Is Kanye West losing his cool appeal? And is Kim Kardashian to blame?

Gabrielle`s Angel Foundation Hosts Angel Ball Ball 2012

 

Is it a “Kardashian kurse” or is Kanye West losing his cool all on his own? In any case, popularity problems seem to be plaguing the once untouchable rap sensation.

West’s performance this week brought just 4,500 people to the Sprint Center, a venue built for 19,000, meaning less than 24 percent of seats were occupied. He has had to cancel several other shows throughout his nationwide tour and drew criticism when he stopped a Florida concert after only three songs and demanded the lights be turned off before launching a profanity-laced rant at the tech staff and storming off the stage.

So is West’s egotistical, bizarre behavior finally taking its toll on fans?

“We are often drawn to people who have an ego and confidence that is derived from their talent. But an empty ego, based on a fake self-inflated image and concept, creates an over powering sense of desperation and superficiality,” human behavior expert Patrick Wanis told FOX411.

West has made headlines frequently lately, more due to his outlandish remarks than his trailblazing talent. We’ve heard the rapper compare himself to everyone from Jesus, Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs to Nelson Mandela, Michelangelo and Michael Jackson – and amid all that talk, he has also managed to offend much of the Jewish population.

The Anti-Defamation League is accusing West of anti-Semitism over comments he made to a Chicago radio station last month, urging him to take responsibility for saying that Obama can’t execute moves because “he ain’t got those connections. Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.”

Adding insult to injury, a new study released in November suggests that West’s connection to the Kardashian family may also be the reason for his popularity decline. Q Scores, a website marketers use to measure recognition, reported that West’s popularity has dipped a whopping 66 percent since he first started dating his reality star fiancée in April 2011, and that he now ranks far below the average hip hop artist and male celebrity.

“When putting two egotistical, self serving individuals together, you’ll create a rather vile spark. And in times of economic hardship across the country, bragging about materialism is typically frowned upon,” says California-based public relations expert Angie Meyer-Olszewski. “The Kardashian brand is a sinking ship. Anybody who jumps on board will eventually fall. A successful celebrity in his own right, Kanye made a horrible strategic decision by engaging himself with Kim.”

And while West’s highly-anticipated album “Yeezus” initially shot to No. 1 on the billboard charts, it fell an embarrassing 80 percent the following week, the largest second-week performance drop for a No. 1-debuting album in more than a year.

Then there was the release of that scandalous music video for “Bound 2,” co-starring his topless fiancée and baby mama, which become an instant laughing stock across the web and was slammed with a viral video spoof courtesy of comedians Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Things are not exactly coming up roses in the Kardashian empire either, with recent reports indicating that the show has been on a steady decline over the last four seasons and has lost almost one million viewers per episode since season five.

But according to some communications experts, West can get back on top if he plays his cards right.

“He can definitely win back favor with fans, as soon as the attention moves back to his music since he is such a talented artist,” says Elissa Buchter, founder of Schmooze PR. “The amount of ego you’re allowed to get away with in Hollywood is directly proportional to success of your projects. As long as his songs are on top of the charts, his romantic life isn’t going to crush his credibility as a superstar.”

A rep for West did not respond to a request for comment.

Too fast and furious: Some say Hollywood needs to take more responsibility for its action films

In a sad twist of fate this past weekend, Paul Walker – the star of the “Fast & Furious” film franchise – was killed alongside friend Roger Rodas in an explosive car crash in Santa Clarita, Calif. But as life seemingly imitates art, many are questioning how much responsibility Hollywood movies like “Fast” carry when it comes to glorifying reckless driving.

“Movies are about fantasy, but they have real-life impact. The lesson Hollywood should be teaching is to live responsibly, but too few in Hollywood live that way,” Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Institute, told FOX411. “Everything Hollywood does influences our culture.”

