Private Sydney

Twitter tiff ... Charlotte Dawson.

Twitter tiff ... Charlotte Dawson.

NO LONGER are celebrity bunfights confined to dimly lit cocktail parties. Thanks to the miracle of social media website Twitter, we all get ringside seats when the ''stars'' collide.

However, even PS had to look away after being sprayed with virtual blood sitting ringside to this week's Twitter tussle between former supermodel and television personality Charlotte Dawson and the ever-controversial lawyer Chris Murphy.

It all started when Dawson tweeted her support of Derryn Hinch's decision to flaunt the law and name a convicted paedophile on his radio program. She ended up becoming the meat in a very crusty Hinch/Murphy sandwich, with Murphy biting hard.

Murphy, famous for his string of high-profile clients including his latest, the troubled actor Matthew Newton, unleashed an attack on Dawson over her position.

A few of the gems include tweeting to Dawson: ''@MsCharlotteD be alone. look at yourself. no kids. hurting other ppls by bursting to tell everyone they've been molested. Shame on you.'' He also poked fun at her ''charity work'' and questioned how many cocktail parties she went to each week.

Dawson shot back: ''You've challenged every piece of my integrity you demoralize innocent people for a living defending criminals @chrismurphys shame on you,'' as well as ''Murphy has dragged every piece of me through the wringer today. He's good at what he does.''

And on it went, from Dawson bringing up her own painful past, including being a victim of a paedophile and her inability to conceive a child, to having suffered from mental health issues.

And as the hours wore on, the fatigue set in. Dawson finally flew the white flag in surrender.

Murphy later offered to kiss and make up, away from the keyboard and face to face.

A somewhat beleaguered Dawson is yet to take up the invitation.

 

Caught in the crossfire of a fat attack

AJAY ROCHESTER is in a bind: she gets more attention when she is ''fat'' than she does when she is slim. Rochester, whose various travails including Centrelink fraud (which she paid back) are well documented, has made a living out of being a highly publicised yo-yo dieter.

She's written books on the topic, featured in countless magazines and bleated incessantly about it on radio and television.

Now she has been caught in the cellulite cross-fire, losing a $50,000 endorsement deal with a fitness website, 1select, during which she gained 18 kilograms to go on Channel Nine's spectacular ratings flop, Excess Baggage.

Describing a life-long battle with the bulge, Rochester says she lodged a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Board months ago, accusing the founder of 1select, Justin Burden, of firing her because she was ''too fat''.

The board was unable to verify the claim had been lodged due to its confidentiality policy. Burden told PS he had not received any formal notification from the board.

He accused Rochester of ''deliberately gaining weight'' to get on Excess Baggage and that she was ''taking me for a ride'', claiming that when he signed her to spruik his fledgling online fitness business she was much slimmer, but purposely ''blew up'' during the course of the contract to go on Excess Baggage. He estimates he spent $22,000 on Rochester, including return flights for her and son Kai from Los Angeles, and a $14,000 cash payment.

In return Rochester managed to do 25 minutes and 10 seconds worth of radio interviews, but she only talked about his brand for one minute and 50 seconds.

''She promised me the world, boasted about her media contacts and how she would get on all these shows. Most of it never eventuated.''

Rochester denied the accusations and fired back: ''There was no clause in my contract [with Burden] saying I could not change my appearance … I was so embarrassed by my weight gain, I told a few people that I gained weight for it [Excess Baggage].''

Rochester has enlisted controversial gay activist Gary Burns, who successfully pursued John Laws over his ''pillow biter'' commentary a few years back, to act as her advocate.

However, Burns has taken a somewhat novel approach, emailing Burden in February asking for his residential address as he was ''hiring a bus with 200 fat people to protest with loudspeakers outside your home because of Ms Rochester's Anti-Discrimination Complaint lodged against you''.

Burden said: ''Just like the other promises, the bus never turned up either.''

Flower arrangements

FOR weeks the wall of party planner John Flower's South Melbourne office has resembled Winston Churchill's war room.

Flower is the man charged with one of the most challenging jobs in the country: accommodating some of television's biggest egos by artfully managing the seating arrangements for next weekend's Logie Awards.

A huge map has been glued to his wall, colour coded to denote ''battle lines'' between warring networks and personalities. Famous names are scrawled in pencil, then rubbed out and replaced with another as the political landscape emerges for television's night of nights.

With nearly 1000 people to accommodate, Flower says: ''It is hugely political in terms of who sits where and where each table should be positioned.

''We tend to put the host's tables, TV Week and its parent company ACP, in the middle of the room. They act like Switzerland between the warring factions, so on either side of the host table we will have Channel Nine and Channel Seven, as they are the biggest rivals. Radiating out from those we use Channel Ten, ABC, SBS and Foxtel as a buffer zone.''

Nominees are given preferential treatment, usually sitting at the main tables close to the stage with their respective network bigwigs.

It will be interesting to see the reaction between Seven boss David Leckie and his master, billionaire Kerry Stokes, as they lay eyes on former colleague James Warburton. Warburton defected to run Ten.

NOT SO ROSY

They say it is hard to get good ''help'' these days, but PS is unsure what to make of the spat that has erupted between celebrity DJ Ruby Rose and her former personal assistant, Khyl Ty-Rhys. PS has heard all sorts of tales of woe, with claims Sydney-based Ty-Rhys was left ''abandoned'' at Perth Airport en route to Hong Kong after missing his flight due to a hectic list of demands placed on him by Rose. The lawyers have been called in but both sides are keeping schtum on the matter. Meanwhile, Ty-Rhys is marketing his services online, with his website describing the young chap as: ''the consummate Personal Assistant.

The equivalent of a bespoke suit; tailored to your specifications ensuring you feel comfortable, look phenomenal and emerge prepared. A truly dedicated, impeccably organised and highly motivated Right Hand Man.''

 

STAR SHENANIGANS

Following the heavy partying the night before for the grand opening of Marquee nightclub at the Star last Friday, the legion of VIP guests (well, let's face it, some of them more VIP than others) could be forgiven for feeling a little sheepish about venturing out of the casino complex last Saturday morning. But what to make of former Home and Away starlet Isabel Lucas's bizarre shenanigans? The paparazzi took no notice of the young actor as she emerged, but she still put in a good performance for the people having breakfast overlooking the scene. Lucas proceeded to duck and weave behind pillars, despite them having no interest in her. She then had the hotel valet drive her hatchback around the corner from the hotel so she could evade any telescopic lenses. She need not have bothered.

 

FROM PARIS, WITH LOVE

The Parisians have fallen head over heels with our Cate Blanchett, currently performing in the city of light with the Sydney Theatre Company's production of Gross und Klein. The French love Blanchett so much that on Thursday she was decorated with the Chevalier of Arts and Letters by Frederic Mitterand, France's Minister of Culture. Only 200 Chevalier honours are granted each year, with the recipients receiving a medallion to be worn on a ribbon on their left breast in recognition of their contribution to the arts. Blanchett is in good company; among the other Australians who have received France's highest cultural award is none other than Kylie Minogue.