Archives for posts with tag: Jeremy Zimmer

img_0459

It’s the morning after the Golden Globe awards.  I don’t have a hangover but I do have a severe headache.  Ahead of my rant, the first order of the day?  Congratulate Barry Jenkins who brilliantly won the best drama golden globe for his exquisite film, Moonlight.  By awarding this black/queer film best drama the HFPA have thrown down a gauntlet to Hollywood.  They are daring The Academy to address its crippling lack of diversity.  I predict that Moonlight will go on collecting nominations and awards (will win SAG, Spirit Awards) but can it win Academy Awards?  Here lies the rub.  The only two bankable commodities in this little film are Jenkins and Harris who are both Hollywood gold.

The liberal, Hollywood talent elite are trilling about Meryl Streep.  They forget the less liberal Hollywood majority booed Michael Moore after receiving his Bowling for Columbine Oscar and using the academy podium to remind us of President Bush’s fictitious reasons for invading Iraq in his brilliant and oft quoted ‘fictitious times’ speech.  President Obama of course, perpetuated those fictions but did it by stamping out dissent and whistle blowing within the United States.  Snowden, Assange, Manning.  My heroes.

The real money in Hollywood is behind Trump… the power.  The talent can make art out of outrage and in turn make billions of $ for the white Hollywood establishment.   I can’t imagine former friend and UTA boss Jeremy Zimmer is anything other than thrilled by the prospect of a Trump presidency, salivating over the kind of big money he’s going to make these next four to eight years.

I wonder who reps Barry Jenkins?  I can tell you one thing.  He won’t have a black agent or manager at one of the leading agencies or management companies… because there aren’t any.  Until there are black faces repping big money at the agencies, black faces producing movies or living on Carbon Beach in Malibu or heading up the teamsters union…  Hollywood will be as is it always has: racist.  A white industry where predominantly white men control the money.  It is not a place where your dreams will come true, it is a place where old white men will decide which of their dreams will come true using your talent.

It’s simply not good enough to call Trump names at award shows. Yeah he’s a prick, yeah he’s hollow, yes he’s predictable. Are we gonna repeat ourselves every day? Expecting a different outcome? Let’s call him what he is: Donald Trump is the most powerful white supremacist in the world. Riding an international wave of fascism. Your president is a white supremacist.

As I’ve asked a million times before, are you willing to put your life on the line to fight fascism? Are you willing to demonstrate, be interned or tortured or imprisoned? Sooner or later Facebook rants and memes just won’t cut it. History proves that when things get nasty the people do as they are told. However brave they say they are before the black shirts arrive. It’s my guess that you’ll put up with it too. You’ll go on the one million woman march… then they’ll round-up the South Americans in California and what will you do?  Then they’ll go after lgbt rights… and what will you do? They’ll outlaw abortion. What will you do? They’ll shoot to kill and fill the prisons with any and every black man who looks scary and what will you do? Tweet?

You’ll tweet about it.

2.

I’m very slowly going blind.  Foolishly, after many years of  not looking carefully at my plate, I started wearing my glasses when I eat.  Oh My God, revolting!  Gelatinous sauces oozing from the edge of beef and chicken.  Seeds baked into bread.  Glazes and jus and creamed potato sprinkled with chives.  I want to vomit, overwhelmed by the detail, the slightest movement as you press down onto the burger and my lunch becomes a suppurating sore discharging blood, guacamole and mayonnaise.  I am captivated by gravy as it seeps under and drips around roast pork.   Nauseated, I have to take my glasses off.  On Saturday night we had pasta with sea urchin butter and caviar at Fish and Game in Hudson.  Although delicious, I couldn’t fully enjoy it until it was just a blur on my plate otherwise, it was a mesmerizing… awful experience.

3.

The dogs know it is bitterly cold this morning.  Minus 13.  They are under the covers.  Hidden away.  Unlike England which is cold, wet, dark and raw thankfully it is bright and cold here upstate making the day less of a chore.  Our store, Tivoli General is open and there are AA meetings in Hudson.

I stayed in bed, too distracted by pain.  The infection in my jaw getting worse.

The third Monday of January is notorious for suicide.  This third Monday in January will be no different.  A mass suicide event will take place in the USA and nobody will say a word.

Did you know I fell out with Stephen Fry a year or so ago?   I had the audacity to mention the freedoms and privilege a celebrity enjoys.  Celebrities HATE when you discuss their fame.  Or in his case… his twitter feed.  We then had an email fight about God and the existence of God.   I asked him if he realised almost all of his sober friends have a god in their life.  He reluctantly accepted that spirituality may be very loosely beneficial for some people but that’s that.  There’s a connection (if you can be bothered to work it out) between his reluctance to discuss celebrity and his eagerness to dismiss a certain kind of God.   “Stephen, you don’t have to believe in God,”  I said.  “As long as you know you’re not God.”

He said rather ominously, “Be very careful.”

Not being very careful, I asked, “So if you don’t belive in God… who do you cry out to every time you try killing yourself?”

That was it.  No more Stephen Fry.

 

Malibu California

Prologue.

Should I dedicate this blog to affluent, gay, white male: ‘The King‘ Chris Cortazzo?

Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker’s top-selling Malibu realtor.  Remember?  He accused me of extortion when I threatened to blog about him?  Chris and his legal team predicted a felony in my future… an automatic deportation.

Chris wanted to fine me, humiliate me, take away my home and most importantly he wanted to silence me… yet, after months of bargaining with expensive help from his Super Lawyer Bryan Freedman… Chris Cortazzo accomplished no fines, no deportation, no felony.

When all was said and done Chris achieved a wobbly misdemeanor and a recently expired, three-year gag order… as part of a convoluted plea deal.  The ubiquitous plea deal routinely offered to people like me in the USA who couldn’t afford a fair trial.

No.  Chris Cortazzo is undeserving of any dedication.  He is a very, very bad gay.

Instead, I dedicate this blog to every man woman and child presently held illegally in jails and prisons all over ‘the land of the free’.  There are presently 2,500,000 people in US jails.

Two and a half million people.

Private and public US jails and prisons are crammed with brown men, women and children who could not afford a fair trial and under hopeless duress accepted a plea deal.  Worse, there are corroborated stories of pre trial detainees tortured into signing false confessions or incriminated by the police and corrupt, racist prosecutors.

Thanks to organizations like the Innocence Project hundreds of men and women have had their convictions overturned and on occasions released from decades of solitary confinement for crimes they did not commit.

Cowed by PTSD many will not survive their freedom.  Suicide and terminal illness rates are high.  It is hard for them to live normal lives.  They return to unrecognisable neighbourhoods, children estranged, families and friends scattered. In some states they are barred from voting.  For the decades of torture they endured many sue and win handsome payouts but after huge ‘civil rights’ attorneys bills, taxes and years waiting for payment they receive only a little remuneration.

Fearful, white tax payers unquestioningly pay whatever it costs for more prisons, death row, jails, the police and the military.  They believe mass incarceration makes them safer.  They rarely enquire: Who profits from mass incarceration?  They are unaware that the same people profiting from corrupt and illegal wars in Iraq and Libya also own the jails and the prisons ignoring the untold suffering within.

