Graydon Carter is kind of a wuss, if you ask me. Vanity Fair had a whole long takedown of Gwyneth Paltrow planned for the magazine, and it was gonna be pretty intense and shocking and REALLY damaging to ole Goopy’s career, apparently. Then Gwyn fired back and the whole thing got canned, for some unknown reason and now Graydon, Vanity Fair‘s Editor-in-Chief, is saying that the whole thing was blown out of proportion and was never going to happen. Apparently the piece was more about the “love/hate phenomenon” surrounding her and not a piece about how fucking insufferable she is (not to mention that supposed affair).
In a new letter posted on VF’s website, Graydon said he was intrigued by the fact that she was named People’s “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” and Star’s “Most Hated Celebrity” in the same week and wanted to explore that a bit. Apparently the men in the office were shocked that people hated Goopy, but the women thought it was totally right. Graydon himself found her sort of obnoxious, but he assigned the story to Vanessa Grigoriadis, who went out into the world to research Goop and her life.
It was one of probably a half-dozen stories we ordered up that week, and once the assignment was made, I didn’t think too much more about it, inasmuch as it wasn’t due in until the end of the summer. Vanessa began making the rounds, talking to people in and out of Hollywood in an effort to get some understanding of the Paltrow phenomenon. And then she reached out to representatives of Gwyneth’s and then to Gwyneth’s friends.
Well, this just released a whole mess of furies. Paltrow sent out a mass e-mail to her show-business friends saying that the magazine was going “tabloid” following our coverage of Tom Cruise’s search for the perfect Scientology wife, and Brad Pitt’s search for the perfect action-film franchise. “Vanity Fair is threatening to put me on the cover of their magazine without my participation,” she said. “I recommend you all never do this magazine again.” She asked that they not speak to Vanity Fair about her, or about anything else ever again. Ever. Never. Kim Jong-un couldn’t have issued a more blanket demand. In due time, the e-mail made its way onto the New York Post’s “Page Six.” An actress throwing a hissy fit is hardly news. But the extreme ferocity of Paltrow’s outrage set off alarm bells throughout the dark regions of the celebrity-mining industry. The overall theory: she must have something to hide.
Long story somewhat short: the story that was turned in was apparently fair and balanced, but because of the hoopla surrounding it, Graydon decided to sit on it for a while and let things die down. Then Gwyneth called him and they talked things out – and she also asked how to get people to like her (LOL), which is kinda sad. Graydon hasn’t denied that they did indeed discover “bombshells” about her life, but he also said he doesn’t want to publish them at this time, for whatever reason.
The fact is the Gwyneth Paltrow story, the one we ordered up, delightfully written as it was, is not the one the anti-Gwynethites expect. That it has generated more mail and attention than many of the biggest stories we’ve ever published only makes the situation more complicated. The thing of it is, we really don’t publish “epic,” out-of-the-blue “takedowns” of individual public figures, unless they are in heated conflict with another public figure or unless their positions and their actions have a grievous effect on the lives of others. We’ll save our gunpowder for bigger stories. And so, sorry as we are to disappoint all those many people out there, for the time being we’ll leave it to another publication to roll out the “epic bombshells” surrounding Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s a story I might read. I just don’t want to publish it.
Fair enough, but I don’t for one second believe that this was as simple as just a truce. There was a reason he – and Vanity Fair at large – wanted to publish this story to begin with. For whatever reason, they decided against it, whether from threat of a legal action, someone calling in a favour, whatever. That’s all fine and well, but I was really looking forward to something juicy there.