There are a lot of insufferable pricks in Hollywood. Risa Shapiro isn’t one of them. Even agency rivals like and respect the ICM agent who helped take many actors and actresses including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Connelly, Andie MacDowell, Hugh Grant, David Duchovny and Rosie O’Donnell from obscurity to worldwide fame. Nor is she even an ICM partner or a highest paid agent. Her film producer ex-husband isn’t a mogul. Neither of them are billionaires whose divorces set legal precedent, like Ron Burkle or Kirk Kerkorian. So with a mixture of shock and dismay I saw the Los Angeles Times lay out embarrassing details of Shapiro’s messy divorce from horror pic producer Oren Koules (the Saw franchise). At no point did the couple make a public statement about their divorce or draw attention to themselves.
[Full Disclosure: Only after Brad Grey announced his separation in Liz Smith’s column did I write about it – even after the studio denied there was marriage trouble, or a work-related link.)
The explanation I get from the newspaper is that the documents were public, and the editors thought it was a “solid story”. I say, shame on the LA Times. The article justifies itself because the divorce revealed “some of show business’ most guarded secrets: how much a blockbuster movie generates in producer profits, how richly compensated talent agents are, and how lucrative movie favors can be.” First of all, there are way more prominent Hollywood couples whose divorces never get covered at all or in this detail because their powerful publicists and lawyers would squeal like stuck pigs to the paper’s management. Second, the husband in this case seems like the scumbag, not Risa, but she gets humiliated even so. Third, the newspaper could easily have written individual stories about the lucrative nature of horror film franchises or major agency compensation without focusing on the divorce angle. (Besides, one movie franchise that made money hardly qualifies as news. And an agency opening its books during one divorce is commonplace.) Finally, and most disgustingly, the newspaper posted their home addresses. So I’ve got to ask: Is the Los Angeles Times so desperate for readers that it’s gone Hollywood tabloid?
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.