Posts tagged with "Stormy Daniels"

Seeing stars: Cameo, a Chicago startup that sells video shoutouts from celebrities, raises $50M for expansion

June 26, 2019

Want a shoutout from Brett Favre ($500), Gilbert Gottfried ($150), Stormy Daniels ($250), Tommy Lee ($350), Teresa Giudice ($200), or Dr. Pimple Popper ($100)?

Cameo, the Chicago-based startup that lets users buy personalized video messages from celebrities, has raised $50 million to help fuel an international expansion and further develop its app, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Most of Cameo’s shoutouts are booked through its website, CEO and Co-Founder Steven Galanis told the news outlet. The startup has been building its product development team and working toward relaunching an improved app.

 “We want to make it something super engaging, that when you’re on the ‘L’ going to work, you’re opening Cameo instead of Instagram,” he told the Tribune in an interview.

Since Cameo launched more than two years ago, the startup has drawn attention for its quick and affordable access to celebrities. Last year, it joined tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, and Airbnb on Time’s list of 50 “Genius Companies.”

But the company has not made it this far without running into some problems: In late 2018, it was reported that an account associated with an anti-Semitic group had tricked several celebrities into making Cameo videos using coded anti-Semitic language. Galanis quickly responded, calling the videos a “wake-up call.”

Cameo employs about 100 people, more than 65 of whom work out of its Windy City headquarters. Galanis said he plans to bolster the company’s international employee ranks, and wants to add European soccer players, Bollywood actors, and K-Pop artists to its celebrity roster.

Currently, the site offers video greetings from thousands of athletes and B-, C- and D-list celebrities. Consumers can pay as much as $350 to receive a greeting from rapper and TV star Ice-T, or $200 for former Chicago Bears player Mike Singletary.

This month’s round of funding brings the total amount Cameo has raised to $65 million. Galanis declined to disclose the valuation to the Tribune-however

Menlo Park, California-based investor Kleiner Perkins led the round of funding. Other investors included media and tech investor The Chernin Group, venture capital firm Spark Ventures, Bain Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Michael Avenatti says credible, new Kavanaugh witness will come forward by Thursday

September 26, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh said on Fox News on September 24 that he’s “not going anywhere,” despite the claims of at least two women that he sexually harassed one and sexually attacked the other during his college and high school days, respectively.

The declaration represents a very unusual public defense by a Supreme Court nominee of his fitness to serve, CBS News reported on September 25.

The network news organization also noted that Kavanaugh sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, proclaiming adamantly that he “would not be intimidated into withdrawing.”

However, on the same night, Michael Avenatti—the lawyer who took down “ fixer” Michael Cohen over a payoff to Stormy Daniels and, in doing so, implicated the president—appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show to say that he had more incriminating information from a very credible witness that would be released before the new round of hearings on Thursday.

Specifically, on Fox, Kavanaugh strongly denied allegations of sexual misconduct from Christine Blasey Ford—now a psychologist at Palo Alto University—who attended a “sister school” (the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland) to his own boys-only high school, Georgetown Prep.

He also refuted the accusations of one of his classmates at Yale University, Deborah Ramirez, who claimed that he had exposed himself to her after an evening of drinking games  (Today, Ramirez is a board member and volunteer at Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, an organization that helps victims of domestic violence.)

Kavanaugh insisted that he was not a rowdy teen and claimed he was a virgin during the years in question. “I was focused on academics and athletics and going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects and friendship,” Kavanaugh said.

But, CBS News said, his yearbook page repeatedly referenced drinking and in a statement, his former Yale roommate reportedly described Kavanaugh as “a notably heavy drinker” who “became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk.” The former Yale roommate James Roche admits he “did not observe” Ramirez’s account firsthand but that he believes her.

According to the CBS report, Avenatti says that he has a client who knew Kavanaugh in high school and accused him of setting up girls to be raped.

“When the American people hear from her, they will determine, as I have, that she is to be believed,” Avenatti said during a press conference Monday evening. Kavanaugh called that claim outrageous.

Avennati has not identified the accuser yet. but said that her name will be revealed within the next 48 hours. He offered some details on her background, including that she worked for the U.S. Mint, Justice Department,  and State Department.

Research contact: @nancycordes

Has Melania bolted to New York City?

May 31, 2018

The most popular member of the Trump family, Melania, seems to have hightailed it back to New York City—at least, for the summer, if not for the indefinite future— along with 12-year-old son Barron.

The 48-year-old First Lady reportedly entered Walter Reed Military Hospital on May 14 for treatment of a benign kidney condition. She is said to have been released from the medical facility on May 20, returning to the White House for a short recuperation. She did not appear at the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery with her husband and no official explanation was provided for her absence.

But now comes word from the Inquisitr that the popular anti-Trump Twitter commentator, “Tea Pain,” has reported that Melania Trump has switched the location status on her personal Twitter account to New York City. This is fueling  speculation that she has moved out of the White House.

