LA Times Opinion columnist Patt Morrison has some choice words for Zooey Deschanel:
I can't believe Zooey Deschanel is really the snobby cow she came off sounding like Saturday evening.
The actress was a guest at the black-tie Hollywood BAFTA gala in downtown Los Angeles for the royal Cambridges, William and Kate.
To my friend and former Times colleague Claudia Puig, now the USA Today critic and film writer, Ms. Deschanel worried aloud that the neighborhood around the fabulously restored Belasco Theatre might look shabby to the regal couple. "I just don't want them to see the worst of L.A.," said Deschanel.
Excuse me? Downtown, the worst of L.A.?
What, Ms. Deschanel, you don’t have any homeless people there near your Westside home? Or does that not count, because they’re on the beach, not the sidewalks?
Of course there are thousands of down-and-out folks in downtown L.A. I cannot apologize enough to Ms. Deschanel that in some places, the sidewalks do not smell like Jo Malone candles. There are also million-dollar lofts downtown -- like the ones in the Eastern Columbia building, not far from the Belasco theatre. There is the venerable Grand Central Market, the spectacular Central Library, the Oviatt Building, the jewelry district and the fashion district and MOCA. The royals might have marveled, "Oooh, what’s that?" as they helicoptered into downtown above the splendid Disney Concert Hall.
Beyond the polo and the Hollywood glam events in California, in their less than 48-hours here, the royals may have seen more of "real L.A." than many Angelenos have. Just as William’s aunt, Princess Anne, the princess royal, visited Para Los Ninos on Skid Row a generation ago, and put that program on the map, the Cambridges went to an inner-city arts school downtown and to a jobs program for unemployed veterans on the Sony studios lot.
This was a working trip for William and Kate; it was, in the main, about good deeds, not good times.
And isn’t it possible the royals get tired of red carpets and roses? People naturally want to spiff up for a royal arrival -– there’s the story of an old English lady who got down on her hands and knees with a toothbrush and a bottle of ink to spiff up a carpet for the Queen Mother’s visit. Maybe these young royals probably actually want to get a look at real reality once in a while.
For decades, the royals have had to put in very public good-deed time to help to justify who they are and how they live. Queen Mary, the present queen’s grandmother, supposedly told her daughter, when the girl complained that she was so tired of visiting all those icky hospitals, "We are the British royal family. We all love hospitals, and we are never tired."
Prince William has spent time at British charities for the luckless; a couple of years ago, he stayed out a night, "sleeping rough" among London’s homeless, to get a taste, and a smell, of living on the street. Of course it was a staged event. Of course he had security, and of course he could walk right back into a luxurious life the next day, which his fellow street dossers could not. But he did it.
Ms. Deschanel’s remarks are all the more gob-smacking because the success of her 2009 film " Days of Summer" is chiefly thanks to … downtown L.A. The Times said the architecture is the star of the film, from the Music Center to the towering California Plaza and the haunting [and maybe haunted -– it was built on the advice of a Ouija board] Bradbury Building.
Did Ms. Deschanel not look any farther than her trailer door?
Maybe spending a little time at the inner-city arts school, or at the downtown women’s shelter, might do her even more good than it could do to help out those laudable places. I mean, if it’s not too hard for her to set foot once again in "the worst of L.A."
Zooey takes to her insufferably twee website, HelloGiggles.barf, to publish this open letter in response:
Dear Ms. Morrison,
I feel compelled to respond to your recent blog post regarding comments I “allegedly” made outside the BAFTA dinner on Saturday night. I never spoke to you at this event; in fact, you weren’t even there. I am completely and utterly shocked that a professional journalist, whom I have never met, would take a partial quote out of context and use it as the basis for a misguided personal attack. Further, I find it appalling that you would resort to name-calling to get your point across. In a court of law this would be called hearsay, and in journalism, I believe this should be the beginning of an investigation, not the end of one.
Let me be clear: the quote from USA TODAY that you used as the foundation of your piece was taken completely out of context. I NEVER said that Downtown LA was “the worst of LA”. I did make a reference to a parking lot adjacent to the theater that had a lot of trash in it in an attempt to be humorous. I simply said, “It’s funny they brought royalty here, there is a parking lot with trash around the corner.” It wasn’t an opinion. It was true. There was indeed a parking lot with trash around the corner. I thought that the juxtaposition of British Royalty and trash was amusing in a high-brow + low brow sort of way, but I never said that I, personally, didn’t like downtown, the Royals, or even trash. [i FUCKING LOVE TRASH!!!!]
I LOVE DOWNTOWN LA and I relish any opportunity to spend time there. I have pride in my city, that’s the reason why I thought it was kind of funnythat they didn’t clean up the immediate surroundings before the Royals came through. In the end, of course, it didn’t actually matter since those two crazy kids were flown in by helicopter anyway. Silly me. Regardless, I don’t even think I need to defend my love of Los Angeles. I am a native Angelino, and had you done any research at all, you would have found that I have been quoted in the press on numerous occasions talking about how much I love Downtown.
In your piece, the character you’ve created of “me” is actually pretty funny. I don’t know who this person is, but it seems as if you’ve borrowed her from the Susan Lucci repertoire. You make so many far-fetched conclusions; for one thing, you state, “go back to your house on the Westside.” Well, I can’t do that because I do not live on the Westside. You also open your piece by calling me a “cow”, which might be your opinion, but I wish a journalist for the Los Angeles Times and KPCC had found a more sophisticated way of sharing a difference in perceived opinion.
It’s hard for me to comprehend why you launched such a vile and toxic blow in my direction over a sentence fragment that you did not even hear for yourself. I do hope that in the future when writing about something, especially a human being, you will consider both the facts and context before publishing your opinion.
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tl;dr - columnist hears from a friend that Zooey hated on L.A./homeless people, does no research, Zooey is all "you are bad at journalism."