Adages - Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Slave-driving London ad exec

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Last week, Annabelle Manwaring, a managing director at Leo Burnett in London, was sued by her former maid, Girlja Sujatha, who accused her ex-boss of treating her like a slave. According to the London Evening Standard, 31-year-old Girlja was forced to work 90 hours a week for only $96, toiling away in the million dollar, six-bedroom Highgate home that Annabelle shared with her husband Michael Manwaring, a management consultant, and their four daughters. Girlja was awarded $65,000 by a London employment tribunal.

"I was like their slave," Girlja told the tribunal, according to the Evening Standard. "I was miserable all the time. Sometimes I got no sleep, I felt tired and had headaches. ... She would shout and scream. She was always shouting 'do this, do that'. She would never say please or thank you."

Girlja, an Indian national whose family had worked on a tea and coffee plantation in India owned by Annabelle's great-aunt, told the tribunal that she started work at the Manwaring's every day at 7 a.m., cleaning house, taking the youngest Manwaring to school, shopping for food, cooking three meals a day, and preparing lavish dinners for party guests (45 showed up one night), ending the work day at 9:30.

"I was never in bed before nine o'clock," Girlja told the tribunal.

It turns out, however, that the slave girl's nights were long too. Annabelle revealed to the court that Girlja had been having an affair with Mr. Manwaring for two years. Annabelle gave her the sack.

Barry Cook, chairman of Leo Burnett London, said Annabelle still works at the shop. "This is a personal matter for her, it has nothing to do with the agency."

From 'Penthouse' to the doghouse

At the eleventh hour, Bob Guccione's creditors spared his palatial home. The company that holds a $15 million loan against his Upper East Side mansion has renegotiated with the Guch and will not foreclose, which they threatened to do recently.

Also, despite much chatter in the press, Penthouse will keep on coming, according to spokeswoman, Lainie Speiser, who says the presses are rolling on the August issue. "We're getting back on track."

To prove it, Lainie points out that the Penthouse Pet of the Year, Sunny Leone, is currently on a big time U.S. tour. Obviously, they wouldn't fold the magazine while she was out on the road!

Sunny stopped in New York over the weekend to participate in a charity event at Webster Hall. Penthouse auctioned off a night with Sunny and the proceeds went to a children's fund.

The winner spent about 20 minutes in the VIP room at the lounge with a bottle of Kristal, a Penthouse goody bag and Sunny.

It turns out Sunny is a Sikh. "She's really exotically gorgeous," says Lainie. "Her father wears a turban." Sunny's parents are okay with the Penthouse gig, but the extended family in India is not happy. "She will not do press with Indian newspapers," says Lainie, "because they tell her she should be ashamed of herself."

What's the Gigli?

To borrow an old phrase from L'Oreal competitor Clairol: Does he or doesn't he (wear a toupee)? Only Jennifer Lopez may know for sure.

Ben Affleck, recently signed face of L'Oreal men's hair care outside North America, is subject of persistent rumors that he really doesn't have much hair to care for. The toupee rumors were fanned anew by an item in the July 25 New York Post alleging an unnamed leading man recently signed to an endorsement deal by an unnamed hair care brand wears a toupee.

L'Oreal could not be reached. Ken Sunshine, a spokesman for Affleck, declined comment. But a person close to Affleck dismissed the rumor as ludicrous, saying it's circulated for years-long before L'Oreal, which presumably did its due diligence, signed him.

Then again, Affleck does have a history of failing to walk the talk. After he appeared on the now-defunct "Rosie O'Donnell Show" in November 2000 to back a get-out-the-vote effort, an investigation by Slate indicated he had not voted in more than five years.

Contributing: Jack Neff

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