Girls Trip Star Kate Walsh on How Humor Can Balance Out the Seriousness of Racial Tension: ‘There’s a Way to Do Both’

 

As Kate Walsh puts it — a little comedy can go a long way.

At a time rife with racial tension, the Girls Trip star says there’s a way to balance the seriousness of issues with humor in film — and hopes the upcoming movie accomplishes that.

“I think that can concurrently get to the very serious business of solving problems with race in our culture and also laugh about it,” Walsh, 49, tells PEOPLE Now. “I think there’s a way to do both and be sensitive and actually do the work that needs to be done in our culture.”

She adds: “It’s a really interesting time in our culture but we’ve been here before and we will move forward and move forward together and be a better place.”

The Will Packer-produced comedy also stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish as the group travels to New Orleans for ESSENCE Festival. Along the way, they rekindle their sisterhood and rediscover their wild sides.

“Because of our history in this country and how we’ve been labeled, I think we, as Black women, tend to be a little hard on ourselves,” Pinkett-Smith told ESSENCE about letting go and having fun in the July 2017 issue. “That feeling of always having to be on point has prevented us from being expansive in how we see ourselves and how we allow ourselves to be entertained, but I think we’re getting to a place where we’re afforded the opportunity to kind of cut loose and see all the wonderful colors of who we are.”

Girls Trip hits theaters July 21.

 

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Inside Bachelor in Paradise’s Extreme Hookup Culture: Why Did Corinne & DeMario’s Scandal Change the Game?

 

Sun, sand, drinks and a sense that nearly anything goes — it was a party atmosphere that made Bachelor in Paradise a wild ride for many contestants, and infectious viewing for its audience. 

Then came a scandal that upended production, prompted an investigation into sexual misconduct by the show’s studio, Warner Bros., and exiled two contestants from the sybaritic eden that was the paradise’s Mexican resort set. Lawsuits still may follow. And while filming is now set to return any day now, producers say the cast members asked to return will be living in a much different Paradise.

Questions linger about just what happened between Corinne Olympios, 24, and DeMario Jackson 30, that caused two producers and a contestant to raise concerns and trigger the investigation. But what’s clear is that the party atmosphere in Paradise — where hookups made for screen time, alcohol was readily available, and contestants understood that sex made for great reality TV — won’t be quite the same.

“It’s a party vibe, and that’s generally the way that the show works,” a former producer from the franchise (who was not on the most recent BiP set) previously told PEOPLE about the culture of the Bachelor/ette spin-off series. “The whole point is that to succeed you need to make friends, and people feel it’s advantageous to drink and hook up and find a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

According to him, the hookups are largely spurred by the fact that Paradise is “like spring break, or summer camp.”

“It’s like real life is suspended,” he said. “Time is just different there. You’re filming around the clock, production is around-the-clock and it’s around-the-clock partying.”

“There’s a lot of sex on the various shows that happens that never airs,” he continued. “There are cameras everywhere and there’s nowhere to hide, so when cast members behave outrageously, they allow themselves to forget there are cameras — and just get caught up in the moment.”

Ryan Beckett, who competed on season 3 of BiP, echoed the producer’s claims that there is a copious amount of sex between contestants and the alcohol is free-flowing.

“It’s not unprecedented that people would get drunk and hook up on the show — it happens all the time,” he told PEOPLE.

Filmed in the beach village of Sayulita, Mexico, where the waters are warm and the sand is soft, it’s easy for contestants to quickly adapt to vacation mode and relish in the relaxation of the ocean backdrop — as well as abandon any typical concerns about drinking and driving.

“People drink like they were in college or on a cruise. They go out and they drink more because they don’t have to drive, they’re on vacation. I think people indulge more a lot more than they normally would,” said Beckett.

“We’d just go up to the bar and order a margarita or whatever,” Beckett continued, and added, “So it was always available, but it definitely was never forced on us.”

Though drinking may not be forced, it is encouraged — producers even acting as waiters and waitresses to serve their designated cast mates a cocktail (or two) as a form of liquid courage.

“The producers pump you up to talk to someone if you express interest. ‘You should talk to her. I’ll go get you a drink to take over to her,’ ” an insider told PEOPLE. “The producers often will have a drink with the cast as they’re buddying up to them. They encourage people to loosen up and put themselves out there.”

While Becket believes that producers “try to keep it, relatively speaking, as genuine as possible,” he admitted, “There’s some leading the horse to water, but at the end of the day, it’s always the cast that has to decide if they want to drink or hook up.”

But on a reality show that centers around the drama of couples forming and cast members hooking up — while still ultimately competing — what about Olympios’ and Jackson’s specific circumstance raised the red flag to stop production?

