Backstreet Boy Nick Carter denies girl group member’s 2002 rape allegation

Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys poses at 30th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, California April 17, 2013. (Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

LOS ANGELES | Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter on Wednesday denied an allegation that he raped a teen pop singer 15 years ago, saying he was “shocked and saddened” by the accusation.

Melissa Schuman, who was a member of girl group Dream in the late 1990s, claimed in a lengthy blog post earlier this month that Carter forced her to have oral sex and raped her in 2002 when she was 18 and he was 22.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm Schuman’s allegation.

“I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations,” Carter, now 37, said in a statement that was emailed to media outlets.

”Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual.


”It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm,” he said in the statement.

The girl group Dream on the cover of its 2001 debut album ‘It’s All A Dream.’ Melissa Schumann is second from left.

Schuman could not immediately be reached for comment on Carter’s statement. She left Dream in 2002, and after the band made a brief comeback in 2015, it disbanded again in 2016.

She wrote on her blog in a Nov. 2 post titled “Melissa Explains It All” that she had decided to come forward after women made accusations against other prominent men in entertainment and politics, and the #MeToo social media movement.

The Backstreet Boys were one of the biggest boy bands of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with hits like “Quit Playing Games With My Heart.”

Carter and the band are currently playing a concert residency in Las Vegas that is scheduled to run through February 2018.

Ricky Davao: No small roles, only small actors

Ricky Davao, best supporting actor

It’s true that there are no small parts, only small actors,” said Ricky Davao, best supporting actor winner at the 2017 Cinema One Originals Film Festival for his performance in Giancarlo Abrahan’s “Paki (Please. Care).”


“A friend of mine called me to say that while this is just a ’small role,’ he really wants me to read the script because I might like it,” Davao said of his namesake, entertainment columnist and talent manager Ricky Gallardo.

“Paki,” about a middle-aged couple and how their love has evolved through the years, likewise went home with the best picture trophy and best screenplay honor for Abrahan.

Abrahan also shared the best director honor with Dan Villegas, who megged “Changing Partners.” Abrahan said: “It’s an honor to stand on stage side by side with Dan. We were batchmates in some film workshops. I guess you can say that we’re each other’s lodi (idol).”

Villegas confessed that the awards he had hoped for his film to win were: best editing (for Marya Ignacio), best actress (for Agot Isidro), best actor (for Jojit Lorenzo) and the Audience Choice (which included a P100,000 cash prize).

“We got them all, and more. I consider the other trophies as bonus,” Villegas told the Inquirer shortly after the awards ceremony held on Sunday night at the Dolphy Theater inside the ABS-CBN Compound in Quezon City.

Giancarlo Abrahan (left) and Dan Villegas, best director winners

He added he was grateful to the jury for granting the best ensemble award to the cast members of “Changing Partners,” a May-December love affair of four couples.

“They were also the actors of the stage play version. Their journey for this film was longer than mine,” Villegas said.

The director added that Cinema One, which funds the annual film festival, once suggested that he conduct auditions for other actors. “I told them that I don’t want to do the film if not with the four,” Villegas recalled. “For me, if it worked [for the stage play], why change it?”

Richard Somes’ “Historiographika Errata” bagged the Jury Prize, as well as the best cinematography for Alex Espartero, and best production design for Donald Camon and Julius Somes.

Mae Paner, best supporting actress —Richard A. ReyesMae Paner, best supporting actress —Richard A. Reyes

Rae Red and Fatrick Tabada’s “Si Chedeng at Si Apple” won for Mae “Juana Change” Paner the best supporting actress honor.

Other winners were: Carl Chavez’s “Sorry for the Inconvenience,” best short film; Dempster Samarista’s “Bundok Banahaw,” best documentary; and Leeroy New for Shireen Seno’s “Nervous Translation, best sound award.


WATCH | Two more Filipino acts crack ‘Asia’s Got Talent’ semi-finals

Fitri Cerado.

Eight more talented acts made it to the semi-finals of AXN’s “Asia’s Got Talent” this week, and two of them are from the Philippines.

Fitri Cerado is a 14-year-old singer who auditioned in the first season of the talent search series but did not make it to the semi-finals. She even sang a duet with judge David Foster in this clip back when she was only 11. 

But it was David who also told Fitri to work harder as there was a “certain disconnect” between her piano playing and her singing.



And worked hard she did. Two years later, Fitri is back in the thick of the competition. 


