Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Progressive lawmakers cheer Amazon’s HQ2 reversal

I was SHOCKED to see Amazon HQ2 pull out of their deal with NYC. But
opponents of Amazon’s plan to come to Queens were popping the champagne corks Thursday after the company made it's announcement.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the decision a victory over “corporate greed” and over the retail giant’s billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos.

“Anything is possible,” the Bronx/Queens Democrat tweeted. “Today was a day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

She later incorrectly claimed the $3 billion in subsidies that would have gone to Amazon could be used to hire teachers, fix the subway and “put a lot of people to work.”

But there is no $3?billion pot of money — most of it would have been in the form of future tax breaks.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who led the grilling of Amazon officials at two hearings, decried “vulture capitalism” and took a dig at the helicopter pad the company planned to build at its Long Island City site.

“I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent,” he said.

“I know I’d choose mass transit over helipads any day,” he added.

His predecessor, Melissa Mark-Viverito, blasted both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.

“[This was] pushed through by two men who think community engagement is a joke,” said the former speaker, who is running for public advocate.

No word yet on how they'll move forward on choosing another city to plant roots. (please Philly)

/> I was SHOCKED to see Amazon HQ2 pull out of their deal with NYC. Butopponents of Amazon’s plan to come to Queens were popping the champagne corks Thursday after the company made it's announcement. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the decision a victory over “corporate greed” and over the retail giant’s billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos. “Anything is possible,” the Bronx/Queens Democrat tweeted. “Today was a day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & thei...

George Clooney and Brad Pitt Join Call for Academy to Reverse Its Oscar Decision

The revolt stems from the decision to present four Oscar categories during commercial breaks.

A group of actors — as well as more directors, cinematographers and other filmmakers — have added their names to the open letter sent to the Film Academy and the producers of the Oscars. The letter urges the Academy to reverse its decision to present four categories during commercial breaks during the ABC broadcast of the 91st Academy Awards, which is now just 10 days away.

Those who have joined the growing revolt include helmers Alfonso Cuaron, Christopher Nolan, Michael Mann, Alejandro G. Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro, as well as actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Banks, Peter Dinklage and Kerry Washington.

The letter calls the Academy's decision "nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession. … The vocal response from our peers and the immediate backlash from industry leaders over the Academy’s decision makes it clear that it’s not too late to have this decision reversed."

In an email to the Academy membership on Monday, Academy president John Bailey, who belongs to the cinematographers branch, laid out the plan for this year's show, including the presentation of four Oscar categories — cinematography, film editing, live-action shorts and makeup and hairstyling — during commercial breaks, with the winners' speeches set to air later in the broadcast. The plan calls for there to be a rotation each year, meaning that at least four different categories would use this format in 2020 and that the four mentioned would be exempt. (This was first announced last year but without details and specific categories.)

Bailey emphasized that the Academy is "still honoring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars” while addressing pressure to shorten the broadcast (which a year ago ran 3 hours and 53 minutes).

The Academy quickly responded to the open letter on Wednesday with its own letter to members, assuring them that “no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others.”

The Academy also asserted that the branches of the affected categories had “volunteered” to go first this year. According to several sources, a video demonstration of what this new format will look like was shown to the various branches. It was generally described as “respectful" and included most of the presentation, minus the winner's walk to the stage.

The open letter urging a reversal of this decision was first released Wednesday and was backed by such filmmakers as Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. The letter with new names can be found here.

/> The revolt stems from the decision to present four Oscar categories during commercial breaks. A group of actors — as well as more directors, cinematographers and other filmmakers — have added their names to the open letter sent to the Film Academy and the producers of the Oscars. The letter urges the Academy to reverse its decision to present four categories during commercial breaks during the ABC broadcast of the 91st Academy Awards, which is now just 10 days away. Those who h...

Kristoff St. John’s ex wife explains her tragic last conversation with him

clockwise, Julian, Mia, Kristoff

Kristoff St. John's ex-wife believes she knows what caused his death."When Julian (their son) passed, he died of a broken heart," Mia St. John told "Entertainment Tonight." 

"These mental health issues are real. Kristoff suffered from bipolar, our son had schizophrenia and I just felt like it was so hard for people to pay attention."Kristoff St. John was found dead February 3 at a home in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles. He was 52.A cause of death has not yet been released.

Julian St. John, 24, died by suicide in 2014 while a patient La Casa Psychiatric Health Facility in Long Beach, California.

Mia St. John said her ex called her before his death, depressed and drinking.

Kristoff St. John, she said, was disoriented, saying things like, "He didn't want to be here anymore," and claiming he could see their late son. "He said, 'Julian is at the door I gotta get the door,'" she said. "(He) said, 'OK, let's talk to Julian, bring Julian in.' Julian came in and he said, 'Julian is gonna take me for a walk now,' and I said, 'No you aren't going for a walk right now.'"

