Several news outlets are playing up an anecdote from Seinfeld creator Larry David reacting to his disinvitation to former President Barack Obama’s lavish 60th birthday party in damage-control effort to portray the hundreds-strong maskless crowd as smaller than it could have been.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd joined many Americans in lambasting Obama’s lavish, star-studded soiree at his $12 million Martha’s Vineyard mansion — as regular Americans face more restrictions over another wave of coronavirus. Dowd bluntly described the event as “an orgy of the 1 per cent – private jets, Martha’s Vineyard, limousine liberals and Hollywood whoring.”
However, Dowd’s column is getting picked up by reporters not for its pointed criticism but for an anecdote buried 14 paragraphs into the piece. The author reached out to actor and producer Larry David, of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, to dish on his disinvitation — a PR scramble hastily made after the planned festivities first drew the COVID-weary public’s attention. Team Obama said it would “scale back” the party, but leaked video showed nothing resembling an intimate or cautious confab for elites.
David told Dowd that when got a call from Obama’s assistant, he thought he would be expected to perform, and he wasn’t looking forward to having to think up a comedy routine within three days.
“I was pretty glum when I finally called back his assistant,” he said in an email. “When he told me I was eighty-sixed from the party, I was so relieved I screamed, ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ He must have thought I was insane.”
“Then I hung up the phone, poured myself a drink and finished my crossword puzzle,” the actor added.
Several news outlets have picked up David’s statement as its own news story in an attempt to portray Obama’s party as smaller than its critics are making it out to be.
Yahoo News first isolated the story on Saturday, and Fox News picked it up Sunday morning, dutifully claiming that the massive, multi-day party was “scaled back significantly.” The Daily Mail also played up David’s anecdote, oddly omitting the paper’s own scoop about a spike in positive COVID tests after the big bash.
Martha’s Vineyard ended up experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases following the celebration, with at least 74 people testing positive — the highest number of cases in a week on the island since April.
Meanwhile, at least one celebrity — Grammy award-winning singer Erykah Badu — was found begging the Obamas for forgiveness after inadvertently disclosing to the commoners via social media just how wild the former president’s party actually was.
“Mr. And Mrs. Obama, Please forgive me 4 being the ‘terrible guest’ at such a sacred event for your family. I was so inconsiderate,” Badu tweeted, after deleting a video of Obama dancing maskless.
The hashtag, “#ObamaVariant” began trending on Twitter the day after the party, as social media users lambasted Obama for hosting the huge party just as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Biden White House urged people to socially distance, keep their groups small, and wear masks “with two or more layers.”