05/02/2006

Cool jerk?

Costner_guitar_2

Even after a spate of unfortunate publicity, Kevin Costner couldn't resist gratifying himself in front of an audience again, during another pro-am golf tournament this past weekend.

The AP reports:

Kevin Costner confessed a little nervousness when his unnamed band gave its first performance this weekend at the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament at The Cliffs [near Greenville, SC].

"We didn't have a chance to do a sound check," Costner said. "But I didn't have a chance to check my putting either."

Costner said he wanted to perform his music as a thank-you to the volunteers and as a way to have more interaction with fans.

Fans loved it.

The concert was a "really nice addition to the tournament," said Greenville resident Frank Knecht. "It was generous on his part to do it."

Best known for his acting and directing, for which he won an Academy Award, Costner played acoustic guitar on his own rock songs after Saturday's third round of the Nationwide Tour event.

Costner, star of the golf movie "Tin Cup," is a regular at the pro-am held just outside Greenville.

"Greenville has been feeling like family for awhile now," he told the crowd Saturday night.

No word on whether the band performed their cover of the Divinyls' chart-topping  1991 hit "I Touch Myself."

UPDATE: Conspicusous by her absence at this year's tournament was Christine Baumgartner, Costner's wife—despite the fact that a promotional message on The Cliffs website explains that Mr. and Mrs. Costner are "two of the many celebrities that return every year to play The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs." Hmmm … could there be trouble in paradise after the Alexandrina Smith revelations?

UPDATE: Look who's blogging about Costner now.

Posted by Rodger on May 2, 2006 at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

03/29/2006

Enquiring minds

Costner_accused_of_hotel_sex_romp

So I'm standing in the checkout line at Safran's Supermarket, gazing absentmindedly at the cover of The National Enquirer, when it hit me.

I've just sunk to a whole new level of dubious achievement.

From speechwriter to politicians and CEOs … to gossip-sheet snitch. (And I didn't even get paid for the tip!)

Tim Miles of the Enquirer writes:

A hotel masseuse claims Kevin Costner performed a sex act on himself as she gave him a rubdown—on his honeymoon!

The pretty spa therapist says she was left "disgusted" and "mortified" by the movie legend.

After she complained to her bosses, she was fired. At an employment tribunal, where she is claiming unfair dismissal from the tony hotel, Alexandrina Smith, 34, said: "It was disgusting, and even though he was a Hollywood superstar, I couldn't believe he thought he could get away with something like that.

"He abused me and I consider that a criminal act."

Costner, 51, had married wife Christine Baumgartner only a month before the alleged incident. The honeymooners were staying at the American-owned Old Course Hotel at Scotland's world-famous St. Andrews Golf Club in October 2004, where Costner was playing in a pro-am tournament with fellow stars Michael Douglas, Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Hopper and Hugh Grant.

Alexandrina told the civil court hearing in Scotland that on the first occasion she massaged Costner, the Dances With Wolves' star touched her on the back. "The following day he came back and asked how I was," she recalled.

"Mr. Costner asked if he made me uncomfortable by touching me the day before, but I said no. I was a professional and you have to learn to live with difficult clients.

"I asked how he liked his massage and he said he liked it 'sweet.' I thought it was a strange term to describe a massage.

"He asked me if I was comfortable touching him everywhere and I said no.

"Throughout the massage, he kept putting his hand underneath his towel but never kept it there long enough for me to suspect anything. He told me he smoked pot instead of drinking alcohol because it made him more creative. while writing his film scripts."

Suddenly, Alexandrina went on, Oscar winner Costner grabbed her wrist forcefully, whipped off his towel and pleasured himself.

She added: "I was mortified, when he removed his towel. It was disgusting. I left the room but a colleague went inside and saw what had happened.

"When I was giving his wife a massage afterwards, I wanted to tell her everything."

Reps for Costner said: "We find it unfortunate that Mr. Costner's name has been brought into what is essentially a dispute between a company owned by a good friend of his and a former employee, and that it would tarnish what was a wonderful time spent at the resort with his wife."

Costner's first marriage to Cindy Silva, with whom he has three children, ended after 16 years in 1994, following his reported fling with a hula dancer on Hawaii during the shooting of Waterworld.

