Justin Bieber and Mia Farrow lead stars reacting to Brittney Griner's 9-year prison sentence | Big Indy News
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Justin Bieber and Mia Farrow lead stars reacting to Brittney Griner’s 9-year prison sentence

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Hollywood stars reacted with outrage on Thursday as it was revealed Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for bringing a marijuana pen into the country in February. 

Justin Bieber, Mia Farrow, and Andy Cohen were among the celebrities expressing their displeasure in various social media posts made shortly after news of the sentencing broke. 

‘THIS HURTS,’ Bieber, 28, posted an his Instagram Stories. ‘If anyone knows of anyway I can help please let me know.’

Farrow, 77, called the verdict ‘heartbreaking’ as she tweeted:  ‘The Russian judge ignored everything Britney Griner had stated. He sentenced her to 9 years in a “penal colony”. For carrying 2 vaping cartridges – medically prescribed. Damn. Heartbreaking.’

‘This hurts’: Hollywood stars reacted with outrage on Thursday as it was revealed Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for bringing a marijuana pen into the country in February

Meanwhile, Cohen tweeted in all caps, ‘BRING BRITTNEY HOME.’ He added an American flag and prayer hands emoji.  

Monty Python actor Eric Idle tweeted: ‘Brittney Griner: Basketball star jailed for nine years on drug charges.

‘So for invading a neighbor country that would be about 90,000 years for Putin on the same scale.’

Author Greg Olear tweeted: ‘Brittney Griner is a hostage. This is kidnapping, sanctioned by Putin’s government.’ 

Jada Pinkett Smith also showed her support for Brittney as she referenced the latest developments in the Breonna Taylor case.

‘On the same day where we finally got some Justice for Breonna… I find out that Brittney Griner just got 9 years in Russia,’ she posted. She added a ‘Free Brittney’ hashtag and several broken heart emojis.

Standing up for Brittney: Bieber and Mia Farrow were among the celebs standing up for the athlete

Pictured: Farrow with her son Ronan Farrow in 2018

Standing up for Brittney: Bieber and Mia Farrow were among the celebs standing up for the athlete  

Disbelief: Mia Farrow called the verdict 'heartbreaking'

 Disbelief: Mia Farrow called the verdict ‘heartbreaking’

Viola Davis was also in shock over the verdict. ‘No words. The scales of justice just broke down. In 9 years she will not even be able to go back to basketball…for a VAPE!!!!! (broken heart emoji) #FreeBrittneyGriner,’ she posted to Instagram.

Not everyone shared the same views, however, with comedian Tim Young writing: ‘Brittney Griner is not a political prisoner… she carried drugs that were illegal with her in Russia and was arrested – there’s nothing “political”about that.’

Griner, an WNBA star, was found guilty of drug smuggling on Thursday by a judge who rejected her claim she accidentally brought the drugs in. Prosecutors had asked that she be jailed for nine-and-a-half years, six months less than the maximum of 10 years in prison. 

Griner, an WNBA star, was found guilty of drug smuggling on Thursday by a judge who rejected her claim she accidentally brought the drugs in

Griner, an WNBA star, was found guilty of drug smuggling on Thursday by a judge who rejected her claim she accidentally brought the drugs in 

'Free Brittney': Jada Pinkett Smith also showed her support for Brittney as she referenced the latest developments in the Breonna Taylor case

‘Free Brittney’: Jada Pinkett Smith also showed her support for Brittney as she referenced the latest developments in the Breonna Taylor case 

'No words': Viola Davis was also in shock over the verdict

‘No words’: Viola Davis was also in shock over the verdict

President Biden immediately denounced the sentence and claimed she was ‘wrongfully detained’ – despite her pleading guilty. She said it was an ‘honest mistake’ and that the drugs must have ended up in her bag ‘by accident’.

In a statement immediately after the sentencing, Biden said: ‘Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.’

He said he would continue to work ‘tirelessly’ to pursue ‘every possible avenue’ to bring her and Paul Whelan – another American imprisoned in Russia – home.

Griner, 31, was arrested at the airport in Moscow in February and has been incarcerated ever since, despite failed attempts from the White House to negotiate her release.

