(This article was recently featured on my Huffington Post contributor site: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/sweiss-904)
A no-frills, anonymous gossip website has gotten to be the talk of Tinsletown…And New York…and so far beyond. Crazy Days and Nights (crazydaysandnights.net, commonly referred to as CDAN) has been around for over a decade and garners millions of page views per months. However, the site only recently came to my attention while I was following the outrageous behind-the-scenes drama of a reality show. Many viewers began to reach out to me and ask: “Have you seen this?” Whether the gossip seemed believable or completely far-fetched, I would end up perusing the CDAN blinds, eager to piece together the clues and figure them out.
I quickly learned that in 2017, CDAN had become more popular than ever before. It turns out that the website alluded to the Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and James Franco stories, bringing them to many readers’ attention well-before the accounts became news and #MeToo started trending.
Run by someone who refers to himself as “Enty”, a self-described entertainment lawyer, CDAN’s items are craftily created in a way that leaves you guessing and with a nagging sense of uncertainty. The items are so deliberately murky at times that you’re often wrong in your conjecture. If and when the timing is right, a CDAN blind gets its “reveal” – usually as the big event in Hollywood is happening, or just as the scandal is about to become news.
Once you start perusing the CDAN site, it can become awfully addictive, so consider yourself forewarned! You also quickly discover the competitor websites offering their own blind items (which in my opinion, are not as cleverly worded as CDAN’s). After recently noticing that a salacious post was removed from a CDAN competitor’s site, and subsequently hearing that site may have been served with a Cease and Desist as impetus for that removal, I had to wonder how Enty manages to avoid lawsuits himself.
According to Vanity Fair, https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2016/10/crazy-days-and-nights-enty-interview, CDAN has impressively evaded legal backlash in the years since its inception:
“Enty operates with the belief that he’s under minimal threat of legal repercussion, and he’s used to publicists turning a blind eye to his items. Therefore, he says, no celebrities are immune to being subjects on Crazy Days and Nights. Still, he has a code when it comes to the reveals process. He says he won’t out anyone, he won’t talk about people’s children, and he publishes kindness items about stars who do charitable acts sans publicity: “It’s this whole culture of, ‘Oh, I have to stay in front of the cameras,’” he says. “That’s the kinda behavior I really don’t like. That’s the kind of thing I expose.”
This isn’t uncommon. Each gossip site has its own unique set of rules for its own protection. Unlike Enty, Elaine Lui ofprotects herself from litigation by never posting reveals and writing her blinds as riddles. “The reason they’re written as a riddle is a form of protection for the source and consequently myself,” Lui told Vanity Fair. Stars’ reps seem to have bigger fish to fry than the people posting the items—they’re just messengers, she reasons.”.
Since Enty is so incredibly elusive, I could only contact him via email. Following is our correspondence for The Huffington Post:
How did you come up with the idea for this site? My readers would love to know some background.
Blind items have always been obscure. I’m sure each writer has their own way of writing them. With me, I like to make sure the clues are challenging enough for people. You don’t want it to be too easy. I also try to make it like a SAT question. There are several good choices, but there is only one correct choice.
The media recently highlighted that CDAN brought attention to the Weinstein & Spacey stories before they really made the news. Give me a sense of what it’s been like for Crazy Days And Nights in a post Weinstein era?
For the past 11 years, I have been writing blinds and telling stories about the people who do good in Hollywood, but also those that need to be exposed. That mission has been the goal from the first several months. I wanted people to see a side of the entertainment industry that you you never see in the supermarket kiss-butt tabloids. There is no way on this earth that any of those tabloids would do anything to endanger the access to celebrities they think they need to survive. I don’t care about access. I don’t care about getting some nothing interview about the release of a record or a movie that tells you nothing but what you have agreed to beforehand with multiple layers of bureaucracy surrounding the celebrity.
Who writes for Crazy Days and Nights besides Enty?
I have been writing the site from day one. One guy. If there is ever any other contributions, they are named, whether it be Mr. X or Himmmm. Even accounting for those two, I would guess that I have written about 99% of the approximate 60K posts.
What types of stories are you currently working on?
I don’t really work on stories in the sense of some type of timeline. I write about what I can dig up that day. If I don’t have enough information about a story or think there might be some more coming in about a topic, I might hold it to see, but there is no planning.
Which types of stories are garnering the most attention? Which get the least? What makes an enticing blind item today?
I think gossip readers each have the things they love the most. Some like Old Hollywood. Some like Kindness items (if a celebrity is involved with a charity or some good cause that they’re not public about). Some like items from the 80’s or 90’s. I really try and give a mix. The thing is to find not only the right blend, but also things that are juicy enough. I might get 100 tips a day, but maybe 75% are about people no one has heard of. That doesn’t mean I don’t hang on to them – in case they move up the list – but they need to be known so people have a chance of guessing. They also need to be interesting. So, out of those 100 tips, there might be 4 or 5 that make the lineup for the day combined with things I dig up on my own.
Do major news outlets and investigative journalists reach out to you for information after writing an item? If so, how do you handle their inquiries?
I get contacted a lot by reporters and news outlets. Some of my best friends are reporters or writers. They will often share things with me they don’t have enough sources to support or that their editors don’t want to run. A lot of those tips have been blockbusters which editors probably wish they had a second chance at.
How would you respond to the critics who say blind items are completely made up?
I can’t speak for other blind item sites, but I think that me revealing items on a daily basis for over a decade would show my blind items are real. I would also ask those same critics who write for tabloids how many times Jennifer Aniston was pregnant without having a baby. I would ask the critics who are publicists why they lie for their clients or make up stories that aren’t true.