“Fast & Furious,” which was midway through filming its seventh installment when Walker died, is certainly not the only movie that glorifies pushing a vehicle at crazy speeds. There’s “Getaway” and “Gone in Sixty Seconds” – to name just a couple more.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, speeding as a contributing factor in fatal auto wrecks has increased by a whopping 30 percent between 2000 and 2011. Last week, President Obama spoke to entertainment industry executives at DreamWorks Animation’s campus in Glendale, Calif., urging them to take “responsibility” when it comes to guns and on-screen violence. But some in show business say that is not the only issue that needs to be addressed.

“Hollywood does not present the challenges of driving in a realistic manner,” said entertainment attorney Julian Chan. “It often shows people easily getting out of crashes and rarely shows bystanders being injured.

“But street racing or reckless driving does not seem to be one of the hot topics. Treating reckless driving as something glamorous without consequences encourages people to emulate such behavior off the set. Perhaps now is the time to present the risks of high-speed driving in the same light – but maybe that is just not as ‘sexy’ a difference as guns are for the political climate.”

Others staunchly defended the film franchise need for speed, and Hollywood’s creative license in general.

“The industry’s role is to be true to the craft of filmmaking and to provide talented creator with a platform,” said producer Madison Jones, co-founder of De Passe Jones. “I don’t believe a creator should follow any other muse than his or her creative inspiration.”

The issue has also prompted debate amid the Twitterverse.

“Sometimes even Hollywood can’t separate movies from reality #Paul Walker. His movies took a lot of lives including his own,” wrote one fan, as others argued that you “can’t blame” the movie machine for the tragedy.

Hollywood producer Gary Michael Walters noted that films reflect American society, and he said totally curbing visceral action and violence would have very little impact on society at-large.

“We should always be aware of our responsibility here and not pursue every drop of profit at any cost,” he said. “It is easy to point the finger at Hollywood, but even a complete whitewashing of Hollywood films would have minimal impact on these circumstances.”

Filming for “Fast 7” was shut down after the Walker tragedy, but it is expected that it will resume and that the film will be released next summer. Given the nature of the circumstances, though, the studio may tread more carefully with its marketing this time around. The trailer for the sixth installment included everything from hand-to-hand combat, gun fights, at least six car crashes, explosions and even a tank crushing cars on a highway.

“Unless someone wants to claim that is responsible behavior, they are going to have to play it low-key,” Gainor said.

Chris Tomlin: I’d go to jail to honor Christ

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Christian singer/songwriter Chris Tomlin may have a Grammy and a No. 1 album under his belt, but for him, it’s not about winning awards—it’s just about God and his music.

 

Tomlin’s songs are sung at tens of thousands of churches every week, and his latest tour is now available on DVD. And although some criticize modern worship songs for being overly simplified, Tomlin believes that his approachable take is what draws people to his music.

 

“We’re trying to write in a way that’s singable for people, that is in with the times,” he says. “How do I make this that the average guy who’s tone-deaf and who can’t clap on two and four; how do I write it where he can join in?”

 

Although he is making church music more mainstream, Tomlin said he will never go so far as to deny his religion for the sake of being politically correct, no matter the cost.

 

“I’m never going to apologize for saying Christmas is about Jesus Christ,” he said. “Someday you may be put in jail for that, but too bad.”

 

So, would he go to jail to defend Christianity?

 

“Of course I would,” he says.

 

Kim Kardashian criticized for donating just 10 percent of ‘charity auction’ to typhoon victims

Another day, another controversy in the Kardashian bubble.

This time, it is Kim Kardashian who has come under fire for her latest eBay Giving Works auction in which a “percentage of the proceeds” will aid victims of the Philippines typhoon disaster. But it’s the key word “percentage” that has many crying foul, as just 10 percent, while fully disclosed, will go to the International Medical Corps relief efforts.

“The proceeds will go directly to the communities they’re serving in the Philippines and will help typhoon survivors get access to medical care and ultimately save lives,” Kardashian wrote on her auction page. “My prayers and thoughts are with those affected by the typhoon.”

