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|ForbesLife India/Work | Dec 11, 2014 | 4002 views
Scandal’s president suits up in style
For Tony Goldwyn— Scandal’s President Fitzgerald Grant—the soft power suit is just one more way to show who’s in charge
Show business was either the best thing or the worst thing that happened to me as a young man,” says Tony Goldwyn. “It was very difficult for me to figure out my place in the Goldwyn constellation.” In Hollywood, his famous name may exert a certain soft power of its own. Like President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant III, the compelling, morally challenged political scion he portrays on ABC’s Scandal, Goldwyn was born handsome, ambitious and with family in the business. Goldwyn’s grandfather Samuel, the “G” in MGM, was a cornerstone figure in Hollywood’s golden age, dad Samuel Jr a prolific producer and brother, John, a former president of Paramount Pictures. But Tony Goldwyn has proudly made his own path down the red carpet.
Now 54 and an actor-director-producer, Goldwyn was, he remembers, turned down for the first role he auditioned for, in a high school production of Inherit the Wind featuring brother John. In the end he nailed a one-line speaking part as little Timmy. “I yelled, ‘Pa, the train’s comin’ down the track!’ Somehow, that was enough for me. I was hooked.” Into the family business he went.
(Left) Plaid wool-and-silk suit ($2,195) and silk pocket square ($118) by John Varvatos Collection Cotton-and-silk shirt by Calvin Klein Collection ($395); (right) Grey kid mohair suit ($3,740) and black cashmere knit sweater ($620) by Prada Black loafers by Scarpe di Bianco ($1,195) Arceau chronograph with indigo leather strap by Hermès ($6,950)
But Goldwyn’s first major break didn’t come until years of striving later, when, at age 30, he was memorably—even indelibly—cast as Patrick Swayze’s double-crossing friend, Carl Bruner, in Ghost. It was a part that the actor, with his All-American, good-guy looks, had to think fast to talk his way into. “I couldn’t even get considered then for roles that had a darker edge. I had to argue with the director about how playing the character as sympathetic would make the audience feel even more betrayed.” It clicked, of course: Ghost chalked up the highest grosses of 1990, and Goldwyn became one of the industry’s go-to dubious characters. “I worked a lot,” he says, “and played some fun villains.”
He also poured energy into projects on the other side of the camera. Three years into a writing collaboration that became A Walk on the Moon, he realised he couldn’t bear to see anyone else direct the project. And so began his estimable career as a director—“kind of organically”. His 2010 film, Conviction, the true story of an innocent man imprisoned for murder, was a leap of faith that took eight years to get before the cameras. Some of its gritty social realism can be glimpsed in The Divide, co-created with Richard LaGravenese, which premiered this summer.
If there is a theme running through all of this, Goldwyn says, “It’s that I always want to tell a story without judgment of the characters, where I simply try to express our humanity in the dark and the light.” This might explain why he regards Fitz Grant as the role of a lifetime. “It is a dream for an actor who is kind of a leading man type to get to play a character who’s as powerful and charismatic as Fitz—because he’s the President of the United States—and at the same time is not a one-dimensional figure. He’s scheming and manipulative and selfish and generous and deeply wounded and idealistic.” And he gets up close and personal regularly with the show’s star, Kerry Washington, as political fixer Olivia Pope, who left the White House in the wake of an affair with Fitz that just…won’t…quite…go away.
(Left) Double-breasted velvet suit by Canali ($1,520), Cotton shirt by Tommy Hilfger ($99), Silk pocket square ($150) and Ebano Intrecciato belt ($680) by Bottega Veneta; (right) Stretch wool suit ($2,350) Cotton shirt ($420) and leather monkstrap shoes ($1,300) by Ferragamo and Calfskin belt ($95) by Torino Leather
“If I could play another role with Fitz’s dimensions in my career I’d be a very happy camper.” Well, mostly happy, with a Goldwyn twist or two.
