What does a movie star have in common with a North Korean dictator? Let Graydon Carter explain.
In his Editor's Letter from the March 2014 Hollywood Issue, Carter recalls about the hoopla surrounding a piece he commissioned on Gwyneth Paltrow's polarity in Hollywood. When the actress learned of Carter's plans, she reportedly encouraged friends and colleagues to boycott the magazine.
Needless to say, Paltrow's efforts backfired. Big time.
In the spring of 2013, Carter noticed that "people tend to have passionate opinions on the actress," so he asked contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis to write an essay that could better articulate the "phenomenon" that is Paltrow. "Once the story was assigned, the writer reached out to Paltrow's representatives and friends, and Paltrow sent the now-infamous email to her show-business pals," Carter claims. "She asked that they not speak to Vanity Fair about her, or about anything else ever again. Ever. Never. Kim Jong-un couldn't have issued a more blanket demand."
Carter claims his intentions were pure. "Not to bore you with the details, but the whole Vanity Fair–Gwyneth Paltrow brouhaha began innocently enough at a routine morning editorial meeting last spring. We were reviewing assignments and batting around story ideas, and at one point I idly mentioned that I would be interested in reading something on Gwyneth Paltrow. And then things just went haywire as magazines and websites tried both to anticipate what we had in our story and to best us."
Before long, it was rumored that Vanity Fair was planning an "epic takedown." Carter says Grigoriadis turned in a "reasoned, reported essay on the hate/love-fest that encircles Gwyneth Paltrow."
"In October, Gwyneth called me," Carter reveals. "We talked for about 20 minutes about the story and her reaction, or over-reaction, to it. At one point, she asked my advice as to what to do to get the 'haters' on her side. I suggested putting on 15 pounds. I joked that it works for me. She replied I had put on much more than that. Which I thought was fair and funny. Two months after the phone call, websites lit up with news of a truce. We received more mail, much of it now criticizing us for caving."
The Iron Man 3 star kept quiet about the Vanity Fair controversy, and her reps declined to comment.
"There had also been conflicting reports that Gwyneth had coerced George Clooney into not being on our cover—clearly not true," Carter writes, noting that the actor appears on the Hollywood Issue with Jared Leto and others. "There were reports that she was trying to scuttle our annual Oscar party, that she was going to organize a competing dinner. The Paltrow camp subsequently denied both claims."
In the end, Carter is pleased with the final product. "The fact is the Gwyneth Paltrow story, the one we ordered up, as delightfully written as it was, is not the one the anti-Gwynethites expect," he writes. Reps for Paltrow had no comment when contacted by E! News on Tuesday, Feb. 4.