Monty Python actor Eric Idle was among those expressing their displeasure at the verdict

Monty Python actor Eric Idle was among those expressing their displeasure at the verdict 

Author Greg Olear tweeted: 'Brittney Griner is a hostage. This is kidnapping, sanctioned by Putin's government'

Author Greg Olear tweeted: ‘Brittney Griner is a hostage. This is kidnapping, sanctioned by Putin’s government’

On Thursday, she sat in the defendant’s cage inside the courtroom throughout the proceedings, relying on an interpreter to whisper to her everything the judge said.

Before the sentence was handed down, she begged for leniency and asked the court to take into consideration her good character.

A judge accepted her plea – finding her guilty on drug possession and smuggling. They ruled that she committed the crimes purposefully – which she has denied.

She said she did not want to be considered a political pawn, and that bringing the cannabis pen into the country was a simple, ‘honest mistake’.

‘Russia became my second home. I remember vividly coming out of the gym and all the little girls coming out and waiting on me. That’s what kept making me come back here.

‘I want to apologize to my teammates, my club and the city for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought.

Speaking up: Andy Cohen tweeted in all caps, 'BRING BRITTNEY HOME'

Speaking up: Andy Cohen tweeted in all caps, ‘BRING BRITTNEY HOME’

Not everyone shared the same views, however, with comedian Tim Young writing: 'Brittney Griner is not a political prisoner... she carried drugs that were illegal with her in Russia and was arrested - there's nothing "political"about that'

Not everyone shared the same views, however, with comedian Tim Young writing: ‘Brittney Griner is not a political prisoner… she carried drugs that were illegal with her in Russia and was arrested – there’s nothing “political”about that’ 

‘I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, Phoenix Mercury, the amazing women of the WNBA and my amazing spouse back at home.

‘I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws.

‘I made an honest mistake and I hope that your ruling doesn’t end my life. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics…but I hope that it’s far from this courtroom.

‘I had no intent on breaking Russian law. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.

‘I hope you can take into account all the documents, the character lists that have been sent in on my behalf.

Griner was held in a cell while her legal team sat at a table surrounding her. She had to rely on an interpreter to relay what the judge said

Griner was held in a cell while her legal team sat at a table surrounding her. She had to rely on an interpreter to relay what the judge said

Griner holds up a team photo showing her playing with UMMC Ekaterinburg, the Russian team she spent off-seasons with to bolster her WNBA earnings

Griner holds up a team photo showing her playing with UMMC Ekaterinburg, the Russian team she spent off-seasons with to bolster her WNBA earnings

‘This is my second home. All I wanted to do was win championships and make them proud,’ she said. The State Department had been in talks to secure Griner’s release as part of a deal that would also bring imprisoned American Paul Whelan home.

The deal has been on the table for weeks, but Russia is yet to agree.

US officials will not confirm reports that it includes freeing Viktor Boult, a Russian criminal known as the ‘merchant of death’.

During closing arguments on Thursday, her attorneys pleaded for leniency.

‘In sprinting there is Usain Bolt, in Formula 1 Michael Schumacher, and in women’s basketball there is Brittney Griner,’ her lawyer Maria Blagovolina said.

Griner was led into the courtroom in handcuffs. She has been incarcerated since February

Griner was led into the courtroom in handcuffs. She has been incarcerated since February

Griner shaking hands with her attorney Alexander Boykov, right. Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, Elizabeth Rood, is shown, left

Griner shaking hands with her attorney Alexander Boykov, right. Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, Elizabeth Rood, is shown, left

Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners law firm, said that should the court deems it necessary to punish her, Griner should be be treated leniently.

Griner’s family say they have been frustrated with the White House response to the situation.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday that Russia has made a ‘bad faith’ response to the US government’s offer, a counteroffer that American officials don’t regard as serious.

She declined to elaborate.

Griner has acknowledged there were vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she was arrested at a Moscow airport.

But she insisted that she had no criminal intent and that the canisters ended up in her luggage because she was packing hastily.

‘I still don’t understand how they ended up in my bag,’ she said.

