An article in the Sydney Morning Herald discusses how Russell Crowe tried to manipulate a journalist into writing positive stories about him, with the promise of becoming his publicist. Crowe had the guy and his wife over to his house several times, initially asking him to promote his sophmoric album to his friends in the press corps. He offered to pay him for his services, but the writer, who has a family and could have used the money, refused for moral reasons.
The journalist, Jack Marx, soon discovered how Crowe gets lauded in the press – he pulls this same buddy scam with tons of journalists, and even phones people personally to discuss negative articles about him.
Crowe befriended Marx and groomed him to write an article about him while he was promoting “Cinderella Man.” Marx initially refused, saying he was too close to Crowe to be objective. Crowe insisted though, and Marx went through with it. When the article came out and it was cautiously positive and believable instead of kissing Crowe’s ass – Crowe turned on him and dumped him as a friend.
He once bragged to me about how he had called a prominent Sydney gossip columnist who had been dumping on him, promising her that should she publish a positive word or two, he would grant her an exclusive interview. Like magic, a nice mention appeared in her column the following week, and the exclusive interview followed. It was doubtful, I thought, this transaction hadn’t been noted by the columnist’s peers, who’d consider her weak and Russell quite the meddler. If he needed an answer for why so many journalists disliked him, I thought, he need look no further.
That I was part of this nonsense was not lost on me, and at times it troubled me beyond mere embarrassment. One evening, I discussed with Russell a particular journalist who seemed to dislike him, and I suggested some approaches that might be useful in changing the journalist’s mind. With a schoolboy laugh, Russell shook his head and declared that if it were too much trouble, he’d just have the bastard killed. He was joking, of course, and we both laughed a lot. But it got me to thinking: I wondered if this had ever happened in the annals of Hollywood’s history with the press. Syndicates have killed for less, and we are talking about multi-million dollar estates…
What’s more, I began to doubt whether my friendship with Russell Crowe was altogether exclusive. There were sightings of Russell taking long strolls with rival journalists. There was talk of him writing a book with another. On the grapevine, I heard of another Cinderella Man article in the works, the local journalist disclosing her friendship with Russell and telling of their late night chatter at the film star’s north coast farm. I had been stroking my own ego with such industry it hadn’t occurred to me that there may be other ponies on the same carousal.
Marx’s article on Crowe came out, and was praised by other writers for presenting the bombastic actor as a decent guy with regular human failings. Crowe was mighty pissed at Marx for not making him seem better than God, and blew him off with a one-line e-mail: “Yeah, yeah, whatever.”
Crowe later wrote him a longer message, completely dismissing him.
Crowe is a total asshole, and the next time you see a positive story about him in the press, realize that he most likely called the journalist or had her over for dinner. That seems to be his pasttime when he’s not abusing hotel staff, trying to pass himself off as a humble singer, or getting paid millions to act in films.
The Sydney Morning Herald e-mailed me this story, and it was quite a useful tip. E-mail tips to info at celebitchy.com.