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Tag: James Frey (1-10 of 17)

From Michael Bay to Eminem, here are creators who've (sort of) apologized for their work

When you create something for public consumption, you’re putting yourself in a very fragile position. For example, creating a popular television show means handing your beloved characters over to the world for weekly scrutinizing. Then again, it also means handing them over for weekly adoration. But no matter how beloved a show, movie, album, or book might be, no creator is perfect. And by default, no creator’s work is perfect.

That being said, there are few times in the world of pop culture where a creator has come forth and apologized for a large piece of work. Do rappers often have to apologize for certain lyrics? Yes. Are there controversial moments in television episodes that get addressed immediately? Of course. But looking back at an entire season of television or a film and saying “sorry” to fans is a rarity in this business. And in honor of Aaron Sorkin’s recent apology to fans of The Newsroom, we’ve rounded up some other notable apologies. And you know what? We’re not sorry about it.


New James Frey paperback implies he has scandalous recordings of Oprah...or not

Freyoprah_lProne-to-perhaps-slight-exaggeration author James Frey’s new paperback version of his latest book, Bright Shiny Morning,contains two scenes cut from the hardcover — including one in which a sorta-like-Frey character obtains embarrassing audio tapes of his Oprah-ish nemesis, Fox News reports with conviction. The other excised passage involves some seriously X-rated escapades, but everyone’s finding the Oprah-ish stuff far sexier. Makes sense, given the flogging-heard-round-the-world that the Queen of Daytime gave Frey when it emerged that some of his addiction/recovery memoir, A Million Little Pieces, was made up. In this salivated-over bit in the authors’-cut version of the new book, a  guy embroiled in scandal is preparing to go on a TV show. When he feels "people turning on him," he starts taping his phone calls with the producers and host of the show. After the appearance, the host calls him to make sure he isn’t "going to hurt himself" and makes some surprising confessions of her own while his tape recorder is rolling. Page Six, incidentally, asked Frey for comment, prompting him to laugh and say, "The book is fiction. Interpret it however you want."

Nonetheless, news outlets are wondering whether Frey has bombshell tapes in his possession. So, to recap: The guy lied when writing supposed nonfiction, and we excoriated him for that. He then wrote fiction, which we are now presuming to be true, as opposed to, say, a dude with some penchant for blowing things out of proportion working out his own anger issues — in, I should mention, a relatively peaceful fashion. It’s a long, grand tradition in fiction, authors rewriting history to suit themselves, to process things that happened to them but give them better outcomes. It is, in some ways, the reason people become writers. We’re neurotic like that.

So what do you think, PopWatchers? Does James Frey really have secret, end-of-Oprah-as-we-know-her tapes? Or does he just know how to whip up a book-selling controversy?

addCredit(“George Burns/Harpo Productions/AP Images”)

Celebrity interns: The EW wish list

Ewcelebrityinterns_lHe’s laid low for a while after that brutal admonishment from THE OPRAH, but it looks like A Million Little Pieces author James Frey has finally resurfaced: The disgraced memoirist interned at Gawker yesterday. And just what did they have him doing (aside from fetching donuts)? Fact-checking. Heh, way to beat everyone to the punch. With rocker Ryan Adams interning at BlackBook and recently suspended hockey player Sean Avery’s stint at Vogue this summer, it’s EW’s time to get some unpaid labor out of famous folks. Here’s our (brilliantly clever) celebrity intern wish list:

Coldplay – photocopying

Isaiah Washington – sensitivity training leader (if Mel Gibson isn’t available)

Michael Jackson – expense reports

Janet Jackson – wardrobe

Heidi and Spencer – staging photo shoots


Rosie O’Donnell – Human resources mediator

Which celebs would you PopWatchers like to see as EW interns and what menial tasks should we humiliate them with?

addCredit(“Subject name: Chris Martin: Tom Sheehan; Kanye West: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com; Heidi and Spencer: John Shearer/WireImage.com; Michael Jackson: Tony Barson/WireImage.com”)

The consequences of the 'Love and Consequences' hoax

Bookslie_lLove and Consequences (pictured, right), Margaret B. Jones’ memoir about growing up and running drugs in South Central L.A., hit bookshelves on Friday. But all copies have been recalled, because the author — whose real last name is Seltzer — made the story up. She’s not half-Native American. She never lived in foster care under the tutelage of a figure called "Big Mom, which means she never had a foster brother named Terrell who got shot by the Crips. Seltzer’s publisher (Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin), editor, and agent hadn’t a clue about any of this until Seltzer’s sister (her sister!) read this over-the-top Times profile and outed her as a fraud. Margaret Seltzer actually grew up in Sherman Oaks (which O.C. fans may know as The Real Valley. Sorry). In EW’s book review (published Feb. 22), Vanessa Juarez presciently wondered "if Jones embellishes the dialogue." Indeed!

The news is mind-boggling in a "How did she get away with this?!" sort of way (It’s only now, after the reviews and after a Times profile, that the sister comes forward? No other alarm bells went off for anyone else during the years it took to bring the manuscript to market?), but the fabrication itself simply isn’t that surprising anymore. Just last week, Misha Defonseca’s Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years (left), was exposed as a hoax after 11 years in print. Then there’s the James Frey saga, the JT Leroy hoax, blah blah blah, etc. It’s getting just as easy to believe that some gambler made the whole thing up as it is that an autobiographical account could be entirely honest.


50 biggest scandals since '82: What'd we forget?

So this morning we posted EW’s countdown of the top 25 biggest celebrity scandals of the past 25 years. (Online-only bonus: Check out Nos. 50-26 here!) Anyway, the full list of 50 is chock-full of things that make me die inside, including Ted Danson performing blackface while roasting then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg (No. 40), Woody Allen marrying Soon-Yi Previn (No. 6), and Michael Jackson dangling baby Blanket (No. 5). Other usual suspects on the list: R. Kelly, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Mel Gibson.

