The Fix

Marc Jacobs heads to rehab. Rap icons diversify their brands. Plus: Stallone charged over growth hormones.

Published March 13, 2007 1:30PM (EDT)

First Word

Viacom sues Google: As trumpeted on the Drudge Report with both a flashing light and big red letters, Viacom announced Tuesday morning that it is suing Google and YouTube for $1 billion for "massive intentional copyright infringement." Viacom claims that nearly 160,000 unauthorized clips of its various shows -- it owns CBS, MTV and the CW, among many other media properties -- were posted on YouTube, where they were viewed over 1.5 billion times. As Drudge would say, developing ... (Reuters)

Bizarre "Idol": When Mario Vazquez dropped out of the "American Idol" finals in February 2005, the official announcement at the time was that he was doing it for unspecified personal reasons. But a suit filed last Friday in Los Angeles may shed more light on just what those reasons were. Magdaleno Olmos, assistant accountant for the company that produces "Idol," is claiming that Vazquez once tried to masturbate in front of him in a bathroom on the show's set, and asked him if he wanted oral sex. The suit alleges that Vazquez "started to rub his genitals over his pants. Attempting to leave the bathroom, Olmos opened the door of the stall and saw Vazquez standing in front of him with his pants down masturbating." Interestingly, Olmos names Vazquez, Fox Entertainment and Fremantle Media (which produces "Idol") in his suit, claiming that the incident led to his wrongful termination a few months later. Fox had no comment. (TMZ)

Iranian official condemns "300": While the gory battle blockbuster "300" set box office records in the United States, an official in Iran accused the movie of being part of "a comprehensive U.S. psychological war aimed at Iranian culture," according to a report from China's Xinhua news service. Javad Shamqadri, art advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the film -- depicting the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in Greece, which pitted a small group of Spartans against a massive Persian army -- was meant as a slight to his country's culture: "Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the U.S. initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture ... certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies." (Monsters and Critics)

White noise ... According to Women's Wear Daily, designer Marc Jacobs left Paris last week to check himself into a rehab program in Arizona. Jacobs' business partner Robert Duffy told the publication: "Marc made the right decision. He'd been sober for seven years. When he relapsed, he wanted to deal with it right away." (People) ... Sylvester Stallone (right) was charged on Tuesday in Australia with importing a banned substance -- on a recent visit, he was detained by airport security after an X-ray revealed 48 vials of the human growth hormone product Jintropin, which is illegal in the country. (Associated Press) ... Anderson Cooper will be filling in for Regis Philbin on "Live With Regis and Kelly" for a few days this week as Philbin undergoes heart bypass surgery. (People) ... Two of Leonardo DiCaprio's bodyguards were arrested in Israel last night after a clash with paparazzi -- the actor and his girlfriend, Bar Refaeli, visited Jerusalem's Western Wall tunnels, and a fight broke out as the photogs mobbed the couple while they tried to get away. (Sydney Morning Herald) ... Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday, along with Patti Smith, REM, Van Halen and the Ronettes at a ceremony in New York, making them the first hip-hop group to received the honor. (New York Times)


Rap Inc.: Citing some potentially dour statistics -- "Rap suffered a 20 percent decrease in album sales in 2006 (the second-largest slide of any genre, trailing only 'new age' music), and rappers were shut out when it came to nominations in marquee categories at the Grammy Awards last month" -- the Los Angeles Times reports that some rappers are increasingly turning to diversification to make a profit, selling everything from ring tones and shoes to air fresheners and ... pro wrestling. "Once you get popular, you have a brand," Lil Jon tells the paper. "You have to market that brand." Rapper Mele Mel, a member of the Furious Five, and just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recently enrolled in professional-wrestling school in the hopes of working with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. "It's going to be a great thing," he says. "It's definitely going to expand my fan base 110 percent." ("Rappers Hear Siren Song of Opportunity," L.A. Times)

Buzz Index

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"Man Who Plays Devil's Advocate Really Just Wants to Be Asshole" (The Onion)


Riefenstahl revisited: The recent publication of two new biographies of Leni Riefenstahl is an occasion for both the New Yorker and the New York Times to weigh in on Hitler's filmmaker, whose legacy can be both confused and confusing. In the Times, Michiko Kakutani writes that both Jürgen Trimborn's "Leni Riefenstahl: A Life" and "The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl" by Steven Bach "serve as much needed correctives to all the spin, evasions and distortions of the record purveyed by Riefenstahl," a woman who "wanted history to see her simply as an artist, who falsely denied ever making anti-Semitic statements, who implausibly claimed she knew next to nothing about Hitler's persecution of the Jews," but who also, in 1974, "received a tribute from the Telluride film festival for her 'exemplary contributions to the art of the film.'" Judith Thurman's piece in the New Yorker takes the new books as a starting point for a profile of the filmmaker and raises the question of how to interpret her legacy now: "Riefenstahl's 'genius' has rarely been questioned, even by critics who despise the service to which she lent it. ([Steven] Bach's cool resistance to the 'often slavish lenience' of her rehabilitators is an exception.) Yet one has finally to ask if a creative product counts as a work of art, much less a great one, if it excludes the overwhelming fact of human weakness."


All the rage on YouTube these days: "speed painting." Here's the top video this week:


No. 1 new fiction on next week's New York Times list: "Shopaholic & Baby," by Sophie Kinsella
No. 1 new nonfiction on next week's New York Times list: "In an Instant," by Lee and Bob Woodruff
No. 1 seller on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," by J.K. Rowling (out July 21)
No. 1 seller on "The Secret," by Rhonda Byrne

Turn On

"American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m. EDT) is down to the top 12 finalists on Tuesday night, while the prime-time soap "American Heiress" (MyNetworkTV, 8 p.m. EDT) debuts and both "The Real Housewives of Orange County" (Bravo, 10 p.m. EDT) and "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" (Oxygen, 10:30 p.m. EDT) have their second-season finales.


Regis and Kelly (ABC, 9 a.m. EDT) Chris Rock, Robin Thicke, guest co-host Anderson Cooper
The View (ABC, 11 a.m. EDT) Roseanne, guest co-host Joely Fisher
Ellen (Syndicated, check local listings) Brad Garrett, the hikers rescued from Mount Hood, OR
Oprah (Syndicated, check local listings) Families
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings) Chuck Close
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT) Who will get custody of Anna Nicole Smith's baby?
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT) John Waters
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Michael Eric Dyson
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Jeff Goldblum, Barbara McQueen, the Good, the Bad and the Queen
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT) Sandra Bullock, Andy Richter, Evanescence
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT) Brad Garrett, Julian McMahon, Ted Nugent
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT) Chris Rock, Christopher Meloni, Mary Weiss
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT) Peter O'Toole, Joely Fisher, Dierks Bentley & the Grascals (repeat)


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