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Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter responds to rape allegations made by singer Melissa Schuman

Former Dream singer Melissa Schuman accused Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys of raping her in 2002 and alleged that his legal team silenced her in a Sunday blog post, according to a report from Rolling Stone

In the graphic and lengthy post, Schuman explained that her management team set her up with Carter after he took interest in her. However, she had a boyfriend at the time, so they did meet again for a few years when she was 18, he was 22 and they were cast in the same made-for-TV movie. Carter invited her and a friend over to his Santa Monica apartment to hang out with him and his friend, according to Schuman

>> Read more trending news

After drinking alcohol, he and Schuman kissed in his office. He then brought her into a bathroom where he allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on her and forced her to reciprocate after ignoring her many pleas for him to stop. Afterward, Schuman said Carter took her to a bedroom and raped her even after she told him she wanted to wait until marriage.  

“It was done. The one thing I had held as a virtue had been ruined,” she wrote. “I went limp, turned my head to my left and decided I would just go to sleep now. I wanted to believe it was some sort of nightmare I was dreaming up.” 

The former girl group member said she immediately told her manager and attempted to press charges, but was informed that Carter hired a powerful litigator.

“I was told I would likely be buried in humiliation, accused of being fame hungry, and it would ultimately hurt me professionally as well as publicly.” she wrote.

Eventually, she lost interest in pursuing a career in music.  

“I was broken. I was tired. I was traumatized,” she wrote. 

Schuman, who didn’t mention who she accused of sexual assault by name until much later in the post, said an Oct. 30 article on RadarOnline prompted her to speak out.

On Tuesday, she tweeted her gratitude to fans for supporting her decision to speak out about the alleged incident, writing, “I just want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. Thank you for bearing witness to my story. Thank you for providing me a safe place to be open and vulnerable. I love you all. Thank you for aiding me in the healing that I so desperately needed. I am free now.”

Carter, 37, responded to the allegations in a statement to People Wednesday.

“I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual. We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally.”

“This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm.”

Nick Carter 'shocked,' 'saddened' by singer's assault claim

Nick Carter says he's "shocked and saddened" by accusations made by a singer who said he raped her about 15 years ago.

Melissa Schuman of the girl group Dream wrote in a blog post earlier this month that she was "forced to engage in an act against my will." She said the Backstreet Boy took her virginity when she was 18 and he was 22.

"I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman's accusations. Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual," Carter said in a statement released Wednesday. "We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally."

Dream was signed to Sean "Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records in the earlier 2000s and produced the hit "He Loves U Not." Schuman wrote that Carter invited her to his apartment and assaulted her against her will. She said she "felt scared and trapped. He was visually and clearly growing very angry and impatient with me. I couldn't leave."

She said she tried to speak up after the incident, but that she didn't "have the money, the clout or access to an attorney who was powerful enough to stand up against my abuser's legal counsel."

"I feel I have an obligation now to come forward with the hope and intention to inspire and encourage other victims to tell their story. We are stronger in numbers," she wrote.

Carter said Wednesday "this is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later."

"It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm," he said.

The Backstreet Boys launched a residency in Las Vegas this year and have concert planned for next year.

____

Online:

Melissa Schuman's blog post: https://melissaexplainsitall.wordpress.com

New allegations against Rose emerge from women at CBS News

The morning show where Charlie Rose worked until being fired Tuesday is reporting that two women at CBS News claim that Rose grabbed them inappropriately, with one saying he also whispered a sexual innuendo.

The accusations came to light after CBS News President David Rhodes fired the host on Tuesday for what he called "extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior" by Rose toward women at his PBS talk show. PBS has also cut ties to Rose.

"CBS This Morning" said three women at CBS have reported misconduct by Rose. The network said one didn't want details of her accusations made public, and all three requested anonymity. Rose has apologized for his actions.

Rose's former co-host Gayle King said Wednesday that it's important to keep reporting on the story.

___

This story has been corrected to show that it was Rose who was fired on Tuesday.

In terror-wary NYC, security tight for Thanksgiving parade

Sand-filled sanitation trucks and police sharpshooters will mix with glittering floats and giant balloons at a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that comes in a year of terrible mass shootings and not even a month after a deadly truck attack in lower Manhattan.

New York City's mayor and police brass have repeatedly stressed that layers of security, along with hundreds of officers, will be in place for one of the nation's biggest outdoor holiday gatherings, and that visitors should not be deterred.

"We had a couple of tough months as a nation," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said. "We won't ever accept such acts of hate and cowardice as inevitable in our society."

