The drama surrounding Glenn O’Brien’s departure from Interview continues. After he was fired last week from his post as chief executive officer and co-editorial director of Brant Publications, O’Brien gave interviews to The New York Post and other media outlets detailing financial turmoil and mismanagement at the company. But on Monday, Brant Publications fired back, filing a lawsuit against O’Brien for breach of contract in the State Supreme Court of New York.
The suit claims O’Brien broke a confidentiality agreement — a signed photocopy of which is included as exhibit A in the suit — when he spoke out to news outlets about his termination. According to the lawsuit, the agreement was signed when O’Brien joined the company last March. Brant is seeking “injunctive relief and damages,” but no dollar amount was given.
This story first appeared in the June 16, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
O’Brien claimed the company was in dire financial straits when he told the Post that Brant “owes everybody — retouchers, printers, photographers, writers.…It’s been horrible for months.”
After he was pushed out, Brant last week brought back Fabien Baron as editorial director, a move O’Brien claimed in interviews was inexplicable given how fiscally irresponsible Baron operated until his departure in January, according to the suit.
Media outlets reported that O’Brien quit, when in fact he was terminated on June 8, according to the lawsuit.
“Brant Publications’ lawsuit against Glenn O’Brien was both regrettable and unavoidable as the company worked to protect its interest, employees and partners form the prejudicial comments of a dismissed ceo,” said the company. “The publishing house is eager to have this dispute resolved and looks forward to continued growth at all of its titles.”
When reached for comment, O’Brien said he had no knowledge of the suit and that he never signed a confidentiality agreement. He also claimed he told reporters he left Interview, not that he quit, after failing to reach an agreement with Ryan Brant, the company’s acting president.
“There weeks ago, I said I want my contract completed, or I will leave. Ryan and [Deborah Blasucci, the cfo] said we want to continue without you and give you a generous offer, and I didn’t accept it.
“I think this is a big joke,” said O’Brien on the lawsuit. “I guess they need a distraction from their problems. They had a great magazine. What are they going to have now? This is a smokescreen. I find what’s going on to be surprising and hard to understand. I put a lot into this and I don’t want to be blamed for things beyond my control. I’m not out to get anybody, but I’m protecting myself.”