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Actor Fred Willard accused of lewd act

Fri., July 20, 2012

Actor Fred Willard, perhaps best-known as a dog-show announcer in the movie “Best in Show,” was arrested on suspicion of committing a lewd act at a Hollywood adult theater and later fired from his work on a PBS series.

Uniformed vice officers were conducting a routine investigation of the theater Wednesday night and saw Willard engaging in a lewd act, Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Ro said. The actor appeared to be alone, he said.

Willard, 72, was booked at the Hollywood police station on suspicion of committing a lewd act in public. Ro said Willard was released after midnight without posting bail.

By Thursday afternoon, Willard had lost his job narrating “Market Warriors,” which is produced by Boston public television station WGBH.

The actor said in a video posted by celebrity website TMZ that it was a misunderstanding and denied wrongdoing.

ABC plans to continue broadcasting its series “Trust Us With Your Life,” which is hosted by Willard and has four shows that have not yet aired.

Sacha Baron Cohen settles slander suit

A Palestinian grocer portrayed as a terrorist in the movie “Bruno” has settled his slander suit against film star Sacha Baron Cohen and David Letterman, his lawyer said Thursday.

Ayman Abu Aita’s “case is settled to the mutual satisfaction” of everyone involved, attorney Joseph Peter Drennan said. Drennan wouldn’t discuss the terms.

In the 2009 comedy, Baron Cohen plays an Austrian fashion journalist aiming to make peace in the Middle East. He interviews Abu Aita, who’s labeled in a caption as a member of the militant Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. Baron Cohen discussed Bruno’s encounter with a “terrorist” on Letterman’s show on CBS.

A Christian and “a peace-loving person” who was living in the West Bank, Abu Aita has never associated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade or any terrorist activity, his court papers said. He went to the interview that appeared in “Bruno” thinking he was talking to a journalist about peace activism, his court complaint said. Instead, the movie spurred death threats against him, damaged his business and made him fear for his family’s safety, the complaint said.

The birthday bunch

Actress Diana Rigg is 74. Rock musician John Lodge (The Moody Blues) is 69. Singer Kim Carnes is 67. Rock musician Carlos Santana is 65. Rock musician Paul Cook (The Sex Pistols, Man Raze) is 56. Rock musician Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is 46. Actor Reed Diamond is 45. Actor Josh Holloway is 43. Singer Vitamin C is 43. Actor Omar Epps is 39. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is 32. Country singer-ballroom dancer Julianne Hough is 24.


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