Esquire magazine contributor Tom Junod has admitted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he basically made up most of his profile on R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, which will appear in the June issue. He has no apologies, though, saying he wants people to question celebrity journalism. In the piece, he describes Stipe as eating all the sugar in the dispenser at a restaurant in LA, then licking the top. He also talks about how, on a long limo ride, Stipe sucks on two pennies and then sticks them on his eyelids. He now admits it's all untrue. Um, hello, if you're gonna lie, can we get some juicier untruths going on here?
To be fair, Esquire offers clues that the story is not all true, mentioning in the subtitle that to make Stipe "a great mythic rock'n'roller, it's almost as if you have to make half the story up. So that is what we did. But only half." Ok, that is a pretty big clue. Junod, a National Magazine Award-winning reporter, said there's a long
tradition of rock stars "putting on" journalists, and that he just turned the
tablesó"The story as it is written in the magazine is what I thought
about him distilled into fiction," he said. "I think Michael Stipe comes
alive in the fictional section."
Esquire editor in chief David Granger said the article "intrigued me on a
level of basic curiosity about what is true and what's not. In the first
place, one of our duties is to amuse and entertain our audience. We took great pains to keep from deceiving people."