SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s city attorney is demanding that Justin Bieber’s music publisher help determine who is responsible for sidewalk graffiti promoting the pop star’s latest album.
City attorney Dennis Herrera sent a letter to Universal Music Group on Monday, saying the graffiti appears to have been applied with spray paint that has not come off even after recent rainstorms. That contrasts with other recent sidewalk marketing campaigns that have used chalk, according to Herrera.
Herrera said public works crews have removed some of the graffiti at great expense, although he did not provide a figure. The city attorney’s office released photographs of eight instances of the graffiti and asked for Universal’s help in determining its full scope.
Emails seeking comment from representatives of Universal Music Group were not immediately returned.
The graffiti promoting Bieber’s new album, “Purpose,” has been found in Haight-Ashbury and other neighborhoods. City officials have received complaints about it, Herrera said.
“This prohibited marketing practice illegally exploits our city’s walkable neighborhoods and robust tourism, intentionally creates visual distractions that pose risks to pedestrians on busy rights of way, and irresponsibly tells our youth that likeminded lawlessness and contempt for public property are condoned and encouraged by its beneficiaries,” Herrera said in his letter.
Herrera’s office previously went after a 2010 marketing campaign that glued decals of fake $25,000 bills to city sidewalks to promote an online game. An advertising agency agreed to pay the city a $45,000 penalty for the decals.
Poet’s heirs sue ‘Big Bang Theory’ producers
NEW YORK — The heirs to a New Hampshire teacher who wrote a poem about a “soft kitty” eight decades ago said in a lawsuit Monday that TV’s “The Big Bang Theory” is violating their copyrights.
Edith Newlin’s daughters sued CBS and other media-related companies over the copyright to a song the lawsuit says has repeatedly been used on the hit sitcom.
According to the lawsuit, “The Big Bang Theory,” one of the highest-rated shows on television, used lyrics written by Newlin in the 1930s without buying the rights. The lyrics begin: “Soft kitty, warm kitty.”
“The Big Bang Theory” characters have periodically sung a lullaby involving that phrase, often to comfort theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons.
Specials drummer Bradbury dies
LONDON — The family of Specials drummer John “Brad” Bradbury has announced that he has died at the age of 62. He was for many years an integral part of the band’s unique ska and reggae sound.
The family and the band announced his death Tuesday. A family statement said he died Monday but did not provide the cause of death. A representative for the band said he died in England.
“Brad’s drumming was the powerhouse behind The Specials and it was seen as a key part to the Two Tone sound,” the family statement said. “He was much respected in the world of drumming and his style of reggae and ska was seen as genuinely groundbreaking when The Specials first hit the charts in 1979.”
The Specials’ Twitter site said: “It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to our great friend, the world’s greatest drummer, our beloved Brad. RIP.”
The band shot to popularity as part of the ska revival and found a wide following for political songs like “War Crimes” and “Free Nelson Mandela.”
Victim’s father wants Allman director in jail
SAVANNAH, Ga. — The father of a film worker killed by a train during shooting of a movie about singer Gregg Allman said Tuesday that granting the film’s director early release from a two-year jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter would send a message “that Hollywood gets a break.”
Former “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller has asked a Georgia judge to set him free less than a year after he pleaded guilty to felony charges in the February 2014 train collision. A 27-year-old camera assistant, Sarah Jones, was run over by a freight train as Miller’s crew filmed a scene on a railroad bridge without a permit from the trestle’s owner.
Miller’s attorneys say he deserves to be freed early because of good behavior as well as concerns for the 53-year-old director’s health.
Jones’ father, Richard Jones, responded with a letter to Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison asking him to deny the director’s request.
“There is a need to maintain a strong message to the film industry that those in charge of their cast and crew will be held responsible for their safety,” Jones’ father wrote in a letter dated Monday. “That such reckless disregard for safety will not be tolerated.”
Miller’s plea deal last March not only spared him from a possible 11-year-prison sentence if he was convicted by a trial jury, but it also included an agreement by prosecutors to drop criminal charges against the director’s wife and business partner, Jody Savin.
Asked by phone Tuesday what he feared the message would be if Miller won early release after serving less than half his jail term, Richard Jones said: “That Hollywood gets a break. I’m not going to say it’s a slap on the wrist. But it certainly sends a message of leniency.”
Chita Rivera injured in fall, postpones concerts
NEW YORK — Fans of Chita Rivera will have to wait a little longer to see her perform at Cafe Carlyle in 2016. The actress and singer postponed her show after being injured in a fall over the Christmas holiday.
Rivera was to appear at the legendary venue on Jan. 12-23. She will now take the stage from April 19-30 as she recovers from a pelvic stress fracture.
Rivera says in a statement: “I’m so sorry that I must postpone these dates at the Cafe Carlyle and disappoint my fans, but we will reschedule and I’ll be back!”
The two-time Tony winner and Kennedy Center honoree was last on Broadway in “The Visit” and has starred in “West Side Story,” ”Chicago,” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
Veteran Hollywood publicist Weissman dies at 90
LOS ANGELES — Murray Weissman, a veteran Hollywood publicist who worked on Oscar campaigns for such films as “Dances with Wolves” and “Shakespeare in Love” has died.
Weissman’s son-in-law and business partner, Rick Markovitz, said Weissman died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He was 90.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Weissman worked as a publicist for ABC and CBS. He moved to movies in the mid-1960s and oversaw Universal’s release of “Jaws” in 1973.
He began specializing in awards campaigns in the 1990s, representing dozens of best picture Oscar contenders along with hit shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men.”
An active member of the film and television academies, Weissman’s many clients and friends feted him last month after learning of his cancer diagnosis. Besides Markovitz, Weissman is survived by his wife, daughter, son and three grandchildren.