#brittanymurphy: I posted a response to Alex Ben Block’s Hollywood Reporter article in its comments section - several hours later it was deleted. I’ve had to reconstruct it as the original didn’t save correctly, but what follows makes all the same points in the same tone as the original. Certainly there was no profanity or any kind of insult unless one counts questioning Block’s competence and integrity as a journalist, which I believe is justified in light of the evidence. As I have more space here, I have decided to expand the original post, quoting text from the article as I go….
"Dear Randy, I appreciate your note and attention to my article this week. I am certainly not the publicist for Sharon Murphy although she is a friend of mine."
That was Alex Ben Block’s reply to me in an email referring to an earlier article. I urge readers of this latest article to bear in mind its disingenuousness regarding Block’s friendship with Sharon Murphy.
So, quoting from and dealing with the article’s points…
"Angelo Bertolotti, who says he is the late actress Brittany Murphy’s biological father"
As opposed to what other kind of father? Brittany was not adopted, neither did Sharon remarry. It seems that Block is joining the eccentric Roger Neal in repeating Sharon’s bizarre assertion that Angelo Bertolotti is not Brittany’s father. Neal is clearly a ludicrous figure, but Block does have a reputation as a serious journalist which I urge him to consider. Angelo is now officially recognized as Brittany’s father on her birth and death certificates, and his name appears on her 2007 will. Their physical resemblance is especially evident in childhood pictures…
…and letters can be found here which clearly imply that Sharon’s sister recognizes Angelo as Brittany’s father.
Sharon’s handwriting, with Brittany adding her own name http://twitpic.com/4deyjw
“Due to the lack of investigative efforts by the Los Angeles Police Department,” says the lawsuit filed Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court, “and the failure to conduct toxicology tests on the specimens” of her hair, Bertolotti believes that “his daughter’s death was incorrectly determined to have been allegedly caused by pneumonia and anemia.”
There are two elements of spin here. First Block uses the term “lawsuit” to imply to an unintelligent audience that Angelo is seeking financial redress whereas in fact he is demanding a course of action - namely that Brittany’s hair samples be tested. Secondly, with this later statement…
Bertolotti says that tests of her hair may show evidence from the toxic mold and that may have been a cause of her death.
…he claims that Angelo supports Sharon’s mold claim (her case absolutely IS financial opportunism incidentally). I challenge Block to produce a direct quote from Angelo in which he alleges Brittany died as a result of toxic mold.
"Sharon Murphy and Bertolotti do not communicate with each other and have not for some years, despite efforts by Bertolotti to do so."
As Block is in communication with Sharon, he is complicit in obstructing Angelo’s attempts to contact her.
"On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Sharon Murphy said she had no comment, and a call to her lawyers for comment was not returned."
Since the departure of Roger Neal, the only spokesperson Sharon has is Block himself.
"Sources close to Sharon Murphy say for years prior to her daughter’s passing she discouraged her from having a relationship with Bertolotti,"
So Block’s sources acknowledge that Angelo was unfairly excluded from Brittany’s life.
"and more recently she has raised doubts about whether he is even really Brittany’s biological father, as he adamantly claims."
And as has been officially recognized, as previously discussed. Why won’t Sharon name Brittany’s father, if he is not Angelo? First she told Roger Neal that the mystery man was dead, then that he was alive but not Angelo.
"Bertolotti has said previously that he was a mobster connected to a New York area crime family earlier in his life and served about 12 years in prison for a variety of charges (all after Brittany was born).
I infer that Block is intending to imply that Sharon was ignorant of Angelo’s background when they met - that is false, she was well acquainted with his family.
"He has said he is now a law-abiding citizen."
A credible assertion. There has been no charge in recent decades against a man who would obviously be the subject of FBI scrutiny.
"In 2003, the Sun newspaper in London reported: “(Bertolotti) was found guilty of racketeering, being involved in organized crime and was also convicted of a counterfeiting scam. Bertolotti spent three stretches at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta in a criminal career said to cover 20 years.”
This is the article to which block refers. The Sun is Britain’s leading tabloid newspaper, and is owned by News International, the British division of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp. News International’s abysmally low journalistic standards were the dominant story of 2011 in Britain, leading to the closure of one of its titles and a parliamentary inquiry which is ongoing. Nobody has ever denied Angelo’s criminal record, but it is worth noting that the tabloid phrase “a source said” translates as “we just made it up”. Ask yourself how the writer could have gained access to a genuine source other than by going through Brittany’s handlers, who would gladly add official authenticity if they were so authorized by her. A celebrity who feels animosity toward a parent will gladly allow a story to that effect in order to punish them, and at the same time generate always-important tabloid publicity. The reason this did not occur in the case of Brittany and Angelo is that there was no such animosity. The shoddiness of the Sun article is illustrated by the writer’s inability even to report even Angelo’s age correctly (as is the case with Block’s article). Note also that Brittany is described as dating Ashton “Hunker”. Citing this laughably inept article does nothing to enhance the credibility of Block’s.