Whilst the 1% get richer on the backs of the poor, hiding their ill-gotten gains elsewhere, avoiding taxation… disenfranchised people of color are radicalized by brutal treatment whilst incarcerated.  The poor know they are easy prey.  Inside the big house they are gouged further by deputies who own and operate vending machines.  A 50 cent pack of noodles sold to those who can least afford it… for $3.  Loved ones forced to pay 1000 times more than you and I to receive phone calls from the incarcerated.

In America… if you are poor, vulnerable or sick… expect to be enslaved by the state.

Black communities are bullied by a police force trained to raise revenue by issuing hundreds of bogus tickets.  In Ferguson MO 80% of the residents had been ticketed for minor infractions, raising millions of dollars for a failing local government.  Private prisons are kept profitably full by agreement between local politicians and prison owners.  Remember Judge Ciavarella, jailed for receiving payment from a prison owner for imprisoning innocent children?   Some of those innocent kids killed themselves.

Two million children are arrested every year in the US, 95% for non-violent crimes.  66% of children incarcerated never return to school.  The US incarcerates nearly 5 times more children than any other nation in the world.

Ferguson and Mark Ciaverella are just the tip of the iceberg.  As in any tin pot dictatorship, powerful Americans use jail to silence whistleblowers and truth tellers.

This is my story: the story of rich, entitled white folk taking down and silencing enemies using the public court system as their personal weapon.

The blog referred to during this post is the blog I allegedly ‘threatened’ to publish if Chris Cortazzo didn’t right his wrongs.  The original blog exists publicly in its entirety as court records, evidence submitted by the prosecution during my pre-trial.

Why now?  Why write this 4 years after the event?  I might have left my story in the past but this story became unexpectedly relevant.  I was recently contacted by lawyers who revealed I wasn’t the only Malibu property owner who had fallen foul of realtor Christopher Cortazzo.

1.

Powerful friends, they say, make powerful enemies.  Chris and his friends proved they could do anything they wanted to me and others. There were times when I suspected my very own lawyer had been bought by the other side.

This is a Hollywood story.   As with any epic Hollywood story it requires a suspension of disbelief.  This narrative snakes in and out of reality tv, multi-million dollar homes, secretive Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and into the many canyons of Malibu, Bel Air and Beverly Hills.  It stars ‘A’ listed talent and their representatives, a cast of corrupt policemen, prosecutors and the judiciary.  It is the story of shameful… affluent, white gay men and their friends.

It is fortune lost and found.

2.

Dear Chris,

Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further.  I don’t want anything from you. Nothing.  I don’t want your money, I don’t want your time, I don’t want your body.  I want nothing from you… never… ever.

This is the blog you didn’t want me to write, the blog you spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to kill.  This is the blog I sat in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail contemplating.  This is it.  This is the blog you wanted me to regret.

Chris.  Are you ready?

Before I start,  I have two words to say to you:  Hiroshi Horiike.



Hiroshi Horiike on the steps of his Malibu Mansion.

This name probably means nothing to your starry friends and clients, your 1% billionaire neighbours or the older Malibu home owners you nurture until they are ready to sell their ocean side properties.  The celebrities with whom you carouse all over the world may not be aware of Hiroshi Horiike.  I doubt if you make mention of his name in the many mansions, yachts and fast cars you inhabit.

Let me educate my readers.

Millionaire Hiroshi Horiike spent two years searching California for a dream home, one grander than any he could find in his native China.

After visiting more than 80 properties in the Los Angeles area with an agent from Coldwell Banker, Horiike paid $12.25 million in cash for a four-bedroom, six-bath Tuscan-style mansion with a swimming pool, spa and guest house on 5.1 acres (2.1 hectares) overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

There was just one catch. After settling in, Horiike found the Malibu home had less living space than he’d been told — a third less. It had 9,434 square feet (876 square meters) instead of the 15,000 square feet shown in marketing brochures from the seller’s agent, who also worked with Coldwell Banker.

You were the realtor repping both Hiroshi and the seller.  You were the realtor.   Chris, you were the realtor referred to in this quote and subsequent court documents.  Sounds dodgy doesn’t it?  No wonder you wanted to shut my big mouth.

Horiike, who also goes by his native Chinese name Peng Hong Ling after adopting a Japanese name as an adult, claimed he was cheated and sued the agent and the brokerage. He won a state appeals court ruling that sellers’ agents have a fiduciary duty to protect buyers’ interests, not just those of their clients, when there’s only one brokerage involved in a deal.

Of course you and Coldwell Banker have been defending yourselves vigorously in the courts… there’s a great deal at stake for Californian real estate agents.

If left standing, the decision could compel disclosure of confidential client information or force brokerages to drop out of transactions where they represent both buyers and sellers, threatening commissions on tens of thousands of deals.

Have you fucked it up for your Californian realtor colleagues?  Have you derailed their gravy train?

Horiike and I have a great deal in common when it comes to you, Chris.

Horiike and I were both US property virgins. We foolishly thought we could trust our realtors. We were naive, we were excited, we were unaware… in the unlikely event we were duped by unscrupulous realtors when we purchased our homes… we only had two years for discrepancies to reveal themselves before a remarkably short statute of limitation kicks in.  I discovered my geological discrepancy after two years… some people must have rubbed their hands in glee.

Hiroshi, he’s the Mensch!  Hiroshi is the man who won’t let go of the bone, Chris.  And you… you are Horiiki’s bone.  He’s taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court because, like me, he had his dream shattered by realtors.

But let’s concentrate on us for a moment Chris.  Just us.  Before this blew up you already had a very low opinion of me.  An opinion you share with many white, affluent, gay men. Chris you described me, after our couple of dates, in court documents as ‘dark and creepy’.

Let’s cast our minds back to happier times.  Chris, let’s remember when I arrived with society photographer Todd Eborle at the annual Barry Diller pre-Oscar garden party a few years back (I sat between you and Helen Mirren) we had a nice enough time.  We ate from the buffet.  We marveled at Rupert Murdoch and David Geffen chatting animatedly at the edge of the garden.

As I mentioned earlier, we’d had a date or two in West Hollywood but it didn’t work out. You claim we didn’t have oral sex.  If you can’t remember sucking my cock, I’m perfectly happy to forget it too.  The next time I saw you?  At the house on Hume Road, Malibu. I loved that house like Horiiki loved his, and a little like Horiiki I’d seen a ton of houses before I found my dream house on Hume Road.

Corey Nelson my dumb, good-looking realtor was sick of showing me property. He had shown me hundreds of homes.  Sometimes… I wouldn’t go inside.   Rude!

10551071_684226164966130_3046334187919159840_n

Corey Nelson

The purchase of Hume Road happened before the crash when realtors didn’t have to work very hard to sell a house.  We had given up looking.  Corey Nelson and I hadn’t spoken for months.  So, when I found my little slice of paradise I called Corey because I knew he would appreciate making a sale.  I could have called anyone but I felt loyal to Corey.  I had no clue his inexperience and ambition would severely compromise me.

I was renting an apartment in Hollywood that had once belonged to Joni Mitchell.   Every day I would drive from El Cerritos Place to the Malibu property and sit in the garden, sit on the terrace and gaze at the view.  I was desperate to buy the house on Hume Road.  Indeed, my enthusiasm predicated just how much of a liberty you two groovy hucksters might take with me.

