It's the season of goodwill, but not if you're Julie Burchill. With threats, punches and drinks flying media enmities are hard to forget. Sophie Morris profiles the columnists, presenters and proprietors ready for handbags at dawn
Monday 20 December 2004
Rosie Boycott v James Hughes-Onslow
Rosie Boycott v James Hughes-Onslow
The scandal known as Findusgate saw then editor Boycott initiate this stinking row by sacking Hughes-Onslow from his Beachcomber column at The Express. She then accused the hack of posing as a house buyer to secrete rotting fishfingers under her bath. Hughes-Onslow denies it all and later reappeared in The Express.
Germaine Greer v Suzanne Moore
Greer's feminist club is invitation-only, and with "fuck me shoes, three fat inches of cleavage and so much lipstick it must rot the brain", Moore seems unlikely to garner such an invite any time soon. Moore responded to this attack with gusto and the pair of heavyweights went at it like Saturday afternoon amateur wrestlers.
Richard Desmond v Associated Newspapers/Rothermeres
Ever since he got his hands on Express Newspapers in 2000 Desmond has been after The Mail's blood and takes great pleasure in dredging up the Rothermere's embarrassing Nazi history ( The Mail supported Hitler briefly in 1934 at the behest of the first Lord Rothermere). Is Desmond really bothered by anti-semitism, or is it just sales? The Rothermeres have said his reminders of their unpleasant legacy amount to slander, and ran a story claiming Labour had refused a £100,000 donation.
Ian Hislop v Peter Cook's Widow
Misunderstandings between Ian Hislop and Peter Cook came to a head when the Private Eye publisher died leaving a diary entry reading: "I don't want to be told after the event that Ian Hislop is editor." Cook's widow threatened to sell her shares to any buyer fuelling a long-running stand off between her and Hislop. Mrs Cook still retains a 40 per cent share in the magazine.
Kelvin Mackenzie v Janet Street-Porter
LiveTv, the Mirror Group's ill-fated tabloid television channel, provided the backdrop for this pair's falling out, which was compounded by a documentary team filming it blow by blow. The fight refuses to die and has been retold on television since as Nightmare at Canary Wharf. Meanwhile they continue to exchange digs. One can assume JSP meant MacKenzie when she described the television industry as dominated by "middle-class, middle-aged, middlebrow, masonic, mediocre males." MacKenzie was more straightforward; upon hearing she had been appointed editor of The Independent on Sunday, he said: "She couldn't edit a bus ticket."
Julie Burchilll v Toby Young
This pair fell out in 1995 while co-editing the Modern Review. The spat generated 1,705 column inches on a single day elevating Young to almost "somebody" status. Burchill told The Times: "Toby Young has no future here! He'll have to leave the country, like everyone else who falls out with me," shortly before Young left the country to alienate friends in New York.
Julie Burchill v Camille Paglia
Engaged in the bitchiest of fax fights in the early 90s over the reviewing of one another's books. Early on Paglia refused to be drawn into tit-for-tat petty revenge before accepting she and Burchill were engaged in a feud and permitting the Modern Review to publish the entire transatlantic bitch fight. Good hits include: "sheltered, pampered sultan of slick, snide wordplay" (Paglia to Burchill) and "Your Diana programme was crap" (Burchill to Paglia).
Piers Morgan v David Yelland
Apparently the roots of this long-standing feud can be traced back to Yelland calling Morgan a "spiv" for his part in the City Slickers case. Morgan responded with the considered: "alopecian Sun editor". Morgan was queen bee last year after Yelland's sacking, but Yelland's had the most recent laugh.
Piers Morgan v AA Gill
It's not too tricky to rile Morgan, but AA Gill put the boot in recently by describing new political show Morgan and Platell as "jaw-droppingly grim" and "huggably appalling". Morgan puts all of this down to Gill's close friendship with arch-rival Clarkson, and the fact he's seen naked pictures of Gill's model girfriend.
Piers Morgan v Jeremy Clarkson
These two might aspire to the boxing ring, but would look more at home in the playground. It all kicked off when Morgan published snaps of Clarkson playing away from home. They traded insults and threw water before the full-blown punch-up at this year's British Press Awards.
