Bogus National Enquirer Story Begets $45,000 Writing Prize

NationalEnquirerLogoIn the space of three weeks, the National Enquirer has gone from being duped by a David Bar Katz impersonator, to withdrawing and apologizing for an erroneous story, to endowing a stage play writing initiative hatched by the real Mr. Katz.

It’s all laid out in The New York Times by “About New York” writer Jim Dwyer. Ahead of a full-page ad that will appear in Wednesday’s NYT print edition as part of Enquirer parent company American Media Incorporated’s quick settlement with Katz. From Dwyer’s piece:

The amount of money being paid by the Enquirer will not be disclosed, [Katz’s attorney Judd] Burstein said, adding, “It’s enough for the [newly formed American Playwriting] Foundation to give out these grants for years to come.” He formally filed papers to dismiss the lawsuit on Tuesday.

He noted that Katz did not receive or seek any personal payments. For his part, Katz, 48, said he was trying to figure out what a meaningful settlement would be to a person as demanding as Hoffman… “We had talked so often that it’s a tragedy playwrights can’t survive being playwrights — about how nice it would be if you could make your rent and still have an occasional steak.”

Joining Katz on the selection committee to help decide which unproduced play will receive the first Relentless Award will be Eric Bogosian, John Patrick Shanley and Jonathan Marc Sherman. In the article, Dwyer also has the scoop on how the Enquirer came to make what it deems an “honest mistake.”

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.