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Showtime(LOS ANGELES) -- It's been a long time coming but thanks to Showtime, Mo'Nique has officially set a brand-new stand-up comedy special.

Premiering on February 7, Showtime will air Mo's first major comedy special in ten years: Mo'Nique & Friends: Live From Atlanta. Filmed at Atlanta's Variety Playhouse, the hour-long special will feature original stand-up from the Oscar winner along with special guests that include Chappelle's Show vet Donnell Rawlings, and new comedians Prince T-Dub, Tone-X, Correy Bell and Just Nesh.

In the trailer, Mo' seemingly alludes to her ongoing issues with Netflix, which she alleges broke the law when the streamer lowballed her for a comedy special. Mo' subsequently filed a gender and racial discrimination lawsuit against them.

"They tired to shut a b**** out. They tried to make a b**** disappear. But you can't keep a good b**** down," Mo' says in the Showtime promo.

As previously reported, Netflix reportedly offered Mo'Nique $500,000 to shoot a comedy special for them, which Mo argued wasn't reasonable since Amy Schumer was offered $11 million for her Netflix special and other notable comedians, like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, were offered $20 million. Netflix responded to Mo'Nique's claims in a motion filed last week, calling the comedian's retaliation claims "nonsensical."  There's no public word on how much Showtime paid Mo'Nique.

Mo'Nique & Friends: Live From Atlanta airs Friday, February 7 at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- "I was a bit shocked. I'm sure everyone was a bit shocked."

That was Coco Gauff's reaction to facing  Venus Williams again for the first round at a Grand Slam tournament.

Just as Gauff, 15, bested Williams, 39, at Wimbledon last year, she's done it again at the Australian Open. Gauff beat Williams 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Monday at the start of the first major tennis tournament of the year.

"That was really difficult. She played really well," Guaff said of the match, adding that she was "really nervous."

Gauff said she was "more positive coming into this match," after growing her confidence playing on "big courts."

Other women who played and won in notable matches on Monday were defending champion Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams -- a 23 time major champion, top-ranked Ash Barty and 2018 Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki plans to retire after this Australian Open, according to ESPN.

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traveler1116/iStock(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Law enforcement officials will be on high alert Monday as activists from around the country are expected to descend on Richmond, Virginia, to rally against the state’s progressive gun control proposals.

Gun rights groups such as the Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America are planning a protest on the state’s Lobby Day. Lawmakers in Virginia have proposed a ban on assault rifles and a "red flag" law, which would give officials the power to confiscate weapons from an individual who poses a threat, among other gun control measures.

Law enforcement officials and Gov. Ralph Northam warned that this planned show of force has put Virginians in danger. On Sunday, people sported signifiers for gun rights on bumper stickers and clothing as they quietly filled into downtown Richmond ahead of the rally.

There were no overt signs of white supremacists or counter-protesters. On Monday, police will not be separating counter-protesters within the fenced area in Capitol Square, officers told ABC News.

On Wednesday, Northam issued a state of emergency and banned all weapons from Capitol grounds from Friday until Tuesday night. Northam said he had received credible intelligence that hate groups and militias were planning violent attacks in Capitol Square that mirrored the ones seen before the 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally where three people were killed.

"They are not coming to peacefully protest, they are coming to intimidate and to cause harm," the governor said at a news conference.

Gun rights supporters tried to block the state of emergency, arguing that it infringed on their right to rally; however, a judge denied their motion and their subsequent appeal before the ban went into effect Friday evening.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League has asked its members to obey the state of emergency. But the group said those who plan to attend Lobby Day and protest outside the protected areas should come armed.

"For every one gun owner on the Capitol grounds, we need another two to five people outside," the league said in a statement.

President Donald Trump showed his support for the activists on Twitter, writing in a tweet Friday night, "Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia."

Virginia's House Republican leader, however, called for calm and urged all groups attending Monday's Lobby Day to be peaceful.

"Any group that comes to Richmond to spread white supremacist garbage, or any other form of hate, violence, or civil unrest isn't welcome here," he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Recent FBI activity highlighted the threats facing Lobby Day. On Thursday, the agency arrested three reputed members of a white supremacy group who were allegedly armed with several weapons and intended to travel to Richmond "in anticipation of a possible race war," law enforcement sources told ABC News.

A spokesperson for the FBI's Richmond field office on Sunday told ABC News in a statement: “In response to a request for assistance from the Virginia Division of Capitol Police, FBI Richmond has been working with our local and state law enforcement partners in relation to threats of violence at the rally on January 20, 2020. We will provide assistance as deemed appropriate to ensure public safety.”

State, Capitol and Richmond police said they will have a strong presence in Capitol Square and will set up checkpoints to ensure the weapons ban is enforced and everyone is safe.

The emergency order is slated to end Tuesday evening, but the gun control debate will continue over the next few months.