According to the Inquisitr report, despite a recent claim by Donald Trump that his wife Melania could be seen in a White House window, the first lady has not appeared in public since May 10, when she accompanied the President to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to welcome three  who had been held captive in North Korea back to the United States.

Rumor has is that she has settled back into Trump Tower in New York City, where she had lived since her marriage to Trump in 2005.Indeed, she waited until the end of Barron’s school year in New York to move to the U.S. capital formally five months following the POTUS’s inauguration.

Following the recent surge in publicity about Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels , his wife may feel less embarrassed when she is out of the Washington spotlight.

During Melania Trump’s stay at Trump Tower in the period between January 20 and June 10 of last year, she received Secret Service security protection that Business Insider said had cost taxpayers more than $100,000 per day—a cost that would presumably now need to go back into effect if the rumor proves accurate and she actually has moved out of the White House

According to the Inquistr, earlier this month, shortly before her disappearance from public view, a separate rumor circulated in Washington, D.C., circles, claiming that Melania was not living at the White House with her husband, but instead was residing with her parents and her son in a separate residence at another location in the city. However, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that rumor as “1,000 percent false.”

Based on findings of a You.Gov poll released in January Melania Trump has an overall 48% popularity rating—higher than her husband’s, which came in at 36%; and seven percentage points up on Ivanka Trump.

Research contact: kfrankovic@yahoo.com

Giuliani disclosure dumps Trump into Cohen legal mess

May 4, 2018

Just last week, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that Americans nationwide suspected that Stormy Daniels was telling the truth about her affair with, and payoff by, President Donald Trump. Now, thanks to the POTUS’s new lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, we know it.

Specifically, the poll found, a majority of the U.S. public believed that Trump had bedded the adult film actress.  Fully 56% of respondents said they believed the two had an affair; and 51% said they believed Daniels’ allegations.

Now, in breaking news on May 3, Politico reported that, overnight, Guiliani had told the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that the POTUS had reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford), meant to keep her quiet.

That revelation may represent the final nail in the coffin for Trump’s continuing claims (and legal case) that he did not cheat on his wife or pay off Daniels in an attempt to keep the tryst(s) out of the news.

Indeed, the actress’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti on Thursday said he might send a gift basket to Fox for breaking open the story, according to MSNBC.

In response, Trump continued to deny that he or Cohen had done anything wrong. In early morning tweets, the president said “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement , a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement or NDA.

The president said that non-disclosure agreements are “very common” among celebrities and “people of wealth,” and noted that this one was invoked to stop “false and extortionist accusations.”

This follows repeated statements by the president that he knew nothing about the payment and had not reimbursed his lawyer for it.

Research contact: jyuan@politico.com

Men favor Trump more after seeing Stormy Daniels on ’60 Minutes’

April 4, 2018

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has gone up three points—from 50% to 53%—among male voters in the wake of the Stormy Daniels controversy, based on findings of a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll of 1,340 U.S. adults released on April 2.

Among women, not so much: Their support fell from 41% to 35%, in what the poll’s co-director Mark Penn labeled as the “Stormy Effect.”

Specifically, the president’s approval rating rose following allegations by the adult film star—on 60 Minutes on March 25—that she spanked Trump and had unprotected sex with him shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to the couple’s son, Barron, in 2006.

While Trump has denied the allegations made by the adult film star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, she insisted that the pair had an affair and that she had been silenced via a non-disclosure agreement and threatened by the billionaire’s team prior to his election.

Daniels has filed a lawsuit to get out of a non-disclosure agreement, claiming that it is not valid because the document was not signed by Trump.

According to Newsweek report, she also has offered to give back $130,000 in “hush money” that she was paid by Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen as part of the non-disclosure agreement.

The case has now been moved to closed arbitration, although Daniel’s lawyer has opposed the move—saying that the suit should be decided “in an open court of law owned by the people.”

Research contact: @MarkPenn

Melania Trump ditches Davos meeting

January 25, 2018

Just as President John F. Kennedy quipped, ”I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris,” during the couple’s trip abroad in 1961, current President Donald Trump might have commented about FLOTUS Melania Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. However, the First Lady—who is more popular than her husband, according to findings of a poll released on January 20 by CNN—will not be at the conference, her office says, because of “a last-minute change of plans.”

Melania Trump enjoys a 47% favorable rating, while the POTUS’s approval number stands at 40%, according to the CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

Although her office offered her regrets, the First Lady has kept an extremely low profile this month, since news surfaced that her husband’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, made a $130,000 payment to ensure the silence of adult actor Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 electionwho nonetheless took the opportunity to talk about several hook-ups with Trump.

According to a story by the UK’s Independent newspaper, “After the story broke, [Melania Trump] accompanied the president to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in [Palm Beach] Florida, but she did not attend two dinners he hosted—one [for] former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and and another with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.”

On  January 20, the first anniversary of her husband’s inauguration, she shared an image of herself with a military escort before the swearing-in ceremony. The FLOTUS said the past year had been filled with “many wonderful moments” but did not mention President Trump.

Research contact: @KateBennett_DC