Interview Magazine back from the dead, but likely at the cost of unpaid employees
This smells a bit suss.
It was only in May this year, when Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine filed for bankruptcy. Fast foreword four months, and thanks to the United States Bankruptcy Code and new anonymous investors, Interview Magazine has returned to newsstands around the world.
So who owns Interview now? Well funnily enough, you're looking at Kelly Brant, who is the daughter of the former owner of the magazine, Peter Brant. On August 28, a New York bankruptcy court approved Brant’s $1.5 million offer through his other company, Singleton LLC, to buy Interview’s assets out of bankruptcy. As the only secured creditor of Interview magazine, buying Interview would have costed approximately $10 million for an outsider while Brant only had to pay $1.5 million. Only a mere $500,000 was taken to distribute among other debtors.
What was the whole point of filing for bankruptcy then? Well, by going through a bankruptcy liquidation, Brant was able to exterminate a total of $3.3 million in debt. As a result, more than 300 photographers, stylists, writers and other industry employees he owed money to will likely never be paid for their past contributions.
During the summer when bankruptcy was filed, Kelly Brant formed Crystal Ball Media alongside Interview’s chief revenue officer since 2016, Jason Nikic, which is now Interview’s new parent company. Through Singleton, Peter Brant sold Interview to Crystal Ball Media, which is funded by unknown investors.
Despite not knowing whether they would succeed in attaining the Interview’s trademarks during the time, a new team of employees at Crystal Ball Media worked to create Interview’s big September issue. Luckily enough, Crystal Ball Media’s work did not go to waste. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the next issue will feature model, Hari Nef on the cover. Former stylist of Rihanna, Mel Ottenberg has taken the position of creative director.
With print media diminishing and advertising revenue declining, keeping financially afloat has been a tough time for the independent magazine. However, no one would have expected Interview’s financial condition to be so alarming. Detailed in their May 2018 bankruptcy filings, Interview owed over $11 million in total. The company had only $17,000 stored in the bank and was valued at a measly total $25,000.
Despite the relaunch, can readers really overlook the mismanagement created by former owner, Peter Brant? According to Business of Fashion, many believe that the bankruptcy filing was planned to wipe out all once existing debts.
It’s still going to be a tough time detaching the controversy with the magazine’s name. According to Business of Fashion, Kelly Brant said that Peter Brant “holds no position” in the magazine. Brant and Nikic said they will improve the publication by paying contributors on time. “The behaviour of the new company is going to have to speak for itself and time hopefully will get us back to where we needed to be,” said Brant to Business of Fashion.
With Peter Brant out of the picture, and the magazine’s new values in being more cost-conscious, will Interview’s controversial bankruptcy affect its success in the future? Only the future actions whether Interview pay their employees and freelancers can determine if they’re a publication worth supporting.
Something's definitely suss.