Jill Zarin has found herself in the crossfire again. It seems that ever since her friendship with Bethenny Frankel fell by the wayside, Jill can do nothing right. The most recent controversy surrounding the red-headed former reality star centers around an appearance at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Women’s Event at Night. Jill was billed as the keynote speaker, and along with her sister, Lisa Wexler, and her mother, Gloria Kamen, they were to discuss their advice book Secrets Of A Jewish Mother.
Somewhere along the way a few people were offended by comments Lisa allegedly made, insulting stay-at-home mothers, rumors began circulating that women stormed out or left in “droves.” One lone tweeter with an agenda (an agenda as she self-admittedly loathes Jill) decided to claim Jill and her family were “hot messes” and “disastrous”, offending many of the 700 guests in attendance. Well, of course, the blogs and then the media picked up on the alleged controversy, which prompted the organizers of the event to send a formal email apology letter to all the women who attended.
Jill is finally speaking out giving her side of things and claiming that very few people were actually upset, and the supposed mass walk-out was largely comprised of women who needed to leave, as the event ran long. She claims no one was behaving as if they were upset during or after Lisa’s comments.
“They completely lied,” Jill tells Naughty Nice Rob. “They didn’t have their listening ears on and misunderstood what she said. No one walked out. It was running one hour late and was already 10:00 PM after dessert, so a few left. I have it all on tape.” Indeed, Jill does have it on tape – and the videos are up on her YouTube channel!
“From the minute we got on stage, we had mic issues,” Jill recounts. “So bad that they took off all our individual mics and gave us only one big handheld mic — so unprofessional. No one could really understand us.”
Jill adds, “We were thrown under the bus. We were never asked to be funny. We were asked to talk about subjects in the book, which we did.”
Lisa is also speaking out about what happened, taking to her radio show, and not backing down from her comments. Lisa describes the episode as a miscommunication. And she is not willing to apologize to the Federation or the women who attended the event, but she is sorry that Jill is taking the heat from her comments. She is also sorry she chose the wrong forum to express her feelings.
Lisa insists she was not insulting stay-at-home mothers, but merely discussing the quandary any professional woman faces once she decides to become a mother, which is a subject broached in their book, and very few people even noticed her comments during the event. Lisa blames herself saying she did not prepare adequately for the program and essentially admitted to ad-libbing. She says the controversy was started by people on Twitter that don’t like Jill and attack her from multiple aliases.
Jill also appeared on her sister’s show, both women both claim there was no dispute between the Federation until the twitter/media episode blew it out of proportion, and the Federation issued the letter as damage control. Jill believes the Federation had “no right” to send that letter and “hurt their livelihood,” particularly without discussing the matter with them first. Jill doesn’t feel anything said was so egregious it warranted so much upheaval and she defended Lisa’s comments as “lessons.”
Jill is still disappointed by the “atrocious” handling of the situation and the lack of communication by the Dallas chapter – apparently, they found out about the letter through the internet! Jill explains they have spoken at many chapters across the country with no controversy, and they have been asked back repeatedly. Jill is also offended that her participation as a member (a Lion of Judah) was not considered in the Dallas chapter’s handling of said negative reaction from attendees.
Unfortunately, in the radio broadcast, emotions got out of hand where Jill is concerned, and she released the name of the woman who sent the email apology (which is already all over the internet thanks to the prolific posting of the letter). Jill is furious and hopes she will suffer consequences for the letter. Jill point-blank mentioned that she thinks the woman should be fired.
Jill continues to speak of how the event was mismanaged and she had no idea the event was a fundraiser or that they were billed as the “entertainment.” Jill maintains that many people left simply because the time management issues, and the Federation attempted to blame her and her family for their own poor organization skills.
Lisa astutely points out that Susan (the author of the letter), a full-time working mother, should be understanding of Lisa discussing the challenges working mothers face. Jill says the Federation benefited from the controversy since it gained national attention and she made front-page news over the “nonsense.”
Jill also talked about learning to deal with negative reactions from the media – a lesson learned from appearing on Real Housewives of New York. Jill cautions viewers about the editing process, which vilified her in favor of Bethenny. Jill believes “somebody” on RHONY (whose name she did not mention) paid a select group of people to besmirch her reputation and continue to slander her in the press through the internet.
According to Jill, she has subsequently received a lot of apologies from fans who feel they misjudged the situation initially, and she says, “haters will be haters.” All in all, a lot of huff and puff over what seems like a simple miscommunication!
[Photo Credit: Johnny Louis/WENN.com]
THOUGHTS ON JILL AND LISA’S REACTIONS TO THE CONTROVERSY? DO YOU THINK THE ENTIRE THING WAS BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION AND HANDLED INAPPROPRIATELY BY ORGANIZERS OR DID LISA’S COMMENTS WARRANT THE REACTION?