I met the owner of the Hume Road House, Kelly Mormon.  He asked if I wanted to move in before I bought the house.  I moved in.  I explored the neighborhood.  I saw a family of bob cats and eagles wheeling through the canyon.  Humming birds fed from the passion fruit flowers that grew on my terrace.  Walking Las Flores Canyon one warm evening I met a grumpy man from Cal Trans who told me buying a house on Hume Road was a really bad idea. He told me the city should buy the houses in the canyon and demolish them.  I’d heard rumors the land was unstable.  The neighbours denied it of course.  They assured me everything was just fine.

I wrote to Corey explaining my fears. When we subpoenaed his emails it was revealed soon after I wrote that email… Corey Nelson wrote you Chris asking what he should do about my cold feet. Your reply was chilling. “Call me,” you said.  I can’t imagine the plan you hatched during the call.

Corey abandoned his fiduciary duty when he made that call to you, Chris.

PRE-HISTORY

Let’s talk?  You and me?  Can I confide in you?

Do you remember the film?  I’d made a film people loved and I’d been nominated for a British Academy Award.  They warn the foolhardy: never move to LA unless invited.  Industry people (my agent and manager) told me my interests would be best served if I moved to Hollywood.  In 2007, after 35 years, I sold my beautiful sea-side house in Whitstable Kent.  I started house hunting in Los Angeles.

I met Corey Nelson from Sotheby’s a well-known realty company.  He was one of those cute ex Bruce Weber models who would do almost anything to make a sale.  I met him with an older gay realtor who claimed he was fucking him.  We met at Joan’s on Third in West Hollywood.  I love Joan.  She’s a romantic!  Have you heard her story?

Corey and I spent a long time house hunting.  I looked at hundreds of houses, none I liked. Corey was cute and fun.  We spent time together socially, we climbed Runyon Canyon.  I trusted him.  I believed realtors in the USA behaved like estate agents in the UK: with honesty and accountability.

Months into our search I had still not found a house.

3.

My recently deceased friend Jean Perramon lived in The Santa Monica Mountains.  His house had views stretching from Santa Monica to Point Dume.   Walking his neighborhood one evening I peeked past a large For Sale sign through the gates of an abandoned estate. To Jean’s consternation I opened the gates and wandered down the steep drive into two acres of lush, semi tropical gardens.  Huge cactus trees, ancient palms.  Bananas, citrus, plums.  Stone paths weaving through the landscape.  At the end of the path an empty, unlocked 1970’s post and beam family home divided into two apartments.

I told Corey about the house and he introduced me to Chris Cortazzo, Kelly’s agent.

Well, we scarcely needed introducing.

Listen, let’s face it…Chris has done very well for himself.  He comes from a humble Malibu family, his mother is often seen eating lunch in the garden at Cross Creek.  His fireman father is dead.  He sells more real estate than any other broker in the USA.  For a man who is scarcely literate… he has done very well for himself.   Perhaps it is gay mythology but your story includes a romantic liaison with billionaire Barry Diller who, it is alleged, set you up as a realtor and let you sell his property.  Is that true?

He writes this about himself on his own website:

Yes, Chris Cortazzo’s name is everywhere in Malibu, because that’s what happens when you’re “The King.”  It was actually the Bravo TV program Million Dollar Listing, in which CC was profiled among several other L.A.-area top-producing agents, that coined the term “The King of Malibu”. Perhaps it was his incredible production that earned him the title. Perhaps it owes to the type of clientele he often serves, namely some of the biggest names in entertainment and business.

After renting the Malibu house on Hume Road for a couple of weeks I asked Corey to write an offer.  The house had been on the market for a year or more hand had a price reduction. I live in a country where houses languish on the market for years, it did not occur to me that if a house had been on the market for a few months it may be problematic.  Nor did it occur to me that I may be working with a couple of realtors who were determined, at any cost, to sell me a doozy.

My soppy, inexperienced realtor wanted his commission and was sick of showing me endless properties.  We had written offers before but they had not been accepted.  I had never ordered an inspection.

The problem with the beautiful house?  During the past ten years there had been landslides on either side of the property.  There was illegal construction in the garden including un-permitted retaining walls and water tanks degrading the land, making it more liable to slide.

They knew if I had this critical information I would not buy the house and more importantly… it would be worth far less than the 1.4 million dollars I paid for it.

Neither the seller nor Chris disclosed this information.  Information, by law, they were required to reveal.  Corey told me a thorough geological report would cost me $10,000.  So, using the excuse I would save money I needn’t spend, they presented me with an expensive and thorough looking geological report conducted in 2004.   Corey persuaded me this report was adequate for my purposes, advising me I should have a verbal report from another geologist to confirm nothing seismic had happened after the 2004 report.

The difference between 2004 and the year I bought the house?  The house no longer sat on an HISTORIC slide as the report stated.  A historic slide means that during the past decade no noticeable seismic activity had taken place within a thousand feet of the property and the land was stable.   In 2004 the house sat comfortably on the ridge line,  foundations built on bedrock.

However, shortly after that 2004 report was written large parts of Las Flores Canyon including Hume Road began sliding into the sea.  My house now sat on an ACTIVE slide.  This important information was deliberately kept from me.  Moreover, Corey told me that he could not find a local geologist who would come to the house so we hired a geologist recommended by… Chris Cortazzo.  I was assured by Corey that the ‘verbal’ geological report from a geologist was perfectly normal.  Again, abandoning his fiduciary duties.

The young, good-looking geologist sat uncomfortably with us in the garden, Corey at his side.  He held the 2004 geological report.  I asked if there was anything I needed to know that may influence my purchase of the property.  I asked many, many questions.  I needed to know everything before I invested my hard-earned $1, 500,000.  Without looking into my eyes the ‘geologist’ told me the house had a “reasonable half an inch of ‘creep'”  but failed to mention either of the recent slides or the illegality of the un-permitted terracing.

I bought the house.  After we signed contracts at the close of escrow, Chris shook my hand and said, with half a grin, “You’re going to own that house for a very long time.”

Only when I tried selling the house… did I learn what he meant.

The next time I saw Chris Cortazzo he was sitting in a sex addict meeting where he claims he was ‘helping a friend’.  After seeing him at the meeting I wrote a sweet email welcoming him to SAA.  It’s hard to admit a problem like sex addiction.  I wanted him to feel safe when he returned.  That’s what we are taught to do in AA SAA etc… we look out for each other.  We reach out.  Almost immediately the troubled transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane who lead the meeting told me not to contact Chris again… under any circumstances.

Why?

Sean McFarlane chaired the Brentwood Sex Addict meeting (ironically held in a middle school until the school realized a famous pedophile attended the meeting) for over a decade, a serious break from the 12 traditions and frowned upon within the Anonymous community.  McFarlane didn’t seem to care much for the AA rules unless others broke them.  His personal recovery, doubted by many, seemed ‘unsponsored’.  He tells a melodramatic, highly questionable personal story and is well-known (to those within the addict community) to prey upon vulnerable celebrities eager to keep their failing marriages.

Consequently, he has a gang of loyal Hollywood/sports celebrities with whom he consorts in and out of therapy.  He would boast how he taught Mike Tyson’s daughter to swim.  The daughter who tragically… drowned.  Our ‘trusted servant’ McFarlane rarely accounted for the huge 7th Tradition purse he collected every week and handed over to his ‘treasurer’, John Artz.

It is rumored Sean McFarlane would take sex addicts through the 12 Steps… if they paid him.  Again, discouraged within the anonymous cult who pride themselves on sharing their sobriety with newcomers… for ‘fun and for free’.

Sean ‘no shame in my game’ McFarlane is a transphobe.  I never once heard anyone in that Sex Addict meeting challenge his transphobia.  He considered all trans people ‘evil’.  Whenever he had the opportunity he told graphic tales of his own heroism in the face of evil transsexuals.  How he saved one or other of his many trans chaser clients from the grips of an evil ‘tranny hooker’.

The group would cheer Sean’s transphobia.  Lawyers, agents, actors… casting directors.    Collectively witch hunting the trans people Sean considered evil.  Lately, as the Hollywood conversation turns toward inclusivity, color blind casting, gender neutrality… one wonders how Sean and his creepy white guy transphobic friends in the entertainment industry will survive?

THE REVEAL

The last time I heard from the ‘geologist’, he had turned to Jesus.  I was in my bed… at home in Malibu.  It was dark.  He called from a blocked phone.  He was distressed.  He apologized for calling late at night.  He stumbled over his words.  He told me Corey instructed him not to mention anything that would influence me away from buying the house.  The ‘geologist’ felt guilty.  He omitted to tell me the status of the slide had changed from historic.. to active.

He told me the lie plagued his conscience.

People ask: What did you do when he told you?  What could I do?  I tell them. “I listened.”

When we subpoenaed the geologist during my pre-trial… a completely different man (50 years old and morbidly obese) arrived at the court-house.  He didn’t want to be there, he was sweating bullets.  It was all the proof I needed but the pre-trial judge refused to listen to our evidence.  It was one of your triumphs, Chris.  The truth couldn’t help us.  The statute of limitations had long run out.

When I spoke to Corey he said,  “I knew this would come back to haunt me.”  You’re right Corey, if you have any conscience, it’s going to haunt you… the rest of your life.

After the geologist’s late night call I emailed Chris letting him know I’d give him time to ‘do the right thing’ and find a solution including a ‘fair and equitable’ settlement… or I would start a campaign against him… including paid advertisements in local newspapers, national news articles and a revelatory blog.

Soon after writing this email I was arrested and held without recourse to bail in LA Men’s County Jail.

2.

TP… the bug-eyed, ex head of a major film studio and his son were Malibu neighbours and regular faces at my sex addict meeting in Brentwood.  TP’s son described sex therapist Sean McFarlane’s reaction when he heard I’d been arrested,

“Sean leapt out of his seat and punched the air screaming… ‘he’s going down’.”

Bryan Freedman, John Adler (my SAA sponsor), TP and others smiled broadly at the news.  The men in that sex addict meeting coalesced around you Chris, you became one of their walking wounded.

Bryan Freedman, another self identified sex addict/alcoholic I  saw almost every morning at either the 7am Palisades AA stag meeting or the Sex Addict meeting in Brentwood.

Chris, how did you meet Bryan Freedman?  Did you meet him at the sex addict meeting?  Did transphobic sex therapist Sean MacFarlane introduce you?  Bryan is a great fan of transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane.

Bryan Freedman’s firm Freedman + Taitelman would represent your interests against me.

Bryan J. Freedman was selected as one of the most influential entertainment litigators in the country by The Hollywood Reporter in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and in all eight years has been named in the Top 100 Power Lawyers list. Additionally, Bryan was recognized as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, a peer-based award reserved only for the top 5% of all lawyers in Southern California. Also, Bryan has the unique distinction of being 1 of only 22 selected Honorees to Variety’s 2015 Legal Impact Report.

I know a very different Bryan Freedman.  This is the man who wept in AA meetings because he couldn’t bully his son into being the first jewish NBA basket ball player.  This is the married man who confided in a public SAA meeting he couldn’t stop intriguing with women… looking at small ads whilst his wife slept beside him.  This is the man who would high-five the equally despicable UTA Talent Agency boss Jeremy Zimmer at the AA meeting ‘above the bank’ in the Palisades where we sat together for more than a decade.

How involved was Bryan Freedman?  How much money did you pay him to have me vanish into the jail system?  I’m guessing he was involved with the plan?  He’s a Super Lawyer. His plan might include a cast of corruptible characters.  How much did they have to do with my illegal incarceration in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail?

You and your advisors believed I might bend to your will if you held me in jail long enough.

Remember, we have to suspend our disbelief:

Just about every branch of Ferguson government (police, municipal court, city hall) participated in “unlawful” targeting of African-American residents for tickets and fines, the Justice Department concluded this week.

At first, the plan unfolded splendidly!  We understand  how utterly corrupt American prosecutors are.  Existing in a semi secretive world of grand juries and trumped-up charges designed to protect the rights of the 1%.  County prosecutor Anne-Marie Wise is no different, she played out your rich boy charade very admirably.  Anne-Marie, persuaded there was a case to answer by your impressive lawyer, sent her ZZ Top cops to arrest me.  They kept their cop badges under their waist length beards.

I agreed to meet Chris on the Pacific Coast Highway outside the Country Kitchen in Malibu (opposite the home of Tom Pollock) where he had offered to make his amends for ripping me off.  Instead, as I ate my breakfast burritos the cops arrived.  As I sat handcuffed in the blazing sun a black Rolls Royce with blackened windows cruised past,  it lingered.  Was that you Chris?  I knew the Rolls had something to do with you, Chris… so did the cops.

Did you enjoy watching me handcuffed Chris?  Did you take photographs on your cell phone?

ZZ Top and I headed up Las Flores Canyon to Hume Road.  The crazy bearded cops ran around my property with guns.  Why?  Because this is the melodrama of over paid, over weight, underutilized… LA cops.  Once in the house they meaninglessly tossed furniture and emptied my draws.  They seized my lap top and took me to the Calabasas police station where they interviewed and charged me with a felony extortion.  Extortion (for those who remain confused) is either threatening to reveal a secret or a crime unless money is paid.  It usually accompanies threats of violence.

Even though I had a valid US visa I was informed I could not post bail because of an Immigration Hold.  If an alien in the USA is charged with a felony they can be held for up to 48 hours by ICE to determine if they are a threat to the nation.

Your plan was working.

A day later I was taken to The LA Men’s County Jail.  Processed.  Screamed at.  They gave me a chest X-ray.  They fed me a baloney sandwich.  They asked if I was either suicidal or gay.  I told them I’m gay because I’d heard from Robert Downey Jr this was the only way to survive the jail and anyway I’d been out of the closet for a long time and I wasn’t about to crawl back in.  Not on your account Chris Cortazzo.

48 hours passed.  I was not released.

Whoever flicked the switch… whoever threw away the key did so at this moment.

