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Confirmed: Purloined Pitt Pic Bumped Borat

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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PITTY, THAT Borat, in happier times Borat who? When we reported in September that Sacha Baron Cohen's confused Kazakh was on deck for the cover of Vanity Fair, we underestimated the fickleness of editor in chief Graydon Carter. Multiple inside sources have confirmed to that Cohen was a serious enough candidate for the November cover that his publicist, Matt Labov, believed it to be a done deal.

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But that was apparently before a photo of a dripping-wet Brad Pitt in his underwear caught Carter's eye. When it did, he moved up December coverboy George Clooney to November, relegating Cohen to a write-around profile and Q&A (as Borat) in the December issue. Of course, the cover shot of Pitt, taken by photographer Robert Wilson, is purportedly unauthorized and may lead to a lawsuit. Already, the magazine has taken down a video of Pitt from its website, though a spokeswoman for the mag says it was removed not to placate Pitt, but at the request of Voom HD Networks, which now hosts the clip on its site.

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At any rate, it seems Carter's second-guessing has managed to land the usually celeb-friendly magazine in the doghouse with PR powerhouse Baker-Winokur-Ryder, which reps both Pitt and Cohen. "BWR must be spitting blood on every front," says one Hollywood source, noting that Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, who announced their separation this week, are also clients.

Asked whether he had been led to expect a Borat cover, BWR's Labov said simply, "Ask Graydon."



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