The Fix

"Sinewy," "fiery" supermodel beats on the help -- again. GOP entertainment guru pledges to alienate youth vote at convention. Plus: Is your phone company killing puppies?

By Salon Staff
Published August 10, 2004 3:16PM (EDT)

Turn On:
Before the Olympics this weekend, you might want to catch the documentary "Doping to Win" (8 p.m, Discovery Times), which investigates the "drug-designing chemists, dealers, crooked coaches and athletes prepared to do anything to win." New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd makes another rare TV appearance (she was on "Meet the Press" Sunday) on "The Daily Show" (11 p.m. ET, Comedy Channel). She's plugging her new book, "Bushworld."

Morning Briefing:
Time reporter in contempt: A federal judge has held Time's Matt Cooper in contempt for refusing to testify in the criminal grand jury investigating the possible illegal disclosure of the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA employee. NBC's Tim Russert avoided being held in contempt by submitting to an interview earlier. The Post reports that it now appears that prosecutors will be able to demand the testimony of Robert Novak, the syndicated writer and CNN fixture, who first disclosed the Plame's name in his column. (Washington Post)

"Sinewy" vs. "Fiery": Naomi Campbell is again accused of beating the help (she pleaded guilty in 2000 to hitting an assistant with a telephone, was forced to take anger management classes, and has since been sued by a second employee for similar charges) after apparently getting into a fight with her housekeeper, a woman named Millicent Burton. The more interesting battle, though, is between the two tabs covering the five-minute scandal, the New York Daily News vs. the New York Post. The Daily News tucks the coverage into its gossip page, with a relatively coy headline ("Naomi strikes again, sez maid Millicent") while the Post fronts a glam shot of Campbell on its cover with a bold, if grammatically questionable headline ("Naomi beat me up: maid"). Daily News columnists Rush & Molloy, in a tight summary, report that Burton allegedly shoved the "sinewy supermodel" first before the "boiling beauty" retaliated with a slap to the face. The Post, however, counters with an elaborately reported account that also claims Burton struck first, but includes a graphic blow-by-blow from Campbell's assistant, who claims to have watched the "fiery catwalker" and her maid "rolling on the floor. They were fighting. They were screaming." The Post also claims this coup, an interview with the maid herself, who offers only this: "Naomi Campbell smacked me in the face." But a "source close to Burton" in the story "said the housekeeper. . . plans to sue Campbell." (NY Daily News, NY Post)

Verizon: Puppy killer! Need another reason to hate the phone company? Verizon is suing an animal shelter for about $18,000 it allegedly owes for phone book ads. Officials have told the American Foundation for Animal Rescue, which runs the Queens Community Animal Shelter, that "unless the debt is paid in full by Aug. 18, they would bolt the doors and sell its assets  including the animals  at auction." A shelter official said: "Sell them by all means. We can barely give them away." That's bad news for the 50 dogs and cats at the shelter. Boo, Verizon! Hiss! (NY Post)

Ceding any claim to "cool": The Republican convention's director of entertainment, Frank Breeden, is a "former president of the Gospel Music Association renowned in the Christian music industry" who says that he "expected the convention to be heavy with gospel, country and Broadway music, and with patriotic music. And he said there would be several renditions of the national anthem as well." Plenty of spinach, no Black-eyed Peas. (New York Times)

Out-landish: After its Tom Cruise item Monday (we called it gay-baiting), the New York Post now claims. It is not the policy of Page Six to out anybody." Also, Cruise's sister/publicist Lee Anne DeVette claims the man who sat next to her brother at the "Collateral" premiere (the man the Post suspiciously described as a Cruise lookalike who was allegedly his trainer) is somebody who works with Tom on philanthropic endeavors. I hate to burst their bubble, but there is no secret there. (WWD)

Marquez gives in to Hollywood: "Gabriel Garcma Marquez appears to have finally succumbed to Hollywood's call, signing over the film rights to 'Love in the Time of Cholera,'" reports the Guardian. Marquez reportedly sold the story to Stone Village Pictures for between $1 million and $3 million, and while no directors or cast have been set, "the names of Nicole Kidman and Jude Law are already circulating" for the romantic leads. Marquez, despite selling millions of books through the years, is believed to be worried about his finances after several bad investments. The writer, 76, is battling cancer, and has also faced attacks in recent years (most prominently by Susan Sontag) because of his fierce loyalty to Fidel Castro. (Guardian via Maudnewton)

Also: Gawker gets a picture of the Vogue softball team's ironically haughty, or just grating, T-shirts, which say "We're silently judging you" . . . Lad mag's higher calling: "There are no fewer than three 'serious' literary books now in print by present-day or former Maxim top brass," according to Slate.

-- Kerry Lauerman

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