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Fleury interview ignites firestorm in Chicago

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Russell's Theo Fleury inadvertently caused a bit of a stir in the Chicago media last week during his continuing tour to promote his book, Playing with Fire.

Fleury was being interviewed by WGN anchor Allison Payne live on-air last Thursday when she revealed that she had used the same 12-step 'sponsor' Fleury later used in Chicago when he was first trying to get sober.

That was the first time Payne had publicly admitted she had addiction issues and it was immediately picked up in other Chicago media, who'd long speculated about what was behind a series of increasingly bizarre on-air appearances — slurred speech, glassy eyes, strange behavior — that ultimately led to Payne losing the supper-hour WGN anchor chair she had held for 18 years.

Station execs and the anchor had long maintained the problems were the result of some small strokes Payne had suffered.

Not surprisingly then, the Chicago media jumped on the admission by Payne to Fleury.

And that's where it surely would have ended, except Payne was incensed by the resultant publicity — particularly a post by a Chicago media blogger — suggesting her privacy had been somehow violated and the whole thing misconstrued.

How someone can claim privacy for something they just talked about live on TV is another matter, but Payne let loose on the blogger on her Facebook page in a rant written — like all great internet rants — in all capital letters.

And now the Fleury segment is absent from the WGN website, even while Payne is telling other media — the story's now a national one in the U.S. — that she's proud of her recovery and has nothing to hide.

Strange.

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