"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two Sides To Every Story

There are always two sides to every story. I think it's only fair that I post this as well. But first, the Host IS a good guy. I was not the right fit for his show, and I do hope that he finds exactly what he's looking for and becomes very successful with it. Well, scratch that. He already IS successful with the show. He has a HUGE following with his techniques and his books. I just hope it can gain an even bigger audience stateside, because trust me, you WOULD watch it.

Dear Friends:

You may know this or may be finding out for the first time, but “The Amazing” Elle has been terminated from “Being a Man”.

Why would I air this dirty laundry here? Normally, I wouldn’t. In fact, I wouldn’t even think it would be newsworthy…

…until it has been made so by Ms.Elle .

My audience knows that I’m not one to back down from controversy, so why should this controversy be anything different? To wit:

In a blog post [click here to read it] made by Ms. Elle, I have been disparaged and brought to light as a lecherous, angry person, hell-bent on harming her. Unfortunately, as a “public person”, I am responsible to uphold my own image – something upon which I have built the very brands you read, listen to and watch – and therefore must respond to the lies and charges publicly leveled against me.

Now, I happen to know a number of far less-than-flattering things about Ms. Elle, but would never dream of discussing them in a public venue such as the Internet; simply out of what little respect I have left for her. Unfortunately, her hurt, anger and vindictiveness obviously don’t grant her the same luxury.

Here are the parts of the story that she conveniently left out or adjusted to fit her victim-mindedness:

Ms. Elle was brought onto the show with lots of openess about its “home”. [The place the show is hosted] is a well-respected, very large content producer on the Internet. They have built their success through a wide range of content – including porn. This was never an issue in the many discussions we’ve had with Ms. Elle as according to her own words to me, “…I’m never going to be a leading lady or have rolls where this connection will ever be a problem…” Fine, or so I thought.

We have been looking at many other venues to move the show however as part of our growth plan. Our producer’s first and primary task has been to make this happen. To date, it has not. While I personally write and produce the show’s content myself, it is our producer’s job to manage this sort of operational business activity.

Ms. Elle has chosen to depict me in her blog as having failed this as a “promise” to her. I accept responsibility for all actions on my show and gladly accept this one as well. However, this has always been an evolutionary goal of the show, not a contractual requirement or even a “promise”. As such, the hosts of the show have far more to do with that evolution than the producer. More on this later. The bottom line is that until the show is ready to be moved it has a comfortable and welcome home with [the place the show is hosted].

Ms. Elle claims to have demanded an “exit clause” be built into her contract. In fact, I have written the very exit clause she claims to have demanded into ALL my contracts. It was under this clause that I terminated her agreement. At the date of this writing, Ms. Elle is contractually obligated to be part of the show until April 8th, 2009 when the 30-day clause expires. This is reasonable and gives her a chance to correct the problems that caused her termination. Due to the obvious volatile nature of this dissolution, I feel it’s best to limit further access to the show by Ms. Elle at this time.

Ms. Elle claims that I (as host and employer) never made clear her duties to the show. In fact, during numerous discussions over the past few months and even up to about one month ago, I asked her specifically, “Have I ever been unclear as to what I wanted from you for the show?” That seems a pretty clear, direct question to me! Her response: “No, you’ve been clear.” That also seems a pretty clear response! Thus, I have no idea why Ms. Elle would now claim I didn’t do this! If I wasn’t clear as to what I wanted, she was always encouraged to ask. She never did, and according to her own words, never needed to.

Oh, wait. If she claimed she DID know what I wanted, she’d never be able to explain away why she didn’t (or couldn’t?) bring it to the show! Hmmm… I see a pattern developing here…

By the way, she tells her “readers” (apparently a small handful of like-minded people according to her subscriptions/views) to put “all important clauses” into their contracts such as to limit to 10-hour days, to get copies of video shot, etc. – all things she, herself did NOT do, but apparently seems to want to imply she had inflicted on her by the show.

Maybe that was a lesson she learned on my show, but then, she never once worked even close to a 10-hour day (I think one time, the longest was 6 hours of which much of that was having breakfast, walking around the Boardwalk in Venice and enjoying coffee - no doubt, pretty hard working conditions, certainly needing some legal protection!) I’ve always offered her copies of the video and even agreed to help her cut her own demo reel from them! In fact, her working conditions on the show have been pretty good from what I can tell, but I digress… [from Elle: this is my own fault for not being clear in my own writing that I was not referring to him and his show, but to others in my past experience.]

All of the people that work for, and have worked for me will attest to one simple fact: we are a close-knit, friendly group. We enjoy spending time together, hug when we greet and leave each other, etc. Now, many firms have strict policies against this sort of fraternization and from Ms. Elle’s blog post, you can certainly see why. However, I believe that when adults are left to their own devices, in an environment of respect, creativity and contribution that they will work out a balance that happily and comfortably works for all involved. Note that I said “adults” and believe that is an important part of the equation. Age isn’t necessarily an indication of maturity in some cases!

Upon returning from her vacation last year, Ms. Elle left me a very interesting voicemail. It was long, rather convoluted and obviously nervous, but ended with her saying “…I’m sorry for the long, confusing message, but, er… I guess it’s just because I missed you so gosh-darn much. Well, anyway…”

During another recent voicemail message, Ms. Elle said, “…you never call me just to say ‘hi’…” It was this last message that caused me to see that things had become a little “too business” and thus, I invited her out to dinner and to see some comedy. We had a nice time, nice dinner and even laughed later about how bad the comedians were.

