A lawyer for Fade In magazine publisher Audrey Kelly has denied issues raised by an investigative report published by TheWrap last week about a screenplay contest conducted by the publication. The attorney has demanded a retraction and threatened legal action.
Michael Plonsker, Kelly’s attorney, said in a letter that TheWrap’s article was misinformed, and responded in detail to allegations by former contest winners.
The letter also said that Apple had been a sponsor of the competition since 1996, but “as of this year, Apple no longer participates in any sponsorship.” Apple is currently listed as a sponsor on the current Fade In Awards web page, with no specification of the year of its sponsorship.
Apple spokeswoman Kristen Huguet told TheWrap that the company has had no involvement with the competition “in recent years.” The letter from Kelly’s lawyer reiterated that “Fade In has maintained a relationship with both Apple Computers and Waterman (pens) over the years.”
TheWrap’s story included interviews with a number of former contest winners who complained that the Fade In Awards gave a false impression that winners would get promoted in Hollywood and get access to top screenwriters, including Eric Roth, James Gray and Scott Rosenberg — who are listed among 10 members of the Fade In Advisory Board on the contest’s web page and in the magazine’s house ad for the contest.
The letter said that “at least three” of TheWrap’s sources were “clearly unreliable,” but named only one, former winner David Schumacher, who the letter said was “under criminal investigation by multiple government agencies.”
An attorney for Schumacher denied it. "The claim that there is an ongoing criminal investigation is a malicious, defamatory lie," Marty Singer, an attorney for David Schumacher told TheWrap on Sunday.
Singer also drafted a letter to Kelly’s attorney, in which he said Schumacher never made criminal threats against Kelly.
He added: "The facts are that Mr. Schumacher made a request of Fade In magazine and Ms. Kelly to pay him his $1500 fee and honor his winning. Rather than respond, she filed a police report with the LAPD that Mr. Schumacher was threatening and harassing her.”
Singer, who said he coincidentally had heard from other contest winners dissatisfied with Kelly, said he would be contacting the Los Angeles Police Department about the filing of a "false police report."
The letter denied that Kelly had told Schumacher that she would put him “on a map,” as Schumacher told TheWrap. And she further denied having promised Schumacher that anyone on the board of advisors would judge or give notes on the screenplays.
In the letter, Kelly also denied driving a Porsche, or that the magazine has ever paid her personal expenses, as alleged in a 2002 lawsuit by her former business associate, Douglas Q. Amaturo. Regarding the lawsuit, which was settled, the letter said that it was long ago, and that Amaturo would now consider Kelly to be “the most generous person he knows.”
Amaturo could not immediately be reached for comment.
The letter also said that TheWrap conflated Kelly with Fade In Magazine, which it said was started in 1993, not 1994 as stated in the article. It said she is co-publisher, rather than publisher.
Sharon Waxman, editor-in-chief of TheWrap, said that an attorney for the news site had replied to Plonsker.