WWW- Embattled publisher Judith Regan is defending herself against new claims that she made anti-Semitic slurs.
Two publishing insiders allege the woman behind that O.J. Simpson book regularly compared Jewish people to “rodents.”
“I heard her say it multiple times,” one source told us. “She thought Jews looked or acted like rats. She called them ‘rodentia.'”
Another source said, “I can attest to that. She would call them ‘rodentia.’ She would just say it in passing. Did I ask her why? I didn’t even want to go down that road with her.”
Regan insists that she never uttered those words.
Her powerhouse lawyer Bert Fields said, “She unequivocally denies saying any such thing. She never called Jews rodents or said they looked like rodents. It’s absolutely false. It’s a lie.”
Fields also denied an anonymous claim, posted on Gawker.com, that Regan “was constantly muttering about ‘Jew agents’ in the office and once claimed to staffers that, as a joke, she went through her old apartment building on the upper West Side, took all the Torah scrolls out of the mezuzahs at the doors and replaced them with torn-up dollar bills.”
“It’s absurd,” said the lawyer. “First, I couldn’t open a mezuzah if I tried. But I know she didn’t do it. I don’t think she even said it as a joke.”
Regan was fired last week after she ranted that a “Jewish cabal” was “conspiring” to smear her in the media and ruin her career, a spokesman for her former employer claimed on Monday.
News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch axed Regan – who made millions for his HarperCollins company – after the tirade, which was aimed at a Jewish attorney for the publishing house, Mark Jackson. Fields has denied she ever used the expression “Jewish cabal” and insisted, “She was trying to say to Jackson that Jews particularly should understand, because of the Holocaust, what it’s like to be a victim of the ‘big lie’ in the media.”
One of the people who claims Regan uttered the “rodentia” comment allowed, “I wouldn’t call her anti-Semitic. She was anti-everything. She would use stereotypes against anyone she was mad at: blacks, gays, Irish. It was across-the-board discrimination.”
Fields, who is Jewish, said, “I’ve known Judith for many years. She uses colorful language, but I’ve never heard her use any racial or religious slurs. I can’t speak about sexual orientation.”
Fields accused HarperCollins execs of “conducting a smear campaign” against his client. “There are a lot of people she’s had fights with,” said Fields. “If I find out who’s saying this stuff, I will sue them.”
Fields also blamed HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman for reneging on a promise to let Regan star in a Bravo reality show. ” [Friedman] did it for some trumped-up reason,” said Fields, “as we will demonstrate in our suit against HarperCollins. We’ve been holding our fire. But there’s going to be a lot about Jane Friedman.”
News Corp. spokesman Gary Ginsberg insisted, “There’s no smear campaign.”