Entertainment behind the scenes
Piracy sinks Fox columnist Roger Friedman
In the high stakes battle over piracy in Hollywood, a Fox News columnist lost his job on Monday after he reviewed a pirated copy of the upcoming movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Roger Friedman is a big name in Hollywood entertainment news, but media reports say that fact did not protect his job when his corporate colleagues at 20th Century Fox called for his head, nor did it help that Friedman wrote a positive review of the movie (which has since been removed from the Fox website).
The New York Daily News reports that an estimated 75,000 people have downloaded the free, illegal copy of “Wolverine,” which stars Hugh Jackman, and the studio is concerned that the high interest in the film online could slash its box office appeal. But no one is saying that Friedman leaked the movie, he just reviewed it. In that sense, was his punishment too harsh?
The case is interesting because it illustrates how high the stakes are for piracy in Hollywood. As in past piracy cases, the studio has enlisted the help of the FBI, which is investigating the leak. This comes as federal lawmakers consider ratcheting up the pressure on movie pirates. On Monday in Los Angeles, members of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing in Los Angeles, where eager entertainment industry executives and filmmakers called for harsher penalties to prevent piracy, trade paper Variety reported. ”Che” director Steven Soderbergh told the congressional committee that showbiz types like himself should be “deputized” to track down pirates on their own. What would socialist revolutionary Che Guevara think?
With Hollywood increasingly flexing its muscles to go after movie pirates, Friedman is one of many in the future who will be forced to walk the plank.