To achieve this plan they needed a dependable federal government insider: someone prepared to override ICE protocol and keep me detained for longer than the mandatory 48 hour Immigration Hold.  This part of the plan required someone important in Federal Government to break the rules.  At the final reckoning I was held longer in Men’s County Jail on an ICE hold than any other pre trial detainee… ever.

Keeping a pre-trial detainee in jail until they bend to the will of the prosecutor is a common ploy.   It happens all over the USA.  It is happening right now as you are reading this blog.  People agree to anything to get out of jail and they assumed I’d plead guilty to felony EXTORTION and an automatic deportation.

As you can imagine, the jail is a dangerous place.  I had to get a grip.  Surprisingly I was very well equipped to deal with the jail.  AA/SAA had taught me a few simple tricks:

1.  Wherever I am… I am in the right place.

2.  It’s all part of God’s plan.

3.  Acceptance.  Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.

So many of the lessons I learned sitting with Sean MacFarlane, Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman and you Chris in the rooms of SAA and AA… listening to the 12 Steps kicked in and saved my ass.

And so… I sat in the jail.  For 86 days I sat in the jail.  I’ve already written about that, Chris.  I’m sure you’ve read it.

Almost immediately, the plan began to gently fray.  The first part of the plan depended on my finding the situation in jail… terrifying and intolerable.

You thought I was like you and Bryan and Jeremy and so many entitled, affluent white dudes?  You were certain I’d agree to anything to get out… including your terms. You thought I’d crumble.  You thought I’d lay down and die.  But the only thing crumbling… was your plan.

Chris, as you subsequently learned, I’m a stubborn son of a bitch and I wasn’t agreeing to anything.  So, for a few weeks I went back and forth to court.  The first two judges were ghastly and totally on your side.  They refused to listen to evidence, they were rude and surly to my attorney.

Do you remember?  I sat in front of you at the pre-trial.  I was shackled.  You sneered at me Chris.  This is where I learned how much you hated me after our date.  This is where it became apparent to me the rich can do anything they want in an American court.  They can buy the court just like they buy everything else.  Protected by your tame prosecutor, Chris… you looked so very smug.

After keeping me illegally in the jail for 86 days without a whiff of surrender, without capitulating, without giving an inch…. the ACLU started sniffing around my case and someone got scared.  Someone was likely going to be held responsible if something happened to me.  If I died in the jail of cancer… or a gall stone blockage… or fell victim to the violent deputy culture in the jail, which might very well have happened.

I realized two months into my incarceration:  Wow, this situation is illegal and someone… someone is going to have to pay for this!   I’m going to get paid for this.  I relaxed, thinking to myself:  another tough day at the office.   I played cards, I ate pork rinds, I had visitors, I kept myself out of trouble and I waited.

I told my friends on the phone I suspected my incarceration was illegal… knowing I was being listened to.   Then, one evening with a little warning from the Mexican nuns working in the jail for the Esperanza Project, I was called from my dorm, sat in a holding cell for a few hours, handed my clothes and ushered out of a small, unassuming door at the back of the jail.

The puckered asshole of the jail. Shat out onto the balmy LA streets.

At the final reckoning I was paid for every day I was illegally held as a pre-trial detainee without recourse to bail.

Fuck Chris, the day they released me from the jail you were on the phone for hours to your lawyers and the prosecutor and the prosecutor to your lawyers.  My release terrified you and a simple order of protection wouldn’t mollify you.  As I was getting out of the jail and headed home to Malibu and my dog… you were hiring 24 hour body guards.  You were frightened I would come after you.  And why wouldn’t you be scared?  After all, you and your friends had kept me locked up illegally for three months.

I must admit, when I first read this flurry of activity in your restitution claim (you expected me to pay your lawyers fees) and the hiring of body guards as documented in your restitution claim I laughed out loud.  I have no other weapon than this blog. The only weapon I have is so American:  freedom of speech.

Once out of the jail my lawyers and I relaxed into a long wait for you and your lawyers to alter your expectations.  You hadn’t really worked out what would happen if I didn’t capitulate.  You hadn’t worked on finding a corrupt trial judge.  You thought I’d be long gone.

Brian_Turnauer-Profile_Headshot-post_by-Rodezno_Studios-web

BRIAN TURNAUER

Were you assured by ‘Super Attorney’ Bryan Freedman and his unfortunately large featured lackey Brian Turnauer they would find you a sympathetic trial judge?

The catastrophic and totally unexpected final blow to your plan came soon after my release: Ms Wise seemed poleaxed by the judge assigned to our case: enter the unassailable Judge Jessic.  The Judge who couldn’t be bought.  The judge most likely to have integrity.  You should have seen Anne-Marie’s face Chris,  when she realized our Judge wasn’t going to play the game.  My favorite line of Judge Jessic’s to Ms Wise?

“I must admit I’m finding it difficult wrapping my head around this charge.  What’s the difference between threatening to blog and threatening to write a Yelp review?”

The prosecutor hung her head and said quietly… ‘nothing’.  You should have been there Chris is was GREAT.  Just like the time… and I’m repeating myself but it’s worth repeating… when Judge Jessic wondered out loud why I was sitting in the dock and not you.   We all know the reason for that Chris?   Because justice in the USA is reserved for the few who can afford it.

How quickly a felony dissolves into a convoluted misdemeanor when you can’t buy the judge.  At the suggestion of the ACLU I refused to plead guilty to anything and opted for the Californian ‘No Contest’ plea.  The huge restitution claim was whittled to almost nothing.  No fines or costs to pay.  All you were likely to get out of your ‘plan’ was a gag order.  A three-year gag order.

I had to sit quietly on probation for 18 months.  A grimy realtor from AA, the appalling self-promoting/self-obsessed/self-publishing Robert Radcliffe (Sotheby’s Palisades), called the police and told them I had been rude about you Chris Cortazzo.  I read the police interview, Rob.  The lies you told!  The police jumped all over the claim spending hours of their time filing reports.  Jessic threw it out.  He knew what was happening.

Tell me Chris, even though it’s election year and this may be dangerous conjecture.. I’m guessing Hillary Clinton did your federal bidding… just a guess?  To hold me indefinitely in jail… breaking the rules.  Did your billionaire mentor Barry Diller do the leg work?  Did Barry call the Mayor or the state department?   I can’t imagine Hillary would take your call, Chris.

I returned to the Palisades AA stag meeting.  The discomfort on the faces of Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman, John Artz (Malibu based DUI attorney with plenty personal experience of DUI) and the Dutch creep who burglarized my house whilst I was in jail.  I wasn’t disappointed.  They were outraged!  Jeremy complained bitterly I had broken AA laws by blogging about him.  Fuck you Jeremy Zimmer.  Fuck you.  There are no AA laws. There are no leaders.

Chris, this is the blog I must have written a thousand times since I left the jail, I wrote it… then deleted it.  I wrote it… then deleted it.  I must have torn up a million words.  Sometimes, I would frame the blog as an apology, sometimes a roiling river of resentment.   I had months to write it, months to rewrite it.  Waiting for the gag to be removed.

And now?  How did you affect the rest of my life?  As I outlined in my damages claim, I have PTSD.  I deal with it.  The experience inspired a general disgust for affluent, white gay men and specifically a loathing for realtors, lawyers and Hollywood agents.

