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Not long before that story’s publication, Williamson warned her staff not to speak to reporters.Her words, according to witnesses: “You’re f—ing with my livelihood. ” In public, a number of colleagues believe, Williamson’s charismatic lecturing is increasingly undercut by her conduct.Her Project Angel Food, founded in 1989, now provides 330 hot meals daily for homebound AIDS patients in Los Angeles. In private life, Williamson, a self-described “unwed Jewish mother,” shares a smallish two-bedroom Hollywood apartment with her 22-month-old daughter, India Emmaline (whose father she refuses to identify or discuss), and drives a battered seven-year-old Peugeot.
Her treatment of other loyal employees has also caused grumbling in the ranks.
“Meeting someone in Hollywood who is in the entertainment business,” she says, “is like meeting someone in Houston in the oil business. ” Yet beneath the glowing surface of Williamson’s spiritual domain, there are growing undercurrents of dissension and mistrust. But her own ego is going to destroy her.” Among the developments that have most rankled insiders were the disappointing profits of the Divine Design auction.
A number of sources, many of whom are former employees and associates, charge that Williamson’s offstage displays of temper and unchecked ego, as well as a cruelly abrasive management style, are alienating her allies, giving credibility to her detractors and, most damaging of all, beginning to undermine the basis of financial support for her legitimate—and vital—charity work. She’s cruel—unnecessarily—and very controlling,” says one former associate. Expected to generate something like million, it netted only 5,000.
The cavernous hangar at the Santa Monica airport has been transformed on this fall evening into a glittering AIDS-benefit charity auction called Divine Design.
Madonna‘s corset from her Blond Ambition tour and the leather jacket worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator II are among the donated items on the block; Elizabeth Taylor, Anjelica Huston and Daryl Hannah are part of the star-studded turnout.