Tuesday, November 21, 2006

OJ Simpson and his psycho publisher

The OJ Simpson disaster may end the career of one of the great monsters of the publishing world, Judith Regan of Murdoch-owned HarperCollins' ReganBooks. At least I hope it does. This disgusting and detestable woman actually thought it a good idea to part with $3.5m for Simpson's If I Did It, Here's How It happened? Murdoch had no alternative but to cancel the book in response to widespread incredulity at such an outrageous project. He's nothing if not a realist.

Regan pretends that the book was in effect a confession by Simpson to the murder of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. It was nothing of the sort. It was just a cynical attempt by a murderer to capitalise on his notoriety by posing as the hypothetical killer. All she heard when Simpson's "people" offered her the idea was kerching! "I didn't know what to expect when I got the call that the killer wanted to confess," Regan claimed in a defence she titled Why I Did It. "But I knew one thing. I wanted the confession for my own selfish reasons and for the symbolism of that act. For me, it was personal."

Why it was personal you can read elsewhere - just a crass attempt at victimology (ie invoking fake victimhood), like crying rape. She is in reality a highly successful abuser of people herself. Last year Vanity Fair ran a long demolition piece on her, The Devil and Miss Regan. Some choice quotes:

When it comes to picking books, "Judith doesn't listen to anything or anybody," says brand-identity designer Jeff Stone, who is also the companion of HarperCollins C.E.O. Jane Friedman. "A man has a golden gut. She goes with her golden vagina."

Of Regan: "The highest-functioning deranged person I've ever known."

"If Regan is theatrical in her author dealings, she is positively operatic with her underlings. In the last two years, at least a dozen people have left her employ—pretty impressive for an imprint that consists of only six or seven staffers. "She is," says a woman who has worked happily for other demanding bosses but lasted with Regan less than a year, "a destroyer of souls."

"Does anybody think there would be a Paris Hilton autobiography if it weren't for Judith?"

"You have no idea how crazy she is. None," says one former editor. "Many of us who worked there still get together years later. We became very close, because you had to stick together to survive it."

"Here she is, this middle-aged woman, and she needs everyone to think she's the authority on youth culture, but she's not so in touch."

Often, she seems to want to foment conflict, as if she were arranging toy soldiers on a wee battlefield. At one point in the late 90s, when a young (straight) editor complained that a gay superior was coming on to him, Regan immediately reassigned the editor to work directly for the superior. The editor quit.

When she got mad, people were called "fucking retards" and "fucking idiots" ....

PS - For a fuller report on OJ and Regan see the brilliant Grumpyoldbookman site

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