In point of fact, the Enquirer story adds little more than the name of the therapist (which was mentioned over the weekend on a French blog)—and a photograph of her (below)—to what we've already seen elsewhere. But there's something about those all-cap headlines ("MASSEUSE SAYS STAR DISGUSTED HER WITH SICK SEX ACT ON HIS HONEYMOON") and lurid graphics that gives the whole sordid tale its proper context.

Alexandrina_smith
As a first-time Enquirer reader, I'm very impressed with the accuracy and thoroughness of the paper's reporting (apart from the fact, of course, that Mr. Miles never bothered to call to get my take on the story).

Actually, I haven't been able to put my copy of The National Enquirer down. I've been reading all about Oprah's 32-pound weight gain (she's really stressed out over the whole James Frey mess) and Star Jones' near-fatal breast lift. This is stuff I'd never find in Vanity Fair or The New Yorker.

In fact, just signed up for a subscription and strongly urge my loyal readers to do the same.

After all, enquiring minds do want to know.

Posted by Rodger on March 29, 2006 at 04:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michael Douglas: an innocent man

Michael_douglas

This morning I found this comment from "dave" on my March 19 post, "Penalty Stroke?"

It's Michael Douglas. Catherine Zeta Jones is finally experiencing some deserved kharma

Okay, let me say it flat out: Michael Douglas isn't the Scottish spa wanker.

That was the whole point of my post and its follow-up, "Costner speculation goes mainstream."

Look, the Aussie papers have released the name on the massage therapist's complaint to the British labor authorities and have stated—flat out—that the actor in question was Kevin Costner.

And just to be clear: We don't know for certain if Kevin Costner did any of the things the complaint accuses him of. No one else appears to have been in the treatment room, so this boils down to a matter of he says/she says.

I'm inclined to believe the masseuse, however, for two reasons.

First, if she were simply making up a story about a celebrity to pocket some quick cash, I think she would have gone directly to the British tabloids rather than file a labor grievance.  I think she'll probably wind up with a settlement from Kohler, but I think she was looking to vindicate her reputation, which was sullied by her firing.

Second, I think her being fired by Natalie Black—the company's chief counsel, who also happens to be Mrs. Herb Kohler—speaks volumes about the sensitivity of the incident. A company doesn't fly in its big gun from Kohler, Wisconsin, on the corporate jet to fire an employee that far down on the totem pole without a reason. And that reason, I suspect, was to intimidate the masseuse into silence. The message was: You've offended people way above your pay grade, and you now need to slink quietly into that good night if you want to work as a massage therapist anywhere ever again.

Bear in mind, this is purely speculation on my part. We may never learn all the facts of the case.

What is known at this stage, however, is that Michael Douglas is an innocent man. At least where this particular massesuse is concerned.

Let's give him his props—okay, people?

Posted by Rodger on March 29, 2006 at 03:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

03/26/2006

Costner speculation goes mainstream

Kevin_christine_costner

WELCOME UK VISITORS!

The story I mentioned a week or so ago regarding a certain "A list" actor—whom I was the first in the blogosphere to suggest was likely Kevin Costner—is starting to pose something of a problem for the individual in question, having leaked from sites like Tim Worstall's and my own into such major gossip mills as Gawker and Defamer.

Consequently, it's now become a news story in its own right.

George Rush and Joanna Molloy's "Daily Dish" column in The New York Daily News reports:

HANDS OFF KEVIN, REP TELLS BLOGS

Kevin Costner's camp is vigorously denying that the Field of Dreams star engaged in sexual self-gratification in front of a horrified masseuse at a posh Scottish golf resort.

This week, London's Daily Mirror reported an unnamed 34-year-old massage therapist's claim that an "American A-list actor" had "dropped his towel" and performed a "'disgusting' act in front of her."

The woman, who said the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews, Scotland dismissed her after she complained about the incident, told a labor tribunal that the actor "kept putting his hand underneath his towel," and that, when she began to massage his head, he "grabbed her wrist forcefully, whipped off his towel [and] exposed himself," according to the Mirror. The paper reported that the masseuse had been tempted to tell the actor's wife, another massage client, of his alleged "abuse."

