Monday, July 18, 2016

Burning Bridges ... And Pissing Off JLo

Luckily I have a boss who knows that I’m a dick with a smart mouth and that I do love my job because sometimes the things I say could get me fired ... like the time my boss was in a mood and was ranting about his employees and saying things like,
“I wish … yada yada yada.”
And I replied,
“You know what I wish? I wish I had a time machine so I could go back to the day you offered me this job and say, ‘F**k you.”
And, before you ask, he laughed , and, yes, I am still employed. But I’ve always wondered about the way to quit a job … to burn those bridges … scorch that earth … leave nothing but ruin in your rear-view mirror and know there isn’t a chance in Hell you’ll be hired back or get any kind of reference anywhere.

Case in point: Sara Hammel.

I don’t know this woman but I’m thinking a job as a hostess at Red Lobster will be the only job she can get now … especially when JLo puts a hit out on her.


See, Hammel, a longtime People writer, quit the magazine recently, but not before writing a Scorched Earth Resignation Letter to editorial director Jess Cagle and other top editors:

Dear People Magazine,
I quit.
It’s not me, it’s you. It’s been a wildly dysfunctional 14 years, and you’re an entirely different magazine than when we first got together. I swear half the current staff doesn’t know my name, despite my contribution to something like fifteen hundred stories in your celebrity annals, so here’s a refresher: I worked inside your London, Los Angeles and New York bureaus, covered breaking news in nine countries, and dealt with too many celebrities to remember.
Sara sounds like she has issues with people not remembering her.
My first celebrity assignment for you was Spice Girl Geri Halliwell in 2002. My last was Robert De Niro in April 2016. In between, there were memorable encounters galore, including making the gorgeous and empathic Mariska Hargitay ugly-cry (turns out she cries at like every charity-related event, phew), enduring an Oscar winner’s public bullying over an intimate dinner…
Sadly, she fails to name the bully.
… facing a personal crisis at Tom Cruise’s wedding in Rome, getting basically, kind of spat on by a snotty J. Lo (okay, it was like a very wet pffttt in my general direction, really obnoxious) …
 JLoogy?
… having fun with endless lower-key celebs like Rosario Dawson and Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Douglas, observing just how stiff and awkward George Clooney is around kids, insulting Sheryl Crow’s baby, and getting groped/harrassed by an A-list [omitted] performer in New York and Paris (that’s not to be flip—it was violating as hell. I’m still pissed I didn’t jab him in the balls with my pen).
I want names!
… This is just what the entitled stars and their bat—t crazy publicists put me and many other talented, hard-working reporters through. You people, as it turns out, are worse. Stupidly, we expect loyalty and support from you after years of service. We are naïve. Despite your nicey nice, glossy and chirpy veneer, some of us think of you more as the Leo DiCaprio of magazines, using up every beautiful model that crosses your path (“beautiful model”= “award-winning journalist” in this scenario), discarding them, and pretending you leave no wake behind you.
Like I said, hostess at Red Lobster.
I’m oddly surprised my tenure here is ending not with explosive hatred stoked by a cold dismissal from an insensate behemoth (i.e. you)  — a fate I watched ashen-faced friends and colleagues endure before my eyes during the Los Angeles bureau’s 2008 culling  — but with a slow fade-out and a final venting of my gossip-weary spleen.
Then again, that’s why I’m happy being freelance. I’ve survived something like eight rounds of layoffs where talented colleagues were bitch-slapped into oblivion and, I hope, will never give their nights, weekends, relationships and sanity again to keep up with an email chain about whether Jennifer Aniston is pregnant at 47 because of those tummy photos and what kind of mom will she be, when really she just had an extra burrito at lunch; but oh, wait, the rep says it’s just a rumor so there’s no story this week after all.
Someone needs to settle herself.
I will say, what happens after that is that my debut teen mystery, the one I spent my adult life making into a reality, but which, despite the schlock regularly featured in its pages and online, People decided to ignore — more to the point, they ignored me entirely — even after I toiled away for them for 14 years. They wouldn’t even give me a digital post that I wrote, sourced, and agreed to remove the name of my book from (LOL). That book is called The Underdogs.
Ah, so therein lies the rub. Sara wrote a book and expected People magazine to promote it for her and when they didn’t, well, she began the venom-spew.
I’ll leave you with the kicker:
As I was crafting this letter, a Tweet came through from one of your top editors, Kate Coyne, crowing about her full-page People feature promoting her brand-new book, accompanied by a colorful screenshot. “Don’t ask how, but I got in touch with someone at @people—now I’m in the new issue. So grateful!”
You should be, Kate. Enjoy it while it lasts.
And now we’ve come full-circle. Another People employee did get her work promoted in the magazine, but Sara did not. I’m guessing green, while Sara’s color, is not a good look on her.

Hammel has a memoir out … on Kindle, perhaps because no respectable publishing house would touch her … called “Red Carpet Regret: Confessions of a Cynical Celebrity Journalist.”


On the other side, People is holding its head up high … I now, People magazine is trying to act all dignified, and a spokeswoman said:

“We don’t comment on personnel matters.”

No, but they do slyly destroy those to trash the Goliath. Or maybe send JLo and Clooney out to tag-team Sara Hammel into nothingness.

3 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

Wow!
(And your boss is fun!)

Bob Slatten said...

@TDM
Luckily he gets my "humor."

anne marie in philly said...

these "celebrity" gossip rags are a waste of trees. I am proud to say I have NEVER purchased ANY of this trash! because I don't give six shits what "celebrity" is taking a dump right now.