Griner had been prescribed medical marijuana in the United States to relieve pain from chronic injuries, a treatment method that is common among elite athletes because it has fewer side effects than some painkillers.

She played for a Russian women’s basketball team in the WNBA off-season.

As part of the deal, the White House proposed swapping Whelan and Griner, but not Mark Fogel – a teacher who was incarcerated in Russia in 2021 on suspicion of drug smuggling.

His family have begged the Biden administration for help. Many have called for Griner’s release on the basis that marijuana is legal in the US.

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Family Photo! JJ Watt Shares Snap With 1-Month-Old Son Koa and Wife Kealia

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Their first Thanksgiving as a family of three! Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt shared a photo of his 1-month-old baby with Chicago Red Stars player Kealia Ohai Watt as they celebrated.

“More to be thankful for than ever,” the NFL star, 33, wrote via Instagram on Thursday, November 24. “Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!”

The photo showed JJ holding baby Koa, who was wrapped in a blue blanket that matched his dad’s Nike sneakers. The football player was comfortable in a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans while his wife, 30, donned black cargo pants with a white tank top. Both were smiling at their little one for the snap. Kealia replied with two red hearts.

The duo welcomed Koa one month ago. “Love and happiness have reached heights we never even knew existed. Koa James Watt 10.23.22,” the spouses, who married in February 2020, wrote in a joint Instagram post on October 25, alongside a sweet shot of the couple cradling their newborn in the hospital.

On November 11, Watt was asked how little Koa felt about a decision by referee Clete Blakeman mistakenly blew dead a play in which Watt was about to walk into the endzone. Watt joked that his son was livid.

“He was watching so he saw it. He was pissed. He was pretty pissed. It took us a while to get him to bed. We had to calm him down because he wanted to call Clete himself. And I told him, ‘Son, your day will come,’” he joked with reporters ahead of Week 11.

He also spoke about appearing on HBO’s Hard Knocks with Kealia and Koa, joking that their dogs were the real stars. “Any time that I can share the screen with my wife and my son and our dogs, I have to — my wife and I are unbelievably proud of our dogs. They knew the pressure was on and they stepped up to the plate in a way that I’ve never seen,” he quipped. “Our dogs don’t act like that on any walk we’ve ever been on and they were phenomenal. We need Hard Knocks cameras 24/7 when we go on walks because our dogs really crushed it. Tex and Finn — they rise to the occasion.”

JJ and Kealia announced in June that a human would be joining their fur babies, sharing that they “could not be more excited” to be expecting in the fall. They didn’t have a sex reveal but casually dropped that they were having a son in passing. It was so nonchalant that fans wondered if JJ made a mistake. One asked if he accidentally let the news slip, to which he replied, “We didn’t do a gender reveal, we just found out and then told people when they asked.”

The new dad always puts family first, and he’s instilling that in the next generation of the family. JJ has already been putting Koa on FaceTime with cousins Logan, 2, and Brayden, 23 months — who Derek shares with wife Gabriella Watt — he revealed in a birthday tribute to the Pittsburgh Steelers player earlier this month.

“All the football games in the yard when we were kids, the mini hockey battles in the basement, etc. Now we’re FaceTiming each other so our kids can see each other. (Still playing football though!) Crazy! Happy Birthday bro!!” JJ wrote via Instagram on November 7.

The Watt family has had a lot to celebrate in 2022. The athletes’ youngest brother, TJ Watt, tied the knot with his wife, Dani Rhodes, in July.



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Freddie Roman, Borscht Belt comic known for roasts, dead at 85

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Beloved Borscht Belt comic and actor Freddie Roman, best known for his roasts as part of New York City’s Friars Club and later Comedy Central, died at the age of 85 on Saturday, his family said.

Roman suffered a heart attack in Boynton Beach, Florida, his daughter confirmed to Deadline.

The comic had spent most of his life in show business after he was given the opportunity to emcee at his uncle and grandfather’s Crystal Spring Hotel in the Catskills when he was just 15.

Roman, born Fred Kirschenbaum, and his old-timey jokes were a fixture at nightclub venues in cities like New York and Las Vegas.

