Monday, July 26, 2021

NIKKI FINKE AND DEADLINE/VARIETY EDITORS GO AT IT

June 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The acrid clash between Nikki Finke and the current owner and editors of Deadline.com and Variety has resumed with a flurry of lacerating accusations by both sides. Last week, days after launching her new website, nikkifinke.com, Finke disclosed that she had received a letter from lawyers representing Jay Penske, who bought Deadline.com from her in 2009, accusing her of violating a non-compete agreement and a non-disparagement clause in her contract. In an apparent reference to her opening salvo upon the launch of her site excoriating Penske and editors at Deadline.com and Variety, the law firm, Seyfarth Shaw, described Finke’s post as "brazen and reckless conduct" and demanded that she remove it and cease further posts. In response, Finke called the remarks legal "bluster" and maintained that Penske was attempting to prevent her from "exercising my right to free speech." On Friday, Finke posted a notice indicating that she wouldn’t be contributing additional material to her blog, aside from box office results, until June 25, because, she said, she was going "out of town." Then on Sunday, the editors of Deadline.com and Variety fired back. Deadline editor Mike Fleming maintained that he had "leaned on Jay Penske" to bring Finke back to the website that she founded. He claimed, however, that Finke became "impatient with the progress of those negotiations and lit a match to the whole thing. … I felt I was this close to bringing her back, but now it won’t happen." Fleming also claimed that Deadline’s staff "didn’t want her back." Variety editor Peter Bart, whom Finke called out as "an unethical fart" in her original post, maintained that Finke’s style is "no longer relevant to today’s market. … News sources want to be treated respectfully. They deserve it, in my book." Finally, Fleming fired this parting shot: "Those who choose to break their news with her will need to be happy with that result. You might get a scant mention [in Deadline.com], but you’ll find no love here."