Londoner's Diary: Weinstein was bad for Horowitz hero Alex Rider

Did Weinstein ruin a child spy's chances? Novelist Anthony Horowitz (Getty Images): Getty Images

ONE more allegation against Harvey Weinstein, this time by novelist Anthony Horowitz, who worked with the über-producer more than a decade ago, and who hopes the karmic wheel still has a few turns left.

Weinstein produced Stormbreaker, pictured, the spy caper based on Horowitz’s much-loved series of children’s books. It starred Alex Pettyfer as the hero, Alex Rider, as well as Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke and Damian Lewis, but did not set the box office alight. That, Horowitz claims, was down to Harvey.

“He’s the main reason why there have been no more Alex Rider movies,” Horowitz writes in this week’s Spectator. “I still have nightmares about my breakfast with Harvey at the Mandarin Oriental in London, of being magnetised by him in all the wrong ways. An astonishingly ugly man, he arrived in a tight-fitting grey polo shirt with a lit cigarette poking out of his mouth... Despite all his promises, he also failed to release Stormbreaker in the US, effectively killing it.”

Horowitz says that his run-in with the portly pest pales in comparison to others unlucky enough to meet Weinstein, but he hopes there’s a knock-on effect. “So much has been written about his assaults on women and, of course, my own experiences are nothing by comparison,” he writes, “but I hope one day that the argument will move on to his business practices, which were, to say the least, destructive.”

Nevertheless, he’s already sought a small sliver of vengeance. “By coincidence, there’s a shabby TV producer called Harley Weinberg in a later Alex book. He’s last seen rolling around in a puddle. On fire. Childish, I know, but what else could I do?” Trial by novel?


Gay old time for Labour's leaders

In The Pink: Last night's PinkNews Awards

TO THE PinkNews Awards last night for a celebration of LGBT champions at One Great George Street in Westminster. Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry snuck out of a committee meeting early to make it, while Diane Abbott got starstruck: the shadow home secretary presented an award with the help of Chris Steed and Stephen Webb, the gay friends from Gogglebox.

“This wasn’t a threesome I envisaged,” Steed said as Abbott joined them on the stage.

“I’m so excited to be sharing a platform with two actual celebrities,” she exclaimed.


ALSO there was Lord Smith, the first out gay MP, who won a lifetime achievement award and recalled a dinner when he was Secretary of State for Culture that caused problems. “The chair introduced me and stumbled over it a bit. I had to point out that I was the very last person who could be called the Secretary of Straight.”


THERE was a much-trailed surprise guest, and chatter beforehand about who it would be. It was Theresa May, who gave a speech outlining her promises to the gay community then left before dinner. There was a small sigh of disappointment from a friend of The Londoner, who had been hoping for Cher. Oh well.

Quote of the Day

‘I was virtually speechless. More emphasis on virtually — I’m never speechless’

Speaker John Bercow on winning a PinkNews Ally Award last night


Laura keeps being mistaken for Meghan

Mistaken Identity: Laura Wright (Getty Images)

London’s newest hotel — the Trafalgar St James — opened its doors last night with a rooftop party, where Jodie Kidd and Millie Mackintosh enjoyed the view. We bumped into mezzo soprano Laura Wright and her rugby player fiancé Harry Rowland and noted Wright’s similarity to Meghan Markle (see page 13). “I’ve been told that before,” Wright said, telling us that royal fans leapt on her at the Invictus Games. “You turn up in a fancy car and they get so excited — but my Harry doesn’t bear a resemblance to Prince Harry.” Rowland added: “Everyone was disappointed when I got out of the car.”


Historian Bettany Hughes was on provocative form last night, comparing Donald Trump with one of Rome’s most notorious emperors at a screening of her new Channel 5 series on Roman history. “When you get back, Google coins of Nero, then Google pictures of Donald Trump,” Hughes said, speaking at Bafta in Piccadilly. “They’re extraordinarily similar.” Except in one respect: Nero, as students of history may recall, committed suicide after a brutal and brief reign.


Sarah-Jane minds the gap

All About Mee: Sarah-Jane Mee (Getty Images)

EARLIER this year the BBC was forced to reveal the earnings of its top earners, leading to a row over the gender pay gap. Is Sky News guilty of the same? We may soon see...

The Londoner met Sky News Sunrise anchor Sarah-Jane Mee this week, and she told us to expect the results at some point soon. “A lot of people [at Sky] watched the BBC announcement with quite a bit of interest,” she said. “Many were shocked but Sky is in a position where it’s having to publish the difference between male and female salaries.”

We won’t be seeing an individual rundown, however: Sky News confirms it will declare its gender pay gap “in due course” but will not release specific star salaries.

“They haven’t given me a pay rise, which makes me think we are on quite safe ground,” Mee said with a smile.


Tweet of the Day

“Beginning to feel that I form part of a Greek chorus on Twitter as tragedies surprise the men of the polis and we cry that we knew it was so.”

Picador Books’ Kishani Widyaratna fears that Twitter is full of Cassandras.


Gift of the Day: after Theresa May accused former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott of nicking her Tupperware after she sent him some brownies, he has sent her a set engraved with her name.


Georgia's a tower of strength

Paris when it sizzles: Georgia May Jagger

TO PARIS with love for Georgia May Jagger. The model is in the French capital, though on this occasion it’s not to walk the fashion runways but rather to do a spot of sightseeing. “Such a tourist,” she captioned a photo of her “pinching” the Eiffel Tower. Très chic.

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