(This article is excerpted from the latest ForbesLife India Nov-Dec 2014 issue which is now available at news stands and book stores)
This article appeared in the ForbesLife India magazine issue of Nov-Dec 2014
© Copyright 2014, Forbesindia.com All Rights Reserved
KIEV — Forbes magazine’s Ukrainian edition is embroiled in fresh controversy after Ukrainian police and the European Union moved against its fugitive owner on suspicion of stealing more than $1 billion from state coffers. The scandal around 28-year-old oligarch Sergey Kurchenko may stretch as far as the U.S. and Forbes family scion Miguel Forbes, who approved Kurchenko’s controversial purchase of the magazine’s Ukrainian edition last summer and signed on as an informal business adviser.
Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s acting interior minister, announced 11 criminal investigations Thursday into the VETEK group and Kurchenko, its secretive owner, for importing and “re-exporting” oil in violation of tax and customs regulations. Two other investigations allege that VETEK defrauded state gas company Naftogaz, and charge a company owned by a former driver reportedly linked to Kurchenko with not paying for gas. The total sum that police accuse Kurchenko and his alleged affiliates of stealing totals about 10 billion hryvnias (more than $1 billion).
Kurchenko released a statement Thursday through VETEK expressing his “surprise” at the sanctions and denying the allegations against him.
“I am an honest Ukrainian businessman who has always invested in Ukraine and practically all my business is concentrated here,” Kurchenko said. He accused rival oligarchs and their political lackeys of concocting the corruption allegations against him and claimed that no criminal charges had ever been filed against him or his company, apparently unaware of Avakov’s allegations. “And I am certain that the misunderstanding that has arisen will be resettled.”
Kurchenko, considered a key member of the mafia-like “family” around ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, also appeared on an European Union sanctions list Thursday for “involvement in crimes in connection with the embezzlement of Ukrainian State funds and their illegal transfer outside Ukraine.” The sanctions also hit 16 other former senior officials including Yanukovych and former prime minister Mykola Azarov, as well as their respective sons.
Once so secretive nobody knew what he looked like, Kurchenko was dubbed “the multimillionaire from nowhere” after Ukrainian Forbes published a massive investigation chronicling his meteoric rise to control large stakes in Ukraine’s oil and gas market in November 2012. The investigation intimated that Kurchenko had close ties to Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr, whose own vast fortune tripled in the second half of last year, the central figures in a group known as the “Family” widely loathed in Ukraine for its perceived corruption. Forbes’ journalists published the story despite worries they were risking their lives. Kurchenko emissaries made apparent death threats against the reporters, something Kurchenko appeared to acknowledge in a later interview. Editor Vladimir Fedorin was so scared he hid a draft of the article in an empty bottle and sent his deputy a text message saying “Just in case: anything happens, it was Kurchenko :)”
The scandal deepened when Kurchenko moved in to buy Ukrainian Forbes’ parent company last June. Despite the perhaps obvious fears over an oligarch buying the magazine whose reporters he had allegedly threatened for investigating him, family scion and Forbes Media president for television and licensing Miguel Forbes allowed Kurchenko to buy the brand license. (Forbes’ international editions are licensed to local publishers, but expected to meet the editorial standards of the parent publication, not unlike restaurant franchises.)
At the time of the sale to Kurchenko, Forbes told the Ukrainian magazine’s concerned reporters that all accusations against the oligarch were groundless if he had not been convicted in a court of law, according to two people present at a meeting with him in Kiev. (Ukraine’s court system is particularly troubled even by post-Soviet standards, since the president can personally appoint judges.) After sealing the deal, Russia’s Interfax news agency cited Forbes as saying he was “very happy with the new opportunity for Forbes Ukraine,” and Forbes came on as an advissr to Kurchenko at VETEK. Forbes later told Fedorin in correspondence seen by BuzzFeed that the relationship was informal and in keeping with his business practices.
Forbes Media did not answer questions from BuzzFeed on Thursday about whether it would revoke UMH Group’s license or whether Miguel Forbes had ended his relationship advising Kurchenko.
“Forbes Media has been monitoring and will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation in the Ukraine, including those actions relating to our licensee as events continue to unfold,” company spokesperson Mia Carbonell said in a statement.
When a reporter for Ukrainian Forbes sent an inquiry about the deal to the parent company for an article last year, legal counsel responded by accusing her of writing the story “with the specific intent of tarnishing Forbes and the goodwill of our company and trademarks,” in a letter dated July 17, 2013, and seen by BuzzFeed. The letter went on to accuse the magazine of violating Forbes’ editorial standards, and to threaten that “in the event any individual involved in the writing of this story has an alternative agenda or is using this story as a means to settle a perceived wrong, we will take such breach of objectivity very seriously.”