The extortion law was originally written to protect people who had committed crimes or had secrets from being violently blackmailed.  Of course it’s hard luck when, in life, one gets fucked over.  In America the potential for being fucked over is a daily hazard, most often than not those who manage to successfully do the fucking over are hailed as the winners.  Just look at the Wall Street ‘winners’ rewarded for fucking over the entire nation.

Unlike most people who get fucked over, who cannot fight back…I have this modest blog.  It has proved to be one of the most effective fog horns in the world.

EPILOGUE 

Try as he might, Chris Cortazzo couldn’t keep out of trouble.  Chris faces more legal challenges.  As well as the lawsuit with Hiroki the Chinese Billionaire another grubby lawsuit has emerged… from a desperate Persian family whose property Cortazzo represented.  They are claiming Chris cruelly ripped them off.  The truths Chris feared most have revealed themselves.  A theme emerges: those of us who have publicly aired our grievances with Chris Cortazzo share a common bond.  We are all foreigners in the USA.

As for the legion of Million Dollar Listing fans who couldn’t believe Chris was anything other than a saint?  I ignored the lies written about me all over the internet; I don’t have to prove myself to anyone.  There’s no shame in my game.  With the help of the ACLU I sued LA County and a substantial financial settlement arrived from the City of Los Angeles a year later.  I sold my beautiful Malibu house.  I moved to New York and set about reinventing my life.

Bryan Freedman.  (I’m slowly shaking my head.)  There was a time I held you in such high regard I asked you to become my AA sponsor   It’s hard to forgive you Bryan.  You, Sean MacFarlane, John Artz and Jeremy Zimmer are the worst kind of ‘sober’ people.   Daily celebrating the AA message of humility, espousing the 12 Steps, quoting The Big Book… declaring forgiveness and ownership of ones defects of character.   Your ‘sobriety’ is a sham.  You may as well be drinking/drugging /cheating on your wives.  You remain the same Trump like arrogant hypocrites, behaving contrary to the AA message, as you always were.  The very same men who arrived in our rooms broken and defeated (I remember your stories)  begging for help with their alcoholism and sex addiction.  You have learned nothing… whilst affording me the greatest gift: LA County Jail.

The Brentwood celebrity Sex Addict meeting moved locations.  An undercover journalist sat amongst the sex addict group from a sleazy British newspaper.  He called me, wanted me to help him out.  The SAA attendees scattered. Members of the meeting asked why there was little financial accounting within the group.  Every week the 100 or so the very rich men in that school room would drop five or ten dollars in the ‘7th Tradition’ basket.  No one could account for it.  Where had the money gone?  Sean was removed by democratic vote as the group leader.  His wife left him.  The meeting disintegrated.

The cult of snake oil salesman Sean MacFarlane is not new to the anonymous programs.  AA/NA is particularly prone to charismatic leaders guiding the incomprehensibly demoralized addict and alcoholic out of the shadows and into the light.  Rehabs, sober living accommodation, half way houses and addiction counsellors… facilities mostly run by addicts and alcoholics, the lunatics are indeed running the asylum.  No doubt there will be many other Sean MacFarlanes ‘helping’ other desperate addicts achieve sobriety… of course,  for huge sums of money and little consequence.

Bill Wilson VT

I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.

Today is my sober birthday.  My 18th year.

The non-sober people who warmly congratulate me on my sober birthday are unaware that within the benign cult of Alcoholics Anonymous abstinence, is not good enough.  The first question many non alcoholics reasonably ask, “Why, after so many years, do you still go to meetings?”  The truth is, sobriety as defined by William Griffith Wilson has become an absolute way of life: a total immersion, a divine calling, a cross onto which we nail ourselves and each other,  a commitment to a God of our own invention that leads unquestioningly to a daily reprieve from the disease of alcoholism.

Last week, I traveled north to East Dorset, Vermont to the birth place and grave of Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I was shown a plank, casually nailed to the wall, behind which Bill Wilson was born.  The gentleman sitting beside me pointed at it, lowering his eyes, telling the story of Bill’s birth with the same reverential gravity christians afford the Nativity.  The following day I sat at my lap top and wondered out loud to fellow gay alcoholics (on a gay sober Facebook page) how things have changed since Bill W and Dr Bob Silkworth framed the beginnings of what would become a world-wide phenomenon.

Much has changed in the rooms of AA since I got sober 18 years ago.   AA has evolved.  When I walked into my first meeting the message was clear.  AA was a ‘bridge to normal living’,  it was the nearest a person like me would get to being ‘born again’.  It was suggested that I look for the similarities and not the difference when people qualified.  It was suggested that I find a sponsor.   A sponsor is a man or woman willing to take an AA new comer through the ubiquitous 12 steps.

Men sponsoring men and women sponsoring women to avoid romantic complications.

Sponsorship used to be a humble service, a helping hand, unraveling the mysteries of AA.  A familiar face to show a newby around the rooms… as well as to go through the 12 steps.  That first year I did whatever I was told to do.  I made tea, cleaned up cigarette butts, I diligently read the Big Book.  I was advised to find a sponsor who had what I wanted… all  I wanted was peace of mind.  I met Vince who took me swiftly through the steps.  I remained willing and teachable.  Vince was the perfect introduction to AA and to him I will always be grateful.  It is because of the solid foundation Vince helped me build in early sobriety that I remain sober today.

Since then, sponsorship has become a monstrous beast riven with ego, co-dependence and self-aggrandizement.  Sponsors congratulate themselves for the number of sponsees they have.  Sponsors throw extravagant anniversary parties, positing their bloated and wholly personal ideas about sobriety, none of which has anything to do with Bill and Bob’s original intentions.  Sponsors have become demi-gods, using and abusing their sponsees at will.

They say: Call me every day, don’t have sex for a year, we’ll do this my way… or the highway.

Originally the newcomer completed the first 8 steps in a day with someone who had already completed all 12 steps.  Step 8 to step 12 would be worked a few weeks later.  Today sponsors can take years to go through the steps, they might not have completed the 12 steps themselves.   Too many sponsors make step work as hard a task as becoming a brain surgeon.

These sponsors use the book of AA against the newcomer, a hopeful… enthusiastic day counter (a day counter is someone who publicly announces how many days sober they are until 90 days have elapsed) may become disillusioned with the huge amount of written work he or she is required to do.  These ghastly sponsors tell the newcomer that they have to be thorough, scrupulously honest, that half measures avail them nothing.

Step 1: the simple act of owning up and surrender is now a protracted treatise on powerlessness and unmanageability.  Step 2: accepting God into my life as a power greater than myself requiring me to bow to anything other than my own will… has become a religious conversion.  Step 3:  the elegant proposal that ones life has been so poorly managed that it is best handed over to a higher power or… God.  Step 4: (a moral inventory) designed originally to swiftly clear away the wreckage of ones past so one might better embrace God and sobriety has become a monster of self-examination, scrutiny and fear.   A monster so fearful most will not get beyond step 4 to step 5.

This is not all.  There are endless stories of Sponsors taking advantage of their sponsees sexually, taking their money, abusing their trust.  In gay AA, because men are sponsoring men, romantic and sexual entanglements are rife.

