Details editor in chief Dan Peres was caught in a journalistic quandary on Tuesday afternoon, left wondering about misquotes—whether one was made by himself, or by one of his freelancers, Bart Blasengame.
In the letters section of the magazine’s December issue that hit newsstands Tuesday, Mr. Peres wrote in an editor’s note: “Our November issue’s cover interview with Ben Affleck quoted him as saying, ‘I’ve gone out and directed a movie and made it really fucking good,’ about his movie Gone Baby Gone. Affleck never made such a statement.”
The story was written by freelancer Bart Blasengame. But when a Details spokeswoman, Lisa Dallos, was asked whether Mr. Blasengame made the quote up, she told The Observer, “The comments were taken out of context. There was absolutely nothing that was fabricated.”
Those two statements appear to be at odds with each other: On the one hand, Mr. Affleck “never made such a statement,” and on the other hand nothing in the story was fabricated and the quote was taken out of context.
But Mr. Peres did not make a distinction between the two when The Observer tried to follow up, releasing this statement through a Condé Nast spokeswoman: “I stand by the correction that I published, and I stand by the statements made on behalf of me and Details.”
When asked to make sense of the contradiction—how, The Observer asked, could Mr. Peres stand by both the original correction and the subsequent statement that denied any fabrication?—the spokeswoman would not comment.
Shawn Sachs, a publicist for Ben Affleck, was more definitive. “Ben didn’t say that [quote],” Mr. Sachs told The Observer. “It’s completely made up. In having to pick a side, I pick Dan Peres and the magazine over what their spokesperson is trying to spin.”
When informed of Mr. Peres’ statement, Mr Sachs e-mailed: “The magazine apology said ‘Never made such a statement.’ … The Details publicist said ‘Taken out of context.’ … They sure don’t sound like the same thing.”
Mr. Peres, as of press time on Tuesday, continued to defend both statements.
The New York Post first reported the news of the correction on Tuesday, and quoted a spokesman for Details saying that Mr. Peres and Mr. Affleck are “good friends.”
When asked if Details would run a correction on their correction, the spokesperson wouldn’t comment. Mr. Blasengame did not return a message seeking comment.