Ezekiel Elliott Suspended 6 Games by NFL Following Domestic Violence Investigation (UPDATE)

UPDATED 6 p.m. ET:

On Friday afternoon, Elliott's lawyer responded with a statement that invoked alleged text messages sent by the Cowboy running back's ex-girlfriend, where she purportedly asked a friend to lie to police about the incident. That statement said, in full:

We just learned of the NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Elliott for six games for allegedly engaging in ‘physical force’ against the accuser. Mr. Elliott and his team of representatives are extremely disappointed with the NFL’s decision.

“Our offices have been engaged in this matter since last July and have worked hand in hand with the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL with their respective investigations. Accordingly, we are fully aware of the full body of evidence that exists in connection with this matter.

“The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it ‘cherry picks’ so called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence.

“For example, both the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL investigators expressly concluded and conveyed to our office (and others) that the accuser was lying about an alleged July 22, 2016 incident whereby she accused Mr. Elliott of pulling her out of her car and assaulting her. An allegation that was ultimately undermined by her own friend’s affidavit which stated that no such assault occurred. The affidavit also outlined the accuser’s plan to orchestrate a story to police to in order to corroborate her false allegation of assault. In addition, the NFL’s own medical experts concluded that many of her injuries predated the week in question and likely occurred during a period of time when Mr. Elliott was not in contact with the accuser. During the upcoming weeks and through the appeal a slew of additional credible and controverting evidence will come to light.”

It remains to be seen whether this changes the league's mind or not.

Original story below.

The NFL has suspended Ezekiel Elliott six games following an investigation into domestic violence accusations made against him in July 2016 by an ex-girlfriend. The suspension was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension, according to Schefter, and he has three days to file his formal appeal. At that point, an appeal hearing will be held within 10 days.

The NFL released a statement shortly after Schefter reported on Elliott's suspension. The league revealed it uncovered evidence during its investigation that showed Elliott “engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy.”

Elliott was accused of assaulting a then-20-year-old woman he was reportedly dating in Columbus, Ohio last July. The woman claimed Elliott hit her while she was seated in her car. She denied medical treatment at the scene of the alleged incident, but she told police she had pain in her wrist. She also reportedly had a red mark on her arm.

Elliott denied assaulting the woman, and he was not arrested. But the woman later filed a second police report and accused Elliott of hitting her on several occasions between July 16 and July 20, 2016. She also posted photos on Instagram that showed bruises on various parts of her body.

In September, the Columbus City Attorney’s Office announced that it would not pursue criminal charges against Elliott. They said they had received “conflicting and inconsistent information” about what took place between Elliott and the woman.

But the NFL launched a separate investigation into the incident and referred to their investigation as “active and ongoing” in late 2016. According to ESPN, the league examined text messages exchanged between Elliott and the woman and gathered medical and legal insight from experts before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rendered his final decision.

As recently as this past weekend, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he did not believe Elliott would be suspended by the NFL. But it seems the league disagreed with his take on the situation.

If Elliott’s suspension is upheld, he will be one of three Cowboys players who will be suspended at the beginning of the 2017-18 NFL season. Defensive end Randy Gregory (full season) and defensive end David Irving (four games) will also miss time due to suspensions.

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Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland Released on $300,000 Bail (UPDATE)

UPDATED 7/2/17 3:15 p.m. ET: Fyre Festival organizer William “Billy” McFarland has been released on $300,000 bail after spending at least one night in a New York detention center following his arrest on wire fraud charges.

“The judge, Kevin N. Fox of United States District Court in Manhattan, set Mr. McFarland’s bail at $300,000, to be secured by $50,000 in cash or property,” reported Ben Sisario of the New York Times. “Mr. McFarland’s lawyer, Sabrina P. Shroff, said that he had been released after the hearing on Saturday, and that he had one week to satisfy the bail conditions.”

The Times also reports Shroff is a public defender, and Shroff told reporters McFarland was unable to pay his previous lawyers enough to continue representing him.