The problem is:  many gay men I meet in AA or NA are not alcoholics or addicts.  They are lonely, friendless and stuck in a miserable half-life that the gays offer in lieu of community.  They are drinking and taking drugs and hooking up.  The gay dream.  When they realize this is all there is… they turn to AA where they find friends, fellowship and community.  A frat house of sober gays who never had a drinking problem in the first place.

When real alcoholics, desperate drug addicts wander into this clean white environment the gays simply don’t know what to do.  They look askance at the homeless, the beggar and scarcely offer their manicured hands.

The gays have created a ghetto at the edge of AA where they get away with murder.  Literally.  Only last week I heard of another man who killed himself because he couldn’t connect or feel included by gay AA.  If this gay sober cabal were working to keep the majority sober (happy joyous and free) then I would have no argument with gay AA but the facts are: many, many gay men leave AA after 5 years.  This is evident from the ‘countdown’ where we celebrate anniversaries. After seven years there is a chasm, a ten-year gap… between those who stayed and those who left AA.

The enthusiasm (pink cloud) a new comer experiences during the first five years tails off into abject misery as they realize AA isn’t about making friends, fucking cute sober boys and going to sober circuit parties.  It is about being present for ever.  For ever and ever.

As with any small, incestuous group of men and women desperately holding onto cultish beliefs… anyone who challenges what and how they believe is destined to be ostracized. It happens in Gay AA, LA AA, Men’s Stag AA.   Christ,  I sat in a men’s stag AA meeting above a Palisades bank at 7am for nearly a decade.  I witnessed and experienced bullying, homophobia, misogyny, ageism, racism… every day.  Yet, somehow within the rooms of AA, this is perfectly acceptable.  I returned recently to that room above the bank after having written about the ogres who live there.  Those I had written in my blog looked disgusted… then conveniently reimagined AA in their own image.

A sniveling, grey haired, Dickensian lawyer called John told the group how ‘unsafe’ he felt that I was sitting in ‘his’ home group.  Choosing to ignore the AA ‘suggestions’ and ‘traditions’  he personally attacks me.  His greasy hair limp on his pink, mottled forehead, his uneven yellow teeth, his waxy hands trembling with fury.

Another pompous member of that same group, perhaps the vilest of them all, surrounded by the vapid newcomers he sponsors… momentarily forgets his ‘singleness of purpose’ and tangles himself in a crippling scribble of resentment and self pity.   To the amusement and horror of the other alcoholics in the room he lambasts a recent widower who had foolishly delivered a favorable pitch about forgiving and forgetting.  Warning (me obviously) that he holds onto resentments… then magnificently back tracks… realizing how pathetic he sounds to those recent converts to Alcoholics Anonymous he hopes to inspire.

Too many men have left that dank room above the bank and killed themselves.

Online, the gays reacted very badly to my mild critique, my gentle questioning.  They told me I wasn’t sober… that I was ‘dry’, (dry is a pejorative term in AA meaning sober without working the 12 steps of AA) they tell me to go have a drink.  They tell me to leave AA.  More evidence of the sickness that exists not only in gay AA but also within our larger gay community.

I am not leaving AA any time soon.  If I drink (as they suggest)  I will return to AA a hero.  If I don’t drink I will return to AA a hero.  There’s very little they, my detractors, can do.  When they tell me to drink they are really telling me to kill myself… and many will attest that is exactly what the weak-willed have done.  Excluded by the cult of gay AA they have taken their own lives.

Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose — that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Bill Wilson Grave VT

 

I just put my AA ‘Big Book’ in the trash.

Does this mean I will die? Well yes, eventually.

Does this mean I will drink again? Maybe, but not immediately.

Does this mean that I’ll stop believing in god? Definitely not.

“Like any cult, religion or philosophy, AA leans heavily on the good will and participation of its members. I like the saying “if you like everybody you meet in AA, you aren’t going to enough meetings“. People should not be accountable for ideas, only for their actions. I have never had high expectations of AA, and so they are usually exceeded by the results. “Faith without works is dead”. The book is overrated, Duncan, everybody knows that. But the Love in AA is palpable.”

Dan my friend wrote the above. Men like him initially convinced me that AA was good. I was attracted to their nuanced reasoning, their warmth, their ‘spirituality’. I was not wrong, people like Dan were the reason I kept going back.

Explaining AA to the uninitiated is like teaching a baboon how to knit.

Writing this, even now, I can convince myself to haul the AA Big Book out of the trash…that things weren’t that bad, that I should look at ‘my part’, that if only I had worked the 12 steps just a little bit harder…

The reason I moved to LA? The reason I uprooted my home, my life…myself? Alcoholics Anonymous.

The comfy Palisade stag meetings, the jolly Rodeo social, the stoic recovery center.

I loved UTA owner Jeremy Zimmer’s Saturday morning industry meeting where the producers, writers, actors and directors came to flay themselves before the UTA grandee.

I was rapt by the harrowing story of child sex abuse and violence therapist Sean McFarlane dramatically told when ever he was asked to testify.

I watched ‘Big’ Robert gather his flock of new comers/sponsees at the 7am Bank meeting and take them diligently through the twelve steps.

It took five years to see through each of these scam merchants.

Jeremy Zimmer uses his meeting to ensnare and compromise celebrities in trouble. Fellow alcoholic industry folk, realizing that Jeremy is a sick man do not risk leaving the meeting, nor do directors and actors who want his patronage. Jeremy Zimmer is a sadist. Laughing and joking as men cry pitifully about their ‘rock bottom’.

The only men he has compassion for are men that mean nothing to him professionally.

Sean McFarlane, perhaps the worst scam artist in the AA SAA organization, effectively getting rich men to pay to sponsor them.

Sponsorship is a service supposedly supplied ‘for fun and for free’ from elder AAers to the new comer, helping them understand the 12 steps, helping them understand the Big Book of AA…a sort of bible written by Bill Wilson the founder of AA.

Sean thinks nothing of taking huge amounts of money from naive new comers for his sponsorship services.

Sean (pronounced seen) McFarlane, provides counseling as a sex therapist but I have no proof that he has any formal training nor counseling himself, nor support, even a sponsor? If anyone has proof that this monster has any training…please provide it.

Sean oversees the fate of cheating celebrities who routinely fall from grace and into his Wednesday morning SAA meeting…needing their family back, their reputation saved, their need to disguise their pedophile peccadillos…put humpty dumpty together again.

Sean thinks he is a very big deal, a super hero, leaping over imagined cars to save his clients from tranny hookers bent on destroying his clients.

As for Big Robert, the multimillionaire ex basketball player…well it turns out that this self-proclaimed AA guru is in fact a compulsive liar who, whilst banging his sponsees heads with the big book bible…is in fact gorging on un-prescribed prescription meds. He routinely tells his group of sycophantic male followers that AA does not ‘shoot its wounded’…which is patently untrue.

I thought, when I moved to LA that finally…I had come home.

It is evident from the 2006/7 blogs that I loved it and it loved me. A family of men and women who could always forgive, would always forgive.

Well, that was the first of my mistakes. I was wrong about them. Perhaps when I moved here AA was different, I was different?