However, crisis communications expert Glenn Selig is just one of many disturbed by the slim donation percentage and told FOX411 that typically most bidders assume the majority goes to the stated cause.

“When you say something is for the charity, the assumption is much more than 10 percent goes to charity. And when the charity angle is leveraged to boost bidding or to drum up news coverage, when only 10 percent goes to charity people likely will be taken,” he said. “It is wrong to mislead the public.”

Sources tell Fox411 that Kardashian does make a profit from the auction – which ended on Sunday – but contrary to multiple reports, it isn’t 90 percent. EBay takes roughly 9 percent for eBay fees on fashion items, as well as 2.9 percent for domestic and 3.9 percent for international payments received. The auction promoters also take an undisclosed cut from the final sales.

But across the Twitterverse, many are up in arms that the prominent personality and fiancée of Kanye West, who is worth an estimated $40 million, isn’t shelling out a little more.

“Kim Kardashian being selfish selling things for ‘charity’ on eBay and only giving away 10%. Come on 50% at least,” wrote one. Another tweeted: “How dare you use these people’s misery to make money? Don’t you and boyfriend have enough money without using these poor wretched souls in their hour of desperation. Shame on you!”

Yet the E! reality star has been opening up her personal wardrobe to fans via the eBay Giving Works auction umbrella for several years, even long before she was a hugely known name in the entertainment industry, as FOX411 revealed last year. It has always been the case with her auctions that a disclosed 10 percent — the minimal amount required by the eBay charitable arm — would be donated to her designated philanthropic cause. And, according to her rep, Kardashian donates 10 percent of absolutely everything she earns – from public appearances to endorsements to her television salary – to charity, which would make her one of the most generous of the Hollywood types.

“Nobody has to give anything, and yet Kim gives 10 percent of everything and now she is being judged for it,” a rep for the star insisted.

Others also asserted that every little bit counts, and that Kardashian should be praised – not condemned – for her contributions in helping others, irrespective if she makes a profit from it.

“People like to bash Kim all the time no matter what she does, and it simply isn’t fair. This is the quintessential example of no good deed going unpunished. Kim Kardashian did the right thing – and it’s simply not fair to bash her for this,” said Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR Agency.

A rep for the International Medical Corps also stood by the star amid the ongoing backlash, stating that they are nothing but grateful for the reality star’s support of their Philippines Typhoon Emergency Response.

“As International Medical Corps’ emergency response teams are reaching the hardest-hit areas, it is critical that we’re able to immediately deliver medical care and vital medicines,” the rep stated. “The generous support of all of our donors allows our first responders to rapidly deliver lifesaving health services to affected families, alleviate suffering and restore hope in the communities that need it most.”

And while eBay didn’t comment directly on the Kardashian case, a rep for the company assured us that eBay Inc. is committed to building a future that enables and inspires charitable giving at a scale never seen before and, to-date, more than $350 million has been raised on eBay Giving Works, with more than 30,000 organizations benefiting from the auctions..

Alec Baldwin returning to TV as a host on Jan. 6 for TCM special

alec baldwin next to car reuters

Alec Baldwin will be back on TV soon.

The hot-tempered actor– whose MSNBC weekly talk show was shut down after he allegedly used an anti-gay slur in a New York City encounter– will be hosting TCM’s “Private Screenings” on Jan. 6 to interview Robert Osbourne, according to Deadline.com.

Osbourne usually hosts the series but he will be switching chairs to get grilled by Baldwin as part of the network’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Baldwin previously worked with TCM back in 2009 and 2011 as a co-host of a weekly film showcase, which included discussions before and after the flick aired.

Reps for TCM said the former “30 Rock” star was carefully chosen to host the network’s special.

“Turner Classic Movies chose Alec Baldwin to host a special edition of ‘Private Screenings’ because of his long association with the network, including serving as co-host of ‘The Essentials’ from 2009 to 2011. Mr. Baldwin is an avid supporter of classic film and film preservation,” the network told FOX411.