A posting last year in an English-language magazine of the Islamic State group, which took credit for the Oct. 31 truck attack that killed eight people, mentioned the Thanksgiving parade as "an excellent target." Authorities say there is no confirmation of a credible threat.

"I want to assure the people that we swore to protect that anytime something happens anywhere in the world, the NYPD works with our law enforcement partners and studies it and we learn from it and it informs our decision making going forward," O'Neill said.

This year's security plan includes dozens of city sanitation trucks, which weigh about 16 tons empty and up to twice that with sand, that will be lined up as imposing barriers to traffic at every cross street along the 2 ½-mile parade route stretching from Central Park to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street.

In addition, officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors will walk among the crowds, and sharpshooters on rooftops will scan building windows and balconies for anything unusual.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that security at the parade increases every year "because we understand we are dealing with a very challenging world." He told crowds gathered to watch the parade's giant balloons being inflated that "the amount of resources and personnel we put in has increased each year to make us safer."

New York officials also are asking the tens of thousands of spectators to be alert for anything suspicious.

"There will be a cop on every block," said NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan. "Go to that cop and say something."

The 91st annual parade begins at 9 a.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC. Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Flo Rida and Wyclef Jean will be among the stars celebrating, along with performances from the casts of Broadway's "Anastasia," ''Dear Evan Hansen" and "SpongeBob SquarePants."

New balloons added this year include Dr. Seuss' Grinch, Olaf from the smash movie "Frozen," and a puppy called Chase from Nickelodeon's "Paw Patrol."

Beyond the pageantry, police say they have been working on security for the parade since the moment last year's parade ended. It's a plan that got renewed attention after a terror attack in lower Manhattan Oct. 31, when a man in a rented truck barreled onto a crowded bike path near the World Trade Center, killing eight people.

Authorities said the 29-year-old suspect operated from a playbook put out by the Islamic State group. Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, was charged with federal terrorism offenses that could qualify him for the death penalty. According to a criminal complaint, he made statements about his allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Police also are mindful of the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas in which a high-stakes gambler and real estate investor unleashed gunfire on country music concert-goers, killing 58 and leaving hundreds injured.

The first major New York event since the bike path attack — the New York marathon, which drew tens of thousands of spectators and 50,000 runners from around the world — went off with no problems.

"We said right away New York's response is to remain strong and resilient," de Blasio said. "We do not back down in the face of terror threats. The city is filled with resolve."

Erykah Badu offers 'soul therapy' ahead of Soul Train Awards

There's no question that Erykah Badu is the soul hostess. On Sunday, she'll host the Soul Train Awards on BET. But earlier this week, she was the soulful host who invited a small group of reporters to a West Hollywood hotel suite for an introductory lesson on chakras.

Badu transformed a room at Le Parc Suite Hotel into an intimate spiritual classroom Monday night for what she described as a "soul therapy" session. Illuminated by candlelight, Badu told her dozen guests about the Eastern concept of chakras — whirling energy centers that stretch from the base of the spine to the crown of the head — and how they respond to music, color and personal development.

Promotional events for awards shows are not usually like this. The show itself was never even mentioned.

Instead, the singer-songwriter engaged the group in a discussion about creativity, opened up about her heroes and revealed that she uses chakra-stimulating sounds in her music. "Baduizm," her groundbreaking and Grammy-winning 1997 debut, is built around the vibrations of tuning forks and singing bowls, she said. She layered theremin sounds under later recordings.

"I never share any of these kinds of things, that I use tuning forks and singing bowls," Badu said. "I didn't know how necessary that was to tell people. And it's kind of weird to tell people something like that. But we're entering this age of information where people are more open to this kind of thing... so it's a good time to share something like this."

With bells on her ankles, a pile of medallions and crystals around her neck and a stack of colored markers in her hand, Badu explained the seven chakras by diagramming them on a piece of poster board.

Each chakra corresponds with a color of the rainbow, she said, drawing a red circle for the "root chakra" and continuing with spirals in orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple (her favorite color, she noted). Each chakra is also associated with a musical note or vibration, a set of bodily organs and a basic human characteristic, such as creativity, desire or self-discipline, she said.

Badu said she travels with a set of tuning forks, which she pulled from a backpack shaped like an African mask. She clacked one of the forks against a crystal hanging from her neck and held it by each guest's ear so they could experience its vibration — in the key of F, for the heart chakra.

When the chakra lesson was done, Badu told the group she always considered herself a writer first. She composed her first song at age 7 after her grandmother bought her a piano, and started writing raps and other poetry before becoming a singer.

Asked what song she wishes she had written, Badu said Joni Mitchell's "Blue."

"Joni Mitchell is one of my heroes," she said, adding that they've yet to meet. "She's very responsible for a lot of my honesty and bravery in music."

Before saying goodnight, Badu offered a last bit of chakra knowledge, explaining how they can be used to interpret body language. Hands on hips, for example, could indicate sexual attraction, since the chakra that governs that energy is based in the lower abdomen.

Such insights help generate compassion for others, she said, and provide a great deal of amusement.

"Once you kind of know these little things and have these little tools, the world becomes a private joke between you and God," she said. "Some of it just tickles you. But it's beautiful just how everything connects."

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

Disney star Jordan Fisher wins 'Dancing with the Stars'

Disney Channel star Jordan Fisher has been crowned the winner of "Dancing with the Stars" alongside partner Lindsay Arnold.

Fisher beat out violinist Lindsey Stirling and actor Frankie Muniz for the Mirrorball Trophy on the season 25 finale of the ABC reality competition Tuesday.

Fisher paid tribute to Arnold on Twitter after the announcement, writing: "There aren't words to describe the feeling of going through BATTLE with my SISTER. Putting in all the time and effort and energy for 12 weeks, then to be rewarded for it after having the most incredible time?! Unbelievable."

Fisher has starred in several Disney Channel series and films. He has also appeared on Broadway in "Hamilton."

This is the first 'Dancing with the Stars' title for Arnold.

Donor found for toddler born without kidneys; Tyler Perry buys mother car

A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was given a car on Tuesday — hours before a kidney donor was found.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Toddler’s kidney transplant stalled due to dad’s latest arrest

Carmellia Burgess of Gwinnett County brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29. 

The family expected to wait for the news that his father, Anthony Dickerson, would be permitted to donate a kidney after a battle with the transplant team over his criminal history.

>> On AJC.com: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant

AJ battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she posted on Facebook.

That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gave Burgess a new car.

>> See her Facebook post here

The family later learned a deceased donor kidney will be given to AJ on Wednesday, attorney Mawuli Davis said.

>> Read more trending news 

“Father and mother are there excited and are being supported by Mr. Dickerson’s mentor, David Manuel, and Pastor Derrick Rice from Sankofa Church.

Who won 'Dancing With the Stars' season 25?

Congratulations are in order for Jordan Fisher and pro Lindsay Arnold.

On Tuesday night, “Dancing With the Stars” season 25 wrapped up in a two-part finale that left the audience and viewers at home on the edge of their seats.

Fisher and Arnold were big fan favorites and front-runners for most of the season after receiving five perfect scores from the judges through the semi-finals. Both Fisher and Arnold nursed injuries this season but performed through the pain on more than one occasion to bring home the Mirror Ball. Fisher suffered a scratched cornea going into the semi-finals while Arnold performed through a knee injury sustained early on in the season.

>> Read more trending news 

Their injuries didn’t keep them down and, on Tuesday night, they were crowned the season 25 champs. This is Arnold’s first Mirror Ball win as a pro even though she made it to the final three during three other seasons. This is a huge win for her! The “Hamilton” star is no stranger to getting onstage but winning the competition was a huge achievement for him!

Fans on social media reacted to the big news after following along for two nights. While it seemed they were split on which of the final three couples they wanted to win, many were ecstatic for champions Fisher and Arnold:

Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky dies at 55

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Russian baritone known for his velvety voice, dashing looks and shock of flowing white hair, died Wednesday at a hospice near his home in London, a few years after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was 55.

Called "the Elvis of opera" and the "Siberian Express" by some, Hvorostovsky announced in June 2015 that he had been diagnosed with the tumor. He returned to New York's Metropolitan Opera three months later to sing the Count di Luna in Verdi's "Il Trovatore" and was greeted with a loud and lengthy ovation that caused him to break character. Musicians in the orchestra threw white roses during the curtain calls.

Despite his illness, he sang in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" at London's Royal Opera that December, in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" and "Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball)" at the Vienna State Opera the following spring and gave his final four staged opera performances as Giorgio Germont in Verdi's "La Traviata" in Vienna, the last on Nov. 29 last year. He announced the following month that balance issues had caused him to cancel future opera appearances.