Mia St. John said paramedics were unable to revive her ex-husband after they found him. She later realized he had sent her a text, she said."

He said, 'Understand, you've got to live in the present observe all the good things in your life and others around you. Julian would not want you to live your life with bitterness and upset, it eats away with you and drains your life slowly but surely. You must rise to the occasion and accept the beauty around you. I believe in you,'" she told ET.

Mia St. John said she now takes solace in the fact that the man she was married to from 1991 to 1995 had that vision of their son."When he told me that Julian came to the door and I knew that my son came and took him home," she said. "And that was my only comfort."

/> clockwise, Julian, Mia, Kristoff Kristoff St. John's ex-wife believes she knows what caused his death."When Julian (their son) passed, he died of a broken heart," Mia St. John told "Entertainment Tonight."  "These mental health issues are real. Kristoff suffered from bipolar, our son had schizophrenia and I just felt like it was so hard for people to pay attention."Kristoff St. John was found dead February 3 at a home in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles. He was 52.A cause of death has ...

“All That” Is Getting a Reboot at Nickelodeon

Photo by Jean-Marc Bouju/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“All That” was the show that kept on giving to Nickelodeon over the course of a decade in the 1990s and 2000s. Now the company’s president thinks a revival of the sketch-comedy series could be all that — and more.

Nickelodeon will revive the program — a “Saturday Night Live” for the tween set — with an all-new cast. But the show will have callbacks to its past as well. Kenan Thompson, the long-running “SNL” cast member who got his start on television when “All That” launched in 1994, will serve as an executive producer. Nickelodeon expects some former cast members to make appearances in the series.

The sketch comedy show “stayed in the zeitgeist for many years,” Brian Robbins, president of Nickelodeon, tells Variety. “People are really fond of it.” One regular sketch, “Good Burger,” was set in a fast-food restaurant with a clueless cashier, and served up the premise for an original movie in 1997. Kids also loved recurring characters like “Walter the Earboy,” “The Spice Boys,” and “Baggin’ Saggin’ Barry.”

Thompson is one of the people who remembers the series fondly. “It means everything to me,” he told Variety. “It was my first job that I ever had. It gave me an opportunity.”

/> Photo by Jean-Marc Bouju/AP/REX/Shutterstock “All That” was the show that kept on giving to Nickelodeon over the course of a decade in the 1990s and 2000s. Now the company’s president thinks a revival of the sketch-comedy series could be all that — and more. Nickelodeon will revive the program — a “Saturday Night Live” for the tween set — with an all-new cast. But the show will have callbacks to its past as well. Kenan Thompson, the long-running “SNL” cast member w...

Ariana Grande releases anti-Valentine’s Day merchandise

Ariana Grande is saying “Thank U, Next” to Valentine’s Day.

The singer, 25, announced a slew of limited-edition merchandise more appropriate for V-Day haters than lovers on Thursday.

The collection includes long-sleeve shirts ($40) and sweatshirts ($60) with “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” — the name of her latest single — printed on a candy heart, heart-shaped pillows ($50) with the same lyrics, “Thank U, Next” shot glasses ($14) and custom candy hearts ($12) featuring the track list of her latest album rather than sweet phrases.

Newly single Grande has been cheekily celebrating the love-focused holiday on her own time. Last week, she showed off friend Alexa Luria’s sweetheart-themed manicure featuring words like “hug me” and “yum” with the caption, “Aw, so sick. Nice Valentine’s Day nails, Alexa. They’re so cute.” Grande then debuted her own pastel pink nails with the word “nah” written on her ring finger.

It seems clear that however Grande is celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, it won’t be with a secret admirer.

/> Ariana Grande is saying “Thank U, Next” to Valentine’s Day. The singer, 25, announced a slew of limited-edition merchandise more appropriate for V-Day haters than lovers on Thursday. The collection includes long-sleeve shirts ($40) and sweatshirts ($60) with “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” — the name of her latest single — printed on a candy heart, heart-shaped pillows ($50) with the same lyrics, “Thank U, Next” shot glass...

Meet the 17-Year-Old Who DJ’d Jennifer Aniston’s 50th

He was just two-years-old when the "Friends" finale aired in 2004.

Which might explain why Ryan Anthony Robinson — AKA DJ Prince — doesn't sound like he's grasped the magnitude of DJing for Jennifer Aniston's 50th birthday at the tender age of 17.

However the Indianapolis native is well aware the actress is one of the biggest stars on the planet... he just sounds super cool when he talks about it.

"Someone from Jennifer's team reached out via direct message on Instagram asking if I wanted to do the party. They told me when and where — but they never told me who it was for. Next thing I knew I was on a flight to LA."

"She was super nice, had a great spirit," he said of the birthday girl. "Just a lot of hugs, very bubbly, energy, she was great overall."

"She told me that I did a great job and that she was very happy I kept her dancing, and that I kept everybody on the dance floor all night. She danced with me too!"

DJ Prince and Pharrell

While spinning for five hours straight as the sole source of music on the night, Prince shouldered alone the responsibility of entertaining some of the world's greatest entertainers, including Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and the deity herself, Barbra Streisand.

He packed the floor with A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney, and chatted with superstars like Robert Downey Jr and Brad Pitt. Jimmy Kimmel told him he was a fan.

Incidentally the "Friends" girls — Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow — were all there, but he didn't see any of the boys: David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry or Matt LeBlanc.

He even took requests: Ellen DeGeneres asked for some disco, while Perry demanded Beyonce.

"Everybody was dancing, having a good time, eating, drinking," he said. No-one was drinking too much of course, and if there were any hook-ups witnessed, Ryan displayed professionalism beyond his years by keeping it to himself.

As for any interactions between exes Jen and Brad, Ryan insists he was too focused on keeping the dancefloor moving to notice anything else. Brad did tell him though that he was "rocking it" and that he was having a really good time.

"Nothing really shocking, just a normal party with family and friends," Ryan smoothly added.

He did however notice that Ellen was probably the best dancer at the Sunset Tower Hotel on the night, closely followed by Pharrell. And the worst? "I couldn't tell, floor was too packed," he expertly sidestepped.

The music, he reveals, was everything from 70s, 80s, 90s, all the way up to today. Jen's team provided a general idea of what she liked "and I just took it from there". The actress did however make specific requests for Duran Duran and Wham.

He most definitely did not, he assures, play The Rembrandts' "I'll Be There For You."

And as for payment? "I was compensated pretty well, I'll just say that," he smiled.

Ryan has been DJing for the past six years; he got into it when his dad — who possesses an enormous collection of music — told him he didn't know what was going to happen to it when he died. Ryan told him: "I'll play it." So he went to DJ school. (Dry those eyes — Ryan's dad isn't dead or even dying).

He says he listens to J Cole, Calvin Harris, Chainsmokers, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Ice Cube, and "just about everything — my music genres are all over the place."

While he says Jen's birthday bash was one of the highlights of his career so far, he also respectfully lists the times he's spun for heroes like DJ Jazzy Jeff, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Scratch, Bell Biv DeVoe, and Jermaine Dupri was up there with it.

He admits his all-time dream gig however is to DJ for Jay Z. And last weekend he surely got several steps closer.

"I did get a few phone numbers," he admitted. "I think I might have a few gigs in future."

/> He was just two-years-old when the "Friends" finale aired in 2004. Which might explain why Ryan Anthony Robinson — AKA DJ Prince — doesn't sound like he's grasped the magnitude of DJing for Jennifer Aniston's 50th birthday at the tender age of 17. However the Indianapolis native is well aware the actress is one of the biggest stars on the planet... he just sounds super cool when he talks about it. "Someone from Jennifer's team reached out via direct message on Instagram asking if I wanted to do the pa...

The Jussie Smollett case still not clear

The investigation into the attack on Jussie Smollett continues.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department told ET on Tuesday that detectives rejected the cell phone records the Empire star submitted via PDF one day earlier because they were heavily redacted.

According to police, a PDF is subject to manipulation, but they are not saying they have any evidence that Smollett manipulated his phone records -- detectives have now asked Smollett to submit his actual phone bill or a download of his entire phone. Police also told ET that detectives had recently obtained surveillance video from stores in the area where the attack happened to see if anyone bought rope around the time the incident occurred. 

As the investigation continues, Smollett is still cooperating with detectives, and authorities are continuing to treat the actor as the victim of a hate crime, the spokesperson added.

A rep for Smollett told ET on Tuesday that the actor is "the victim here."

"Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police. Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie's account of what happened that night consistent and credible," the rep said. "Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim. We are continuing to work closely with the Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie's attackers and bring them to justice. Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack."

A source previously said that Smollett was walking around Chicago in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, when two men started yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him, before repeatedly hitting him. The men then poured a substance on him -- believed to be bleach, according to the source -- and one of the attackers put a rope around his neck.

The Chicago Police Department claims they previously asked Smollett for his phone in an effort to corroborate certain details from his accounting of the incident, which includes him being on the phone with his talent manager, Brandon Z. Moore, when the attack occurred.

Smollett released a statement on Feb. 1 addressing the attack. The following day, he appeared on stage at his West Hollywood show at The Troubadour, telling fans that he was going to "stand strong."

/> The investigation into the attack on Jussie Smollett continues. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department told ET on Tuesday that detectives rejected the cell phone records the Empire star submitted via PDF one day earlier because they were heavily redacted. According to police, a PDF is subject to manipulation, but they are not saying they have any evidence that Smollett manipulated his phone records -- detectives have now asked Smollett to submit his actual phone...