Tina Brown on AOLington Post: ‘As a Writer, I Like to Get Paid’

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Tina Brown walked into BG, the restaurant on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman, on Thursday afternoon and warmly hugged Iman, exclaiming, "I haven't seen you in so long!" Brown, along with TODS, was hosting an intimate luncheon for 35 women in honor of Kate Bett's new book, Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style.

When we caught up with her (before she took her seat next to former White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers), she talked about AOL's acquisition of the Huffington Post, which netted her friend Arianna Huffington an estimated $18 million. We noted that HuffPo bloggers are now particularly pissed that they're not getting a cut of the $315 million sale. Does Brown believe it's acceptable to ask writers to work for free?

"My stance is that as a writer, I like to get paid," she said. "That's just the cost of doing business. I mean, you wouldn't expect to not be paying anyone doing any other things."

She had praise for the deal itself, though: "I think it was a great move. Personally, I think it was good for them. I think Tim Armstrong really needed a game-changer, and who better than Arianna for that?" Did Huffington give Brown a heads-up about the deal beforehand? "No, she didn't tell anybody about it," Brown said. "But I didn't tell her about Newsweek, either! When you're doing deals as delicate as that, you tend not to have a lot of confidence. You tend not to tell people."

Brown and Huffington have repeatedly shot down rumors that they are rivals; Brown told Harper's Bazaar this week that "there is such delicious lip smacking at the notion of any girl-on-girl action, if you know what I mean. It's very retro." On Thursday, she said the next round of schmoozing will be in Huffington's honor: "I'm giving a lunch for her on Monday to celebrate. It'll be a whole bunch of our mutual girlfriends at Michael's to toast to her." Presumably, Huffington will eat for free.