Gossip Pages Win: Todd English's Charges against Erica Wang Are Revenge for Spin War
Todd English's assault charges against jilted bride Erica Wang materialized two weeks after she watch-clocked him. We now know that English wasn't going to file with cops...until Wang declared war in the press. Winner? The New York Post!
This story teaches us all a valuable lesson: when minor celebrities try to use the tabloid press to their advantage-when they need something from the tabloids, as opposed to tabloids' lecherous reputation with real celebrities' lives-it's always the tabloid press who wins. Let's go over this one more time:
1. A minor celebrity in need of press spin calls a tabloid. Erica Wang calls the New York Post.
2. Why should they care and/or take her side of the story? Because their subject will give the rest of the scoop to them when the appropriate time comes. The Post runs an awesome, fun-filled report of Wang and friends partying after she was "stood up at the altar." Wang and friends also try to spin it to other outlets, like us. Erica Wang spinning her jilted bride story could be anything from revenge, to the desire for infamy, to a book deal or a TV show or, as our wedding expert Phyllis Nefler suggested, a Page Six Magazine interview. It could also be a press play to fight for image when this does become a legal battle of some kind (English billing her for the wedding-which he eventually did- her trying to get money from him, etc).
3. The story explodes, as English claims she abused him. The rest of the press wants it. The initial subject of the story delivers the entire exclusive to her original spin publication. Point for Nefler: Wang delivers on the exclusive Post interview. She gets her side of the story out on her home court-the Post-who keep delivering for their mutually beneficial relationship by spinning the story in her favor. Meanwhile, English starts talking to his hometown
Boston Herald Boston Globe in order to win favor locally regarding his side of the story.
And here we are: 4. The home tabloids can claim victory when the story moves into overdrive on both sides. English admits: he didn't file a domestic violence complaint against Wang until she went to the press to try to paint English as a bad person.
English waited nearly a month to report the Sept. 14 incident — pressing charges a day after The Post published an exclusive interview with Wang in which she called him "an animal" for blowing off their wedding. English "felt he had to move forward to protect his credibility" after the article, his lawyer, Danielle de Benedictis, told The Boston Herald.
Yup. This wasn't a story worth reporting on until Wang made it one. And now she's got a domestic abuse charge against her and people coming out of the woodwork with character color on her.
Maybe English was worried about the press on him being bad for business (let's say he wants to be a family-friendly TV chef), or maybe he was just pissed (he's got three kids who he doesn't want reading this shit). Who knows. Either way: the Post took the ball and ran it all the way into the end zone. They made the story, broke each piece every step of the way, and were eventually the cause for it getting played out even further. They also continued to establish themselves as a place minor-celebrities can present juicy scoops to in exchange for favorable coverage, which may or may not work to said celebrities' advantages. In this case, it hasn't worked out well for Wang.
But two questions remain: Why the hell did Wang think it was a good idea to carry on with the wedding party? We now know she had more than enough time to cancel it. Probably revenge, or impulse, or sadness. But the second, and more interesting question: Why the hell did Wang try to spin this to the press so hard? What did she really want out of all of this?
Everything we've heard-comments, tips, hearsay from other publications-have indicated in some form or another that this is the kind of thing that Wang's reputation adds up to. Lesson learned, then.
The makings of a minor celebrity are typically a sad, sordid affair for almost everyone involved. Almost. In the case of the New York Post, this is when you get to clock out early on Friday with a pat on the back from the boss. NYP Editor-in-Chief Col Allen and Crew, as someone staffing a gossip page myself, I've got to say: commendable work.
[Update: I incorrectly attributed the Boston Globe's scoop the the Boston Herald. I didn't even know Boston had gossip reporters before this! Awesome. Now I know who to hit up when I want to know what's up Bill Belichick's ass this week. Whickeh Pissahs.]