Skip to Content

(Click image for larger version in pop-up window)

Looks like the Us WeeklyJessica Meisels feud may actually have come to pass. If you remember, on the heels of Kitson’s lawsuit against the tabloid, we exclusively told you about another of West Coast executive editor Ken Baker’s problems: an unpaid bill to power publicist Meisels, who was looking for a measly three-figure payment stemming from her work on Baker’s Head to Hollywood charity event in June. Baker, we reported, refused to pay up.

Under threats of editorial blacklisting from Janice Min’s Us if Meisels didn’t but a kabosh on our story, the spinstress insisted to us that all bills were paid. (To be fair, both Us and Meisels have denied, from the beginning, that there was ever any bad blood between the two parties. Our reputable sources said otherwise.)

Further, at the end of last month Meisels claimed to us that her Elizabeth Hurley/Polaroid/Breast Cancer Awareness Month event was being covered by the tabloid. Would a magazine upset with a publicist agree to cover said publicist’s event? Likely not.

But there’s the coverage, above, in this week’s Us Weekly (p. 115). Unless it’s a carefully orchestrated ploy to convince us to give up on the story. Though with Ken Baker still in play, we can’t entirely dismiss the possibility.

Earlier: Us Weekly & Jessica Meisels’ Mended (If Ever Broken) Fences

Oct 9, 2006 · Link · Respond

It is time to put this Us WeeklyKen Baker scandal to rest? Well, perhaps the Jessica Meisels portion of it — we’ll leave the Kitson factor to another day. Today we spoke with Jessica of Fingerprint PR – who already denied the unpaid charity bill scandal – who was happy to report that there is no bad blood with the tabloid.

Last week we exclusively told you Meisels was on the receiving end of a firing squad from Us Weekly, where Janice Min & Co. threatened her client roster (which includes Geisha House and, interestingly, Kitson Footwear) with editorial blacklisting if she had anything to do with our report — or its perpetuation.

But word from Jessica is that there is no blacklisting — so much so, in fact, that Us will be on hand at tonight’s Elizabeth Hurley/Polaroid/Breast Cancer Awareness Month event. And that means more than just a low-level staffer RSVPing for comp’ed champagne; they’ll be there to report.

(Photos, L to R: Ken Baker and Carmen Electra at the June 3 poker event; Jessica Meisels at her birthday party with Nicky and Paris Hilton)

(This item was updated from its original version.)

Sep 25, 2006 · Link · Respond

Exclusive

It wouldn’t be proper to begin the week without more news on the Us WeeklyKen Baker scandal front. After last week’s merry-go-round with news of the magazine’s west coast exec editor refusing to pay a measily three-figure bill from publicist Jessica Meisels for help with his June charity poker event – and gossip columns from Page Six to Lowdown trying to get their newspaper inches involved – the tabloid went after Meisels where it counts: their editorial. At the end of last week, Us‘ New York office was last seen making ominous phone calls to Meisels, threatening to end its support for any of her clients. They also told her if she had a problem with anyone at Us, she should’ve gone to the magazine first, not the media blog you’re reading right now.

Which would make sense, if only Meisels was our source. But, hey, 1290 Sixth? She’s not — and we only tell you that in hopes you two can become friends again. But that doesn’t mean Meisels hasn’t been talking to us. Under pressure from Us‘ editors, she’s gone and denied our report.

Fingerprint Communications maintains a positive relationship with US Weekly and the magazine’s staffers. … Fingerprint Communications has worked on two events for Head To Hollywood including the poker event in vegas. Our fee for the event was paid.

But Jessica is just about the only one willing to speak on the record. Us‘ editor Janice Min, meanwhile, refuses to speak to us for publication. We’ve asked her – over the course of regular email chats discussing these matters – to confirm or deny the allegations we’ve exclusively reported (from Kitson’s legal claims to Baker’s unethical payola scandals), and not once has she provided an on the record response.

She did, however, tell the name-misspelling New York Times the magazine “absolutely [does] not” blacklist merchants or demand free merch in exchange for editorial. Cue laughter from one block south at People.

