You'd think that James Frey would feel like he was off the hook ever since it was revealed that Margaret Seltzer made up her memoir about growing up a foster child in the hood. But, alas, poor Frey, he's getting fried all over again, as most news outlets writing about the scandale du jour have name-dropped him, if not run unflattering photos of his unhappy, Oprah-shamed mug. Turns out, people are still very, very angry about that whole thing. But Margaret Seltzer and those around her are absorbing plenty of anger and blame, since girlfriend couldn't even claim that only 420 of 432 of her pages contained falsehoods, as Frey did. (Pretty much all of it was fake, including, probably, the foundation Gawker found that was started by Seltzer to "elevate the community.") "In the post–James Frey world, we all are more careful," Riverhead editor Sarah McGrath, who has been the focus of much of the ire, told the Times. Although apparently not careful enough! "Despite editing the book in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding James Frey…Ms. McGrath said she did not independently check parts of Ms. Seltzer’s story or perform any kind of background check. She said she relied on Ms. Seltzer to tell the truth." She should have known: As Seltzer herself told her: "Trust no one."
Plastic-surgery-happy Jocelyn Wildenstein just bought a three-bedroom apartment in the Plaza for $7.96 million. An excerpt of James Frey's upcoming novel, Bright Shiny Morning, is being published in Sex for America, a book of "politically-inspired erotica." Nicolas Cage is suing Kathleen Turner for claiming in her autobiography that he had been arrested twice for DUI and stealing a Chihuahua. Fergie and Josh Duhamel are moving up their wedding date because she's so pregnant.
So remember how yesterday we told you that James Frey (whom we totally saw at brunch two weekends ago at Café Cluny, meanwhile, and wondered whether his eggs were really scrambled) is pulling out all the stops for his new book tour? Like, while he's reading from the tome, Bright Shiny Morning, the Eagles will play and there will be fireworks or something? Anyway, turns out that wasn't just his idea. According to Jossip.com, Frey has enlisted the aid of Davidson Goldin, the former NY1 anchor whose star rose and fell with Dan Abrams's at MSNBC. Abrams hired Goldin away from NY1 to become MSNBC's editorial director when Abrams became top dog at the network, but when he went back to just hosting the show, Goldin was axed. Since then, the handsome (and tiny) newsreader has been trying to craft a new career as a media strategist. "I've been happy to give [Frey] guidance," Goldin told Jossip. “James’s wife [Maya] has been a friend of mine since we were in college together." Aw! Since Goldin's been a producer, a writer, and an anchor, the media strategist route is probably a good one for him. He's set for a great start! Except for, you know, the part where he chose as a first client the number-one enemy of Oprah Winfrey, the most powerful woman in the industry.
James Frey Taking Advice From Former MSNBC Exec Davidson Goldin [Jossip]
Oprah may have taken away disgraced memoirist James Frey's pride, but she did not take away his money or his cunning. In his new novel, Bright Shiny Morning, which comes out in May, Frey is pulling out all the stops to distract readers from the paucity of his prose. "We're talking about having bands, other authors reading their work," he told "Page Six" at Le Bernardin the other day, where he, Laura and Jenna Bush were having lunch, but not together. "We may try to include some pyrotechnics," he said. Not really, but there will be art. Frey friend Richard Prince will illustrate the cover and photographer Terry Richardson will contribute photos of "girls, cars, and guns," for a companion edition. Wow, that sounds so literary. "It's going to be a really cool, interesting, edgy book," Frey said. Maybe it will be so edgy, it won't even have words.Art Boost For Comeback Novel [NYP]
Today’s Observer has a story on disgraced memoirist James Frey who, remarkably enough, just sold a new novel to HarperCollins. Last week, Eric Simonoff, Frey’s swashbuckling agent, handed the big scoop to the Wall Street Journal — which more or less equates to a big honking F-U to the New York Times. “The New York Times has never been a friend to James Frey,” Simonoff sniffed to the Observer. Um, that’s putting it rather mildly: In his year-end column, Frank Rich grouped Frey with 2006 “villains” Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, saying, “It was a thrill beyond schadenfreude to watch them be soundly thrashed and humiliated for their sins.”
• Henry Kravis failed to come to terms with top banks on financing for his all-important $26 billion buyout of First Data, the first in over $300 billion worth of LBOs that the banks need to get off their books. Negotiations will be pushed back another week, but it's not looking good. [DealBook/NYT]
• The new rumor on the Street is that Joseph Lewis, the billionaire British currency speculator, bought into Bear Stearns on the advice of longtime Bear broker Kurt Butenhoff. The previous rumor, that Lewis got the idea from CEO Jimmy Cayne while playing bridge, seems unlikely since Lewis doesn't even play bridge. [CNBC]
• Thanks to their friends at NASA, the CEOs of Google can park their three private jets — including a huge Boeing 767 — just seven minutes away from the tech-giants headquarters. Something tells us no Manhattan CEO's helicopter perks will beat that. [NYT]