Once the deal went through in November 2013, Kurchenko’s employees set about installing what reporters called a censorship regime forbidding them to write about figures linked to Yanukovych. Nearly half the editorial staff resigned immediately, following Fedorin and the reporters who wrote the Kurchenko investigation, Olexandr Akymenko and Sevgil Musayeva. Shortly afterward, Vitaly Sych, a legendary longtime editor of Korrespondent magazine, which is owned by the same company, UMH Group, quit in a similar scandal, stoking fears in Ukraine’s media community that Kurchenko was attempting to clear the field ahead of Yanukovych’s planned re-election bid in 2015.
Kurchenko is reported to have fled Ukraine after Yanukovych’s government was overthrown Feb. 22. His quickfire empire is literally in tatters: Musayeva found about 20 black plastic bags overflowing with shredded documents immediately after Kurchenko’s suspected flight. Most of its executives have also fled the country, according to Ukrainian media reports. The chairman of VETEK’s supervisory board said this week that employees have not been paid in the last three months, echoing claims by the manager of Kurchenko’s soccer team, Metalist Kharkiv.
KIEV, Ukraine — Forbes’ Ukrainian edition is engulfed in a censorship scandal after half the editorial staff resigned en masse almost immediately after it was sold to a mysterious oligarch the magazine had recently investigated.
Fourteen Forbes Ukraine journalists, including several masthead figures, signed a letter early Wednesday announcing their intention to quit the publication in protest at what they said were the new management’s attempts to introduce censorship.
The abrupt resignations have called into question the magazine’s decision to grant a license to Sergei Kurchenko, a 28-year-old oligarch known as the “multi-millionaire from nowhere.” (Forbes’ international editions are licensed to local publishers, but expected to meet the editorial standards of the parent publication, not unlike restaurant franchises.) Once so obscure that nobody even knew what he looked like, Kurchenko was the subject of a major Forbes investigation a year ago chronicling his meteoric rise to control large stakes in Ukraine’s petroleum gas market that intimated he had close ties to President Viktor Yanukovych. Kurchenko’s deal to buy 98% of Forbes Ukraine licensee UMH Group, which was announced in June and went through last week, was widely interpreted as an indirect attempt to clamp down on independent media before the next presidential election in 2015.
Senior editor Boris Davidenko said the chilling effect at Forbes Ukraine began the moment the new management came in last week and peaked Tuesday, when management told them “a tiny little list” of topics would be off limits. “They didn’t say which ones, but you could guess which group of people they were talking about from the pitch about deputy prime minister Sergei Arbuzov’s advisors,” which editor-in-chief Mikhail Kotov killed Tuesday a day after accepting it, Davidenko added.
In a statement, Kotov denied censoring any articles and claimed that the editorial staff was about to sign an agreement on editorial independence with management. (The journalists deny this.) Kotov blamed the conflict on his predecessors for “insufficiently high quality standards for the work of journalists, catering to inflated egos and ambitions of a number of some staff members, whose professionalism is in serious doubt.” Yuri Rovensky, director of Kurchenko’s VETEK-Media holding, likened the journalists’ resignation to “blackmail.”
Fears for Forbes Ukraine’s future began immediately after Kurchenko announced his takeover in June. Editor-in-chief Vladimir Fedorin immediately tendered his resignation, accusing Kurchenko of buying the magazine to launder his own personal reputation and pressure journalists. Family scion and company vice president for television and licensing Miguel Forbes — who had said Forbes Ukraine was one of the company’s top five global products only a few months before — said, however, that he was “very happy with the new opportunity for Forbes Ukraine” and “totally confident in the UMH management team.” VETEK then announced that Forbes had become an advisor to Kurchenko, although Forbes later told Fedorin in correspondence seen by BuzzFeed that the relationship was informal and in keeping with his business practices.
