Today my parent company boss received a letter from lawyers for Prometheus Global Media, the owner of The Hollywood Reporter, claiming “it has come to our client’s attention that your employee, Nikki Finke of Deadline.com, is now engaged in conduct on your behalf that crosses the line from her usual bad behavior to a concerted and unlawful attempt to disrupt THR’s business. In an effort to gain a competitive advantage for Deadline.com, Ms. Finke falsely has told THR advertisers and others in the Hollywood community that THR is experiencing financial problems [sic] will cause it to make massive layoffs, end its print edition and/or go out of business, or be sold by Prometheus.” I’m also accused of harrassing THR staff such as ”emailing one employee with the threat of ‘humiliating’ him…” The lawyers then emailed me.
Here was my response (which my boss wants me to share with you):
To: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, NYC
You can stick this letter up your asses if you think you can intimidate me as a journalist who has spent months now reporting and preparing an article about The Hollywood Reporter which I plan to publish very soon. If anything I have been very circumspect about informing Hollywood about the truth regarding THR. Because the truth hurts:
– This week THR laid off/fired more staffers in addition to the other staffers laid off/fired this summer alone.
– I have contacted THR staffers only when they claim ‘exclusives’ that aren’t (because Deadline had the true earlier ‘exclusive’) or when THR staffers steal Deadline content (our exclusives with no reference or link). [See cease and desist letter which Deadline sent to THR on February 25th, 2011.] I have been warning other reporters and other media outlets about this as well. Which is why I plan to start “naming names” of reporters who slap their bylines on Deadline’s exclusive information. They deserve humiliation for it.
– In the case of the staffer you refer to, he admitted he was wrong and changed his copy after I contacted him.
– THR’s investors have complained publicly about how much red ink The Hollywood Reporter is hemorrhaging.
– THR’s management have complained publicly about problems with ad sales staff and cash reserves.
– THR staff keep calling me and asking for jobs saying they are worried about The Hollywood Reporter’s future.
– THR keeps coming after Deadline’s staff to hire them “with a blank check” even though we have contracts.
– Prometheus just removed its CEO Richard Beckman.
– Your own publisher Lynne Segall shared with me multiple reports about how much red ink The Hollywood Reporter has been hemorrhaging, how much ad sales it was losing, and other negative information. She also went into the marketplace on a daily basis sharing this info with Hollywood showing Deadline was the superior buy.
– Guggenheim’s Todd Boehly slandered me to Bloomberg/Business Week. You should also be aware that he in the past exhibited extremely inappropriate behavior towards me when he was offering me the THR editorship.
– Prometheus’ Richard Beckman slandered me in the pages of THR and in multiple interviews and emails.
– Prometheus’ Beckman and THR’s Janice Min have slandered me to multiple journalists.
– THR’s Matt Belloni wrote a slanderous email about me which he circulated widely around Hollywood.
– Comparing Deadline To THR in terms of editorial quality or traffic numbers is like comparing The Economist to The National Enquirer. Deadline is an elite business trade about film and TV that does not cover celebrities. Beckman himself banned his staff from using the word “trade” to describe THR which has a gossip editor running it and not a veteran business journalist. For this reason, THR’s multiple house ads slandering Deadline are misleading, false, and intended to harm us in the marketplace. As is the case with all of the above, including this letter you just sent me.
Now get the fuck out of my face.
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