Editorials

How is Fox News' Roger Friedman Not Fined for Reviewing Wolverine?

Is there no accountability?

Earlier today on my Twitter account I wrote, "I am confused as to how people can download Wolverine, review it and not be prosecuted as thieves. Am I missing something here?" This comment was in response to the fact Roger Friedman of FoxNews.com wrote up a piece headlined "Wolverine's Big Surprises: Some Revealed".

Clicking over to the site now all you get is an article about the series finale of the CBS soap "Guiding Light", but thanks to the wonders of the Internet and Google's caching system we can all see proof this actually happened. The piece begins:

Yes, I've seen "X Men Origins: Wolverine." It wasn't at a screening, either. I found a work in progress print of it, 95 percent completed, on the internet last night. Let's hope by now it's gone.

Obviously I have no idea how Friedman obtained his copy of Wolverine and I am not a lawyer so I don't know if there is a difference between downloading a torrent file of a bootlegged movie to your computer or streaming it directly in your browser (even though some streams are downloaded to your computer as well). Perhaps Friedman shouldn't be fined or prosecuted as a thief for watching Wolverine, but considering he has just admitted to somehow obtaining a copy I would think an investigation should be in order.

Going beyond that, where does FoxNews.com come up with the balls to publish a review of an unfinished illegal copy of a film their sister company is so desperately trying to squelch the existence of? Tom Rothman, chairman of Twentieth Century Fox, has even said, "It's a complete misrepresentation of the film and is deeply unfair to the people who have worked on it for years." This doesn't exactly jive with Friedman's "95 percent completed" statement.

Now, with the article removed, IESB.net has received a statement from Fox regarding Friedman's piece which reads:

"We've just been made aware that Roger Friedman, a freelance columnist who writes Fox 411 on Foxnews.com – an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox -- watched on the internet and reviewed a stolen and unfinished version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This behavior is reprehensible and we condemn this act categorically -- whether the review is good or bad."

It's funny they make sure to point out it's a different company when actually both FoxNews.com and 20th Century Fox fall under the umbrella of News America Group. Friedman even refers to 20th Century Fox as his "cousins" in the review while saying they are probably suffering from a stroke right now. Yeah, and your review isn't helping genius. However, I respect the fact Fox publicly condemns the move and refer to Friedman's behavior as reprehensible, but I still don't understand how it just stops there and I hope it doesn't.

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.

I understand there is probably no way to fine Friedman unless someone was to check his Internet history and Temporary Internet Files and perhaps find out he actually did download the film to his hard drive, but still, the fact FoxNews.com allowed this to be published is shocking. So much time is spent by film studios policing the small band of movie websites yet outside of reporting on the film I didn't see a single one of them admitting to downloading it and certainly none of them displayed the unprofessional behavior of reviewing it... that is, at least not to my knowledge based on the group of sites I frequent.

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  • http://www.eyecrave.net Axel

    And is there any chance that ROGER Friedman is somehow related to WOLVERINE producer Louis G. Friedman?

    I said it before, I will say it again - This whole thing smells of back-stage shenanigans.

  • Thurston Howell III

    If I saw this movie and I'm not saying that I did....I don't know what "the big twist/surprise toward the end" is, that he is alluding to? I may have just watched it and I don't remember any such thing toward the end.

  • Frank Thomkins

    Roger Friedman is a nut job. What the hell was this guy thinking? Glad that 20th Century had Fox News pull that post soon after it went up to stop any of these lame "shenanigans" rumors.

  • fred

    @Frank Thomkins: i agree. even if the movie ends up sucking, it's clear that the 20th century fox people werent doing some marketing scheme with this review --- why would they put such a tool in charge of it if that were the case? roger friedman is an idiot.

  • http://www.eyecrave.net Shane

    Doesn't this make him a pirate now? Do you remember when they used to hang pirates? Maybe it's time to string up Friedman and set an example for all!

  • Laremy

    "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."

    That made me laugh, for reals.

  • Chris C

    I mean, he could've seen a print w/o downloading it -- he works for Fox Corporation after all...

  • Garrett

    There was never any credibility or accountability over at FoxNews. Ever.

  • http://www.icarusae.com Icarus Arts

    I'm not buying it. They have accomplished what they wanted to accomplish. Now anyone who has not seen it can read a review about how great it is and anyone who has seen has been reassured by 20th Century Fox that it is going to be even better when it is finished. They are covered on all fronts. Plus, they are policing the movie and the review well enough now that it is all just legend. They can call them separate companies, but the money eventually all goes to the same place. Anyone remember that the head of Fox Searchlight was jst made the head of Fox TV? Who knows what is really going on in there internally?

  • jmoney

    like chris c. said, he works for Fox after all. what if he meant he found it on the INTRAnet? who knows. but all kidding aside, HE WORKS FOR FOX. if the guy wanted to see it and review it before anyone from any other network, wouldn't he have to just ask? there's definitely more to this story than a guy just being an idiot. i understand everyone wants to destroy fox news but to be honest. all of the other news stations are WORSE. so bottom line - stop watching/listening to corporate news.

  • prince campbell

    There are a couple of things that bother's me about the writers stance in this article.

    1- Friedman is a reviewer (among other things). He does not work for Fox studios. Why should the News division be concerned about the Movie division? And why should the movie division have any say in what the news division does?

    2- A couple of years ago copies of the last Harry Potter book was leaked and it was reviewed by several big newspapers. The publisher may have been pissed but everyone with sense (rightly) thought that the newspaper reviewers were just doing their job.

    3- Acting like the leak didn't happen, and acting as if 1000's of fans have not seen the movie is, in a word, stupid. Friedman did the movie a FAVOR writing a good review. The fanboy contingent said it sucked. Freidman's bully pulpit drowned that out. They should be thanking him.

    4- Prosecute him for d/l a movie? Paleeze! Even the music folks don't go after d/ler's anymore, deciding to enforce the real problem, the uploaders and the folks who share music.

    It seems the author wants to take the same "head in the sand" approach that Fox has when it comes to this situation. Pretending leaks don't exist and acting like it's 1999 instead of 2009 is not the way to solve a leak, nor promote a movie.

  • William Wallace

    One of the highest-grossing movies in Brazil in 2007 (Elite Squad, some of you may have seen it already) got leaked a couple of months before the original release and was even being sold by "street pirates." The leak was highly covered by the media. However, it turned out that audience hugely exceeded the most optimistic of forecasts and the movie was extremely successful in the box-office. I don't think FOX have a lot to worry about. If I had seen it I would probably see it again as I have heard that some effects were incomplete (specially in the final confrontation). So, what's the fuzz about? If the movie is good people will show up to see it. What's going to kill the movie industry (or movie theaters) is the advent of affordable large HD tv sets, not people downloading movies over the internet...