Tina Brown made many enemies as the editor of Vanity Fair, she said at a Tuesday night talk at the 92nd Street Y with Jay McInerney.
Brown was only 30 in 1984 when she took over the failing Vanity Fair and turned it around while fending off backstabbers in the hypercompetitive Condé Nast offices.
She told McInerney — whom she once dispatched to Tangier, Morocco, to profile Paul Bowles — “It was the court of Louis XIV. It all revolved around the Sun King, Si Newhouse.”
Since Newhouse’s death last year, the magazine empire has been decimated by layoffs and budget cuts, assumed to be aimed at making it more attractive to potential buyers.
Brown also made enemies among the people the magazine covered, including a billionaire whose beauty-queen wife was mentioned in a story about the notorious Parisian procurer, Madame Claude.
She became adept at mollifying angered targets without running a retraction or being sued.
“There’s no one I can’t apologize to,” Brown said.
But she stands by her initial assessment of fellow Oxford grad and Parliament member Boris Johnson as “an epic s–t.” And Brown is steadfast against the Brexit movement that Johnson supports. “It’s a suicide vest they decided to don.”
Brown’s memoir, “The Vanity Fair Diaries,” has been optioned by “Big Little Lies” producer Bruna Papandrea for a limited TV series.
“Blindspot” writer Rachel Caris Love is penning the pilot.
Brown, a co-executive producer on the project, told me, “I have high hopes for it.”
The lead role is a plum for a young British actress. “I’m meeting with Felicity Jones next week,” she said.
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