The 5 Celebrity Arrests We'll Probably See Next
Oh hey, Bill Cosby got arrested! Who expected that was ever actually going to happen? Granted, as so often happens with the rich and famous, he'll probably still escape any kind of real justice. But still, the arrest is a nice gesture. In fact, it got me to thinking about a few other celebrities whom I wouldn't mind seeing sent up the river in 2016. We talk about a few on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by comics Maria Shehata and Nick Dixon. I'll also talk about a few right damn now. Here goes!
Admit it, you kind of want this one to happen. Documentaries are the shit right now, and like the rest of the world, you watched Making A Murderer and thus find yourself thirsty for justice of some kind. All those Steven Avery petitions you signed were meaningless because he wasn't convicted of a federal crime. Barring a miracle, there probably won't be a second season of that show, if you know what I mean. But maybe we can turn the events depicted in another popular documentary into a new series!
When it comes to conspiracy theories that refuse to go away, the one that claims Courtney Love was somehow involved in the death of Kurt Cobain is among the most enduring of all. So much so that in 2015, a full 21 years after the Nirvana frontman's untimely death, people are still making documentaries about how it seems like maybe there was more to the story than just a depressed rock star committing suicide. That most recent movie-length investigation into the strange circumstances and details of the case is called Soaked In Bleach ...
... and you can still watch it on Netflix, if you're so inclined. I've written about it before. It's just one of a few high-profile documentaries on the subject. The first, Kurt & Courtney, was a Nick Broomfield jam.
You might recognize that name on account of how he also solved the Biggie and Tupac murders in the aptly-titled documentary Biggie & Tupac.
Okay, maybe "solved" is too strong of a word there. He blamed Suge Knight. The Los Angeles Times blamed Crips and the Notorious B.I.G. I'm sure they'll figure it out someday!
Conspiracy theorists seem a bit more united in their opinion on the death of Cobain. Their suspicions have been fueled in large part by one man: a private investigator named Tom Grant. He was hired by Love in the days before Cobain's body was discovered. She'd filed a missing person's report, and wanted Grant to try and track her husband down. Almost immediately, he suspected something was amiss. He's spent pretty much every day of his life since trying to prove he's not wrong.
Of course, you've probably heard all of this before. But have you heard about what happens at the end of Soaked In Bleach? If you haven't and don't want the surprise spoiled, stop reading now. Cool! The film ends with former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper adamantly stating that the Cobain case should be reopened. That's a pretty big deal, seeing as how he was in charge of the department when the first investigation happened.
So, you know, why the hell not? We haven't had a good celebrity trial in long time. Maybe just throw a case against the wall and see what sticks? If the recent spate of true crime documentaries have proven anything, it's that prosecutors are more than happy to try a not-so-strong case based on nothing more than personal opinion. I say we give it a try.
Most of you reading this probably aren't even familiar with Roman Polanski, or the criminal case that has prevented him from entering the United States since the late 1970s. It's arguably the second-most-famous crime to ever be associated with his name. The first, of course, would be the Manson Family murders, which claimed the life of Polanski's pregnant wife, model and actress Sharon Tate.
It's hard to top that, at least from a news standpoint. But a completely different crime made him a fugitive from American justice for the past few decades. Back in 1977, it's alleged/confirmed that Polanski had an inappropriate sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl. I suppose I could've left the "inappropriate" part out. That's a given when you're talking about a dude in his 40s sleeping with a kid.
Polanski denied the charges at first, but eventually reached a plea deal that involved him pleading guilty to one lesser charge in exchange for five other, more serious charges being dropped. By that point, he'd already served more than 40 days in prison, and in accordance with the terms of the deal, he was expecting to be sentenced to probation and nothing more.
"Hi, I'm super rich!"
It's at this point that things get strange. Apparently, word got back to Polanski that the judge in the case was planning to renege on the deal and sentence him to additional jail time. Rather than let that happen, Polanski sentenced himself to a life of staying the fuck away from America forever and ever. He's 82 years old now and has since reached a financial settlement with his victim.
