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Leann Rimes Shape Magazine Controversy: Editor Backtracks on Apology

leann rimes shape magazine

Shape magazine apologized for having Leann Rimes on the cover

I’m not a Leann Rimes fan given her constant use of Twitter to discuss her boyfriend’s children is a huge turnoff. I can tell you that if my husband left me for another woman and she constantly Tweeted about my kids I’d be livid. However, the letter that the Shape magazine editor Valerie Latona sent apologizing for having Rimes on the cover was in poor judgment and certainly poorly worded.

Now comes the apology for the apology from Shape:

When a number of readers (40 out of 6 million) expressed concern about our featuring LeAnn Rimes on the cover of our October 2010 issue, I was concerned. I don’t want anyone to be unhappy—so I took the time to write a personal note to them, apologizing for not having someone on the cover they wanted to see and hoping to do right by them the next time. (I do this many times for all cover stars and you really can’t ever please everyone all the time.) I also explained why I put LeAnn on the cover: for being human, admitting to mistakes, and finding the courage and strength to overcome criticism through exercise.

Unfortunately, that personal letter to SHAPE readers was leaked out—and now, without any of the background or the reader letters that I received, it has been taken out of context. In that e-mail, I referred to words readers used (“a husband stealer”, “a terrible mistake for SHAPE”) in their letters to me—and then those words were then mistakenly attributed to me. (If I had known the world was going to be reading that e-mail, I would have had it proofread first!) And now, I feel even worse—for everyone involved including LeAnn.

The bottom line is this: I stand by the fact that LeAnn’s story is compelling—and her courage and strength in the face of so much adversity is compelling. That is why I put her on the cover of Shape for what is now the third time.

And I will continue to believe in SHAPE readers—and the strength and honesty of all women—and will continue to respond to reader mail, because that’s just the right and decent thing for someone in my position to do.

Listen, no doubt the magazine industry is hard-hit and editors don’t want to lose even one subscriber, but when you start apologizing for every cover model a miniscule minority doesn’t agree with, it’s absurd and lacks conviction. Further, if you’re the editor of a major magazine and don’t understand that every communication has the potential to go public, you need some schooling in modern communication. Lesson learned, I’m sure.

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