Monday, December 18, 2006

“They were looking for an excuse to fire her, and they fired her and called it anti-Semitic. It ain’t anti-Semitic.”

It's appropriate that Judith Regan, the queen of camp behind the (attempted) OJ Simpson "confession" -spectacle, would have excessive drama surrounding her dismissal (NYT):

With Judith Regan’s authors still reeling from their publisher’s abrupt dismissal, the sparring between the headline-making Ms. Regan and her former employer, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, grew more intense, more personal and more specific today over allegations of anti-Semitism.

The News Corporation released what it described as notes from a heated telephone conversation on Friday between Ms. Regan and Mark Jackson, a top lawyer for HarperCollins, the company publishing division which included her imprint, ReganBooks — a conversation that News Corporation officials said was instrumental in her dismissal.

According to the notes, taken down by Mr. Jackson as the conversation unfolded, Ms. Regan protested that the publishing house had not supported her during last month’s firestorm over a confessional book by O.J. Simpson and related television program, which the News Corporation canceled in the wake of public protests and unease by some affiliate television stations.

“‘Of all people, the Jews should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie,’” Ms. Regan said, according to a transcript of Mr. Jackson’s notes provided by Gary Ginsberg, an executive vice president of the News Corporation.

According to the transcript, Ms. Regan went on to say that the literary agent Esther Newberg; HarperCollins’s executive editor, David Hirshey; HarperCollins’s president, Jane Friedman, and Mr. Jackson “constitute a Jewish cabal against her.”

I have no idea about the accuracy of this account, but it does seem convenient to fire Regan for being anti-Semitic. Convenient in two senses: since the OJ debacle, it's convenient that Regan would make remarks that were sufficiently offensive to fire her, and it's convenient that the offensive remarks were specifically anti-Semitic. You know, after the Mel Gibson craziness.

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