Huffington Post corrects story claiming Bethenny Frankel was “distorting the truth” about Skinnygirl sale

The Huffington Post has corrected a badly reported story that accused former Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel of lying about how much she sold her company for, which was never confirmed but estimated to be $120 million.

Huffington Post blogger Rob Shuter seems to have a real hate-on for Bethenny, first using an odd blog post with a summarized interview to claim she lied about being stranded at sea with her Bravo reality show crew, and then insisting “Bethenny still won’t earn anywhere near $120 million” and saying she “might not be as successful as she’d like us to believe.” In his most recent story, Shuter wrote that “Bethenny Frankel has been caught distorting the truth for a second time in one week.”

But it turns out Shuter was the one distorting the truth. His original report said Bethenny received just $8.1 million for her company, using a line he found in a quarterly report from Fortune Brands, which bought Skinnygirl earlier this year.

Forbes investigated his claims, and determined that his conclusion was “based, it seems, on a faulty reading of Beam’s financials,” although it defended him a little, noting that “figuring out celebrity finances isn’t for everyone, and the company is completely opaque about the deal. The actual price they paid for Skinnygirl is nowhere to be found in the 10-Q.”

The stories have been corrected, with a note appended that said “Our reporter misread the $8.1 million figure in the financial documents. As Forbes points out, the number refers to the amount of Skinnygirl attributed to goodwill, not the total purchase price. We regret the error.”

It’s impressive that the Huffington Post didn’t just delete the original story, as some sites do when their bad reporting causes them embarrassment, but this does seem like a story that should be retracted entirely, because the correction affects the entire story, which was based on a faulty premise.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.