August 1219, 1999
Take It Outside
Freelance writer Pat Jordan says hes been splattered by the supposed bad blood between new Philadelphia magazine editor Stephen Fried and his predecessor, Eliot Kaplan. Jordan perhaps best known here for the controversial 1994 Philly Mag article that painted ex-Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton as something of a nut says Fried jerked him around for several months earlier this year over a story Kaplan had asked him to write, about the wives of Phillies players.
Jordan says he called Philly Mag in March, after Kaplans dismissal, to find out if Fried wanted the story. Fried didnt call back before the end of the week, as Jordan had asked him to do if he wanted the story, so Jordan assumed the assignment was off.
But then several weeks later, Jordan says, Fried called and wanted to know where the story was. Jordan said he thought Fried didnt want it, but agreed to scramble it together in a few days, working in part from notes from another writers interviews, which Jordan says he was given by Kaplan.
"And the minute Eliot Kaplan leaves, theyre not straight with me," says freelance writer Pat Jordan.
"I did the best I could," says Jordan, but Fried wasnt impressed. The editor suggested he conduct more interviews, and gave him the phone numbers of some players wives.
Jordan says he cranked out another draft in seven days, but then couldnt get Fried on the phone. "Two weeks went by before he read the fucking thing and this was a story he needed to run immediately," Jordan says.
Ultimately, Jordan says, Philly Mag paid him the $2,000 kill fee in his contract, plus about $500 in expenses (the latter took about six weeks, he adds, and arrived only after he faxed an angry letter to publisher David Lipson Jr.). But Jordan believes hes entitled to the full $5,000 Kaplan had agreed to.
"Ive been rejected by the best of em that doesnt bother me," says Jordan, whos also written for GQ, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. But Jordan says hes being made to pay the price for Frieds failure to make up his mind. He says its especially galling to be treated this way by Philadelphia magazine, which he says has always treated him well, and vice versa. Jordan says he could have sold the Carlton story in which Jordan quoted Leftys extensive conspiracy theories about the 12 Jewish bankers who control global economics (Carlton later denied the comments) to a national magazine for a lot more than he was paid, but he didnt want to screw Kaplan.
"And the minute Eliot Kaplan leaves, theyre not straight with me," he says.
Fried declined to be dragged into a public debate.
"Its not my policy to comment on internal matters like that," he says. "[Jordan] did do a story, and we did kill it. Sometimes stories dont work out. Thats why contracts have kill fees."