Of all handler subgenus, perhaps none is taxed more thanklessly than flackus mendacitus, or the garden variety publicist.
Always at the ready to swat away a junket reporter when the questioning strays off movie-pimping topic, or phone in a craftily worded, 4 a.m. denial ("Not only was my client not acquainted with the dead hooker in question, he wasn't even in Las Vegas this weekend. He was shooting his upcoming guest appearance on Entourage!"), it's time Hollywood's hard-working plate-spinners get the recognition they deserve.
Without further ado, then, we proudly present The 2008 Defamer Flack Honors. Winners, please come forward to collect your trophy (a clipboard-wielding thirtysomething woman hurling herself upon a grenade, cast in the finest bronze), and say a few carefully chosen words of appreciation.
Taking on Paris Hilton as a client is not a task for the fainthearted; but doing it with the gusto and blind obedience demonstrated time and again by Elliot Mintz elevates him from the rank-and-flacky-file to the level of some kind of publicist archangel. Not only did Mintz return to his post after his client's failed attempt at tossing him under a bus during her suspended license trial, he slathered himself, for reasons still not completely understood, in orange face paint for her birthday festivities. We're choking back tears right now.
Madonna's rep Liz Rosenberg had the publicity equivalent of SoCal wildfires to contend with this year, as if dropped by parachute with nothing but a watering can and her own slippery wits to fend off the singer's raging divorce inferno. It was enough to make a flack long for the relative innocuousness of new-new-face scrutiny, tales of corset-crappings, and other assorted moustache rides.
Still, even the most gifted of professional liars are bound by human constraints. As we tried in vain to place all the appropriate pushpins in our increasingly convoluted MadgeRod CynthRavitz Clusterfuck case map, Liz & Co. themselves could barely keep track of which fibs were meant for us, and which were never meant to leave the walls of Spin Control HQ.
The Worst Publicist in the World
True, we crowned Jonathan Jaxson The Worst Publicist in the World back in November, with two months and one Jeremy Piven handroll-related P.R. nightmare to go before 2008 closed out. Didn't matter. The second we met Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon's spokesperson, and listened to him tell an Atlanta CBS affiliate's morning show audience of his plan to fake a nude photo scandal that (surprise!) backfired, eventually leading to his client and her fellow Cheetahettes being disinvited from the Macy's parade, we knew we had met a bold new breed of publicist, far deadlier than any that came before. This is the P-2000: Incompetent Robot P.R. Killing Machine. Fight the future.