Travis ScottFires Back at Astroworld Victim Attorney ...I Was Trying to Keep Fans Safe at Coney Show!!!

UPDATE

8:53 AM PT -- A rep for Travis tells TMZ, "This is the despicable, cynical height of hypocrisy. It’s beyond disappointing to see that - in a desperate bid to influence potential jurors – plaintiffs’ legal team is criticizing Travis for pausing Monday’s Coney Island show to ensure that fans can have fun safely. This is exactly the wrong message to send to fans - and to artists. And it completely ignores the fact that Travis also stopped his performance at Astroworld three different times.”

Travis Scott stopping a concert for a rowdy crowd is backfiring -- 'cause the family of one of the Astroworld victims thinks it shows him picking and choosing when he puts fan safety first.

Alex Hilliard, an attorney representing Ezra Blount's family, tells TMZ ... Scott's actions at the July 4 Coney Island show don't prove the rapper is compassionate and willing to keep order. If anything, it depicts the exact opposite ... at least according to the lawyer.

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CROWD CONTROL
TMZ.com

Hillard says, "He knows exactly how to keep his fans safe during a concert, but the problem with that is he didn't just learn about the fact that he has control over the entire crowd."

His implication is Travis has known he wields this power all along, including at Astroworld, but simply refused to exercise it to settle things down. Travis has denied that.

Hillard goes on -- "There are 10 people that would still be alive today, including young Ezra Blount, if Travis realized his responsibility as an artist goes further than just trying to rile up his crowds, and it reemphasizes the rule of 'if you see something say something.'"

In the immediate aftermath of the Coney Island performance, one of Travis's reps came out and said ... "Travis is committed to doing his part to ensure events are as safe as possible so that fans can have fun," adding that he encouraged fans to listen to security so everyone could be safe and enjoy themselves.

It might leave TS feeling like he's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't -- but Hillard just isn't buying the compassionate Trav version of events.

He hits back rather fiercely ... telling us, "The problem Mr. Scott has is his when we call him to the stand to swear him in and cross-examine him the judge will not allow his paid spokesperson to sit in the witness chair and answer questions for him."

As you know ... Travis is still tied to several lawsuits that have accused him of being liable for the deaths at Astroworld Fest. All that litigation is still working its way through the courts, and he has yet to be dropped from any of those suits ... despite having asked.

Kirk FranklinMy Take on R. Kelly Debate ...Hard to 'Separate Artist from the Art'

WITH GREAT POWER ...
TMZ.com

Fans of R. Kelly's music are torn on how to handle the disgraced singer's catalog of hits, now that he's doing 30 years for sex crimes -- but maybe Kirk Franklin can provide some guidance.

We put the issue to the gospel music pioneer in NYC. Seeing as how he recorded with Kelly back in 1998, and he knows a thing or two about being persecuted in the spotlight ... he's a perfect person to weigh in.

The gospel Grammy magnet is currently promoting his social justice reform-themed album, "Kingdom Book One" w/ Maverick City Music, and didn't deny cancel culture is a slippery slope because we all make mistakes.

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Still, he says it can be "difficult to separate an artist from the art," and, therefore, performers have a responsibility to uphold the trust of their fans.

As we reported, Kelly is currently off suicide watch in prison, and if he's at all interested in forgiveness from fans ... it's gonna take a lot of work, according to Kirk.

He loosely quoted the Bible's book of Luke 12:48 when he told us, "To whom much is given, much is required."

GOP Candidate Jerone DavisonClaims AR-15's Necessary to Kill Klansmen ...In Violent Campaign Ad

READY FOR ANYTHING

Jerone Davison, a Republican running for Congress, is embracing assault weapons, saying there's a place for them in America ... especially when it comes to subduing members of the KKK.

It's a bizarre and disturbing political ad ... Davison leans in hard on Democrats with his hypothetical that he would need 30 rounds fired in rapid succession to protect his family.

Davison, a former Oakland Raiders running back who's running in Arizona, suggests Democrats are the ones inside the Klan hoods.

