Five axed at OK! after row over Des's party

OK!: Des "out-Scrooged Scrooge"

Five senior staff on OK! have lost their jobs following a stormy row over the celebrity magazine’s coverage of owner Richard Desmond’s Christmas party.

It is understood that deputy editor Jim Maloney, staff writer Laura Miller, picture editor Carol Hendry, photographer Matt Keeble and photo librarian Dan Pierce were informed within days of the Christmas break that they had been made redundant.

The unexpected job losses have angered many staff, who felt it was a "knee-jerk" reaction to Desmond’s fury over the feature on his party.

However, editor Nic McCarthy dismissed claims that the cuts were linked to the coverage of the party.

Desmond, who is usually shown proofs before OK! goes to press, is said to have been "livid" that the spread did not contain pictures of certain celebrities and business contacts.

He demanded a number of changes and, according to one insider, the issue was nine hours late going to press.

"The whole team was working hard and half a dozen were working until five o’clock in the morning," the insider said.

"He was livid. He realised he didn’t have every picture of a few business people he wanted and went absolutely mad. He just got angrier and angrier. Whenever he is unhappy he has a tendency to say, ‘There are too many people here having a good time’." But McCarthy told Press Gazette: "The redundancies are not connected in any way shape or form to the feature. Layouts are always changing up until deadline." Maloney, who was not directly involved in the feature but lost his job the day after his wife had given birth, said: "I wasn’t expecting a turkey from Richard Desmond this year but then again I wasn’t expecting a Christmas card to be my P45.

"I think he out-Scrooged Scrooge this year."

By Ruth Addicott

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