"Dima was a truly exceptional artist — a great recitalist as well as a great opera singer, which is rare," said soprano Renee Fleming, who teamed with Hvorostovsky for a memorable run of "Onegin" among their many performances. "His timbre, musicality, musicianship, technique, and especially his capacity for endless phrases, were second to none. I have no doubt that he would have sung beautifully for another 20 years or more, had he not been taken from us. I can't hear Eugene Onegin, Valentin in Faust or Simon Boccanegra without longing to hear Dmitri. He brought an innate nobility and intense commitment to every role."

Hvorostovsky made a dramatic unscheduled appearance at the Met last May for a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the company's move to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Walking stiffly, looking thin and with his cheekbones more pronounced, Hvorostovsky received a standing ovation and lit into Rigoletto's second-act aria "Cortigiani, vil razza dannata (Courtiers, vile cursed kind)." Some in the audience had tears in their eyes, and many pulled cellphones from their glittering handbags to snap photos as he walked through the lobby during intermission.

His last public concerts were on June 22 and June 23 at the Grafenegg Festival in Austria. In September, he was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland by Russia President Vladimir Putin for contributions to the nation's art and culture.

"Words cannot express my anguish that one of the greatest voices of our time has been silenced," tenor Placido Domingo said. "Dmitri's incomparably beautiful voice and peerless artistry touched the souls of millions of music lovers. His passing will be mourned by his countless admirers around the world and by those of us who were fortunate to know him."

The Met dedicated Friday's performance of Verdi's Requiem to Hvorostovsky.

"One of opera's all-time greats, truly an artist for the ages," Met General Manager Peter Gelb said. "In addition to his astounding vocal gifts, he had an electrifying stage presence and a charisma that won over both his adoring audiences and his devoted colleagues."

The Vienna State Opera scheduled a minute of silence before Wednesday's performance of Strauss' "Salome."

"I especially admire the wonderful way in which he carried himself during this terrible illness," Vienna State Opera Director Dominique Meyer said. "Dima leaves a great void behind. He will stay in our memories as an exceptional artist who always gave a hundred percent."

Hvorostovsky was born on Oct. 16, 1962, and grew up in Krasnoyarsk, in central Siberia. He started piano lessons when he was 7, only for his first piano teacher to tell him he was untalented. At Krasnoyarsk Pedagogical School and Krasnoyarsk High School of Arts, he thrived in music, boxing and soccer. "Apart from this, I was the worst pupil in school," he said with a straight face.

He became a soloist at the Krasnoyarsk Opera in 1986, won the Russian Glinka National Competition, then attracted attention by winning vocal contests at Toulouse, France, in 1988 and then Cardiff in 1989 — where he beat out Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel for the top prize.

With long hair that turned prematurely silver before he was 35 and then polar bear white, he was instantly recognizable. Hvorostovky's public musical persona started with a rock 'n' roll band, when he was a teen-age rebel under communism.

"Ah! Freedom! So what could I do?" he remembered in a 1998 interview with The Associated Press. "I had a few options — to become a street fighter, or I could become a hero in front of my girlfriends."

He made his Royal Opera debut in 1992 as Riccardo in Bellini's "I Puritani" and his Met debut in 1995 as Prince Yeletsky in Tchaikovsky's "Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades)." He was lauded around the world for definitive performances as Onegin and also celebrated for the title role in Mozart's "Don Giovanni," Valentin in Gounod's "Faust" and Belcore in Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love)."

"The sheer beauty of his voice and his matinee-idol good looks made him a favorite with any audience," Royal Opera music director Antonio Pappano said. "The joy with which he approached performing was unique."

Hvorostovsky is survived by his wife Florence Hvorostovsky, their son, Maxim, and daughter, Nina, and twins Alexandra and Daniel from his first marriage, to Svetlana Hvorostovsky.

___

Associated Press Writer Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

David Cassidy: A rocking romancer to millions of young fans

David Cassidy could sell the heck out of uncertainty.

"I Think I Love You," the smash hit that in 1970 launched the Partridge Family musical group plus the ABC comedy-with-songs show of the same name, found Cassidy center stage delivering such lyrics as "I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of?/ I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for."

There was no doubt: At 20, Cassidy was the radiant man-boy to help usher young girls (and young boys, for that matter) into the untold mysteries of pubescence, adolescence, romance and rock 'n' roll.

For all that, millions knew they loved him.

Within a few years, those legions of fans would outgrow him, just as Cassidy would outgrow himself, or, at least, what had made him a superstar. His cherubic looks would fade along with his popularity; his laddish proto-Farrah-Fawcett shag would thin. It needn't have shocked him or anybody else; the odds of sustaining that white-hot level of success were no less great than for his having been ignited as a star in the first place. Lightning seldom strikes even once, much less twice.

