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TABLOID: Still headlines after all these years

Above: Joyce McKinney and Errol Morris at a screening of "Tabloid" at the Vista Theatre in Los Angeles (Los Feliz), July 13, 2011. I believe that's her dog's leash she's holding. (photo by Tiffany Rose)

"Joyce and I are getting along just fine. (Another Q&A in LA with an extraordinary woman.)" -- @errolmorris, Twitter, July 14, 2011

At the end of my review of Errol Morris's "Tabloid," I quoted from a New York Times story about his "Tabloid" subject and primary storyteller, Joyce McKinney, appearing at pre-release screenings in Austin (SxSW), Sarasota, San Francisco, Seattle and New York, to protest the film's portrayal of her. In the Times piece, she said:

"I sat till the audience started to leave and waited for the precise moment, and then jumped up and yelled, 'I'm Joyce McKinney!' " she said, with considerable glee. "They went crazy."

I quoted one of the producers of "Tabloid" (in which he called the picture "a Looney Tunes 'Rashomon'") and concluded: "Do these people know how to sell a movie or what?"

In recent interviews, Morris has been asked about these appearances and he's professed some bewilderment -- not only about her motivations, but how she's financing her transportation. Morris told Matt Singer at

They asked her that same question [about money] at the screening on Saturday night, and her answer was that she had been in an accident and she had gotten a settlement. But what the details of any of that might be, I don't know. I mean she's travelled all over the country!

In an interview with The Playlist (published Wednesday, July 13), Morris said:

I'm not surprised by anything, really, at this point. I don't know whether Joyce will be there tonight, I believe we offered to send her here but... I don't know!

The next night, in LA, she was there. (See photograph above.)

Morris says he's only met Joyce four times: one day for the interview used in the film and three times now at Q&A sessions following screenings. (See clip from DOC NYC 2010 screening below, in which she presents her view of the film and her own story.) In an interview with Erik Kohn at IndieWIRE, he said:

Well, remember...there are ambiguities about the kidnapping that are preserved within the movie. We could talk about this ad nauseum, but she said, "Why did you put the tabloid journalists in the movie?" Well, the journalists are part of the story. If the idea was that I was never going to tell the story about what happened to her in Great Britain, then fine. It's not as if we take these tabloid journalists as being reliable reporters on what really transpired. They're additional voices in the movie. She also said that she had no idea that it would be a funny movie. [...]

I think she is aware of it. I said to her on that Friday night, "Joyce, you use certain kinds of language. You must know that you're funny. In fact, you're one of the funniest people I've ever met. When you say a woman can't rape a man because it would be like stuffing a marshmallow in a parking meter, you know that's funny, Joyce!" And she said, "Well, I'm just a Southern girl."

There's no question she's funny and that she knows it. Watch her behavior in the movie -- she flirts, charms, seduces interviewer and her viewers not with sex but with wit, looking us right in the eye through Morris's Interrotron.


There's also no question that some of her criticisms are disingenuous, as when (in the NYC DOC appearance below) she asks him where he got the "naked mermaid picture" (which she says is a fake, her head pasted on someone else's body). Well, that's obvious. As the movie shows (all the images used here and here are actual frame grabs from the film), it was printed in the pages of a tabloid. Joyce says she fears some people will think she's some kind of "S&M hooker" after seeing "Tabloid," but even if some of the mild, Bettie Page-like photos of her aren't fakes, they would hardly prove she was a hooker. (Wait till you hear the stories of how these photos were obtained, and where the ones that weren't printed can be found...)

