Before ‘ELLE on Earth,’ There Was ‘Robert Crumb Hates You’

Author of this week's much-discussed article in The Observer previously roiled the cartoonist and musician.

Our colleague Seth Abramovitch at The Hollywood Reporter landed the interview with Jacques Hyzagi, author of this week’s much-discussed piece in The Observer titled “ELLE on Earth.” He beat out dozens of other reporters, mainly because Hyzagi liked Abramovitch’s rhetorical tweet below. And thanks to the resulting Q&A, we now know, on this April Fools’ Day, that Hyzagi’s March 30 screed against Elle magazine was not an early seasonal prank. Only “a joke in a sense.”

In the Q&A, Hyzagi makes passing reference to an earlier Observer contribution, “Robert Crumb Hates You.” Just as Hyzagi took issue this week with Elle, Crumb felt the need last November to publicly rear up against Hyzagi, via a blog post shared by the cartoonist and musician’s bandmate Eden Brower. Here’s part of the 1,500-plus words fired back by Crumb:

It’s hard to say how much the distortions and words put in my mouth by Hyzagi were deliberate. He taped the interview but as English is not his first language it’s possible that he simply misunderstood some things and put his own interpretation on them. That’s possible.

He sent me a first draft which was so bad that I rewrote some of it but was reluctant to mess with it too much for fear of offending him. He was “pissed off” anyway, accused me of being “manipulative” and trying to “control my image.” He did leave in most of my rewrites but he also put some things back in that I had taken out and even added things and did not send me a final draft before going to press. I didn’t even know the article was out until a friend told me he read it on the Internet. I regret now that I didn’t just rewrite the whole thing. It was badly written. It’s still not very good.

Crumb shoulders further responsibility for the way the interview progressed and the article turned out, suggesting that “I have only my own giant ego to blame.”