How an Anonymous Blogger Has Spent a Decade as the King of the Hollywood Blind ItemFor a decade now, an anonymous blogger has been revealing truly scandalous and potentially defamatory blind items about some of the biggest celebrities in the world with complete impunity. How does he do it?
hen Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt announced news of their divorce last month, the celebrity-media industry went into the familiar hyper-drive cycle of such gossip cataclysms. There was the near-constant churn of news on which readers could gorge—first innuendo, then reports, then official confirmation, then the back-and-forth by proxy. As the days wear on, and the updates, always seemingly sourced to the same P.R. reps and anonymous sources, begin to take the shape of something resembling an official narrative, many a die-hard gossip consumer could be forgiven for taking a detour down a darker Internet side alley, where gossip is dished and rumors floated, but names are not named. We’re speaking, of course, of the land of the blind item.
It’s a realm that’s taken on a deeper significance in our current media epoch, when stars from the A- to Z-list are all considered worthy of coverage and even the most niche celebrity has learned to control their narrative and feed items to the press. The gossip-consuming public is thus all the more eager to see its favorite stars laid bare before them.
More often than not that raw data first surfaces in the form of a blind item, a little gossip nugget that might float its subject’s occupation and rank (B-list actor, A-list director) but never their given name, in the conveyance of a rumor. For the last decade, as these little guessing games have grown in importance to the tabloid economy, the best place to find them has been a bare-bones Web site named Crazy Days and Nights.
Enty, the anonymous, self-described entertainment lawyer who runs the site, has been a direct source for gossip that evades the normal channels of celebrity news and feeds directly into the Internet’s never-ending appetite for the juice. He claims to be well-connected and dishes with abandon. But his primacy in the field is largely due to the one feature of his publishing ethos that completely distinguishes him from his rivals: He names names. Loyal readers know that when a major event in Hollywood happens—or sometimes even before—Enty will start revealing any blind items he previously posted about it. It’s one thing to run a blind item: the New York Post has a history of publishing blinds in Page Six; Ted Casablanca wrote them as part of his E! Online column, “The Awful Truth”; and Elaine “Lainey” Lui writes them on her site, LaineyGossip.com. It’s a whole other beast to reveal that blind. And Crazy Days and Nights is all about the reveal.
“A lot of times people think that blind items—because you’re not naming names and most blind items never have any reveals—have some kind of ‘shadiness’ to them. So when it leads to validation, it’s nice,” Enty told Vanity Fair recently. “It used to be that I’d wait until [a couple] had split before I’d reveal, but it’s so much better now, where I’ll just reveal it before it happens if I’m 100 percent sure. That way when it does happen, it looks even better. And I’ve noticed over the last nine months or so that if I reveal an item like that, invariably a few weeks later the couple calls it quits. I like these little tiny victories, even if only loyal readers know.”
Readers scrolling through Crazy Days and Nights are greeted by tales of sex, drugs, more sex, more drugs, and some rock ’n’ roll. (Enty got his start writing blinds about musicians.) According to the anonymous blogger, his posts reveal the truth about our favorite celebrities, and that claim is validated when reveals and easy-to-decode blinds (like an A-list couple’s recent split—no, the other one—for example) are covered by mainstream media.“I’ve also had celebs write me who think a blind is about them but it isn’t, and they end up giving me a blind.”Depending on whom one asks, celebrity blind items are addictive at best, and libel at worst. But what happens once blinds are revealed? Does the celebrity sue? Does their publicist issue a statement? Generally no, meaning that anonymous blind-item sites like Crazy Days and Nights can ostensibly function with zero limitations. All it takes is one “tiny victory” for an entire readership to assume all of Crazy Days and Nights is legitimate, which is a major problem for public relations. “It definitely does put publicists in a tricky situation, because you sort of lose credibility,” Eve Sarkisyan of YES Public
Relations says, also noting that, “From a P.R. stance, depending on the client and the level of the client, sometimes it’s safer to not say anything than it is to comment. Sometimes it may be true, but obviously you don’t want it to come out.”