Anyway, here's something interesting: I had heard that others who had reviewed "Tabloid" had gotten weird rants in comments that went on and on in semi-coherent fashion about things that neither the reviews nor Morris's film had said. Sure enough, I got my own customized version, which I reprint below. Google "truthteller 'notice of intent to sue'" and you'll find lots more:

NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE: JI(M EMERSON: Consider this official notice that YOU will be sued by Miss McKinney and her friend's family if you do not immediately remove the pictures you have illegally obtained of them. First of all, the one with the dog was stolen by Mark Lipson from her luggage in September of 2009. Neither him, or you have a modeling release or authorization to use them. As for the one The World's Trashiest Tabloid faked [where her head is superimposed on someone elses body], this is malicous, libelous and defamatory, and on a more personal level. you are very perverted to even re-print something so filthy. Secondly, you are going to be sued for Slander and Defamation for saying she had an "accomplice" who helped "sexually abuse him." (Joyce and Kirk were alone and there was no meange a trois that you imagine.) Alsol for your information, Ms. McKinney and her fiance were in many public places during the period YOU and other liars have Kirk "kidnapped." Also Joyce and Kirk were alone in their bedroom with a roaring fireplace in a lovely big old bed with blue satin sheets [as she said in the movie "blue to match his eyes".] . What they did in thier bedroom, is NONE of your business, no more than what you do in YOUR bedroom is business of theirs! Mr. May (the innocent person you slander by calling him her "accomplice") has a loving caring family--a family who wants to sue people like you and Morris for disrespecting the memory of thier beloved KJ, who was a wonderful happy go lucky lovable guy--who everybody loved, who resembled actor Hugh Grant in physical appearance and personality, only with a California accent instead of a British one, like Hugh Grants. Moreover, Joyce was not a "slutty" Eve as you slander her in implying: You draw that perverted impression only due to the trashy tabloid and Morris sick film. The pictures they ILLEGALY used were STOLEN from her and used without authorization. They were simply innocent pictures of her in a musical called "The Apple Tree" wherein she played the character of "Eve". The stolen picture of her with apple and snake were stills from that simple musical. There was nothing sensual or sultry about them, she was simply portraying Eve in one, and singing to a snake and hlding an apple in the other. Morris and the sick tabloids tried to play it up as "Temptress in the Garden of Evil" (yada yada yada). You also LIE outright to your readers by inferring that "KIRK HIMSELF said he was raped". The truth is, you have NEVER EVEN MET KIRK , have you? OR Joyce? The only thing more appalling than your ability to LIE on someone who you have never met or know anything about, is your unbelievable ignorance and lack of research on the Mormon CULT. Had you researched the topic of Mormon sexual repression you would have UNDERSTOOD what Joyce was trying to do for the man she loved! We suggest you read the article "Sin and Death in Mormon Country" by Salt Lake City journalist Mark Taylor who is (unlike yourself) a REAL journalist! OR you might also read the segment (available on the internet ) where a Mormon "apostle" wrote around 21 rules against masterbation and lust, wherein the Mormon is told to "tie his hand to the bed" or "sing a Mormon song" or "think of maggots crawling on a dead rotted body"--when he has "lustful" thoughts toward his girlfriend or fiance. In the future, before you slander an innocent person, you should research your subject well. Or you just might find YOURSELF sued, paying libel attorneys fees, and in a court of law with a slander and libel action against you. And ALSO subpoenaed in Joyce's slander and libel action aginst TABLOID's producer who has spread this filth with Pr teams and his publicity people to publicize this sick film--at Joyce's expense. She has suffered unimaginable agony due to this film, and her mother tried to commit suicide and is now in a coma, provable by medical records coinciding with the media harrasment after TALBOID PR people began spreading the garbage and resurrecting the old pain once again. Morris and Lipson will be sued, so let's hope they make a lot of money on this trashy film so they can pay Joyce's mothers medical bills as well as for the intense emtional pain this filth has caused her, by repeated slander by nuts like you who continue to slander her just to have a "story". So get this libelous garbage OFF of here, or get your suit pressed, we'll see you in court! Make NO mistake about it.

By truthteller on July 14, 2011

I have no idea who is posting these, or if they're just some kind of po-mo promotional stunt. But somebody sure knows how to sell a movie!

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