Taking Another Look at That Bernard Weinraub Farewell Column

ShutterstockAmyPascal2013When Bernard Weinraub exited the New York Times in 2005, he of course composed a farewell column. That article contains what now seem like a number of very prophetic statements, given the criminal intrusion and Tinseltown reactions threatening his wife’s tenure as Sony Pictures co-chairman. Starting with this Weinraub observation about his 14 years covering Hollywood:

My marriage, and some of the events that tumbled out of it, taught me something about the ferocity of a culture in which the players can be best friends one day and savage you the next.

Maybe it was 24 hours then. But thanks to the solidified culture of texting, email and social media, it’s now nanoseconds. As some of Pascal’s emails have shown (and the press has failed to properly contextualize), one of the main jobs of a studio chief is to tell each fragile ego what they want and need to hear. Regardless of that studio chief’s personal, true beliefs.

In others words, to the producer of a project abandoned by an A-Lister, they might suggest that the actor is “despicable.” But ostensibly, when the electronic fireside chat switches to that same A-lister’s high-powered reps, or the actor themselves, the chief’s missive might be more about how they are all better off without that producer.

And… given the brouhaha over some hacked Pascal-Weinraub emails involving a March 2014 NYT column by Maureen Dowd, this passage from Weinraub’s column also jumps out:

Katzenberg returned every call quickly and often phoned me; he dished over pasta at Locanda Veneta about all the studios in town and became such a pal that I once showed him off-the-record comments made about him by Michael Eisner. That was wrong and foolish, and years later I still regret it.

Hindsight here is painful/painful as Weinraub moves on to the George Christy scandal, relative salaries and more Dowd.

[Photo of Pascal at 2013 Variety Power of Women luncheon: s_bukley/Shutterstock.com]

[H/T: Marty Chase]

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.