In honor of Hollywood harridan Nikki ("I don t kiss up to the idiots who decide which stars magazines can and can t put on their covers") Finke, we asked you to send in your best PR horror stories, hoping some of our resident New York flacks-from-Hell would catch some flack, or some hell, but noooo...half of you thought we wanted stories from PR people and one of you told us something about Finke we didn't know, but checked out and it's true. So there's no winner. But there was no prize. So who really cares? Your entries follow and include tales of red carpet encounters with handholders for Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellwegger, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Christian Slater, Tobey Maguire, Brad Pitt, Mischa Barton, Nic Cage and Selma Blair. Gawker hereby states that the views expressed after the jump are those of the anonymous, unkind celebrity-baiters who sent them in and are not (necessarily) shared by gawker, gawker media, or your guest editors, who don't know who most of these people are anyway. (speaking of which, there's a late-breaking news flash from Nikki Finke herself!) —MG
Nicole King, publicist to uber-bitch Reese Witherspoon, Reene Zellwegger, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson, actually shoved me at a red carpet event (where I was an accredited reporter) because I tried to ask a question — a nice one — of Jessica Simpson. I stayed behind the velvet ropes, then when Jessica came up, I stuck out my microphone to ask something, Nicole King looked down at my publication credential and snapped, "You wrote something bad about Britney!" and then she PUSHED me. I should have called the police and filed this as an assault, especially since she's a good 50 pounds heavier than me. Next time, Nicole, it's COPS — RED CARPET on your ass.
I once called Leslie Sloane Zelnick (partners with Nicole King) to ask her a question about Renee Zellwegger and she went on a 15-minute rant about Lindsey Lohan's "asshole father" and what a "crazy fucker" he was. That's the kind of publicist I like — the one that tells me things about her clients and I hadn't even asked.
Kelly Bush, publicist to Christian Slater (poor dear) and Tobey Maguire, absolutely lied to my face about Tobey's antics at a Seabiscuit party. He refused to give a speech, whined endlessly about the event, then left early — and even though I saw the whole thing, Kelly insisted he was the perfect guest. Kelly is a big liar, although she's usually been decent to me, all the reporters I know hate her. [drug related incident starring a Seabiscuit co-star omitted]
Cindy Guagenti — LIAR! No, Brad and Angelina aren't having an affair. That's a big lie, it's all tabloid rumor. No, Brad and Jen aren't getting divorced. They've never been happier. LIAR!
Craig Schneider — little lame [adjective omitted] publicist to Mischa Barton. Since she's his only client, he actually sends nasty hate mails to anyone who writes negatively about her and regularly refers to the reporters he chats with as "motherfuckers" and "bitches". And he's a liar. No, Mischa's not dating Brandon Davis — he said that to me for like 6 months even though they were making out all over town.
Annette Wolf — represents Nic Cage and is terrified of her crazy client. Everything that is ever printed about him is, she claims, a lie. She is very ball-busting on the phone but I saw her at an awards show running to get a Diet Coke for one of her other clients, just like the little lackey that she is. By the way, babe — get a haircut and gain 20 pounds. You're scaring me.
Troy Nankin — he's like Stanford on Sex & The City. Little, bald [adjective omitted] and all his clients are B-list actresses like Selma Blair that consider him their best girlfriend. Too bad they don't know that he is the one that is telling all their secrets to his [same adjective omitted] pals, who them tell them to me.
Not sure if this qualifies, as I interpret your request as seeking horror stories about publicists, rather than from them, but here goes: I was hired as an assistant at PMK (after seven interviews, btw), and quit after 1 MONTH and took a $5000 PAY CUT at my next job, so desperate was I to flee. Not that the next job, as a book publicist, was such a treat, having been assigned such dlightful "authors" as "celebrity" make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin, who would think nothing of calling me at home at 3AM complaining about the fact that his room at the Delano did not have a bathtub, only a shower, or such horrors as his having to endure riding in a white limo (he requested black only!) for the book signing in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana (where limo color options are,not surprisingly, limited), etc., etc. I am now in graduate school for Social Work.
I think the real reason why finke doesn t write for magazines anymore is her generous divorce settlement from jeffrey greenberg, he of the greenberg clan of insurance magnates (son of maurice "hank" greenberg, currently being investigated for alleged "improprieties" at AIG). Wealth makes people a lot bolder.
FLASH!! A correction from Nikki Finke herself: "Yes, I was once involved in a 14-year relationship with Jeffrey Greenberg, son of M.R. Greenberg, that included marriage. But there was no "generous divorce settlement" because I never sought one. I only asked for, and received, $35,500 (easily confirmable with the District Court of Harris County, Texas). Why that figure? Because I made it clear I wished to pay back my parents for the cost of the wedding at The Pierre. I took no other money, property, equities, etc.. Needless to say, my divorce lawyer made me sign a piece of paper promising I wouldn't sue him for malpractice. So please don't portray me as a money-grubbing divorcee."