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At least 4 Olympians won’t accept invitation to White House

Controversy has hit the Winter Olympics before the torch has been lit in South Korea, as four U.S. Olympians — plus one “furious” ice skater who didn’t end up making the cut — preempted a White House invite from President Donald Trump by turning it down.

>> Read more trending news

Skiers Gus Kenworthy and Lindsey Vonn, and figure skaters Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon have all said publicly that they will not accept a White House invite from the president in the event that they receive one.

Figure skater Ashley Wagner said the same, but she didn’t make Team USA.

Kenworthy and Rippon, who are both openly gay, said that they do not support Trump’s policies and do not want to appear that they do by visiting the White House.

“I am very proud to represent the U.S. but I don’t stand by Trump and his cabinet and their policies,” Kenworthy said. ”I do not want to feign approval for policies that are in place and things that are being pushed at the moment, by going. If I was invited I would decline my spot.”

Rippon said that he felt it is his “duty” not to go.

“Athletes are given a really special platform. It’s our duty, as athletes, to be role models. I won’t go to the White House,” Rippon told the BBC. “I won’t go because I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome there. I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.”

USA Today reported that Nathan Chen and Ashley Wagner would also decline an invite. In Wagner’s case, it is moot since she did not qualify for Team USA.

Wagner notably missed out on an Olympic appearance, said that she was “furious” about the decision-making by the judges and that she believed that she wasn’t treated fairly.

“I’m furious. I am absolutely furious. I know when I go and I lay it down, and I absolutely left one jump on the table. But for me to put out two programs that I did at this competition, as solid as I skated, and to get those scores, I am furious, and I think deservedly so,” she said. “I am absolutely OK with [judges] being strict on my [jump] rotations […] but you know it needs to be across the board. I don’t necessarily feel like it’s been that way at this event, so we’ll see how things pan out.”

The U.S. Figure Skating selection committee responded that the judges “absolutely made the right call.”

Wagner later changed her tune.

Lindsey Vonn said as early as the beginning of December that she hoped to “represent the people of the United States, not the president.”

When asked if she would accept an invite she replied “Absolutely not.”

Enrique Iglesias, Anna Kournikova share photos of newborn twins

Enrique Iglesias is taking a break from his ulta-private life to share the first photo of one of his twins with the world, and so is his rumored wife, retired tennis star Anna Kournikova.

>> Read more trending news 

E! News reported that the singer, who welcomed twins with Kournikova in December, shared the first photo of himself snuggling one of the babies on social media on Instagram with the caption, “My Sunshine.”

Kournivoca posted a similar photo an hour later on her Instagram page with the same caption. In the image, she cradles one of her babies in her hands and gives a kiss.

The couple kept Kournikova’s pregnancy a secret from the public for the duration until they welcomed the babies, a boy and a girl, late last year. According to TMZ, the twins were reportedly named Nicholas and Lucy.

Related: Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova reportedly welcome twins

Iglesias and Kournikova started dating in 2001 when the retired tennis star appeared as his love interest in the music video for his hit single “Escape.”

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West welcome third child via surrogate

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West are parents of three. The TV personality and rapper welcomed a baby girl Monday via surrogate. The couple, married in 2014, are already parents to daughter North, 4, and son Saint, 2.

>> Read more trending news 

Kardashian West confirmed the news on her official website.

“Kanye and I are happy to announce the arrival of our healthy, beautiful baby girl. We are incredibly grateful to our surrogate who made our dreams come true with the greatest gift one could give and to our wonderful doctors and nurses for their special care. North and Saint are especially thrilled to welcome their baby sister.”

The baby was born Jan. 15 at 12:47 a.m. PT and weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, Kardashian West said.

Related: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West: A relationship timeline

Reports emerged in July that the celebrity pair hired a surrogate to carry their third child. By September, Kardashian West confirmed the news and later revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that they were having a baby girl.

The newest addition joins an ever-growing Kardashian-Jenner family. Kardashian’s sister, Khloe Kardashian, confirmed she is six months pregnant with her first child with boyfriend Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Reports say Kardashian West’s youngest half sister, Kylie Jenner, is also pregnant with her first child with her boyfriend, rapper Travis Scott.

‘Oh Happy Day’ singer Edwin Hawkins dead at 74

Edwin Hawkins, the gospel singer best-known for the song “Oh Happy Day,” has died at age 74. 

The New York Times reported that Hawkins’ publicist, Bill Carpenter, said the musician died of pancreatic cancer in Pleasanton, California.

Hawkins brought gospel music to the mainstream when “Oh Happy Day” reached No. 4 on the Billboard pop chart and No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1969. 

