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  1. Carol Mariane
    Carol Mariane December 16, 2006 at 10:56 pm |

    Why was Judith Regan so sure that the book O.J. Simpson was going to write, was an actual confession. Only he and his consciencce know what happened the night Nicole Brown Simpson and friend, Ron Goldman were brutally murdered, including Bruno Magli shoes that Simpson had apparently wanted a pair of.

  2. cooper
    cooper December 17, 2006 at 2:11 am |

    Sorry if this is not evocative enough of a label, but maybe, just maybe, she was just too tasteless of a human being for even the Rupert empire.

    Why was Judith Regan so sure that the book O.J. Simpson was going to write, was an actual confession.

    I think this misses it. He was *so sure* the book would sell a bajillion copies. I don’t think anything else mattered here.

    If there is a point here about women vs. men, the question shouldn’t be about whether she was right or wrong on any particular point, it is whether a man who published a complete bullshit, yet massively successful book — or was about to do so — would have suffered the same fate. I am not sure the answers are different. The problem Regan faced is she made herself the “brand”. Therefore, to kill the line Rupert had to kill the brand.

  3. cooper
    cooper December 17, 2006 at 2:15 am |

    Edit: He was/She was

  4. Twisty
    Twisty December 17, 2006 at 9:58 am |

    It is misleading to suggest that I “argue” that Judith Regan was fired for “comeuppance” purposes. I mentioned her in my post only because her name was one of five top headlines at the Daily News — all stories of bad shit happening to women — and that her situation fits the template of a popular misogynist narrative.

  5. ginmar
    ginmar December 17, 2006 at 1:56 pm |

    Huh. So where are all the stories of male comeuppance? On the one hand, you have a teen beauty queen, getting taken to task for her uppityness, Yoke Ono getting taken to task for daring to be stalked, a couple women who died as a result of accidents–see what happens, ladies, when you get uppity and leave the home?—-and a female publisher getting nailed in much the same gleeful way that Martha Stewart was, while rapacious male financial offenders simply disappear till their rehabilitation. All that’s missing from the Regan case is her nasty nickname, granted by the mostly male press. Remember Leona Helmsley? Remember Susan Smith, while male child murderers simply disappear? Male offenders are always unique individuals, while women are just part of a vast herd of those damned women. Men get the benefit of the doubt. Women don’t—especially when they’re not cute docile women.

    What would a guy have to do to arouse such venom? (If he doesn’t fit the paper’s pre concieved biases, then he won’t be subjected to the same standard as uppity women.) When men slam other men, it’s always cartoonish and superheroish: “He ought to be tossed off a cliff! I’d kill a rapist! I’d torture a—” Except if it’s his buddy or brother of friend.

    The story you cite, Zuzu, is appallingly sexist. Are you really citing slut bashing as a defense of your standards? “Frisky.” “Catnip to the ladies.” This is your idea of—-what, exactly?

  6. ginmar
    ginmar December 17, 2006 at 2:11 pm |

    And—Hyena? Gee, a dog-like animal. Hm, what could this be a synonym for?

  7. kate
    kate December 17, 2006 at 2:13 pm |

    I see both points, of zuzu’s and of Twisty’s. Regan was careless and got ahead of herself, seems she lost her ability for objectivity somewhere along the way of her success. Which is a tragic thing to see occur to any person who allows the elixer of their own success dull their sense of parameters.

    But, and I say BUT zuzu, I don’t appreciate the seething, judgemental article you linked to in the Daily News, that harps incessantly on Regan’s affair with the police commissioner. Yes, its immoral, yes its bad judgement. But if I had a dollar for every assbag man I’ve seen trumpeted as a hero, or a Great Success worthy of Emulation while his slippery zipper is ignored, I’d be rich by now.

    That’s the mysoginy that I see.

  8. ginmar
    ginmar December 17, 2006 at 2:28 pm |

    You mean you don’t like her being called poorly-disguised new versions of old slut shaming terms? That article is vile. She’s being criticized for her ability to fuck whom she wants.

  9. AndyS
    AndyS December 17, 2006 at 2:37 pm |

    “… if I had a dollar for every assbag man I’ve seen trumpeted as a hero, or a Great Success worthy of Emulation while his slippery zipper is ignored …” Like Rudy Giuliani or Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich or JFK? Yep, there a lot of them.

