BLACK MARK: Carolyn Murphy is on the cover of the September BlackBook, but the accompanying profile by Vanity Fair’s Nancy Jo Sales has been spiked. Look to Steve Garbarino’s editor’s letter for the reason. He said everything was going quite cordially until the magazine contacted IMG Models, Murphy’s agency, for some follow-up reporting. “Suddenly Murphy, according to her IMG rep, was claiming that Sales had quoted her off the record,” Garbarino wrote. “Our writer affirmed that the quotes in question were said while on the record.” Two days before BlackBlook closed, however, Garbarino got a call from “a senior rep at IMG Models,” citing a model release form signed by BlackBook that gave IMG the right to approve (or veto) any story before it went to press.

“This was news to me. I never had, nor ever would, sign away our journalistic freedom and independent judgment,” reads the letter. “As it happens, one of our fashion department staffers had unknowingly signed off on this condition.”

Declining to submit to the conditions, BlackBook killed the piece.

Rather than use a standard release, modeling agencies will often draft individual forms, in part because a model’s existing endorsements and contracts can be threatened by an unguarded quote. The letter hints the disagreement over the piece lay in comments Murphy made about her ex-husband, who was arrested in January 2006 for extortion, and who had been trying to sell a sex tape from the couple’s honeymoon. Garbarino declined further comment Thursday, and a spokesman for IMG said, “We regret that we were unable to come to a more agreeable conclusion with BlackBook on this issue, but we have seen the images and think that they are fabulous.” — Irin Carmon

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE…: As of Wednesday, only W, Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Glamour had responded to Congresswoman Lois Capps’ (D., Calif.) plea to stop publishing tobacco ads, namely the Camel No. 9 ad from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. The deadline Capps had set for a response from the aforementioned titles, as well as Elle, In Style, Lucky and Marie Claire, was Wednesday. But she didn’t have much appreciation for the letters she did receive: “…Magazines seem to care more about their bottom-line profits than the health of their readers, young and old,” said Capps.

This story first appeared in the August 17, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In his letter to Capps, Vogue’s publishing director Tom Florio wrote, “…the goal of Congress should be to create legal guidelines for the marketing, distribution and sale of tobacco products, rather than to bring pressure on a magazine to forgo its legal right to conduct business as approved by the lawmakers of the United States.” He further encouraged Capps to pass suitable legislation on the health issues brought on by the extended use of tobacco products. Over at Glamour, Cindi Leive, editor in chief, reminded Capps that her domain is editorial and, on that note, said the magazine “consistently [cautions] women on the dangers of smoking….” And while she said Glamour has won numerous awards for its pro-woman health coverage, Leive added the Camel ads in question comply with the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Kate White, editor in chief at Cosmopolitan, also reiterated she has no control over advertising, but said she’s committed to women’s health issues and pointed to a story in the September issue, “Evil New Evidence on Smoking.”

Patrick McCarthy, chairman and editorial director at W, took the diplomatic route, telling Capps the magazine “[shares] your concerns about teenage smoking and [recognizes] it as a major problem in the United States.” He also offered to engage in future dialogue on the issue.

But diplomacy doesn’t appear to be in the cards for Capps. She proclaimed in a statement she will continue to “highlight the hypocrisy of these magazines’ actions and pursue alternative means to encourage them to do the right thing.”

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