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#VanityNotFair: The REAL Reason Graydon Carter Quit, ANOTHER Cover Scandal, & Why Isn’t Anna Going To the VF Oscar Party?



Graydon Carter’s decision to retire after a quarter century as Vanity Fair’s editor in chief was spun as his own idea, and it was. But the times they were a changin’… and Wintour was coming.

Anna Wintour is the editor of Vogue but also artistic director of Condé Nast, who supervises the company’s 15 magazines, but has mostly stayed away from Carter’s VF and David Remnick’s New Yorker.

But as the Daily Beast reported last fall, over a year ago, Carter fought against a CNP restructuring plan. Wintour, and the top brass, wanted VF to lose its creative director and fact-checkers, along with those of the other magazines, to consolidate them into company-wide departments as a cost-saving measure.

A VF “insider” told the Daily Beast,

It all kind of came to a head last fall, and Graydon was pissed off about that. It was an Anna project—she was invested in it—and that was seen as a real affront.

If Carter were to stay on he would undoubtedly have been forced to fire his loyal staffers and he wasn’t willing to do that. So he quit.

A Carter friend said,

Graydon is very, very devoted to the staff—unlike many other editors. Graydon finds it very, very difficult to let anyone go. It’s just very hard for him, and he didn’t want to be in the situation where he has to let people go any more than he has already done.

Tom Freston, the co-founder of MTV and former chief executive of Viacom said,

I think he’s gotten out with total class here—it was a well-executed exit. He’s leaving on top, wishing that things were doing better. The magazine business is clearly going through some tumultuous times, and one could argue that the heyday is over.”

Radhika Jones is the new editor-in-chief of the magazine. She was editorial director of books at the New York Times, at The Paris Review and Time magazine, where she oversaw all arts and entertainment.

Just last month Jones fired 15 of VF‘s top people, some who had been there for 25 years.

The final version


So Radhika Jones’ first cover as editor in chief did not go as smoothly as she might have hoped. Last month, the Hollywood issue, shot by Annie Leibovitz, included Photoshopped images of Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon that appeared to give them extra limbs. (Also, James Franco was shot for that same cover and then edited out after his sexual allegation scandal blew up.)

The cover of the magazine’s March issue has a close-up of Jennifer Lawrence which looks VERY close to the December cover of The Hollywood Reporter, gazing to the right with parted lips and a shaft of sunlight across her face.

An earlier version of the cover (above left) had used a cover line in an outline font just as the Hollywood Reporter had used across the bottom of its cover. The final version was fixed.

VF said to the Post,

We’re delighted with our gorgeous cover of Jennifer Lawrence shot by renowned photographers Inez and Vinoodh. The image captures the essence of the story, and we stand by it. As with any cover, different options and layouts were considered during the editorial process. There was never any discussion of reshoots, and to suggest there is any kind of crisis here is ridiculous.

VF EIC, Radhika Jones


When it was announced that Carter was stepping down, everyone began to speculate if Anna Wintour would snatch the Oscar party, which used to be THE party of the year, for herself.

Well, the invites to the party are out, and editor Radhika Jones is the only person hosting.

What about Wintour? She won’t even be attending. She’ll be in Paris for fashion shows. One insider said,

The party will be pretty much the same as last year and the year before. Same venue. Same team organizing it.

Carter will be on vacation in France, but decidedly NOT in the front row with Anna.

Longtime party veterans say the event has lost some of its fun since moving from Morton’s to Sunset Tower Hotel, and then to its current tent at the Wallis Annenberg Center on Santa Monica.

The guest list has grown from 800 to 3,500, and the big stars still come, but they don’t stay. They get their picture taken, and then head off to other parties. Madonna’s [party] is the hottest ticket.

So what happens next year? Will Jones and Wintour co-host? If the Queen wants it, her subject could not object.

Carter makes a cameo on his last issue cover, far right.

(Photos, YouTube; via NY Post; Daily Beast)

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