Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter announced on Thursday that he will step down from the role after 25 years in which his magazine made Hollywood parties great again, alternately fascinated and alienated celebrities, politicians and business titans, and even got a few news scoops.
At 68, Carter said it was “simply time” for him to move on and explore other things. The veteran told the New York Times that his plan is to leave the magazine at the peak of its achievements. “I want to leave while the magazine is on top. I want to leave while it’s in vibrant shape, both in the digital realm and the print realm. And I wanted to have a third act — and I thought, time is precious,” he quipped.
He had planned to leave a little earlier, he told Vanity Fair in an interview published online, but he wanted to witness the spectacle of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Dummy Graydon Carter doesn't like me too much…great news. He is a real loser! @VanityFair
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2012
Carter has for years had a gleefully hostile relationship with Trump, ever since he attacked the then swaggering New York property tycoon as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in Spy, a magazine Carter co-founded in 1986, prior to ascending to Vanity Fair in 1992 as successor to Tina Brown. In June this year, he excoriated Trump in a widely-read editorial.
Perhaps Carter’s most obvious flourishes were the A-list parties he created and hosted each year in Los Angeles after the Oscars, and the magazine’s complementary annual Hollywood issue with a fold-out portfolio of stars lavishly photographed by Annie Leibovitz, whom Carter turned helped turn into a legend.
But the magazine also honed its reputation with serious business and crime investigations, impeccably reported news analysis and a who’s who of upcoming business hotshots, moguls, and upstarts from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, which it called the New Establishment.
Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
Carter is also known to have a longstanding feud with Donald Trump which goes as far back as 1988 when Carter described Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in an article in Spy magazine. In 2012, Trump tweeted, “Can’t wait for Vanity Fair to fold which, under Graydon Carter, will be sooner rather than later.” He later described the journalist as a “loser.”
Rumor has it that the grubby head of failing @VanityFair Magazine, "Sloppy" Graydon Carter, is going to be fired or replaced very soon?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2015
For his part, Carter has appeared to relish Trump’s hatred, hanging a wall full of framed Trump tweets outside his office in One World Trade Center.
“He’s tweeted about me 42 times, all in the negative,” Mr. Carter said. “So I blew up all the tweets and I framed them all. They’re all on a wall — this is the only wall Trump’s built — outside my office. There’s a space left for one more tweet to complete the bottom line. So if he does, I’m just going to call our framer, and say we need one more.”