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Ovitz Doesn't Deserve Cowardly Potshots

Saturday Letters

July 13, 2002

Though I have never seen any evidence of any kind of sexual-preference-based "mafia" in the entertainment industry, I do think Rachel Abramowitz's commentary ("Meeting the Little People on the Way Back Down," July 6) shows evidence of another very large and destructive gang: the cowardly, sniping, off-the-record sources.

Many sources were listed in Abramowitz's piece, including "one top executive," "a prominent marketing executive," "one well-known producer," "another top producer" and "one Hollywood sage." What I wonder is whether or not any valuable information can be derived from a "source" who is unwilling to have his or her name stand by their comment. And I also wonder what is the value of journalism that relies on these kinds of sources.

Certainly you would have to agree that it makes it much easier to prevaricate or slander in print when one has no obligation to own his or her words. And I can assure you that those who tossed the mud balls of "opinion" from behind a wall of anonymity were, at one time, in line, or wished they could have been allowed to be in line, to kiss Ovitz's ring when he was on top.

Personally, I like Michael Ovitz. As a former agent, I'm still in awe of what he did to revolutionize the agency business. As a business owner in the filmed entertainment industry, I very much respect the confidence and courage he showed in spending so much of his own financial capital in trying to build a business, when the paradigm had been to use that of public companies and then, in failure, leave the mess to the shareholders. I'm sorry it didn't work out for him.

GAVIN POLONE

Beverly Hills

*

In thinking about Rachel Abramowitz's powerful commentary on Mike Ovitz, I have come to conclude that Ovitz had all the virtues that Hollywood disliked and none of the vices they admired.

MICHAEL LEVINE

Westwood

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