Victoria Floethe, the New Media Ingénue
A staff writer at Michael Wolff's Newser, Victoria Floethe, is rumored to be having an affair with her boss. Who knew there were any media jobs still worth sleeping your way into?
The old pattern of a cute ingénue charming the pants off an aging media tycoon seemed like a dying trope. Think Anna Wintour and Si Newhouse at Condé Nast (okay, there was no evidence they actually slept together). Or Tina Brown and Auberon Waugh of Private Eye back in the U.K. (they pretty definitely did).
And along comes Floethe to revive it! Cityfile reports (and we've also heard) that Floethe and Wolff have been carrying on an affair since she was an intern at Vanity Fair, where Wolff is a contributing writer. Floethe denies it. But the whiff of scandal at an Internet news site is energizing. Online editors, by and large, have not yet grown rich and powerful enough to command the attentions of the young, ambitious, and unscrupulous. Who is this Floethe, and what makes her such a likely target of rumors of an affair?
A self-described "femme fatale." Floethe infuriated Slate readers last year by describing a 2006 trip to the Caucasian nation of Georgia, where she and her boyfriend, whom she describes only as a "travel writer," hobnobbed with President Mikheil "Misha" Saakashvili. She unabashedly stripped down to her swimwear for Sakaashvili:
The next day, Misha, accompanied by eight CIA-trained bodyguards, flew us in a vintage Soviet chopper to what looked like a Bond villain's compound on the beach. After I changed into my femme fatale bikini, an armed guard escorted me from the dacha to the beach, where Misha was riding a jet ski. I hesitated just a moment before I clung to the president for dear life (only briefly wondering whether the travel writer had traded me for access to high places).
Likes older men. Floethe insists that she and Wolff are "great friends." She certainly has a lot of great friends. The "travel writer" boyfriend whom she never names in the Slate piece is Melik Kaylan, a widely published journalist much older than her. At the time Floethe and he were going out, Kaylan was married. He helped introduce her to Wolff, who got her an internship at Vanity Fair. According to our tipster, to Kaylan's dismay, Floethe switched her affections from Kaylan to Wolff. She's also dated Lawrence Osborne, the travel writer ex of founding Gawker editor Elizabeth Spiers. And at an Interview party, she was photographed clinging to the side of English writer Adrian Dannatt (left).
Raised by a Palin voter. Floethe wrote in the Guardian before the election of her upbringing by a Republican mother:
My mother is a Republican-committee-woman type who recently moved from Buckhead in Atlanta to a gated community called Big Canoe an hour from the city in the north Georgia mountains. If she had political opinions beyond some traditional Republican bromides as well as the irksome articles and emails she forwards, I'd long ago become inured to them. To me it was just mom-ish background noise. Whatever my mother's politics, we comported ourselves like any more or less liberal (certainly for the south we were liberal), upwardly mobile family - an emphasis on culture betterment, Ivy League schools and, ultimately, an apartment for me in the East Village in Manhattan.
An ex-trust funder. In Slate two weeks ago, Floethe confessed that her trust fund was not what it once was:
My small but helpful trust fund lost 40 percent all at once, and then another 20 percent, leaving me, practically speaking, destitute. I suddenly needed something more than an Internet writing job (Internet writers need trust funds) at the exact moment when there were no jobs. Either that or a man of means.
Part of the beauty of a trust fund has been the freedom to avoid such a man, those incredibly rich but invariably dull hedge funders and private equity guys, bean counters and bureaucrats, so available in New York and urged on all single girls.
What, no mention of aging Internet entrepreneurs as an option?