Madness Under The Royal Palms - Other Controversies

Other Controversies

The author created a row in Palm Beach when he accused the Society Editor of the Palm Beach Daily News, Shannon Donnelly, of receiving a gift (or gifts) from a wealthy socialite in exchange for coverage that would elevate the resident's social status. The newspaper has defended Donnelly, and the issue is currently under investigation by reporters. Publisher Joyce Reingold has criticized Madness Under The Royal Palms of inaccuracies, although specific examples were not made.

As a result of the book's popularity, Leamer has been interviewed by numerous media associations, and has openly discussed touchy subjects including the social psychology of the Island's Jewish community, anti-Semitism among the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs), the "old money" disdain for new money, including resident and Mar-a-Lago owner Donald Trump, and a tiered caste-type system among the wealthy as reflected in the exclusive clubs.

Leamer discusses the social scene and the backgrounds of the Island's high society clubs including the Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach Country Club and the Bath & Tennis Club. In his book, he claims that the elite organizations have very exclusive and discriminating acceptance policies. As a response to Leamer's portrayal of the Palm Beach Country Club, a place where Leamer says he had often been invited as a dinner guest, Leamer claims he was blacklisted from ever entering the Club. Leamer has not specifically criticized the Palm Beach Jewish Community, but many members have expressed outrage over his comments and have interpreted his words as an ethnic attack. The author has responded by stating that he is also a Palm Beach resident, with many close Jewish friends and associates; his description of the social structure, he claims, are anthropological and social observations that are common knowledge among the local community. Leamer pays many accolades to the philanthropic contributions of the Palm Beach Jewish Community both in his book and in the subsequent interviews. In his WGBH interview, Leamer stated that Bernard Madoff's impact on charities is a testimony to the charitable benefactors in the Jewish community. Had many of the Madoff investors not been Jewish, according to Leamer, the charities would not have felt such an impact. In the interview, Leamer spoke very highly of the intellectual Jewish Community of Boston, who represented a large number of the Jewish elite in Palm Beach.

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