Gossip columnists are a strange lot. That there are people whose income is earned by slander, backstabbing, bad behavior and dirty laundry is one of the strangest things about the media industry. But it's been a reality of newspapers and magazines since their inception. Up in New York, the Post runs its infamous Page Six column thanks to reporters like the squirrely Michael Riedel; down here in Dallas, we've got, among others, Jeanne Prejean, a diminutive, big-eyed woman who shows up at parties carrying a big camera -- her husband in tow, taking notes. Sometimes she just takes pictures; sometimes she scoops big, strange stories. It's inevitable that one would come to bite her in the ass, because even though we all love juicy stories, no loves a gossip.
Today, Robert Wilonsky reports on The Dallas Morning News' blog that one Jose Reyes is suing over choice words written about his social status, first by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and then by Prejean at D Magazine.
If you missed the story when it played out, here's the short version: Reyes volunteered with almost every arts organizations in town and would attend the fancy events. He may - or may not -- have told the fancy, rich people that he was also fancy and rich. He "blustered his way into photos," the real fancy people later complained to D Magazine and after receiving too much grief from said fancy people, the DSO's Chris Shull publicly fired Reyes as a volunteer. So as gossip columnists are wont to do, Prejean wrote a story about all the "blustering" called "The Party Crasher Who Duped Dallas Society."
It was embarrassing for Reyes, sure, but as our former arts editor reported in her Counting Down 2013's Best and Worst Moments In Dallas Culture in December, Reyes also lost his job over the whole ordeal. And now, he's suing the DSO and D Magazine.
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Whether or not the DSO and the magazine actually defamed Reyes remains to be seen, but he is a private citizen who lost his reputation and his livelihood, according to the lawsuit. Wilonsky uploaded the entire filing to Scribd and if there's ever been a lawsuit that moves us to empathy, it's this one. What a strange public battle this turned into, all for the sake of fancy, rich people's society pages.