Northam and Democratic state leaders said they remain committed to enacting new laws that would curtail gun violence in the state. Several Virginia towns, however, have made resolutions declaring themselves "Second Amendment Sanctuaries" and passed resolutions that disavow any state or national gun control measures.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Sentebale(LONDON) -- Prince Harry has made his first public comments about the decision he and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made to no longer be "working members" of Britain's royal family.

"The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly," Harry, 35, said Sunday night at an event to benefit his charity Sentebale. "It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven't always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option."

Royal watchers noticed Harry's use of "I" in that line of his speech as much of the blame around Harry and Meghan's new future has been placed on Meghan, who gave up her life in Los Angeles and Toronto and her acting career when she married Prince Harry in 2018.

"I have grown up feeling support from so many of you, and I watched as you welcomed Meghan with open arms as you saw me find the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life," Harry said. "Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hurray!"

"I also know you've come to know me well enough over all these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do. And she does, and she's the same woman I fell in love with," he added. "We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride."

"Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve," Harry said. "For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."

Buckingham Palace announced over the weekend that beginning this spring, Harry and Meghan will no longer use their HRH titles and will be known only as Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. The couple and their 8-month-old son, Archie, plan to spend the majority of their time living in North America, though they will keep their Frogmore Cottage home in the U.K.

Harry and Meghan will no longer rely on public funds for their royal duties and will no longer travel overseas on behalf of Her Majesty. They are still members of the royal family and will attend family events like Trooping the Colour when invited by the queen, according to a palace source.

Prince Harry is losing his military titles and patronages including Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant Royal Air Force Honington and Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command: Commodore in Chief. It's a significant loss for a royal who served in Afghanistan during his time in the British Army.

Harry and Meghan initially proposed in a bombshell announcement released via Instagram and a new website that they would simply "step back" as senior members of the royal family and work to become "financially independent," but after high-stakes negotiations with Harry's family and palace officials, Meghan and Harry's exit from royal life became more stark.

"What I want to make clear is we're not walking away, and we certainly aren't walking away from you," Harry said Sunday. "Our hope was to continue serving the queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible."

"I've accepted this, knowing that it doesn't change who I am or how committed I am," he said. "But I hope that helps you understand what it had to come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life."

"You've looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force, and my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful because this is so much bigger than just us," Harry said. "It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service."

"We are taking a leap of faith. Thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step," he said.

In a moment of levity in his speech, Harry also thanked supporters for the excitement they've shown for Archie, whom he said recently saw snow for the first time and "thought it was bloody brilliant."

Archie and Meghan have remained in the Vancouver area of Canada while Harry has been in the U.K. negotiating their family's future. It is expected that Harry will join his wife and son soon, but he is still attending to royal duties in the U.K.

In addition to attending the Sentebale benefit Sunday, Prince Harry met with world leaders Monday at the U.K.-Africa Investment Summit hosted by the U.K. government. Harry and Meghan visited Africa last year in what appears to be, at least for the foreseeable future, their last official royal tour of a foreign country.

Harry is not expected to join an evening reception Monday night at Buckingham Palace for the summit hosted by his brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Liz Rock(NEW YORK) -- Liz Rock started her transformation journey four years ago weighing 350 pounds.

The 29-year-old Boston resident is now 150 pounds thinner, a four-time marathoner and a fitness instructor.

"At 350 pounds there were a lot of things I couldn’t do, simple things that people don’t have to think about if they‘re not considered overweight," Rock told ABC News' Good Morning America. "I would have anxiety about taking the train because I’m taking up a seat-and-a-half. If I was on a plane I'd pretend like I was sleeping because my seat belt wouldn't fit."

"I like to use the analogy that I was living under water. I just got accustomed to it, even though it’s not normal," she said. "I’m now not underwater anymore."

Rock kicked off her weight loss by seeking support. She joined a program in Boston -- one that she still goes to this day -- that offers support groups, weekly weigh-ins and accountability with diet and exercise.

Through the program Rock learned tools to help her change old patterns and behaviors, which for her included not eating during the day and binge eating at night.

"I learned to time my meals three or four hours apart and I set alarms on my phone to remind myself to eat," she said. "And I went from eating a lot of carbs to eating low-carb."

Rock prepped her meals for the week on Sundays so she would always have healthy choices in her home. As the weight came off, Rock said she became consistent in exercising nearly daily and surrounded herself with people who supported her new habits.

"So much good has come from losing all this weight," she said. "I’ve found lifelong friends."

While Rock's before and after photos are what grab attention, she is focused on maintaining her weight loss and wants people to know the reality of the struggle that continues to be.

"I feel like losing weight was the easy part for me and the hard part is now maintaining," she said. "Sometimes I feel like my life has been consumed with just figuring out how to not get back to 350 pounds."