The video shows hooded Klansmen with donkey patches on their robes menacingly approaching a home where Davison is hanging out with an AR-15. He's the only one with a firearm, and when he brandishes the rifle the Klansmen turn and run.

The ad ends with a white hood floating in a pool ... and in a social media post promoting the spot, Davison says, "Make Rifles Great Again 💪🏽."

Davison posted the ad Wednesday, just 2 days after an assault rifle was used in a mass shooting at an Independence Day parade.

Baker MayfieldTraded To Panthers... After Messy Breakup With Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield's time in Cleveland is officially over -- the former first overall pick is heading to the Carolina Panthers, according to reports.

27-year-old Mayfield is being shipped to Charlotte in exchange for a 2024 conditional 5th-round pick, per Ian Rapoport.

The trade -- which is pending a physical -- comes after months of speculation ... with Mayfield penning a heartfelt goodbye to Browns fans amid Cleveland's pursuit of quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The Browns will pay $10.5 million of Mayfield's salary this season ... with the Panthers shelling out $5 million.

Mayfield joins a familiar face in the QB room -- fellow 2018 top pick Sam Darnold -- as well as rookie Matt Corral and P.J. Walker.

Mayfield played in 60 games over 4 years for the Browns ... leading the franchise to a playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021.

His most recent season was riddled with injuries ... going 6-8 with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Despite being undoubtedly the best Browns QB since the franchise's return in 1999, Mayfield previously said he felt disrespected by the organization as they traded for Watson, whose NFL future remains uncertain amid claims of sexual misconduct by multiple massage therapists.

The best part about the trade -- Baker's Panthers will face off against the Browns in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season.

Getcha popcorn ready.

AirbnbGuests Sue Host Over Hidden CamsYou Recorded Us Banging!!!

UPDATE

5:40 PM PT -- A spokesperson for Airbnb tells TMZ … the company strictly prohibits hidden cameras and they immediately removed the host and the property from their network after learning about the accusations.

UPDATE

Airbnb says their law enforcement operations team is working to support local police investigating the incident.

Hidden cameras in Airbnbs is a hot-button issue lately, but apparently, they're nothing new -- at least according to two renters, who say they were illegally taped by their host.

A couple is suing the host of an Airbnb rental property in Maine, claiming the guy installed a secret recording device in the main bedroom of an apartment they stayed in back in 2020 ... which they worry was rolling during hanky-panky!

In legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Kayla DeCristofaro and Ian Kelly say they rented a pad from a guy named Peter Madden around mid-September in Westbrook, ME ... only to later learn the guy was later charged with seven counts of violating privacy using an inside device.

The couple claims they had no knowledge of this at the time ... not suspecting anything was amiss and carrying on with their stay like normal -- including getting busy in the bedroom, among other intimate moments in which they were undressed and/or having private convos.

Welp, about a month later ... DeCristofaro and Kelly allege they were contacted by the local police, which they say informed them that Madden had a camera hidden in a clock radio in the bedroom ... with a full view of the bed, and which was apparently filming.

The pair say they were never told about any cameras from either Madden or Airbnb, and insist they had a reasonable expectation to privacy in the home. They're suing Madden for violation of privacy and emotional distress.

Of course, this has echoes of a woman who just last month alleged there were not-so-secret cameras littered throughout a Philly Airbnb rental -- but the company shut her down, saying there was no truth to the matter ... a conclusion they say was reached by the authorities.

Originally Published -- 10:32 AM PT

Michael Jackson3 Songs Pulled From Streaming ...Debate Rages Over Legitimacy of MJ Vocals

Is it Michael or a Michael imposter? That ongoing debate about 3 of Michael Jackson's posthumously released songs is behind the sudden disappearance of the tracks from major streaming services.

The songs -- "Monster," "Keep Your Head Up" and "Breaking News" -- were all on the "Michael" album, released in 2010 ... the year after Jackson's death. But, ever since they came out some fans, and even Michael's family members, have questioned whether they feature legit MJ vocals.

The songs vanished from Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal streaming services last week, which many fans saw as confirmation that's not really MJ singing on them -- however, a rep for the official MJ website says that's not exactly the case.

