12:48pm PT by Chris Gardner, Marc Malkin
Tonya Harding's Rep Quits Over Request to Fine Journalists for Questions
"I, Tonya is now 'Goodbye, Tonya!'"
That's how publicist Michael A. Rosenberg kicked off an emotional Facebook post that went up Thursday night announcing that he had parted ways with Tonya Harding over "an impasse today regarding how to treat the press in the future."
Rosenberg, Harding's longtime rep, claims that her "adamant and final position" is that she wanted reporters to be forced to sign an affidavit stating that they would not ask her anything "about the past." If they did not follow said guidelines, they would be slapped with a fine of $25,000, according to his post.
He continued by pointing out that journalism does not work that way, and adding that the choice to move on belonged to him. "Obviously, it doesn't work that way; and therefore I've chosen to terminate our business relationship. I am sad as I write this; but at the same time I'm happy that I had such an adventure with the movie and with re-creating a new positive image for her in the public eye," he wrote. "And I sincerely wish her the best."
The move comes on the heels of what seemed — from the outside — to be a stellar week for the is-she-or-isn't-she-disgraced former Olympian. Harding was the subject of a well-read New York Times profile by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. That piece came out hot on the heels of her appearance at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, where she shared a table with I, Tonya filmmakers and stars including Margot Robbie and Allison Janney.
USA Today columnist and veteran sports insider Christine Brennan caught Rosenberg's Facebook post and shared it on Twitter Thursday night. "It appears Tonya Harding is up to her old tricks," Brennan tweeted.
Reached by The Hollywood Reporter, Rosenberg declined to be interviewed, offering only that he didn't think his post would be picked up by the press, "which I regret because Tonya's and my split was friendly on a personal level and only a serious business disagreement."
Additional reps for Harding could not be reached.
While news of their parting ways was spreading on social media, Robbie and Janney were picking up additional hardware at the Critics' Choice Awards for their work in the film — directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers — and a Harding special on TV was winning in the ratings. ABC's Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story earned a 1.5 rating in the key demo and 6.6 million viewers — enough to win the 9 and 10 o'clock hours among adults 18-49.
THR caught up with Gillespie on the red carpet where he addressed some of the backlash the film has been getting because some outlets have mistaken the film's message as praise for Harding and the crime that was committed when her peer Nancy Kerrigan was attacked.
"That's the twist you can take on it, but what I loved about the script and the film is that we don't exonerate her by any means. She's still culpable," Gillespie explained. "All I was trying to do was, and she's a brilliant example of this, is analyze how we are with the media and our consumption of it and how we simplify and victimize people."
He added: "Obviously it was terrible what happened to Nancy, but when you could take a step back and a look at the story of Tonya's life and how she got there and the brutality that she lived with with her mother and her husband, you start to have a different perspective on it, and it makes you question your own judgments. And that was the goal of the film. We never apologize for that and she never apologizes in the film. You see that hard exterior that she’s always had in life and in her interviews till this day, you get to understand more the armor that she has and that anger underneath because of the life she had."
Now, it's unclear if and when Harding will be doing any interviews at all.
It appears Tonya Harding is up to her old tricks. Her loyal agent/publicist Michael Rosenberg resigned today over Tonya’s insistence that reporters be fined $25,000 if they ask her anything about the past. Here’s his FB post...”I, Tonya” is “Goodbye, Tonya!” pic.twitter.com/5BqLuLLLDE
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) January 11, 2018