He served as the dean, or president, of The Friar’s Club and took shots at celebrities like Jerry Stiller, Hugh Hefner, Drew Carey, Rob Reiner and Chevy Chase on Comedy Central’s Roasts.

Roman was best known for his roasts at the Friar’s Club.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty
Freddie Roman and actress Debbie Reynolds at the Friar's Club in 2009.
Freddie Roman and actress Debbie Reynolds at the Friar’s Club in 2009.
FilmMagic

He appeared in numerous films, including the award-winning documentary “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort” (2012), “Bittersweet Place” (2005), “Christ in the City” (2005), “Finding North” (1998) and “Sweet Lorraine” (1987), according to IMDB.

He more recently co-starred in Amazon’s hit comedy series “Red Oaks,” playing a curmudgeon member of a Jewish country club in New Jersey. He also made guest appearances on shows “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The Tonight Show.”

Roman is survived by his wife, Ethel, and daughter, Judi Levin, Deadline reported.

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Deals and Steals! Shop the 21 Best Cyber Week Finds Under $35

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Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

The most wonderful time of year is finally here — and we don’t just mean the holidays! Cyber Week is a dream come true for bargain hunters everywhere. While temperature are dropping outside, prices are dropping online. It really is a winter wonderland!

With all of the deals on Black Friday and beyond, it’s overwhelming to narrow down the options. So, we went through the sales and selected our 21 top picks under $35, from fashion to furnishings. Save up to 79% off on these everyday essentials from some of your favorite retailers! Score these marked-down must-haves as a treat for yourself or as a gift for a loved one. Happy shopping!

1. Sweet dreams! Get your best beauty sleep with this super soft microfiber sheet set — up to 79% off!

2. Eyes on the prize! This creamy avocado eye treatment from Kiehl’s has been a regular in my skincare routine for years — up to 50% off!

3. Made from organic cotton, this waffle-print Henley shirt from Everlane is our go-to top for winter weather — up to 50% off!

4. Built to take you from running errands to running cardio, this comfy Perform Legging from Everlane is a must-have for gals on the go — up to 50% off!

5. With over 2,000 reviews on Nordstrom, this popular plush throw blanket is a cozy crowd-pleaser — up to 31% off!

6. It’s in the bag! This top-rated tumbled leather clutch from Madewell features interior pockets for extra organization — up to 43% off!

7. Cut a rug with this vintage-inspired patterned rug! The subtle pop of color blends into any space — up to 53% off!

8. Mad for plaid! This set of two decorative pillow covers is perfect for the holidays — up to 27% off!

9. Effortlessly cool in an oversized fit, this crew tee from Everlane is a closet staple — up to 30% off!

10. These gold under-eye patches are truly worth their weight in gold! Infused with collagen, these eye masks will give your puffy eyes a pick-me-up — up to 17% off!

11. Treat yourself to some self-care with these aromatherapy Shower Steamers that provide major stress relief — up to 46% off!

12. This Echo Dot smart speaker connects to Alexa so you can play music, check the news and set alarms from any room of your house — up to 63% off!

13. Get a good night’s sleep with these luxurious satin pillowcases! They’re the no. 1 bestseller in bed pillowcases on Amazon — up to 17% off!

14. The no. 1 bestseller in women’s down jackets and parkas on Amazon, this water-resistant hooded puffer coat will keep you warm and dry all winter — up to 45% off!

15. Lightweight and comfortable, this full-length waffle robe is wonderful for lounging around the house — up to 39% off!

16. Crafted with 100% cotton, this crewneck sweater is cozy and flattering — up to 45% off!

17. Reviewers rave that these terry cotton joggers are super soft and comfortable. Plus, they come with pockets — up to 45% off!

18. Sparkle and shine this holiday season with this cubic zirconia necklace that looks like a real diamond — up to 15% off!

19. And it was all yellow! These gold-plated topaz earrings will brighten your day — up to 15% off!

20. Earn your stripes in this trendy striped half-zip sweater — up to 45% off!

21. These fleece-lined house slippers feature an embroidered print that is perfect for winter — up to 42% off!

Looking for additional deals? Check out more picks below:

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women’s sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping!

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