I have learned from New York Times sources that Viacom Inc.’s general counsel has sent the paper a toughly worded letter fat with attachments refuting large portions and many details of that March 13th Page One story loosely linking Paramount boss Brad Grey to Anthony Pellicano. The attachments include actual email exchanges between NYT reporter David Halbfinger and Paramount corporate communications chief Janet Hill in the days leading up to the story’s appearance. (Interestingly, no emails from co-writer Allison Hope Weiner are included.) The letter, received within a week after the article was published, complains among other things about the so-called uncorroborated statements from the article’s primary source, Grey ex-client Garry Shandling’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Linda Doucette.
I’m told that Viacom and the NYT are talking directly even at this late date and that the Times is taking Viacom’s complaints very seriously. Viacom has not gone public with this yet out of respect for the process that’s ongoing i.e. they’re hoping for a correction, clarification or editor’s note. Too soon to tell if any will be forthcoming. But the above does put a new slant on that weird, weird statement Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone gave the Los Angeles Times (Monday’s story) that everybody’s laughing about.