PEOPLE sources previously confirmed that production was halted after two producers voiced their concerns about the alleged sexual encounter between Jackson and Olympios  — both of whom had reportedly been drinking heavily all day. On Tuesday, Warner Bros. released its first statement regarding the investigation to PEOPLE, announcing that it was complete — concluding that there was no evidence of misconduct — and that filming would continue.

According to season 4 cast mate Jasmine Goode, who witnessed some of Jackson and Olympios’ flirtations, no one seemed all that concerned while it was going on.

“Everyone saw them kissing and having fun together,” Goode said. “To me and everyone else, it just seemed like crazy fun Corinne that we’re used to, because for the next two days we kept filming.”

“There was other hookups between other cast members like any other season of Paradise, but for some reason this one is being brought to light,” she added.

Goode does admit that that at one point, she believes another contestant asked producers if they should intervene with Olympios’ drinking and were told she was “fine” — which leads to the question that many people were asking last week: If there was sexual misconduct, should the producers have intervened faster than they did?

Olympios’ lawyer believes so. “We’re going to see if she was in a situation where the producers should have shut this down sooner,” Martin Singer told PEOPLE.

“It was obvious something went significantly wrong here,” said Singer. “For them to shut down production like that? People have been killed on sets and they haven’t shut down productions.”

However, Walter Mosley, a lawyer for Jackson, told PEOPLE that the incident was nothing out of the ordinary, and that the taped footage would serve as proof that any sexual encounter between the two of them “was consensual.”

“The tapes will show that everyone, all of the participants of Bachelor in Paradise, were consenting to what was going on,” said Mosley. “And certainly his interaction with Corinne was a consensual interaction.”

(Warner Bros. said in a statement that the company does not intend to release the videotape of the incident, but a source close to production confirms that camps for both Olympios and Jackson have both reviewed the footage.)

RELATED VIDEO: Corinne Olympios’ Lawyers Own Investigation Will Continue Into Bachelor in Paradise Sex Scandal

 

Olympios, meanwhile, has maintained that she has little recollection of the events surrounding that evening. 

“I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4,” she said in a statement last week. “Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production.”

Now that production is set to resume, how will Warner Bros. ensure a similar incident won’t occur? A source close to production insists changes have been put in place, without going into specifics.

“In broad strokes, changes were made to ensure everyone’s safety,” said the source. “Obviously it’s to prevent anything like that happening again.”

RELATED VIDEO: Bachelor Alums on What Really Goes On During Filming — ‘Alcohol Was Always Available but Never Forced On Us’

 

Chad Johnson, who previously starred on The Bachelorette and BiPtold PEOPLE that he believes the rules and attitude on set will shift significantly as a result.

“It’ll probably be a different vibe,” Johnson (he went home after one day on BiP as a result of misconduct) told PEOPLE.

“I’m sure the producers will probably have some type of like, amount of drinks you can have in one hour or a limit per day. Something like that,” he continued, and added, “Just because, if you’re at the point where you’re going to shut the show down, you’re going to make some kind of drastic change.”

 Bachelor in Paradise will return later this summer on ABC.

 

—With MARY GREEN, GILLIAN TELLING, LINDSAY KIMBLE, PATRICK GOMEZ & JANINE RUBENSTEIN

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Molly Sims Mourns Death of Dog Duke

Molly Sims is in a state of shock after the sudden and unexpected death of her beloved dog, Duke.

The actress announced the sad news on Instagram Friday along with ten of her favorite pooch photos that also featured her three kids; Grey Douglas, 5 months,  Scarlett May, 2, and Brooks Alan, 4.

“We are BEYOND devastated… Yesterday, we lost our beloved Dukie,” Sims, 44, wrote in a tribute to her deceased 8-year-old.

FROM PEN: George W. Bush’s New Rescue Pup Was a Set-Up (of the Best Kind!)

 

The mother of three also shared the story of how Duke came in her life after marrying husband Scott Stuber.

“I can’t believe 2 weeks ago you were completely fine… running in the yard and playing in the bubbles.. cannonballing into our pool,” Sims recalled. “Our hearts are absolutely breaking but we know you are living in doggie heaven and we will NEVER EVER forget you and the unconditional love you brought in to our lives.”

Sims is also a pet parent to Yorkshire Terriers named Poopette and Chloe.

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WATCH: Today Show’s Al Roker and Matt Lauer Didn’t Get Along When They First Met

Today‘s Matt Lauer and Al Roker revealed a bit of their initially turbulent history in a candid segment of Thursday’s morning show.

