- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2003

Touchy topic

New York Post

Next month’s release of the screen version of Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain,” in which Anthony Hopkins portrays a black man “passing” as white, has already ruffled some feathers.

The New York Times ran an editorial by Brent Staples on the subject of “passing” that inspired a letter by Cecelia McCall, the ex-wife of former state comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall, who is now in charge of the New York Stock Exchange. Mrs. McCall discloses that in grammar school, her “older, fair-haired, blue-eyed sister” passed for white until darker-skinned Cecelia enrolled. The elder sister married a white man and moved to Massachusetts, where she’s been estranged from Cecelia for 30 years.

“The Human Stain,” which co-stars Nicole Kidman is slated for release in late October.

Break up to make up?

Internet Movie Database

Superstar Jennifer Lopez has not ruled out the prospect of marrying Ben Affleck. She’s waiting to thrash out their problems with the actor before deciding on the future.

According to a pal of the “Jenny From The Block” star — whose Sept. 14 wedding to the Oscar-winner in Santa Barbara, Calif. was axed at the 11th hour — the diva is in contact with her estranged fiance, and the pair are due to meet in person in the next few days to discuss their relationship.

“Only the two of them know how it might turn out. Either way, she’s one to confront her problems. I’m sure they’re going to scream, cry and laugh and maybe figure this out,” the unnamed friend of Miss Lopez told People magazine.

Huff over former Puff

E! Online

Maybe he should’ve kept the “Puffy” moniker because Sean Combs has just rolled himself another fat one — a lawsuit, that is. The rap impresario and cigar aficionado, now commonly referred to as “P. Diddy,” is being sued yet again — this time by a Miami cigar company claiming he revealed their secret rolling techniques in his latest music video.

The suit, filed Sept. 4 by Moore & Bode Cigars in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, accuses Mr. Combs and his Bad Boy Entertainment label of invasion of privacy and lifting trade and business secrets by sending an unnamed cameraman and crew to the cigar maker’s Miami factory to film workers as they rolled the high-priced stogies.

According to the owners, who were not present at the time, the incident occurred in June when Mr. Combs’ crew decided to trespass at Moore & Bode’s Little Havana shop and allegedly, without authorization, shot footage of employees mixing the top-secret ingredients for the company’s cigars. Moore & Bode allege the footage was used in Mr. Combs’ video for his latest hit single “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” from the soundtrack to “Bad Boys II,” which topped the Billboard charts for three weeks in August.

The stealth shoot brought the ire of the owners, Robert and Sharon Moore Bode, who asked them to leave upon their return but were initially rebuffed by the cameraman. The Bodes are reportedly seeking upward of $15,000 in damages. A spokeswoman for Mr. Combs had no comment on the lawsuit pending notification and an attorney for Moore & Bode was unavailable.

Charges dismissed

Internet Movie Database

Rape allegations against international dance star Michael Flatley have been withdrawn.

Mr. Flatley, 45, a Chicago native who struck global fame in his tap dancing show “The Lord Of The Dance,” hit the headlines when 31-year-old Tyna Marie Robertson accused him of sexually assaulting and raping her in a Las Vegas hotel last October. But Dean Mauro, the attorney for Miss Robertson, a real estate agent, dropped the claim last Thursday in a Chicago courtroom during a pre-trial review.

“The judge indicated he’d dismiss the case unless Mauro withdrew it, so Mauro did. The Illinois case is over and if Ms. Robertson tries to file elsewhere she’ll lose again, because her claims are bogus,” said Bert Field, an attorney for Mr. Flatley.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from wire reports

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