“The reason I came back to ‘Asia’s Got Talent’ is because I want to prove David [Foster] wrong. I want to prove that I could work harder on my piano. I don’t want to give up on anything, I just need to work harder,” Fitri said with determination. 

“Did I crush your dream?” David Foster asked.

“No, because I’m here now,” Fitri confidently replied before performing a mesmerizing rendition of The Animals’ “The House of the Rising Sun.” 

“You just set a new standard. You just raised the bar for all the singers from now on. That was amazing, thank you,” said Jay Park, who along with Anggun and, yes, David voted yes to Fitri. 

In this behind-the-scenes clip after she also earned a nomination for the Traveloka Award for most inspiring “Asia’s Got Talent” story, Fitri talked about her musical aspirations.


Another Pinoy act that advanced to the next round is DM-X Convaleñoz, the hair-flipping dance group from Compostela Valley. Composed of nine boys who all sport long hair, the group was formed eight years ago at a vacant lot where they practiced their routine. The group was a finalist during the fifth season of “Pilipinas Got Talent” last year.

DM-X Convaleñoz.

Also, a Traveloka Award nominee, DM-X’s back story is made all the more inspiring by the fact that the respective parents of these boys did not initially approve of their dancing and instead wanted them to start working to be of help to their families. 

They auditioned for “Asia’s Got Nothing” despite having some difficulties raising the money needed for their air fare to Johor, Malaysia where the show is taped.


Fortunately, the boys have more than what it takes to impress the judges and both studio and television audiences alike. 

Fitri Cerado and DM-X Convaleñoz now join early qualifiers Deniel Sarmiento and Neil Ray Garcia Llanes for the next round. The Philippines is now the country with the most number of semi-finalists in the contest, which was first won by Filipino shadow dancers El Gamma Penumbra.

“Asia’s Got Talent” airs this Thursday at 8:30pm on AXN with replays shown throughout the week. To follow the journey of this season’s acts, check out #AXNAsia and #AsiasGotTalent.

AXN is available on Cablelink Channel 38, Cignal Channel 121, Destiny Cable Channel 61, Dream Satellite TV Channel 20, G Sat Channel 51, and SKYCable Channel 49. AXN HD is available on SKYCable Channel 247.


Netizens call for #BoycottPenshoppe after controversial blogger attends event

Penshoppe's #IAmDifferent tees are being sold at Php 449 each. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Just a few hours after Penshoppe’s launched its #IAmDifferent anti-bullying campaign on October 23, the brand drew flak after allegedly getting controversial blogger Franco Mabanta as endorser.

Netizens took to social media to express their dismay and called for the boycott of the brand using the hashtag #boycottpenshoppe.

Mabanta, a social media influencer and known to be a vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, was condemned for his Facebook post criticizing Pinoy Ako Blogger Jover Laurio. Mabanta called her “Ogre Lady and “super ugly.”

The said post was deleted on Mabanta’s Facebook page but netizens took a screenshot as receipt, which has circulated online.

Reddit Philippines posted this screenshot of Franco Mabanta’s Facebook post against Pinoy Ako Blogger Jover Laurio.

Penshoppe joined international and local celebrities as part of the global campaign against bullying. In a press handout by the brand, Mabanta’s name is not included in the roster of its brand ambassadors.


From the Philippines, ambassadors include Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte, Sofia Andres, Tanner Mata, Maria Fabana, and Emilio Perez. International names include Bella Hadid, Lucky Blue Smith, Kaia Gerber, and Sandara Park.

Other influencers also joined the cause including Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag, She Talks Asia co-founder Vicky Herrera, entrepreneur Patti Grandidge, and signer-songwriter Keiko Necesario.

The said post of Mabanta wearing the #IAmDifferent campaign tee of Penshoppe drew negative reactions, with some saying that it is ironic for a “bully” to be espousing an anti-bullying campaign.

Meanwhile, here are some the netizens’ reactions regarding the issue:

Meanwhile, Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog also posted in her blog a receipt of a chat exchange indicating that a Penshoppe staff clarified that Mabanta is not an endorser of the brand.

The screenshot of the online conversation further indicated that Mabanta just “attended as a guest who wanted to support the event. Actually, he was a guest of a guest.”

“Hopefully this will not dilute the good message of the campaign,” the message from Penshoppe concluded.


Award-Winning Documentaries Set to Be Screened at Cinematografo International Film Festival









Searing documentaries that depict the stories of individuals and the society we live in. Watch these powerful chronicles of the human condition, created by filmmakers from the U.S. and from the Philippines, at the inaugural Cinematografo International Film Festival from November 9-12 at the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8 Theaters in San Francisco.



