Jessica Simpson, Stampede Sic Their Lawyer on FrontBurner

Loyal readers of FrontBurner will recall this post from earlier in the week, announcing the news that Jessica Simpson was acquiring an interest in local brewer Stampede and also serving as the vitamin beer’s pitchwoman. Accompanying the post was a photograph of J-Simp and Stampede founder Lawrence Schwartz. Hard to say how I got that photograph. But comes to me now a letter from some haughty, fancy-pants attorney by the name of Ray Balestri, who threatens to ring Mike Boone if I don’t take down the image immediately because I don’t have the authority to display it.

So whatever. I’ve taken it down. But the comments to that original post will live forever. Thank you, Dallas.


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66 responses to “Jessica Simpson, Stampede Sic Their Lawyer on FrontBurner”

  1. amandacobra says:

    Can someone please find a way to tie this in with the Carrie Underwood/”I check Tony’s call log” radio interview story from yesterday? Maybe as some sort of example of the Simpson clan’s insistence on always taking the high road?

    Jessica Checks Tony’s Call Log

  2. JB says:

    It was nice of the “fancy-pants attorney” and friend of Frontburner to offer to buy the first round at Al’s for the trouble of the photo removal. Now that is southern hospitality!

  3. Ray Balestri says:


    You probably could have shaken me down for the whole tab at Al’s if you had held out. You’ve been a prince, and I won’t forget it.


  4. Tim Rogers says:

    And just so everyone knows: I consider Ray Balestri a friend. Make no mistake: he is haughty and fancy-pantsed. But he’s eaten dinner at my house. I figure publishing that fact will cause him no small discomfort.

  5. Ex-employee, ex-subscriber says:

    Glad you cleared that up Tim, was beginning to worry that mr “be a dear” and “i’ll buy the first round” was headed for man-crush territory.

  6. J Paul says:

    Well, J-Simp did look portly in that picture.

  7. dumb young kid reporter says:

    My favorite part is the paragraph that starts with, “So be a dear, and please take it down with all due haste.”

    When was the last time a man referred to another grown man as “dear” in a cease and desist letter? Or ever for that matter.

    Sounds like the beginning of a new magazine column: Dear Tim…

  8. publicnewsense says:

    It’s real smart to turn down free advertising for a beer nobody ever really pays attention to unless they’re being handed out with irony at a Mensa party.

  9. jrp says:

    what’s that about no publicity is bad publicity? as long as they spell the name correctly, right?

    no doubt sales of D-Bag Light, er, i mean, Stampede Light will soar as we near the Labor Day holiday weekend

    although why anyone would voluntarily drink light beer or beer that claims to be good for you is beyond me

  10. yvonne says:

    Remind them of all this when they send pictures and want free publicity without advertising in D!!!

  11. NotTheirFault says:

    If I read that letter correctly, it was not Stampede’s decision to take the image down. They didn’t appear to have the rights to it, either. If anything, they seem to be helping D Mag stay out of legal hot water. That’s how I read it, anyway.

  12. LOC says:

    so i guess needing a picture with every post comes at a price – careful out there with what you pick up and publish! it might buy you a lawsuit!

  13. Bethanys Bowels says:

    Have you noticed when Tim trashes someone that he follows up with a comment about what a buddy that person is? That is the sign of a true humanitarian. Kudo’s to you and yours and all the Dallas Cowboy Cheeleaders and alcoholics.

  14. Ray Balestri Jr. says:

    IF Ray Balestri is such a “friend” as Tim asserts, why would he write a letter? Why not just call. I call shenanigans.

    Its no small wonder D has so many lawsuits…

  15. Zac Crain says:

    Oh, no. Not shenanigans. Not here. Not now. Not from you, man. Not from you.

  16. Ray Balestri says:

    Dear “Ray Balestri Jr.”:

    You’re clearly no son of mine, because he would have intuited the obvious answer: I can bill more for a letter.

  17. DM says:

    This place is much more fun than TMZ today

  18. Ex-employee, ex-subscriber says:

    I knew there was a billable hours angle in here someplace….. its an analogy question the Bar Exam:

    Water is to life as billable hours are to ?

  19. Nate says:

    I’m sure your “dear” friend forgot to mention that your first round at Al’s was going to be Stampede Light, nothing else. He needs to support his client.

  20. Adman says:

    Hey Ray, should I send the lawsuit to you for your client’s unpaid advertising bills?

  21. Josh Pearson says:

    I was just sitting here thinking, I bet that stinks for Stampede to have pay lawyer fees on a letter asking FB to take down an image that they, themselves, don’t have rights to. Seems like the letter should’ve come from the agency or photographer who owns the rights to the photo in question. But, maybe they haven’t eaten dinner at Tim’s house…

  22. Bill Marvel says:

    Dubious law being practiced — or at any rate, threatened — here. A good lawyer might argue that the image falls under the rubric of legitimate news, like, for example, those pictures of next-year’s model cars that are sometimes smuggled to the media. Celebs can control advertising use of their image. It’s a little harder to control legitimate news use. The fact that JS did not release the image to the beer folks probably would not change this.
    At any rate it would make for a real interesting court case and I, for one, am a little disappointed D caved so readily.

