Humane Society Scolds Britney; Plus Kanye West, Missy Elliott, ‘Simpsons,’ Game, Paris Hilton & More, In For The Record

Benefit planned for West's foundation; Elliott, Snoop Dogg to be hailed at VH1 Hip Hop Honors; British pagans mad at 'Simpsons.'

A purported new Britney Spears track is floating around online, but it isn’t all laughs for Spears these days — the Humane Society of the United States has fired off a stern letter to Spears after it caught wind that she had reportedly dropped $3,000 for a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from Pets of Bel Air in California after spending less than 30 minutes in the shop, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” “Choosing a dog is a major lifestyle decision that should not be taken lightly,” HSUS Director of Outreach for Companion Animals Stephanie Shain said in a press statement. “We suggest that people take time to choose a member of their family and to be sure they are working with a reputable breeder … Ms. Spears is setting a damaging example to the public. Most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills — factory-like facilities, churning out purebred and ‘designer’ puppies in large numbers.” Brit also bought a Chihuahua puppy from Pets of Bel Air in January. According to “ET,” the store is adamant that it buys from top breeders, not puppy mills. …

The first benefit for the Kanye West Foundation will take place August 24 in the rapper/producer’s Chicago hometown. The $125-a-ticket show will rock the House of Blues with a theme encouraging kids to stay in school. … Snoop Dogg, Whodini and Missy Elliott are among the artists to be hailed at the fourth annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors. The show will be taped October 4 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom and premiere October 8 at 10 p.m. ET. On Monday, VH1.com will launch the online contest “The Score” — the winner will create and produce the score for the event. Those interested can post their minute-long beats for consideration right here.

Not everyone loves “The Simpsons.” In fact, England’s pagan community is madder than a dog with bees in its mouth over a giant painting of Homer Simpson brandishing a donut. The painting, made to promote “The Simpsons Movie,” was hung on a field in Dorset opposite a famous 17th century fertility symbol: the club-wielding, clearly excited Ceme Abbas. According to the Daily Mail, the giant underwear-clad Homer was painted with biodegradable paint that will dissolve when it rains, so some local pagans have vowed to unleash some “rain magic” to erase the drought. … A Los Angeles Police Department officer who videotaped the Game in a holding cell waving a wad of cash and throwing hand signs after the rapper’s arrest in May is under investigation by the department’s internal-affairs division. The Associated Press reports that the unnamed officer could face disciplinary action for making the video on his cell phone; the footage was posted on the TMZ.com web site on May 12. …

Smashing Pumpkins fans probably didn’t expect to find photos of Paris Hilton inside copies of the band’s Zeitgeist reunion CD, but just in case Billy Corgan didn’t confuse them enough, a shot of the heiress is also featured on the cover of the band’s new “Tarantula” U.K. single. So what gives? In an interview with Launch Radio, Corgan said he took the photos with Hilton, who he had met previously. “The original idea was we were gonna see if Lindsay, Britney and Paris would all shoot … [but] Paris I knew personally, and hung out with her a few times, and so I asked her. … And God bless her, she came, she showed up at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, sat in the chair, got made up and [I] shot her.” Hilton recently told E! Online that she has been meeting with producer Scott Storch to hammer out plans for her second LP. …

Speaking of sophomore efforts, Carrie Underwood‘s forthcoming, yet-untitled album will street on October 23. The effort will succeed her 2005 debut, Some Hearts, which earned her a heap of awards. … Brandon Flowers is a dad, People reports. The Killers frontman and his wife Tana welcomed a boy over the weekend. … Producer Polow Da Don launched his Interscope Records imprint Zone 4 Inc. Monday night at Opera in Atlanta. The star-studded bash was presented by Zune and Universal Publishing, and featured performances by Polow’s artists Rich Boy, Keri Hilson and i15. Also in attendance were Lil Wayne, Andre 3000, Young Jeezy, DJ Unk, Jim Jones, Soulja Boy, Jermaine Dupri and Ciara, who hosted the festivities. …