Sunshine de Leon, 2016, 52 mins

November 11, Saturday 5:15PM

Buy tickets here.

Starting with her migration to the Philippines in the 1930s, American centenarian Jessie Lichauco shares her vivid memories of her marriage with a Filipino lawyer and her insights on the cruelty of war, survival and strength of the human spirit. 



Ramona Diaz, 2012, 105 mins

November 10, Friday 8:30PM

Buy tickets here.

A testimony to YouTube’s cyberpower to discover musical talents, this documentary details how Arnel Pineda got fished out of obscurity and landed a gig that changed the course of his life – being the front man of the iconic American band Journey.



Ramona Diaz, 2003, 103 mins


Buy tickets here

“The people need a role model. They need a star, especially in the dark of the night.” Ramona Diaz’s debut film illustrates the life of Imelda Marcos as she ascends from being an impoverished child in the province to becoming the richest and most celebrated First Lady of the country.



Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco, 95 mins


Buy tickets here.

This documentary centers on the ensuing trial of Paco Larranaga, along with six other young men, accused of a murder case of two Filipino-Chinese girls. Filmmakers Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco probe the hostile delivery of justice and obstruction of truth brought about by an overly bureaucratic leadership, media sensationalism and racial profiling.



Ramona Diaz, 2017, 95 mins


Buy tickets here

For her fifth feature length documentary, director Ramona Diaz reinforces her niche in the industry as a driving force in documentary cinema. The film takes us into an almost claustrophobic yet intimate experience inside one of the world’s busiest maternity wards, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila.



S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons, 2016, 75 mins


Buy tickets here.

Co-directed by S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons, the film captures a significant event in the history of Philippine politics when the world’s first and only LGBT political party called Ladlad, attempts to elect a transgender woman to the Philippine Congress.



Baby Ruth Villanueva, 2016, 95 mins


Buy tickets here.

Director Baby Ruth Villarama follows the lives of five Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong as they juggle between the harsh realities of their working situation and the sense of empowerment they get from joining beauty pageants on Sundays. 


The first annual Cinematografo International Film Festival and Industry Forum is a film exhibition series designed to elevate and showcase emerging Filipino and Filipino-American talent to the global stage.

Cinematografo International Film Festival aims to foster, nurture, and inspire filmmakers from the Filipino diaspora, giving them full support in any way possible.

Dreams came true for these 2 Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America champions

