Sally Quinn says she is "heartbroken" and "appalled" at Fox News host and former Washington Post scribe Howard Kurtz for his column today about her daughter-in-law, Pari Bradlee, and her supposedly "R-rated" Facebook photos.
Quinn, who writes about religion for the Post and is the wife of former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and mother to Quinn Bradlee, Pari's husband, told Media Matters, "I thought Howard was a decent guy, I thought he was my friend and I'm appalled and really heartbroken that he would do something like this. Why would you want to hurt somebody?"
In his FoxNews.com column, headlined "Ben Bradlee's daughter-in-law reveals (almost) all on Facebook," Kurtz highlighted a series of what he termed "R-rated" photos of Pari Bradlee, a yoga instructor. Kurtz wrote of the photos:
Her new profile picture, in a Swiss-cheese bra that leaves little to the imagination and long black leather sleeves and briefs, is so revealing that it drew a torrent of breathless comments. In another just-posted photo she is nude, shot from the back, twisting one arm behind her.
He later added:
The Hamptons photo shoot, conducted by an old friend, Barry Fidnick, prompted friends to post such comments as "HOTT THANG!!!!", "u look sexual" and "Turning this gay man STRAIGHT!"
Kurtz also wrote of Pari Bradlee, "From one perspective, Pari Bradlee's provocative poses might be viewed as a quick way to grab attention, especially in contrast to Washington's buttoned-down culture. But she is part of a Facebook generation that lives online (with 1,957 photos in her case) and embraces a more candid approach to sexual matters." He concluded the column saying: "It's a safe bet that she is about to attract a lot more friends."
Asked if she believed Kurtz, who worked at the Post from 1981 to 2010, was trying to retaliate in some way toward his old employer, Sally Quinn said, "He quit, I had nothing to do with it, Ben had nothing to do with it. We were friendly, I've been on his show, you know, he's been in my house."
Kurtz, who had hosted CNN's Reliable Sources for 15 years, left that network earlier this year to join Fox News, which recently announced he would host a program focused on news and social media starting next month.
Quinn said of the photos in question, "I've seen the photographs and I think they're beautifully taken, and, [by] a professional photographer and I didn't have any problem with them."
Asked why she believed Kurtz would write such a column, Quinn said she did not know, other than he could not find anything else to write about.
"I guess it's been a slow news week. I just don't know what he's up to, would I go after a friend's child? No," she said. "I don't think it had anything to do with anything. I think it was just a slow news day. There has been no personal animosity between Howie and me, none, never."
Still, Quinn said the column was hurtful.
"Why would he want to hurt me and Ben and Quinn and Pari by doing that?" she asked. "I just don't know. Ben has seen the photos...but they're not revealing."
Quinn said she and Kurtz were at a roast for Barbara Walters at the National Press Club earlier this year, even onstage together at one point, with no indication of a problem.
"Pari is a beautiful woman and she is a yoga teacher and I don't see what the problem is, I don't see the problem," said Quinn, who added that her son and Pari will be married three years on October 10, and have been together five years.
"We adore her," she added.
UPDATE: In a follow-up interview, Quinn said she actually feels sorry for Kurtz, telling Media Matters that she and some members of her family have been receiving supportive tweets and emails, some making fun of Kurtz and none critical of Pari Bradlee.
"It makes it look like he is an old geezer, I feel sorry for him," Quinn said.