  23. Tom says:

    Another chink in the armor in regards to the “photo with every post” rule.

  24. Bill Marvel says:

    “authority to display it,” indeed! Where do lawyers get this stuff?

  25. CBS says:

    what do “or course” mean? A good legal secretary is so hard to find anymore.

    All in good fun. I am glad to see lawyers with a sense of humor while still protecting their clients. The way the practice is suppossed to work.

  26. bleacherbum says:

    Has anyone checked out the John Edwards connection to this story? Come on Wick..Practice what you preach!

  27. rollin says:

    All I know is, I have a writable disk, a roll of quarters and a kinkos down the street.

    I’m off to deface the Rolex building!

  28. jamesn says:

    Josh has a point, and while I’m sure Balestri has a nice and shinny law diploma hanging in his office, it appears he and his client have no standing. Ray admits in the letter that his client has no right to the image, so it’s hard to understand what basis he has for claiming that D doesn’t have rights to the image either.

    Since FrontBurner is a press outlet, I’d argue that the publishing the picture falls under fair use.

  29. Tey says:

    First the hair cut…then then Prius!

    I knew Tim was a dear!

  30. Jay says:

    Are we seriously getting our legal briefs in a bunch over a pic of Tony Romo’s girlfriend and a wanna be micro beer baron?

    (help me out Bethany, what gets hyphenated?)

  31. J Paul says:

    Nick Lachey got her hyphen….oh wait.

  32. JS says:

    Dear Gay Not Gay,
    I am a local magazine honcho who has received a letter from a man who may have had dinner at my house once (NTTAWWT). As I recall, everyone’s pants remained on during the dinner and were duly secured via zipper, button, or other fastening mechanism. Said pants also covered all appropriate areas. However, I recently received a letter from said individual asking me to “be a dear.” Question: If I let him buy me a Stampede Light, do I have to sleep with him?
    Magazine Guy

  33. bleacherbum says:

    Jay – I’m filling in for Miss Grammar today. “Ray Fancypants is self important.” In that sentence, the words “self important” do not require a hypen. But if you write: “Ray Fancypants is a self-important lawyer,” than you need the hyphen. If you want to know why, you’ll have to ask Bethany. My head hurts.

  34. Blogjacker says:

    Dear JS,
    Verdict: gay

  35. Better Girl Than Her says:

    Jessica Simpson is a talentless cow and I’m grateful to Ray Balestri for making D take her photo down.

  36. JS says:

    Dear Better Girl Than Her:
    I believe you are udderly incorrect.

    P.S. Please post a picture next time.

  37. Bring It says:

    Wondering aloud: Could Ray perhaps reimburse us for the time spent reading the Marty Cortland pieces?

  38. Towski says:

    Thank god Casey didn’t lawyer up.

  39. Try paying for a pic when you use it!

  40. EJ says:

    J Paul – Jessica’s picture was beautiful. She didn’t look anywhere near “portly” but based on your hyphen comment…you’re one of those who could stand to gain some class, yours is a little on the anorexic side.

  41. here2there says:

    Dear Better Girl dreaming of being Jessica. You call her talentless? Are you blind? Oh to be so talentless but so so rich. What’s in your wallet?

  42. She is Broke says:

    Dear here2there,

    See “dating Tony Romo”

    Then see, “album sold 3 copies”

  43. Bethany says:

    Sorry – I was doing actual work, then I made spaghetti, which was also work.

    You need the hyphen in the latter, and not the former, because in the latter, self-important is modifying lawyer.

    But micro-beer did need a hyphen, because it modifies baron.

    bleacherbum, I told you this stuff isn’t as easy as I make it look.

  44. J.Paul says:

    Dear EJ, “class” is not part of a Jessica Simpson menu. She looked like a cow in that picture….mooooo! It’s probably why they asked D to go bulemic and purge it.

  45. here2there says:

    Dear She is Broke. If she’s the definition of broke – I want in. She has sold over 12,000,000 albums worldwide and Proactive pays her $20,000,000 as their spokesperson. Ranked #64 out of Forbes top 100 in 05 and she has banked it well and I guess you haven’t seen her clothing line at Macy’s. The girl is smart! And Rich, and beautiful, and nice at that. Check your facts if you can get your jealousy out of the way. Neither Tony nor Jessica are fools – just can’t believe they don’t get more credit in DFW – even Tom Brady who left his baby’s mama gets treated better than Romo. Again, what’s in your wallet?