>> Read more trending news 

The 18th-century hymn was given an infectious new arrangement and released on “Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord,” an album by Northern California State Youth Choir, a group put together by Hawkins and friend Betty Watson, to raise money to travel to Southern California for a gospel competition.

The Modesto Bee reported in a 2008 profile of Hawkins that the song took a life of its own when an underground radio DJ in San Francisco played it.

“It was recorded on a friend’s little two-track machine,” Hawkins told The Modesto Bee. “It was never intended for commercial purposes at all.”

Related: Photos: Notable deaths 2018

The song earned the youth choir -- renamed the Edwin Hawkins Singers -- their first Grammy. It got the award for Best Soul Gospel Performance in 1970.

“Oh Happy Day” went on to be recorded by artists across multiple genres, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis and Glen Campbell, The Associated Press reported.

The song saw a resurgence decades later when used in the 1993 Whoopi Goldberg comedy “Sister Act 2.”

Hawkins continued to make music after the success of “Oh Happy Day,” winning three more Grammys and getting voted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Dennis Rodman arrested on DUI charge

Dennis Rodman reportedly has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

>> On Rare.us: Dennis Rodman says Kim Jong Un is a 'madman'

Entertainment site TMZ broke the news that Rodman was pulled over for a traffic violation late Saturday and ended up being arrested on a DUI chargeThe Associated PressCNN and other news outlets later confirmed the arrest.

>> Read more trending news 

The arrest occurred around 11 p.m. in Newport Beach, California.

Rodman has "struggled openly with alcoholism the past 17 years," Rodman agent Darren Prince told CNN, adding that the former NBA standout has "been dealing with some major personal issues the last month, and I know it's time he checks back into a rehab center to work through them."

Rodman has pleaded guilty and no contest to DUI in the past, and also faced charges related to a hit-and-run.

In his post-NBA days, Rodman has made headlines for increasingly bizarre statements about North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, whom Rodman sees as a friend.

Read more here.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Aziz Ansari responds to sexual misconduct allegations

Comedian Aziz Ansari released a statement Sunday in response to allegations of sexual misconduct first reported on women's website Babe.net.

According to the article published Saturday, a 23-year-old photographer said Ansari pressured her into having oral sex and "repeatedly asked her for sexual intercourse after she had already declined" after the pair went on a date in September.

>> Eliza Dushku says she was molested by 'True Lies' stunt coordinator at age 12

She said she gave physical cues that she was not interested, but the comedian either did not notice or ignored them.

The woman added that she told Ansari during the encounter that she "didn't want to feel forced because then I'll hate you, and I'd rather not hate you."

She said Ansari texted her the next day to say it was fun meeting her.

"Last night might've been fun for you, but it wasn't for me," she said she wrote back. "You ignored clear non-verbal cues; you kept going with advances."

After explaining her discomfort, she said Ansari apologized, saying he had misread the situation.

>> Read the full story here (WARNING: Graphic content.) 

"In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date. We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual," the statement read, according to USA Today.

>> Read more trending news 

"The next day, I got a text from her saying that although 'it may have seemed okay,' upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said."

The statement added: "I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue."

Read more here.

Sam Rockwell's vulgar ad-lib on 'SNL' has Twitter buzzing

When Golden Globe-winning actor Sam Rockwell made his “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut Jan. 13, he was probably hoping to wow viewers with his impeccable comedic timing — but they ended up being stunned by his potty mouth instead.

>> Read more trending news

That’s right, the “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” star dropped the F-bomb during his very first sketch.

The cringeworthy incident occurred during a PBS parody skit called “Science Show” that also featured regular “SNL” cast members Cecily Strong and Mikey Day. Rockwell plays a Bill Nye-esque science teacher who attempts to teach two of his more intellectually challenged students about the wonders of science using experiments.

In fact, Strong and Day played dumb so well that Rockwell couldn’t help but go off-script and dropped the vulgar expression.

Needless to say, the great minds over at Twitter had a field day:

Here is the skit, with the offending word bleeped out:

Liam Neeson says sexual harassment scandals becoming 'a witch hunt'

According to Liam Neeson, the sexual harassment allegations plaguing Hollywood and other industries are turning into “a bit of a witch hunt.”

>> Click here to watch

In an interview on Ireland’s “The Late Late Show,” the 65-year-old addressed the growing slew of accusations in the industry stemming from the bombshell claims against Harvey Weinstein in October, reported The Hill.

>> On Rare.us: After being slammed for an unpopular opinion, Matt Damon still isn’t backing down

“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening too. There’s some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee or something, and suddenly, they’re being dropped from their program or something,” Neeson said.

Neeson was referring to the story of NPR’s radio host and writer Garrison Keillor, who was fired from Minnesota Public radio after being accused of inappropriate behavior with a co-worker, according to the New York Post.

