A cancer survivor burst into tears Wednesday when she testified that Rosie O'Donnell had suggested she was lying about goings-on at her now-defunct magazine and told her that liars get cancer.
Cindy Spengler, who was head of marketing at Rosie magazine, said O'Donnell made the remark after a meeting to discuss the magazine's problems. Spengler said O'Donnell called and told her that her silence in the meeting was tantamount to lying.
"You know what happens to people who lie," the witness quoted O'Donnell as saying. "They get sick and they get cancer. If they keep lying, they get it again."
Spengler testified in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, where O'Donnell and Rosie publisher Gruner & Jahr USA are suing each other for breach of contract.
Cindi Berger, O'Donnell's publicist, said O'Donnell later apologized for the remark to Spengler, who testified that she herself had survived breast cancer. Spengler is now a G&J; marketing vice president.
Spengler acknowledged sending an e-mail Oct. 1, 2002, to Susan Toepfer, the magazine's editor in chief, suggesting that "we do our own little 'ding dong the witch is dead' song and dance" to celebrate the severance of O'Donnell's relationship with G&J.;
Toepfer responded via e-mail that she wanted to move into O'Donnell's office, that she would "take out the bad vibes" and said, "I think you're supposed to burn sage in all the corners."