While targeted celebrities could of course choose to litigate, Hulk Hogan–style, Enty’s closely guarded anonymity has given him some measure of protection thus far. He doesn’t have a personal Facebook, says he’s “paranoid beyond belief,” and will only be photographed in full shadow. And even if Enty wasn’t anonymous, lawsuits may not be an issue for him. “There are a lot of First Amendment rights that are important and protected,” says entertainment lawyer Walter Mosley of Mosley & Associates, whose roster of clients includes Amber Rose, Blac Chyna, and Charlie Sheen. And freedom of press aside, Mosley says the cost to sue is extraordinary: “People say, ‘Walter, what’s the likelihood of me winning,’ and I’ll say, ‘Not very good. In fact you’ll probably lose.’ The question is, ‘Why should I take that chance? If I have money to burn, sure, but maybe I’ll go buy a new Porsche.’ At the end of the day, it’s still a blind item.”
At the most, Enty—who claims he hasn’t been sued once in 10 years—gets the occasional angry e-mail from a celebrity. “What I always find hilarious is when they write me, and it’s a blind, not a reveal yet,” he says. “I’ve also had celebs write me who think a blind is about them but it isn’t, and they end up giving me a blind.”
Enty operates with the belief that he’s under minimal threat of legal repercussion, and he’s used to publicists turning a blind eye to his items. Therefore, he says, no celebrities are immune to being subjects on Crazy Days and Nights. Still, he has a code when it comes to the reveals process. He says he won’t out anyone, he won’t talk about people’s children, and he publishes kindness items about stars who do charitable acts sans publicity: “It’s this whole culture of, ‘Oh, I have to stay in front of the cameras,’” he says. “That’s the kinda behavior I really don’t like. That’s the kind of thing I expose.”
This isn’t uncommon. Each gossip site has its own unique set of rules for its own protection. Unlike Enty, Elaine Lui of LaineyGossip.com protects herself from litigation by never posting reveals and writing her blinds as riddles. “The reason they’re written as a riddle is a form of protection for the source and consequently myself,” Lui told Vanity Fair. Stars’ reps seem to have bigger fish to fry than the people posting the items—they’re just messengers, she reasons.
“Publicists, they’re probably more concerned about who the leak is,” Lui says. “If a blind comes out and they know it’s their client, any publicist would probably say their first priority is to find out who’s leaking and shut it down. That’s why I don’t think blinds bother celebs and publicists as much as overt stories. Ultimately, a blind always carries with it a question mark, and there will be people who doubt the legitimacy or accuracy of it. So it’s less of a threat.”
Mosley confirms that even acknowledging a blind item gives it a certain validation. “Sometimes the strategy is, I don’t want to give this Web site credibility by acknowledging them,” he says. “That’s usually a P.R. strategy that you end up with elebrities are used to their names being plastered across headlines, so it’s easy to eye-roll at Crazy Days and Nights—but ignoring Enty’s reveals only goes so far when he says his site boasts millions of page views a month. And sure, Enty’s blinds and reveals can be wrong, but he claims to be quite discriminating. While smaller blinds sourced from eye-witnesses get revealed on a daily basis, larger blinds are only revealed if Enty has a direct line to them. “Those are stories that either I’ve personally encountered, or somebody is an amazing source, or one of my friends, or somebody where I know exactly where they work, or what they would have seen. In that situation, I go ahead and reveal it. Have I ever been wrong? Yeah, I’ve been wrong about things before. I just try to keep my wrongs minimized as much as I can.”The thrill of vindication aside, Enty says his interest in celebrity is the same as anyone’s: behind-the-scenes access. In his first post from November 2006, he writes, “I originally wanted to start this blog to try and share some stories about celebs from a side that is not usually talked about, and think it would be interesting for everyone.” As this initial post intimates, the heart of Enty’s site is his readership—he lives for the readers almost as much as they live for the drama.
“My readers are exceptionally smart,” he says. “They’re brilliant. They’re problem solvers. They play their own kinda crossword puzzles with the blind items. They can track anything down anywhere and they will dig, and dig, and dig until they find the answer. To try and give them anything less than something they deserve would be horrible.”
Enty seems to think his readership deserves the truth about Hollywood, but at the end of the day, does the truth really matter to the people who visit his site? Fact or fiction, blind-item readers take pleasure in the facade being ripped off Hollywood, leaving it vulnerable and exposed. Since they’re not filtered through P.R. reps and lawyers don’t seem to pose a threat, Enty gets to pull back the curtain and tell whatever story he wants.