe continues to rail against him. Someone calls the police, who find Crowe back in his room and apparently considerably calmer. He allegedly admits to them that he threw the phone because he was angry. The officers arrest him and take him down to the station, where he sleeps on a blanket on the floor until his lawyer arrives with an egg-on-a-bagel sandwich and a Pepsi. Later, Crowe is formally charged and released without bail. He checks into a different hotel, the Ritz Carlton, and someone else collects his bags from the Mercer. (Associated Press, N.Y. Post, N.Y. Times)
Of Aniston, Angelina and Africa: Diane Sawyer reportedly was not supposed to ask Brad Pitt about Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston in her "PrimeTime Live" interview with him, airing tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC, but she did manage to get a few choice comments from him about them. For instance? Pitt calls the speculation that he and Aniston split because he wanted children and she didn't "Ridiculous. Bulls--- ... completely fabricated." Adds the actor, "You find that these stories ... will turn one of us into the good guy and one of us into the bad guy. If you look at it closely or even not that closely ... it's ridiculous ... Most of these stories, you get probably 2 percent real fruit juice and the rest is just garbage with no nutritional value." As for those photos of him walking on the beach with Jolie and her son, Maddox, for which some publications paid an estimated $500,000 to $750,000 fee, Pitt said, "It's an amazing fact, the bounty that's on my head and the lengths that these people go to get these shots and the amount of money that they're paying for these shots. I can't help but think what that money could have gone to. Hell, I would have set up the damn pictures myself." He's hoping to "redirect" some of the attention paid to him and his relationships to focusing on death, disease and poverty in Africa. "It drives me mental seeing what I've seen [in Africa] and knowing that it doesn't show up in our news every day. I mean literally, thousands of people died today!" (ABC News)
Jackson update: The jury in the Michael Jackson trial will continue its deliberations on Tuesday as the media and Jackson fans pack the area outside the courthouse -- and while Jackson frets at Neverland, according to his spokeswoman, "pulling his hair out." Old Jackson pal Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has taken the lull in trial news as an opportunity to release an audiotape from the year 2000 in which Jackson says the boy who would become his accuser "was cheated out of his childhood, and I think I can reflect a lot on that, because of my past." Of his relationship with children in general, Jackson told Boteach, "I cannot live without them. If you told me right now that 'Michael, you can never see another child,' I would kill myself, I swear to you ... I swear because I [would] have nothing else to live for." Boteach, who is flogging a new book about gender and who had a split with Jackson sometime back, says the pop star has "undermined and destroyed his own message" by extolling the virtues of sharing his bed with children. "He was the father of the message that kids are fascinating," Boteach said. "And now he's the father of the message that if you find kids fascinating, you are perverse." (ABC News, Associated Press, Reuters)
Also: The rush for free tickets, to be dispensed by lottery, to the London Live 8 concert on July 2 kicked off on Monday with a bang. Meanwhile, the event organizer Bob Geldof has come under fire for inviting the pope to support the event in light of the Vatican's refusal to condone the use of condoms to help combat the spread of HIV in Africa. (Yahoo) ... Model/actor Tyson Beckford was rushed to the hospital on Monday at 5 a.m. after injuring his famous face in a car accident. "He has bruises and things, but he has all his limbs intact," his publicist said. "It wasn't too serious and he's going to be fine." (N.Y. Daily News) ... A group of angry mothers showed up outside the ABC studios in New York to hold a "nurse-in" in protest of Barbara Walters' recent comment on "The View" that she was "uncomfortable" when a woman breast-fed an infant next to her on an airplane. (N.Y. Daily News) ... Items on Paris Hilton's bridal registry at Macy's reportedly include a Cuisinart Blender, a Kitchenaid Pro Waffler and a Presto FryDaddy deep fryer. That's hot? (Rush & Molloy) ... Maria Shriver has denied recent reports that she has veto power over who gets booked on "Today," despite having left NBC's employ after her husband was elected governor of California. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Ashley Olsen and her nightclub-owner boyfriend, Scott Sartiano, have split up after almost a year together. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Lindsay Lohan reportedly refused to allow Jessica and Ashlee Simpson into her MTV Movie Awards after-party, sparking a feud when she met up with the sisters later in the evening. Lohan says the snub was a mistake, but sources insist Lohan told the event staff she wanted the Simpsons barred, possibly because she's angry at Ashlee for dating her ex-beau Wilmer Valderrama. (Page Six) ... Word is the baby Britney Spears is carrying is a girl. (Page Six) ... Kelly Osbourne, whose second album, "Sleeping in the Nothing," is due out next week, has checked herself back into rehab for treatment of an addiction to prescription painkillers. (MTV News)
Katie Holmes on Tom Cruise: "I've got to tell you, the most extraordinary thing happened to me one day in April when I met Tom. I'm more and more in love every day. It's like, 'Wow' ... I miss him right now, and it's been like one hour." ("Access Hollywood" via Associated Press)
Tuesday night brings not only the aforementioned Diane Sawyer "PrimeTime Live" interview with Brad Pitt (ABC, 10 p.m. EDT), but also the season premieres of "Blow Out" (Bravo, 9 p.m. EDT) and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (Bravo, 10 p.m. EDT), as well as the series premiere of a workplace reality show, "Fire Me ... Please" (CBS, 9 p.m. EDT).
-- Amy Reiter