According to the actor, the incident regarding Keillor differed from those involving Kevin Spacey, who was disgraced after news broke of him allegedly displaying inappropriate behavior toward a then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp in 1986, and Harvey Weinstein.

>> Read more trending news 

Neeson went on to describe that the allegations lobbied against Dustin Hoffman were “childhood stuff.”

“I think Dustin Hoffman … I’m not saying I’ve done similar things like what he did, apparently, he touched a girl’s breast and stuff, but it’s childhood stuff,” Neeson said.

The accusations against Hoffman include exposing himself and groping a teenage intern on one of his movie sets.

>> On Rare.us: Liam Neeson has announced his retirement from action movies and the world is weeping

The “Taken” star continued his statements by acknowledging that the #MeToo movement has been positive for all industries.

“There is a movement happening and it’s healthy, and it’s across every industry. The focus seems to be on Hollywood, but it’s across every industry,” he said.

Tonya Harding's mother speaks out about abuse claims

Figure skater Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona “Sandy” Golden slammed her daughter in a new interview on the two-hour special “Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story,” which aired Thursday night on ABC News.

>> Click here to watch

In the rare interview, Golden accused her daughter of lying about being abused as a child, which is depicted in the new biopic, “I, Tonya.”

“I didn’t abuse any of my children,” Golden said. “Spanked? Yes, spanked. Absolutely, positively, you got to show them right from wrong.”

>> Read more trending news 

Harding alleged that her mother once “dragged me into the bathroom and beat me with a hairbrush, literally” and regularly abused her, but Golden denied the allegations, saying, “I spanked her once with a hairbrush at a competition. She wouldn’t know what a beating was.”

Golden continued, “She’s lied so much she doesn’t know what isn’t a lie anymore.”

The figure skater previously claimed that her mother would drink a thermos of coffee and brandy every day when she would drive her daughter to school.

>> On Rare.us: 23 years later, Tonya Harding speaks out about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the Winter Olympics

“I would have coffee, and sometimes I would put brandy flavoring in it. I love brandy flavoring. You can’t get drunk on flavoring. Sorry to disappoint you,” Golden said.

Golden also denied claims that Harding made about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in a trailer.

“We were never trailer trash,” Golden said. “We had a beautiful new trailer. We didn’t live in filth or dirt or anything that I would call unusual.”

Harding said in the interview that she does not want anything to do with Golden, and she wants her mother to stay away from her 6-year-old son, Gordon.

“I don’t want her anywhere near me. I don’t want her anywhere near my son,” Harding said. “She wants forgiveness. She wants to see me. She wants to make amends. She wants to meet and be part of the family. Hell no.”

(H/T PEOPLE)

Eliza Dushku says she was molested by 'True Lies' stunt coordinator at age 12

Actress Eliza Dushku took to Facebook on Saturday to allege that she was molested as a child by a "True Lies" stunt coordinator.

"When I was 12 years old, while filming 'True Lies,' I was sexually molested by Joel Kramer, one of Hollywood's leading stunt coordinators," wrote Dushku, now 37. 

"Ever since, I have struggled with how and when to disclose this, if ever. At the time, I shared what happened to me with my parents, two adult friends and one of my older brothers. No one seemed ready to confront this taboo subject then, nor was I."

>> Read the full post here (WARNING: Discretion advised.)

She alleged that Kramer, who was 36 at the time, lured her to his hotel room, put her on the bed, then "disappeared in the bathroom and emerged, naked, bearing nothing but a small hand towel held flimsy at his mid-section" before wrapping his body around her and sexually assaulting her.

Dushku also said she was, "by no small coincidence," hurt in a "stunt-gone-wrong on the Harrier jet" the same day a friend she had confided in confronted Kramer about the incident.

"With broken ribs, I spent the evening in the hospital," Dushku wrote. "To be clear, over the course of those months rehearsing and filming True Lies, it was Joel Kramer who was responsible for my safety on a film that at the time broke new ground for action films. On a daily basis he rigged wires and harnesses on my 12 year old body. My life was literally in his hands: he hung me in the open air, from a tower crane, atop an office tower, 25+ stories high. Whereas he was supposed to be my protector, he was my abuser."

Kramer has denied the allegations, Variety reported.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Los Angeles Times, "True Lies" writer and director James Cameron said Dushku "is very brave for speaking up, and I think all the women are that are speaking out and calling for a reckoning now."

“I know the other party – not well. He hasn't worked for me since then," Cameron said, according to the Times report. "The fact that this was happening under our noses and we didn’t know about it, I think going forward it’s important for all industries – certainly Hollywood – to create a safe avenue for people to speak up."

Read more here.

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