Asda — the British arm of Wal-Mart Stores — apologized Tuesday (July 17) for criticizing “Harry Potter” publisher Bloomsbury of “blatant profiteering” for charging the U.S. equivalent of roughly $36 for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Bloomsbury had nixed the delivery of a half-million copies of the book to the stores, but Asda says the volumes will be on its shelves after all. Also in the U.K., copies of the book will come with a photo of a missing 4-year-old girl and a yellow ribbon in an appeal to help find her, Agence France Presse reports. Author J.K. Rowling has also asked that bookstores in 200 countries receive posters of the girl, who went missing at a Portuguese resort in early May. And on Tuesday, Britain issued seven postage stamps featuring the covers of the books. Roughly 340,000 people had pre-ordered them, snapping the record of 300,000 pre-orders set by a set of Beatles stamps in January. Meanwhile, on U.S. shores, Barnes & Noble is holding copies of the volume at a secret warehouse somewhere in the Northeast, Reuters reports. Security is being maintained around the building 24/7. …

A friend of Lana Clarkson testified Monday in the Phil Spector murder trial that the actress had called her days before the shooting and said, “I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of [Hollywood]. I want out.” Punkin Irene Elizabeth Laughlin, who cried while recalling the exchange, was due to continue testifying Tuesday. … Michael Jackson must hand over more than $250,000 to a Southern California firm, a judge determined late last week, according to AP. Ayscough & Marar handled side issues for the singer during the 2005 child-molestation trial. … Ricky Martin will soon be all over Dominican TV and radio — but he won’t be singing. Instead, the artist will be issuing public-service announcements warning about sexual exploitation and human trafficking. … Sting and his wife Trudie Styler must fork over $51,000 to compensate a former chef for sexual discrimination, AP reports. Jane Martin, who had worked for the singer for eight years, had claimed she was fired after she became pregnant. …

The good news for concertgoers is that average ticket prices are only up about 50 cents (or 1 percent) over last year, according to mid-year numbers released by Pollstar. The scary news, though, is that tight-trousered ’70s icon Rod Stewart is the top draw so far this year, with $48.1 million in ticket sales, beating out Justin Timberlake, who landed just behind at $42.3 million. Reunited rockers the Police were #3 at $41.9 million and are expected to top the list by year’s end with a tour predicted to generated $100 million in North America. Christina Aguilera landed at #7 on the list with $30.6 million, just after former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters and before a Cirque du Soleil show. …

Iman has caused a stir or two with her graceful looks over the years, but if you ask the supermodel who she thinks is about to make a stir, she says it’s Lenny Kravitz/ Lisa Bonet offspring Zoe Kravitz. Iman raved about Zoe in the new issue of Trace, which is on newsstands this week — Iman guest-edited the magazine’s annual “Black Girls Rule” issue. (Check out pictures of Zoe in the mag.) “When I met her for the first time, with her dad and her late grandfather, I literally took her under my wings like she was my own daughter. Self-effacing, knowing and grounded is what makes her truly the new ‘It’ girl.” Zoe Kravitz, who is set to act alongside Terrence Howard and Jodie Foster in this fall’s “The Brave One,” opened up in the mag about her Hollywood ambitions and what it was like to work with Foster. “Every time we did a take I would check if it was OK,” Kravitz said. “[Jodie] would tell me to let go and just do it. She [just] taught me to be comfortable on set.”

7.16.2007

Kelly Rowland collapsed onstage in Nigeria on Sunday during the ThisDay Music Festival as a result of dehydration, a spokesperson from her label, Columbia Records, said Monday (July 16). Rowland was taken to a nearby hospital in Lagos and is said to be in good condition. She’s scheduled to return to the States on Monday; Shakira, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, John Legend and Diddy were also scheduled to appear at the second edition of the annual festival. …

Snoop Dogg is getting real. The rapper has signed a deal with E! Entertainment Television to appear in a “hilarious and heartwarming” reality show that will show him juggling his hip-hop and parenting responsibilities. The Associated Press reported that the show will debut in late 2007. … Wanna get your hands on Gwen Stefani? Huckleberry Toys is releasing 150 limited-edition dolls of the No Doubt frontwoman at San Diego’s Comic-Con July 25-29. But if you can’t get to SoCal, the toymaker will take phone orders beginning Monday (July 16) for the $100 doll. Call (818) 363-4500 for your own mini-Gwen. …

