The other day I was called by a friend of club/event promoter Michael James, asking me to write something nice about him. He had just been vilified on Page Six of the New York Post and wanted an opportunity to set the record straight. I had heard something about this earlier in the day but didn't give it much thought until a PR of note forwarded me the article:
"Tactless party and event promoter Michael James of Epic Group seemed to mistake Tiffany & Co.’s 57th Street flagship jewelry emporium for a meat-market Wednesday night,when he abruptly informed guests right before the event that only models would be allowed in. “Any models who RSVP’d will be admitted to the event, but they cannot bring any guests unless thier [sic] guests are models too,” he said in an e-mail blast to his guest list. Despite his charming effort, the party — featuring Solange Knowles and street style photographers Scott Schuman and Garance Doré — was still short on glamazons, with only a handful of long-legged beauties mingling with a roomful of industry types. But James didn’t stop there. He followed up at 1:09 a.m. Thursday — hours after the event ended at 9:30 p.m. —with an e-mail titled, “Correction re: Tiffany event,” stating, “We have been informed that the best looking guests will be admitted wether [sic they are models or not . . . We were worried that good people might be turned away at the door, but have been assured that the best looking people will have no problem.” A Tiffany rep yesterday distanced the store from the fiasco, responding: “While Tiffany & Co. did host an event last night, e-mails received relating to a closed list originated from a promoter who is not associated with nor employed or contracted by Tiffany & Co.” Those who got past James included Piper Perabo, Charlotte Ronson and Leigh Lezark."
I agreed to talk to Michael about what happened. He told me that the timeline was wrong and that the second e-mail was sent while the event was still happening. He said that they were afraid of overcrowding and Michael had delegated someone he referred to as a "new intern" or "new assistant." It seems this newbie meant well but, being new, went a bit overboard. Michael said he saw the first email and "flipped out" and immediately told the newbie to send out a clearer message. The newbie, still unsupervised, sent out something at least as bad. Michael claims he only saw these transmissions when it was too late. Michael's "dog ate my homework excuse" seemed believable until I started trying to get him to answer the following four questions:
1. A tough way to get 15 minutes of fame. The New York Post called you tactless, and said you mistook Tiffany and Co. for a meat market last Wednesday night. Explain yourself to my adoring public.
2. Isn't bringing the beautiful people what they hired you for? Isn't that what all promoters are hired for? Isn't that what door policies at clubs/lounges and events are geared for? Did your company, via an overzealous new employee, just say aloud what everybody does?
3. Tell me about Epic Group. What you have worked on and what are working on?
4. Tiffany seems to have sought to distance themselves from you. Who actually paid you and what were they asking you to do for your money?
We talked again and he objected to my 15 minutes of fame question and said he would take that out and answer them in a couple of hours. I told him to get them before midnight as I wanted to get this in. I didn't hear from him for hours and I subsequently got messages from the original friend telling me she couldn't reach him but was trying. She finally did, and said he was waiting for a PR friend to get out of an event who would help him. I told them I wanted to write this soon as I had a busy day coming... but alas, no answers came. Then, I got a message from his PR friend Keri Ingvarsson at 12:44am last night telling me she had the answer to the Michael article. At 4:24am I got this from Keri:
THE HUMAN THAT HAS MOVED A GENERATION.
FOR 17 YEARS.
THE REASON THAT ISABELLA, AND MADELEINE AND HENRIK INGVARSSON EXIST.
MICHAEL JAMES THREW A PARTY ONE NIGHT IN 2004, AND I MET MY HUSBAND.
A MOVEABLE FEAST GATHERED WHERE HE DECIDED THEY WOULD GATHER.
THAT WAS A FORCE OF PEOPLE, MAINLY BORN BEFORE 1980 AT FIRST, BUT NOW, THEIR KIDS ARE COMING.
MICHAEL KNOWS AND RESPECTS ZELDA KAPLAN.
MICHAEL REMEMBERS THE BUILDING ON WALL STREET THAT STANFORD WHITE BUILT.
AND THE OTHER ONE NEAR WEST 27TH STREET IN 2003, WHEN IT WAS BARRON AND LAWLESS AND WHEN THE WORLD BEGAN TO WONDER ABOUT STEVE LEWIS AND LIZZIE GRUBMAN AND NOAH TEPPERBERG.
NEW YORK CELEBRITIES WERE THE OWNERS, BUT YOU NEVER HEARD OF US.
THE AMAZING LATE NIGHT FRIES AT FLORENT, BEFORE TRUFFLES HAD A PLACE – THIS IS THE NEW YORK WE HAVE WALKED AND KNOWN AND LOVED.
THIS IS THE NEW YORK MICHAEL JAMES GAVE US ALL.
HE IS THE NEXT BIG NOTHING, BUT STILL YOUR EVERY BIG SOMETHING.
YOUR ONE AND ONLY, MICHAEL JAMES.
HE HAS LOVED YOU MORE THAN YOU NEVER DESERVED.
EVERY MOMENT IN TIME WAS MADE POSSIBLE - BECAUSE OF HIM.
JUST DOING HIS JOB.
HE MADE FAMILIES HAPPEN.
BECAUSE HE HAS LOVED NEW YORK.
HE IS OUR EXISTENCE, AND OUR PULSE.
“GOOD NIGHT MR. LEWIS” AND SLEEP TIGHT THOSE OF YOU WHOM HAVE MADE LIFE WORTH LIVING.
ON BEHALF OF
I didn't like the 4am non-answers to my questions or the poem or whatever that was, and said that this was dumb. Keri said dumb questions deserved dumb answers and I told her something to the effect that she wasn't helping Michael's cause and a heated exchange went back and forth through the morning. I can't figure out why this became such a mess, but I haven't taken my eye off the ball.
Michael apparently was tasked to bring beautiful people to a Tiffany's event. His internal transmission was obtained by Page Six, which made him look terrible. In reality, bringing the beautiful people to an event is what people like Michael do. Door peeps at every club have their marching orders and promoters are paid to bring the fabulous. It is a beauty-brings-money business and if you dont have much of the latter, you better be the former. Michael's mistake is he got caught saying it aloud. It does seem tactless, but it is the reality. Michael blamed someone else. I pointed out that it is his company and he is therefore responsible, and he agreed. He then delegated a friend to contact me to write a puff piece and then he delegated a PR rep to answer the questions I sent for him to answer. He seems either too lazy or unable to handle his own shit. Maybe he is otherwise distracted. I have known Michael for a very long time and adore him. I think he needs to pay attention to his world. Given the opportunity to set the record straight and come off as a good guy, he set the record straight but not in a great way. He repeatedly delegated responsibility when he should have stepped up... and that's how this whole shebang started.