ANCHORAGE - A People magazine executive denied media speculation Tuesday that Bristol Palin made at least $300,000 for giving the publication first shot at photos of her newborn son.
The report from MSNBC came a day after People broke the news that the 18-year-old unmarried daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin gave birth to Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on Saturday. The father is Levi Johnston, a high school dropout who is now an apprentice electrician. He has said that he and Bristol plan to get married.
MSNBC's report quoted unnamed sources saying bidding for the baby photos began at $100,000 and increased after Johnston's mother, Sherry, was arrested on felony drug charges this month involving OxyContin, a potentially addictive prescription painkiller. MSNBC said estimates of the deal were in the $300,000 range.
People managing editor Larry Hackett said the magazine has had "conversations" about photos with a Palin representative, but no deal has been made and no money has been given to the Palins.
"Would I like the pictures? I would love the pictures, but I don't have them," he said.
Hackett wouldn't elaborate on discussions, however, if they are continuing or how much the magazine would be willing to pay.
The $300,000 figure would be appropriate for a sit-down portrait session of the newborn and his parents - but only if it includes Sarah Palin, said Paul Harris with Pacific Coast News, an entertainment photo agency based in Los Angeles.
And unless Alaska's Republican governor is a presidential contender in 2012, Harris doesn't anticipate escalating interest in paying big money for street photos of her grandson and his teenage mother.
The governor's office on Tuesday did not return requests for comment, but has said the baby's birth is a private, family matter.
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