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Posts Tagged ‘Nikki Finke’

Roger Friedman To File Wrongful Termination Suit Against News Corp.

Fired FoxNews.com entertainment columnist Roger Friedman says it wasn’t watching a pirated copy of the 20th Century Fox film “Wolverine” – and then writing about it – that got him fired, it was actress Kelly Preston, and other members of the Church of Scientology. That’s the claim Friedman is expected to make in a wrongful termination lawsuit. The news of the suit was first reported by Nikki Finke. Friedman talked to Rush & Malloy in today’s New York Daily News. And the suit is expected to involve News Corp. execs Roger Ailes and John Moody.

Friedman was fired in April, but he claims his troubles began last year.

Last August, Friedman went to Memphis for the funeral of his friend and R&B legend Isaac Hayes, who was a Scientologist. Preston was also in town for the funeral. Friedman tells us that when Preston saw him at the Peabody Hotel, Mrs. John Travolta loudly blasted him for his columns criticizing Scientology.

The following month, says an ally of Friedman, Preston voiced her complaints about Friedman to Fox News chief Roger Ailes and his then-EVP, John Moody.

“Moody talked to her on the phone,” says the source. “When she couldn’t get Moody to fire Friedman, she called him a [obscenity].”

The Daily news reports that Ailes and Moody later agreed to meet with Preston and a Church of Scientology spokesman.

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Did NBCU Freeze Out Nielsen Business Media After Unfavorable Report?

zucker_6-8.jpgDeadlineHollywoodDaily’s Nikki Finke writes a lengthy story about the lengths GE and NBCU have reportedly gone to ban access to Nielsen Business Media and The Hollywood Reporter in the wake of an unfavorable story about the GE stockholder meeting.

The story, written by Paul Bond, was headlined “GE shareholders outraged over MSNBC bias; Microphone cut off,” and quoted several unnamed shareholders. It was picked up by the Drudge Report and many media blogs, including TVNewser.

Finke reports the ban was initially “ordered” by GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt, and “after a few days, the ban was reduced to GE’s NBC Universal which chief Jeff Zucker carried out against Nielsen Business Media’s The Hollywood Reporter and lasted six weeks. My NBC Universal sources believe the ban was lifted yesterday.”

Gary Sheffer, GE’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications, responded to Finke: “I just read your post on GE and NBCU. Jeff Immelt had no involvement in this matter whatsover. He did not call NBC Universal or anyone else about it. In fact, he had no knowledge of The Hollywood Reporter story in question.”

FoxNews.com’s Roger Friedman Fired For “Promoting” Piracy

friedman_4-5.jpgDeadlineHollywoodDaily’s Nikki Finke reports FOX has fired FoxNews.com entertainment writer, Roger Friedman.

A column by Friedman, which has since been removed, seemed to endorse watching pirated DVDs in the wake of the “Wolverine” leak this week.

According to Finke, Friedman wrote he had watched the upcoming movie by downloading it illegally, adding, “It’s so much easier than going out in the rain!”

Although Friedman told ABC News “there was no action taken against me,” Finke writes action was taken immediately — from the top:

I’m told that Fox News’ actions were swift and severe. First, Roger Ailes, who overseas Fox News, deleted the offending post after he was contacted by 20th Century Fox about it. And then Ailes fired Friedman as a freelance Fox News entertainment writer. I hear the move was done with the full support of News Corp. “He promoted piracy. He basically suggested that viewing a stolen film is OK, which is absolutely intolerable. So we fired him,” a source told me Saturday. “Fox News acted promptly on all fronts.”

(h/t Johnny Dollar)

Update: The Huffington Post reports there is a meeting between FNC and Friedman tomorrow morning.

> Update at 6pmET on Monday: Well it’s official — as already reported, Friedman has been fired. Here’s FNC’s statement (via HuffPost):

Fox News representatives and Roger Friedman met today and mutually agreed to part ways immediately. Fox News appreciates Mr. Friedman’s ten years of contributions to building foxnews.com and wishes him success in his future endeavors. Mr. Friedman is grateful to his colleagues for their friendship and support over the past decade.