John Travolta slammed sexual assault rumors as pure ‘speculation’ and claimed that his new movie Gotti was delayed because he ‘begged’ Lionsgate to sell the film back to its production company.
Last month Travolta was named in a criminal complaint by a 21-year-old masseur who accused the actor of sexual battery that reportedly took place in 2000.
‘Unfortunately, the reports were speculation bordering on fake news,’ Travolta told Deadline this week.
Travolta claimed that he ‘literally begged’ Lionsgate to give up the movie because the company was ‘planning on a minimal release’, adding that the movie ‘wasn’t dropped’.
The actor said he is now working with Edward Walson, the producer of five Broadway plays and eight films.
John Travolta (pictured as John Gotti in the movie) has slammed sexual assault rumors as pure ‘speculation’ and claimed that his new movie Gotti was delayed because he ‘begged’ Lionsgate to sell the film back to its production company
Last month Travolta was named in a criminal complaint by a 21-year-old masseur who accused the actor of sexual battery that reportedly took place in 2000. Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston, also stars in the flick as Gotti’s wife Victoria
‘I did an investigation into people who might have the interest and financial wherewithal to better release it. Ed is a fan of mine and of the Gotti story and really wanted to see the movie. I invited his group, they saw it and bought it. That is the simple explanation for this,’ Travolta told Deadline.
Walson and others found the money to buy Lionsgate out of the equation.
The actor claimed that Lionsgate didn’t want to give the movie up and ‘they said no, twice’.
‘We signed this deal about three weeks ago, to purchase back the film from Lionsgate. Our mistake was we should have said something right then and discussed our plan for the film. We didn’t anticipate this speculation that is so grossly wrong,’ he told the site.
On Tuesday, Lionsgate dropped the John Gotti biopic starring Travolta 10 days before the movie’s scheduled released date.
The surprising eleventh hour move was confirmed by several sources that said the studio cut ties with the project.
Lionsgate reportedly sold Gotti back to its production company Emmett/Furla/Oasis and they are expected to be seeking new distribution.
However, it’s highly unlikely a new distributor will be found in time for the slated release date of December 15 and it could be pushed to 2018.
But Travolta claims that he and Walson are nearing a deal with a significant distributor. Neither Travolta nor Walson gave any information about who the distributor is.
Lionsgate has not given any explanation for the sale which took place on Tuesday.
Travolta claimed that he ‘literally begged’ Lionsgate to give up the movie because the company was ‘planning on a minimal release’, adding that the movie ‘wasn’t dropped’
The crime drama covers the life of the infamous leader of the Gambino crime family and was directed by Entourage’s Kevin Connolly.
It also stars Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston who play’s the crime boss’ wife Victoria Gotti.
Production started in July 2016 and has been plagued by delays and false starts.
A number of other actors have been connected to the project throughout its development including Al Pacino, Lindsay Lohan, and Anthony Hopkins.
Lionsgate has not given an explanation for the last minute move
Talking to EW about the film, Connolly said previously: ‘There are nice cars and fancy suits in the movie, but we’re also showing where all that eventually leads.
‘HBO made a Gotti movie in 1996, but his death, which was horrible, hasn’t been covered too much. That’s a different angle that we’re going to explore.’
Mafia leader Gotti was brought to trial multiple times throughout the 1980s, only to be acquitted.
Travolta, 63, plays Gotti in multiple stages of his life, including when he finally went to prison in 1992.
Gotti died of throat cancer, while still incarcerated, in 2002.
Gotti’s son, John Gotti Jr, claims in his self-published memoir detailing what it was like to grow up as John Gotti’s son, that the Feds let his father die choking on his own vomit and blood as his bones rotted around his neck from cancer after spending the decade ‘in ‘the hole’.
Previous adaptations of Gotti’s life story have been explored in terms of his relationships with other mafiosos (Witness to the Mob, Boss of Bosses) and the fight to convict him of a crime (Getting Gotti).
On November 13, the bombshell report emerged of a masseur alleging Travolta groped his bare buttocks and indecently exposed himself during a deep body massage at the spa inside the La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, California.
Travolta also allegedly made lewd remarks about gay fantasies while at the hotel’s spa facility around 1.30am on February 15, 2000.
Travolta (left), 63, plays John Gotti (right) in multiple stages of his life, including when he finally went to prison in 1992
According to the documents, obtained by RadarOnline.com, Travolta wanted a more intimate rubdown and even removed the towel ‘exposing’ his buttocks as the male spa employee gave him the massage.
The employee claimed in the report that he kept replacing the towel and covering Travolta’s buttocks up when the Pulp Fiction actor removed it.
