US WEEKLY's OWN SEX SCANDAL
September 18, 2007 -- US Weekly's West Coast bureau chief Ken Baker put the nanny who was taking care of his two kids on the magazine's payroll as a reporter, and then tried to seduce her, according to a $55 million lawsuit.
The magazine's former West Coast news editor, Jill Ishkanian - who filed suit in Los Angeles yesterday against Baker, Editor-in-Chief Janice Min and publisher Jann Wenner - also charges that Baker encouraged reporters to "date" paparazzi to glean information from them.
In the suit, Ishkanian - who left the mag in 2005 - claims her bosses "engaged in an intentional policy to destroy her professional reputation after she left Us Weekly to start Sunset Photo."
Ishkanian also claims Us Weekly was behind an FBI raid on the agency last year when she and her boyfriend were held at gunpoint as G-men searched her computer for data she supposedly took illegally from Us Weekly. No charges were filed.
The suit alleges:
* When Ishkanian informed Baker that she was considering a move to another weekly, "Baker became enraged" and "threatened Ishkanian by stating, 'If you leave. I will destroy you! Did you hear me? I will destroy you!' "
* Baker "held a meeting with his staff and forced everyone in attendance to vote about whether or not a freelance reporter had real breasts or surgically enhanced breasts."
* Baker sent cellphone text messages to his doubly-employed nanny which read, "I want to have sex with you. I'm not attracted to my wife," and "I want to see you pregnant with pigtails." Ishkanian claims Baker's unidentified nanny showed the messages to fellow Us Weekly staffers.
Baker allegedly broke down weeping at Ishkanian's office and "used all her Kleenex to wipe his eyes and runny nose" after learning an online publication planned to state he "hired female employees based on the shortness of their skirts."
* Min and Baker collaborated to run Ishkanian's stories without giving her credit, including the tale of Paris Hilton's sex tape with Rick Salomon and Britney Spears' fake wedding to Kevin Federline.
A spokesperson for Us Weekly had no comment on the suit.