Lauer, 59, and Roker, 62, revealed they didn’t always get along, and opened up about the moment they first met on live air.

“We had a rough start,” cohost Lauer said, gesturing toward weather anchor Roker.

“We did,” Roker said, smiling.

“We had a rough start and it’s amazing we are dear friends now,” Lauer continued. “Long story short, we’re on the air one time on local television years ago. Al said something to me that I did not appreciate, live on television.”

“He booted my name and I said, ‘Wow, not so easy in the big leagues, is it, pretty boy?’” Roker added.

Others around the table shared their first impressions of the other, including Ice Cube, who said Hoda Kotb was “a fine mamma.”

“I think the segment’s over!” Kotb said, laughing.

Savannah Guthrie shared her first impression of Lauer, saying she thought he was “cute.”

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Former Undocumented Latina Gets Into Heated Debate With Fox News’ Tucker Carlson

Julissa Arce, a former undocumented immigrant who used false papers to become a Goldman Sachs executive while living in the U.S., was prepared to stand her ground when she was invited on Fox News to speak with Tucker Carlson.

Carlson, a conservative political commentator who has been known for being confrontational, started the conversation about California universities instituting an 18% cap on out-of-state residents but having no cap for illegal aliens.”It does seem to me that no matter how conflicted you feel about immigration, you would never be in favor of a state school capping admittance of American citizens, but in effect giving preference to illegal aliens. Why would any sane person be in favor of that?” Carlson asked Arce.

The author of My (Underground) American Dream clarified to Carlson that, in her belief, the “new rule” isn’t about immigrants but about the out-of-state residents. She also spoke about AB 540, which states that undocumented immigrants become residents of California if they have lived in the state for over three years.

During the segment, Carlson notably gets frustrated with Arce’s explanations and accuses her of using a “rhetorical trick” to avoid his question.

Arce defended her argument by telling the commentator that he has a “lack of understanding” about the issue. Carlson then tells Arce she does not understand his claim that illegal immigrants now take precedence over U.S. citizens. The two continue the heated debate until the Fox News host cuts Arce off with a burst of laughter. He mockingly invites her back on the show, “I’m sure you’ll tell us everybody wins” referring to affirmative action.

PEOPLE reached out to Arce’s rep for comment.

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Charlie Sheen Sued for Allegedly Exposing Ex-Lover to HIV

Charlie Sheen is once again being sued by a woman who claims the actor lied about being HIV-positive and exposed her to the virus during unprotected sex.

Sheen is not officially named as the defendant in the lawsuit, but the plaintiff alleges the defendant gave a nationally-televised interview on November 17, 2015 to announce he was HIV-positive — which is the exact day Sheen made his announcement in an interview on the Today show.

The lawsuit also claims the defendant gave a second interview on June 21, 2016 — which is the date Sheen sat down with Matt Lauer for a second interview.

According to the lawsuit, Sheen and the woman (who identifies herself only as Jane Doe) met in September 2015. Doe claims that prior to any sexual activity between them, she asked Sheen directly if he had any sexually transmitted diseases. Sheen said he was “fine,” Doe claims, and that she “needed to trust him.”

Doe claims she and Sheen had protected intercourse over the next two months until October 26, 2015, when the two engaged in unprotected sex. Doe claims that immediately after their unprotected sex, Sheen stepped out of the room to smoke. When he returned, Doe claims, he “threw a bag of pills on the bed” and told her that he was, in fact, HIV-positive.

The woman claims Sheen admitted to lying previously. Doe claims Sheen instructed her to take the pills in the bag and that she would be fine. She says that Sheen told her to take two of the pills immediately and then the remaining pills later in the day.

Doe maintains she never would have had unprotected sex with Sheen had she known he was HIV-positive.

Doe sought out her own medical advice and confronted Sheen a few days later. She claims that Sheen blamed her for her exposure and said that he was “noble” for having told her about his HIV status at all.

Furthermore, she claims Sheen “berated” her for not asking how he was doing. She says that when she asked Sheen why he lied about his status, he replied that it was “none of f—ing business.”

Doe claims Sheen went on to explain that he was facing lawsuits from other women with whom he had engaged in unprotected sex. She says that Sheen began making several bizarre statements, including that he could “see the future” and that she was fine.

Sheen went on to say that “when you come down with this , that we’re together and at least we have each other,” the suit alleges.

The lawsuit does not explicitly say whether or not the woman contracted HIV.

Doe is suing for battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress and fraud. She is seeking unspecified damages.

Sheen was sued in December 2015 by his former fiancee, Scottine Ross, who similarly claimed that Sheen lied about his HIV status during their relationship.

Sheen’s lawyers could not be reached for comment.

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