Blogger Nikki Finke v. Hollywood Reporter LEGAL BLOOD BATH: Duck for Cover People! It’s Messy!

WOW! A battle like no other is about to ensue. In the legal boxing ring before we even get to the doorsteps of the courthouse are two very formidable opponents. Standing in the right hand corner with extensive years of experience as a journalist and investigative reporter is Blogger Nikki Finke. On the left hand corner is the very formidable and highly respected authority on legal entertainment news, THR, Esq. aka the Hollywood reporter.

Oh mennnh! Let’s see. What’s the scoop? How about you all just read the letter below:

“Blogger Nikki Finke has posted a false item about The Hollywood Reporter on her Penske Media Corp.-owned website. For the record, here is the full text of the letter our legal counsel at Debevoise and Plimpton sent to Finke and PMC owner Jay Penske earlier today:

September 9, 2011


Mr. Jay Penske
Chairman and CEO

9800 S. La Cienega Blvd., 14th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90301;

The Hollywood Reporter

Dear Mr. Penske:

Our client, Prometheus Global Media LLC (“Prometheus”), owns and operates The Hollywood Reporter and its website, (collectively, “THR”).  It has come to our client’s attention that your employee, Nikki Finke of, 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, Ms. Finke falsely has told THR advertisers and others in the Hollywood community that THR is experiencing financial problems will cause it to make massive layoffs, end its print edition and/or go out of business, or be sold by Prometheus.  None of this is true.  Ms. Finke also has engaged in harassment of THR staff, interrupting their daily tasks by contacting them directly with baseless complaints about a variety of matters (recently, she emailed one employee with the threat of “humiliating” him). This behavior appears to be an escalation of a past pattern and practice by Ms. Finke, which, almost annually, intensifies as Academy Awards season draws closer.  This time, however, she has crossed the line from unpleasant to unlawful. . .”

MY THOUGHTS: These are very serious allegations against Nikki Finke. If untrue, it would and should be an all out legal blood bath/war because big guys should not manipulate little guys and get away with it, especially since this letter is now in the public domain. If true, however, this is really bad for Finke and will affect her ability to get a job or even attract customers, if she runs her own business.

BUT WAIT! FINKE has something to say about this!

” 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. . .”

Oh boy! I hate to admit it but it’s the kind of stuff that gets trial lawyers like me excited. Does that mean trial lawyers are bad people? Do all trial lawyers go to hell? I hope not. . . Okay, enough of that stuff. What’s your take away?

If you are a blogger, you should have voted for my panel on Blogging and the Law at the upcoming SXSW Interactive festival. If you didn’t, pray the organizers still pick the panel because you all need to prepare for legal war zones.

In the meantime, visit my recap on Blogging and the Law at Retail Camp 2011 here.

To read THR., Esq.’s letter, click here.
To read Nikki Finke’s letter, click here.