So should we just forget about it? That depends on who you ask. The U.S. government certainly doesn't think so. They've tried to have him extradited twice since 2009, with both Sweden and Poland rejecting the requests and declaring Polanski a free man. He also has several supporters among Hollywood types who never fail to come out of the woodwork any time his case becomes news again. Most of the arguments center around how it's a thing of the past and he's served his time and blah, blah, blah.
Here's the thing: Fuck that. This dude drugged a girl and forced her to have anal sex. This wasn't some exotic fling that we just don't understand because we're not European enough.
Like how a handful of Americans fall in love with soccer every four years.
It was a rape. He was an adult. That's not a crime you should escape culpability for just because you've managed to stay free for a long time. You could make that same argument about Bill Cosby. Why is this different? Fewer victims? Doesn't the fact that the victim was a child negate that a bit?
Also, if the claims about how the judge acted at the time of the original trial are true, then there's a good chance that Polanski would go free anyway. In 2008, LA Superior Court Judge Peter Espinosa ruled that Polanski can challenge his conviction, and has even said that it's possible there was misconduct in the first trial. But Polanski would first have to return to court to argue his case. What's so unreasonable about that?
Stick with me; it's going to get a little sports-y over the next couple of entries. Rest assured, though, that we won't actually be talking about sports. Just athletes suspected of being involved in wanton violence, including murder. You guys like murder, right?
Sure you do! And on that note, let's talk about former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison. His name is in the news at least once a year, solely on account of how he keeps getting snubbed when it comes time to send great players to the NFL Hall of Fame. In terms of what he accomplished on the field, he totally deserves it. He was Peyton Manning's go-to receiver for more than a decade. Over that time, they become one of the most prolific quarterback / wide receiver combos in the history of the sport.
On top of that, he was all business. He never talked to the press. He didn't showboat in the end zone. All the things white people love. Along with his aforementioned quarterback and his head coach, Tony Dungy, Harrison was part of a trio of "model citizens" who exemplified everything an athlete or organization should be.
Of course, it's always the quiet ones you have to worry about. In the years since, we've learned that Dungy is a virulent homophobe. And Manning not only sat on a female trainer's face while at the University of Tennessee, but he also kind of destroyed her life when he wrote about the incident in a book and lied about the details. The craziest rumors of off-field wrongdoing, though, continue to swirl around Harrison.
It all started back in 2008 when a man named Dwight Dixon, a convicted drug dealer, was shot during an altercation at a car wash in Philadelphia. He claimed that Marvin Harrison was the shooter, and sure enough, ballistics testing traced the bullet that hit Dixon to a gun owned by the sports hero. Harrison gave a statement to police shortly thereafter in which he not only placed himself at the scene of the incident and admitted that the gun in question belonged to him, but also lied about whether the gun had been fired recently.
Dixon took his story to the media, sitting down for an extensive interview on the ESPN show E:60.
Not long after that interview, Dixon was killed in -- you guessed it -- a shooting in Philadelphia. When police rushed to the scene, he said he believed the incident (which happened down the street from a bar owned by Harrison) was tied to the 2008 shooting. Unfortunately, he fell into a coma and died before police could interview him fully.
Somehow, despite the circumstances of the first shooting, Harrison was never questioned in connection with the death of Dwight Dixon. As in, not at all. Ever. The man who was named as a suspect by the victim at the scene was never asked to talk to the police. It was reported that the FBI was looking into the case back in 2009, but nothing seems to have come from that either.
As a result, don't be surprised if every time we hear news of another year that's passed without Marvin Harrison getting into the Hall of Fame, it's accompanied by a few stories about how he maybe had a guy killed.
Okay, again, sorry for doing another sports guy. But even if you don't care about "sportsball" or whatever the hell people who still carry around real books call it, keep the name in mind. Johnny Manziel -- it's easy to remember. It's pronounced exactly the way it looks like it would be pronounced, and you'll probably hear it a lot throughout the year. Not because he's a great football player or anything. He certainly was in college, but so far in the pros, he's been a total disaster on and off the field. At this point, there's significantly more footage from police dashcams of him involved in traffic stops of varying severity than clips of him completing passes.