Piers Morgan v Ian Hislop And Private Eye
Hislop's frequent attacks on "Piers Moron" in Private Eye provoked Morgan to retaliate with The Mirror's Gnomegate. For months on end Morgan published appeals for dirt on Hislop and then began dropping hints about his tax returns and so on. At a book signing at Canary Wharf Mirror stooges harrassed Hislop with placards.
Julie Burchill v Tony Parsons
Burchill and Parsons met, made their names and married on NME, but it went sour when Burchill left him to bring up their young son alone. He says he never reads her, so maybe he missed her describing their first lovemaking as: "nasty, brutish and short" in her autobiography. He's had a stab back though: "It's terrible when your ex-wife turns to fat." The tit for tat has continued for years.
Penny Reel v Ian Pye
Mild-mannered NME editor Ian Pye had the unenviable task of trying to modernise the esteemed weekly rock rag in the 80's to halt a decline in sales. Known to many as the Invisible Man, the former Melody Maker staffer - itself a red rag to NME writers - went about personnel changes that included sub-editor Penny Reel. The furious sub began a comprehensive badge and street graffiti campaign entitled 'Ian Pye Must Die', before being reined in by the police.
Anna Ford v Jonathan Aitken
Ford sloshed a glass of wine over Jonathan Aitken, believing him instrumental in her sacking from Tvam, and unwittingly started a trend amongst her female colleagues (see also Polly Toynbee).
Mark Wnek v Ben Langdon
Osama Bin Langdon, as he's been dubbed in the industry, seduced Wnek away from his position as chairman of Euro SCG group to set up Ben Mark Orlando in January 2004. After a reported 116 days, and the only clue some e-mails left in the printer, Langdon walked out to take Wnek's old job.
Private Eye v Robert Maxwell, and many others, including Andrew Neil
Former editor Richard Ingrams described the mud slung at Robert Maxwell as "particularly memorable" but then Maxwell did successfully sue the publication for saying he had tried to buy a peerage, and again for saying he had embezzled the Mirror Group's pension fund (which of course turned out to be true). Andrew Neil is another common target, pilloried in almost every issue and often as the perennial bachelor. Private Eye is particularly fond of running a picture of Neil wearing a vest and peaked cap, accompanied by a young woman.
Jonathan Aitken v The Guardian
The Guardian spent the early 90's baiting the former cabinet minister over his stay at the Paris Ritz, but his sword of truth held out until he was jailed for perjury for seven months in 1999. These days he's wielding the sword of God, and even grants The Guardian interviews. He may have forgiven, but there's a lot of history he's yet to forget.
Bruce Anderson v Polly Toynbee
A classic revenge trick for the female hack: Toynbee showered her right-wing rival Anderson with red wine at a party, provoked by Anderson's taunts of "Free Pinochet". Calling Toynbee a "humorless lefty" and suggesting that her position in journalism owed more to nepotism than talent must have forced her hand. Toynbee makes frequent recourse herself to The Spectator journalist's "preposterous and deluded rantings" when critiquing the right-wing press.
Andrew Neil v Peregrine Worsthorne
Sunday Times editor Neil took it to heart when The Sunday Telegraph editor dubbed him a playboy, and therefore unsuitable for the serious business of editing a national paper. Apparently Neil was unaware that companion Pamella Bordes had been a call-girl, but his victory in court stuck a defiant two fingers up at the Telegraph grandee.
Greg Gutfeld v Art Cooper
Cooper, editor of US GQ since 1982, was forced to stand down after a flurry of vituperative exchanges with Gutfeld last year. Gutfeld called Cooper "idiotic" and Cooper wrote to Greg's boss Felix Dennis to suggest he sack Gutfeld. Gutfeld circulated the missive en masse and in February 2003 Cooper was denied the "five more fucking years" he desired at GQ. One of Gutfeld's criticism's was that GQ was packed with "dead men's magazine story ideas". A week after Cooper's departure from the magazine, he was dead himself.
Greg Gutfeld v Dylan Jones
Gutfeld took over at Maxim this summer and allegedly demanded free suits "like that old bald guy at GQ". When Jones threatened to beat him up Gutfeld responded in print, with cartoons of an old man in a wheel chair, and the Ask Dylan column where serious questions about the news were answered with actual fashion advice from Jones' Independent fashion column.
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