TCM did not respond to FOX411’s inquiries as to whether or not Baldwin’s recent controversial antics were taken into account when they selected him as their host.

On Nov. 26, NBC confirmed that Baldwin’s talk show, “Up Late,” was kaput.

“We are jointly confirming that UP LATE will not continue on MSNBC,” the network and actor’s reps said in a joint statement to FOX411.

MSNBC had already suspended Baldwin’s low-rated news program following the actor’s confrontation with a photographer in New York. The series ran for just about a month before it was canceled.

‘Family Guy’s’ Brian coming back in upcoming episode?

Family Guy 660 AP

Anyone up for a Christmas miracle? Just weeks after the controversial death of “Family Guy‘s” Brian Griffin, it sounds like we might be seeing America’s favorite atheist pooch again really soon.

Fueling speculation that Brian’s passing was merely a publicity stunt, the official description for the Dec. 15 episode — cryptic as it may be — strongly suggests that Brian (Seth MacFarlane) will be returning to the land of the living.

On the Christmas episode, “Stewie devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas,” according to the official description from Fox. And, as pointed out by Entertainment Weekly, the network lists Brian as a character on the episode.

Another indicator that Brian will be back for good is that several episodes this season feature his name in their titles.

MORE: Brian Dies On ‘Family Guy’

Even if Brian does return, one question remains: What’s going to happen to Vinny, the dog who quickly replaced Brian after his untimely demise? Tony Sirico, who voices the character, recently signed on to do six episodes, suggesting Vinny will be sticking around even after Brian comes back.

A popular theory floating around the internet is that Vinny, or his owner, was driving the car that hit and killed Brian. There was, after all, a time lapse between Brian’s death and Vinny’s adoption.

Regardless of whether or not that theory turns out to be true, let’s hope his stay with the Griffin family ends better than “New” Brian’s did.

Teen arrested for allegedly stealing part from Walker crash

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A Los Angeles teenager has been arrested and a second plans to turn himself in after allegedly stealing some parts from the Porsche that  “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker was in when he died in a crash, authorities said.

The two men allegedly stole wreckage from the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT as it was being towed away from the scene Saturday night after the crash, Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told the Los Angeles Times.

The investigation led detectives to Jameson Witty, 18, who was arrested at his home in Los Angeles and was being held on $20,000 bail, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.  A second suspect, a 25-year-old man whose name has not been released, was outside California and arranging to surrender, according to the statement.

“A witness saw a male exit a vehicle that was following the tow truck. The male grabbed a piece of the wrecked Porsche off the tow truck bed. The male drove away with the stolen vehicle part,” the statement said.

Detectives identified the two suspects, and while serving a search warrant at a home in Canyon Country, a community north of Los Angeles, they found a red T-top roof panel from the Porsche, sheriff’s officials said. They would not say what led them to the two men or what evidence they had against them.

Sheriff’s detectives planned to meet with prosecutors to discuss charges.

It wasn’t clear if Witty has an attorney, and no phone listings for family or associates could be found.

An Instagram account with the profile name “Jameson Witty” shows a picture of what appears to be a car part with the caption, “Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light,” TMZ.com reported.

Walker, who starred in all but one of the six “Fast & Furious” blockbuster films that glorified fast cars and dangerous driving, was killed when the Porsche smashed into a light pole and tree then caught fire on Saturday afternoon, authorities said. The seventh installment of the movie series was on a break from shooting for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The crash also killed friend Roger Rodas, who was driving the car. Sheriff’s investigators are still trying to determine what caused Rodas to careen out of control.

California dad, daughter sentenced in vigilante attack

A Riverside County father and teen daughter have each been placed on four years’ probation after pleading guilty to charges in a vigilante attack on a man the girl had accused of rape.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports 36-year-old David Ray Mills pleaded guilty Tuesday to being an accessory to the attack. His 16-year-old daughter pleaded guilty to assault and both also were sentenced to time served.

