Jewish World Review June 4, 2004 / 15 Sivan, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

Gwyneth gets hers in the U.K.; lost — and found — in translation; ladies who lunch — and the men they won't eat with; more | NEW YORK — When told she'd have to party with inkstained wretches, did screen-teen Scarlett Johansson pitch a diva-worthy hissy fit?

It sure seemed so Thursday morning, when I was abruptly disinvited from that night's launch festivities, hosted by the 19-year-old "Lost in Translation" starlet, for the new Calvin Klein fragrance "Eternity Moment."

This was after being aggressively wooed for more than a week by the party's PR firm, Harrison & Shriftman, to come, please come, to the roof of the Hotel Gansevoort and join "confirmed attendees" Lauren Bush, Lorne Michaels and Topher Grace.

But then came that slap in the face.

"I am so sorry but . . . they are not allowing anyone up in the party," a PR type e-mailed. "Scarlett really just wants to enjoy herself so they are now just telling me that press has to basically get what they need on the red carpet."

On the phone, the party publicist confirmed: "Scarlett just wants to hang out and do her thing."

So who gets to go?

"Only media elite."

Ouch. It's not like I was asking to ride the elevator with her.

I was stewing about all this, and nursing a bruised ego, when Johansson's personal publicist phoned in to relate a completely different story.

"None of this is coming from Scarlett," Marcel Pariseau insisted. "We have someone from The New York Times, ET, Access, Us Weekly, etc. We're proud of this (Calvin Klein) campaign, and we want to speak to the press."

So how did this column get the shaft?

"There were four people from the (New York) Daily News covering the same event," Pariseau explained, "Decisions were made to allow one person. It wasn't my choosing — I just said narrow it down to one. And that one person was Baird Jones."

After being informed that Webster Hall curator Jones, though a very good fellow, isn't on staff here, Pariseau immediately re-instated this column's invite. And Harrison & Shriftman offered a whole new scenario.

"This had to do with capacity issues more than anything else," the PR type explained.

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Vanity Fair media columnist Michael Wolff is an eloquent critic of "off the record" — especially when the practice is abused by public figures at semi-public events.

"There is an enormous amount of off the record quote-unquote that's complete bulls — -," he recently argued to Women's Wear Daily. "It's people whose interest is their own agenda, it's people who are manipulating journalists."

But when it comes to his own speeches, Wolff follows a different rule: Don't do as I do; do as I say (but don't say what I said).

Wolff asked that his May 17 appearance in Evanston, Ill., at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism — for a lecture titled, "The Self-Referential Press: Reporting on the Media" — be off the record.

The student-written Medill News recounted: "Some audience members said they were taken aback by Wolff's request . . . " The story added pointedly: "Wolff reviewed this piece prior to granting permission for its publication by Medill."

On Thursday, Wolff told me that when he speaks to journalism students, he frequently asks that his remarks be off the record.

"I give them the choice: If I can go off the record, I can be more spontaneous and I can talk about all the obvious suspects in a more humorous way," he explained. "But if not, I can stick to the script."

But David Abrahamson, Medill's Helen Gurley Brown Research Professor of Journalism, recalled that Wolff was pretty insistent. "He wanted it to be off the record."

Medill News reporter Malika Bilal, 20, told me: "I was surprised that this was an off the record public speech. I tried to kind of hide from him that I was taking notes. I was told to write the story anyway, but I didn't put in the juiciest things. He did a lot of name-dropping, but I don't even remember the names."

Bilal didn't learn that her story was cleared with Wolff until after publication. "I was definitely surprised by that," she said, adding that only a couple of words were changed.

"Maybe it's because I'm a novice journalist and unlettered, but I just didn't understand."

Bilal is not alone.


THE FUR FLIES: Monday is going to be a day of decidedly mixed emotions for fashionista Donna Karan. Good: She's picking up a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Bad: She's being targeted — for using animal fur in her clothing designs — by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Those PETA zealots are staging a noon protest (complete with a huge photo of a baby seal being clubbed and the caption "Karan's Killer Look") in front of DK's flagship store on Madison Ave. No comment Thursday from the Karan camp.