McFarland’s assets, or lack thereof, will likely be a point of contention during the trial. An unsealed, Department of Justice criminal complaint against McFarland released Friday, accused McFarland of misrepresenting his assets and his company's worth to convince investors to financially back the Fyre Festival.

See original story below.

The disastrous Fyre Festival from this spring that resulted in hilarious memes and a very public dragging of Ja Rule, will potentially have more serious results for its founder, Billy McFarland. Friday, the Department of Justice announced the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging McFarland with wire fraud.

“As alleged, William McFarland promised a ‘life changing’ music festival but in actuality delivered a disaster,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said. “McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival. Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes.”

In April, the inaugural Fyre Festival was canceled at the last minute, leaving some attendees stranded in the Bahamas, as paid celebrity promoters and previously booked music acts distanced themselves from the event. 

The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, though the DOJ noted the potential sentencing was only disclosed for illustrative purposes. 

According to the unsealed complaint, Fyre Media earned less than $60,000 in revenue from approximately 60 artist bookings between 2016 and 2017. However, the DOJ accuses McFarland of telling investors that Fyre Media earned millions of dollars in revenue from thousands of artist bookings from at least July 2016 until April 2017. The report went on to blast McFarland for providing “materially false” information to investors and putting on a festival that was “widely deemed to have been a failure.”

You can read the entire criminal complaint against McFarland and Fyre Media LLC at the Department of Justice website.

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Producer Claims Future Filed Copyright Claim Over Desiigner’s “Panda” (UPDATE)

UPDATED 6/20/17 10:30 a.m. ET: Mike Dean has sent in the following statement to XXL:

“The kid lost the stems to the beat. It had some samples in the original from a film. I recreated some of the stems enough to patch up the beat and remove the samples. I was gonna recreate the whole beat then I found a way to keep it. Major labels don’t play with samples not being cleared The song would never have come out or cleared legal at Def Jam. If that’s nothing, then he’s right.

“He should have better file management skills if he works at an electronics repair shop.

“He should get facts straight before he speaks on my name. I let the claim go because I have better shit to do than fight with people over BS. Hope he enjoys the bread and appreciates what I did to help him make $$. That’s about it. Menace, put some respek on my name.

“And thank god Mike Dean removed your samples, youngin. Should throw me a few points from his pocket my way, but I am doing ok with or without the “Panda” bread.

“P.S. He should also thank Plain Pat (the best A&R in the world and my favorite co-producer) who made us (G.O.O.D. Music) all aware of “Panda” in the first place.”

Original story is below.

Desiigner’s 2015 debut single “Panda” catapulted the rapper into hip-hop stardom. The track dominated the airwaves, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance, topped the Billboard charts, and was sampled by Kanye West. It was the kind of introduction many rappers dream of; however, the mastermind behind the “Panda” beat hasn’t received the same success. In fact, he claims he’s still waiting on payment.

In a recent interview with DJBooth, 23-year-old Menace said he hasn’t been fully compensated for producing “Panda” due to a legal claim filed by Future.

“There was a situation with Future putting [an infringement] claim in because apparently, he said that ‘Panda’ sounded like ‘Fuck Up Some Commas.’ So we were just about to see the checks but there’s been a lot of delays so we won’t see anything until next year anyway,” Menace said. “Not only [Future], Mike Dean, Kanye West’s producer, he put a claim in as well saying that he did something to the beat and he never did. I don’t think we’ll see a check until probably next year. Right now, it’s just going through negotiations. The problem is that once someone puts a claim in, it just stops everything.”  A representative for Future denied Menace's claims, saying that they are “not true.”

People have been comparing Desiigner to Future for some time now, pointing to similarities in their rap styles. During a 2016 interview with Complex, Desiigner shared his thoughts about the comparisons, insisting he had no beef with Atlanta rapper.  

“God gave him a blessing, but he gave me a blessing too. I ain't gonna doubt the man's music. He make beautiful music too. Music is made every day,” he said. “Big ups to him, big ups to Future. I actually like Future’s music. I like his music, you feel me. I’m not a hater or a critic on him, you know, I do me. God bless him, God bless me.”

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Tinashe Got Dragged for Claiming the Black Community Hasn’t Accepted Her (UPDATE)

UPDATE 12:43 p.m. ET: Tinashe has taken to Twitter to respond to people talking about her “colorism” comments. At the time of this writing, she hasn't released an official statement, but she has been replying to users, saying that the colorism comment was not “about colorism in the industry,” and that it is being “taken out of context.”

Original post is below.

Today, the world is waking up to Tinashe trending on Twitter and, sadly, it isn't because Joyride, the long-awaited follow-up to 2015's Aquarius, sprung a leak. It's over some surprising comments she made in an interview with The Guardian, which is doing no favors for her career.

Things started out fine enough. When asked about where her career is going, Tinashe kept it 100: “Things haven’t always gone according to my original plan, but that’s life, and things change.” As the interview progressed, the concept of being a woman in the music industry crept up, and Tinashe voiced her frustrations about the unfair boxes women are painted into. “There are hundreds of [male] rappers that all look the same, that sound the same, but if you’re a black woman, you’re either Beyoncé or Rihanna. It’s very, very strange.” After it was suggested that Ciara made a go of it, Tinashe agreed, saying “It felt like they almost had to sacrifice someone because there wasn’t enough room, which isn’t true. Ciara’s an amazing artist, Beyoncé’s an amazing artist, Rihanna’s an amazing artist, and they’re all very different!”

It was after this that Tinashe dropped the comment that's gotten her into hot water. Explaining that being mixed has been an issue for her in the industry, Tinashe said “There’s colorism involved in the black community, which is very apparent. It’s about trying to find a balance where I’m a mixed woman,” she continued, “and sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me, even though I see myself as a black woman. That disconnect is confusing sometimes.”

And with that comment, Twitter was off to the races with comments about Tinashe as an artist, and why many feel her comments are off-base.

It's understandable that Tinashe would feel some kind of frustration about her career, but these comments were a misfire. The question is, will she be able to battle her way back into the public's good graces when Joyride finally drops?

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Why Beyonce Is Going to Get Snubbed Once Again at the Billboard Music Awards

The 2017 Billboard Music Awards are set to take place Sunday, and if you're expecting Beyoncé to score big at this year's event, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

We don't say that as a slight to Beyoncé's 2016: Lemonade is a classic, “Formation” is undeniable, and she truly dominated the stage with her tour by the same name. But as we saw at the Grammys earlier this year, that kind of acclaim doesn't necessarily equate to awards show accolades.

The criteria for the nominee and winner selection process for the Billboard Music Awards is different than the Grammys, in that they place more weight on the commercial success of an artist and their work. Lemonade moved an impressive 2.1 million album-equivalent units in 2016. However, that falls behind Adele's 25, which moved 2.3 million. And keep in mind, 25 sold much more than that when it came out in late November 2015; this fall, it went diamond

And at 4.1 million, Drake's Views outpaced both in 2016. Beyoncé is up against Drake and/or Adele in four categories, so kiss those goodbye.

There's also the Weeknd factor. While his recent album Starboy hasn't sold as much as Lemonade, he's been more of a visible figure than any other pop artist over the last six months, with successful singles and a major headlining tour to boot. And you can never rule out Rihanna's star power.

If you still don't think this is a possible outcome, check back on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. Beyoncé was coming off the surprise release of her fifth solo album and received seven nominations, including Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top R&B Artist. She went home with zero trophies.

​I think she'll earn more awards this time around, but not in the bigger categories. My Beyoncé-related predictions:

  • Top Artist: No
  • Top Female Artist: No
  • Top Billboard 200 Artist: No
  • Top Billboard 200 Album: No
  • Top Touring Artist: Yes
  • Top R&B Artist: No
  • Top R&B Album: Yes
  • Top R&B Tour: Yes

You can catch the Billboard Music Awards this Sunday, May 21 at 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC to find out how Beyoncé fares.

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Aaron Hernandez’s Alleged ‘Murder Car’ Removed From eBay (UPDATE)

UPDATED 5/3/17, 8:30 a.m. ET:

Aaron Hernandez's “murder car” has been removed from eBay. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the bidding for the Toyota 4Runner reached $100,000 before it was pulled:

See original post below.

In a probably tasteless but otherwise not at all shocking move, a seller on eBay has put up for bid the 2006 Toyota 4Runner that Aaron Hernandez allegedly used when he committed a double murder in a drive-by shooting (although you should note that he was eventually found not guilty of that less than a week before he committed suicide).

“This is the REAL DEAL !!! Aaron Hernandez' infamous silver Toyota 4-runner,” the listing reads. “As seen in the New York Times, we're auctioning off this piece of Patriots football memorabilia.” Sounds like a great addition to the man cave.

Prosecutors, who referred to it as the “murder car” in their closing arguments, say that Hernandez was the gunman in the ride when he shot and killed both Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.

Currently, the SUV is the property of one Jack Fox, a Rhode Island car dealer who says he leased it to Hernandez back when he was a rising NFL star. He says that, in return, Hernandez signed memorabilia and tickets for him, and also that he did promotional events for the dealership. 

Fox added that the two had a good working relationship. He says that Hernandez came in for regular car checks up until the summer of 2012 (a.k.a. the time of the double homicide), at which point the tight end refused to bring it back before making an offer to purchase it straight up.

After the shooting, prosecutors tried to locate a silver SUV with Rhode Island plates but were unable to find it. The case went cold until Hernandez's arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. After the car was found in his uncle's garage, Hernandez was indicted for double murder. Hernandez reportedly leased a new car the day after the shootings took place.

Following the recently concluded trial for the crime(s), the car left the impound lot where it was being held, and was given back to Fox. After learning of the exorbitant prices that Hernandez gear was selling for, Fox and his friend Buddy Clair decided to list it on eBay. The car is said to feature unique history, black soot on the sunroof from fingerprint dusting, and anti-lock breaks.

The bidding began at $100 but (as you can see from the link) has risen quite a buttload since then. At last check before I submitted this, after 113 bids, the price was $100,805. You still have five days to put in your best offer. Oh, and also morbid collectors who tender the winning offer will be gifted with an additional signed Hernandez jersey.

Consult your accountant accordingly.

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Kendrick Lamar Announces The Damn Tour

UPDATED 9:29 a.m. ET After seeing Kendrick Lamar perform at Coachella last Sunday night, we speculated about what his performance could mean for a potential upcoming tour. From the setlist to the stage design, we broke down what a tour to promote his latest album, Damn, could look and feel like. But as it turns out, we aren’t going to need to speculate about a Kendrick tour for very long, as early Monday morning the Compton rapper announced dates for The Damn Tour on Twitter.

As of now, the tour includes 17 dates and is set to kick off in Phoenix, Arizona on July 12 before making stops in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Boston, Toronto, and a handful of other major cities in the U.S. and Canada. The tour will conclude on August 6 in Los Angeles.

Kendrick won’t be touring alone, either. In addition to taking his act across North America, Kendrick will also be bringing Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. along with him. You can check out the full schedule below:

Damn just hit a major milestone for Kendrick. The critically acclaimed album earned the best-selling Billboard chart debut of 2017 last week by moving more than 600,000 units, easily topping Drake’s More Life, which moved just over 500,000 units in March. Unfortunately for fans, Kendrick has debunked rumors about him possibly releasing a second project at some point in the near future, but The Damn Tour announcement should be more than enough to help them get their minds off it.

Tickets will be available for American Express card members from April 25 at 10 a.m. local time through April 27 at 10 p.m. local time. Tickets go on sale to the general public on April 28.

American Express ® is excited to continue our partnership with Kendrick Lamar on the heels of his sensational album release, providing our Card Members with early access to his North American tour before the general public,” Walter Frye, American Express' Vice President of Global Entertainment and Premier Events told Complex in a statement. “After two intimate Card Member experiences in Miami and New York last year, we are excited to help bring the memorable experience of Kendrick’s live show to fans around the country.”

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Video Allegedly Shows Chris Brown Punching Photographer at Nightclub (UPDATE)

UPDATED 8:58 p.m. ET: The alleged victim, Bennie Vines, now claims his injuries have prevented him for working, and he's gearing up to take legal action against Chris Brown.

