I’m sure you recall the absolute trainwreck of a farewell party that Philadelphia Inquirer staffers threw for Stu Bykofsky back in July.
If you don’t, a quick refresher:
Bykofsky spent 47 years writing for the Inky, then took a summer buyout as the company looked to trim down its budget for what seems like the 400th time in the past five years. At the farewell gathering, architecture critic Inga Saffron took a few pot shots before referencing a 2011 column Bykofsky wrote about a trip to Asia, bringing up, quote, “his taste for child prostitutes in Thailand.” That resulted in a super awkward exchange in which Bykofsky called Saffron’s comments a “total fucking lie” and “a sack of shit lie,” among other things.
Anyway, he’s now suing Saffron and the Inquirer for defamation, via Victor Fiorillo at Philly Mag (who broke the original story last year) –
Bykofsky filed the lawsuit in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, accusing both Saffron and the Inquirer of defamation.
In the lawsuit, Bykofsky says that he specifically told management that he did not want any kind of send-off or party for his retirement. But once he saw that one had been assembled, he claims that he “reluctantly attended.”
The suit goes on to say that Saffron “went on a savage rant against Mr. Bykofsky, impugning his journalistic methods, making false claims of sexism, alleging felonious conduct, and citing supposed ‘gratuitous attacks leveled against women.’”
Awesome. What a fucking mess.
Here’s video of the exchange in question:
Seems like one of those things that you’d let slide as you head off into retirement, but if Stu felt like he was shit on and slandered, then it’s his prerogative to sue.
The 2011 column in question is still archived online, for what it’s worth. I read it twice and thought it came off as a maybe a little raw, but not exactly offensive. He’s basically talking about a trip to see a friend in Thailand, and he describes the sex worker scene there, but I didn’t get vibe that he “had a taste” for child prostitutes.