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Tyra Banks on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Premiere Night, Plus: Her Sweet Words About Rachel Lindsay

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“Extra’s” Rachel Lindsay spoke with new host Tyra Banks after the premiere of “Dancing with the Stars.”

A “happy” Banks shared, “First 20 minutes I was nervous — I felt it in my body. But after that, I kinda forgot we were live… After a while, I was just chillin’ in the room with my friends.”

Along with discussing the stand-outs of the night, Tyra expressed why she’s a fan of Rachel. Watch!

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‘Gull’ Director Kim Mi-jo on Sexual Assault and Changing Attitudes in South Korea

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“Gull,” Kim Mi-jo’s poignant South Korean drama, follows a woman whose life becomes increasingly difficult when she seeks justice against the man who raped her.

The 61-year-old O-bok works as a seafood vendor in a Seoul street market that has been slated for redevelopment. One evening, after drinks with her colleagues, she is raped by Gi-taek, a fellow vendor and the powerful chairman of the redevelopment committee. After initially pretending that nothing happened, O-bok finally confides to her daughter and reports the assault to the police, resulting in an investigation that disrupts both her work and family life.

“Gull,” which won the Grand Prize for the Korean Competition at the recent Jeonju Film Festival, unspools in San Sebastian’s New Directors sidebar.

Speaking to Variety, Kim says she came up with the idea of the film after witnessing a young man and an older woman.

“One day, I was walking along the riverside at midday when I saw a young man closely following a middle-aged woman, who resembled my mother. I somehow felt anxious and kept an eye on them for a while. This experience inspired me immediately.”

While she initially conceived the plot from the point of view of the woman’s daughter, she eventually made O-bok the main character, played by Jeong Aehwa.

Jeong brought the right mix of vulnerability and toughness needed for the headstrong O-bok, Kim explained.

“I didn’t regard O-bok simply just as a victim, but rather I think she is more of a person who is aggressive and belligerent, like a fighter. There’s a saying in Korea that a ‘small pepper is much spicier.’ Ms. Jeong is really petite, but I love the high spirit and energy coming out of her.”

“Gull” critically examines aspects of South Korean society that are still common, Kim adds. O-bok is a victim who is forced to hide while making a sacrifice for the greater cause of the market and the good of the community. “Recently in Korea, it is commonly seen, not just in sexual assault cases, that assailants change into victims, or do not have to pay the price they deserve and live just like before. There are countless cases like this.”

Nevertheless, like in other parts of the world, sexual assault against women is being increasingly addressed, Kim points out. “In recent years, it has been more actively discussed following the MeToo movement. I’m gladly on board with pushfully bringing this issue to the table compared to the past. Also, more people are starting to be aware that sexual assault cannot be justified, whatsoever. Nevertheless, deep down, prejudice against victims of sexual violence still lingers around.”

She adds, “Seeing the woman as a contributor in sexual assault, or a bias that older women can’t be a target of sex crimes – these are typical examples.” In her research for the film, Kim came across manuals for parents of sexual assault victims or to help women in their 20s and 30s cope with sexual assault, but she adds that sex crimes against the middle-aged were not properly discussed.

That chauvinistic attitudes persist is made clear in the film by a main character who blames rape on the victim, saying that it could not happen unless the woman wanted it.

“I’ve actually heard that in real life,” Kim says. “I was awfully shocked at the time, so I used that line in my scenario. It is hard to say that these kinds of thoughts were not general until just a few years ago. However, as previously mentioned, Korean society is beginning to react sensitively to sexual abuse issues. Also, the social atmosphere in which these cases can’t be simply hushed up is gradually being established.”

While Kim says she didn’t set out to examine class differences in Korean society, she notes that “sadly this is what I have seen ever since I was little, so I think it just happened to be reflected in the movie. Classes exist everywhere, so I don’t regard it as a peculiar characteristic of Korean society. Of course, there are exceptions, but it is very easy to find powerless people’s voices being ignored when you look around a bit. So, it was rather natural to have those aspects in the film.”

That O-bok wants to fly away from her horrible situation but has to remain grounded in reality, like a seagull that flies high and far but ultimately cannot leave land, was one of the reasons behind the film’s title, Kim explains. “I didn’t want to simply narrate a sex crime victim’s story through this film. I wanted O-bok, a middle-aged woman, a mother and a breadwinner, to stand firmly with both feet and eventually survive and live here on land when her dignity had been infringed.”

Another reason was her love of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull”: “I wanted to title my first feature film with this work someday.”

For her next project, Kim is planning a mother and daughter revenge story. “I’m expecting to make a Korean-style film, a mixture of action, thriller and comedy.”

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See Sandra Oh and More Celebrities’ Fashion Statements at the Emmys

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Whether it’s on or off the red carpet, fashion can absolutely make a statement.

Although the 2020 Emmys on Sept. 20 looked different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, it didn’t stop celebrities from dressing to impress wherever they watched the virtual show.

One Hollywood star that stood out was Sandra Oh who made a statement about the Black Lives Matter movement thanks to her ensemble from Los Angeles based brand KORELIMITED.

The Killing Eve star sported a custom bomber jacket embroidered with symbols that honor both Black culture and Sandra’s own Korean heritage.

“It’s in a royal purple color–which is a super Korean color and brings a certain mindset for me,” Sandra explained to Vogue. “And it says ‘Black Lives Are Precious’ in Korean writing, because the literal translation of Black Lives Matter is impossible in Korean. The characters have to be read top to bottom, right to left, and there are dashes, or taegukgi, lifted from the Korean flag, which represent celestial bodies and the natural elements and all of that good stuff. And then on the right there’s a mugunghwa [hibiscus], the national flower of Korea.”

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Ellen DeGeneres Addresses Toxic Workplace Allegations on Her Show, Promises ‘New Chapter’

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Ellen DeGeneres addressed reports of mistreatment and misconduct behind the scenes at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in her opening monologue of the season.

In the seven-minute opener, DeGeneres apologized “to the people that were affected” and said she is “taking responsibility for what happens at my show.”

“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that every seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” DeGeneres said.

This was the first time that DeGeneres had publicly addressed the reports which emerged from a mid-July BuzzFeed News investigation that surfaced allegations of racist behavior and intimidation on the show. In April, Variety reported on the outrage among the show’s crew members over pay reduction, a lack of communication and poor treatment by producers after the pandemic shut down production; a non-union tech company was hired to tape the show remotely from DeGeneres’ California home.

An investigation into the show was launched by WarnerMedia, which resulted in the removal of several top producers.

DeGeneres said “we have made the necessary changes” later in the monologue and promised “a new chapter” of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, the workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter,” she said, before leading the virtual audience in front of her in a round of applause.

DeGeneres had previously addressed the alleged toxic work environment in a videoconference call with her staff, during which several sources said she described reading the disturbing allegations about the atmosphere on the show as “heartbreaking.”

The changes DeGeneres referred to involved ousting executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-EP Jonathan Norman, as well as upping the show’s resident DJ, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, to co-executive producer.

DeGeneres also discussed “articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV,” that accused her of not practicing the “be kind” motto that she preaches. The host admitted that “being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in.”

“Here’s how that happened: I started saying, ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay,” DeGeneres explained. “I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now.”

“Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in,” she continued. “So let me give you some advice out there if anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it. The truth is I am that person that you see on TV.”

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