LAS VEGAS --- After a rigorous round of auditions that had judges listen to 147 hopefuls across the U.S. and Canada, narrowing it down to 20 semi-finalists, and eventually just 10 finalists, two winners have been declared.  
As the house lights dimmed, the spotlight shone on the stage, and 10 finalists waited with bated breath, hosts Ginger Conejero and Eric Nicolas announced the champions for the night: Jing Wenghofer from Chicago, Illinois and Steven Paysu from Fontana, California.
Photo 2 all singing
 The remarkable evening ended with all 10 finalists sharing the stage with judges Constantino, Santos, and Valera in performing “The Winner Takes It All.” (Photo courtesy of Ricky Resurreccion)
Wenghofer could not believe the announcement. She was emotional when she recounted that “I wasn't sure if I really heard my name, but someone in the audience shouted my name. I immediately looked up and said my thanks to God. My eyes were teary and my heart was overflowing with happiness.”
When Paysu saw that Global Events Marketing and AdSales Head Ricky Resurreccion was holding a bouquet of flowers after calling the first winner, the former already assumed that the second champion would also be female. He was surprised when host Nicolas called his name. “It was a feeling of fulfillment and excitement at the same time. I thanked God right away quietly.”
Paysu’s winning entry was “Everything I Own” by Bread, while Wenghofer performed “Hinanakit” (Resentment) by Imelda Papin.
Photo 3
 Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America finalists enjoying the sights and sounds of Vegas. (L-R) Jamil Pidlaoan (California), Rachel Bergado (California), Danielle Jade Laganson (Alberta), Steven Paysu (California), Marie Joy Amaro (Texas), Alexis Amber Magsambol (California), Elizabeth Sooy (New Jersey), Venus Therese Ramos (Manitoba), Abigail Natnat (Ontario). (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
Global Tawag ng Tanghalan judges Pop Rock Superstar Yeng Constantino, King of Teleserye and Movie Theme Songs Erik Santos, and OPM Icon Rey Valera all said that it was a challenge judging the 10 finalists. There was a certain pressure being in Las Vegas, as expressed by Valera. He said, “Mahirap i-entertain mga tao dito dahil nakita niyo na lahat ng entertainer. Iba talaga ang Vegas.” (It is very difficult to entertain the people here in Vegas because they have already seen all sorts of entertainment. Vegas is truly special.)
Both North America champions just wanted to sing and share their talents as singers, but life got in the way. Now, they have this opportunity to shine and share their gifts with the rest of the world. Paysu shares that he put a hold on his dreams because he prioritized his family first. He then confides, “Now, I feel that it is never too late to pursue your dreams. At my age, right now, I would have not imagined that this time would still come but thanks be to God and Tawag ng Tanghalan for the blessing and opportunity I have been given. I will be forever thankful for allowing me to shine again on stage and believing in the talent that God has given me.”
Photo 4
Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America finalists strike wacky poses in Vegas. (L-R) Abigail Natnat (Ontario), Elizabeth Sooy (New Jersey), Alexis Amber Magsambol (California), Venus Therese Ramos (Manitoba), Marie Joy Amaro (Texas), Steven Paysu (California), Rachel Bergado (California), Danielle Jade Laganson (Alberta), and Jamil Pidlaoan (California). (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
Wenghofer is a music teacher so she can impart wise words to her students. She tells them to “Never stop pursuing your dreams. Keep practicing, follow your heart and keep trying. And most importantly, pray. His answer might not be the one you are asking for, but believe that everything will come at the right time."
This seems like the right time for Wenghofer as she gets to represent North America, together with Paysu, in the Tawag ng Tanghalan Global Cluster Finals that will be held in the Philippines from December 11-16this year. They will be competing with other regional champions from Region 2–Europe, Region 3–Middle East, Region 4–Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia, Region 5–Japan/Taiwan/South Korea, and Region 6-Australia/New Zealand/Papua New Guinea/Guam/Saipan.
Photo 5
Global Tawag ng Tanghalan “Hurados” (Judges) (L-R) Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, and Mr. Rey Valera, with comedian/host Eric Nicolas, entertain the crowd during the Meet and Greet at Seafood City. (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
The Finalists Take Over Vegas
Prior to competing at the Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America Region Finals at the Ed W. Clark High School, the 10 finalists had a day to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Entertainment Capital of the World. It was a good chance for the 10 contestants to get to know one another while playing tourist, since it was the first time for some of them to see Las Vegas.
The finalists also had a closed-door performance for the judges the day before the Region Finals, and a meet and greet at the Vegas branch of Seafood City. All the finalists enjoyed their time out on the town, and the overall experience. 
Elizabeth Sooy from New Jersey expressed how she “love these people and the experience.” Danielle Jade Laganson from Edmonton, Alberta shared that she was “glad to call the other nine incredibly talented singers my new friends.” Laganson also added that even if they came from different parts of the U.S. and Canada, they still connected as one through their “love and passion for singing and for music.” Marie Joy Amaro of Texas said that it “did not feel like a competition. We helped each other and we encouraged each other like we were a team, a family.”
ABS-CBN Global Head of Events Ricky Resurreccion also soaked in the overall atmosphere of family. Resurreccion admitted that this region finals was “the most intimate event TFC Live has ever mounted.”  He added that it was “a welcome respite from doing huge venues. The talent was raw and pure, and the energy was palpable. One could also sense the genuine affection that immediately clicked among the finalists. It was a blast!”
Photo 6
The finalists enjoy their Meet and Greet at Seafood City. (L-R front) Venus Therese Ramos, Marie Joy Amaro, Alexis Amber Magsambol; (L-R standing) Steven Paysu, Elizabeth Sooy, Danielle Jade Laganson, Jamil Pidlaoan, Rachel Bergado, Abigail Natnat. (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
Next Stop: Manila, Philippines
Wenghofer and Paysu will be going to Manila for the Global Cluster Finals that will take place from December 11-16. During that whole week, all global finalists from the six different regions will compete against each other. Of these, only two winners will be chosen, and these two will then move on to join the Tawag ng Tanghalan “Huling Tapatan” (Grand Finals) in March 2018.
Photo 7
ABS-CBN Global Head of Events Ricky Resurreccion (center) is flanked by the Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America finalists (L-R) Elizabeth Sooy, Jing Wenghofer, Danielle Jade Laganson, Venus Therese Ramos, Abigail Natnat, Rachel Bergado, Jamil Pidlaoan, Alexis Amber Magsambol, Marie Joy Amaro, and Steven Paysu. (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)


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