Prosecutors say the pair watched her friend 21-year-old Andre Dickerson beat Miguel Esteban Cruz with a bat at a Temecula park in January. Cruz suffered skull fractures, broken bones and missing teeth.

Dickerson pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to six years in prison.

The girl claimed Cruz raped her in November 2012 after she passed out after drinking alcohol at his home.

Olympic outsourcing: Team USA snowboarders’ uniforms foreign-made

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The newly-unveiled uniforms for the U.S. Olympic snowboarding team are star-spangled and red, white and blue — but they’re not made in America.

The hodgepodge design, which designer Burton Snowboards says was inspired by a vintage quilt, features the faded colors of Old Glory and stars on the shoulder, base-layer henleys, hats and gloves. But like Ralph Lauren, which designed U.S. Olympic gear for the 2012 games in London, Vermont-based Burton is now defending its decision to use a global set of vendors to complete the job ahead of the Sochi Games, which begin on Feb. 7.

“To achieve this level of performance and function, Burton turned to its best, long-standing and most trusted technical partners around the world to produce the uniforms, to ensure that our high technical and design standards were met,” Burton Snowboards said in materials obtained by FoxNews.com. “For example, the original quilt was sourced in the U.S. and brought back to Vermont to be deconstructed and reconstructed for jacket fabrication with Vermont-based designers.”

“The fabric of the competition fleece was woven in Italy, and the technical and waterproof corduroy pant fabric was developed in Taiwan and sewn in Vietnam.”

– Burton Snowboards

The quilt was then sent to Japan for final technical fabrication, company officials said.

“The fabric of the competition fleece was woven in Italy, and the technical and waterproof corduroy pant fabric was developed in Taiwan and sewn in Vietnam,” the statement continued. “Next, we turned to our longstanding, trusted vendors in China to produce several of the accessories.”

The statement continued: “And finally, the majority of the actual snowboards that the Burton athletes will ride in Sochi are being handmade in Vermont at Burton Headquarters in Burlington. As a global sport, snowboarding knows no borders. We’re proud that we used our best vendors from around the world, including our own Craig’s facility in Burlington, Vt., to ensure our American riders have the highest-performance gear during one of the biggest competitions of their lives.”

The Sochi Games will mark the third Winter Olympics where Burton partnered with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association to create uniforms for the U.S. Snowboarding team. The primary focus of this year’s design, according to company materials, was “technical performance” above all.

“As such, every piece of the uniform has to perform at the highest level and keep the athletes warm and dry in the unpredictable weather conditions that could come in Sochi,” Burton’s statement continued.

Greg Dacyshyn, chief creative officer of the company, said in a statement that the design continues Burton’s legacy of fun, unconventional outerwear.

“The vintage quilt and flag print of the jacket combined with the corduroy pants give the uniform an ‘heirloom hippie’ vibe that lines up with snowboarding’s laid-back culture while paying respect to America’s longstanding creative heritage,” Dacyshyn said. “It will stand out in Sochi for sure.”

In 2012, Ralph Lauren was widely criticized after it was revealed that uniforms for U.S. athletes at the 2012 London Summer Olympics were made in China as the American textile industry continued to struggle. That decision prompted sharp words from some members of Congress, including Republicans and Democrats alike.

“I am so upset,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters in July 2012. “I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.”

Reid continued: “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that’s what they should wear.”

At least snowboarding fanatic contacted by FoxNews.com, however, said they didn’t have much of a problem with the news.

“With nationalistic bravado at an all-time high, it makes sense that some people might be appalled at a country’s uniform not being made there,” wrote Avran LeFeber of AngrySnowboarder.com. “They need to look past this. The world is a global economy and, as such, it just isn’t feasible to make a product 100 percent in one place. About 80 percent of the world’s winter sportswear is made in the Asian marketplace for a reason: they have an established history of working with various textile materials. Burton wants the best for the riders and therefore went out to have the best materials, designs, and factories work on it. Will this make everyone happy? No, but the age-old statement of ‘You can’t make everyone happy all the time’ needs to be used in this.”