Rock has worked hard to look beyond a number on the scale, she said. She and a friend started the Bra Run in Boston, a race where women run in only their sports bras to promote body acceptance.

"To me it’s not about a size, it’s just about being comfortable," she said. "You should love your body regardless of the weight that you are and be comfortable and confident in the body that you’re in because it does so much for you."

For others inspired to start their own wellness journey, Rock shared these six tips:

1. Have a board of directors to support you:
"Having people around you who are supportive, whether a program like I did or a therapist, or friends and family who can keep you accountable, because your worst enemy in this can be yourself."

2. Just start: "Literally just take the first steps."

3. Diet before exercise: "I say to focus on diet first. Once you are consistent for a month or two, then you can add in exercise."

4. Find a way to be active that you love: "Find what makes you happy. You don’t just have to go the gym and walk on the treadmill and be miserable if that’s not your thing. I love being outside."

5. Be consistent: "Even if you mess up, get back up right away. Don’t let months pass by before you try to get back."

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself either: "Be kind to yourself. You should be proud of yourself for wanting to take the first steps. You should be proud of yourself for wanting to be happier and healthier."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion(NEW YORK) -- Stitch Fix founder and CEO Katrina Lake made history in 2017 when she became the youngest female founder to take a company public at just 34.

Founded in 2011, the online personal styling service became profitable within three years and now serves more than three million clients, generating over $1.5 billion in sales.

"The original thesis was marrying humans and data and analytics to build this personalized shopping experience," Lake told ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis on the "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis" podcast.

Her vision was to transform the way that people shop while democratizing a personal styling experience.

Users fill out a "Style Profile," which a personal stylist uses to handpick items fitting a customer's tastes, needs and budget. Items are shipped monthly to customers, who have three days to decide which pieces they want to keep. A $20 styling fee is applied as a credit toward any items the customer wants to buy.

"We've sold about $5 billion of clothes, all sight unseen. And that's kind of an amazing thing -- that no one is clicking on something, adding it to their cart and buying ... 100 percent of that is recommended to our clients." Lake said on the podcast.

Equally as crucial to the personal stylists of the company are the more than 100 data scientists developing algorithms to better understand customers. A new feature the company offers is called "Shop Your Looks," which uses machine learning to provide customers with a selection of 30 to 40 items based on things they've decided to purchase.

While Stitch Fix joins a myriad other companies looking to transform online shopping, including Rent the Runway, Instagram and Amazon, Lake said data-driven features like "Shop Your Looks" help differentiate her company.

"Our focus on personalization, our focus on apparel, our focus on recommendations at the core of what we do is what's going to differentiate us," she said.

The success of the company is undeniable. In its financial results for the first quarter of 2020 (which ended Nov. 2, 2019 as per the company's financial results report), Stitch Fix increased active clients by 17% to 3.4 million and net revenue by 21% to $444.8 million from the previous year. When Lake thinks about the worst advice she never took, to sell her company in the first year, this type of growth reaffirms her decision to decline the offer.

"We'd raised less than a million dollars, and we had a tens-of-millions-of-dollars offer of a company that wanted to acquire us, and I mean, it had to give us pause," Lake told Jarvis.

Lake was in her late 20s, living paycheck to paycheck, and the offer would have made her a millionaire only a year into her first company. A lawyer she was working with recommending taking it.

"He's like, 'This is so lucky. This is so lucky.' And I'm like, 'Well, do I think that I'm lucky or do I think that I'm actually good at this? And if I'm actually good at this, then I should actually double down on myself and invest in myself,'" Lake told Jarvis.

She turned it down.

"Ultimately, it actually did end up feeling like an easy decision to make -- a feeling like I believe in this. I believe in myself. I believe in the company, and this is the right thing," Lake continued.

Today, Stitch Fix is valued at more than $2 billion.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


NoDerog/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- American elections have long been awash in cash, but a decade after the Supreme Court eliminated limits on political spending by outside groups, watchdogs say the system is drowning in it.

Ten years ago this week, the court decided Citizens United v FEC, a landmark 5-4 ruling that unleashed billions of dollars from corporations, labor unions and other groups into American campaigns as a protected form of free speech.

"The decision stands for freedom and encourages participation in the political process," said Michael Boos, vice president and general counsel of Citizens United, the conservative nonprofit organization which successfully challenged federal caps on independent political spending. "Money is speech, and that is a reality. Without money you can’t get your message out."

The 2020 election is projected to be the most expensive in history, in large part due to the spending by groups the Citizens United decision made possible, analysts say.

“The system today is funded by influence-seekers,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonpartisan campaign watchdog. “We’ve had problems all along, but Citizens United just magnified it tremendously.”

The 2010 case cleared the way for creation of Super PACs, the political entities which can raise and spend unlimited sums to influence elections, so long as they don’t explicitly coordinate with a candidate.