    If the Daily News just said Regan was sleeping around you’d have a good point, Kate. But I think that in this case it was who she was associating with — another, high profile asshole — that makes it fair game.

  10. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne December 17, 2006 at 3:51 pm |

    According to today’s Los Angeles Times, Regan was fired after making an “offensive” phone call to one of the Harper/Collins lawyers:

    Just in case anyone wants to add any, y’know, facts to the debate.

  11. adkay
    adkay December 17, 2006 at 5:14 pm |

    Judith Regan is condemned for sluttiness–yetle Kerik’s buddy Guiliani, whose horrible behavior to both his family and to a succession of girlfriends is well documented, is a serious contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

  12. Esme
    Esme December 17, 2006 at 6:08 pm |

    zuzu: The point that they’re all trying to make isn’t that she was a bad person; it seems indisputable that she lacked quite a bit of moral fiber. The point isn’t that she deserved to lose her job or reputation. The point is that she in particular is singled out, that her fall is so well publicized, that the attacks on her are so linked to her sex and sexual history, when her actions seem remarkably similar to those of many men whose falls either never happen, or are not publicized.

    It’s remarkably similar to the Martha Stewart situation. Stewart got nailed for something similar to Bill Clinton: not the act herself which is found to be morally repugnant, but for lies told to cover up the act (with the act not actually being illegal). And yet, her trial came after a seemingly endless stream of revelations about company leadership which bilked millions of people out of pensions, savings, and investments (all of which involved male leadership). But how many cameras did CourtTV have poised outside their trials? Did they even have trials? We don’t know. But all of us know that Martha Stewart went to jail. All of us had to change the channel repeatedly to escape the endless coverage. And all of us seem to think she had it coming for being mean in her personal and professional life.

    That is the point with Judith Regan. It was Murdoch who was all set to publish the book until public outcry led him to the conclusion that financially speaking it was better to kill the book. But whose name is being dragged through the mud? Whose sex life are we digging into and obsessing over?

  13. Dana
    Dana December 17, 2006 at 10:19 pm |

    But if you excuse sexist language in “bringing down a scumbag” simply *because* it is “bringing down a scumbag,” you’re saying it’s worth it to bring down the entire gender for the sake of pointing out that one member of it is a scumbag. Why the hell do I have to be lumped in with this idiot? I don’t even know her. So why is getting on her case about her gender in any way acceptable?

    Is the tabloid press completely incapable of pointing out a person’s shortcomings without attempting to implicate everyone else in that person’s demographic group?

    Why are YOU endorsing such implication?

  14. ginmar
    ginmar December 17, 2006 at 10:45 pm |

    You’re not endorsing every word in it, Zuzu, but which ones are your endorsing, and how are we supposed to tell? The article is appallingly sexist, which was kind of Twisty’s point. And Martha Stewart and all the rest got nailed for being Female While Uppity, no matter what you think. Their treatment in the press is markedly different from the treatment that men recieve. So where’s the eternal press damnation for Charles Rothenberg, who set fire to his young son when he didn’t get custody of the kid? Nope, it’s all Andrea Yates, all the time. Where’s the coverage of men who kill their kids to hurt their wives? The press is too busy demonizing Yates or Smith.

  15. Esme
    Esme December 18, 2006 at 12:47 am |

    Then we should feel free to discuss that. Perhaps a discussion of how women can still exploit other women and violence against them is merited. But that’s not what you’re arguing. You’re arguing ad hominem attacks about the woman’s sex life, when the point at issue isn’t Regan’s character, it’s how she is treated in the press as compared with men.

    NONE OF US are saying that Regan’s actions are excuseable (the exact same way I nowhere in my post said I thought Stewart’s actions were excuseable). What we’re discussing is the difference in the coverage.

    “Martha Stewart lied to the FBI, which is what she got nailed for. Because it’s a crime, even if she did not actually engage in insider trading, which is what the FBI was investigating. One or two phone calls, one or two lies. Easy peasy.”

    That’s my point. Martha Stewart got nailed for lying to the FBI. Not for insider trading. She got publicly crucified for lying to the FBI in an investigation into something where she more than likely did not actually commit a proveable crime. I’m not saying that lying to the FBI isn’t serious. I’m not saying that she didn’t do something to merit investigation, prosecution, or jail time. What I’m saying is that they AVIDLY persued the case against her, that it was publicized by the media as a ball busting bitch getting her comeuppance, and that even feminists or profeminist men didn’t object to the sexist language used against her because it was seen as merited because in her personal life, she wasn’t nice.