Gossip blogs, including Gawker.com, were quick to speculate that the actor was Costner. Gawker reported that the star is a friend of Herb Kohler, who owns the hotel. Costner and his wife Christine spent their honeymoon there in 2004.

But Costner's rep, Paul Bloch, told us: "We find it unfortunate that Mr. Costner's name has been brought into what is essentially a dispute between a company owned by a good friend of his and a former employee—and that it would tarnish what was a wonderful time spent at this resort with his wife."

A friend of Costner contended, "He's being set up. I think this woman's lawyer is using his name to put pressure on his friend to settle."

For what it's worth, I've heard nothing from Paul Bloch or anyone in Costner's camp.

A week ago, I sent the following email to Natalie A. Black, the Kohler Corporation's senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary (who also happens to be the wife of the company's chairman and the person who allegedly terminated the Old Course Spa's massage therapist):

It would seem that some unwelcome publicity about you and your company has somehow leaked into the British blogosphere.

I suspect it won't take long for the tabloids to start putting two and two together, and realize that, in sacking the unfortunate masseuse, you were acting to protect the star of Open Range. (Didn't I catch your husband in that picture too, by the way?)

One weblog already has already made the connection.

I would have thought that a generous cash settlement to the young lady in question would have been better advised than a termination, but—who knows?—perhaps there's still time to put matters to right.

I welcome your thoughts on the subject.

I've had no response from Mrs. Kohler either—though I must say it was generous of Paul Bloch to confirm the fact that his client is a "good friend" of the Kohler family.

No doubt the silence from the Costner and Kohler camps stems from a desire to add as little fuel to the fire as possible.

Whether that public relations strategy proves successful, only time will tell.

At least one gossip blog, however, seems satisfied by Mr. Bloch's denial.

UPDATE: This item appears on the Morning Madhouse website of the popular New Zealand radio station The Edge FM:

A hotel masseuse has been fired after she told tales on one of her celebrity clients. She claims that Kevin Costner came in for a massage and played with himself while she was rubbing him!

She said; "I asked Mr. Costner how he liked his massage. He told me he liked it 'sweet'. ‘He asked if I was comfortable touching him everywhere, and I said 'No'. Throughout the massage, he kept putting his hand under his towel. Then he forcefully grabbed my wrist, whipped off the towel, and pleasured himself". She told her boss and he fired her for being disrespectful.

Kevin Costner’s peeps deny it.

I guess the Kiwis aren't terribly worried about the "legal reasons" for which the "A-list celebrity" can't be named.

Just remember, though, you read it here first.

UPDATE: Australia's Daily Telegraph has an even more detailed account of the story, also naming Costner directly:

Star 'exposed himself'

From correspondents in Edinburgh
27-03-2006
From: The Daily Telegraph

ACTOR Kevin Costner has been forced to deny he engaged in sexual self-gratification in front of a horrified masseuse at an elite Scottish golf resort.

The masseuse, who is suing the Old Course Hotel, at St Andrews, for unfair dismissal, claims the Hollywood star performed a "disgusting" sex act in front of her while he was honeymooning there in 2004.

She says Costner dropped his towel after asking her if she would "touch him everywhere".

But Costner's spokesman, Paul Bloch, yesterday accused the woman of using the star's name to get more money out of the resort's owner, a good friend of Costner.

The 34-year-old masseuse, who alleges unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination, gave Costner two massages.

She told a tribunal that on the first occasion, the actor touched her on the back "in a blatant move" and told her he smoked cannabis because "it made him more creative".

The next day, "He asked if he had made me feel uncomfortable by touching me the day before, but I said no, I was a professional and you learn to live with difficult clients.

"I asked how he liked his massage, and he said he liked it 'sweet'.

"I thought it was a strange term to describe a massage.

"He asked me if I was comfortable touching him everywhere, and I said 'No'.

"Throughout the massage, he kept putting his hand under his towel, but never kept it there long enough for me to suspect anything."

The woman told the tribunal that as she moved to massage Costner's head, he grabbed her arm and whipped off his towel, exposing himself and performing a lewd act.

"I threw tissues at him and stormed out of the room. It was disgusting," she said.

"Even though he's a Hollywood star, I can't believe he thought he could get away with it. He abused me, and I consider that a criminal act."

The masseuse told the tribunal she had been traumatised by the incident.