Who stiffed who? Wounded Warriors has no record of donation from lesbian waitress accused of tip hoax

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The lesbian waitress who claimed she received an anti-gay note in lieu of a tip promised to donate the subsequent gratuities that poured in to the Wounded Warrior Project — but the veterans organization reportedly can’t verify it had received any donations from Dayna Morales.

 

Morales, a 22-year-old former Marine, claimed last month that a family of four who racked up a $93.55 bill at the Gallop Asian Bistro in Branchburg, N.J., left her no tip, only a note saying they couldn’t leave any extra cash for her service because they “do not agree with your lifestyle.”

 

Morales quickly emailed the story to a gay advocacy website and later posted a photograph of the purported check on her Facebook page. The alleged incident made national headlines and resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to Morales, who said she would send all proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project. But a representative of the Florida-based charity could not confirm Morales had made any donations as of Wednesday, Bridgewater Patch reports.

 

A representative for the nonprofit group that caters to veterans returning from overseas checked for donations by Morales’ name and within the ZIP codes for Bridgewater, N.J., where she worked, and Bedminster, where Morales said she lives, and was unable to locate any correlating donations. The donations may have been made from a different ZIP code or by a third-party, the representative told the website.

 

Morales, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from July 2009 through May 2013 in Newburgh, N.Y., as an administrative specialist, could not be reached for comment. Restaurant manager Byron Lapola told NJ.com earlier this week that she remains off the schedule, at least temporarily.

 

“We’re still waiting for the owners to finish their investigation,” Lapola told the website. “It’s pretty complex, so until then we’re restraining comment.”

 

The couple accused of leaving the note for Morales has since denied doing so, telling NBC 4 New York they did in fact leave an $18 tip on the $93 bill. The unidentified couple also provided the station a credit card statement that indicated the tip, according to the report.

 

NBC News has also reported that a Pentagon source said Morales was dismissed from the Marine Reserve Corps in May because she was not attending drills and that she was discharged under “less than honorable” conditions.

 

Several of Morales’ acquaintances also since questioned her credibility. Kristina Calamusa, who described herself as a former friend of Morales, told The Daily Caller late last month that the waitress claimed to her that she was “blown up by a land mine overseas.”

 

But, according to Calamusa, that story was false; Morales was never on active duty. The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., has also quoted acquaintances of Morales who say she lied about her military service.

 

Julie Howat and Karolee Larkin, both 23, related to the newspaper a story Morales supposedly told them about her serving in Afghanistan and surviving an explosion that killed everyone in her platoon, leaving her as the unit’s sole survivor. But Maj. Shawn Haney, a spokesman for the Marines, said in an email to The Journal News that while Morales did serve in the Marines Corps reserve from July 2009 to May 2013, there’s no indication in her record of combat service in Afghanistan or Iraq.

 

“While (Morales) did not fulfill her reserve obligation, per the Privacy Act, administrative actions are not releasable,” Haney said. “The same applies to character of service and type of discharge.”

 

That’s not all Morales has allegedly concocted about her past, acquaintances said.

 

“She said that her dad raped her and got her pregnant,” Kiersten Bremer told The Daily Caller News Foundation. When Morales failed to produce a child, she told Bremer and other friends that she had cervical cancer which spread to the baby, killing it, Bremer claims.

 

Bremer says Morales later admitted she fabricated the entire story.

 

Another story comes from a day care center where she once worked, when she told co-workers that Superstorm Sandy so badly damaged her former home in Stony Point, N.Y., that a boat tore through the living room, The Journal News reported. Concerned friends who stopped by the house found only minor damage to the carpet by the front door and no indications of the catastrophic damage Morales described.

 

“Every story she comes up with has a lie,” Howat said.