• Remember the dust-up a couple of weeks ago when it was reported that Beyoncé had performed for the son of Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafi in St. Bart's on New Year's Eve? Photos of the concert have now surfaced, although the worst thing about them may be how Beyoncé looks like she's the headliner at a tacky club in New Jersey. [DM]
• Is Bethenny Frankel trying to pull a Star Jones? It seems Frankel has been approaching vendors and asking them to "sponsor" her wedding: She'd get their services gratis and, in exchange, they'd get a mention on her upcoming reality show, Bethenny's Getting Married. The only problem with Bethenny's grand scheme? She hasn't had much luck finding companies interested in taking part. [NYDN]
• Here's a great idea: David Letterman has reportedly invited Conan O'Brien to appear as a guest on his show. Cross your fingers! [PopEater]
• Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have not broken up, in case you were concerned. According to friends, he'd committed to working on a film in Wyoming, which is is why he didn't climb Mt. Kilimanjaro alongside Biel. It's not because he didn't want to, say, spend a week living with the love of his life in a tent. He would have totally done it if he could have. Really. [P6]
• Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie donated $1 million yesterday to Doctors Without Borders to fund emergency medical operations in Haiti. As for whether Tiger Woods really paid to send a plane full of medical supplies to the devastated nation, that's a (pretty unlikely) story that Russell Simmons has been circulating, though Tiger's reps have yet to confirm it. But it wouldn't be the worst way to begin rebuilding his image, come to think of it. [Us, TMZ]
If you were a little disturbed when you heard that America's largest automaker had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week, you really need not have worried so much. General Motors didn't really "go out of business," the car company's new commercial explains. It was "about getting down to business." And don't pay any attention to all the negative press the past few months: "The only chapter we're focused on is the first chapter."
• As expected, General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection this morning, citing more than $172 billion in debts. [WSJ, NYT, CNN, BN]
• Despite GM's filing, stocks managed to post gains on Monday morning. [NYT]
• Consumer spending fell for the second straight month in April. [AP]
• Another Bank of America board member stepped down on Friday. [NYT]
• AIG is supposedly looking to get back some of the millions it has handed out to charity so the money can be better spent paying out bonuses. [NYP]
• Banks are planning to fight Washington's threat of increased regulation. [NYT]
• GM and Citi have been booted from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. [BN]
• Bank of America chief Ken Lewis and several federal officials will be asked to testify under oath as part of an investigation into whether BofA was pressured by the government into completing its deal with Merrill Lynch. [WSJ]
• The stress test tally thus far: Of the 19 big banks under review, six don't need to raise capital, seven others need to come up with some cash, and it remains to be seen what category the other six will fall into. [WSJ]
• General Motors, which faces a June 1 deadline to sort out its troubles or file for bankruptcy, reported a $6 billion loss for the first quarter. [NYT]
• The number of people filing initial claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, and to their lowest level in more than 3 months, too. [CNN]
General Motors has posted its call for an auto-industry bailout directly to the Net, with predictably disastrous results. GM marketers have clearly fallen for the myth of Internet PR — that taking a company's message directly to the people through social media will give it a much friendlier reception than if it is filtered through the mainstream media. The reality?Slapping an infomercial on YouTube will generate far worse publicity than talking to friendly Detroit-based hacks on the automotive beat, who are every bit as dependent on the U.S. car industry for their paycheck as assembly-line workers are. The 81,724 YouTube viewers who have watched the clip are as vicious as ever, rating it two stars out of five (a mercy rating, surely), calling for GM's collapse, and decrying the notion of a government bailout. The only upside for Detroit's messagemakers: The instant YouTube reaction allows them to take their PR campaign back to the shop all the sooner.
How sad: General Motors has a "social media manager" — a person charged with appeasing bloggers, coddling tweeters, and enabling commentards. Natalie Johnson, said manager, explained that the company was compelled by mysterious forces on the Internet to launch GMnext.com, a new website where users generate the content: "It's hard to put a specific dollar value on this, but it's something we have to do." Actually, GM didn't.Johnson argues that the company needed the site to speak to young users. Well, sure: The site may well generate a lot of talk, and let young, spoiled millennials feel like a big, bad car company cares about them. But will keeping youngsters glued to their computers, complaining about their latest slight, move cars off dealers' lots? Affordable, energy-efficient cars that don't suck would speak far louder. We suggest a new slogan for the venerable car brand: "Keep America trolling."