AA is a cult. Like scientology it trades on the secret lives of its members. Like scientology it requires devotion. Blind devotion. Like scientology there is a vile abuse of power. Those who want to wrestle the leadership, become gurus, lie and steal…all in the name of recovery.

Most so-called addicts and alcoholics are mental patients with no mental hospital to go to.

Look at the beautiful man at the top of this post. His name was Evan Landry. He was a friend of mine. An AA friend. Wow, I was bowled over with Evan, his aggressive, sexy ways…his vulnerability. He served in Iraq, he was an MMA fighter, I saw him fight.

He had a sexy girlfriend he shared with Mike Tyson but wasn’t above going to…how shall we say…the dark side.

Well, last night Evan Landry killed himself. Another AA tragedy. Today his friends think it is ‘sad but not unexpected’. They have buried so many friends, their indifference is as unexpected as Evan’s OD.

People like Sean McFarlane will remember him, use his death as evidence that we must never, ever leave AA.

His PTSD unaddressed, all he needed (according to his AA friends) was the 12 steps.

Like prescribing leaches for terminal cancer.

In the USA there are a hundred treatment centers where addiction can be fought with the ubiquitous 12 steps…if you have the money. In my experience getting help with any other mental condition is almost impossible.

Evan Landry put his faith in AA like so many of us did…but our problems were complicated by AA and sadly may have killed dear Evan and many men and women like him.

I don’t go to AA funerals because they are a sick joke. I might, however, go to this one. Just to laugh at the hypocrites that killed Evan with their medieval prescription for a better life.

Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Christoper Hitchins tells us that he takes great delight in the misfortune of his enemies and I am sad to admit that I can be prone to the same kind of misanthropic pleasures.

So, it was a bitter-sweet moment yesterday morning when I bumped into two recently sacked talent agents eating their breakfast at  Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, one from CAA and the other from William Morris/Endeavour.

One of them had been less than helpful to me when I was actively seeking representation and the other had been less than kind when I lost my representation some years later.

They looked downcast and old.  Their verve and arrogance gone.  Husks of what they once were.  One of them mustering the energy to boast of his young wife’s producing achievements.  The young wife that I never see with him in public anymore.  The young wife I saw kissing a handsome young actor behind the Coffee Bean on Sunset, caught in the full beam of my F150.

It struck me at that moment in Cecconi in West Hollywood that being an artist of any sort elevates not only ones position in life but elevates morally.  An artist will never get the sack.  An artist seeks the truth an agent lies for a living.

As as artist I convince myself that I am what I make.   I am making very little at the moment, (apart from this little blog) perhaps I am very little?

Do I loathe those two men?  Do I derive enjoyment from their demotion?  Perhaps, for one adorable moment.   Yet, however hard I try hanging onto resentments, there is no one that I can’t forgive.

Resentments are exhausting!

Unsurprisingly I have people who resent moi.  Yet, after a few years, a resentment has more to do with them than me.  Why are they holding on?  What’s in it for them?

A forgiving heart is all one strives for.  Surely?

After a couple of years of sobriety I decided that it was time to forgive my violently abusive step father.

I went to see him at his place of work and told him that we both knew what had happened and I wanted him to know that I had forgiven him.  He was struck dumb and tried to hug me.

When I reported this to my Mother she said, “Why did you let him off the hook?”  I replied, “I didn’t let HIM of the hook, I let ME off the hook.”

If I can forgive him, you can forgive anyone.  Including me.

Elton John, might be hard to forgive for performing at Rush Limbaugh‘s wedding.

A despicable act of treason.

I feel great.  Surely this can’t have anything to do with giving up flour based products?

As it turns out…it very well might be.  White flour (the enriched and bleached kind) is apparently the worst thing imaginable, causing not only all sorts of intestinal problems but can severely affect our mood…our temperament.

There is plenty of research to support this.   The consumption of bleached, enriched white flour has also been linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

So, I am oddly happy, energised and focused since abandoning all white flour products. No longer taking a nap in the afternoon and last night met Spencer out late at the Coffee Bean and chatted until midnight.

The older one gets perhaps the more careful one has to be with what one puts into ones body.

As much as I love crusty white loaves with marmalade, thick slabs of buttered toast and Marmite this may be the very thing that is compromising my mood day in day out.

The only problem with me being energized is trying to control the ‘high’.  I am feeling far too robust.

I vowed to sit at my desk today and deal with all of the practical papers that need dealing with, like paying my road tax etc.  Forcing myself to sit down and focus like a naughty child.

After my few moments of Schadenfreude I felt rather sad for those abandoned agents who find themselves at the edge of Hollywood’s universe.  It is a cold and lonely place for those who hanker after the life they once had at the very center of the entertainment community.

They miss the endless phone calls, the paid trips to Cannes and Sundance and the kudos bestowed upon them daily for no damned good reason.

It won’t be long before the elder of the two ex agents will get hair plugs and a face lift and like Gustav von Aschenbach from Mann’s Death in Venice will sweat rivulets of black hair dye onto his pallid cheeks.  Propped up in a musty deck chair behind The Chateau Marmont, will die of metaphorical typhoid on the beautiful beaches of California.

There is nothing sadder than a clapped out agent.  After all, they have nothing to fall back on apart from past glories.  An agent’s past glories in Hollywood are not worth the Hollywood Reporter they are printed on.

An artist will always have art no matter what age he/she is.  An artist will always have currency.

Finally, there is one particularly nasty agent, the vile and despicable Jeremy Zimmer.

I have had much reason to put him at the top of my list of those whom I loathe most in Hollywood.

Yet, even he will end up on the agent scrap heap…albeit counting his millions, wishing the phone still rang.  That he hadn’t made half the enemies he ‘went after’ during his years running UTA.

Agents are never respected, always reviled.   Dressed like Mormon missionaries they stalk the lunchtime streets of Beverly Hills.  Unlike Mormon missionaries they are bloated with self-congratulation.

Knowing, surely, that one day they will be humbled by obscurity.

I know Jeremy Zimmer very well.  We sat in the same AA meeting day after day for nearly three years.

His story never changes, battling with everyone he comes into contact with, his partners at UTA, his wife (in couples therapy) and his poor teenage daughter whose only act of rebellion was to pile on weight like her fat, arrogant father.

Although occasionally amusing one quickly tires of his acerbic assessment of everyone but himself.

I once flew to NYC in the same plane as Jeremy Zimmer.  He was in First Class I was in coach.  An amazing transformation took place .  At LAX he was ‘Jeremy Zimmer, partner at UTA’ demanding special privilege at the check in.  On the plane he was ‘Jeremy Zimmer, partner at UTA’ walking up and down the aisle as if he owned the airline.

In NYC, however, he was just another fat Jewish dad at the carousel with his surly, argumentative daughter waiting for their luggage.

Lugging their own bags, cutting a slight and meagre route through the crowd of other travellers.

It was a portent.  Eventually the phone stops ringing and those he has treated so shoddily will revel in his eventual fall from grace.  He will be replaced by younger, more astute, smarter…more ambitious men and women.

And as he gasps his last breath…will he be remembered like Irving (Shifty) Lazar?   Or forgotten and reviled like the capricious Henry Wilson?  What will Jeremy Zimmer’s legacy be?  Let me guess.