You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A “Secret” Party at the White House with Johnny Depp? Not Quite

4075439686_b2d187f5bdThe White House is pushing back against a claim in Jodi Kantor’s new book “The Obamas” that the administration was so concerned about how a lavishly decorated Halloween party in 2009 would play in the midst of a recession that they did not discuss the event publicly and did not acknowledge the contributions of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, both of whom were present.

But press secretary Jay Carney said today that the party was hardly secret: The press was allowed to cover it in a “pool spray,” in which one or more reporters are allowed limited access to draw color for the rest of the press corps.

“It was a military event for their children and their families inside the White House where the press came, photographs were taken. It was contemporaneously known who was here,” said Carney. “If we’re trying to hide something by bringing in the press, we’re not very good at it.”

The event was a reception for military families, and the presence of Depp and Burton was not mentioned in the advance schedule of events that day. But photos of the Obamas with Depp (dressed in a his costume for “Alice in Wonderland”) and Burton did appear on fan sites, and the White House did post photos of the event on its Flickr feed, including one featuring Chewbacca from “Star Wars.”

While very few outlets mentioned the presence of Depp and Burton, it doesn’t seem like the party was much of a “secret,” but the White House wasn’t going out of its way to mention the Hollywood component, either.

More Voices

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    WGA, Agents Face Tough Issues on New Franchise Pact (Column)

    The Writers Guild of America and the major talent agencies are seven weeks away from a deadline that could force film and TV writers to choose between their agents and their union. This is a battle that has been brewing for a year but few in the industry saw coming until a few weeks ago. [...]

  • FX Confronts Streaming Thanks to Disney

    Kicking and Screaming, FX Is Forced to Confront Future in the Stream (Column)

    During his network’s presentation at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour, FX chief John Landgraf made waves — and headlines — by mounting perhaps his most direct criticism yet of Netflix. Landgraf, whose briefings to the press tend to rely heavily on data about the volume of shows with which FX’s competitors flood the [...]

  • Longtime TV Editor Recalls Working for

    How a Bad Director Can Spoil the Show (Guest Column)

    I have been blessed with editing some of TV’s greatest shows, working with some of the industry’s greatest minds. “The Wonder Years,” “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Pushing Daisies” and, most recently, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I have earned an Emmy, ACE Eddie Awards, and many nominations. But whatever kudos I’ve received, over my [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. The record level of spending [...]

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content