Col Allan Loves Pissing In The Office Sink

0910allan.jpgHey! New York commissioned Lloyd Grove to write an investigative piece on Col Allan‘s reign at the New York Post. It’s a quality piece (missed that long-form journo, Lloyd!), but the article is damn long. If you’re anything like us, you need all the free time you can get… So because FBNY cares, we read the article so you don’t have to.

After the jump, Lloyd Grove on Col Allan in a nutshell.


  • Arr! Col Allan is a pirate: “We like being pirates,” Allan tells me. “We don’t like conforming. I don’t want to go to the fanciest cocktail parties. I don’t care for it. I’m not interested. There’s a broader culture within the company that encourages creativity, encourages freedom. And speaking particularly for the Post, I like the idea of a sword and a patch over the eye.”

  • Col’s nickname is Col Pot.

  • Intimidating Daily News employees while getting piss drunk? Freakin’ awesome!

    Two encounters stand out. Around 1 a.m. on a frigid winter night in 2004, as both of us were leaving “Page Six” editor Richard Johnson‘s 50th-birthday party at the Chelsea nightclub Marquee, Allan offered me a lift in his chauffeured sedan-one of the perks of being editor-in-chief (along with a salary somewhat less than the News‘s Martin Dunn’s $1.2 million a year). But instead of dropping me home, he ordered the driver to stop at his rented townhouse on West 71st Street and insisted I come in for a drink. While his wife and four children slept upstairs, Allan boozily steered me into his unheated dining room, uncorked a bottle of red wine, and, pouring glass after glass, harangued me about his intention to put the News out of business. “Dear boy, never get into a price war with Murdoch-it’ll end in tears.” Shivering, I could barely keep my eyes open. “Col,” I slurred, “can I go home now?” It was almost 3 a.m. when he finally relented and let me escape.

  • Allan’s greatest hits:

    But Allan is also a comedian-part Stephen Colbert, part Benny Hill-a tabloid circusmaster of undeniable talent. When Paris Hilton was released from jail, he commissioned a photo-illustration of the oversexed celebutard being hoisted aloft in triumph by a crowd in Times Square, with the headline V-D DAY! PARIS LIBERATED, BIMBOS REJOICE. The front-page headline for Leona Helmsley‘s bequest to her little white Maltese: RICH BITCH.

    Allan’s best work, in fact, has often involved animal themes. AXIS OF WEASEL, a front page that convulsed even antiwar New York, followed on a photo of the French and German ministers of the U.N. with weasel heads superimposed.

    Another classic was SURRENDER MONKEYS (about the dovish prescriptions of the Iraq Study Group, featuring Photoshopped images of co-chairmen James Baker and Lee Hamilton as hirsute apes). Concerning that much-discussed cover line, Allan explains, “We thought [the Iraq report] would be a whitewash, and it was. They urged, essentially, immediate withdrawal. It’s like that joke: How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? Nobody knows-it’s never been tried! Frankly, I think appeasement at any level should be opposed.”

  • Col? It’s short for Colin.

  • Allan used to do the rock n’ roll scandal beat:

    In 1978, Allan was dispatched to New York for a three-year tour covering the United States for News Limited’s Aussie papers and, every so often, the London Sun, which once flew him out to a concert in Seattle to ask Brit pop star Cliff Richard if he was gay-a question that got Allan tossed out of the singer’s dressing room, and hurled against a wall, by two hulking bodyguards. Another time, he spent the night in jail after doorstepping the uncooperative suburban parents of Nancy Spungen, the murdered girlfriend of former Sex Pistol Sid Vicious.

  • The EIC took the hit from Murdoch for the allegations of bribery against Richard Johnson:

    Johnson might have been in the doghouse, but Allan was on the hot seat. Rupert Murdoch wasn’t happy. The seamy disclosures couldn’t have come at a worse time. He had just proffered his bid to buy Dow Jones & Co.-and add The Wall Street Journal to his $70 billion global media empire, which includes 20th Century Fox movie studies, Fox Television and the Fox News Channel, DirectTV satellite television, and HarperCollins publishers. Hoping to tie the Journal to the soon-to-launch Fox business channel, Murdoch had been trying to convince the Bancroft family, which controlled the voting stock in Dow Jones, that he could be a champion of responsible, high-quality journalism. The “Page Six” scandal was wildly off-message. “Rupert was fully briefed on the matter and was really concerned about it-he took it very seriously,” says a top News Corp. exec. With atypical understatement, Allan says, “Rupert had some questions for me.”

  • Allan likes to intimidate employees via public urination: “It was also at the Telegraph that he perfected his management techniques-which included an unnerving alpha-dog habit of urinating in his office washbasin during editorial meetings. Today, Allan insists the washbasin was behind a closet door.”