It’s a twist on the usual lawsuit. Mostly magazines and other publications are sued for what they have published. Now US, the celebrity weekly, is being sued for not writing something. A fashionable boutique in Hollywood is sueing the magazine for snubbing it. The owner, a Canadian designer, Fraser Ross, claims the magazine is deliberately not mentioning his shop – which is patronised by such celebrities as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Denise Richards – because of a legal feud. When it runs pictures of celebrities leaving the boutique the magazine, he claims, paints out the shop’s name. It even removes the store’s name from pictures of its shopping bags.
The bizarre suit has created a big stir in the American magazine world. It’s believed to be the first case of its kind. Janice Min, editor of US, says she is bemused by it. She denies there is any deliberate plot to ignore the store.
The suit it is believed partly stems from a party that US magazine’s West Coast editor , Ken Baker, held at the store – referred to in those days by US magazine as LA’s “hippest hot spot” – to celebrate the launch of a book he had written. In return for providing the party, the store’s owner says he was promised two full pages in US magazine. When the magazine didn’t deliver, he threatened to sue.
Ultimately the magazine paid $13,620 towards the cost of the party. It has been suggested this was the start of the hostility. That and an allegation – under investigation by the FBI – that a photo agency called Sunset Photo in which the boutique’s owner has an investment – had hacked into US magazine’s computers to try and find out what celebrity stories the magazine was working on. Since then, according to the lawsuit, the magazine has refused to mention the store.
The magazine’s editor admits that a mention in a magazine like US, which has a readership of l2 million, can result in a major boost in business for a store that lives on its celebrity status. A picture of a celebrity carrying a specific handbag can boost sales tremendously, she agreed. But she added that no-one has a “constitutional right” to be in US magazine. And anyway, the owner who is complaining has, she claims, been mentioned in the magazine four times since the Summer. “Clearly he would like to be in US much more” said Min.
In response the store’s owner claims getting the cold shoulder is costing his business $10,000 a week.