April 5, 2009


[h/t C&Ler Melissa]

I'm amazed that someone being paid by News Corp. or any movie studio, who writes entertainment reviews wouldn't know that they frown on the Internet pirating of music and movies, but evidently Robert Friedman was just that person. He actually was jumping for joy that he was watching it on his computer while the movie industry was freaking out over "Wolverine" hitting the net before it's even finished.

Someone stole an "incomplete and early version" of the next installment in the blockbuster "X-Men" movie series and posted it on the Internet this week, according to the studio that owns the billion-dollar film franchise. Twentieth Century Fox said the FBI was investigating who leaked "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which is set for release in U.S. theaters May 1.

The digital file quickly spread across the Internet and was available for free, but illegal, downloading from hundreds of easily found Web sites. "The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law; the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past," the studio's statement said.

Now it's being reported that he's been fired over it.

So there was universal shock on Friday when long-time "Fox 411" freelance columnist Roger Friedman wrote what I'm told his bosses felt was a blatant promotion of piracy on his Fox News web outlet. Besides writing a review from watching the purloined print of Wolverine, Friedman posted, “I did find the whole top 10 [movies in theaters], plus TV shows, commercials, videos, everything, all streaming away. It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer.

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."

News Corp issued this statement: “Roger Friedman’s views in no way reflect the views of News Corporation. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. Once we learned of Roger Friedman’s post we asked Fox News to remove it, which they did immediately.”

And Fox said, "We’ve just been made aware that Roger Friedman, a freelance columnist who writes Fox 411 on Foxnews.com – an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox -- watched on the Internet and reviewed a stolen and unfinished version of X-Men Orgins: Wolverine. This behavior is reprehensible and we condemn this act categorically -- whether the review is good or bad."

And you'd think he would be unhappy by the whole affair, but when Nikki Finke contacted him for comment, his reply was: I did reach Friedman for comment. He emailed back only that he was at the Paul McCartney concert.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.