The rep confirms the songs "are no longer being made available by Sony Music for purchase or streaming but I should point out that the removal of these three songs has nothing to do with their authenticity. The Estate and Sony Music believe the continuing conversation about the tracks is distracting the fan community and casual Michael Jackson listeners from focusing their attention where it should be -- on Michael’s legendary and deep music catalog."

One fan who probably isn't buying that explanation is Vera Serova, who filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Sony Music, the Jackson Estate and the producers of the songs of lying to consumers. She lost the case in 2018, but is now appealing to California's Supreme Court.

The Estate tells TMZ ... taking down the songs was "the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all." Instead, the Estate wants fans to focus on the Tony-winning Broadway production, "MJ: The Musical" and other projects celebrating his catalog. The rep added, "Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks."

For what it's worth, Michael's mother, sisterLa Toya and his kids, Paris and Prince ... have all questioned the legitimacy of the vocals on the tracks.

Warren JeffsIn Protective Custody For Over A Decade ...In Cell 22 Hours A Day

Warren Jeffs, the subject of a popular new Netflix documentary -- "Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey" -- has been closely watched for his own protection for the past decade while locked away, TMZ has learned.

A rep for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice tells TMZ ... Warren has been in protective custody since he arrived at the Louis C. Powledge Unit in Anderson County back in 2011.

The area is designed to provide the ultimate protection for inmates ... he stays in his cell for 22 hours each day ... even his meals are brought to him. He's given some rec time, but isn't allowed to interact with other inmates.

An inmate is placed in protective custody when there's been a serious, direct or proven threat to their safety. The circumstances surrounding his confinement have not been made public.

As we reported, Warren took his new mug shot Thursday ... as his Netflix doc continues to do big numbers. The series examines his controversial church ... where polygamy reigned supreme.

Warren reportedly had 78 wives when he was arrested back in 2006. He was later found guilty of sexual assault on a minor and aggravated sexual assault against a child and is serving a life sentence.

Pope FrancisAbortion is Like 'Hiring a Hitman'

Pope Francis is strongly in support of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, comparing abortion to "hiring a hitman to solve a problem."

The Pope reiterated the position of the Catholic Church ... that life begins at conception.

He spoke from his residence at the Vatican ... "I ask, is it legitimate? Is it right to eliminate a human life to resolve a problem?"

Then the 85-year-old Pontiff was asked about a hot topic in the Church -- whether someone, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is pro-choice should be allowed to get communion. FYI ... Pelosi was denied communion by the archbishop in San Francisco where she lives, although she received the sacrament at the Vatican last week.

The Pope's response, "When the Church loses its pastoral nature, when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, it causes a political problem. That's all I can say."

Abortion BanSo. Dakota Gov. Grilled Over 10-Year-Old Pregnant Rape Victim

STRAIGHT ANSWER, PLEASE
CNN

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem did her best to deflect how she and her state would handle the case of a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped.

Gov. Noem appeared on CNN Sunday and discussed her state's anti-abortion law, which prohibits such procedures except to save the life of the mother.

The Governor immediately tried to change the subject and talk about how a monster could do such a thing and how people like him needed accountability. CNN's Dana Bash pressed her to get back on topic, and the Governor danced around the subject.

The 10-year-old lives in Ohio, and was 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant ... 3 days too late to get an abortion in that state. She reportedly traveled to Indiana for the procedure.

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SUPREME PROTESTS
TMZ.com

Bash couldn't pin the Governor down ... she asked, "Because [the] trigger law [in South Dakota] was passed before you became governor, I wanted you to be clear: Will the state of South Dakota going forward force a 10-year-old in that very same situation to have a baby?"

Noem's answer ...  "You know what I think is incredible, Dana, in this tragic story? What’s incredible is that nobody’s talking about the pervert, the horrible and deranged individual, that raped a 10-year-old. What are we doing about those individuals that do this to these children?​"

She added ... "Every single life — every single life is precious."

