Polo-playing paper tycoon Peter Brant has had plenty of drama on his plate in recent weeks. His divorce from Stephanie Seymour has only been getting messier by the day. (Last week, the ex-supermodel got into a shoving match with one of Brant's bodyguards at the couple's Greenwich estate; over the weekend, she was issued a summons after another run-in with Brant's staff.) But that isn't the only crisis unfolding in the house of Brant. The convicted felon—Brant served 84 days in prison in 1990 after pleading guilty to tax fraud—is now watching Interview, the art/fashion mag founded by Andy Warhol and which Brant has controlled since the late 1980s, crumble to pieces. And it's all happened under the not-very-watchful eye of the man that Brant appointed to oversee his collection of magazines—his equally scandal-plagued son, Ryan Brant.
A major shake-up at Interview had been rumored for weeks. The hammer finally dropped on Monday when editorial director Glenn O'Brien was ousted from the company. His replacement? That would be Fabien Baron, who'd been pushed out of Interview himself just five months ago. (Baron and O'Brien were originally named co-editorial directors last spring after longtime editor Ingrid Sischy left the company.)
In recent days, a number of top editors have left the company; reports of serious cash flow issues at parent company Brant Publications have surfaced (Peter also owns Art in America and The Magazine Antiques); and vendors and freelancers have reported that they've gone unpaid. "It's like a Greek tragedy. Like watching a company going insane, instead of a person," O'Brien told The Daily this afternoon.
It's unlikely Baron's return to the magazine will do much to right the ship. (In fact, given Baron's profligate reputation, it may end up making things worse.) Until last year, Brant co-owned the portfolio of high-end titles with his ex-wife, Sandy Brant. (Sandy is now Ingrid Sischy's romantic partner; it's a very tangled web, yes.) In 2008, Peter acquired Sandy's half-share in the company and eventually handed over day-to-day management to his son, Ryan Brant. Ryan's qualifications for the job? Well, he did found Take Two Interactive, the video game company responsible for bestowing Grand Theft Auto on the world. Then again, he was forced out after he ended up at the center of an accounting scandal, a legal mess that was only settled after Ryan paid fines totaling more than $7 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and agreed not to serve as officer or director of a publicly-traded company for five years.
Too bad Brant Publications never went public.