Todays Wall Street Journal reports the Judith Regan the Disposed Haper Collins big shot called her bosses a Jewish Cabal who are out to get her. Frankly I believe her firing is all a big ruse. Now that she has interviewed OJ Simpson, I bet she wants to snag a bigger killer: Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.
By JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG
Escalating an imbroglio that is captivating the book industry, an attorney for fired publisher Judith Regan and a spokesman for her former employer traded versions of a telephone conversation that led to Ms. Regan’s termination last Friday. Bert Fields, a Hollywood lawyer who is representing Ms. Regan, said that News Corp.’s HarperCollins has libeled Ms. Regan by suggesting that she had made anti-Semitic remarks on Friday during a conversation with HarperCollins attorney Mark Jackson. A News Corp. spokesman yesterday said Ms. Regan had used the words “Jewish cabal” to describe some of her fellow executives. Mr. Fields disputed this: “She did not make any remarks that a rational person would consider anti-Semitic,” he said. “What she said was that she was being destroyed in the press for something that wasn’t her fault, and that the Jewish people should understand more than anybody else what it is to be the victim of a big lie. If anybody considers that anti-Semitic, they should explain it to me.” Andrew Butcher, the News Corp. spokesman, denied that the company has libeled Ms. Regan. He added that Ms. Regan said the following in the phone conversation: “Of all people, Jews should know about ganging up, finding common enemies, and telling the big lie.” He said Mr. Jackson had taken notes during the conversation. In the next breath, Mr. Butcher said, Ms. Regan said that literary agent Esther Newberg and HarperCollins employees David Hirshey, Jane Friedman, and Mr. Jackson constitute “a Jewish cabal. All of you people are conspiring against me.” Mr. Fields said his client didn’t use the words “Jewish cabal” in the conversation. “She said there was a cabal, not a Jewish cabal,” he said. Mr. Hirshey is an editor at HarperCollins; Jane Friedman is the CEO of HarperCollins Worldwide. Ms. Newberg, who has no direct connection to HarperCollins, couldn’t be reached for comment. She has been a critic of Ms. Regan, who has been a commercially successful figure in the book world but has also acquired enemies along the way and sometimes clashed with others at HarperCollins. Ms. Regan’s sponsorship of an O.J. Simpson book called “If I Did It” and an accompanying television show backfired when News Corp. canceled the project last month. “I’m surprised because I always thought I was someone who had a collegial relationship with Judith,” said Mr. Hirshey. “I edited a book for her and always admired her acumen. This comes as a bit of a shock.” Through Mr. Butcher, Ms. Friedman and Mr. Jackson declined to comment. Mr. Butcher also said that the subject of the phone conversation was a coming novelization of the life of the late baseball player Mickey Mantle that Ms. Regan planned to publish. The book has been criticized for fictionalizing some troubled aspects of the baseball hero’s life. Mr. Butcher said Mr. Jackson was discussing the book because he plays a broad role in publishing issues and often discussed such matters with Ms. Regan. A report characterizing Ms. Regan’s remarks as anti-Semitic appeared yesterday in the New York Times, attributing the description to “two people with knowledge of the News Corporation’s account of the firing.”