LADIES WHO LUNCH — AND THE MEN THEY WON'T EAT WITH: Prevention magazine is hosting a for-women-only luncheon next Thursday for pregnant-with-twins CNN "American Morning" anchor Soledad O'Brien, the mag's July cover girl. Among the invited guests at Lever House will be O'Brien's mom and her pal Katie Couric — but not O'Brien's husband, Brad Raymond, not her co-anchor, Bill Hemmer and not me. Female chauvinist piggies? "C'mon — you never heard of a ladies lunch?" O'Brien chided. But what's up with the double standard? "Let me put it this way, I can't think off the top of my head of any men's lunch I'd want to get into."

PLEASE, PLEASE, BE TRUE: The British gossip site has this irresistible item: "Gwyneth Paltrow was in the papers yesterday at a London restaurant for the first time since the birth of Apple. What the photos didn't tell was her conversation with the doorman as she entered the room. Gwyneth: "I don't want to be recognised at all. I'm feeling fat and ugly at the moment."

Doorman: "I don't think you'll have a problem. I have no idea who you are."

Alas, Paltrow flack Stephen Huvane insisted Thursday: "I just spoke with Gwyneth. This never happened. It is completely 100 percent fabricated."

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06/02/04: Stern warnings; X-Tina, the brand name; separating the Olsen Twins
05/28/04: "Sly Fox" outwits New York Times review; talk to the animals; Can't this man be stopped?; more
05/25/04: Picking over Bones; "W" this!; Motherhood, anyone?; more
05/21/04: Not so Ruff Ryders; fantastic voyage; sweeps month stunt?; more
05/19/04: A hex on 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith'?; girls just wanna get mad; more
05/14/04: What it was like to be Kerry's 'mistress'; Curious George (Stephanopoulos); more
05/13/04: The young (and snarky) JFK; Did Ford have a better idea?; more
05/07/04: Teresa on TV; Joan Rivers: "C-Class" at best; red-faced apology; more
05/05/04: Burger brouhaha over meat movie; the Age of Adu; what a difference an indictment makes; more
04/23/04: Ahoy, Katie!; Barbara and Martha, together again!; unreality TV?; more
04/21/04: Things don't go better with Coke?; swipes from the grave; "Mami" to the rescue; more
04/16/04: Does this ‘Apprentice’ need some etiquette lessons?; Kerry's laff-riot stepson; fully baked?; more
04/14/04: Dick Clark's diabetes; Barbara Walters' $6 Million book; reality (television) bites; more
04/09/04: S-e-x and the Koran; PETA targets Beyonce; more
04/08/04: Stephen King vs. ABC; trapping the love rat; Liv-ing it up; more
04/02/04: Don't mess with Brooke Hogan's dad; lawyers dancing on the head of a pin?; Trump vs. Trump?; more
04/01/04: D'OH! "Simpsons" actors in dispute with Fox; Diane Sawyer and Janet Jackson won't be bosom buddies; Condi and Maxim?
03/31/04: Hair-raising day on Wall Street; Foxy lady loses 50 Cent; How do you say "party animal" in Hebrew?; Rev. Al and Janet Jackson; more
03/26/04: Bye, bye Banfield; from porn to politics?; more
03/24/04: The perils of film criticism; Dole-ing out compliments; but what about a cure for career lag?; more
03/19/04: Trump trumps everything; Mario vs. Joe; Trudeau pays up; more
03/17/04: Remembering Hillary %*&$#! Clinton; PUT AWAY THAT KRYPTONITE!; more
03/12/04: OOPS!, did Jayson Blair do it again?; skewing Young; more
03/10/04: The laugh that dare not speaks its name; Mistaken identity? NAH!; Is this a great country or what?
03/05/04: Bush vs. Kerry: a Skull session; Kramer vs. The Times, scorch session; enthusiasm curbed; (Tina) Brown-nosing?
03/03/04: Oscars memorialize Hitler's fave filmmaker; baubles, bangles and Kelly Osbourne; moonwalking through cyberspace; more
02/27/04: Regan rebellion; Ed Limato strikes again!; tears for Tom; more
02/26/04: McCain predicts a nasty campaign; the misdirected missive; Janet Jackson, the interview; more
02/20/04: Introducing the Kerry sisters; cyberflap!; Snoop Dogg v. O'Reilly?; more
02/18/04: John Kerry's Friendster?; On the mend?; food for fraughtm; more
