Ensa Cosby, the daughter of disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, has died at the age of 44, TMZ reports. While the cause of death was unconfirmed when the gossip website broke the story, they claimed that Ensa had a history of medical problems and was possibly awaiting a kidney transplant.
'We look forward to confronting him': Virginia Giuffre's lawyers fire a warning shot at Prince Andrew
The legal team representing a woman who accused the UK's Prince Andrew of sexual abuse when she was a teenager is hitting back after Andrew appeared to blame her for the abuse she allegedly suffered, The Independent reports.
Virginia Giuffre alleges in a civil lawsuit that she suffered emotional harm and battery after she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein and made to have sex with Andrew on three occasions back in 2001.
This Wednesday, Andrew denied all of the allegations and said that Giuffrie's own “wrongful conduct” would be the theme of his defense.
“Prince Andrew’s answer continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself," Giuffre’s attorney David Boies told The Independent. “We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms Giuffre for her own abuse at his deposition and at trial.”
Read more at The Independent.
A Capitol rioter who allegedly assaulted police with chemical spray while wearing a Trump-themed cowboy hat has been arrested.
Markus Maly, 47, of Fincastle, Virginia, wore a “white cowboy style hat with the words ‘TRUMP 2020’ printed on the front and what appears to be ‘TEAM TRUMP’ printed on the back, with an American flag pattern printed on the underside," according to a criminal complaint.
He “carried a black canister that was consistent with what is commonly known as ‘bear spray’ or pepper spray," the complaint states. Maly is accused of deploying the pepper spray toward a line of Metropolitan police officers who were working to secure the area of the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol Building.
"He additionally assisted a second person who has been charged with spraying law enforcement –identified as Jeffrey Scott Brown, 55, of Santa Ana, California – by handing him a can of spray," the complaint states.
Maly, who was branded by online sleuths as #JohnSprayne, was among the many Capitol rioters who boasted about their participation in the riot on social media.
During the insurrection, Maly told his girlfriend on Facebook, “We took the fuckin capital (SIC)," adding that it was "so fun."
The following day, he wrote: “There were lots of pissed off patriots there and we wanted our voices to be heard. I myself one [sic] of them. We were there to support President Trump and the voting process. A voting process that was hijacked and stolen from us.”
In a private message to an unidentified contact, Maly reported that he had stolen a police riot shield, but that an officer confiscated it from him while he was on his way back to his bus.
“Should have stood your ground with it,” the contact replied.
Maly then wrote: “I stood my ground and went back for seconds and thirds even."
Maly also posted photos of himself at the Capitol. Video shows him holding the riot shield and deploying the chemical spray, the complaint states.
Maly is charged with with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury; civil disorder; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds; and related offenses, according to a Department of Justice news release.
Maly was arrested Wednesday morning in Fincastle.
After his initial appearance in court on Thursday, a judge ordered him held without bond, the Roanoke Times reports.
Amid the GOP's national campaign to purge "leftist ideology" from public schools, local officials across the nation are now banning certain books that deal with race, sex, and gender, from school shelves.
On Thursday, a Missouri school board voted 4-3 to formally pull Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" from high school libraries in the district. The book, which tells the story of a young Black girl growing up in the Great Depression, includes passages that describe incest and child molestation. Central to the book's premise is the narrator's struggle with society's white standards of beauty, which cause her to develop an inferiority complex around the color of her skin.
Wentzville School Board member Sandy Garber told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that she voted against the book to shield her children from obscenity. "By all means, go buy the book for your child," Garber said. "I would not want this book in the school for anyone else to see."
The decision comes despite pushback from district staff and residents, who after a committee review advised the board that banning the novel would "infringe on the rights of parents and students to decide for themselves if they want to read this work of literature."
Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, told a Fox affiliate that the board's vote sweeps important discussions of race and sexual abuse under the rug.
"Kids are growing and developing and should have access to as much material as is out there," Kleindienst said. "It shouldn't be the decision of a few parents what kids should read."
The book banning fever has reached a pitch in Mississippi this week as well.
Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee is currently engaged in a budgetary standoff with Madison County Library System. McGee is attempting to deprive the school board of $100,000 in funding because the Republican wants to see a spate of LGBTQ-themed books banned from school libraries.
Tonja Johnson, executive director for the Madison County Library System, told The Mississippi Free Press that McGee is withholding the money due to his own personal beliefs. "He explained his opposition to what he called 'homosexual materials' in the library, that it went against his Christian beliefs, and that he would not release the money as the long as the materials were there," Johnson said. "He told me that the library can serve whoever we wanted, but that he only serves the great Lord above."
According to the Free Press, McGee specifically demanded the immediate removal of the "The Queer Bible," an essay collection featuring the voices of queer figures like Elton John, Munroe Bergdorf, Tan France, George Michael and Susan Sontag.
And in Tennessee, the Williamson County Schools committee has also joined the censorship fold, imposing restrictions on several different books in light of conservative backlash.
After a review of 31 different texts, the committee on Tuesday "removed one book" from the school shelves and "restricted seven others," according to The Tennessean. The committee specifically removed "Walk Two Moons," a 1994 fiction novel written by Sharon Creech. The book centers on the story of a 13-year-old girl with Native American heritage who is reckoning with the disappearance of her mother while traveling from Ohio to Idaho.
The books were reportedly first called into question by the Williamson County chapter of Moms for Liberty, a right-wing advocacy group that advocates for "parents' rights" in education. The committee concluded that the text contained "objectionable content," which according to Moms for Liberty, included "stick figures hanging, cursing and miscarriage, hysterectomy/stillborn and screaming during labor."
The bans in Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee are part of a larger right-wing movement to crack down on books with "objectionable" works often featuring Black and LGTBQ+ themes. According to the American Library Association (ALA), between June and September of last year, the U.S. saw "155 unique censorship incidents" in cities and districts across the nation.
"We're seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges in the fall of 2021," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom, last year. "In my twenty years with ALA, I can't recall a time when we had multiple challenges coming in on a daily basis.