(Photos, L to R: Ken Baker and Carmen Electra at the June 3 poker event; Jessica Meisels at her birthday party with Nicky and Paris Hilton)

Earlier: Breaking: Us Weekly Threatening Jessica Meisels Over Ken Baker’s Unpaid Bills
Related: All Ken Baker, Us Weekly, and Jessica Meisels coverage

Sep 25, 2006 · Link · Respond

Exclusive

The Us WeeklyJessica Meisels feud is coming to a boil ever since we broke news this morning about the Fingerprint publicist’s wage war with the tabloid’s Ken Baker. As we told you exclusively today, Meisels is trying to recoup the fees she amassed doing PR work for Baker’s Head To Hollywood poker tourney charity event in June. She’s only looking for a few hundred dollars – opting to charge only the actual costs accrued, and not her labor, given her work was done for a charity – but five months later, the Us west coast executive editor refuses to respond to her invoice.

Now we’re told exclusively that Us Weekly launched a flack attack just after our story ran this A.M.. Janice Min & Co. are furious with Meisels and are threatening the PR player, hounding her with threatening phone calls.

Meanwhile, the mainstream gossips are picking up on the story: Richard Johnson’s Page Six put a call in to Meisels today, but we’re told she denied our report to the Post column, fearing Us’ wrath. (Though you still might want to expect an item from Page Six in tomorrow’s paper.) Further, we hear the Daily NewsLloyd Grove is also trying to get in on the story, but Meisels is pleading with him not to run anything — again, at the cost of upsetting Jann Wenner’s tabloid.

And that’s not where the story even comes close to ending. With all the sour PR image debt Ken Baker has attracted, we’re also hearing the masthead colonel is on the job hunt. With his contract up in the near future (, he’s putting in calls to other pubs, hoping someone will accept his CV.

Earlier: Ken Baker’s Unpaid Debts Continue: Us Weekly Exec Ed’s Charity Shakedown
Related: All Ken Baker and Us Weekly coverage

(Photos, L to R: Ken Baker and Carmen Electra at the June 3 poker event; Jessica Meisels at her birthday party with Nicky and Paris Hilton)

Sep 22, 2006 · Link · Respond


Exclusive

Those owed by Ken Baker aren’t swallowing their debts quietly. We’ve seen Ken, the west coast exec editor of Us Weekly, go down this road before. Just this month we told you exclusively about Ken’s dealings with Kitson boutique owner Fraser Ross and how he and the magazine’s alleged blacklisting of the L.A. shop have resulted in a lawsuit from Ross.

Now we’ve got Fingerprint PR looking to collect on a Baker debt. This one is for work that Fingerprint partner (and former Lizzie Grubman slag-cum-power player) Jessica Meisels did for Baker’s Head To Hollywood charity – a non-profit that’s landed Baker in trouble again and again (i.e. securing positive coverage in Us Weekly of charity co-founder Carmen Electra). Fingerprint handled H2H’s charity poker tourney on June 3, 2006, at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel. Now, five months since Meisels submitted an invoice, there’s yet to be payment made — and the bill, we’re told, is a measly three-figure sum.

Meisels was responsible for finding event sponsors and the not-so-glamorous job of rounding up celebs for the event, including David Spade, Krista Allen, Montell Williams, and Shannon Elizabeth. (Though, to be fair, Elizabeth will show up for the opening of an eye.) But knowing this was charity work, Fingerprint didn’t bill Baker for the majority of the costs such legwork would’ve accrued a regular client; only phone, fax, and courier services were invoiced. And speaking of telecommunications, it’s safe to say Baker doesn’t understand how that tricky technology works. How else to explain his consistent dodging of Fingerprint’s phones and emails inquiring about their dollars owed?

Meanwhile, according to Head To Hollywood’s website, the June 3 poker event raised “close to $100,000″ for brain tumor charity. No cash in the coffer to cover the minor expenses, Ken?

In true Baker fashion, the Us Weekly ed is handling the situation like he would any other: By banning Fingerprint clients from the magazine and purposefully not inviting the PR firm to its Sept. 20 Hot Hollywood Awards (where Carmen Electra received award No. 43378) — where it had been welcome in years past. If history tells us anything, we should expect Baker to continue to withhold funds, then wait for either Jann Wenner’s check book or crack squad of crisis management PR gurus to take on the case. In the meantime, Meisels is still waiting for that check.

(Photos, L to R: Ken Baker and Carmen Electra at the June 3 poker event; Jessica Meisels at her birthday party with Nicky and Paris Hilton)

Sep 22, 2006 · Link · Respond