I want to pick up a hard copy of the New York Times tomorrow. That's because the National Enquirer has bought a full-page ad to retract falsehoods they published about actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, recently deceased from a drug overdose. They claimed their source was Hoffman's friend, David Bar Katz.
In fact, the article, published by The National Enquirer, was the first pebble of a landslide of malignant fiction that sprawled across the web. It quoted Mr. Katz as saying he and Mr. Hoffman were lovers who had freebased cocaine the night before his death, and said Mr. Katz claimed to have seen him using heroin many times.And more malignant nonsense. Total BS, all of it. Not true. Katz filed suit, and got results. The article was retracted, the ad is being run. And more.
A mere 3 weeks after the offending material was published, Katz has announced the formation of the American Playwriting Foundation in Hoffman's honor, which will award an annual $45,000 award for an unpublished play. It will be known as the Relentless Award, to be paid for by the American Media Inc. & the Enquirer. The settlement figure is not being disclosed, but will fund the awards "for years to come."
Mr. Katz did not receive or seek any personal payments. Mr. Katz, 48, said he was trying to figure out what a meaningful settlement would be to a person as demanding as Mr. Hoffman. “It’s so awful and ludicrous,” he said. “We had talked so often that it’s a tragedy playwrights can’t survive being playwrights — about how nice it would be if you could make your rent and still have an occasional steak.”A fine memorial legacy from a good friend.