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NEW YORK — Just days after allegedly being slapped by a peeved French magazine editor, public relations veteran Lynn Tesoro is fighting back — with a $1 million lawsuit.
Tesoro filed a summons with notice Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court against Marie-José Susskind-Jalou, president of Jalou publishing house, and her daughters, Jennifer Eymere and Vanessa Bellugeon of Jalouse and L’Officiel magazines, respectively. At least $1 million is being sought to recover damages for “assault, battery, emotional distress, slander and/or libel.” In addition to what is described as the defendants’ physical assault and battery, the complaint references the defendants’ subsequent defamatory statements about Tesoro and her business.
Tesoro and Chis Giglio, executive vice president of her public relations company HL Group, declined comment Wednesday.
Tesoro’s attorney Peter D’Agostino did not respond to requests for comment at press time. The incident in question took place half an hour before the start of Zac Posen’s show. As first reported in WWD, fire marshals decided to pull 60 seats from the designer’s mostly front-row Avery Fisher Hall venue. Posen’s PR firm, HL Group, hustled to get things back in order.
Witnesses said Susskind-Jalou grew impatient about not having a seat, though HL Group cofounder Tesoro was allegedly trying to find her one. Tempers flared and, according to reports, the trio exchanged heated words with the PR veteran, who was eventually slapped in the face. Tesoro confirmed the incident happened, but declined to comment further Monday.
While Eymere took full credit for the action Monday, one person familiar with the situation said it was her mother, Susskind-Jalou, who struck Tesoro. There were said to be about six HL Group employees within earshot during the altercation.
“It was a ‘Whoa’ kind of moment,” the source said. “On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being a knockout punch and one being a pat on the cheek, it was a five. The sound could be heard.” In an interview with WWD Monday, Eymere insisted Tesoro had been inappropriate to her mother, saying that she first had to seat other people. The French editor also said she warned Tesoro not to “speak to my mom like this.”
She told WWD, “It was a small slap. It was not strong. I didn’t hurt her, it was just to humiliate her. She humiliated my mom, and I humiliated her in front of her crew. Voilà. I just said at the end, ‘Now you know you don’t f--k with French people.’”
Eymere could not be reached for comment Wednesday.