I don’t remember any meetings that were pure business however. As I’ve already stated, we are a close-knit group and I happen to know a lot about the personal lives of my team. We encourage an open, safe environment where we can share personal things – without the fear of them being made public (and sorry, they won't be here either!) or even being judged because of them! Ms. Elle was more than willing to share her history and feelings with me without any prompting at all!

She seems to want to make it appear that I somehow dragged these things out of her! If she now feels embarrassed for having shared them, I feel badly for her, but she needs to know that these things are still safe with me. I don’t “out” anyone, and I’ve found that with her, I’ve never needed to! As to them being my “damn business” or not, Ms. Elle’s “walls” were certainly never about these things. In fact, they were only about her “barriers” to learning and delivering show content!

I regret that in an attempt to “show me”, Ms. Elle dug in her heels and stubbornly refused to do the very job we had agreed that she’d do! Through numerous conversations with me and my producer (brought into all of this later due to her unwillingness to discuss it with me), she seemed very clear on what her roll was. Early on, she even offered new ways to make this come about on the show. Unfortunately, over the last few months, her performance began slipping from a contributor to an antagonist. Our producer has had more than one discussion about this with her, but it only seemed to make things worse. These are the “walls” of which she speaks, not ones of exposing her personal business.

Starting in January, I began receiving letters from viewers complaining about Ms. Elle’s confrontational, and contemptuous on-air comments. During at least a few conversations, she even admitted these and said that her own boyfriend warned her about them! Personally, I’m rather immune to them, having dealt with so many antagonistic show hosts while doing thousands of radio, TV and print interviews over the years, so it didn’t seem that remarkable to me. However, when you have viewers writing in to complain about it, it’s obvious that they notice and weren’t happy about it.

I find it curious that Ms. Elle would talk to our producer about issues regarding me and the show rather than simply coming to me directly about them. Up until very recently, we’ve always had an open dialog. Our producer is a business partner, not a content producer and certainly not my “wrangler”. Thus, he can’t possibly know what’s going on between me and any show talent; nor do I burden him with that. It’s my job to deal with personalities, it’s his job to deal with business. However, I came to find out that this was simply more of Ms. Elle’s vindictiveness coming through! Through this passive-aggressive means, she would have rather try to stir things up from the inside by attempting to pit my producer against me and the show. I suppose on one level she succeeded.

Ms. Elle misquoted a comment made from the show. The quote was “If you were perfect, you would be banging me” – a reference to my own continued, public search for the “perfect women”, that I talk about extensively in my books, articles and interviews. Ms. Elle may have misheard or misremembered the quote, but I find it odd that she would consider it anything more than that. Perhaps it belays the underlying foundation for Ms. Elle’s anger; as does her statement that I would want her as a “confidant” or something “more”. Interestingly, she recently got angry at me for NOT sharing more about my personal life with her! That seems fair considering the things she had told me, but as I explained, it was simply that she had never bothered asking! I willingly answered her personal questions right then and there. Maybe she regrets having asked?

I’m curious as to her “trust issues” with me; especially in light of things we’ve discussed so often on the show: the fact that trust comes from within, not without. If Ms. Elle doesn’t “trust me”; my readers and viewers will recognize that this is due to her own lack of trust in herself, especially to make good decisions or to do the right things. I’ve always been very careful to do everything I could to build up Ms. Elle’s self-image and self-esteem. While there were many private instances you couldn't know about, we’ve done show segments specifically with this as a goal such as “Pornstar Make-Over” and “Sex Trivia” and many other attempts – both private and public – to build her presence on the show and personally. Ms. Elle has greatly enjoyed and benefitted from these by growing in her confidence and presence (her comments to me), and I celebrate her for it. Perhaps in some ways that’s a little arrogant on my part, and I accept responsibility for that arrogance, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a show talent that feels even better about themselves than when they started.

Ms. Elle claims to be a big fan of “interpreting the subconscious” and I’m sure she feels that way. However, most current dream-studies show that dreams (at least those we remember) tend to be precognitive in nature, not so much reflective of past events. These “leeches” she writes about are more likely to be connections in her own mind between her personal issues with me, unspoken desires and the association between all these negative emotions; anger, loss, disdain, hatred, etc.

Ms. Elle appears to want to set the tables to claim that she never wanted to have this close, personal relationship when in fact, I believe it was because I never made a pass at her that she feels both insulted and unappreciated! She alluded to this more than once during our association. We were never friends, but we weren’t simply business associates either – until the end, by her own will. It’s this very sort of chemistry that brings the energy to the show. Perhaps that energy was more than she could bare, although she never let on to it being a problem.

Ms. Elle wishes to portray herself as a victim of my evil, lecherous tyranny. I certainly can’t disagree that I’m a letch, nor can I claim that I haven’t seen this many times before. However, to now make this the basis of her supposed “issues” with me or the show is way over the line of decency; let alone good taste! There are many examples (that I won’t go into) where Ms. Elle expressed her own personal interests and out of consideration for the show, I chose to not do anything about them. I’ve become convinced that this is the source of Ms. Elle’s hurt, anger, hatred and vitriolic blog post.

I have always tried to give Ms. Elle my best. I made sure to celebrate Christmas and New Years for her, and to remember her on Valentine’s Day – a show many of you have enjoyed. When she shared some financial concerns with me, I referred her to personal friends that have restaurants where she could earn far better wages than the only-for-tips work she currently does - interviews she simply snubbed. I’ve even worked on her behalf to help her secure (within the limits of the law) a very lucrative government contract with the Commission on which I serve. As per my promise to her, I continued to help her gain this even up to recommending course of action on her last day! [This is all true. He had continually helped me try to better my income several times] It’s interesting that she never mentioned these things in her blog post, but then, that doesn’t sound much like a victim, now does it?

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