Richard Desmond may have made millions by giving C-list stars the OK! treatment. But the nine pages of soft-focus sycophancy the magazine dedicated to its owner was just not good enough for him.
Having graduated from Asian Babes to OK! and then to the Express newspaper titles, Mr Desmond is anxious to be taken seriously as a media baron. Hence his concern over the spread that appeared in OK! to mark his 50th birthday party at The Roundhouse in north London which showed him mingling with daytime television stars and ageing disc jockeys. He was not pleased with what he saw.
Now it appears that the OK! journalists deemed responsible for undermining their proprietor's new image – Jim Maloney, the magazine's deputy editor, and four others – have paid with their jobs.
One source said: "Basically he didn't communicate how he wanted his birthday to be covered and he wasn't happy with the final lay-out and complained to the editor. He wanted to look more like a media baron."
Another said: "He was unhappy with it, and his reaction whenever he's unhappy is to say 'There are too many staff here'."
Mr Maloney, who was not even involved in the coverage of the party, has been dismissed in what the company is describing as a "private contractual dispute". Four other members of staff have found themselves redundant.
A spokeswoman for Richard Desmond gave a succinct "no comment", though sources at the magazine point out that there has been a wide review of costs across his media interests with job cuts as a consequence. OK!'s editor, Nic McCarthy, has survived.
The OK!-five may have been better off had they followed the example of a colleague from another part of the Desmond empire.
The Daily Star columnist Jono Coleman, another guest at the birthday bash, wrote of his proprietor: "Boy does he know how to throw a party!"
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