Departing gossip columnist Ben Widdicombe's innuendo-laden items for the Gatecrasher column in the Daily News were always designed for two audiences: the tabloid's middlebrow readers, who weren't intended to get the joke; and the Australian gossip's counterparts, who could be expected to pick up on the camp subtext.
I'm sure it is in that spirit that online gossip site Jossip is sending off Widdicombe. 'Ben Widdicombe Exits Gossip Industry, Leaving Gaping Aussie Void,' runs the headline. Har har. There's only one problem: the Daily News gossip writer used to bed Jossip's wide-eyed young founder, David Hauslaib-and one could easily take his reference to Widdicombe's gaping void as the bitchy recollection of a former lover, rather than collegial ribbing.
Incidentally, Hauslaib also dated Patrick Healy, Hillary Clinton's persecutor at the New York Times, who was in turn the former boyfriend of Chris Rovzar, the ethereal young reporter who took over from Widdicombe at the News' Rush & Molloy column when the Australian gossip graduated to his own column. And that proves what, exactly? Only that New York's gay media subculture is even more incestuous than its heterosexual equivalent; the partner-hopping is simply less well examined.
Photograph, clockwise, from top left: Jossip's David Hauslaib; burnt-out gossip columnist Ben Widdicombe; Chris Rovzar, now at New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer; and Patrick Healy of the New York Times.