Vanity Fair editor likens Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Jong-un in odd PR attempt

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has revealed how Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow issued a 'Kim Jong-un'-style demand to friends in a desperate attempt to ban them from talking to the magazine.

The longtime editor of Vanity Fair has broken his silence after months of speculation over what was reportedly set to be an 'epic takedown' of the divisive star.

And he reveals how the 'brouhaha' led to Gwyneth, 41, phoning him in October and asking how to get the 'haters' on her side - to which he joked 'put on 15 pounds'.

Writing in the March issue of Vanity Fair, Mr Carter insists the original story was simply borne out of his request that he wanted a piece on the Shakespeare in Love star after noticing 'that people tend to have passionate opinions on the actress'.

This soon took a turn as mom-of-two Gwyneth was prompted into action worthy of the North Korean despot, he says.

'What began so innocently quickly took a turn, however', he admits in his monthly Editor's Letter in the new issue, 'Once the story was assigned, the writer reached out to Paltrow’s representatives and friends, and Paltrow sent the now-infamous email to her show-business pals.

'She asked that they not speak to Vanity Fair about her, or about anything else ever again. Ever. Never.

'Kim Jong-un couldn’t have issued a more blanket demand.'

As soon as this edict was made public, all hell broke lose and led to a frenzy of speculation over just what would be in the article - including stories over the state of the Oscar winner's marriage to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.

Mr Carter writes: 'Not to bore you with the details, but the whole Vanity Fair–Gwyneth Paltrow brouhaha began innocently enough at a routine morning editorial meeting last spring.

'We were reviewing assignments and batting around story ideas, and at one point I idly mentioned that I would be interested in reading something on Gwyneth Paltrow.

'And then things just went haywire as magazines and Web sites tried both to anticipate what we had in our story and to best us.'

Mr Carter had hired contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis to write the feature and she handed it in at the end of the summer - but he decided sit on it there was no way it was the sensational story that people expected.

'It was just what had been assigned,' he admits, 'a reasoned, reported essay on the hate/love-fest that encircles Gwyneth Paltrow.'

He adds: 'I thought it perfectly explained the whole phenomenon. But it was such a far cry from the almost mythical story that people were by now expecting - the “epic takedown,” filled with “bombshell” revelations - that it was bound to be a disappointment. What to do? I decided to sit on it for a time.'

Finally, he writes, 'in October, Gwyneth called me. We talked for about 20 minutes about the story and her reaction, or over-reaction, to it.

'At one point, she asked my advice as to what to do to get the ‘haters’ on her side. I suggested putting on 15 pounds. I joked that it works for me. She replied I had put on much more than that. Which I thought was fair and funny.'

But that was not even the end of it.

Two months after the phone call, news broke of their truce and Mr Carter says Vanity Fair received mail - must of it criticizing them for caving in.

With the new Hollywood issue featuring Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor on the cover, Mr Carter adds: 'There had also been conflicting reports that Gwyneth had coerced George Clooney into not being on our cover - clearly not true.

'There were reports that she was trying to scuttle our annual Oscar party, that she was going to organize a competing dinner. The Paltrow camp subsequently denied both claims.

'We were in uncharted waters. At Vanity Fair, we tend to keep stories we are working on under our hats. It's not easy being a monthly magazine in an Internet age, and since most of the publications we compete with are weeklies or dailies, when it comes to the stories still in train, a certain amount of institutional secrecy is required.'

Finally, months after the original story broke of Gwyneth's ban on Vanity Fair, the new cover features the strapline 'Goop, Gossip and Gwyneth by Graydon Carter'.

The editor adds: 'The Gwyneth Paltrow saga had clearly just gotten away from us. My instinct was to continue to let it sit until people had forgotten about it, or at least until expectations had diminished.

'The fact is the Gwyneth Paltrow story, the one we ordered up, as delightfully written as it was, is not the one the anti-Gwynethites expect.'

'That it has generated more mail and attention than many of the biggest stories we've ever published only makes the situation more complicated.'


~because asking your friends not to talk to a magazine is just like ordering them and their families murdered~