Sunday's Current section in the Los Angeles Times will carry an editor's note disclosing some details of a romantic relationship between Andrés Martinez, the paper's Editor of the Editorial Pages, and Kelly Mullens, a Hollywood public relations executive. There will also be a story in tomorrow's Business section, at least according to the internal story budget. Why? Because Mullens' Hollywood PR firm represents Brian Grazer, the producer who was brought in as guest editor of this weekend's Current section. Martinez emerged from a hurriedly called meeting this afternoon with Publisher David Hiller to inform the editorial staff of the news and to deny that his romantic relationship with Mullens played a part in the selection of Grazer as Current's first guest editor. The Times newsroom is absolutely abuzz about this turn, which shifts the anointing of Grazer from an odd (some would say laughable) curiosity into a potential PR calamity. The buzz also includes accusations that other clients of Mullens and Allan Mayer have turned up on the Times opinion pages, a claim that reportedly is being checked by higher-ups.
A call to Martinez has not yet been returned. Allan Mayer, however, called to say it was his suggestion to Martinez that led to Grazer being selected. Mayer, a partner in 42 West, has represented Grazer's films and Imagine Entertainment off -and-on dating to Mayer's previous position at Sitrick and Company. Mullens, a senior executive at 42 West, has not represented Grazer, Mayer said.
* Update — From Martinez' post this evening at the Times Opinion blog:
Given his well-known intellectual curiosity and his track record as a Hollywood producer, Brian is a terrific choice to kick off this quarterly program of guest editors. Brian and his partner Ron Howard have had a hand in bringing such stimulating fare as “Felicity” and “24” to the small screen (as well as my fav sitcom of all night, the tragically short-lived “SportsNight”) and such blockbusters as “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code” to the big screen.
Two senior editors, besides me, agreed that Brian was a good choice, especially after a brainstorming session with him on January 22. And I believe readers on Sunday will also agree with the wisdom of our choice, when they see what Brian, who has long been known for seeking out interesting thinkers across a wide array of disciplines, cooked up.
At no point was Kelly involved in pitching the concept of a guest editor, or any individual. My conversations were with Allan, who himself had no role in our subsequent talks with Brian and Michael Rosenberg, Imagine Entertainment’s president.
The decision to ask Brian to do this was not mine alone, but was taken by three editors here, and then approved by the publisher. The suggestion that my relationship with Kelly had anything to do with this choice is without merit. Suggestions that she or anyone else has favored access to our pages is also absurd. When Allan has pitched op-ed pieces to the Times – and we can only think of two instances this has happened in the last year – he has dealt directly with that page’s editor, Nick Goldberg.
Neither he nor Kelly would dream of approaching me....Because Kelly does some work for Imagine, we are planning on disclosing this in an editor’s note on Sunday. But I can assure readers she had no role in our decision to choose Grazer, and readers can make up their own minds as to whether this choice was a wise one.