Kurchenko’s takeover particularly troubled Fedorin because of threats his reporters, Sevgil Musayeva and Alexander Akimenko, received while they were conducting the investigation, Fedorin told BuzzFeed. When they asked a Kurchenko representative what the chances were that their article would have bad consequences for their health, the representative wrote “2/3” on a piece of paper, Fedorin said. Fedorin became so paranoid himself that he hid the manuscript in a bottle and started fearing for his own physical safety.
Fedorin said he later told Miguel Forbes that publishing the article was his “Paul Khlebnikov moment,” referring to the Forbes Russia editor who was shot dead on the street in Moscow in 2004. Kurchenko all but admitted in a Forbes interview that his employees had threatened the journalists and said they would be “punished” if they had. (His press service later claimed that the threats had only involved lawsuits.)
When reached by BuzzFeed, Forbes Media declined to assess the resignations directly. “Events are evolving at Forbes Ukraine, and we’re staying close to the matter,” Forbes Media said in a statement. “All of our foreign licensees are required to adhere to the same high editorial standards and guidelines that Forbes embraces. Editorial independence is of the utmost importance to Forbes and is central to our mission,” the statement added.
© 2014 BuzzFeed, Inc
Canali shows Milan Men’s Fall/Winter 2014-15
A true depiction of elegance, tradition and style was seen from the first second when a classical pianist walked out and started playing a soft melody that can only be appreciated by listening and immersing yourself in the movement. The runway collection was a testament to the classical styles and traditional looks much like the pianist, only these classical styles were updated for the modern times. Think of the band “Bond” who are a classically trained string quartet and put a modern tempo to their songs. The collection consisted of those ideas as well by including shawl collared double breasted overcoats with waist belts to give a relaxed at home feel of wearing a robe. A very luxurious robe style coat with a fur collar and a full length fur style was on display in various traditional brown and gray colors, and to modernize a traditional look Canali showed a mohair wool light gray and pink coat with duffle coat style loops that are fit for button and not toggles. The coats were worn over wool shawl collared sweaters as well with jacquard prints and scarves to give a relaxed feel to the traditional look. Because Canali was and is a traditional suit maker they did not stray away from their mainstays of fine tailored suits. Which included various two piece double breasted designs with jacquard patterns and prints.
Though as tradition moves forward new styles emerge and showing that was his collection of velvet blazers with trouser separates in various color combinations that included hunter green, pastel pink and navy blue double breasted blazers. Paired with complementing velvet trousers in a different shade of the prime color. The suits were set over shiny silk shirt and tie combinations to either show a professional version or a silk scarf under the blazer for a more casual look. All in all, Canali being a classical luxury outfitter showed exactly what was expected and then some. Ultra-fine tailored suits, coats, fine wool and fur fabrics while including velvet blazer-trouser combinations in non-classical modern colors. The pianist set the classical theme for the show and the collection exemplified what a traditional look and modern design can become.
MUMBAI, June 9, 2013
‘Forbes India’ editors sacked for demanding stock ownership
The last thing Forbes India Editor Indrajit Gupta expected to hear was that he was redundant. But that is what he was told by two people from the editorial and management of the Network18 group on May 27 when they offered him a severance plan which he refused to accept without having a discussion with his lawyers. But that request was summarily rejected, and when Mr. Gupta refused to resign, he was dismissed without assigning any reasons.
Mr. Gupta told The Hindu on Saturday that after him, Managing Editor Charles Assisi was forced to quit and the next day two others, Executive Editor Shishir Prasad and Director (Photography) Dinesh Krishnan met with the same fate. Mr. Krishnan and Mr. Prasad were told to sign letters absolving the company of all its dues in the form of Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and they would be offered a new value ESOP scheme, the details of which would be made available at a later date. Not willing to accept this opaque arrangement, both Mr. Prasad and Mr. Krishnan were forced to resign.
Mr. Assisi was told that his services would be terminated with immediate effect unless he signed on a pre-drafted resignation letter. Under duress, he was forced to sign on the resignation and full and final settlement letter. All four senior journalists have worked in Forbes since 2008 and have among them experience of more than 40 years. When they joined, their contracts specified fixed ESOPs which the company had underwritten and which they were entitled to after four years. However, after that period when the company showed no signs of paying up collectively an amount of roughly Rs. 2 crore, they took it up with the management. The human resources department followed up with the management for the first four years to no avail.
