The National Enquirer pays for publishing untruths and cheap shots taken at David Bar Katz, the grieving buddy of late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Enquirer added to a history of sensationalized stories while falsely reporting that Katz and Hoffman were lovers and that Katz had been present as Hoffman did drugs.
According to a report given by Katz’s lawyer to the Daily News, Katz pulled out on a lawsuit, and instead took a settlement from the Enquirer Tuesday, which allows the married father of four children to bequeath $45,000 annually to the American Playwriting Foundation. Although the total settlement is unknown, the actor will be able to fund writers for “years to come,” his attorney said.
Katz says, “Phil would have gotten a kick out of the gay lover rumor.” Katz learned of rumors that he was involved intimately with Hoffman through his son. He says that being accused of being “gay” is no big deal that after all, “I work as an actor, so who cares.” Theatre, as a profession, is not a place where it is surprising to find a gay population.
He reports being more upset over the drug rumors provided by the Enquirer saying, “I would never betray a friend’s confidence.” In regards to Hoffman’s drug use and subsequent overdose which led to the death of his friend he says, “he suffered a relapse.”
Katz, admits to being stunned over the Enquirer’s lies, “I knew they made stuff up.” he said; a low move even for Enquirer standards. To smear the name of Hoffman who had family and friends working to come to grips with what appeared and has turned out to be an overdose from heroin. The Enquirer attempted to further exploit the tragedy of Hoffman’s death by sensationalizing his death for financial gain.
Katz was unable to immediately spend time with Hoffman’s family and their circle of friends. Time reserved for those suffering the loss of a loved one is precious. People lean on each other for strength and somehow manage to get through the first hours and days of a loss together. Katz missed out on that, as cameras and reporters snapped questions and lights at him about an “gay-affair” that never existed. The gossip magazine was only mildly successful in reaching the goals to shock the public before the story backfired. National Enquirer pays for cheap shots at Hoffman’s grieving buddy, and Hoffman and his grieving family.
In the end something good came out of a bad situation made worse by false reports. Actors will benefit for some time because of National Enquirer’s error and the big heart of Katz. Katz believed, the Enquirer followed a bad lead that involved a name mix-up and led to him. It does not, however excuse the Enquirer for poor follow-up and publishing lies.
This serves as a reminder to writers to double-check sources and for readers to refrain from getting caught in the hype of the moment. Doing so puts added strain on families coping with loss. It costs a lot of money to make someone done wrong feel better. Maybe, the National Enquirer learned something beneficial from taking cheap shots at the grieving experience of Hoffman’s buddy and family, and that someone pays to make things right. At least others will benefit from such a graphic and insensitive goof-up.
By C. Imani Williams
NY Daily News