Technically GMA only paid a photo licensing fee—the photos just happened to have an exclusive interview attached. (Classic checkbook journalism.) Now that Upton admits that a British tabloid concocted the story, her customer wants a refund:
ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider tells The Hollywood Reporter the network won't pay the $10,000 photo licensing fee to a British booker for the story. (Schneider says they did not agree to pay Upton directly.)
"We had agreed to pay a $10,000 licensing fee to a U.K. freelancer for the pictures, but obviously in light of everything that's happened, zero money has been sent that way," says Schneider.
"We have a contract with the freelancer, which obviously stipulates that the images depict what they purport to show, that there's no staging in any way," he goes on. "So with all those open questions, we're going to hold [the money] back."
For more on the dark arts of tabloid bookers, here's an Ad Week story about Barcroft Media, the company that provides GMA, The Daily Mail, and others with human interest stories. (Greatest hit: The heartwarming tale of Indonesia's smoking baby.) Barcroft, Small World News Service, and their ilk are our modern carnival barkers. And I say that in the warmest way possible! I love carnivals, don't you? [The Hollywood Reporter, Ad Week]