Scoop: Celebrities urge world leaders to fight for girls and women

A number of high-profile entertainers, including Oprah Winfrey, above, Mary J. Blige, Charlize Theron and Meryl Streep, have signed an open letter calling on world leaders to fight for gender equality across the globe. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

A number of high-profile entertainers — including Oprah Winfrey, Mary J. Blige, Charlize Theron and Meryl Streep — have signed an open letter calling on world leaders to fight for gender equality across the globe.

The letter released Sunday states that some 62 million girls around the world are denied the right to education, 500 million women can’t read and 155 countries have laws that discriminate against women.

“Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere,” the letter states. “The fight for gender equality is global.”

Signers also include Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Shonda Rhimes, Ashley Judd, Amy Poehler, Colin Farrell, Danai Gurira, Connie Britton, Elton John, Patricia Arquette, Muhammed Ali, Sheryl Sandberg and Sean Parker. The push is organized by the ONE Campaign, co-founded by Irish rocker Bono to end extreme poverty and disease.

“We still living in a time period where the most impoverished and disadvantaged people in the world are, without question, women and girls,” said Gurira, the playwright of the Broadway show “Eclipsed,” in an interview. “The light and the potential of women and girls in the world today is being blocked.”

The letter comes a few days before International Women’s Day, which is Tuesday.

‘Zootopia’ dethrones ‘Deadpool’

“Deadpool’s” three-week reign atop the box office has ended thanks to a handful of new openers, including “Zootopia” and “London Has Fallen.”

The top spot went to Disney’s “Zootopia” which staged a box office stampede in its first weekend in North American theaters with $73.7 million, according to comScore estimates Sunday. It’s the fourth highest March opening ever and a best for a Disney Animation three-day debut.

The studio’s previous record-holder, “Frozen,” grossed $67.4 million over three days in its Thanksgiving opening.

Kesha thanks supporters

Pop star Kesha, who says her producer sexually and psychologically abused her, choked up after accepting an award for her stance against harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

The Human Rights Campaign Nashville on Saturday presented the pop singer with their Visibility Award, which recognized her for using her spotlight to speak out against bullying of LGBT youth.

The honor comes just after the pop singer lost an initial request last month to be freed from her contract with hitmaker Dr. Luke, who denies her claims and says she is smearing him to get out of her contract.

Happy birthday

Actress Bel Powley (Film: “Diary of a Teenage Girl”) is 24. … Actress Laura Prepon is 36. … Actor Jay Duplass is 43. … Comedian Wanda Sykes is 52. … Actor Bryan Cranston is 60.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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