Never one afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom, Endeavor superagent and HuffPo freethinker Ari Emanuel has leapt to the defense of embattled pal Chris Albrecht, "appalled" at the way the media unfairly drew a connection between a harmless little 16-year-old cover-up (was there even an HBO way back in 1991? Who knows?) and this weekend's isolated incident in the MGM Grand valet lot to create the dubious "pattern" that ostensibly cost the executive his job. Blogs Emanuel:
Chris Albrecht is my friend, and I'm appalled at the way he has been treated by the press. He is an alcoholic who fell off the wagon and made a terrible mistake. No one is arguing that. What happened outside the MGM Grand is inexcusable — and Chris has expressed his deep regret about it.
But that wasn't enough for those in the press who dug up a 16 year old incident, dusted off the cobwebs covering it, and suddenly created "a pattern" of behavior that required the delivery of Chris' head on a platter.
Chris Albrecht, like the rest of us, is not a perfect person. But he is a brilliant executive who helped turn HBO from a place to watch movies, stand-up comedy, and boxing into the home for some of the most creative and challenging original programming in the history of television. He has an amazing eye for talent, the ability to nurture that talent, and the patience to let outside-the-box shows find their audience. Without him, we wouldn't have had The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, or Everyone Loves Raymond (which HBO produced).
Emanuel goes on to point out that Hollywood seems to have forgiven regrettable-explosive-drunken-incident-haver Mel Gibson (a reconciliation no doubt assisted by his own, well-publicized call for compassion), so giving Albrecht a second chance should be a no-brainer. But even if the agent's words go unheeded, at least Albrecht can take comfort in the fact that when seemingly no one in Hollywood was willingly to stick up for him, at least he could count on one friend who has "worked with HBO a great deal over the years" and who hopes to maintain a healthy business relationship with him going forward, wherever he may land.