This Week in Tabloids: How Not to Write About a Rape Accusation

Screenshot: American Media

Let’s consider this week’s In Touch cover, “Friend’s Worst Fear! Matt’s Suicide Drama! Horrifying New Accusations as Kids Change Their Last Name.” It constructs a crisis—Matt Lauer’s alleged suicide ideation—while imbuing it with a sympathetic angle by the inclusion of friends and children. Meanwhile, some of the allegations against him are relegated to the bottom of the page. Doing so allows In Touch, like many celebrity outlets, to maintain their readers on both sides of the allegations.

Inside the issue, In Touch spends two pages pondering on what it believes to be Lauer’s internal dialogue—his fears, worries, concern for his family—before discussing Brooke Nevils. (Without, I should add, ever saying her name.) Nevils’s allegation that Lauer raped her while they were both covering the Sochi Olympics is described by In Touch as an “alleged affair.” This framing mimics Lauer’s own defense while excluding Nevils’s voice or, again, even her name. Instead, we’re given another few paragraphs about how Lauer’s life has been “ruined,” despite still living in a multi-million mansion with savings from a career that saw him earning $25 million a year. If you wanted an example on how not to cover rape allegations—the tabloids provide a perfect template!

Elsewhere, Us Weekly has the scoop from sources “close” to the Sussex lawsuit against the British media. In case you missed it—Prince Harry released an explosive statement on October 4, where he accused the press of malignantly targeting his wife and their family the same way his mother had been. Royal tipsters tell the magazine, “This isn’t about one negative story or incident. It’s an accumulation, and Harry refuses to sit and do nothing as the British press scrutinizes Meghan.”

Us Weekly also secured an exclusive statement from Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, who says: “Harry’s worried that the recent escalation of press intrusion has an impact on his relationship with Meghan, as well as their relationship with the royal family and the public.” In the wake of this, nefarious palace gossips claim that the Sussexes are considering a permanent move to Canada. It’s certainly a change in the narrative that they’ll move to Africa or California, but would our neighbors upstairs be so welcoming to a royal invasion? I’d also contest that the source’s reasoning—Meghan having lived in Canada “for a few years”—is laughably thin.

Anyways, OK! supplements Us Weekly’s cover story by defending Meghan Markle as the “victim, not the villain.” Joanna and Chip’s marriage allegedly “isnt’ perfect,” while Justin and Hailey Bieber are considering a baby. Wishing the best for everyone involved! Star, on the other side of the spectrum, claims Jennifer Aniston is “dating again” while Julia Roberts “rages” at her husband. Both are probably untrue, but I also don’t care enough to investigate why! Besides, I’d rather discuss In Touch’s accusation that Wendy Williams is a “loser” for having to pay her ex husband $250,000 to buy a new home. Their reasoning? “He just welcomed a baby with his mistress.” I’d say the claim is sexist nonsense that obscures the years of emotional and mental torment she likely suffered at the hand of a cheating husband who burned every one of her business relationships. My reasoning? Because I have common fucking sense! The magazine also claims that “a storm is brewing over Stormi Jenner’s paternity” in the wake of Kylie’s split with Travis Scott. Tipsters claim she was seen at Tyga’s recording studio at 2 a.m., supposedly “reigniting old rumors that he could be Stormi’s father.” I have yet to either see these rumors, or understand the logical leap between a recording studio tryst and a paternity accusation!

Us Weekly also claims that Jonathan Scott is still dating Zooey Deschanel, while Rihanna has “finally found love” with Hassan Jameel. And while there’s no news on whether she’s pregnant, tipsters claim she and the billionaire are “perfect together,” even if they’re “polar opposites.” (Despite my every urge to do the opposite, I won’t be making a “bitch better have my money” joke here.) Somewhere else in New York City, Maggie Gyllenhaal “celebrated the launch of Prisoner’s Wine Eternally Silenced Pinot Noir,” Katie Holmes “checked out the new JR: Chronicles show during a preview,” and Janeane Garofalo carried her laundry down Fifth Avenue. I’m also surprised that Penelope Ann Miller, the “star” of Lifetime’s The College Admissions Scandal, was given a “What’s In My Bag” feature. Good for her! Here’s what I learned:

  • She really, really loves scarves because “she hates being cold,” and loves when her neck is warm.
  • She has entire packets of Truvia floating around her Malibu American tote bag.
  • She has a never-read copy of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, which she claims to have “just finished.” (“I had no idea it would be so depressing!”)
  • Her daughters enjoy having ponytails.
  • She loves fiber supplements, especially Dr. Kellyann Collagen Fiber Bars in chocolate coconut.
  • Her kids most asked question: “Do you have water, mommy?” (She does, and it’s some artisanal brand called Essentia.)
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Star also reports that Ben Affleck and her relationship with a “burger chain CEO” is causing Jennifer Garner to experience severe insomnia. I’m worried for her! The magazine also claims that Harry Styles has been seen boozing it up and “writing blues ballads,” which sounds vaguely threatening. Paula Abdul admitted on the Wendy Williams Show that she got neck and face work done before her residency, which included “radio-frequency procedures.” Everyone’s wearing red, sources claim Scott Disick is considering an engagement with formerly-17-year-old girlfriend Sofia Richie. Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa are still incredibly horny, Milo Ventimiglia was seen ruffling Diane Guerrero’s hair, and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are enjoying a “romantic getaway.” (It appears those sex therapy gift cards are working, Keith!)

I’m also troubled by reports in OK! that Nicky Hilton is joining the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings. How dare she betray Kyle Richards’s struggling spin-off, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! If Kathy Hilton is too cowardly to display her vast wealth on reality television—which I’d argue is akin to redistributing the family’s millions—than the least her daughter can do is sacrifice herself as tribute! I’m also told that Renée Zellweger wants to “offer an olive branch” to Liza Minelli after the dancing legend called the Judy Garland biopic an “invasion of privacy.” Per a source:

All Renée wants is to sit quietly somewhere, maybe over lunch, and discuss her feelings about [playing] the late star. Renée trained for over a year with a voice coach, trying to capture the essence of Judy, and felt she understood her tormented soul. She could relate to her. But Liza knowns the film depicts the highs and lows of her mom’s life and she just isn’t prepared to dig back into a painful past.

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I hope the two can work it out, if only for the opportunity to appear on screen together. Camp legends, united at last! As for this week’s blind item from In Touch sources:

This reality star’s 15 minutes were about to be up, so she came up with a “storyline” that would keep her on the show. But the scheme was the lowest of the low: She considered faking a terminal illness to garner sympathy. Too bad producers got wind of it—now the star definitely won’t be back next season.

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Considering the host of reality shows I don’t want outside the Bravo canon and Love & Hip Hop spinoffs—the Bachelor franchise, MTV’s nonsense, and the 90 Day Fiance Extended Universe—this could genuinely be anyone! Leave your guess in the comments below.

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