NEW York Press editor-in-chief Jeff Koyen, who quit over last week's ultra-ugly cover story mocking ailing Pope John Paul II, has branded his former bosses at the free weekly "weenies" and "little spineless turds" for forcing him out.
"They couldn't handle the controversy," Koyen sputtered to PAGE SIX about owner David Unger and publisher Chris Rohland. "They're both just weenies. They're little spineless turds. I didn't expect them to cave in and cower so easily. I'm really surprised they were so spineless."
Koyen quit after Rohland suspended him for two weeks without pay for "insubor- dination" in the course of editing Matt Taibbi's "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." The Press had been deluged with angry calls after its vicious attack on the 84-year-old pontiff.
Rohland, who has appointed Press editor Alexander Zaitchik as interim editor-in-chief, told us he suspended Koyen specifically because he ignored orders not to include a parody of The Post announcing John Paul's death.
"He was directed not to do a parody cover of the New York Post. I told him to kill it, and he ran it in his editor's column. You just can't do whatever you want to do. I suspended him for two weeks to give him time to think about that . . . Jeff resorts to name-calling in every situation. He's childish. He's been called a child by Howard Stern and Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, and now I'm calling him a child."
Koyen, who made enemies of Stern, Scarborough and many others thanks to his annual hatefest known as the "50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers" list, posted a lengthy exit statement on gawker.com yesterday trashing his former bosses. Mediabistro.com's FisbowlNY blog broke the news of Koyen's departure earlier in the day.
It isn't the first time that Taibbi has shocked Manhattan media types. In 2001, while editor of the wacky, ex-pat magazine the Exile, Taibbi burst into the Moscow office of The New York Times and flung a cream pie filled with horse sperm into the face of bureau chief Michael Wines.
More recently, while covering the John Kerry campaign for Rolling Stone, Taibbi showed up to campaign events wearing a gorilla suit. Taibbi was covering the Michael Jackson trial for Rolling Stone yesterday and could not be reached.
© copyright 2005 The New York Post