After that massage was complete they allegedly went into another room where the masseur performed what he called a ‘Citrus Scrub’ on Travolta, who is married to Kelly Preston.
During the treatment, Travolta, a devout Scientologist, told him that he was very attractive and that he had gotten him ‘excited’, the documents said.
The report states that once the ‘scrub’ was complete, ‘they moved to the steam room, where Travolta asked it he would accompany him, so he wouldn’t have to sit alone’.
The pair then sat in the steam room together, according to the report. They were both wearing towels initially but the employee claimed that Travolta removed his towel and ‘was nude’.
Travolta then allegedly offered to demonstrate his own massage techniques on the masseur.
As the man lay on his stomach, ‘Travolta reached under his towel and began to rub his inner thigh’.
Then the actor ‘began rubbing [the masseur’s] bare buttocks as well as in the groove between’.
According to the report, the masseur said he felt uncomfortable and left, but then Travolta followed, offering to ‘soap up’ his back while he showered.
While the masseur was packing up his massage table, he alleged that Travolta made lewd comments’ toward him and asked if he’d ‘ever had his a**hole licked by another man’ and if so, ‘tell him what he would do, so he [Travolta] could have something to fantasize about’.
On November 13, the bombshell report emerged of a masseur alleging Travolta (right) groped his bare buttocks and indecently exposed himself during a deep body massage at the spa inside the La Quinta Resort and Club (pictured) in La Quinta, California
The masseur reported the incident to the Palm Springs Sheriff’s Department.
Officer Mark Peters went to the hotel to speak with Travolta, who had already checked out by the time he arrived.
The case was later ‘closed unfounded’ and Peters advised the man to ‘speak with a civil attorney’.
This isn’t the first time Travolta has been accused of misconduct while getting a massage.
In 2012, Travolta was sued over accusations that he tried to have sex with a male masseur during a therapy session at the luxury Beverly Hills Hotel.
The married actor, who has repeatedly denied being gay in the past, was said to have touched the unnamed therapist’s genitals during a $200-per-hour massage appointment, the lawsuit claimed.
The suit claimed that Travolta stripped naked – and appeared aroused – before being massaged while at the same time trying to remove the towel covering his bottom.
After the session was over, Travolta allegedly touched the man’s scrotum and penis.
But the masseur insisted he pulled away and claimed he then informed the actor that he was a professional masseur and not a prostitute.
Travolta is then said to have responded that ‘we must have got our signals crossed’, before adding: ‘Come on dude, I’ll jerk you off.’
A CAREER PLAGUED BY RUMORS
Whispers about John Travolta’s sexuality have plagued his movie career almost from the outset.
Various camp roles in films – most notably as a drag queen in the musical Hairspray – have helped fuel rumors he is secretly gay.
But there have also been strongly denied accusations he has been living a double life strikingly at odds with his family man image.
They include the rumor that his 1991 marriage to Kelly Preston was arranged by the shadowy cult-like religion of Scientology, of which he is a leading disciple.
Seven years later, the father-of-two Travolta was named as a homosexual in court papers by a former member of the Church. The case never got a hearing, however.
And in 2001, Travolta faced unsubstantiated claims that he had tried to pick up a business executive in a health club.
However, the rumor mill reached a crescendo in 2006, when the actor was seen apparently kissing a male friend as he prepared to board his own Boeing 707 jet in Canada.
According to the report at the time, the star is then said to have suggested a ‘reverse massage’, which is believed to mean that he wanted the masseur to lie on the table while the actor gave the man a full body rub.
The lawsuit was filed at the US District Court of Central California. The document claimed that during the encounter Travolta also masturbated.
The lawsuit sought more than $2 million in damages.
At the time, a spokesperson for Travolta issued a vehement denial: ‘This lawsuit is complete fiction and fabrication. None of the events claimed in the suit ever occurred.
‘The plaintiff, who refuses to give their name, knows that the suit is a baseless lie… On that date when plaintiff claims John met him, John was not in California and it can be proved that he was on the East Coast.
‘Plaintiff’s attorney has filed this suit to try and get his 15 minutes of fame. John intends to get this case thrown out and then he will sue the attorney and Plaintiff for malicious prosecution.’
Okorie Okorcha, the lawyer representing the masseur, told RadarOnline.com: ‘My client is afraid of John Travolta.
He added: ‘Mr. Travolta made very explicit threats against my client, which are contained in the lawsuit.
‘Specifically, John Travolta told my client that Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity.
‘Let’s face it, John Travolta is an extremely powerful man, and my client absolutely felt threatened by Mr. Travolta. My client was sexually assaulted by Mr. Travolta and he needs to be held accountable for his actions.’