During the 2016 campaign, more than 2,300 Super PACs spent $1.1 billion -- nearly 17% the $6.5 billion amount spent by all parties involved in the election cycle at all levels. Most of that money came from just 100 donors, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

By comparison, in 2010, there were just 83 active Super PACs, spending a combined $63 million during the cycle, the group said.

Super PACs have spent more than $2.9 billion in federal elections between 2010 and 2018, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That's just over 11%.

All outside groups, including Super PACs, labor unions, trade associations, corporations and others, spent a combined $5.6 billion in federal elections between 2010 and 2018. That's just over 21% of all spending in federal elections over the same period.

Corporations, unions and many of the nation’s wealthiest donors -- reluctant to draw negative attention for direct contributions to candidates or campaigns -- have poured funds into Super PACs, which are less well known and harder for the public to track.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the Supreme Court majority in Citizens United, concluded that the spending is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be considered a corrupt quid pro quo.

“The fact that a corporation, or any other speaker, is willing to spend money to try to persuade voters presupposes that the people have the ultimate influence over elected officials,” Kennedy wrote.

Two months later, in a separate case, the justices took things even further, striking down limits on contributions to independent political groups altogether.

“Justice Kennedy was generally skeptical of government regulation of constitutional rights--including the freedom of speech. I think his Citizens United opinion reflected his preference for liberty, rather than control,” said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law. “Moreover, I think both Republicans and Democrats alike have benefited from Citizens United. This decision is our new normal.”

With each successive year since the case was decided, spending in American political campaigns has continued to climb. The 2016 federal elections cost $6.5 billion, up 3% from four years earlier, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The total cost of the 2000 election, by contrast, was around $3 billion.

The growing involvement of outside political groups is largely responsible for the increase.

Spending by all political organizations -- other than the candidates' campaigns -- has increased from $1.3 billion in 2012 (a presidential year) to $1.6 billion in 2016 (another presidential year). Between those two contests, Super PAC spending increased as a share of all outside money, from 47% to 64%.

The efforts by independent organizations to influence voters is not limited to presidential elections. During the 2014 midterm campaign, Super PAC spending was $345 million. In 2018, another midterm year, that jumped to $822 million, the data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows.

“The thought that the Constitution requires this toxic state of affairs is astonishing,” wrote four prominent constitutional and campaign finance scholars in a 2017 University of Chicago Law School working paper.

“According to the Supreme Court, Congress many prohibit a $5500 contribution to an official campaign because this contribution is corruption or creates the appearance of corruption,” the authors, Albert Alschuler, Laurence Tribe, Norman Eisen and Richard Painter, wrote. “However, Congress may not prohibit a $20 million contribution to a Super PAC because this contribution does not corrupt or create even an appearance of corruption.”

The federal contribution limit direct to candidates was $5,400 during the 2016 campaign cycle.

"The reason Super PACs are necessary is because of the artificially low contribution limits for candidates," said Boos. "A standard political action committee (PAC) can only give $5000 to a candidate. That’s it, per election, and that’s the same limit that was in place in 1976. It hasn’t even kept up with inflation."

Millions of voters say they are dissatisfied with the status quo.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found 3 in 4 Americans -- including majorities of Republicans and Democrats -- believe there “should be limits on the amount of money individuals and organizations” can spend in political campaigns.

Nearly as many believe it’s important that major political donors do not have more influence than others, the poll found.

Dozens of states have tried to implement their own campaign finance reforms in the wake of Citizens United.
Thirty-nine states restrict the amount individual donors can contribute to state campaigns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But those laws have had mixed success.

In November 2019, the Supreme Court struck down Alaska's campaign contribution limits of $500 per candidate, per year in state races, saying such a stringent cap could violate the First Amendment.

“A contribution limit that is too low can therefore prove an obstacle to the very electoral fairness it seeks to promote," they wrote.

Twenty states have endorsed amending the Constitution to authorize Congress and states to set limits on campaign fundraising and spending, according to American Promise, a nonprofit organization leading the nationwide effort.

"Amendments are rare, and they’re hard. But they do happen," said the group's CEO Jeff Clements. "We did four amendments between 1961 and 1971 -- in ten years -- and you think about how turbulent that period was. Those were difficult times. Americans know we have some big structural problems we have to fix. I see this happening within a decade."

"It’s about free speech," Clements added. "Real free speech means some limits on the megaphone so that all ideas are heard."

In Congress, the House passed Democrat-sponsored legislation in 2019 that would overhaul the nation’s campaign finance system and establish an optional 6-to-1 public matching system for political donations under $200. It has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“Eventually Citizens United is either going to be overturned or we’re going to pass an amendment,” said Wertheimer. “But there is a more immediate solution, and we’re very close now. If you can create another way of financing elections, and we’re on the doorstep right now, you can give candidates the opportunity to be free from the flood of influence-buying money that they face every two years.”

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