In early July 2005, Page Six ran a story claiming that Zeta Graff, a diamond heiress who once dated Hilton's former fiancé Paris Latsis, had attacked Hilton at London nightclub Kabaret and tried to steal Hilton's $4 million necklace. Graff denied the incident and, in response, filed a $10 million slander suit, claiming Hilton had planted this and other "malicious falsehoods" in the New York Post, for reasons amounting to little more than stank bitchiness.
Despite being the first outlet to print the potentially false story, Page Six announced yesterday that Paris Hilton wasn't looking so strong as a defendant. The recent deposition from Hilton's then-publicist Rob Shuter is particularly enlightening; according to Shuter, Hilton called him immediately after some sort of run-in with Graff and ordered him to take her version of the story to the press:
And, lo and behold, the story appeared in Page Six. What follows in the deposition is a disturbing anatomy of the business of big gossip and publicists, in which Shuter took Hilton's story and lovingly spoon-fed it directly to Page Six (including Hilton's "sourced" remarks, which very well may have come from her imaginary friends). Uh, isn't this, like, EVERYTHING THAT'S WRONG WITH PR AND GOSSIP AND THE WHOLE GODDAMNED WORLD?
After the jump, excerpts from Shuter's deposition and an intimate understanding of a publicist's dirty work.
(Emphasis below is all ours, because we love this "behind the curtain" shit.)
Q. Now, was it the New York Post that was specifically discussed [for placement of the story] or was [Paris] more open-ended?
A (Shuter). It was even more specific than that. It was Page 6 that was discussed.
Q. Now, based on your experience working with Paris Hilton or what she may have specifically said in that conversation, do you know why she asked you to have a story put in Page 6 of the NYP?
[Objections back and forth]
A. I think Paris is very media savvy, and I think she knew that the New York Post would have the most impact.
Q. Now, what was your response — when Paris Hilton was telling you her version of events at Kabaret and telling you kind of what you should do with this story, what was your response back to her?
A: I listened carefully. I took notes. And then, I made a call. Then, I called the Post.
Q: Okay. Who did you call at the NYP?
A: Richard Johnson.
Q: And what was the — what did you tell Richard Johnson?
A: It was a very short conversation, and I relayed all the information that Paris had provided. I relayed that information to Richard.
Q: Okay. At the what time — and if it helps your recollection, you know, focus on when you spoke to Paris Hilton about 10:00 to 10:30 Saturday morning. How —
[dispute, day clarified to Friday]
Q: How quickly after that telephone call?
A: Within the next 20 minutes. Like it was pretty instant.
Q: So, within 20 minutes you placed a call to Richard Johnson?
A: I believe — yes.
Q: And did you call him at work or on his cell phone?
A: At the office.
Q: And you said that you relayed some of the information that Paris Hilton had provided to you just before that?
A: All of the information, yes.
Q: Okay. And could you — just so I'm clear and I have a full understanding of what was relayed, could you go back through what was relayed to Richard Johnson.
A: I painted a general scene of what Paris had explained happened in the club. Additionally, I provided three sourced remarks that Paris provided. By "sourced," I mean they were off-the-record remarks that didn't have a name attached to it. I provided an on-the-record comment from her publicist, and I provided an on-the-record comment from Paris herself, that she had approved.
Q. Okay. So, we'll go through the various — the article very specifically, but each of the anonymous sources who are quoted as well as the Paris Hilton quote and the publicist quote, those all did come from you?