    None of us seem to care about how Kenneth Lay acted in his private life, and the media certainly never seems to cover it. I don’t know if he was an asshole to people who worked for him, or if he was a huge prick to everyone around him. People focused on his crime, not him. And it was only because of the sheer enormity of his crime and the huge pool of his victims that anyone really seemed to give a rat’s ass about Kenneth Lay.

    Rupert Murdoch is pretty much the textbook definition of immoral. He will change his stance to pro-totalitarianism if it would make him more money and get him more power. He uses his massive media influence to impress his political beliefs upon the millions who are exposed to his media empire, and has no problem with firing people from his media outlets for holding opposing political views. But the press doesn’t talk about who he’s had sex with or where. The press doesn’t call him a bitch. The press hasn’t spent the time since this book deal was announced calling him a hyena or an asshole or talking about his taste in women. They haven’t asked just how low his morals will allow him to go. They haven’t spent this interval digging into his personal life, calling him “frisky” or insulting him with ad hominem attacks.

    You linked to the NY Daily News article, and you did it in such a manner that indicated that you thought it had merit, that it somehow proved Twisty wrong. You’ve indicated that somehow, press treatment of women who have done bad things is not up for question, because they have it coming.

    Sexist language isn’t okay, no matter who it’s directed at. Twisty never said Regan was an angel, never said that the book deal wasn’t despicable. She was referring to the manner in which the press has treated her, as compared with how the press treats men.

  16. Thomas
    Thomas December 18, 2006 at 10:29 am |

    Actually, what Martha did that really got her in trouble was that she walked into a prosecutor’s office and tried to talk her way out of it, and she lied. Federal prosecutors, IME, take their jobs seriously and listen seriously when someone says, “it’s really not what it looks like. I’ll tell you what really happened, and I didn’t do anything wrong.” Capable criminal defense attorneys will not let their clients have that conversation unless what their client intends to say is true (or at least matches all the evidence the Feds are likely to have) — not only because the actual lie to the prosecutors is a felony, but also because it blows any goodwill and really convinces them that the defendant deserves to be prosecuted. If she had kept her mouth shut, she would have walked.

    Judith Regan apparently got fired in part for being an anti-semite. I’m really okay with firing someone for making anti-semitic remarks to coworkers. Also, she undermined her own parent company in the media and embarassed Rupert Murdoch (that egomaniac right-wing piece of shit). Either of those things is a firing offense in most of the corporate world.

    If someone is looking for an example of a powerful woman taken down for being a powerful woman, Carly Fiorina is a better case. Her business decisions are arguable, but it seems clear to me that the knives were out for her.

  17. Thomas
    Thomas December 18, 2006 at 10:36 am |

    BTW, I am neither taking issue with what Twisty wrote nor with the article Zuzu linked, neither of which I have read. I do think that the media portrayal of failures of prominent women follow a misogynist don’t-get-above-your-station model; they are often openly gleeful in slamming women for behavior regularly viewed as innocuous or even desirable in men. I’m only speaking to the actual causes of the events, as opposed to how the media chooses to portray them.

  18. raging red
    raging red December 18, 2006 at 1:09 pm |

    I’d just like to point out that the article zuzu linked to is not the same article that Twisty linked to. Zuzu’s link is to an article that was written in November, before Regan was fired. I think some people are conflating the two articles and making it seem like zuzu linked to an article about Regan’s firing that also contains irrelevant salacious details about her sex life. The article that is about Regan’s firing mentioned the affair with Kerik once, at the bottom of the page, as part of a timeline of Regan’s career. The article that contains details of the affair is not part of the coverage of Regan’s firing, since it was written before that even happened.

  19. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein December 18, 2006 at 11:17 pm |

    It’s important to separate the media coverage from the story. Yes, the New York tabloid press is using a sexist narrative to describe Reagan’s downfall. Yet, as we all know, the NYDN narrative is more or less independent of the facts.

    In this case, Reagan richly deserved to get fired. We’ll never know whether a male executive who fucked up exactly the way she did would have gotten canned. The point is she deserved to be fired for her role in the whole OJ saga.