Costner a secret stoner? I guess that would explain Waterworld and The Postman.

UPDATE: The HotelChatter blog unearths a fascinating 2004 article from InTouch magazine on "The Top 10 Celebrity Honeymoon Hotspots." It describes Mr. and Mrs. Costner's favorite honeymoon hotspot as—you guessed it—the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews.

"It’s a magical place,” says Kevin. “When the sun comes out, it’s really beautiful.” But he insists they didn’t spend every waking moment on the green: “Let’s just say we didn’t play golf all the time!"

(Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

The article also notes: "There’s also a spa that specializes in relaxing three-hour 'rituals.'"

But some patrons evidently perfer to enjoy their own little rituals.

Posted by Rodger on March 26, 2006 at 02:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

03/19/2006

Penalty stroke?

Kevin_costner

WELCOME UK VISITORS!

Matt Drudge links today to this bizarre story in the UK tabloid, The Mirror:

A Hollywood superstar performed a sex act on himself while enjoying a massage, a hotel worker has claimed.

The American A-list actor is said to have dropped his towel and exposed himself to the stunned masseuse.

The woman claimed he then carried out the "disgusting" act in front of her in the hotel spa.

The star—who cannot be named for legal reasons—was on a golfing holiday with his wife and staying at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, Scotland.

The masseuse, 34, told an industrial tribunal she felt "abused" by the actor's actions.

She said: "It was disgusting and, even though he was a Hollywood superstar, I couldn't believe he thought he could get away with something like that. He abused me and I considered that a criminal act.

"When I was giving his wife a massage afterwards, I wanted to tell her everything."

The woman—who is claiming unfair dismissal against Old Course Ltd—told the Dundee tribunal she had given the actor a massage the day before during which he had touched her back.

She said: "The next day he came back and asked how I was. He asked if he made me uncomfortable by touching me, but I said no, I was a professional and you have to learn to deal with difficult clients. I asked him how he liked his massage and he said he liked it sweet. I thought it a strange term to describe a massage.

"He asked me if I was comfortable touching him everywhere and I said no.

"Throughout the massage, he kept putting his hand underneath his towel but he never kept it there long enough for me to suspect anything.

"Then I moved to the top of his body to massage his head."

She told the tribunal the actor grabbed her wrist forcefully, whipped off his towel, exposed himself and performed the sex act.

The woman said she left the room but a colleague went inside and saw what had happened.

The worker claimed she was treated differently by her bosses after she complained about the alleged incident in 2004.

She said: "While before I was seen as a model worker, now they were questioning everything I did." She was sacked in August last year and is claiming sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal. The tribunal was adjourned until May.

Informed speculation in the blogosphere about the mystery superstar seems to be centering on United Nations Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas.

But just because he (a) likes to play golf at St. Andrews, especially the Dunhill Links Championship (during which the incident allegedly occurred); (b) enjoys the occasional massage "between holes"; (c) is a self-confessed sex addict; and (d) is married to a prominent actress who also like massages doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Could be any one of a zillion Hollywood superstars, right?

MORE on the story here, here, here and here.

UPDATE: Commenting on Tim Worstall's blog, "hazelnut" helpfully mentions that three other "superstar" actors attended the October 10, 2004, Dunhill Links Championship: Samuel L Jackson, Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid.

Costner and Quaid, however, were both married in 2004, the former in September, the latter in July. Jackson, on the other hand, has been married since 1980. Would a newlywed superstar actor feel the urge to, um, perform for a spa masseuse? Would someone who's cranking up on his silver wedding anniversary? Stranger things have happened in Hollywood, of course—but my money's still on Michael Douglas. [But keep reading …]

STOP THE PRESSES! This account of the incident, which appears on Jeff's All Celebrity Blog, adds some important new details to the story, which are missing from other press accounts:

After the Dunhill Links, the woman said she asked general manager Jonathan Stapleton if her job would be safe as new owner, the Kohlers, had taken over that very week and were reportedly close friends with the star. She added: "I was assured my job was safe".

She claims that in the following months she was held responsible for two small fires in the spa, even though she was not on duty at the time.

