Reference: Michael Ovitz (2)

Vanity Too Fair

For a long time now, how the media wrote about Ovitz has been a litmus test of their journalistic integrity. Those who wrote honestly and accurately about Ovitz paid a big price in the form of punishment. Those who didn’t were rewarded. And that’s the primary reason why, whenever anyone talks about Ovitz as the most hated man in Hollywood (an appellation that Vanity Fair repeats), details are few and far between. Because if you make money for people in Hollywood, or for that matter sit for interviews that will sell magazines for media conglomerates, they’ll overlook a lot of character flaws. It took real courage for both show-biz denizens and the reporters who follow them to lay bare the profound and lasting effect that Ovitz had on Hollywood for 27 years through threats, intimidation, bullying, blacklisting and destabilizing. Burrough’s article skips over that. Instead, it claims “the ultimate story about the dark side of Ovitz” is the stale tale about Ovitz buying a Malibu property out from under Meyer. As if Ovitz’s gay bashing on its own pages isn’t even in the running. Hollywood villains have gone from naming names in the 1950s to name calling in the year 2002.


His obvious awkwardness around homosexuals at work was hard to hide. There was the day a group of CAA agents were gathered in the conference room for a meeting with client Dolly Parton and her effusively gay manager Sandy Gallin, when Parton took off her earrings and necklace, and Gallin put them on himself. Inside and outside the glass walls, agents laughed at the sight of Gallin vamping until that moment when Ovitz walked in, and the room immediately fell silent. Ovitz continued the meeting without once acknowledging the joke. “And Gallin knew this and loved seeing Ovitz squirm. He did it strictly for reaction,” recalled former CAA agent Tony Ludwig. Ovitz’s own dislike of homosexuals had become institutionalized for the first 10 years at CAA, where the climate was tantamount to an anti-gay employment policy. Why homosexuals did not fit the CAA mold had nothing to do with gays themselves and everything to do with Ovitz and his carefully crafted image of the agency as a monolith of conformity.

Obviously the guy was in the wrong business to begin with. Perhaps he would have been better off in real estate. Or snake oil.

Note to self: Pay attention to whisper campaigns. The oppressed can’t say things out loud.

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