REPORT: Hollywood Reporter Writer Ousted for Accepting Gifts in Exchange for Coverage

Well-known fashion writer Merle Ginsberg reportedly got the boot from The Hollywood Reporter after penning a favorable review about Marc Jacobs in exchange for a pricey handbag from the New York-based design brand. According to the New York Post, Ginsberg’s sudden disappearance in April from the trade publication stems from a quid pro quo relationship in connection with her coverage. “One West Coast fashion spy said Ginsberg had received, in addition to the bag, other expensive fashion items over the years — a claim that Ginsberg denies.”

Ginsberg has released a statement, saying: “Whatever tongues are wagging — as you say — they might be unaware that this Marc Jacobs handbag was sent to me the day the issue was released, which clearly meant no favors took place in doing a story on Marc Jacobs as red carpet designer of the 2015/2016 season … I’ve never ‘sold stories’ — that’s a despicable idea and a despicable practice. I think my work — the quality and quantity of it — throughout my career — speaks for itself. I can’t control what competitive and jealous people are going to say. But one thing I would say is — they should look in the mirror.”

She did claim, however, that “many others at THR, including top management, get free stuff all the time. Insiders said THR’s policy is that staffers can’t accept gifts valued at over $200.” Ginsberg said, “It’s pretty normal standard operating procedure in fashion and beauty — gift bags, etc. — and yet other editors outside of fashion raised eyebrows over that.”

THR said it does not comment on personnel matters. Booth Moore was appointed as fashion director of the publication following Ginsberg's ousting.