"While he saw Brittany briefly over the years after she moved to Los Angeles as a teenager, says a source, he was not a factor in her life and none of her close friends in L.A. ever met him." "Bertolotti has said that he did not see Murphy at all after she married Monjack in 2007"
That source being Sharon Murphy no doubt. Despite presenting himself as being like a father to Brittany, Block admits in this article that he himself did not see her much after she got married. Brittany and Simon became reclusive and few people saw them except when Brittany was working. Block also has not met close friends of hers - despite his living locally, whereas Angelo lived in Florida before her death. Does anyone necessarily meet family members’ friends anyway?
"After her death, Bertolotti took legal action to force the coroner to put his name on her death certificate as her father. That was done without the agreement of Sharon Murphy."
What possible relevance does Sharon’s agreement have to do with the fact of paternity? Obviously she was against recognizing Angelo as Brittany’s father, or she would not have given instruction that he name be left off the death certificate in the first place. And there was no force involved, it was simply or matter of producing documents and paying an administrative fee.
"Since her death, Bertolotti has been vocal about his unhappiness about being denied access to her funeral and not being consulted about other matters. He has made his unhappiness public in a series of media interviews"
The only interview of which I know concerns his being denied subsequent access to the grave, not to the funeral.
"In recent months, Bertolotti, now in his 70’s, has re-located to Southern California and taken up the cause of Brittany’s death. He has announced plans to write a book called Britt about her life to be co-authored by Julia Davis, a screenwriter who formerly worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."
As with the Sun interview, Block does his credibility no favors by failing to research even simple facts like Angelo’s age. This can easily be found online (entry #5)
"Davis and her husband last year produced a documentary that has yet to be distributed called The Terror Within in which she recounts being forced out of her government job by unnamed officials in Homeland Security. She says she was fired because she was a whistleblower who found out that the U.S.-Mexican border was not being properly guarded."
Here we have a contradiction - Julia was both forced out of her job AND fired. The first statement is true. She has repeatedly named Jeffrey Deal and Herbert Kaufer http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=jeffrey+Deal+herbert+kaufer http://youtu.be/tyGhD_1mikU. Block must have fallen asleep when he attended a screening of the film.
NOTE:Since I posted the original comment, a new press release has been issued which contains many other names. I would add to its criticism of Block’s deliberate silence by stating that I regard Hayley Taylor, Eric Balfour, Haylie Langseth, Ashley Johnson and Kathy Najimy to be equally guilty in this regard. I will happily correct this if they assure me otherwise.
"She also says in the documentary that through a connection involving Brittany Murphy, while she was still alive, Homeland Security also harassed the actress and her husband. However, Davis has not been able to come up with any solid evidence to back up her claims about Murphy."
That implies that Block DOES accept Julia’s evidence with regard to herself - hardly surprising, as it is supported by federal judgement. Since we have evidence that Julia was pursued by Kaufer and Deal as a result of a grievance, and bearing in mind that they attempted a marriage fraud prosecution against her (a naturalized U.S. citizen), it obviously becomes highly credible that Brittany and her British-born husband would be similarly targeted as a means to punish her for refuting the charge against Julia. Thus it is not tenable for anyone who claims to have been a friend of Brittany’s to ignore “The Terror Within” - either they must support it or condemn it for exploiting Brittany’s name for publicity. Furthermore, Julia has alleged here, that Block is in possession of taped interviews with Brittany and simon in which they recount being surveilled. He has failed to respond to this allegation both publicly and in his email replies to me, I am therefore forced to asume that he does indeed have such tapes and is withholding them for some unknown motive.
"Last year, when this first came, up a Homeland Security spokesman denied the charges by Davis and raised questions about her credibility"
Hardly surprising on both counts, although I would like to know where Block obtained this alleged DHS statement. What does “when this first came up mean”? I wasn’t aware of any previous investigation of the matter by Block. He referred to Simon Monjack’s surveillance claim in this article, but did not name the DHS as being responsible.
A call to Davis and Bertolotti on Wednesday at a number on the lawsuit was not returned. A cell phone used by Bertolotti in recent months is no longer accepting calls.
This is laughably disingenous considering that Block has Angelo’s email address and the two are mutual Twitter followers.
To sum up: The article was prompted by Angelo and Julia’s statement, and is simply a PR statement on behalf of Sharon Murphy, masquerading as journalism. To allow itself to be used in this way does the Hollywood Reporter no credit.