WAR OF THE ROS(I)ES: “I think it’s going really well, although it’s painful to sit through,” said Rosie O’Donnell on the third day in court as the defendant in the $100 million lawsuit Gruner + Jahr has...
WAR OF THE ROS(I)ES: “I think it’s going really well, although it’s painful to sit through,” said Rosie O’Donnell on the third day in court as the defendant in the $100 million lawsuit Gruner + Jahr has filed against her for terminating their joint venture, Rosie Magazine.
Painful it is. The two sides have hurled insults and recounted exchanges that are so mutually embarrassing one has to wonder what they’re thinking.
The plaintiffs have consistently tried to paint O’Donnell as a woman who came out of the closet and promptly began to shed her wholesome image, making suggestions for the magazine that had no real commercial viability. There appears to be plenty of evidence of that on their side, including O’Donnell’s desire to do a Mike Tyson cover. Other parts of G+J’s strategy seem to be meeting more mixed results, such as a judge, Ira Gammerman, who is frequently impatient with the company’s lawyers.
Former editor in chief Cathy Cavender, former creative director Doug Turshen and editorial consultant Susan Ungaro have all testified on G+J’s behalf, but none has been quite the slam dunk prosecutors presumably were hoping for.
Most importantly, not one of them seemed to have very damaging things to say about O’Donnell, and both Cavender and Turshen bordered on hostile witnesses, fairly understandable since both were fired from G+J by its chief executive officer, Dan Brewster, with Cavender being replaced by Susan Toepfer.
Nor did the testimony of the magazine’s executive editor, Jane Farrell, seem to go without a hitch. While Farrell appeared to play the tortured staffer role fairly well, the defendant’s lawyer, Lorna Schofield, later showed e-mails and depositions proving that Farrell had spoken to several major media outlets with G+J’s permission in an effort to plead their case in the press. During that time, she was given a $10,000 retention bonus, as well as a yearend bonus of $25,000 after Rosie folded. Farrell spoke to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair as a not-for-attribution source with G+J’s public relations people being present. (She is still employed by the company, working with Toepfer on the prototype of Gala.)Toepfer’s testimony went somewhat better, but her total inability to work with O’Donnell also was apparent. The initial dispute with O’Donnell, for example, occurred when Toepfer sent O’Donnell a cover featuring the actors from “The Sopranos” that O’Donnell didn’t like. The reaction (“What is my fat face doing in the center of the picture?” or something to that effect) was horrifying. Toepfer then sent three other options, but when O’Donnell greenlighted two of them, Toepfer said they were bad choices and continued to fight O’Donnell. The covers were finally sent to Brewster to break the stalemate and O’Donnell began to lobby for Toepfer’s removal.
G+J is expected to wrap up its case by the end of the week, after which O’Donnell and her witnesses will take the stand. — Jacob Bernstein
SEPARATE BUT EQUAL: This time, they’re serious. The women’s magazine editors who demanded to know why the National Magazine Awards are stacked against them have refused to let the matter die and are planning their own awards ceremony for 2005. Marie Claire’s Lesley Jane Seymour and Essence’s Diane Weathers are leading the charge.
The issue of underrepresentation rises periodically — “Why does The New Yorker win everything?” is the usual complaint — but has always subsided before. Not anymore. “We’ve got a good group of people working on the possibility of having our own awards and really reward excellence in those [women’s magazine] areas, as judged by people who understand that business,” said Seymour. That group also includes O: The Oprah Magazine’s Amy Gross, Glamour’s Cindi Leive and Cosmo’s Kate White, she said.
The awards would run parallel to the NMAs, just as Hollywood’s “Women In Film” coexists with the Oscars. “Look at what the film industry does,” said Leive. “They honor themselves every three months.” There’s less risk of ghetto-ization that way, their thinking goes, than if women’s magazines were made a protected category inside the NMAs. “I don’t want to win “Best Women’s Magazine” from ASME,” said Leive. “I want to win “Best Magazine.” — Greg Lindsay
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye