Hollywood actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour will welcome President Barack Obama to an $80,000 a plate fundraiser in New York City at Parker’s Manhattan penthouse on Thursday. While such an event is not necessarily unusual for the president these days, what is odd is the latest content to come out of the pages of Wintour’s high profile fashion magazine. Sources have tipped me off to some interesting information about it.
According to a New York Times article from Sunday, Vogue featured a February 2011 piece about the Assad regime’s relationship with the magazine. In fact, last spring, Vogue lovingly profiled Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad and titled the piece “A Rose in the Desert.” The magazine ran the article as the Syrian government slaughtered its people and described (H/T The Atlantic) the Assad household as “wildy democratic.”
Vogue Senior editor Chris Knutsen explained away the Assad article to The Atlantic in February of 2011 saying, “For our readers it’s a way of opening a window into this world a little bit.” However, according to the New York Times on Sunday, the Assad article has disappeared from its website (click here to read the Vogue piece on an alternative website). However, Ms. Wintour’s views on the Syrian regime changed suddenly as well. In a statement sent to the New York Times, Vogue wrote:
“Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society. Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue. The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms.”
The author of the original Vogue Assad piece, Joan Juliet Buck, admitted, “she regretted the “Rose in the Desert” headline that Vogue put on the article,” but that “Mrs. Assad was ‘extremely thin and very well-dressed, and therefore qualified to be in Vogue.”
It should be noted that Ms. Wintour, according to New York Magazine, is strategizing for an ambassadorship to Great Britain. NYM says the wealthy fashion mogul “might be rewarded with a political appointment in return for all the money she’s raising for Obama’s reelection campaign.”