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The daily gossip: Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher pause returns after strike backlash, Russell Brand denies sexual assault allegations, and more

 Drew Barrymore at the 2022 Paramount Upfront.
Drew Barrymore at the 2022 Paramount Upfront.

1. Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher pause returns after strike backlash

Strike that. Days after doubling down on her decision to bring back her talk show amid the writers strike, Drew Barrymore has changed her mind. She announced on Instagram she has "listened to everyone" and will "pause the show's premiere until the strike is over." Barrymore had released an apology video on Friday after being accused of being a scab for proceeding with the show without her WGA writers, though at that time, she still planned to return to the airwaves. "We said it wasn't too late to do the right thing, and we meant it," writer David Slack posted on X, formerly Twitter. "Thank you, @DrewBarrymore for standing with us." Other talk shows, including "The Jennifer Hudson Show" and "The Talk," followed Barrymore's lead and paused their premieres. Bill Maher also delayed the return of HBO's "Real Time" "for now" in hopes the writers and studios can "finally" reach a deal soon. Instagram

2. Russell Brand denies sexual assault allegations

Russell Brand took to social media on Friday to announce he would soon be accused of "very serious allegations that I absolutely refute." Sure enough, a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches revealed that four women have accused the comedian of sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013, and "others have made a range of accusations about Brand's controlling, abusive and predatory behavior." One of the accusers was 16 at the time. The fallout has been swift, as Brand has already been dropped by his agent, while his book deal was also paused and his tour dates postponed. Meanwhile, Deadline reported that Brand was dropped from the show "Roast Battle" in 2018 after "he was repeatedly accused of being a 'sexual predator' during the recording of the show." In his video released ahead of the allegations, Brand maintained that during his "time of promiscuity," the "relationships I had were absolutely always consensual." The Times

3. Halle Berry slams Drake for using photo of her getting slimed

Halle Berry finds some of Drake's recent behavior a bit slimy. The rapper recently dropped a single called "Slime You Out" and used a photo of Berry getting slimed at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards to promote it. Berry, though, doesn't approve. "Sometimes you have to be the bigger guy … even if you're a woman!" she cryptically posted on Instagram. In the comments, the actress confirmed this post was inspired by Drake, alleging the rapper asked her to use the photo, but she said no. "Why ask if you intend to do what you want to do!" she wrote. "That was the f*uck you to me. Not cool You get it?" Though Berry said she would be the "bigger person and move on," she stressed the situation is "about principles and integrity." It may be time to involve her buddy John Wick. Instagram

4. Chris Rock went to counseling with his daughters after Will Smith slap, Leslie Jones says

We regret to inform you The Slap is back in the news. Chris Rock was "really affected" after being slapped by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars, his friend Leslie Jones told People. "People need to understand his daughters, his parents, saw that," the "Saturday Night Live" alum said. "He had to go to counseling with his daughters." Jones described Rock, who wrote the foreword of her new memoir, as "like my brother," so she said she was "so f--king mad" about the slap "on so many levels" that she "was going to jump in my car and roll up there." She added that Smith "could have still fixed it" after the incident by refusing to accept the Best Actor Oscar he won "because that was f--king wrong." People

5. 'American Fiction' gets major Oscar boost at TIFF

This may be your first time hearing about the movie "American Fiction," but it surely won't be the last. The satire by Cord Jefferson, which stars Jeffrey Wright as a novelist, just got a key boost in the Oscar race, winning the coveted People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Since 2012, every single movie that won this award went on to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. In "American Fiction," Wright's character writes a fake book "that is so obnoxiously stereotyped that it puts a mirror to the corrupt tastes of the white literary establishment," RogerEbert.com's Robert Daniels explained. Might it earn Wright his first Oscar nod? Meanwhile, the first runner-up for the People's Choice Award was Alexander Payne's "The Holdovers," while the second runner-up was Hayao Miyazaki's "The Boy and the Heron." This "Barbie" has some serious awards competition on her hands. TIFF