It seems the Governor is saying the little girl should be forced to give birth ... "What I would say is, I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy. And so there’s more that we have got to do to make sure that we really are living a life that says every life is precious, especially innocent lives that have been shattered, like that 10-year-old girl."

South Dakota is one of a number of states that is either severely restricting or altogether banning abortions in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

D.L. HUGHLEYTrump 'Should Go To Jail' For Jan. 6th... Only Path To Justice!!!

TOSS HIM IN JAIL
TMZ.com

D.L. Hughley says Donald Trump belongs behind bars for his role in the insurrection ... strongly believing any lesser outcome signals the end of justice as we know it.

We got the comedian/social activist at LAX and asked about the January 6th hearings, including shocking recent testimony about Trump's actions on that fateful day.

D.L. says he's already seen enough evidence to conclude Trump committed sedition ... and he says if the Department of Justice does NOT indict Trump and everyone else who was involved, the idea of justice in America is dead.

HANDS ON HIS NECK
Fox News

The way D.L. sees it ... Trump weaponized the mob that stormed the Capitol and he was also behind the fake electors' scheme, committing the very election fraud Trump wouldn't shut up about.

D.L. says the hearings show the insurrection was way worse than Watergate ... and he says the reluctance of Trump and his defenders to go under oath speaks volumes.

TRUMP WANTED WEAPONS
Fox News

We also asked D.L. if he had a message for Cassidy Hutchinson -- the right-hand person to Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows -- who gave the committee the most dirt on Trump so far. It's safe to say ... D.L. isn't putting her on a pedestal.

Canelo AlvarezGGG's An 'A**hole'... I'm Knockin' Him Out!!!

ENDING IT EARLY
TMZ.com

It's clear Canelo Alvarez doesn't like Gennady Golovkin ... 'cause the boxing star tells TMZ Sports GGG is a straight-up "a**hole" who talks too much -- and he's planning to KO the guy because of it.

"He's a f***ing a**hole," Canelo said of his upcoming September opponent. "He's not honest. He pretends to be a good person and be different but he's not."

Canelo says his opinion of Golovkin basically boils down to this -- he believes the 42-1-1 boxer is just flat-out two-faced.

"He talks a lot of s*** about me," Alvarez said. "He'll say, 'I respect him, his career.' And, other part, 'He's an embarrassing boxer, he's embarrassing for Mexican boxing.'"

"I hate that motherf***er because of that."

NOT READY TO RETIRE
TMZSports.com

Earlier this week, GGG told us he knew Canelo felt that way about him ... but he believed it was because the 57-2-2 fighter can't handle his honesty.

The beef will all be settled on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas when the two square off for the third time in their careers ... and, according to Canelo, he'll get the last laugh.

"My goal is to end this fight before the 12 rounds," Canelo said.

After that, Canelo said he'd like a rematch with Dmitry Bivol -- the only boxer he's ever lost to outside of Floyd Mayweather.

"I'm 100% focused on this fight [with Golovkin] because it's a dangerous fight," Canelo said, "but 100% looking for a second fight with Bivol."

September can't come soon enough!

Chicago CopPins 14-Yr-Old Boy to Ground with Knee ...Claims He Stole Son's Bike

PINNED TO THE GROUND
TMZ.com

A man claiming to be an off-duty Chicago PD officer pinned a 14-year-old boy to the ground with his knee after accusing him of stealing his own son's bike -- and the whole thing was caught on video.

The boy's parents tell TMZ the incident happened Friday at a Starbucks in Park Ridge, IL -- just outside of Chicago. They say their son, who is Puerto Rican and an honor student, athlete and member of the local church was at the coffee spot with a group of friends and saw an abandoned bike laying on the sidewalk.

We're told the boy -- who also had his own bike with him -- attempted to move the abandoned bike out of the way ... and that's when the alleged off-duty officer pounced.

The parents tell us the man grabbed the boy by the wrist, slammed him to the ground and pinned him with his knee -- accusing the 14-year-old of having stolen the bike from his son.

We're told the man's son's bike had allegedly recently been stolen from a nearby location.

You can see in the video, the situation is tense, with the other teens coming to their friend's defense ... eventually pulling him away from the man.

A spokesperson for the Park Ridge PD tells us the man told their officers, who responded to the scene, that he was an off-duty Chicago Police officer. We spoke to a rep for The Chicago Police Department who tells us they're conducting an internal investigation into the situation.

The 14-year-old's parents are pissed -- pointing out their son was the only kid in the group who was of a different ethnicity ... and have plans to file a formal complaint in the near future.

Park Ridge is currently investigating the incident ... and tell us at this time, no arrests have been made.

Jayland Walker ShootingAkron Police Release VideoCar Chase Leads to Being Hit>60 Times

FATAL SHOOTING

Jayland Walker was shot and killed by cops in Ohio last week -- and video of the incident was just released ... confirming accounts that he'd been hit by dozens of bullets.

The 25-year-old was pursued in a police chase early Monday morning in Akron, where officers attempted to pull him over, citing a traffic violation. Walker didn't stop and led cops on a bit of a lengthy chase through the city, with multiple units being called in to help.

Akron Police says officers heard a gunshot ring out from Walker's vehicle as they followed him -- and they claim surveillance video from the area shows a muzzle flash coming from inside his car, leading officers to believe he was armed ... which they announced to dispatch.

Eventually, Walker stopped and fled by foot with a ski mask on ... with officers telling him to halt and surrender. They say they tried using Tasers on him, but the efforts failed.

Walker continued running, but finally stopped and turned around ... at which point several officers opened fire, gunning him down. In the end, the ME says he was hit at least 60 times.

Cops say they tried life-saving measures when they stopped firing -- but Walker died on the scene. Ultimately, he was found to be unarmed there on the ground ... but cops say they discovered a handgun and a loaded magazine in his vehicle upon a subsequent search.

8 officers who were involved in the shooting have been on administrative leave pending an investigation. Protests have taken place in Akron for about a week, crying foul over his killing. On top of an internal probe over this, the DOJ says it's looking into it as well.

The city of Akron canceled its 4th of July firework show this weekend in the wake of the shooting. LeBron James -- who's famously from Akron -- tweeted Sunday, "I pray for my city."

One of the elements of this story that has outraged the community and beyond is how Walker was found after he'd been shot. Reports say when the ME arrived, he was found lying on his back in handcuffs ... with wounds on his face, abdomen and upper legs.

Some are calling his death an outright execution, and many in Hollywood have echoed those sentiments.

Amber HeardToss This Verdict, Judge ...BS Evidence & Fake Juror!!!

Amber Heard wants a do-over in court, demanding a judge toss the verdict against her in the Johnny Depp defamation trial ... because of shoddy evidence and an alleged fake juror.

The actress's lawyers filed new docs this week in VA, asking the judge to either set aside the verdict in favor of JD entirely, dismiss the complaint or order a new trial. Take your pick!

The reasons they lay out are many, but essentially fall into 3 categories -- one, she argues there wasn't sufficient evidence presented on Johnny's side to convince a jury that her words had hurt his career/cost him roles ... and yet, they somehow decided she had anyway.

Amber's attorneys argue that Johnny's career was already on the ropes -- including within the 'Pirates' franchise -- before her op-ed in Dec. 2018, and yet ... she was found liable for that. Furthermore, AH's team claims JD and co. failed to prove she acted with actual malice in the sense that there was little to no evidence offered up showing she ever believed she hadn't been abused by him and didn't believe every word uttered or written in the op-ed.

They're also harping on the fact that Amber never named Johnny in the piece, and more importantly ... insist that the defamatory lines in question were, in fact, true on their face.

There's also this ... Amber and her team claim that one of the jurors who decided her fate may not have actually been the person summoned to court, and that the court apparently missed it by not properly vetting them. It's Juror #15, whose birth year on paper is 1945.

Amber's team says they've done a quick search on this would-be imposter -- whom they say is clearly younger than that -- and it appears this person might've been born in 1970. As a result, they want the court to investigate the matter further. If it's found they did erroneously end up on the jury ... just another reason to scrap this whole thing and start from scratch.

Mind you ... this is NOT Amber's appeal of the case -- which she's vowed to carry out, even though it would cost her a fortune she apparently doesn't have. Because of that fact, this seems to be a roundabout way to achieve the same thing, sans throwing down any dough.

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RULING IN FAVOR OF DEPP

A judge has yet to rule on her filing. Johnny's attorney, Ben Chew, said this was to be expected ... and that nothing substantive was included in her motion.

AdeleI Was 'Devastated' After Canceling Vegas Residency ...But I Did the Right Thing

Adele says she was gutted by the criticism surrounding the cancelation of her Vegas residency, but still ... she has no regrets.

Adele, you'll recall, announced back in January, just a day before her residency was supposed to open, that she was postponing it. At the time she seemed to say the problems were COVID and production-related, but stories surfaced that folks on the production team said she was impossible to please.

1/20/22
WRECKED BY COVID
@adele / Twitter

Adele has now addressed it, telling the BBC, "I definitely felt everyone's disappointment and I was devastated and I was frightened about letting them down." She went on ... "I was a shell of a person for a couple of months. I just had to wait it out and just grieve it, I guess, just grieve the shows and get over the guilt, but it was brutal."

But, then she held her ground, saying, "I thought I could pull it together and make it work and I couldn't, and I stand by that decision. I'm not going to just do a show because I have to or because people are going to be let down or because we're going to lose loads of money. I'm like, the show's not good enough.”

She said she's working on rescheduling, but it seems there have been more problems ... there were reports she tried a different venue but that apparently didn't materialize.

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CROWD CARE
Storyful

Residency aside, Adele killed in London over the weekend ... the first time she's done a live concert in 5 years, much to the delight of 65,000 fans. She stopped the show several times when a few fans had medical issues.

Ricky MartinAnonymous Person Taking Out DV TROSinger Calls BS

UPDATE

7:37 PM PT -- A rep for Ricky Martin tells TMZ ... "The allegations against Ricky Martin that lead to a protection order are completely false and fabricated. We are very confident that when the true facts come out in this matter our client Ricky Martin will be fully vindicated."

Ricky Martin has been accused of domestic violence in Puerto Rico -- although it appears the alleged victim may be someone other than his spouse ... this per several reports.

Multiple Spanish outlets that operate in PR -- including Telemundo -- reported Saturday that a protective order is in the process of being filed and executed against the pop star in a municipality near San Juan ... citing law enforcement officials who confirmed the complaint falls within their Law 54 statute, which deals with DV.

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The reports state an anonymous person -- who goes unnamed -- recently appeared before a judge in their own right to seek the TRO without going to the police first and without Ricky being present ... and the order was apparently granted based on the evidence presented.

The court reportedly scheduled a hearing on the matter between both parties for July 21.

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Some reports are saying the alleged victim is a male, while others suggest it's a female. One outlet, claiming to have seen the docs themselves, says they read in part ... "The parties were related for 7 months. They separated 2 months ago, but the petitioner does not accept the separation. He calls him frequently. In addition, the petitioner has seen him hanging around his residence on at least 3 occasions. The petitioner fears for his safety."

That certainly doesn't sound like Ricky's husband of 5 years, Jwan Yosef -- with whom Ricky shares four children. The purported order goes on to reportedly say this ... "the petitioning party demonstrated that there is a substantial possibility of immediate risk of abuse."

As a result of the order reportedly being granted, Ricky has to steer clear of this person -- including avoiding all communication -- until this can get cleared up before a judge. As of Saturday, cops in Puerto Rico told AP they had not located Ricky to serve him.

Of course, Ricky has several residences ... including property in Puerto Rico. It's interesting this is surfacing now -- days after he was sued by his ex-manager, who claimed to have knowledge of a "career-ending allegation" from which she says she helped shield him.

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Neither Ricky nor Jwan have commented on the reports. We've reached out to Ricky's reps and attorneys, so far no word back.

Originally Published -- 5:30 PM PT

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