FoxNews.com's Roger Friedman reports that Rosie O'Donnell is fighting back hard in her countersuit against Rosie publishers Gruner + Jahr. O'Donnell filed papers Thursday saying that G+J manipulated sales figures of the magazine so as not to have to honor a clause in O'Donnell's contract that would have allowed her to walk away from the magazine if sales figures fell below a certain level. She now claims that G+J exploited that loophole and inflated sales figures for the magazine and that those actions were performed "with the express approval of its corporate parent, Gruner + Jahr" of Germany. O'Donnell's attorney, Mary Jo White, claims she will produce a smoking gun--an E-mail from G+J America executives asking their superiors in Germany for permission to cook the books, which would then force O'Donnell to pay G+J for permission to exit her contract.
O'Donnell is not the first person to make such allegations against the company. Both Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age reported that G+J inflated the circulation numbers for YM when they reported figures for the audit of the second half of 2001. YM publisher Laura McEwen later admitted to Advertising Age, "The figures were inaccurate, and we take ownership and responsibility for that."