Fox Doesn’t Condone Its Own Employees Reviewing the Workprint of WOLVERINE

     April 4, 2009

Written by Matt Goldberg

UPDATE: Okay, well sometimes life is fair. Nikki Finke is reporting that FoxNews has fired Roger Friedman as a freelancer. Hopefully he’ll get blacklisted to the point where a high school newspaper won’t have him but in the meantime, I hope that all studios will basically shut him down by no longer sending him invites to screenings or offering him interview opportunities.

Part of becoming an adult is realizing that the world isn’t fair and that life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people; good things happen to bad people. Justice is rarely served and when it is, it’s more retaliation than a service to “fairness”.

But some part of us keeps crying out for fairness and that’s why Roger Friedman’s review of the workprint of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is so frustrating. If any of what Fox dubs “fansites” (and I hate that terms; we’re Entertainment News websites; if we were “fansites” we would love any product regardless of its quality, hence the word “fan”) ran a single review of this workprint, we would not only be blacklisted (Collider would be double-blacklisted), but could very well face legal action.

And yet here’s Roger Friedman over at FoxNews reviewing the workprint of “Wolverine” and doing it without a care in the world. Sure, it’s a positive review, but that’s besides the point. He could call the film the best thing since blowjobs and it wouldn’t change the fact that he not only engaged in movie piracy (best part of his review is when he mentions that the print will probably be gone from the Internet by the time we read his review, because that’s how the Internet works) but relishes it! He loves sitting at his computer and not having to go to the theatre! It’s the behavior you’d expect from a fourteen-year-old sending a review to AintItCool (and you know what is cool—they, along with every other major movie website, haven’t run a single review); not a paid “professional” writing for FoxNews.

And yes, we can have our standard laugh at how FoxNews isn’t a real news organization and how they’re unprofessional and pander to the worst elements of American society and so on and so forth. Most of the American mainstream considers them a legitimate news source and while that is profoundly sad and disturbing, it is a fact and no news organization should condone piracy.

The problem is that they’re all part of the big NewsCorp family. While 20th Century Fox reacted swiftly and issued the following statement:

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

20th Century Fox CEO Tom Rothman should be able to pick up his phone, call the Editor-in-Chief of and say “Never hire Roger Friedman again.” Furthermore, all studios and their publicists should note Friedman’s transgression and blacklist him from all screenings and interview opportunities. If these companies are really serious about piracy and not just against teenagers or the impoverished selling crappy handheld bootlegs on street corners but against so-called professionals treating the theft-and-publishing of studio materials as A-OK, then they can do no less.

If I or any of my colleagues had engaged in Friedman’s behavior, we would be done. Our websites would be done. We would need to start flipping through the Yellow Pages to find a good lawyer. While I’m glad that FoxNews has taken down Friedman’s “review”, that’s not enough. That just pretends it didn’t happen and if NewsCorp lets Friedman off with anything less than the Full Wrath of Rupert Murdoch, then it’s sending a mixed message about how it feels about this incident.

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