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Hard-hitting Steve Dunleavy

The ”A Current Affair” reporter becomes a tabloid target

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A Current Affair‘s Steve Dunleavy can’t make up his mind: Is he a tabloid reporter or a tabloid subject? Last month the 54-year-old Australian news dingo punched record producer Phil Spector at the New York eatery Elaine’s and landed in the pages of the New York Post, which he edited in the ’80s before jumping to TV.

”Steve Dunleavy doesn’t just cover a story,” Affair executive producer John Terenzio says of his correspondent. ”He fights for it.” ”Being an Australian,” Dunleavy explains to Entertainment Weekly, ”fighting is not necessarily an ugly thing. It’s not a bad thing if you’re defending honor.”

The Elaine’s fisticuffs occurred after Spector allegedly made a remark implying that Dunleavy was romantically involved with an Affair staffer whose late father was a colleague of Spector’s, and whose mother later married Dunleavy’s best friend. ”I hardly hit him,” Dunleavy says. ”The fact that his nose bled was genetic.” Spector was unavailable for comment.

Earlier in August Dunleavy reportedly threatened to ”kick (the) ass” of Hard Copy‘s Burt Kearns at a New York City tavern after Copy had pirated Affair‘s exclusive footage of Amy Fisher. And Dunleavy made headlines last year when Michelle Cassone, a key figure in the William Kennedy Smith rape case, bit him after he confronted her on the air with nude pictures of herself. According to Dunleavy, the only things reporters ever ask him about are the Cassone incident and his wrestling of a bear as a stunt on A Current Affair in 1990. ”It’s a sad commentary on journalism,” he says, with no irony intended.