FINAL UPDATE: Official word from Fox News has come in and reads as follows:
Fox News representatives and Roger Friedman met today and mutually agreed to part ways immediately. Fox News appreciates Mr. Friedman's ten years of contributions to building foxnews.com and wishes him success in his future endeavors. Mr. Friedman is grateful to his colleagues for their friendship and support over the past decade.
UPDATE: In a fantastic example of why I used the word "Reportedly" in my headline when I first posted it, Roger Friedman told Daily Variety that he had not been let go and Fox News issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying, "This is an internal matter that we're not prepared to discuss at this time."
This is a story tailor made for NIkki Finke's Deadline Hollywood blog as just about every movie news site around the web reported on FoxNews.com's freelance columnist Roger Friedman and his review of the leaked X-Men Origins: Wolverine on his Fox 411 blog. I covered the story last night and asked in my headline "How is Fox News’ Roger Friedman Not Fined for Reviewing Wolverine?" and while I was just spit-balling when I mentioned "fined" since I am not a lawyer it appears things are a bit worse for the online journalist.
Finke reports News Corp has fired Friedman for what they "felt was a blatant promotion of piracy." Finke keys in on the following statement from Friedman's post, which has since been deleted:
I did find the whole top 10 [movies in theaters], plus TV shows, commercials, videos, everything, all streaming away. It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer. I could have downloaded all of it but really, who has the time or the room? Later tonight I may finally catch up with Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man. It’s so much easier than going out in the rain!
I feel as if I can see the future as I wrote last night:
Toward the end of his article Friedman writes, “[Obviously] someone who had access to a print uploaded the film onto this website. This begs several questions about security. Time to round up the usual suspects!”
Begs is right, and I would start by making sure Friedman is tagged by security and no longer allowed in the Fox News building. That’s one suspect out of the way.
This move only makes sense as Friedman was essentially promoting online movie piracy and at the same time admitting he had taken part in the illegal activity. Personally I think he is getting off easy, since I would assume the authorities could look at the entire article as a confession of guilt.
Finke quotes an unnamed source at the end of her report as saying, "He promoted piracy. He basically suggested that viewing a stolen film is OK, which is absolutely intolerable. So we fired him. Fox News acted promptly on all fronts."
This comes on the heels of another statement I received this morning from News Corp, which read as follows:
Roger Friedman's views in no way reflect the views of News Corporation. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. Once we learned of Roger Friedman's post we asked Fox News to remove it, which they did immediately.
It appears they removed more than just the post.