NIKKILEAKS: YOU BRET YOUR LIFE
Been reeling today from the absolutely fabulous lashing out against Hollywood’s wacky Aunt in the attic by author Bret Easton Ellis. My teenage obsession with Less Than Zero and Rules of Attraction is suddenly vindicated and he is restored to my pantheon for this profile in courage.
If you weren’t enjoying the fireworks today, details are available here and here. To sum up briefly: A month or so back, Ellis tweeted that Aunt Batty had relocated her attic into his apartment building. Gawker’s John Cook, who has been a stalwart on the Aunt Batty beat, found Ellis’ address and then saw that Penske Media, the company which bankrolls Aunt Batty’s lunacy, had bought an apartment in that building. He thus had an actual address on the reclusive lunatic shut-in, whom for reasons only clear to her addled brain, feels the need to wrap every element of her existence in a veil of secrecy. Having found this information, he called Aunt Batty for comment. Shortly thereafter, she phoned the office of Ellis’ agent , Binky Urban at ICM, and, according to the Observer:
and not being able to reach the agent, gave her assistant what was characterized to us as an epic, otherworldly screaming-at, the likes of which the assistant had never previously experienced.
Shortly after that call came through, Ellis posted his epic pair of tweets beginning with
Nikki Finke called one of the agencies that reps me and threatened to sue me AND to destroy them as well. Fortunately the agency was ICM.
And concluding with the tweet pictured above.
As usual with an Aunt Batty story, there are so many flavors of crazy on display it’s hard to know where to start. And as usual, once I start trying to discuss them, I quickly feel like my own brain unravelling, as I struggle to justify the obvious. So I will try and approach this in tiny taste spoon sized bites.
• First of all, okay, this obsession with secrecy thing. I mean, it’s not just a little crazy right? What did she do, borrow millions from a Mexican drug cartel? This desperately hiding your address thing, not letting anyone see what you look like, denying pictures are of you…We joke that she’s crazy, but the fact is what else can this be but signs of a very deep mental illness? And maybe it’s not funny that we’re all enabling her by letting her spin this web of paranoia when she needs to be under care, if not lock and key. If any medical professionals can explain how this fits into any definition of at all normal, please share.
• On one phone call that was shared with us she told the person, “people say I’m crazy, but in fact I’m very normal.” The fact that she said that and probably thinks that, makes me shudder in terror.
• What does she think is going to happen if the world knows where she is? Does she really believe this act she plays that Hollywood is a blood sport run by mobsters who cut off your legs if you cross them? She worships the powerful enough that she might actually fall for their visions of themselves as contemporary Leaf driving Don Corleones of rom coms and children’s cartoons. Having spent the past years sliming people on behalf of more powerful patrons, or when they have the temerity to share some news who is going to be the producer on some project with anyone else first, maybe she really believes they would put a hit out on her. Good news Nikki! Studio executives and agents aren’t really gangsters! The worst you have to fear is that one of them will whine to you in the hallway that you really hurt his feelings. And then ask you if you’ll look at the script they’re trying to set up. People have been through these things and lived to tell. (Actually, it probably is worth maintaining a veil of secrecy to avoid having to read those scripts, so if that is her motive, she has my support.)
• On the other end of the cowardly stick, the Ellis comment pictured above says it better than I ever could. Obviously Aunt Batty talks to people this way because it gets results (or because she’s just nuts). What the hell are you people afraid of? And I’ll ask again, if you cower in fear of a crazy shut in blogger yelling at your assistant, where in life is the place that you are willing to take any sort of stand. (Buying a Leaf doesn’t count as courage.)
• That said, I have done a survey now of every single person I talk to to try and find one solitary story of Nikki ever actually getting a person fired, demoted, beyond just sliming them, actually “destroying” anyone or any part of anyone. To date, I have not found one single story. My email address is email@example.com
• While we’re on the subject of public testimony, I wonder if Nikki finds it odd or disturbing that whenever these kerfuffles pop up, none of her colleagues, not her bankroller, not her minions, no one who works with her, ever steps forward to defend her. I repeat my offer: if any current colleague of Finke’s wants to defend her and to put your name on that defense, I will print it in its entirety without commentary here. To date, no one has taken me up on that offer…It’s as if there is some sort of message they are psychically sending us…Feel free to speak up folks! She must be a blast to work with? Just really down to Earth and very normal once you get to know her, right?
• The other big issue here is if the Observer’s report is true, Nikki called and threatened employees of a Hollywood agency, an agency she covers on a personal matter. That’s what they call in the journalism lingo a conflict of interest. Just like becoming business partners with a studio you cover on a game is (even if it’s a game no one plays.) Or for instance it would be if you were say, accepting gifts or loans of any kind from people you cover…
I myself am a libertarian on these issues. I’m all for people bringing their biases into their reporting - so long as they reveal them. Likewise, if a reporter wants to take a bribe, or carry a personal vendetta against someone they are writing about, I’m fine with that so long as they spell out, oh by the way, I took a bribe or have a personal vendetta against the subject of this piece.
I trust Nikki’s reporting to come on ICM will carry such a disclaimer. Just as all her reports on Paramount —- Oh never mind.