Newsmakers this week

Michael Sam makes history and some strange behaviour from Shia LaBeouf

Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton

Actress Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, leave the funeral of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in Manhattan.

Michael Sam

The University of Missouri football star will be a mid-round NFL draft pick in May—and now that he’s come out, he may become the first openly gay player in the league. “I am an openly proud gay man,” the defensive lineman told ESPN. NFL players were quick to announce their support. “It takes guts to do what you did,” tweeted Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins, while the Baltimore Ravens’ Deion Sanders said, “Let’s show him love.” Still at issue, though, is whether Sam will make the cut, with some analysts feeling he is too short to play the defensive end.

Shia LaBeouf

The actor is either engaging in a James Franco-like exhibition of performance art, or enduring one of the more public celebrity breakdowns in recent memory. The star of the erotic drama Nymphomaniac appeared at the film’s red-carpet Berlin premiere on Sunday with a paper bag over his head, the words “I am not famous anymore” scrawled across it. His bizarre behaviour continued at a press conference, with LaBeouf telling reporters, “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea,” before walking off the stage.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Earlier this month, the two members of Pussy Riot joined Madonna on stage at an Amnesty International benefit concert in New York. It was billed as the Russian protest group’s “?rst legal performance”—but the problem is that Masha and Nadia, as they’re called, are no longer members of the band. An open letter by the group’s six other members accused the two of forgetting the “ideals” of the collective, and called selling tickets “contradictory” to the band’s “anti-capitalist” principles.

Les Lehmann

In the early hours of Jan. 31, the Canadian apartment manager was awoken by a disturbance in his Dominican Republic complex. Mindful of his residents, a group of Manitoba high school students and teachers who’d just arrived to work with a local orphanage, Lehmann got up to check it out. What followed has Lehmann being praised as a hero: alternately wielding a hammer, baseball bat and machete, he chased off two armed thieves in a dramatic encounter that left him with nine bullet wounds (his assailants remain at large). “Les is surprised to hear people calling him a hero,” says a website set up to help pay for Lehmann’s hospital bills. “It was his natural reaction.”

Wendi Deng

Vanity Fair’s much-hyped investigation into the divorce of News Corp. titan Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng has finally arrived—and it contains more ugly accusations than an entire day’s worth of Fox News. In the exposé, Mark Seal recounts how Deng, 45, hurled “verbal abuse” at her staff, and even sent the 82-year-old Murdoch to the ER. “[Deng] got angry at [Murdoch] and shoved him, and he fell backwards into the piano in the living room,” a source told the magazine.




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