The New York Times published a story today that epitomizes how loved and respected Philip Seymour Hoffman was, and why you should never f*ck with his memory or his friends.
It started, as all great tales do, with The National Enquirer. The toilet-paper-passed-off-as-“news”-outlet published a story a few weeks ago about Hoffman and his long time friend and collaborator David Bar Katz. Katz is a playwright and director, and was one of the two people who discovered Hoffman’s body after his overdose. Well, three days after finding his friend dead, Katz found out that the National Enquirer was claiming he and Hoffman had been… intimate. According to the Times,
[The article] quoted Mr. Katz as saying he and Mr. Hoffman were lovers who had freebased cocaine the night before his death, and said Mr. Katz claimed to have seen him using heroin many times.
Long story short (read the long version here), Katz had never, ever in his life talked to the shit rag Enquirer, and filed a libel suit immediately. So what did Katz do with his settlement money? While I might have gone with ice mansion or hiring Retta to watch TV with me, Katz wanted the money to mean something. (Pssh. I want my ice mansion.) The idea was that the Enquirer’s penalty should go towards honoring Hoffman. So Katz set up the American Playwriting Foundation, with an annual $45,000 “Relentless Award,” which will be given to developing an unproduced play. Katz won’t disclose how large his settlement was, but his lawyer did say “It’s enough for the foundation to give out these grants for years to come.”
The strangest part is that the Enquirer seems not to have made the whole thing up. They say that a man called, claiming to be Katz, and a lengthy interview convinced the
degenerate reporter that that was who he was, in fact, talking to.
Katz explained what was so upsetting about the article.
“The issue was never me being outraged at being accused of being gay — we’re theater guys, who cares?” Mr. Katz said. “The issue was lying about the drugs, that I would betray my friend by telling confidences.”
So what are the consequences for the lies? For trashing a great artist’s name, trampling on the reputation of his close friend, and reducing a long, harrowing battle with addiction to a drug-filled tryst?
As part of the settlement, The Enquirer has provided [Katz’s lawyer] with contact details for the person it interviewed. “My goal is to have him living out of a cardboard box,” Mr. Burstein said.
He paused for an instant. “I haven’t filed yet — I have to be sure that I have the right Katz.”
Go get him.
Via The New York Times.
Vivian Kane would like to invite Retta to her ice mansion, where they can live-tweet Punch-Drunk Love together. Every day.