Lily Allen Won’t Let “The New York Times” Into Her House Ever Again

noah | February 27, 2009 11:00 am

Lily Allen was profiled by The New York Times‘ Milena Ryzik earlier this month, and while some people found the piece a bit problematic, the pop singer herself thought it was “great, a really nice piece with a picture of me sat on my sofa,” according to the latest post on her blog. So why, then, is the entry in question called “The New York Time [sic] are cheap skanks”? That would be because the photographs that the paper didn’t use—which were shots of Allen at home—were licensed to the very downmarket tabloid OK!, which plastered a “World Exclusive: At Home With Lily Allen” banner over them. And she didn’t even get a cut of the profits from the photos!

Earlier on in the day a photographer whose name escapes me came round to the house to take a picture to accompany the NYT piece, they wanted one picture of me in my home setting. Seeing as the piece was so intimate and the biggest part of the interview had been conducted at my house. It is unusual for me to allow photographers into my home but these seemed like special circumstances and after all TNYT is one of the most respected news publications in the world. The article came out little over a month ago and it was great, a really nice piece with a picture of me sat on my sofa, on the cover of the arts section….

When you read magazines such as NOW, People ,US weekly, Heat, More etc they print pictures that they buy from other magazines for instance, I’ll do a shoot and an interview with SPIN magazine or Observer Music Monthly and they might syndicate those pictures or sell them to other magazines. These magazines will then print those pictures alongside a whole bunch of quotes lifeted from previous interviews. This can be incredibly misleading and tedious as I would never sit down and do an interview with most of the tabloidy magazines. I’ve been trying t clamp down on this more recently, and now, when I do a photo shoot , I get the magazine to sign a contract saying they wont syndicate the photographs without my consent. I don’t do this because im a snob, it’s more because the more credible magazines are unlikely to take me seriously and work with me if it looks like I’ve been doing interviews with whoever will listen. Now, last week, when I was in LA I got this email from Murray Chalmers , who does my press in the UK “this is exactly why i want everyone to use photo contracts! i dont know who these at home pics were done for but they have been sold to OK which is a pain in the arse as it looks like we have done OK…” there was then a link to OK’s website with the tagline ” World Exclusive, At home with Lily Allen”. Needless to say I was mortified, in fact I was in tears, 6 photos of inside my home for everyone to see, and a made up interview that was very misleading. All this because I’d let the NYT photographer into my home. I was furious and got on the phone immediately. I assumed we had one of these contracts in place, but the American PR agency assured me the NYT have an unwritten agreement with the PR’s and nothing like this has ever happened before, they were as upset and angry as I am. In the end I got an apology from OK,but the NYT refuse to accept what they have done is morally wrong. Everybody assures me this is completely unheard of for the NYT to act in such a cheap and disgusting way. I found this on an email trail, its an explanation from the NYT

I am sorry to say that we have no record or recollection of your client or her representatives ever requesting any restriction on our exploitation of the photographs. Indeed, it is not our general policy to accede to such restrictions, so it is certainly not something we would have agreed to without a written agreement confirming such arrangement.

As the copyright owner of thousands of photographs, a significant part of our business, like most news organizations, is the syndication of photos to third parties. This is very standard in the news business and I’m sorry that it comes as a surprise to your client. Under the circumstances, we are unable to provide you with the assurances you have requested.

I do hope, however, that our correspondence sheds some light on this issue for your client’s future arrangements.

Uuuuurrggh , so patronizing, and gross. The world has become a dark place when The New York Times considers OK magazine to be “the news business”. Sorry if that made for tedious reading but, I think the NYT have behaved really badly and I wanted to vent . It’s one thing posing for a picture fro TNYT and wholly another letting OK into your house, and I didn’t even get paid

I guess OK licensing is a fairly novel way for the Times to make up for all that lost ad revenuein this current age, but honestly, at least give her a cut of the money if your cast-offs are going to be trumpeted (sorta incorrectly!) as any sort of “exclusive.”

The New York Time are cheap skanks [Lily Allen’s MySpace Blog] This Wild Girl’s A Homebody Now [NYT]