  46. Better Girl Than Her says:

    here2there – seriously. It’s not jealousy. As a professional woman who has earned my success with my brains and smarts – two totally different things- and I look pretty darn decent to boot, I can assure you that it isn’t insecurity or jealously that drives me to comment that Jessica Simpson is a talentless cow. And she’s probably dumb too, but maybe she can’t help that. Have you ever heard her sing? Seen her act? Read an interview? Met her dad? Seen her thighs up close? I actually have done all of those things so I really do feel somewhat confident about my original statement. Lots of love to you. I’m sure Jessica appreciates your support.

  47. SLR says:

    Dear “Better Girl Than Her”:

    You mean, “Better Girl Than She.” It’s called an ellipsis. It’s a shortened version of “I’m a better girl than she is.” (You wouldn’t say, “I’m a better girl than her is,” right?)


  48. here2there says:

    Professional woman? You display anything but. And cow? You’re crazy. More like dumb as a fox is what I’ve heard about Jessica and her bank account backs it up. She’s had good stuff and some bad no doubt but there’s plenty in that crowd – she’s made it, and I do wish her well. The fact you have to talk up your own success and compliment your own looks and send lots of love to someone you don’t know says plenty about you. P.S. It’s a shame you’re close enough to see her thighs and her dad and yet you have a knife in her back. If they knew, I bet they wouldn’t let you that near them again.

  49. EJ says:

    Dear J Paul – so now I’m wishing I was a cow and looked that good. Seriously J Paul – a cow? Then you must be a whale because I guarantee you are bigger than she is aren’t you? Come on, how many rolls are hanging over your pants right now? Oh, and it looks like it was a legal thing is why the pic was deleted you size 0 lovin fool. (jealousy and envy are so interesting).

  50. MushMouth says:

    Mrs. Ed should never be compared to a cow.

  51. Lisa says:

    That is the most charming demand letter I have ever read. Kudos, R. Balestri.

  52. Puddin'Tane says:

    Simp is talentless. If you wrap shit in a beatuiful package then it will sell (Spears too). Any and everything that has happen concerning Simpson is due to the promo team/machine surrounding her….and Dad.

    Horny and hungry men will buy anything.

    Remember Twinkies? They are still on the market.

  53. JS says:

    I’m confused — are the twinkies for the horny or hungry man?

  54. Renee says:

    Actually, you would also hyphenate “self-important” in the first sentence as well (Ray Fncypants is self-important.”) When a modifer that would be hyphenated if it occurred before a moun occurs after a form of the verb “to be”, it’s hyphenated, per AP Stylebook.

  55. Renee says:

    And of course if you hyphenate, you’re allowed to leave a letter out of “Fncypants” (sorry bout that!)

  56. MIssing Dots says:

    What I would do to be able to view her thighs up close….

  57. Betsy says:

    To Better Girl than Her who in spite of your own self proclaimed success has never been on the Forbes list like Jessica: Looks like you’re NOT anything better. So this is all about talent now? Yeah right. I would trade with her in a heartbeat. Dumb as a fox is right on the money, all the way to the bank. And I must confess that I have hers & Nick’s Christmas CD and she makes it fantastic. Yeah, that’s right. Fantastic! Her “Santa Baby” is one of the best versions out there. I like the beer too and they are selling it like crazy:) Looks like BEAUTY sells.

  58. Better Girl Than She says:

    Better Girl – You are the epitome of why Dallas girls get called “bitches”. Please stop poisoning my home town wih the inability to be kind, even to those who are self-seemingly lesser than yourself. Maybe you could consider it “charity” if it helps the medicine go down.

  59. SweetSuccess says:

    Kudos to all for doing their job: J.Simp for keeping us busy with her business while we should all be working, the beer for keeping spice in a pretty mundane industry, Ray for keeping his clients (and his clients’ clients happy) and for D Magazine for managing to publish three different blog pages on the exact same story.

    Now that’s coverage for the people of Dallas that care!

  60. TonyRomo says:

    Can we all stop dissing my girlfriend and get the focus back on me?

  61. UpNotDown says:

    Oh man, here’s to the Girl Better than the not Better than Her girl! You go girl! Well said and so very true! We should love our J.Simpson as much if not more than they do in Tinseltown! May Jessica and Stampede and all of us have much success, or at least the best wishes from others to do so!

  62. He Kexin says:

    Hope this doesn’t end up like those blue jeans she tried pushing on the public. She’ll likely get caught drinking a Bud at a Cowboy game.

  63. Bill Marvel says:

    Y’all make talk radio sound like nuclear physics.
    That’s why I love blogs — so informative, so full of clear thought and incisive argument. And THIS is the medium that supposed to replace print???

  64. ScurvyOaks says:

    “Dear “Ray Balestri Jr.”:

    You’re clearly no son of mine, because he would have intuited the obvious answer: I can bill more for a letter.”

    Well played, fancy pants. Plus, you clearly had a lot of fun writing the letter.

  65. The Other Marty Cortland says:


    I’ve been in court for the past two days in The Fight Of My Life — and only resurface to find that THE GAYEST POSTING ON FRONTBURNER EVER transpired while I was so deluged.