Justin Timberlake‘s Southern charm — i.e. the Memphis-style restaurant, Southern Hospitality, that the singer is opening in New York with pals Trace Ayala and Eytan Sugarman — will open for business on Wednesday. … Britney Spears has been reaching out to some of the hottest songwriters to work on her comeback album — but she probably shouldn’t give Pink a call. The punky pop star says she would never write a song for Spears, MSNBC reports. “[It's] not because I don’t like [Spears] — I do think she’s crazy enough to do one of my songs,” Pink said. “But it’s very hard for me to let go of my songs and the only people I write for are real singers — not that she’s not a real singer, but she’s more of an entertainer.” Pink named Lauryn Hill, Faith Hill and Amy Winehouse as examples of who she’d like to write for, “because you need serious attitude to carry off the dumb stuff I write about.” …

Michael Jackson just can’t seem to evade his creditors. The singer is being sued yet again for failure to pay, this time for approximately $30 million owed in commissions and fees for a $330 million loan. Transitional Investors claims in a suit filed in San Francisco on Friday that Jackson stiffed the company after it arranged to bail the pop star out of his financial mess, which began with Bank of America loaning Jackson $200 million in 1998 and another $72.5 million in 1999, secured by Jackson’s interests in his own songs and the Beatles‘ catalog. In January 2005, Jackson received another loan of $330 million, which included a $3 million breakup fee for the larger loan, and 9 percent of the $330 million. Transitional is asking for the money owed as well as punitive damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and fraudulent transfer. …

In other legal news, Los Angeles DJ Samantha Ronson is suing blogger Perez Hilton for $20 million over his claims that she set up her pal Lindsay Lohan. In a post on his Web site, Hilton implied that Ronson had tipped off photographers for those infamous snooze shots, in which the open-mouth actress was asleep or passed out in the back of a parked car in May, and that Ronson allegedly planted the cocaine found in the car when Lohan was arrested. The suit also targets the paparazzi photo agency Sunset Photo and News. In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in L.A., Ronson claims that Hilton’s depiction of her as a “disloyal, dishonest friend who ‘sold out’ and ‘set up’ her friend Lohan for personal financial gain” is nothing but libel. … It looks like ABC’s “The View” has been missing a taste of controversy since Rosie O’Donnell left the show. The answer? The always-entertaining “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul. The “Hey Paula” star will join the “View” ladies as a guest host on Thursday’s show. …

If voting for “American Idol” isn’t enough for you, how about wearing it? In February, the production house behind the show will launch a line of clothing for girls and tweens consisting of denim jeans, T-shirts, dresses and vests in the $10-$40 range, according to a Reuters report. The line, Lyrix by Lyric Culture, will come with pink, white and black logos embroidered or painted onto the fabric, including a pair of jeans with a microphone cord snaking up the leg and other pieces with lyrics from songs by winners of the show. … This has to be a “Jackass” prank, right? Steve-O announced on his MySpace page Saturday that he’s working on a rap album. “To anyone that chooses to be critical of my decision to make this rap album, I’ve got bad news for you, it’s a great album,” Steve-O wrote in the blog post. “I’ve been recording it with the producers of the one and only G-Unit and it is, indisputably, incredible and made by the most talented people in rap music.” …

Sony BMG has filed a lawsuit against the company that made the “rootkit” software that caused the label so many headaches last year. The $12 million suit against Arizona-based Amergence Group claims that the company’s MediaMax anti-piracy software — which was surreptitiously included on 32 Sony BMG releases and caused some users to suffer computer problems — ended up costing Sony nearly $6 million when it had to compensate users for those problems, according to a BBC News report. … Web radio stations that said they were facing certain death if new royalty rates kicked in as scheduled on July 15 got a stay of execution last week: Royalty collector SoundExchange agreed to hold off on implementing the new rates while negotiations continue, BusinessWeek.com reported. The stations, which say the much higher rates will force them out of business, have already gotten at least one major concession, with SoundExchange agreeing to cap a new minimum royalty rate at $50,000 per station per year. This is instead of the $500 per music stream that was originally proposed, which would have charged them that amount for each stream created by each user.