Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Richard Stott ... and his Boy George scandal

The untimely death of Richard Stott - who held a record-breaking five Fleet St editorships - has prompted a few private emails to Arcati, some unpublishable. "I have to laugh seeing David Banks paying tribute in one of the obits," writes someone who does not wish to be named. "When Montgomery fired Stott as Mirror editor in the early '90s - two days after saying his job was safe - Banks was moved in, and it was routine to dismiss Stott as redundant Old Labour - Banks happily played along to line his own pockets and do Rommel's bidding. Nowadays Banks sounds regretful of his association with Montgomery. As well he might!"

Another correspondent who also asks to remain anonymous writes: "Stott is described as a 'great' editor - but I saw none of that when he edited The People in 1990/1. First, he happily allowed Frankie McGowan to fire or drive out a large number of staff for her useless 'upmarket' supplement modelled on New Woman which she had edited beforehand. It was a disaster - circulation fell like a stone. And rather than take personal responsibility, Stott had Maxwell remove McGowan after a few months much to her fury. She was a ferocious, hysterical bully - so fair's fair.

"And I wasn't impressed by his editorial practices at times. He had a particular hatred of Boy George because of the singer's association with the drugs-related death of someone known to Stott. Stott would grow demented at George's name. One week a freelance writer called Jane Preston on the supplement was able to get an exclusive interview with George thanks to a personal connection - it was a tremendous interview, full of juicy stuff, along with pictures.

"But Stott wasn't having it. When he heard what was planned he immediately got Mary Riddell - who now passes herself as a thoughtful political columnist on the Observer - to re-write the interview, turning it into a vicious, sarky piece full of innuendo. Riddell and Stott wanted to retain Jane's byline - giving no thought to the personal cost to her - but at the eleventh hour Jane persuaded the subs to remove her name, and I think one or two insults in the copy. It was an heroic thing to do.

"Stott went mental when he heard about this - he ordered that Jane never be used again or allowed on the premises. But then shortly afterwards, Stott was moved back to the Mirror and Bill Hagerty took over who was happy to continue using Jane. Personally, I think Stott was a bit of a shit."

For happier memories of Stott, visit Gentlemen Ranters.

Boy George site

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