02/13/04: John & Carolyn, redux; Zell Miller shows the flag; kill Quentin?; more
02/11/04: HE FEELS BAD!; Dick Cheney, still not dead; more
02/06/04: Glittering Grammys; a laurel for Janet; Haryl's heart
02/04/04: Shriver quits NBC; "Marshmallow" Mike Tyson?; Super Bowl propriety?; MTV's next production?; more
01/30/04: The political forehead front; Alies meets Franken; the art of the hype; arrested career development?
01/28/04: Eyebrow-raising politics; call him indescribable; Woods vs. Williams; more
01/23/04: Eyebrow-raising mystery; who's punk'd anyway?; don't curb your enthusiasm; more
01/21/04: Ridiculous lives of the self-important stars; long arm of the law; all's fair in love and literature
01/16/04: Global warming at a glacial pace; targeting pop culture; Is 'the price of loyalty' too high?
01/14/04: Busting on the "cult buster"; Sarsgaard thinks globally; one angry woman; more
01/08/04: Sitcom star won't be excused from Blake murder trial; fierstein on fire; Drudge & Blumenthal, together again
01/07/04: Bono hits a brick wall; Britney, before the nuttiness; the Arianna primary; more
01/02/04: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio!?; "Bachelor" bruises; Returning to the scene of the crime?
12/31/03: Disaster for the defense; no-war Omar; the shoe must go on; more
12/19/03: Bob Shapiro's free commercial?; Are sophisticated and hip New Yawkers easily duped?; Positive Saddam fallout?; Ratty insult?
12/17/03: Magic Mystery Tour?; Russell Simmons battles ink by the barrel; Would it have killed her to say 'get well soon'?; no Gest room
12/12/03: Karenna defends her dad; now she tells us!; say it ain't so, Mo!; more
12/10/03: Man & wife, interruptus; pepperoni has feelings, too; more
12/05/03: The knives are out; Who's sorry now?; JWR in the news
12/04/03: The war of the gest-minnellis; something borrowed, something cashmere; fashion trendsetter, nailed!
12/03/03: Colombian grace under pressure; Lord of the Screwups; more
12/02/03: Curb your anti-Semitism?; fame fatigue?; bowing to pressure?; more
12/01/03: Dennis the Menace strikes again; first literary feud of the holiday season; Norma Jean & Hef in heaven?; the fog of McNamara; more
11/26/03: Catherine Crier raps Jacko's TV defender, refuses on-air hint of racism; At 50, Tina's in full cry; STAY OUT OF HER WAY!; more
11/25/03: The mogul strikes back?; go ahead, make Harvey's day; more
11/24/03: Georgette's pilfered baubles; prosecutor of pop?; absent but not missed?; Norman Mailer's prescription for education reform; more
11/20/03: Is a movie career in store for Maria Bartiromo?; People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans?; more
11/19/03: Scientologists on Razor's edge?; picking a winner?; source on a hot tin roof?; more
11/18/03: Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
11/17/03: When networks attack!; leaky Fawcett; forget the Paris Hilton video!; more
11/13/03: Publicity hounds; Prophetic priest; Dumb and Dumber
11/12/03: Not so Rosie; do you believe in miracles?; catalogue of sins; My Heart Belongs to Koppel
11/10/03: Gen. clark on the Subway diet; life of the party; MTV's Dumb and Dumber?; the hug issue; but does the $6,000 shower curtain convey?; red faces at Buckingham palace?
11/06/03: Let them eat pita?; verbal jousting; pretenders to the throne?
11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
11/03/03: Dean's tell-all on himself?; Lisaraye vs. Mya?; the odd couple; no need to panic; just don't call him "Scooter"!; Rosie scenarios
10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up — sort of
10/21/03: Morris & Jaci's charm offensive; Hell hath no fury; Wintertime for Hitler
10/20/03: Isn't it rich?; men (and the occasional woman) behaving badly; peacenik John Lennon supporting the U.S. military?; courageous Connie
10/16/03: George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars?
10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
10/13/03: Clothes, but no cigar; New Yorkers put a Sox in it; mad at Matalin?; more
10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate