THIS INTERVIEW’S OVER: Interview magazine is no more.
The iconic magazine founded in 1969 by Pop Art arbiter Andy Warhol, is shutting down today, according to now former employees, like senior online editor Trey Taylor, who wrote on Twitter of the closure. A representative of Brant Publications confirmed the closure and that the magazine, along with its two holding companies, has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
“The company has been operating at a financial loss and had been funding its losses and costs of its operation through loans obtained from its secured lender,” the spokeswoman said. “The losses continued to mount, and the company did not believe its financial condition would improve in the foreseeable future.”
She added that all of Interview’s assets “will be liquidated and distributed to its creditors in accordance with the law.”
A source said the closure was sudden. A lawyer whose firm has represented Interview and its parent Brant Publications in legal matters over the last year declined to comment on the magazine’s closure or the bankruptcy.
Fabien Baron, who left interview as editorial director in April due to lack of payment after a decade as editorial director, said he’s “saddened and surprised by the news that Brant Publications has chosen to shutter the cultural icon that Interview has been since its founding.”
“The abrupt decision to liquidate the magazine is regrettable given the myriad options that were available to avert this outcome,” Baron added. “The artistic success of the magazine was due to the extraordinary work of a raft of talented contributors, many of whom are unfortunately now creditors due to the owner’s flagrant disregard for their welfare.”
Earlier this month, Baron and his wife, stylist Ludivine Poiblanc, sued Interview over more than $600,000 in unpaid invoices, and a source claimed then that many lower-ranking editorial contributors had also gone unpaid. It’s also understood that Karl Templer in April left his position as Interview’s creative director because he was owed at least $280,000. Another source said the magazine “owes everyone money.”
Baron’s lawsuit is not the only one Interview is dealing with. Former sales representative and eventually associate publisher Jane Katz last year sued the magazine for unpaid wages of more than $230,000, along with claims that she was unjustly fired. Dan Ragone, who was Interview’s president for six years, also sued in 2016 for allegedly unpaid wages of about $170,000 and that case is still working its way through the courts.
When looked at from a publishing standpoint, it’s little surprise that Interview is shutting down. It seems the masthead has been slowly winnowed and not updated online. Without Baron and Templer, Interview was operating with major gaps in editorial leadership.
Brant Publications is owned by billionaire Peter Brant, who is a well-known art lover and Warhol fan. He and his then-wife Sandra bought Interview shortly after Warhol’s death in 1987. Ingrid Sischy and Sandy Brant took the title over three years later, turning it into a must-read among the fashion and art crowd with its mix of profiles, edgy fashion shoots and coverage of pop culture. Sandy Brant, who had been acting as chief executive officer and publisher, sold her 50 percent stake in the parent company to her former husband in 2008, and Peter Brant “relaunched” it under Baron’s leadership. Brant’s daughter Kelly Brant has been running the publication as president for the last several years.
Austen Tosone, until now an assistant editor at Interview, wrote on Twitter that her six months at the magazine was “certainly a crazy ride.”
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