‘Post’ drops V.A. Musetto, man who wrote ‘HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR’ headline

V.A. "Vinnie" Musetto and the headline everyone remembers. ()
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V.A. Musetto, the tabloid legend behind the New York Post's famous "Headless body in topless bar" headline of 1983, has been dropped from his freelance gig at the newspaper he worked for in various capacities for four decades, Capital has learned.

Musetto, who once presided over the newsroom but was most recently a film critic, retired from the Post two years ago following a long career there.

But he had continued to write film reviews on a freelance basis.

That arrangement has come to an end, Musetto was informed yesterday by the Post's film editor, Lou Lumenick.

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"Dear Vincent, I’m sorry, but because of budget cutbacks we cannot give you any further reviewing assignments," Lumenick told Musetto in an email obtained by Capital. "Your review of THE GRANDMASTER next week is your final assignment."

Yesterday evening, Musetto forwarded the email to the entire Post newsroom, as well as to the paper's management and interim editor Jesse Angelo, adding: "after 40 years at post, during which I wrote 'Headless Body in Topless Bar,' it has come to this."

Musetto had nothing to add when reached for comment.

“V.A. Musetto’s contributions to the Post over the years have been invaluable,” a spokesperson for the paper said in a statement to Capital.

The Post is a leaner operation than it was just a few months ago, having recently reduced its newsroom headcount by 10 percent through buyouts and layoffs. The money-losing paper is under pressure to get its books in order now that its parent company, News Corp., has been given a fresh start following its split in June from the television and film assetts that had long cushioned it.

Musetto's retirement in July 2011 was commemorated with a glowing item in the Post's Page Six column, which described him as "[t]he genius who dreamed up the iconic New York Post headline 'Headless Body in Topless Bar.'"

The headline continues to be a conversation starter among the city's tabloid veterans. They were all talking about it as recently as last January when the criminal who inspired the headline was denied parole.

[Ed. note: This item has been updated from its original version, to include a comment from a Post spokesperson and the actual text of the email Musetto forwarded to staff.]