The cameras stopped rolling on Vanderpump Rules, and that's when it all got real. I'm Jax Taylor. And I'm Brittany Cartwright. And we are talking about everything on our podcast, When Reality Hits. Marriage and parenthood, friendships and feuds. Definitely feuds. And life before, during and after Vanderp up Rules. So listen to and follow When Reality Hits with Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright. At Apple podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Today on the TMZ podcast.
Hello and welcome to the TMZ podcast. I'm Charlie Cotton, and today I'm joined by TMZ Sports's own Ed Lewis.
Man, what an exciting day, Charlie. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really happy to be here.
Of course, mate. Well, I've got you in because our leading story is not a pleasant one. Conor McGregor is accused of raping a woman after NBA Game 4 of the final series. We're going to talk about that off the top, but we're also going to talk about Megan Michael and Prince Harry ending their podcast deal with Spotify that was worth $20 million. They're ending it after one season. And also we're going to talk about climate activists targeting a Monet painting in Sweden. But to begin with, Conor McGregor, he's in deep trouble. Can you tell me about.
It, Ed? Yeah, we broke this story yesterday. I worked on all day yesterday. So what essentially is alleged to have happened was Conor McGregor was at Game 4, the NBA Finals. You recall he made a lot of waves there because he punched the mascot during a half time skit.
Went to hospital. Yeah. And the mascot was so beat up from it, he had to go to the hospital. So McGregor had already made waves there. But according to these demands letters that we've obtained from an accuser's attorney, McGregor sexually assaulted a woman in the bathroom following the game. At the arena. At the arena. So the allegations are this, that he met up with a woman inside of the club at the arena. And by the way, did you know there's a nightclub inside of the Kaseya Center where the Miami... It's Miami. I was blown away by that. So the allegations are that he met up with a woman inside of a nightclub after the game inside of the arena. At one point, he gets up, allegedly, to go to use the restroom. The woman's attorney claims that one of Conner's people then came back to her and said, Hey, Conner wants to see you, led her into the bathroom and sexually assaulted her. I mean, the allegations are heinous. I don't think we need to get into the graphic detail of them. But Conner is adamant that he did nothing wrong. He said repeatedly that the allegations are false and he will not be intimidated.
His people have called it a shakedown attempt, an attempt to extort him for money. So we got video that shows the interaction between the two outside of the restroom. And it doesn't do a whole lot for either side, I don't think.
I thought it places them both in the bathroom. You can see Connor go up to the lady and grab her by the hand or something and escort her into the bathroom. Then the bathroom door locks or closes, and there are security guards guarding the door. She says no one could enter or exit. And I mean, the video doesn't disprove anything she said is what my.
Impression is. Right. But then there's also the aspect to it that she doesn't seem like an unwilling participant to go with him into the bathroom, if that makes sense.
But she had already agreed to go to his hotel room prior to this, right? So she thought that maybe we're off to his hotel. Maybe she never planned to have sex with him, but she's wanting to go to Conor McGregor, the big UFC star's hotel room with her friend as well. Maybe she thought they were going to party.
So here's the rub, I guess, from both sides. There's a discrepancy between the demands letters that were sent to Connor, the Miami Heat, and the NBA, and what we see on this video, and now the new explanation for what we see on this video. And that's where we're at with all this. So initially, she had claimed that NBA and Miami Heat security cordoned her off, forced her into this bathroom where Connor was waiting for her, and the sexual assault was performed. Now this video has come out, and she, like you said, is now changing up the story to, Well, he told me that he was going to go to the hotel. And when I went there, I thought he was taking me to the hotel, but in turn, he took me to the bathroom. Now, Connor is saying that this proves that she's essentially a liar. I'll maybe read you.
Some of it. Because of what?
Because she's changed her story is what Conner's camp is saying. So this is a statement from Conner's attorney. After the video was released by TMZ, the Claimant's lawyer now has changed her story. Mr. Mcgregor welcomes the investigation, which he firmly believes will show the claims against him are false. After not responding to the demand for money made by the Claimant's counsel, she turned to the media, applied pressure. This is no more than a shakedown. So essentially he's saying that she fabricated the allegations now that they're on video showing different side of the story that it just proves that she's made it all up.
Is it a different side? Because, I mean, I guess he's hanging on the word forced and the word force may be in your mind then you think of someone pushing someone or pulling her forcefully. But you see her walking willingly with him. But her friend is with her at the time as well. And her friend is not allowed in the bathroom. I see the video differently, I think, than Conners' people do, in that I think you can be forced, maybe not even physically, but a big star grabs you, you felt coerced. And then what happened in the bathroom, he tried to kiss her. He tried to get her to do all types of things. And obviously, she was not a willing participant in it.
