Rob Shuter never did call us back, but victims of the newly-unemployed publicist’s double-dealing ways were all too eager to talk about him and speculate about what, exactly, drove Joe Simpson to give him the boot yesterday. Several sources said hostilities have been rampant between Shuter and Jessica Simpson‘s record label, Epic, in recent days—and not only because of Shuter’s ill-fated hyping of Simpson’s fling with singer John Mayer.
Rather, with her recently-released album, A Public Affair, selling sluggishly, Epic officials have grown frustrated by Shuter’s habit of managing Simpson’s exposure for his own good rather than the album’s. “He’s being so restrictive, and it’s bullshit,” said one source with ties to both the label and the star. “They need her to go out and do this shit.” The source related how Shuter tried to bar all non-WireImage photographers from the album release party last week; Simpson camp insiders believe he has a revenue-sharing deal with that agency. When other wire services were finally allowed in for a photo op, “Shuter was furious,” added the source. Other, similar stories abound.
Did Epic’s growing unhappiness cause Joe Simpson to reexamine his inexplicable faith in Shuter? Or is it fallout from the Mayer ruse, over which People editor Larry Hackett is said to be “steaming”? We would love to have asked Papa Joe these and other questions but, alas, he hung up on us.
Previously: Exclusive: Joe Simpson Fires Rob Shuter