Peter Bart, the editor of Hollywood's industry bible Variety suspended after a magazine article quoted him making offensive comments and accused him of selling a script while running the trade paper, will be reinstated, the paper's publisher announced Thursday.
Bart will return from a 21-day suspension without pay on September 10. He has also been ordered to sit through a stint of diversity training, Cahners Business Information said in a statement.
Cahners will donate Bart's docked pay to "appropriate organizations dedicated to the promotion of diversity." The company also says it will make its own "substantial donation" to groups.
Bart, 69, was suspended August 17 after the publication of cover story in the September edition Los Angeles magazine. The story (titled "Is This the Most Hated Man in Hollywood?") claimed Bart sold a script in 1996 for a movie called Crossroaders. As a rule, reporters for the Hollywood trade paper are strictly forbidden from shopping scripts.
The magazine also runs through several occasions in which Bart allegedly compromised his ethics at Variety to help out other old pals. And at one point, he's quoted explaining the difference between "the black middle class" and "ghetto blacks, who can't even speak, can't get a job and bury themselves in black-itude." The magazine also quotes one former reporter who claims Bart once said, "I'm not hiring any more fags, because they get sick and die."
Says Cahners, "The company's investigation did not substantiate allegations that Mr. Bart sold a movie script while editor-in-chief of the newspaper. However, the company did find that Mr. Bart's actions created the appearance of a conflict of interest, and it directed Variety to strengthen and publish its editorial policies shortly after Mr. Bart returns to work."
Bart himself says the quotes attributed to him in the magazine "do not reflect my personal beliefs and values or the way that I run the newsroom. Nevertheless, I am deeply sorry and regret that they offended anyone. It will not happen again."
Tad Smith, president of the media division at Cahners, says, "It was clear that Variety's staff wants him back and does not believe the quotations fairly represent the Peter they know.
"Peter understands the distress which such comments can cause and he knows that he made a mistake. The company takes its values very seriously and expects all of its employees, no matter how prominent or distinguished, to set an excellent example."
Los Angeles continues to stand by its story. The article's author, Amy Wallace, says neither Cahners nor Bart questioned the accuracy of the profile.
Bart has been with Variety since 1989, after getting his start in journalism at the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Bart crossed over to Paramount Pictures in 1967, where the executive had his hand in a string of critically acclaimed films, such as The Godfather, Harold and Maude and Chinatown.
It's been a less than boffo summer for the Hollywood trades. In addition to the Bart suspension, Hollywood Reporter editor Anita Busch resigned in protest after the publisher decided to kill a story about Reporter party columnist George Christy, who was allegedly receiving gifts and fake movie credits.