Yeah. So the allegations are that he forcibly kissed her. He made her perform oral sex, and then he attempted to sodomize her. And she was only able to get away because she was able to elbow him repeatedly and shove him out of there. And then she claimed that at one point, she left her bag in the bathroom because she was in such a hurry to get out of there and get away from him. And she says that they basically held her bag hostage, and she had to plead with them. And it was just this basically horrific scene. That all being said, her attorney said the discrepancy in the two stories is because she was inebriated. The attorney is claiming that she had at least six drinks and she has receipts to prove it. So that is their response to Connor's response, basically, because Connor's response is, Well, she changed stories. And they're like, Well, look, she was inebriated, and she's told everything that she remembers. So now that the video is there, now that the video is showing, she's like, Oh, well, I guess that did happen. So that's her side of the story. But the bigger issue here, perhaps maybe not bigger, but another issue here for Conner is that she went to police on Sunday morning.
This game happened on Friday night. The incident allegedly happened early Saturday morning. On Sunday morning, she went to police, and police have told us they are launching an investigation into all this. So he is now under criminal investigation. Whether that will lead to charges, who knows? But this is a big deal for Connor.
Yeah. I mean, it's really not good that he's leading a woman into a bathroom, the door closed, and there's security standing outside. I mean, he's in supposedly a happy family, happy marriage. They just, the day before, announced that they're having their fourth child. So it's not a good look. Whichever way it comes out, this is not good for Conner McGregor and his career and his family and.
Anything like that. But even an hour or two before this alleged incident goes down, they're trying to get him to have a funny skit with the mascot, and he destroys the poor guy. It sends him to the hospital. Connor, he just can't get out of his own way sometimes. You know what I mean? Is he a heavy drinker? I don't know. We got video of him. That's another one. At half time of the game, he was at the same nightclub. Again, this nightclub, I guess, rages on throughout the game. Wow. Anyways, at half time, we got him inside of the nightclub, a video of him inside the nightclub. And you can see he has a drink in his hand. He has his own Whiskey company, proper 12. He has his own beer company, it says Ford Stout. I imagine he does partake in a lot of alcohol consumption. But yeah, imagine going to an NBA Finals game, and in that three hour spin, you get accused of knocking out a mascot, and then you would get accused of rape. He cannot get out of his own way. And it's crazy for him because this summer was supposed to be the comeback summer for Connor.
He's on the UFC's Tough Enough Show against Michael Chandler. At the end of the summer, I guess next fall, he's supposed to fight Michael Chandler. It's going to be his big return. Like you said, he's going to have his fourth baby. Everything is supposed to be like this is Connor here and just can't get out of his own way, man.
Well, it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out because, yeah, one one of the biggest athletes in the world getting accused of one of the worst things you can get accused of. It's going to be interesting, but yeah, really not good stuff. On to our next story. Megan Markle and Prince Harry, while their exclusive podcast deal with Spotify is coming to an end. So sorry if you enjoyed archetypes. It'll only last those 12 episodes that are out. They were signed originally to a $20 million deal with Spotify, but that meant that they could exclusively... Spotify had the podcast deal, so they couldn't make it anywhere else. Well, now apparently they've mutually agreed to part ways, which I guess means Spotify was saying, We don't want you as much as you don't want us. But it's just interesting. You signed such a big contract. They didn't even get the full $20 million payout actually because they didn't make enough episodes. But it's like I thought these guys were going to have the best lives when they came to America and they were trying this and they were trying that. And they signed a hundred million dollars deal with Netflix and Spotify.
And now it seems like a lot of their projects aren't working out so well.
I'm flabbergasted by that, too. These are two of the most famous people on the planet. Every time we see Megan Marco at things, she's surrounded by A listersters. You know what I mean? I guess Harry, to some extent, too. They cannot produce enough content or enough interesting enough content to fulfill even a full season of a podcast? I'm very curious as to why. Why are they not interesting enough to get this done?
Right. Well, I mean, the podcast is about deconstructing the history of female stereotypes. So I guess that's not.
For everyone. It's a niche audience.
Yeah. I mean, in this time when everyone's loved... They want podcast to be funny and like this one.
We're having so much fun.
Yeah, we're going to be in season 20. We're going to be in season 100. But she was interviewing Serena Williams, Mariah Carey, Paris Hilton about stereotypes. So I guess, I don't know, maybe the content.
Wasn't ut is that not more of Spotify's fault then? You got to understand that that's a very small marketplace. Even though you are talking to the Serenas and the Paris's of the world, how do you not foresee that being like, oh, this probably has less than zero % chance of succeeding. It seems like such a generic topic. It does. You have Megan Markle, why not talk to Paris Hilton or Serena Williams about off field lives? It's something that would appeal to a broader audience.
Talk to other princesses about what's.
It like. I don't know. Yeah, it seemed like they could do a lot more with it. And then I was reading that she's still going to produce her podcast for a different platform.
Yeah, she's trying to shop it.
Somewhere else now. Yeah, it seems like there's just... We talked about it, everything they touched, just like...
Well, the only things that have succeeded that they've done have been based on shaming the royal family. But that seems like they're like a one trick pony now. All they've got is like exposing secrets. And now what do you got.
