Legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith announced earlier this week that she's been canned by the
the New York Po st . The 86-year-old writer—whose column has been published in the New York City newspaper for the past three decades—isn't about to go gently into her retirement years. In an interview with the Daily Beast, the "Diva of Dish" calls being let go "emasculating" and says that it "makes you feel like you've lost your identity to some extent." When asked whether or not she saw the layoff coming, Smith said, "No, I feared from the beginning I wasn't [Post's editor in chief] Col Allan's cup of tea. And I didn't hang around the Post. I never sucked up. I didn't go up to Elaine's and hang out." Smith went to the top of the chain and spoke with Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., who said that he couldn't overrule Allan's decision.
Smith, who's also written for the New York Daily News and Newsday, ruminated on the runaway success of gossip sites like Perez Hilton and Gawker: "I don't think they mean anything either, except they mean instant success for these very, very energetic and ambitious young people. And it's perfectly fine, but I wouldn't give any credence to most of the stuff I read. I mean, there are no publishers, no editors, no lawyers vetting anything. This is the problem with the Internet where everybody has a voice and we're stuck with it. We're going to have the Internet even when we don't have things to eat."
The Post says that Smith was let go because of economic hardship, and it declined to renew her $125,000 annual contract, which expires at the end of the month. She will continue to write each week for the website wowOwow.com, which she cofounded with Joni Evans, Candace Bergen, and Lesley Stahl, among others. She'll also write for other print publications that syndicate her work, including Daily Variety.