Mr. Gupta said the ESOPs were an integral part of the compensation plan and the company could not deny that. On May 27, when Mr. Gupta was called in to meet Editor-in-Chief R. Jagannathan and HR head Shampa Kochhar, he didn’t think that he would walk out without a job or a severance package. “It was a humiliating experience after having led the Forbes India team for over five years,” he said.
“This is absolutely unacceptable behaviour and this came as a complete shocker. When we started a conversation on ESOPs, we were told at one point that the Board had annulled it. We asked why we were not informed of it till we raised the issue,” he said.
How can the Board annul ESOPs unilaterally, asked Mr. Gupta. But it was caught out as there was an admission that ESOPs were promised at the time of employment. Since that had not been honoured, Mr. Gupta and the others had asked for monetary compensation in lieu of the ESOPs that would have vested in the four years of employment. On May 24 evening, the management sent them a nine-page document with a new ESOP scheme, which they had to sign by May 26 or it would lapse. Mr. Gupta said the new ESOPS were largely a dud scheme without any real value vested in them.
“We simply asked for commitments in our appointment letter made to us by the company to be honoured,” he pointed out. The termination move was arbitrary and high-handed, he added. Letters by the journalists to the company have gone unanswered and now the four are exploring legal options.
The Press Club, Mumbai, condemning the incident, said, “The method of ejecting them from the company was nothing short of shameful. Journalists are not only messengers of news and information, but are the collective voice of civil society. They have a special place in our democratic polity, especially in the current times of stress and confusion. Surely, this team of editors who has served Forbes India since 2008 deserved better.”
The statement added, “We don’t rule out changes in business plan the Forbes management may have wanted to make; but there is the way of discourse and negotiation. Editors with 15-25 years of experience cannot be forced out with a gun on their head. The episode has shocked journalists throughout the country and shown the Network18 Group in bad light. We will be writing to Mr. Mukesh Ambani, who has a special position of influence in the Media Group, as well as to Network18 Group’s chairman Raghav Bahl, to appeal to them to reverse this decision and to enter into discussion with the editors so that an amicable solution is found.”
In March, Network 18 group had appointed Mr. Jagannathan Editor-in-Chief of Print and Web publications which included Forbes India.
Ajay Chacko, chief operating officer, Network 18 group, told The Hindu on the phone that this story of ESOPs not being paid was circulated by people who were against the restructuring. For five years, no one talked about ESOPs. There was no question of not giving it to them. “All of this started popping up after the restructuring and integration of First Post and Forbes India and Mr. Jagannathan taking over as Editor-in-Chief. He is the head of the combined newsroom.”
Terming the allegations mudslinging, Mr. Chacko said three of the employees took their money and went home, only one of them (Mr. Gupta) did not. “I don’t understand the question of being unfair. I think it’s a case of disgruntled employees who didn’t take the restructuring well,” Mr. Chacko pointed out.
He said that if they want, they could take recourse to legal action. No one denied them ESOPs. “I am surprised at all these allegations. It’s primarily a case of an unhappy marriage. What is the point of all this? These are senior journalists, they have worked with Mr. Jagannathan in the past. They chose to leave,” he said.
MUMBAI, June 12, 2013
Editors Guild concerned at Forbes action
The Editors Guild of India has expressed deep concern at the abrupt termination of four senior editorial team members of Forbes India, including its Editor, Indrajit Gupta; Managing Editor Charles Assisi, Executive Editor Shishir Prasad and Director (Photography) Dinesh Krishnan.
These journalists had worked with the magazine since its inception as part of the launch team and their sudden removal without reasonable notice and even elementary courtesy cuts at the very root of editorial independence. Basic security and protection from arbitrary action were essential if senior journalists were to go about their task with courage and fairness, the Guild said in a statement.
Whether their termination was a reaction to their insistence on exercising their contractual rights to employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) or the result of an overall restructuring exercise undertaken by the company was a question to be settled in another forum, and preferably by way of negotiations leading to an agreed solution, the Guild pointed out. Considering that senior journalists were involved in this dispute with a media house, the Guild would reiterate at this stage that it was essential that all contracts should be honoured.
…and I am Sid Harth