Katie Holmes' $50 million libel lawsuit against Star magazine has ended. In today's issue, Star apologized for a January story about how Tom Cruise and Scientology control Katie. Star says it "did not intend to suggest that Ms. Holmes was a drug addict or was undergoing treatment for a drug addiction." And Star's parent company, American Media, has made an "substantial donation" to an undisclosed charity in Katie's name.
It looks like American Media didn't cut its $2.4-million-per-year editorial chief Bonnie Fuller fast enough: the tabloid publisher is reportedly nearly broke, desperately trying to raise money before a bunch of junk bonds come due in February. Granted, those bonds are worth $415 million, so Fuller's salary is only a sliver of the problem, but had Fuller delivered on hopes she could improve Star and National Enquirer enough to beat back competitors like Us Weekly and People perhaps the situation might not be so bleak. The company's worth has fallen by half in seven months, and its private equity owners will likely give up equity to keep it going. Perhaps some sort of juicy scandal will come along to breathe some life into the firm! [Post]
Amid general rejoicing in the humiliation of boss-from-hell Bonnie Fuller, have some sympathy for the departing American Media editorial director. Fuller not only failed to turn American Media's supermarket tabloid Star into a real competitor to the glossier Us Weekly; she recently lost her mother. But the driven Canadian-born super-editor-who boasted of her ability to juggle career and family in a recent advice book-may have used her mother's death to manage the news of her departure. New York Post terrier-like media reporter Keith Kelly was sniffing around last week. Bonnie Fuller's shameless response?
Last night, Reuters hosted a panel entitled "Public Figures, Private Lives" to wallow in self-loathing about how much the media invades the personal lives of ostensibly public people. Panelists included First Amendment junkie Floyd Abrams, American Media den mother Bonnie Fuller, CNBC/MSNBC's Hilary Rosen, Splash News head Gary Morgan, and Slate's Jacob Weisberg, all skillfully moderated by Reuters's Paul Holmes. If you've stayed awake through that recitation of names, you might have also made it to the panel. Intern Stephanie and video-op Richard Blakeley went to the reception AND the panel (troopers!), producing the clip above (Bonnie Fuller considers herself a public figure!) and the incident report below.