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A week after the seventh issue of the snappy anti-culture fanzine, POPsmear (see “smear Tactics,” Artifacts, 1/26), appeared on the streets in mid-March, the N.Y.C./D.C. publication received a cease-and-desist order from Sarah Jessica Parker’s attorney. Editors James and Petey More print unlisted celebrity phone numbers in each issue, and it finally caused a ruckus. The attorney, who also represents fellow un-unlisted number sufferers Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, seemed threatening in his letter, but was a bit more conciliatory on the phone: “We kinda played the ‘Hey, we’re fanzine editors, don’t sue us [angle],’” James says. “He was cool with it. He just said, ‘Stop distributing it. Don’t do this to any of my clients again or I will sue you.’”
The phone numbers are garnered from ex-aides and disgruntled assistants to stars such as Martha Stewart and Kevin Costner. Parker’s attorney was surprised that he was the first to confront POPsmear, telling James, “I’ve heard rumblings about your magazine out here.”
When asked if he feels bad about invading celebrities’ privacy, James slowly repeats the question, “Do I feel bad?” He says that POPsmear is just “trying to break down barriers. There’s no barriers between me and the next guy, whether he’s been on TV or not.” Despite the threat of legal action, James is still wavering about whether the magazine will feature any more numbers. “I don’t know. I have to think about it, because I have some really good numbers for the next issue.”
The publication, which is free in New York, had already been distributed before the cease-and-desist order was delivered, but additional copies—with the phone numbers inked out (as brother Petey, who is also a City Paper production artist, says, “It only takes one celebrity to ruin it for everyone.”)—are available for $3 from 648 Broadway #909, New York, NY 10012.