I never thought the day would come when I might feel sympathy for Jared Paul Stern. When he was busted for trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Ron "I'm a billionaire, baby" Burkle back in '06, I wrote a dismissive piece about how Stern was such a scumbag in a scumbag industry that nobody should really be surprised. I would sum up my appraisal of him at the time with this word: "Scumbag." But times change! Stern's dogged pursuit of doomed lawsuits against the chuckling billionaire and a painful sex scandal have softened my heart. I may have been too harsh on poor JPS, after all. Consider the man's history. Starting out as nothing more than a dude with a ridiculous hat, he worked his way up through the gossip muck to the top ranks of the New York Post. He had his own column called "Nightcrawler" for a time, and was a regular contributor to Page Six. He was living the life that the young man who first put on the stupid hat dreamed of living. Then, of course, he tried to extort Burkle, and got publicly scandalized and tossed aside by the Post. He's quietly made his way back into the media with various projects, but nothing as high-profile since. And then last week some random guy decided to publicly release a (purported) tape of him having sex with JPS' wife. Damn. People can bounce back from most scandals. In time, even the "Payola Six" affair-sensational though it was-would have receded into history. But JPS has never been able to bounce back, because his ongoing lawsuits and, now, alleged cuckolding cause the original damage to his reputation to keep getting rehashed. So here's our gentle advice, JPS: the sympathy of the world has now, excruciatingly, returned to your side. Use it. Drop all of your various lawsuits against everyone involved in the Burkle mess-they'll ultimately do nothing but drain your bank account. Hold your head high, admit some wrongdoing in the past, and forge ahead. Disgrace is almost a foreign concept in the gossip world; schadenfreude does not run deep enough for people to say you deserved all of this. With an extended moment of grotesquely poor judgment and a run of very, very bad luck, most anyone in the New York media could be in your shoes right now. So get out there and make it, JPS-for all of us!
Do you live in one of those "second-tier" cities that seems woefully bereft of despicable and/or overprivileged and whatever the case self-promoting social climbing youngs? Ever find yourself reading, say, a blog…and feeling just a twinge or a pang or whatever of envy for New York's thriving industry of microcelebrity manufacture? [JUST SAY NO.] But Kate Carraway, a writer in Toronto reflecting on that lofty matter of Jessica Roy, actually claims she does. "We have no Julia Allison, the current Wired cover star, and centre of much debate on media celebrity; no Sloane Crossley…" [sic] she laments. Nor do they have a Keith Gessen nor an Emily Gould nor even much, like, blow! "The NY media circus is ordered and replenished by an anxious, aggressive, semi-twisted sense of value, but value nonetheless," she writes, calling for "a collective pursuit of something better and more worthwhile." Well, Kate Carraway, if this is what you deem "better and more worthwhile," allow me to get service-y with you for a minute and and share with you an abridged and hastily-told tale of a group of anxious, semi-twisted twentysomethings who tried to do exactly what you aspire to do in their own "lesser" city.
Jossip put up their pictures of Jared Paul Stern's wife Ruth Gutman sleeping with Deane Benbenek! [NSFW, duh.] Or, uh, pictures of what looks like Gutman having sex with a chubby guy. Benbenek, who provided the photos, is a chubby guy (he's on the far right here), and JPS isn't, really. So there you go. We put some SFW headshots of maybe-Ruth right here in this post in case you are curious, and still at work. Full set: Jossip (NSFW)
You know whose life sucks? Jared Paul Stern. The man will never work in this town again after Page Six threw him out on his ass for allegedly extorting creepy supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle, and now Stern just sits around his house watching his defamation suits against Burkle and the Clintons get thrown out. Well. Now things somehow got worse. Because a guy named Deane Benbenek is pimping what is allegedly a video of him fucking Stern's wife to Jossip. Also: warrants and restraining orders! The facts of the matter: there is maybe an arrest warrant out for JPS's wife Ruth Gutman, "on charges of a little identity theft, computer trespassing, and fraud." All presumably based on a criminal complaint filed by Deane Benbenek. He says they started a business together in 2007, selling hand cleaner. According to Benbenek, Gutman filed papers with the state naming her sole proprietor, and then gave Benbenek forged papers calling them co-owners. Also according to Benbenek, in January of 2007, they had an affair. Benbenek says he videotaped them doing it. Jossip has seen... stills? Or something? They say: "And he offered us the photo evidence to prove it. By all accounts, it looks legit." Huh. Then post it! [Update: They did!] The only documentation available for your perusal so far is the restraining order Gutman filed against Benbenek. But! Here's some random Internet detritus! Ruth currently sells "Red Bear Hand Cleaner." A Whois search says she registered the domain in January of 2007. Benbenek's "Bear Paw Hand Cleaner" can be found, oddly, at Glennbenbenek.com, registered June of 2007 by Deane, and at bearpawhandcleanrer.com, registered by Deane last March. So Jossip's report is already confused-it looks like Ruth (and Deane) founded Red Bear together back in 2007. And then, when the partnership went sour, Ruth didn't so much "steal the formula" as Deane took it with him to Bear Paw. Deane's MySpace confirms!
Former Page Sixer Jared Paul Stern's defamation suit against billionaire creep Ron Burkle was recently tossed out, as we all know. But his nutty lawyer Larry Klayman promised an appeal! Unfortunately, that appeal can't go forward in New York just now. Klayman, who is insane, is not allowed to practice law in New York, and Stern's New York attorney just quit, saying his "military service is complete." Yeesh. Still, they'll hire a new guy and fight on. Why? Why continue embarrassing himself further? Stern explained why in a terse statement: "I've got nothing better to do than bury the fucker if it takes 20 years." Enjoy your gadfly, Ron!
