Questions raised about George Regan award Hub PR exec denies using ethnic slur
An ex-Boston magazine scribe insists Boston PR man George Regan called him an ethnic slur, and now there’s a call to block one of the country’s biggest civil rights organizations from honoring the Hub spinmeister.
Regan denies calling John Gonzalez a “wetback,” but the writer is sticking by his story.
“It’s 100 percent true,” Gonzalez told MediaBiz yesterday.
Gonzalez said he was working on a piece about the Herald’s Inside Track reporters in 2006 when he called Regan for a comment. Regan represented both the Herald and Boston magazine at the time. (The Herald is no longer a Regan client.)
“I call him for a comment, and he freaks out and he starts screaming at me. We’re going back and forth, and it just escalated out of nowhere and he said, ‘You listen to me, you (expletive) wetback,’ ” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said Boston magazine brought Regan in for a sitdown and the PR king said, “if I said what you think I said and that offended you then I’m sorry.”
Regan said yesterday that he never apologized. “I never apologized because I did nothing wrong. I apologized for losing my temper,” he said.
“I know my business very well,” Regan added. “I know how words can hurt. You don’t have to say anything discriminatory to make your point. And if you have to resort to name-calling, you probably don’t belong in the business.”
The Anti-Defamation League of New England – a Regan client – plans to bestow the media bigshot with its top honor Sept. 9, when Regan will be feted by hundreds at its annual leadership dinner at the John F. Kennedy Library.
The event co-chairs include a bevy of Regan clients, including Legal Sea Foods czar Roger Berkowitz, Suffolk Construction honcho John Fish and Entercom radio exec Julie Kahn.
Berkowitz said he’s known Regan for over 20 years and said he’s never made any derogatory or inflammatory comments about anyone. “It would be completely out of character,” Berkowitz said. “It sounds like someone wants a vendetta.”
Earlier this month, the ADL received an anonymous letter detailing the Gonzalez-Regan exchange.
ADL exec Derrek Shulman said they plan to go ahead and honor Regan because he’s been a tremendous community leader for 25 years. “Apparently, George said no such word or words and there was some kind of misunderstanding,” Shulman said.
Gonzalez says Regan shouldn’t be honored.
“He’s achieved a certain status in Boston through fear-mongering, basically, and somebody needs to stand up to him and call him what he is. He’s a bully,” he said.