Felix Dennis And That "Confession:" April Fool's? Well . . .

Posted by: Jon Fine on April 18, 2008

“Let’s get the murder thing out of the way,” said Felix Dennis, founder of Maxim and many other magazines big and small, by way of greeting a crowd of journalism students he spoke to in Manhattan last night.

Dennis, who spoke at Columbia University’s George T. Delacorte Center, was referring to a now-notorious interview he gave to a Times of London reporter that was published earlier this month, in which Dennis said “I killed a man.”

“I killed him. That's all you need to know. I killed him . . . Pushed him over the edge of a cliff. Weren’t ‘ard,” he told an astonished and horrified Ginny Dougary.

Dennis later retracted the statement “unconditionally” called it “a load of hogwash,” and blamed drunkenness—he and Dougary had plowed through several bottles from Dennis’ wine cellar—in combination with some medication he was taking. Subsequent press reports in Britain left it ambiguous as to whether the police would further investigate the situation.

But that’s not what he mentioned last night. “What [the press] didn’t notice was the date” the Times of London story ran, said Dennis, which was April 1—the same day several other British newspapers ran preposterous articles in honor of April Fool’s.
“Anyone who thinks that story is real needs a sense of humor check.”

The only problem is: the Times of London story ran on April 2, not April 1, as a check of databases and the Times' Web site revealed. (And the article itself was based on an interview that took place in November.)


Dennis’ spokesman declined to comment.


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The media, entertainment and marketing worlds continue to shapeshift on a near-daily basis, as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. Where is it all going? No one really knows. But on this blog BusinessWeek’s media writers Tom Lowry and Ron Grover promise to provide ample helpings of scoop, provocation, and sharp analysis as they track and annotate this constantly changing terrain.

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