Former Page Six gossip Jared Paul Stern famously lost his job when he was accused of trying to extort zillionaire supermarket magnate Ron Burkle. No charges were ever filed. So Jared filed a defamation suit against Burkle—and Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Secret Service agent Frank Renzi, flack Mike Sitrick, and Daily News reporter William Sherman. Bad news, Stern fans: a judge has dismissed the suit. He dismissed it with great prejudice and even a little literary criticism. "A New York State Supreme Court justice trashed Jared Paul Stern's lawsuit in his decision, saying it read more like a 'Mickey Spillane novel' than a carefully argued statement of law." Ouch. James Cain—or even Jim Thompson!—would be one thing, but you really don't want your legal brief reading as ham-fisted as a Mike Hammer book. Is this the end of little Jared? No. No, it is not.
The story of former Page Six scribe Jared Paul Stern and creepy supermarket billionaire/attempted modelizer Ron Burkle is being ripped from the headlines of two years ago for an upcoming episode of Law & Order. Daily News gossiper Ben Widdicombe reports that The Daily Show's Mo Rocca will play Stern. In real life, Burkle (who secretly owns Radar magazine and is a constant embarrassment to his bestest bud Bill Clinton) never did back up his claim that Stern had extorted him for $100 grand in exchange for powder-puff coverage, ended up the subject of even more bad press, and is now a defendant in a defamation suit brought by Stern that may well add to his humiliations. On TV, Stern will be dispatched with extreme prejudice.
What happened to Jared Paul Stern's blog post for the Times? Earlier this month, Stern got his byline back into the well-groomed paper for the first time since he was accused of trying to extort money from billionaire Ron Burkle while working as a Post gossip hound. His piece for style blog the Moment, on the old-money clothing of William F. Buckley, was linked from Gawker March 9 and gone from the Times servers by March 12. The piece was a bit substantive by the Moment's fluffy standards but not, to my memory, remotely offensive. Does anyone have the faintest clue why it was removed? Did the Times get cold feet about working with Stern? Stern said he has no idea what happened, and the Times did not respond to two requests for comment over the past five days. Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org would be greatly appreciated. After the jump, an excerpt from Stern's Moment post:
William F. Buckley, the dead conservative hero and crypto-fascist, had an "authentic WASPy style" of "frayed Oxfords" and "unpressed Brooks Brothers suits" that helped him look especially aristocratic, like he could afford to abuse his expensive clothes, according to Times blog the Moment. The post is a fun compression of weightier fashion writing, but is at least as interesting for who wrote it as for what it says. The post marks the return to the Times of Jared Paul Stern, the former Page Six writer accused of trying to extort money from a subject of his writing, billionaire Ron Burkle. Prior to the extortion allegation, Stern had contributed to the Times as well as to the Wall Street Journal and other publications. After the fracas, Stern said he had been trying to get Burkle to invest in his fashion business. Stern then parted ways with Page Six, signed a book deal that was later canceled and lately has been trying to break back into the news media with lifestyle writing, including recently on Style.com. Landing on the Times website with a piece about a highfalutin' intellectual will no doubt help Stern distance himself from the seedier image of his Page Six days. Try to imagine the following on Page Six:
Jared Paul Stern, the ex-Page Sixer who ALLEGEDLY tried to extort billionaire Clinton pal Ron Burkle out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for good coverage, is keeping busy—in style. If you want to know how to decorate your office in a way "that won't make you look like an emotionally retarded teenager with his first credit card and a Sharper Image catalog," who better to ask than a foppish, scheming pseudojournalist? I can't think of anyone! So what's the recipe for a powerful office environment? "Manly wrenches." You're a natural, JPS! [Men.Style.com]
Last night, Mediabistro founder Laurel Touby wonderfully displayed her utter inability to use email. (Once again, we question how this woman founded an internet company and sold it for $23 million.) Rebecca Fox, Mediabistro's managing editor, had sent out an email alert that News Corp. had bought Beliefnet.com. Rebecca did not bcc the email list—and so her boss Laurel replied to all. Which started a most unholy email chain!
Gravel-voiced bulldog Joe Tacopina was a lawyer for corrupt former police commissioner Bernard Kerik—one that Kerik actually paid for services rendered. Because while the other guys were defending Kerik from pending indictments the old-fashioned "legal" way, Tacopina was, according to the U.S. Attorneys, passing on false information and obstructing justice—and that's the way you defend Bernie Kerik, dammit. (Back in April, Tacopina was praised to the heavens Page Six—and also used to represent former Page Sixer Jared Paul Stern and Foxy Brown.) Now Kerik's other lawyer may be tossed off the case for possessing non-privileged information about Tacopina's actions—and Tacopina will testify about Kerik's misdeeds. America is so cruel to its heroes.
The New York Law Journal reports today that Larry Klayman—lawyer for embattled former Page Sixer Jared Paul Stern in his quest for vengeance against Ron Burkle and anyone else—may not appear before New York state courts. (Klayman is only admitted in Florida, Pennsylvania and D.C.) Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub wrote in the decision that Klayman's record "evinces a total disregard for the judicial process." What, like, suing the Clintons 9000 times??
Remember Page Six The Magazine? The first issue, helmed by Jared Paul Stern, was a glossy brand extension of Richard Johnson's fiefdom. The second issue, published months later, was another decent, if seemingly random, attempt to further monetize the paper's gossip sheet. It was also presumably to give the celebrity weeklies a run for their money—though coming out once every eight months or so isn't the best way to instill fear in your competitors. But multiple sources confirm that Page Six The Magazine is coming back on Sunday, Sept. 23 as a weekly, and it won't look very much like its predecessors. Instead, it'll be more like the New York Times money-minter T. But can a glossy lifestyles magazine make it attached to a gritty tabloid?