Last Thursday, Rob Shuter at the Huffington Post called out Bethenny Frankel for maybe-lying to Fobes about the amount of money she made from selling her SkinnyGirl beverage business. Forbes declared in a June cover story that Frankel had made over $100 million from the sale. Shuter went through the quarterly financial statement from the company that purchased SkinnyGirl, and misread the amount of “good will” afforded the company, $8.1 million, as the total sales price. A later segment of the report suggested that Skinny Girl was purchased for around $32 million. Accountants and financial lawyers among you commented that the financial details were being misread, that it was impossible to tell from the report what the purchasing price was, and that celebrities and millionaires regularly misrepresent their wealth in order to sound richer. Shuter and Huffpo later issued a correction stating that the numbers had been misread. In response, Frankel tweeted that Shuter was a “freelance writer with false info to get attention” and claimed she paid more than $8 million in taxes. She never gave a precise number as to what she sold SkinnyGirl for, and the company that bought it, Beam Global, said that we should “not expect that a black and white lump sum ‘purchase price’ figure will be made available. Suffice to say, this was not an $8.1 million acquisition.” No exact numbers, then, but I suspect it wasn’t quite as high as Bethenny would have us believe and that she knows it.
In an appearance on the Today Show this morning, Bethenny never gave a direct answer when Matt Lauer asked her if she made $100 million or not. She just hedged, called the publications that reported the $100 plus million figure “credible,” (as opposed to anyone who called her out on it) and said an exact number was “irrelevant.” She also defended her supposedly harrowing lost at sea experience that just happened to be captured on cameras for her reality show, but she talked around the accusations of the towboat operator who said it was a stunt.
On TODAY Monday, reality TV star and Skinnygirl entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel blamed jealousy and irresponsible journalism for recent reports about the sale of Skinnygirl cocktails.
“I think my recent success has polarized people,” she told Matt Lauer. “All I ever wanted to do was be able to pay my rent. They say mo’ money, mo’ problems; I never had problems like this.”
Forbes magazine and others estimated the price of acquisition of Skinnygirl cocktails by Bean Global at upwards of $100 million, but a Huffington Post blogger said that number was inflated – the deal was only worth $8.1 million. After a follow-up article in Forbes pointing out errors in the HuffPo story, the site ran a correction admitting that its number was wrong.
Though given a chance to set the record straight, Frankel stayed mum on the exact figure. She was, however, emphatic about the success of her brand.
“The number is irrelevant to me … when fans are wondering whether I said it was 10 times more than it was, I’m left to defend myself,” she said. “The bottom line is the public believes irresponsible bloggers who write anything they want … Skinnygirl Cocktails is about to sell a million cases in nine months. It’s remarkable. The money is irrelevant, but it’s a success.”
The star also discussed the controversy around her claims that she was lost at sea.
Either she made over $100 million or she didn’t. Don’t go claiming one thing all over the press for months and then act like it doesn’t matter and that people are stupid for calling you out on it. She concluded by referencing Giuliana Rancic’s breast cancer and saying that “this is garbage. You worry about your health, your family and this is garbage.” Again, she’s fine with putting out numbers about her supposed wealth when it’s to her liking, but when people ask her a direct question about it none of it matters and it’s all “garbage.”