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Brian Williams Irritates Ari Emanuel with Semi-Tough Questions

The youngest of the Emanuel brothers pushes back on a fast-pitch softball Rock Center interview about Zeke’s new book.

Apparently Ari Emanuel was “irritated” by Brian Williams’s approach to his interview with the brothers Emanuel on the occasion of Zeke Emanuel’s new book about them (David Bernstein interviewed the eldest about it):

“Ari was not happy with it,” the source said of the aggressive interview done in a casual setting. “It was very odd, and [the brothers] were caught off guard. They were there to talk about the book and growing up together. They had offers to do this interview with lots of other people.”

It’s not exactly a puff piece—Williams does press Rahm on the city’s homicide rate—but it’s an odd reaction for someone who’s been portrayed in two thinly veiled fictionalizations (Ari Gold in Entourage and Stevie Grant in The Larry Sanders Show) as one of the most temperamental people in one of the world’s most temperamental industries.

And the Emanuels have been the subject of much more searching coverage, like Elisabeth Bumiller’s lengthy 1997 profile of them, when they were in their mid-to-late 30s, which touches on much more difficult topics that Williams doesn’t. Here’s how Ari self-presents in that:

In his office, Ari watches four TV screens at once, practices his golf putt and, of course, lives in his phone headset. ‘’You were a half-hour late with the chairman of NBC!'’ he shouts at one caller, spicing his words with profanity. When he gets off, he smiles. ‘’It’s my life - right here,'’ he says happily. ‘’I just sit and scream all day.'’ He has a nice view of the haze over Beverly Hills, and very good suits. ‘’All I wear is Paul Stuart, Armani and Calvin Klein,'’ he says later, and with such joy I feel I should be pleased for him.

It’s a lot to do about an interview that wasn’t all that much either way. Bumiller’s piece is tougher; but it’s also a lot more interesting.

 

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