Now we want to hear from you, P-Dubs: What did we forget to include? Maybe it’s too recent to go down in the annals of "xx"-dom, but seems like Denise Richards’ nasty split from Charlie Sheen (who’s already on this list, natch) and her subsequent involvement with friend Heather Locklear’s ex, Richie Sambora, is tawdry enough to deserve a spot here. What say you?

James Frey's publisher is still mad at Oprah

Frey_lJames Frey’s publisher, Nan Talese, made some provocative noise this weekend in Dallas, where she spoke out against Oprah Winfrey for flaying Frey on national television last year after parts of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces, turned out to be bogus. "I’m afraid I’m unapologetic of the whole thing," said Talese at a writers’ conference, according to the Dallas Morning News. "And the only person who should be apologetic is Oprah Winfrey." Winfrey, Talese reportedly said, displayed "fiercely bad manners — you don’t stone someone in public, which is just what she did."

Hmm. What do you think? I say, "Wow, it takes some guts to take on Oprah." And "Man, I guess we won’t be seeing any more Nan Talese books picked for the Oprah Book Club anytime soon." And, finally, I say Talese is totally right. As a big fan who read Pieces and its even-better sequel My Friend Leonard long before Oprah got around to her endorsement, I actually stood up for James Frey back during his public execution. What he did was inexcusable, and I’m sad that future readers won’t be able to come blindly to both books like I did, but nobody deserves the kind of public beat-the-dog-with-a-newspaper treatment he got on that one awful episode of Oprah. Right? And if you’re interested (i.e., not totally still fatigued by this whole thing even a year and a half later like I am), read the full Dallas Morning News piece: it contains Talese’s juicy version of what went down in the studio behind the scenes. My favorite is the Mafia talk: "It’s just business!"

Your Top TV Moments of 2006?

94241__mel_l_1According to a TiVo-conducted poll, Katie Couric’s last day on Today was the most unforgettable TV moment of 2006. We’d take this survey more seriously if it was TiVo revealing its most rewound moments of the year, but you know we love a good debate list, so here goes:

1. "Katie Couric’s last day on Today" — Which we commemorated with a live-blog and a photo tribute. 

2. "Mel Gibson’s interview with Diane Sawyer after his DWI arrest" (pictured) — Immortalized with our play-by-play of Day 1 and Day 2. (And by the way, my sister’s retriever Riggs is still rolling around in bear poop.)

3. "Oprah tells author James Frey he betrayed readers" — And EW’s Ken Tucker and Stephen King told us what they thought about it.

4. "Sara and Grissom get together on CSI" — Am I the only one suprised that this relationship is the kind that garners a YouTube video tribute… to Savage Garden’s "Truly Madly Deeply"?

5. "Faith Hill’s reaction to Carrie Underwood’s win at the CMA Awards" — Shockingly, not that exciting once you get a little distance.

addCredit(“Good Morning America: Rick Rowell/ABC”)


James Frey: Another book, another scandal?

Okay, bear with me here, as I post a blog entry about a blog entry that contains yet another blog entry. It’s really not that complicated if you focus:

Just wanted to give Gawker mad props for their realization this morning that the first paragraph of James Frey’s new book as posted on his website is almost identical to Wikipedia’s definition of the founding of Los Angeles.

That’s right: They just accused Frey of ripping off Wikipedia.

(It is also worth noting, if you follow those links up there, that since the paragraph first appeared on Gawker this morning, Frey has removed the word "mulatto.")

In all seriousness, I can’t help but think one of the commentors over on that other site has the right idea: Anyone can edit Wikipedia. Couldn’t this just be a publicity stunt? Is Frey just doing this to mess with us, or is he really that clueless? Oh, postmodernism! How your meta ways befuddle me!

The return of James Frey('s ego)

I’ve got two words for James Frey, disgraced author of A Million Little Pieces, and they should be delivered in the fashion made famous by Dianne Wiest in Bullets Over Broadway: "Don’t speak!"

You see, Frey’s wisely stayed in the shadows since getting flogged by Oprah Winfrey in the town square for fabricating portions of his best-selling memoir. But breaking his silence in an interview in Friday’s Guardian, Frey shows he’s still in desperate need of introspection — and an ego check.

On one hand, the guy claims he wants to be included in the same breath as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Kerouac, and yet at the same time, expresses surprise that anyone would have made a big deal of his lies. "I just never thought that I was that big a target. I never thought that I would garner that much attention, that I was that big a deal." Worst of all, Frey seems all too willing to shift the blame off himself, and amazingly, place it on the American people who felt duped by him. "I think a lot of it had to do with what was happening and is still happening in our country, y’know?" he says of the outrage that accompanied his downfall. "People feel frustrated by a lot of distortions by politicians, by members of the media, by movie stars, by tabloid journalists, and it was like a sorta confluence of events that I happened to be in the middle of."

Um, what-ever.

James Frey: From tarnished writer to TV star?

141055__jamesearl_lSo everybody at PopWatch HQ was watching a sheepish James Frey on Oprah yesterday, and we got this crazy idea for a new series, My Name Is James, in which the disgraced memoirist (left) makes a list of all the lies and inaccuracies in his best-selling A Million Little Pieces, then sets out one by one to make ‘em true — à la Jason Lee’s repenting Earl (right). Tentative title for the pilot episode: ”The One Where Our Protagonist Gets a Root Canal Without Novocaine!”

Oh come now, PopWatchers. Don’t get all shysty on me, you know you’d watch (especially if some visionary network paired it with Here Comes Rhonetta!).

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