Do you remember the giant fiasco when Wolverine was leaked onto the Internet a month before the release date? The entire situation seemed a bit strange. When it happened, Fox news writer, Roger Friedman wrote a review about the leaked version and was subsequently fired from his job. Friedman has now filed a lawsuit against Fox News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch, citing libel and is seeking $5 million for damages and $180,000 for legal fees. Friedman claims Fox’s statements “willfully, recklessly, intentionally and maliciously” defamed him.
If you haven’t heard about the story, here is how the story goes. Friedman wrote a review based upon the leaked version of Wolverine, but before he published the review, he contacted an attorney at Fox for permission, but the lawyer never responded. Friedman then went to his editors for permission, and there was no objection to the review and it went up. The review was later removed, by request from Rupert Murdoch. At the time, it appeared Friedman’s job was safe, but later he was fired.
Fox claims they have “zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy”, but Friedman claims that “Murdoch ‘invalidated’ the policy by inadvertently allowing the film to end up online and fired him to cover up the misstep.”
This entire story seems kind of fishy. If I ever wrote for a company, such as Fox, I would always assume that writing a review about a leaked movie that they are releasing is a big no-no. I am not sure how Friedman could assume that he wouldn’t get into any trouble, unless, Fox actually leaked it in an attempt to get a little bit of publicity going. If Fox really did have anything to do with the leak, they will probably settle out of court.
What do you think? Do you think this case has merit?