Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 2004 / 6 Kislev, 5765
Her big, fat, ugly casino executive; Hollywood can't win!; the Eisner School of Journalism?
"Sopranos" star Jamie-Lynn DiScala who just signed with an offshore gambling company to raise awareness and money to fight eating disorders abruptly ended the relationship Thursday after a casino exec called her "fat, then scrawny" in a press release.
Dennis Rose, senior vice president of the Trinidad-based multibillion-dollar Casino Fortune, didn't stop there.
In his announcement of the deal which this column brought to DiScala's attention Rose cracked: "Why did we hire her? Mainly because she was fat, then scrawny and finally found a way to control her eating disorder."
The loose-tongued exec went on: "Many of our female players experience the same. Sitting on the couch night after night watching 'The Sopranos' and other shows take a toll on the human body. We're offering our players a little guidance and inspiration."
The actress' 33-year-old husband, A.J. DiScala, told me his 23-year-old wife who has personally battled anorexia and exercise bulimia "burst into tears" when told of the gambling exec's crass comments.
"She was devastated, absolutely devastated," DiScala said during a conference call with his wife's attorney and publicist.
"We found these comments grossly offensive and insensitive," Jamie-Lynn's husband continued. "Most of the people who deal with this disease deal with it on a daily basis. For Jamie-Lynn, the scar goes with it every day. For people with eating disorders, dealing with food is an everyday, three-meal-a-day thing like an alcoholic going to work in a bar. And it's very difficult."
The DiScalas' lawyer, Mitch Schuster, told me: "We are terminating this agreement immediately."
And publicist Leslie Sloane Zelnik slammed Rose's remarks sarcastically: "What classy people they are! What a way to talk about the 75 percent of their online customers who are women!"
On Thursday, Rose, phoning from Trinidad, told me his comments were misstated by another Casino Fortune exec who put them in the announcement without his approval.
But Rose acknowledged that at a recent cocktail reception at his casino during which guests were invited to compete for a $10,000 prize by correctly guessing weights he quipped: "It's a good thing we don't have to guess Jamie-Lynn's weight, because it's always changing."
Rose added: "I don't want to say too much and put my foot in it again."
Sounds like capital advice!
THE EISNER SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM?: Embattled Disney CEO Michael Eisner, testifying Thursday in the Disney stockholders' lawsuit, praised Wall Street Journal reporter Bruce Orwall, but mocked the showbiz sheet Variety and slammed the work of The New York Times' Bernard Weinraub. Under a grilling by plaintiff's attorney Steven Schulman about the relative quality of several 1996 articles reporting rumors of Disney exec Michael Ovitz's impending departure, Eisner said: "I would say this just demonstrates how good a reporter Mr. Orwall is." But Hollywood correspondent Weinraub's story was "clearly not as well researched as Bruce Orwall's article," Eisner opined. "It's just gossip. The facts are not very clear, or correct." When Schulman asked if Variety is "also a respected publication," Eisner remained uncomfortably silent. "That's the best question you've asked me," he finally parried after a day and half on the stand. "I won't press you on it," Schulman replied. A grateful Eisner said: "Thanks."
HOLLYWOOD CAN'T WIN!: Doesn't conservative pundit Peggy Noonan appreciate the 65 ABC affiliates that pulled "Saving Private Ryan" from their Veterans Day schedules because of violence and gamey language? Fuhgeddaboutit! "Hollywood is so non-understanding of normal human Americans," Noonan tells Entertainment Weekly. "These liberal-leaning heads of major TV affiliates have interpreted the re-election of Bush to mean that they shouldn't show 'Saving Private Ryan' on TV because creepy little America will complain [the way] it complained about Janet Jackson. Really, the amazing thing about Hollywood is how they make so much money entertaining people for whom they have such contempt people they think are stupid Martians."
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