Writer Who Coined the Phrase 'Brat Pack' Stands by Creation amid Criticism: 'Wasn't Meant to Destroy Anyone'

"Nothing prepared me for the firestorm of attention that resulted," journalist David Blum wrote in a new piece for Vulture

<p>Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty</p> From left: Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

From left: Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert

The journalist who coined the phrase "Hollywood's Brat Pack" is standing by his now-famous string of words.

David Blum came up with the phrase for his 1985 New York Magazine cover story about actor Emilio Estevez and his peers. Now, he is sharing his side of the naming story after actor Andrew McCarthy said he had once resented the name and felt it had "personal ramifications."

While McCarthy explores the Brat Pack phenomenon in his new Hulu documentary Brats, which he directed, Blum wrote a new piece for Vulture, noting that "in truth, I still don’t understand why some Brat Packers feel so victimized" by his words, which he wrote at age 29.

"I figured my cover story — with 'Hollywood’s Brat Pack' splashed above a publicity still from St. Elmo’s Fire that fortuitously caught Estevez, [Judd] Nelson and [Rob] Lowe in a bar, grinning and hoisting brewskis — would likely annoy these young stars for a few days, and perhaps cause some brief agita among Hollywood publicists who tend to want to control the stories that come out about their clients," Blum wrote in the piece. "Nothing prepared me for the firestorm of attention that resulted."

The phrase, he wrote, appeared all over the place — but for a while he "didn’t hear from anyone directly and still assumed that whatever problems I might have created would blow over." Estevez eventually called him, Blum wrote, and asked him what he had been thinking.

Related: Andrew McCarthy Met the Man Who Coined the Term ‘Brat Pack.’ What Happened Next Surprised Him (Exclusive)

<p>Silver Screen Collection/Getty</p> The cast of 'St. Elmo's Fire'

Silver Screen Collection/Getty

The cast of 'St. Elmo's Fire'

"But the fact that a Brat Pack documentary even exists in 2024 — let alone deserves a Times Square billboard, a glittering red-carpet premiere and an afterparty — demonstrates the lasting and emotionally resonant hold this group of actors had on the culture, then and now," Blum wrote.

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"McCarthy’s cleverly edited film, even while purporting to portray the Brat Pack as put-upon by the phrase, manages to smooth over the fact that no real animus exists anymore between the Brat Pack actors and me," he added.

In the documentary itself, Blum met with McCarthy and explained his reasoning for the "Brat Pack" headline, telling the actor-director, now 61, that he "didn’t think at the time, ‘Ugh, these brats,’ at all."

"What really upset me about the article was that it felt like, ‘They’re not that interesting in doing the craft of it, they want to be famous and party.’ And I took offense to that," McCarthy said in the film. "It felt like to me and I know to the other people at the time, ‘We have to reposition this or deflect from this or get away from this.’ Because it certainly wasn’t perceived in the industry as a compliment."

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Blum told him in response that he was just "doing my job as a journalist" and that the name "wasn’t meant to destroy anyone but really to just define a group of people in a clever or interesting way."

"I’m proud of it, It’s fine. I have no regrets. I’m glad it lived on forever. But I hope it’s not the greatest thing I ever did," Blum said, telling McCarthy that "you have to take chances and just swing and do crazy things."

When asked if he thinks he could have "been nicer," Blum concluded that it was "collateral damage" to making his point. "Here’s a bunch of people who have become very famous and popular and I’m calling them the Brat Pack. I guess I feel like, you know… sticks and stones," he said.

McCarthy previously told PEOPLE ahead of the documentary's release that he looked at Blum as "such a part of my life" during their meeting. "Do I wish I'd reacted so strongly to it? No. I mean, life happens the way life happens. I'm glad to have come to a place where it feels so warm and fuzzy," he said.

Brats is currently streaming on Hulu.

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