The family of Nicole Brown is demanding a retraction and correction to assertions made by Vanessa Grigoriadis in her article published by New York magazine yesterday chronicling the O.J. Simpson book debacle and subsequent fall of Judith Regan at News Corp.’s HarperCollins.
In a faxed letter to New York magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein obtained by FishbowlNY yesterday, attorneys for Denise Brown and Nicole Brown’s family claim that the article contains “blatant and intentional factual misrepresentations” about the Brown family’s involvement in HarperCollins’ attempts to assuage them with payout profits from the ill-fated If I Did It book project. [UPDATE: New York tells FishbowlNY that it stands by its story, and contends it never received the letter.]
The lawyers for the Browns contend that a key part of Grigoriadis’ story about News Corp. reps flying to Indianapolis to meet with the families to “hash out details of a payout” is “patently untrue”:
“Neither the Browns nor any representatives of the family participate in any such meeting … they did not fly to Indianapolis, they did not ‘sit down’ with HarperCollins, they did not ‘hash out’ any details.”
Indianapolis, the lawyers point out, is the hometown of the attorney for Fred Goldman and “has nothing to do with the Brown family.”
Grigoriadis wrote that “the Browns had been agreeable to the payout of about $5 million” but that Denise Brown went on the Today Show to proclaim the family’s rejection of NewsCorp’s “hush money.” “The Browns did not agree to a payout,” says Brown attorney Natasha Roit.
“While your writer contends that NewsCorp was grappling with their sense of regret, from the moment the Browns contacted me, both myself and Denise Brown were barraged with phone calls not only insisting we accept a payout, but do so within a time limit, as NewsCorp wanted a press release noting the family’s acceptance and acquiescence to their project moving forward.”
Roit also claims the magazine did not give her a fair chance to respond to Grigoriadis’ assertions.
“Specifically, your writer, Vanessa Grigoriadis, contacted me for comment about these items last Friday when I was unavailable in Court. Upon return, I called her back and advised her that her information was untrue and that I could substantiate the same. Having not heard from her over the weekend, I called again today, and, again, received no response. You went to print without making the correction or even including a denial. … Your writer knew at press time that information was available to counter her ‘source’ and intentionally chose not to pursue it.”