A staffer from Rubenstein Communications "coached" Kanye West through his apology to President George W. Bush and subsequent sparring with the "Today" show and host Matt Lauer last week, according to a report in the New York Times.
But the media trainer -- Rubenstein executive VP Susie Arons -- quit after West's interview was nixed and then rescheduled by his "handlers," according to the New York Post.
According to the Times:
Mr. West wanted to use his interview to answer Mr. Bush, and the gravity of responding to the former president was not lost on him. To help him formulate his language for his answer, Mr. West turned to Rubenstein, a firm that represents numerous celebrity and corporate clients and also consults in damage-control situations.
West became visibly irritated during his apology-appearance on "Today" when the show's producers ran archived footage of him. He subsequently pulled the plug on a planned Nov. 26 appearance on the show to promote a new album.
The Times said West's appearance was initially canceled after the recording artist's "handlers" didn't think Bush's comments warranted a response. The paper said "for unknown reasons" West's team re-booked the interview but his rep at Rubenstein was initially unaware of that and "had to hurry to NBC’s studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza to meet him and his team there."
West seemed to confirm the Times account when he posted on Twitter: "NY Times has a pretty accurate account of the way the whole Today Show thing went down. Good job guys!"
According to a show insider, "West shut himself in a dressing room with Susie, and could be heard rehearsing possible questions and answers. But the interview began, and it was as though he had crammed for a test and then his mind went blank."
The Post said Arons resigned over the weekend after the "disastrous" interview aired Thursday.