Cassidy, 67, who announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with dementia, died Tuesday surrounded by his family. No further details were immediately available, but publicist JoAnn Geffen said on Saturday that Cassidy was in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hospital suffering from organ failure.

"The Partridge Family" aired from 1970-74 and was intended at first as a vehicle for Shirley Jones, the Oscar-winning actress and Cassidy's stepmother. Jones played Shirley Partridge, a widow with five children with whom she forms a popular act that travels on a psychedelic bus. The cast also featured Cassidy as eldest son and family heartthrob Keith Partridge; Susan Dey, later of "L.A. Law" fame, as sibling Laurie Partridge and Danny Bonaduce as sibling Danny Partridge.

"The Partridge Family" never cracked the top 10 in TV ratings, but the recordings under their name, mostly featuring Cassidy, Jones and session players, produced real-life musical hits and made Cassidy a real-life musical superstar. "I Think I Love You" was the Partridges' best-known song, spending three weeks on top of the Billboard chart at a time when other hit singles included James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "The Tears of a Clown." The group also reached the top 10 with "I'll Meet You Halfway" and "Doesn't Somebody Want to be Wanted," and Cassidy had a solo hit with "Cherish."

"In two years, David Cassidy has swept hurricane-like into the pre-pubescent lives of millions of American girls," Rolling Stone magazine noted in 1972. "Leaving: six and a half million long-playing albums and singles; 44 television programs; David Cassidy lunch boxes; David Cassidy bubble gum; David Cassidy coloring books and David Cassidy pens; not to mention several millions of teen magazines, wall stickers, love beads, posters and photo albums."

Cassidy's appeal faded after the show went off the air, although he continued to tour, record and act over the next 40 years, his albums including "Romance" and the awkwardly titled "Didn't You Used To Be?" He had a hit with "I Write the Songs" before Barry Manilow's chart-topping version and success overseas with "The Last Kiss," featuring backing vocals from Cassidy admirer George Michael. He made occasional stage and television appearances, including an Emmy-nominated performance on "Police Story."

Even while "The Partridge Family" was still in primetime, Cassidy worried that he was being mistaken for the wholesome character he played. He posed naked for Rolling Stone in 1972, when he confided that he had dropped acid as a teenager and smoked pot in front of the magazine's reporter as he watched an episode of "The Partridge Family" and mocked his own acting.

Cassidy would endure personal and financial troubles. He was married and divorced three times, battled alcoholism, was arrested for drunk driving and in 2015 filed for bankruptcy. Cassidy had two children, musician Beau Cassidy and actress Katie Cassidy, with whom he acknowledged having a distant relationship.

"I wasn't her father. I was her biological father but I didn't raise her," he told People magazine in 2017. "She has a completely different life."

Cassidy himself was estranged from his father. Born in New York City in 1950, he was the son of actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward and half brother of entertainer Shaun Cassidy. David Cassidy's parents split up when he was 5 and he would long express regret about Jack Cassidy, who soon married Shirley Jones, being mostly absent from his life. David Cassidy stayed with his mother and by the early 1960s had moved to Los Angeles.

Kicked out of high school for truancy, David Cassidy dreamed of becoming an actor and had made appearances on "Bonanza," ''Ironside" and other programs before producers at ABC asked him to audition for "The Partridge Family," unaware that he could sing and intending at first to have him mime songs to someone else's voice. Cassidy, who only learned during tryouts that Jones would play his mother, worried that Keith Partridge would be a "real comedown" from his previous roles.

"I mean, how much could an actor do with a line like, 'Hi, Mom, I'm home from school,' or 'Please pass the milk?'" he wrote in his memoir. "I didn't see how it could do much for me. After all, I wasn't the star of it. Shirley had top billing; I was just one of the kids."

Of course, that wasn't how it worked out.

In the show's musical numbers, he was placed front and center, upstaging Jones, an actress whose beauty and crystalline vocals had graced the movie musicals "Carousel," ''Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music." Her voice was buried in the chorus of the other lesser "Partridges."

And while Dey, who was 17 when "The Partridge Family" debuted, soon won a rapt following among the show's boy viewers, she, too, was eclipsed by Cassidy.

It was he who could sell the chaste romanticism of "I woke up this mornin,'/ Went to sleep with you on my mind." For a glorious instant, he made mysteries clearer in the minds of his millions of fans.

___

AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report.

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