She said: "I was taken in and disciplined because the spa was supposed to be my responsibility. After the incident I was held responsible for everything and management undermined everything I did. Things became even more stained. While before I was seen as model worker, they were questioning everything I did. I was sent on a course to deal with difficult clients but it was pointless. It didn't help me mentally. I had to deal with my trauma and it put a huge strain on my marriage."

The woman said she was finally fired in August last year added: "I went on holiday and when I got back there was a letter waiting from an attorney of the Kohlers stating they wanting to arrange counselling. But the day I got the letter I was called into a conference with Mrs. Kohler and I was fired on the spot."

Of the four superstar "suspects," the only one I could find with a relationship to the Kohlers is … Kevin Costner.

Here's a story on Herb Kohler from Business Week:

Coming off the green, Kohler tells me he has played with everyone from former President George H.W. Bush to actor Kevin Costner and singer Amy Grant ….

Golf helped Kohler land a part in one of Costner's more recent films. The two met years ago at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and discovered their career paths mirrored each other's: Kohler initially studied drama at Yale University, and Costner majored in business at California State University at Fullerton. They have since played together many times. Then, three years ago, Costner telephoned Kohler out of the blue and asked if he wanted a part in his movie, Open Range. "I told Costner: 'O.K., I'll do it, but on two conditions: I want to ride a horse, and I want to kill someone."' There was a long pause before Costner replied: "Well, I'm not sure about the horse, but I guarantee you can kill someone." Indeed, Kohler, portraying a character described as Café Man in the credits, shoots a man in a pivotal scene.

Open Range, incidentally, had its premiere at the Stephanie H. Weill Theatre in Sheboygan, WI, next door to Kohler, WI, where the Kohler Company (yes, the ones who make the faucets with the "bold look") is headquartered. Its chairman is one Herbert V. Kohler, Jr. Its senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary is Mr. Kohler's second wife, Natalie A. Black (the one who allegedly fired the unfortunate masseuse).

Here's a not-particularly-good photograph of Herb Kohler and Kevin Costner arriving in a carriage at the Weill Theatre for the premiere of Open Range:

007_70

As I suggested above, Costner was staying at the Old Course while on his honeymoon with Christine Baumgartner. In fact, here's Christine's account of the trip:

We played in the Dunhill Links Championship, which was held in part on the Old Course at St. Andrews. A lot of our friends were there—Herb Kohler and a lot of people we play with at Pebble Beach. From there we traveled west to Gleneagles, and then we went to Florence. It was wonderful.

Wonderful, of course, except for the part where Kevin choked the chicken for a hapless masseuse in the Old Course Hotel spa.

Anyway, sorry about that, Michael. Guess maybe you're not the "sex addict" you used to be. As I said, stranger things have happened—and it would certainly seem they did.

UPDATE: Blogger extraordinaire Bernard Higgins, of A Certain Slant of Light, reminds me that what's been lost in the race to find the pervy actor is the fact that an unfortunate massage therapist has been sexually harrassed, lost her job and had her reputation sullied through no fault of her own. There was a time when the idea of a poor working girl wronged by some society big shot—abetted by the clout of an evil multinational corporation—would have formed the plot for one of those "message" pictures of which Hollywood claims to be so fond. In this instance, though, the "society big shot" is one of Hollywood's own—as, to some degree, is the head of the evil multinational. Maybe when the truth finally comes out, some brave independent filmmaker will use this story as a way to challenge Hollywood's hypocrisy in the manner of Wilder's Sunset Boulevard or Altman's The Player. I'm not wildly optimistic that'll happen, but it would certainly be refreshing if it did.

MORE on the Costner-Kohler connection here.

UPDATE (3/26): The Costner speculation has leaked into the MSM.

Posted by Rodger on March 19, 2006 at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

01/10/2005

The People's Choice?

Moore_peoples_choice

Yes, he won.

But two things should be noted:

  1. As Joe Gandelman points out, it was the first time the People's Choice Awards relied on online voting instead of Gallup.
  2. Every online poll in the past year—from Zogby to Wizbang's 2004 Blog Awards—has been gamed by the left.

Why should we have expected anything different this time around?

(As Kevin Aylward—who had the misfortune of running the 2004 Blog Awards—says, "by people they mean online poll cheaters.")

Posted by Rodger on January 10, 2005 at 08:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)