Talk about miscommunication: Sitrick didn’t know that BWR had arranged an exclusive with People mag on the Reese-Ryan divorce, and BWR didn’t know that Sitrick was not only giving Ryan’s quotes to In Touch mag but also was about to give them to People’s arch rival, Us Weekly. “That could have, and should have, been handled better,” Mike Sitrick candidly told me. And a BWR source huffed, “We would never have approved giving quotes to In Touch even if we had not made the arrangement with People.”
Well, thanks to the Britney–K-FED split, and then the TomKat wedding, the Reese-Ryan divorce was a one-day story. Since there was no crisis, BWR didn’t need Sitrick working on Ryan’s behalf anymore. But then the New York Post got involved. Guess the paper still bears a grudge for Mike Sitrick’s personal role in the Jared Paul Stern–Ron Burkle scandal — because Page Six really stuck it to his firm big time over this. A gossip item last week claimed someone from Sitrick and Company made up quotes and/or planted a fake story during its representation of Ryan, and that the firm was hired and fired over it within a few hours. Both Sitrick and BWR tell me this is wrong.
According to Sitrick, one of his minions, David Bloom, had several phone calls with Ryan about media inquiries coming in. “David told Ryan he believed it was necessary to release a statement to the media. At the end of the discussion, David read the quotes back to Ryan for approval. Ryan approved the quotes and the release of those quotes to the media, though no specific publication was identified by David.” BWR confirmed to me that Sitrick’s office did talk to Ryan and agreed no fakery was involved.
So the moral of this tale is that there’s no faking bad PR.