Journalism shouldn’t be flattering. One would think that Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone, of all people, would know that. Except right now, he’s feuding with his biographer Joe Hagan.
Hagan has been working on his upcoming book, Sticky Fingers: The Life And Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, for four years, and it’s scheduled to come out October 24th. Yesterday, the New York Times reported on Wenner and Hagan’s newly strained relationship, which worsened after Wenner read a final copy of the book. According to the Times, Wenner was unsettled by the amount of time Hagan devoted to his sexuality and the various sexual partners he’s had throughout his life. (Wenner and his ex-wife Jane split in 1995, at which point he began openly dating his boyfriend Matt Nye.)
But certainly, the timing of Hagan’s book isn’t great either. As the Times mentions, the release of Sticky Fingers dovetails with Rolling Stone’s 50th anniversary, and follows several issues plaguing Wenner’s company, ranging from the lawsuit sparked by a poorly-done story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia, to sales of Men’s Journal and US Weekly, to the recent announcement that Rolling Stone is looking for a buyer.
Wenner is so displeased with the book that he’s cancelled multiple promotional events for its release, including one that was scheduled to take place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which Wenner co-founded. Vanity Fair planned to run an excerpt of the book that focused on Wenner’s marriage, but then decided not to; editor Graydon Carter told the Times it “was just too personal.” Instead, the magazine published an excerpt on John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Helps to have friends, or publishers, in high places.
Still, if you want to see for yourself what’s ruffled so many Old Media feathers, you can pre-order Hagan’s book here.