For me? Right. How many more secrets do you have to expose?
Once they're tapped out of secrets, what do they do then? Honestly, is she going to go back to acting? God knows what he can do. Can't even do.
You tell me, though, what would you find interesting from these two? What could they do now? You said, I'm very interested by how they lived as royals and the exit of the royals, but that seems like that's all tapped out. Is there anything further they can do to stay relevant and perform content that you.
Would consume? But are they interesting people on the face of it, or is it they only just lived interesting lives and now we know their lives, and now it's just like, Well, they're tapped out.
Probably not, right? I don't know. But then is she now too big to go back to television roles?
She might have to for the money.
That's a tough spot to be in, man. Could you imagine being so big, so massive? Now you've told your stories, and now they've given you all these abilities platforms to tell more stories. You're like, I got no more stories.
Wow. It's pretty crazy that they must feel the weight of the world on their shoulders that everyone's a little bit against them. And now some of this stuff is failing. So people are starting to like.
Okay, here we go. But perhaps maybe that's the route. Maybe just be the villains and keep going that way. But maybe they don't even care. I mean, maybe they do. You know them better than I do. Do you think they...
Because I'm Australian?
Because you're more on the TMZ side. I'm on the TMZ sports side. I guess I'm Australian too. No, but do you still?
I've actually been more friendly towards those two than a lot of other people at TMZ. I have been rooting for them, but it's coming to a point where they're becoming more and harder to defend. It's like all the Free Britney people for a while, it's like, Yeah. And then suddenly the Free Brittany things got a bit quieter when she started to do different stuff. I feel like, These guys, I don't know how much I can keep defending them and rooting for them because they're not that entertaining. They make up these things, I'd say, about the paparazzi in New York. I mean, being a paparazzi field reporter myself, Don't come for me. Otherwise, I'm going to stop supporting you. I don't know what the future holds for them, but I'm not hopeful.
I do know this that they appear at basketball games sometimes every now and then, and they are massive there. So there is an audience that would like to consume what they're giving. You know what I mean? They were on Kiss Cam or whatever, and people were enthralled by it. More so, I think it was a Laker game a couple of weeks, a couple of months ago, where there was a Leo Narno DiCaprio. There was a lot of these big Adam Sandlers, big, big names. And all anybody wanted to talk about was, Oh, maybe in and Harry are here. So there is a market for it.
They'll have to figure out how to monetize that.
Yeah, they got to become more interesting, I suppose.
Right. On to our last story just quickly because we spent a lot of time on these two. A Manet painting was vandalized by two climate activists, two grown up, Gretchenbergs. They sound like, In Sweden at a gallery, they smeared red paint all over this famous painting. They made a big deal about it. But I'm over these displays of let's wreck something. It gets me off side. It makes me want to litter thing. I don't like them going for these artwork where this artwork doesn't have a stake in the fight. This artwork is actually of a garden. So it's actually of the environment they're trying to protect. The Irony. What do you feel about these protests?
Well, I think we're talking about it so it's successful for them. You know what I mean? So if they're not doing these outlandish things, they are not going to be heard. It happens a ton in the sports world, too. Just in the last couple of years alone, they've had a person who was a climate activist running onto the field with a smoke bomb. And you recall, a RAMs player tackled him to the ground. So they have to make these grandious things because when they're just picketing outside, nobody cares. So they have to do it. That being said, you don't condone vandalism. But I do think that this painting is encased in glass, so there's a chance that it wasn't damaged or anything. Thing and they still got their point across. This feels like an effective way to get...
Are you a team activist?
I get the message and I get it's the only way that people are going to hear the message. You have to do these crazy wild things. Now, there's punishment for everything. They were reported to be detained and who knows if they're going to be arrested or they're going to go to jail or they're going to be charged, whatever. So there are repercussions for their actions, but their message is now being heard. I don't know if it's being really well.
Received, but at least does it change your actions going forward?
I'm not sure. Not me personally, no, but at least I'm aware of it now. And perhaps if it really calls to me, and maybe there are people that are different than me, then it really calls them. And maybe it does. If it changes one life, then maybe that's their goal.
You're actually selling.
Me on that. I've seen it all as a sports person, they pick it outside of games and nobody cares. But when they sprint onto the field and get tackled, everybody cares. So you have to make these big waves if you want to get people to hear your message. Obviously, I don't ever want to see people vandalizing historic piece of art. But if that's what it takes to get you to hear their message, I.
Don't know. What would you do if you wanted to get your point across? What would you vandalize? Yeah. And with what? Because sometimes I do it with mash potatoes.
I feel like nudity is always the way to go. I like that. People really gravitate toward nakedness. So I think if I was trying to promote something, I think you got to get naked and do it in public. And that reality.
Well, I hope you find a cause you care enough about so that we can be the beneficiaries. That's fantastic. All right, well, thank.
You for joining me, Ed. Thank you. This was amazing. I really enjoyed.
Our time. Awesome, man. Thank you very much. And we'll see you all here next week. You.