One incident involved his girlfriend, and features a 30-minute police video that plays like an episode of procedural crime drama where the central mystery is whether or not a dude hit his girlfriend.
One of his teammates just kind of creepily shows up about halfway through and manages to get involved enough to pull one of the cops aside and tell them that the potential victim is someone he thinks Manziel shouldn't have in his life. Maybe that's why she was so adamant that he be made to leave when he just appeared out of nowhere. In the end, the couple left together and no charges were filed, but the video was bizarre as fuck, if nothing else.
He also seemed to be completely and totally unable to avoid uploading Instagram videos of himself pounding booze and lip-syncing to a song called "March Madness" by the rapper Future. I know that sounds terribly specific, but it's true. The first video appeared during the his team's bye week this past season, shortly after he was promoted to the role of starting quarterback.
The problem is, he'd just been in rehab for alcohol and drug problems a few months earlier, and staying sober was something the Browns expected him to do. He lost the starting job as a result of that video. You'd think that would be an easy lesson to learn. No more videos of you getting turnt up to Future songs. How hard can it be?
Nearly impossible, as it turns out. What you see above is a nearly identical video, except this time he's wearing a Christmas sweater and drinking Four Loko. Same Future song, though, because continuity is important when constructing a movie franchise universe. On account of these antics and more, word on the street is that the Browns are planning to cut ties with Manziel. Some people think he'll end up in Dallas.
No matter where he goes, this story has all the makings of the next big NFL draft bust. A player who comes out of college on a wave of hype and never manages to live up to the expectations. When that just involves playing poorly, you normally hear about those players ending up working some kind of mundane day job. But when being a bust also involves off-field problems, things don't end quite as well. Johnny Manziel may very well end up being the next quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, but he could just as easily end up being the next Ryan Leaf.
Sorry, Google that name later. A link would only distract you. Just know that it's a bad thing.
R. Kelly is a lot like Donald Trump, in that no matter what kind of crazy shit he says or does, none of it has any impact on the way his followers feel about him. Trump says he could shoot someone and nobody would care. R. Kelly pissed in an underage girl's mouth on video (allegedly), has settled several more allegations of underage sex out of court, and almost no one gives a fuck, because goddamn does he make good music.
Granted, he was found not guilty. But as is explained in the batshit insane interview he gave to GQ recently, that had more to do with the victim and her family not cooperating with prosecutors, thus making it impossible to positively identify her as the other person in the video, although several others testified that it was. That's reasonable doubt, and that's how the justice system is supposed to work, I guess. Still, a lot of people owned and viewed that tape (before a judge reminded everyone that they were potentially in possession of child porn), and it wasn't because they were unsure if it was really him in the video.
Also, he married a 15-year-old. Remember that? The teen in question was R&B sensation Aaliyah (R.I.P.). Vibe Magazine published a marriage license from the state of Illinois as proof, way back before the Internet made things like that significantly easier to track down. Her age was listed as 18.
After the story broke, the two were never seen together again, and neither side has ever said a word about it. It comes up in that GQ interview I mentioned earlier (which is absolutely worth a read if you have 25-30 minutes to kill), and out of respect for Aaliyah's family, he refuses to speak about it. He never says they weren't married. He does say that he feels like he didn't do anything wrong. Like I said, it's a weird interview.
It gets weirder. For example, there's the part where, when asked about the case that almost landed him in prison, he implies that, legally, he can't say he's not the person in the video. That's odd. And then there's the bit where he talks about being molested as a child by a blood relative, and then says he thinks it's a "generational" thing that's passed down from one to the next. As the writer points out, this basically implies that he's the next in a long line of child molesters. Again, really weird interview. Definitely read it.
It will make this make moderately more sense.
But fine, he's never been convicted of anything. And legally, nothing that's come up in the news before can come up again. So is there really that much of a chance that he'll get arrested any time soon? Probably not, but if you do suspect that maybe he did all those things, how confident are you that he's changed his ways? Is that usually how it works? A pedophile has a brush with the law and they're reformed? In this case, we'll probably never know.
But we will have another 40 chapters of the Trapped In the Closet saga soon. That's what really matters.
Adam is on Twitter. You should follow him there @adamtodbrown.
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