The New York Times is reporting that People magazine paid more than cash for first rights to photos of Angelina Jolie's new set of twins. It has previously been reported that People paid $14 million for the photos of Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon, the latest addition to the family of Jolie and husband Brad Pitt. But the Times says the contract also called for People to "offer coverage that would not reflect negatively on [Jolie] or her family."
A spokesman for the magazine denied the claim.
There are a lot of aspects to this story that bother me. If the claim by the Times is true, I would like to heartily condemn People for selling out its sense of journalistic authority. But I'm informed enough to know that this kind of agreement is nothing new. Promises get made. (Including them in contracts would be a new twist, however.) The bottom line is this: $14 million for baby pictures? This is out of control.