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Broadway’s ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ actor fired

NEW YORK — The actor playing Harry Potter has been fired from the Broadway production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” following a complaint by a co-star about his conduct.

Producers said Jan. 23 that, after an independent investigation of the incident, they decided to terminate the contract of James Snyder. The exact nature of his conduct was not specified. Snyder did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Producers said in a statement that they received a complaint against Snyder from a female co-star in November and immediately suspended Snyder. The female co-star has decided to take a leave of absence from the Broadway show.

The play, which picks up 19 years from where J.K. Rowling’s last novel left off, portrays Potter and his friends as grown-ups. It won the Tony Award for best new play in 2018.

“We are committed to fostering a safe and inclusive workplace, which is why we have robust workplace policies and procedures in place for all those involved in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,'” the statement by producers said.

“This includes strict prohibitions against harassment in any form, as well as channels through which any employee can report conduct that they believe is inappropriate. We will continue to do all we can to ensure the extremely talented team that brings this production to life feels safe, empowered, and fully supported,” the producers said.

Ulvaeus seeks source of ABBA magic with Apple radio show

LOS ANGELES — ABBA’s Bj*rn Ulvaeus is launching a radio show on Apple Music, with hopes of figuring out why his songs like “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen” have stayed stuck in the heads of so much of the world for so many decades.

The guitarist, singer and co-songwriter from the Swedish supergroup will host the “Bj*rn from ABBA and Friends’ Radio Show” on Apple Music Hits starting Monday.

The limited series includes music and conversations with Ulvaeus’ friends and collaborators, starting in the first episode with his fellow producer, songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Nile Rodgers.

Ulvaeus and Rodgers talk about the secrets of hit-making and why ABBA’s music has remained in the public consciousness.

“I have long wanted to ask some emotionally intelligent as well as intellectual people who know about ABBA about why they think our songs have lasted for such a long time — almost 40 years — because I don’t understand it myself,” the 76-year-old Ulvaeus said.

The show comes amid a major ABBA renaissance. Ulvaeus and bandmates Agnetha F–ltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and Benny Andersson released their first new music together in four decades in November on the album “Voyager.” And in May, a series of holographic live shows are set to begin, created by the group and George Lucas’ special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic.

Ulvaeus’ other guests on the radio show include Catherine Johnson, the British playwright who wrote the stage play of “Mamma Mia!” and the screenplay for the subsequent film.

Johan Renck, the creative director of the forthcoming concerts, guests on another episode, all of which air at 3 p.m. Eastern this week and can be streamed thereafter.

Ulvaeus is the latest of many music stars to host a show on the service. Others include Elton John, The Weeknd, J Balvin and Shania Twain.

Spotify will grant Young’s

request to remove music

NEW YORK — Neil Young’s music will be removed from Spotify at his request, following the veteran rock star’s protest over the streaming service airing a popular podcast that featured a figure criticized for spreading COVID misinformation.

Spotify, in a statement on Wednesday, said that it regretted Young’s decision, “but hope to welcome him back soon.”

It wasn’t immediately clear when his music will actually be taken down.

“I realized I could not continue to support Spotify’s life-threatening misinformation to the music loving people,” Young said in a statement.

Young had asked his management and record company publicly on Monday to remove his music from the popular streaming service, where he had more than 6 million monthly listeners, according to his Spotify home page.

Spotify airs the popular podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” where last month the comedian interviewed Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease specialist who has become a hero in the anti-vaccine community. Malone has been banned from Twitter for spreading COVID misinformation and has falsely suggested that millions of people have been hypnotized into believing that the vaccines work to prevent serious disease.

Spotify said in a statement on Thursday that “we have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.”

The company says it has a team of experts that reviews content, and it’s removed if the information presented can cause harm or pose a direct threat to public health. False suggestions that injecting bleach could fight the virus, that COVID-19 wasn’t real or that vaccines could be deadly were among those removed from the platform.

Young said that many of Spotify’s listeners are hearing misleading information about COVID. They’re young, “impressionable and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth,” he said.

“These young people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information,” he said. “They unfortunately are wrong. I knew I had to try to point that out.”

He said he appreciated his record company, Warner Brothers, standing behind him, since Spotify is responsible for 60 percent of his music being streamed all over the world. He said it was “a huge loss for my record company to absorb.”

Spanish monarch’s sister and husband break up after 25 years

MADRID — The sister of Spain’s King Felipe VI, Cristina de Borbon, and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, are announcing the end of their marriage after nearly 25 years together, Spain’s state news agency EFE reported Monday, citing a statement from the couple.

The announcement came a week after a gossip magazine in Spain published photos of Urdangarin taking a stroll in a southern French coastal town while holding hands with a work colleague.

In their statement to EFE, the couple asked for “respect” for a private decision “to end our marriage relationship by mutual agreement.” They added that their commitment to their four children remained “intact,” the agency said.

Urdangarin, a 54-year-old former Olympic handball medal winner, was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in 2018. He served part of his five-year and 10-month sentence until early last year in a northern Spanish prison before judges allowed him to swap it for community work.

Due to the corruption scandal, the couple was stripped of their aristocratic titles and dropped from the Royal House’s payroll.

The judicial process, which also saw Cristina questioned and fined as a beneficiary of her husband’s crimes, contributed to the erosion of the royal family’s image, leading eventually to the abdication of Juan Carlos I, who passed on the throne to his son.

Elton John postpones Texas

concerts after getting COVID-19

DALLAS — Despite being vaccinated and boosted, Elton John has contracted COVID-19 and is postponing two farewell concert dates in Dallas.

John “is experiencing only mild symptoms,” according to a statement. “Elton and the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour look forward to returning to the stage shortly.”

John was due to hit the American Airlines Center stage in Dallas on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 but fans “should hold on to their tickets as they will be honored at the rescheduled dates to be announced soon.”

John’s rescheduled 2020 North American tour kicked off on Jan. 19 in New Orleans and was scheduled to make stops in Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, New York and Miami. He previously said he was postponing European dates on his world tour until 2023 to have a hip operation.

By The Associated Press

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