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Did Helen Gurley Brown’s Mouth Do Her In?

c.jpgBack before the financial crisis gave companies the excuse to let media heads roll with abandon it apparently took Hearst more than ten years to get rid of Cosmopolitan editrix Helen Gurley Brown. According to a new book it was Brown’s sharp tongue (the same sharp tongue, mind you, that give single girls everywhere the backbone to explore there singledom) that did her in. Here’s a taste:

When asked if sexual harassment existed at Cosmo in the wake of Anita Hill’s testimony that Supreme Court pick Clarence Thomas had harassed her for years, Brown cheekily responded: “I certainly hope so. The problem is that we don’t have enough men to go around for harassing.”

She referred to Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood, accused by 10 women of making unwanted sexual advances, as “poor old Senator Packwood,” and scolded one journo, “My darling, would you please remember that he was one of the congressmen who supported legal abortion. He was one of us, so we have to forgive him for being a jerk.”

Brown, 86, points out that she was well compensated for her removal, and over at HuffPo one of her is coming to her defense.


Former Cosmo girl and current Commissioner for Women’s Issues in New York City, Betsy Perry says Brown “changed her life.”

Using Cosmopolitan as her medium, Helen gave women the same sexual freedom men had and taught us to enjoy it and make it fun. She has been acknowledged as one of the greatest editors in the business and what she taught us about writing and editing was a gift — someone ought to check out how long her editors stayed with her out of huge love, devotion and awe. Each one of us became a Cosmo girl and I never saw a downside. Unlike sisterhood wars, Helen made us friends not competitors.

Helen changed my life as she did millions of other girls’ lives. Who cares about the incidental boo boos along the way? You’ll never find a Cosmo girl who hasn’t learned to get what she wants using a few tricks learned between the pages of her bible.

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