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April 15, 2010

Whoops! Miss Congeniality Was Congenial, Just Not in Vermont

Sandra-Bullock-Oscar From the Department of Big-Ass Mea Culpas:

Well, friends, it turns out that America's favorite scrappy-do movie star was NOT actually in Vermont over Easter. Contrary to what I wrote a few hours ago on Blurt and what a number of online gossip sites "reported" a couple days ago, Sandra Bullock did not dine at the Fair Haven Inn on the day Jesus rose from the dead.

Yikes! That means I was wrong. But how could that have happened? I'm never wrong.

Here's the deal: After reading the celebrity sighting on RadarOnline.com, I called the Fair Haven restaurant where Bullock, her sister Gesine Bullock Prado and her brother-in-law Raymond Prado allegedly dined. I spoke with the restaurant's owner, Mihaela Ieremias, and our conversation went exactly like this:

Me: I read a report that Sandra Bullock ate at your restaurant with her family on Easter Sunday. Is that true?

Ieremias: Yes, they were here.

Me: So can you tell me anything about it? 

Ieremias: I don't want to give no more answers. We want to respect everyone's privacy so when they come back a second time, they can come back and be safe. And I don't want to say any more than that.

Then we hung up.

It turns out the Bullock-Prado family spent Easter in Chicago, where Ray was shooting a movie. Gesine wrote on her personal blog about visiting Portillo's, Yolk and Intelligensia among other places. No word on where Sandra was over Easter. However, she was not at my house, nor was she at the Fair Haven Inn.

Ray kindly called me up earlier today to clarify. "This is a horrible situation we're in," he said, referring to his brother-in-law Jesse James' alleged infidelities. "It's hard." Apparently, when the Hartford couple returned from Chicago, they had a legion of paparazzi camped out on their lawn, hoping to catch a glimpse of Bullock seeking refuge in our fair state. Ick.

So it seems that Ms. Ieremias was a Fibber McGee. I called her back to ask her about this. Here's how that went:

Me: You told me earlier today Sandra Bullock ate in your restaurant over Easter, but her sister and brother-in-law say she was never there. Why did you say that?

Ieremias: (screaming) We just want everyone to leave us alone and stop all this gossiping.

Then she slammed the phone down. Awesome.

So here's the takeaway from this: When you ply in celebrity goss, even if it's seemingly innocent and you do your homework, you end up looking like a gigantic baboon's ass (Ref. — Perez Hilton). And nobody wants to look like that.

Wow

I take it the Fair Haven Inn will not be a part of Vermont Restaurant Week?

How about instead of you trying to blame a dishonest restaurant owner (everyone knows they lie about celebrity eating haunts), you simply correct and apologize for your shoddy reporting? Can we assume you report everything anyone tells you? Scary thought if SD isn't at least checking its sources.

So what would your expert journalistic skills have guided you to do, Jon, to "check sources?" Baboon's ass, indeed!

Typically reporters verify sources by say, calling both sides of the story. Pretty standard journalism. Would be easy to call Bullock's handlers especially since they called after the post was up for less than a few hours. Clearly you are drinking the SD Kool Aid. Enjoy the sugar high brother.

Not that I want to perpetuate this conversation, but I would like to clear up a few things.

1. Sandra Bullock's "handlers," whoever they might be, did not call Seven Days.

2. Celebrity publicists, managers, agents, handlers, etc. are not that easy to get a hold of, if you can find them at all.

3. Let's keep in perspective that we (I) erroneously reported that Sandra Bullock ate in a restaurant in Vermont, not that she did lines of blow off of Trey Anastasio's coffee table or had a back-alley abortion in Winooski.

Classy examples Lauren.

Sorry Lauren, your examples suggest less than highly professional journalistic skills. Please try harder next time!

It may be to time to hit the rewind button on this one concerning all parties involved and then hit erase button and make it go away.
Starting to sound like a ski area advertising great skiing on closing weekend with an 80 inch base. Failing to mention that the 80 inch base is ROCK, LEDGE.

Oh good grief, folks. If I have to be the one to tell you all to lighten up, you may well need some counseling.

Very entertaining post. I got a good chuckle.

As a journalist, you check all the sources available. The fact that the restaurant owner, a seemingly reputable and believable source (considering, you know, they OWN it), blatantly lied for whatever reason they saw fit, is where Lauren got caught. Not her fault-she was lied to. What is commendable, though, is that she came back and righted the wrong-with a little humor thrown into the mix. Lighten up, ladies. Does it really get your panties in THAT much of a twist that Ms. Bullock was not, in fact, in your backyard?

The restaurant owner probably just misheard the "easter sunday" part. It's entirely possible that they have eaten there.

More to the point, was this really worth one blog post, let alone two? My nephew thought he saw Bono on Church Street last year but then we found out Bono was on tour that day, drop me a line next time there's a slow news day and I'll give you the juicy details.

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