Vines shared his side of the story in a video posted by TMZ, in which he claims Brown assaulted him for simply doing his job. The photographer said he has already consulted several lawyers, who told him he has a strong case against the artist.

Read the original story below.

While most people were fast asleep in dreaded anticipation of the upcoming work week, Chris Brown allegedly sucker punched an in-house club photographer at a Tampa, Florida joint called AJA Channelside. While it's currently just an allegation, if true, this would represent just the latest in legal problems for the 27-year-old singer.

The incident went down at roughly 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning during a paid appearance at the club. The alleged victim, 38-year-old Bennie L. Vines, claims that Brown popped him while Vines was taking crowd shots of the club. Earlier in the night/morning, Brown and his entourage said there would be no photos. Vines says that he wasn't taking pictures of Brown. Some footage of the incident, though grainy, was posted to TMZ.

One of the owners of the club, Robert Solomon, also added that Brown was only there for about 3-5 minutes even though he was paid to stick around for an hour. “It wasn't a brawl, Brown punched a photog for the club and walked out,” Solomon said.

According to AJA Channelside's Facebook page, assault charges are being pressed. Furthermore, according to the Twitter feed of Tampa's police department, Brown is under an active investigation for the alleged incident:

Brown had left the scene by the time police arrived. As reported by ABC's Tampa affiliate, Vines refused medical attention for a laceration to his lip.

 

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Shocking Video Shows Passenger Being Forcibly Removed From Overbooked Flight (UPDATE)

UPDATE 4:00 p.m. ET Footage shared on social media this weekend shows a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight. The passenger was removed from a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday night shortly before takeoff at O'Hare International Airport, the Courier-Journal reported. The removed passenger, according to social media accounts of the incident, was a doctor.

United Airlines overbooked the flight,” passenger Audra D. Bridges said in a Facebook post Sunday. “They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat. This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning. He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted.” According to Bridges, passengers were told at the gate that the flight in question had been overbooked. Vouchers and a hotel stay were offered, “but no one volunteered.” Passengers were then selected by “a computer,” Bridges said.

Tyler Bridges, who tweeted a breakdown of the incident, also shared a separate video (see below) alleging to show the removed passenger returning to the plane. “I have to go home,” the removed passenger, clearly disoriented, is heard saying. Audra D. Bridges told the Courier-Journal that the passenger was once again removed. Other passengers were then reportedly told to “go back to the gate” so that flight officials could “tidy up” the aircraft before leaving the airport. After a two-hour delay, the flight departed.

As spotted by Uproxx, here's another video of the incident from a different angle:

In a statement to Complex Monday, a United spokesperson confirmed the overbooking. “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked,” the rep told Complex. “After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”

United CEO Oscar Munoz also released a statement on United's Twitter account on Monday afternoon addressing the incident. Munoz apologized for United having to “re-accommodate” customers due to overbooking on the flight on Sunday night:

TMZ reported Monday afternoon that one of the officers involved in the forcible removal of the passenger has been placed on leave. In a statement, the Chicago Department of Aviation said the incident “was not in accordance” with their standard operating procedure. 

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Meek Mill Reportedly Charged With Assault (UPDATE)

UPDATED 9:59 p.m. ET: 

Meek responded to reports of the arrest with an Instagram post that put a spin on an old Jay Z lyric.

 

Locked in the slammer nope popped up in Miami 😁

A post shared by Meek Mill (@meekmill) on

Original story below:

Meek Mill was reportedly charged with misdemeanor assault Wednesday.

According to TMZ, the Philadelphia rapper was at St. Louis Lambert International Airport when an employee approached him to take a photo. Sources said shortly after the interaction, a fight broke out between Meek and a couple of airport staff members.

Police were called to the scene, where Meek and the two employees were reportedly given court summons in lieu of arrests.

TMZ points out Meek is currently on probation for a weapons and drug conviction. 

Complex has reached out to Roc Nation and Atlantic. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.

 

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