    Of course, there’s a confound because she got fired in part because she was getting so much bad media attention. There might have been a sexist vicious cycle: The media freak out for partly sexist reasons, Reagan’s PR backfires for partly sexist reasons, the company takes a bath on the book because there’s a public outcry. So in one sense, Reagan’s gender-neutrally responsible. She brought on the whole debacle. On the other hand, the fact that the project failed may have had something to do with sexism. (Not that the project deserved to succeed.)

  20. phonelesscord
    phonelesscord December 19, 2006 at 12:37 am |

    This is totally unrelated to Judith Regan but it certainly deserves to be filed under Assholes. Just read the most ridiculous and offensive reponse to the Suffolk Strangler murders, in which people have been publicly outraged about the killings of five prostitutes. But this guy reminds us that there’s no use crying over dead hookers.

  21. bmc90
    bmc90 December 19, 2006 at 5:09 pm |

    Over at Atrios this week was a post detaling all of Judith’s interviews with Fox slamming Clinton over the Lewinsky affair, and REALLY laying it on thick (bad example for children, my family is Catholic and we don’t cheat – on and on – different occasions). Her hypocracy if nothing else is a one way ticket to major vilification in my book. People like her led the drum beat for impeachment when they should have at least kept their mouths shut with a there, but for the grace of god . . . . mouthed wordlessly from time to time. I don’t judge her because of sex; I judge her judgement of others given her own conduct.

  22. Garuda
    Garuda December 20, 2006 at 3:19 pm |

    On the women get treated worse than men thing:
    six months for Martha Stewart.
    30 years for Jeff Skilling.

  23. Esme
    Esme December 20, 2006 at 3:31 pm |

    That’s why I mentioned it in the post. You know, to show that Regan did something other than be female and successful to merit getting canned.

    But then why is the comment about Kerik necessary? It doesn’t seem to have been a factor in her firing. The bit I take offense to is the last line of your post

    We won’t even mention what she got up to with Bernie Friggin’ Kerik overlooking a gravesite

    “We won’t even mention.” But you did mention. Regan wasn’t in control of city funds, Kerik was. Her sex life is useless to the discussion, except insofar as we as a society spend far too much time obsessing over the personal lives of prominent women.

    The article you linked is disgusting.

    Once, Judith Regan’s taste in men was Bernard Kerik. Now her taste in authors is O.J. Simpson.

    Her “taste in men” has nothing to do with her publishing, but the article is a salacious dig into her sex life, despite the fact that Kerik, not Regan, was the one who abused his power. Near the end, the author casually mentions, as a side note, some of her other low quality, exploitative publishings, and that point is well taken since the topic of discussion is supposed to be her publishing OJ’s book.

    I am upset to find you linking to such trash which slut shames Regan. Regan isn’t morally upstanding, none of us are saying she is, but digging into her sex life for ammunition against her perpetuates patriarchal obsessions with women’s sex lives. I normally admire your writing.

  24. Jill
    Jill December 20, 2006 at 3:35 pm | *

    On the women get treated worse than men thing:
    six months for Martha Stewart.
    30 years for Jeff Skilling.

    Oh Garuda, you’re pretty.

    The crimes that Stewart and Skilling were convicted of were very, very different — Skilling’s were a hell of a lot worse. That’s like saying “Nicole Richie got three days in jail. Charles Manson got life. Totally unfair!”

    Stewart was convicted on four counts of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. Skilling was convicted on “19 out of 28 counts against him, including one count of conspiracy, one count of insider trading (although he was acquitted of the other nine counts of this particular charge), five counts of making false statements to auditors, and twelve counts of securities fraud. Each conviction carries a maximum sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison.”

    Slightly different, huh?

  25. cooper
    cooper December 21, 2006 at 1:01 am |

    Lindsay said:

    In this case, Reagan richly deserved to get fired. We’ll never know whether a male executive who fucked up exactly the way she did would have gotten canned. The point is she deserved to be fired for her role in the whole OJ saga.

    I think if the publishing label wasn’t ReganBooks, she could have kept her job. Again, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten to the top of the business unless she was selling herself as the brand, but once the brand went south, there was no option but to kill her. It could have been UpdikeBooks and he still would have been fired. If it was “WidgetBooks” though, I suspect Regan would still be working there and some aqusitions editor would have fallen on their swond for a job in another Rupert busness.

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