The Harder They Fall

It’s been a horrible couple of weeks for almost everyone in the world of entertainment, but it has not been without its glimmers of hope. One such glimmer: we might be witnessing the end of the predatory Hollywood producer. Another such glimmer: we might also be witnessing the decline of the all-powerful Hollywood superlawyer.

[ Read more... ]

IV/ Electile Dysfunction

Russian interference. Piss-tape kompromat. Montenegrin fake news factories. Shadowy billionaires on both sides of the political divide trying to ignite a culture war. There’s been one hell of an elaborate backstory contrived to explain the shock result of the 2016 US election, but a look through the lens of the National Enquirer suggests that some of it may have been a little more straightforward.

[ Read more... ]

III/ Suburban Decay

The criminal underworld of New York, the closed corridors of Washington, the magazine industry of Florida. They’re all very interesting – no question about that – but these aren’t regular people we’ve been talking about here. For the National Enquirer to cut any sway with millions of average American Joes, things would have to change. They’d have to go corporate. Which is where American Media, Inc. comes into play.

[ Read more... ]

II/ Angels And UnAmerican Activity

While mob boss Frank Costello gave the National Enquirer a connection to the less-reputable elements of society, in order to become a truly powerful publication it would need someone to introduce the Enquirer to the established corridors of power. Someone with the ear of a senator, an attorney general, a president. Which is exactly what it had in the rather lumpy shape of Roy Cohn.

[ Read more... ]

I/ The Tabloid Triangle

Our story starts with American Media Inc’s oldest and most notorious title: the National Enquirer. As the industry’s most sensational scandal rag, the Enquirer is often blamed for setting the grim tone of modern celebrity reporting – but how did it become so influential? And, more importantly, how did the Enquirer’s ties to a botched Mafia hit-job in 1950s New York end up causing a tabloid boom in 1970s small-town Florida?

[ Read more... ]

Inches For Inches

Since the Harvey Weinstein story broke, dozens of people have stepped up to denounce his behaviour. While it’s undeniably good to hear so many voices united against sexual assault, it’s important to make sure that we don’t wave through everyone that’s lining up to speak out – especially when our own industry is not without its problems…

[ Read more... ]

Copy Control

Celebrity copy approval has become a rather hot topic this week, thanks to the fallout from Clare Balding’s PR people trying to make changes to a interview in Saga magazine. It’s a problem, to be sure – but if you’re going to try to lift the curtain on this sort of bad practice, you really ought to lift it all the way up…

[ Read more... ]

For Whom Libel Tolls

Jack Monroe’s recent victory in the courts has landed Katie Hopkins with a pretty sizeable legal bill – one that dwarfs the actual cost of the damages awarded. How do legal bills get so big? And what are they actually paying for? We tried to find out…

[ Read more... ]

Courting Danger

If we sound like know-it-alls for telling Katie Hopkins what she should have done, it’s only because we learned the lesson ourselves – and we learned it the hard way. What can you expect if you ever try to pick up a fight with someone over a threat of defamation? Something like this…

[ Read more... ]

In Complaint Sight

Because libel proceedings are so expensive, and because the law insists on proof of “serious harm” for the claim to be upheld, you’d think that celebrities would only choose to bring these suits when the circumstances were extremely dire – but a little look through our archive of legal threats shows that that’s not always the case…

[ Read more... ]