Just one day after sparking a frenzy of derision and sympathy (if someone saying Ovitz needs psychiatric help can be considered "sympathy"), the former powerbroker apologized Wednesday for his comments in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, in which he blames a so-called "Gay Mafia" for ruining his business and reputation.
"I made some statements that were inappropriate during an open and frank discussion with Vanity Fair," Ovitz said in a statement. "In particular the term 'Gay Mafia' does not reflect my true feelings or attitudes. It is regrettable and I am truly sorry."
(And to think, Vanity Fair writer Bryan Burrough said he actually left out some of the more controversial comments.)
In documenting the near-collapse of Ovitz's talent-management company/studio, Artists Management Group, the magazine quotes him blaming a "cabal" of Industry bigwigs for its failure, among them David Geffen, Universal Studios chief Ron Meyer, New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub, former CAA protégés Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett, and Ovitz's former boss, Disney chief Michael Eisner.
"It was the goal of these people to eliminate me," Ovitz told the magazine. "They wanted to kill Michael Ovitz. If they could have taken my wife and kids, they would have."
Many of Ovitz's "mafia" enemies refused to comment. Others, like Geffen, proclaimed that he needed psychiatric help.
"That's just so offensive," Geffen told Vanity Fair, upon hearing Ovitz's "mafia" allegations. "You know, all the fags, they get together and they pick a victim: Let's go get that one! It's remarkable that, at this point in history, the most powerful man in Hollywood, he's been brought down by a gay cabal! I've never heard anything like it in my life!"
Hollywood publicists, meanwhile, were scratching their heads over Ovitz's decision to speak to the magazine in the first place.
"In all my years out here, I have never seen anything like it," A-list publicist Pat Kingsley tells the New York Times. "I would say it's the most baffling interview I have ever seen. He had nothing to gain by it."
But at this point, most suspect Ovitz doesn't care. He's had a roller-coaster career since founding CAA in 1975, and at one point he was considered one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. He left the agency in 1995 to run Walt Disney, only to leave the Mouse House after a little over a year--taking with him a hefty $100 million severance payout.
The Vanity Fair story gives a detailed account of how two last-minute financing deals collapsed underneath Ovitz's AMG, leaving him with no choice but to sell the company (which represented talent like Leonard DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz) to the Firm, an upstart management company that was most notable for its work with music stars like Korn and Limp Bizkit.