By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com July 02 2002 11:00 PM ET
Michael Ovitz--founder of the Creative Artists Agency and once considered the most powerful man in Hollywood--has told Vanity Fair that the entertainment industry's "gay mafia" is to blame for the collapse of his career, according to the Los Angeles Times. In particular he cites openly gay DreamWorks founder David Geffen as orchestrating his downfall. Ovitz also reportedly mentions out CAA agent Bryan Lourd as contributing to his ruin as well as New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub; Barry Diller, chairman of Vivendi Universal Entertainment; and Michael Eisner, chairman of the Walt Disney Co.--all three of whom are married to women.
"I know how hard it is for people to see me as a victim," said Ovitz, who recently sold his management company, Artists Management Group, after a string of failures, and who was ousted from Disney's number two spot after less than a year on the job. "But in this case it's pretty close to the truth."
Geffen declined to respond to Ovitz's accusations, except to tell the Times, "You're not seriously asking me to comment on this insanity." Diller reportedly told Vanity Fair, "You're not serious.... Wow. He said that on the record? Wow.... Wow. I'm stunned."
Ovitz says Weinraub's reporting on him and his projects was merely "parroting" negative spin about him that originated with Geffen. He says he has lost most of his AMG assets because of nasty rumors spread by the "gay mafia."
"It really reeks of the homophobia we saw in the '70s and '80s, when a lot of gay execs were closeted," Scott Seomin, entertainment media director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told Variety about the Ovitz interview. "This is really surprising and comes off as a bit paranoid, a bit schizophrenic, and very homophobic."
Geffen's comment to Vanity Fair was more succinct: "This is insane. I think he needs a psychiatrist." The magazine goes on sale in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday.