Roger Friedman is an American journalist and gossip blogger. Friedman wrote the FOX411 news column on Fox News between 1999 and 2009. He now writes Showbiz411, an entertainment news and film review blog.
Early life and career
Friedman wrote the "Intelligencer" column at New York magazine in 1994 and edited the short-lived Fame, where he wrote cover stories on various stars. His articles have appeared in numerous other publications, including The New York Times, the Daily News, the New York Post, Vogue, Details, The Washington Post and the Miami Herald. In 1996 he told Amazon founder Jeff Bezos: "Your Amazon idea's ridiculous. Why'd anyone do that? Who'd buy that way? People can go right to bookstores. The idea's dumb. It'll never work."
With D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Friedman co-produced Only the Strong Survive, a 2002 documentary film about Memphis soul musicians, in which he also appeared. The film was shown in the Directors' Fortnight in parallel to the Cannes Film Festival. Reviewing the documentary, James Sullivan wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle: "With Friedman, the narrator and emissary, tossing questions as squishy as Jell-O and heaping praise on the performers for their unexceptional appearances on the oldies circuit, it's a wasted opportunity."
Fox News; termination
Friedman worked for Fox News as a freelance gossip blogger from 1999 until he was fired in 2009. In 2002, he was criticized by Mica Rosenberg of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency for writing a review of a film even though he had never seen it, but only read an advance copy of the screenplay. In 2004, New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman, whom he attacked repeatedly in his writing, opined about Friedman: "If he spent half as much time checking his facts as he did complaining about people stealing from him, there wouldn’t be so many errors in his reporting!" She added, referring to Fox: "Do they hold him to journalistic standards, or does he just get to slander people with impunity?" The New York Observer reported:
Mr. Friedman ... has been a controversial figure for negative things he’s written. But more often than not, he’s been criticized for the positive. In the book Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film, Peter Biskind quoted former Miramax SVP and co-head of publicity Dennis Higgins as saying, "There’s no one in the pocket like Roger. It’s almost, ‘Whaddya want him to write?'"
In April 2009, Friedman was fired by Fox News after he reviewed the unfinished film X-Men Origins: Wolverine based on viewing a bootlegged copy of the movie online. The parent company of Fox News issued a statement that said:
Roger Friedman's views in no way reflect the views of News Corp ... When we advised Fox News of the facts they took immediate action, removed the post and promptly terminated Mr. Friedman ... This behavior is reprehensible and we condemn this act categorically.
When contacted, Friedman said, in contrast: "There was no action taken against me." (Friedman later told Gawker that he had not downloaded the film, but had streamed it after finding a link to it online.) Friedman's column was perceived as an endorsement of film piracy and illegal file sharing, particularly by the film's distributor, 20th Century Fox, which was then a unit of News Corporation alongside Fox News. His review of Wolverine was very favorable, including comments such as "I doubt anyone else has seen this film ... I am, in fact, amazed about how great 'Wolverine' turned out." Friedman's article was removed by Fox News.
Bruce Simmons wrote in Screen Rant: "What was Friedman thinking?" Not only was it foolish for him to review the movie, but then "he bragged" about how easy it was to find and download the pirated version. "When you work for the bank, you should not brag that you stole their money!"
In June 2009, Friedman filed a lawsuit against Fox News Network, NewsCorp America, Twentieth Century Fox, and Rupert Murdoch, claiming wrongful termination, tortious interference with his employment contract, and defamation based on statements Fox News and 20th Century Fox made after his firing. John Cook wrote in Gawker: "When you sue someone for breach of contract, aren't you supposed to actually quote from the contract? Just asking! ... [T]he complaint] ... doesn't even quote from the contract, or lay out what, precisely, it obligated Fox to do or not do relative to Friedman. Which doesn't bode well for a breach of contract claim, does it?"
The Hollywood Reporter
Friedman joined The Hollywood Reporter as a senior correspondent in May 2009. Business Insider described it as a surprising and risky move. Editor Matt Goldberg at Collider questioned the hiring, writing: "You know, when you act badly at one place and everyone learns about it, I don't believe its common practice to hire you to do the same job at another place. If there's a news story about you dipping your balls in the Frosty mix at Wendy's, you don't get to work at Steak n' Shake."
In March 2010, after Friedman alleged a link between her Organic Liaison weight-loss system and the Church of Scientology, Kirstie Alley wrote: "Please Google Mr. Roger Friedman. He is spreading lies about me and my new business. You will see his history & why Fox fired him. Going to have Mr. Attorney call Mr. Friedman’s Attorney tomorrow . . . Mr. Friedman is treading on thin LIBELOUS ice with my company." That month, Friedman's employment agreement was not renewed by The Hollywood Reporter.
- Finke, Nikki (March 6, 2010). "Friedman Blog Exits Hollywood Reporter". Deadline. Retrieved December 20, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Roger Friedman". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Arthur Friedman Obituary (2020)". Connecticut Post & Trumbull Times. December 16, 2020.
- Dennis Schaal (December 11, 1974). "Trumbull Students Deny Big Drug Use". The Bridgeport Post.
- Cynthia Cotts (February 17, 2004). "Friedman's Complaint". The Village Voice.
- "Roger Friedman". Critics Choice Association. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- Adams, Cindy (February 24, 2015). "Courting James Corden for Broadway musical". New York Post.
- "Only the Strong Survive". Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. Retrieved December 20, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- LaSalle, Mick (May 9, 2003). "FILM CLIPS / Also opening today". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Perlow, Jonathan (July 2, 2009). "Fox Fired Movie Critic Over 'X-Men' Download, Suit Says". Courthouse News Service.
- Mica Rosenberg (December 5, 2002). "Film portrays Hitler the artist". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
- Matt Haber (April 6, 2009). "Did Pirated 'Wolverine' Review Get Fox 411's Roger Friedman Fired? [Update]". The New York Observer.
- "Writer loses job over Wolverine; A US columnist is out of a job after posting an online review of an illegally downloaded copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine". BBC News. April 7, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Fisher, Luchina; Heussner, Ki Mae; Marikar, Sheila (April 6, 2009). "Fox News Columnist Roger Friedman Fired". ABC News.
- Finke, Nikki (April 5, 2009). "EXCLUSIVE: Fox News Fires Showbiz Columnist For "Promoting" Piracy". Deadline.
- Shea, Danny (May 6, 2009). "Roger Friedman Fired Over Leaked "Wolverine" Review". The Huffington Post.
- Snyder, Gabriel (April 6, 2009). "It's Official: Roger Friedman Loses His Job Over Wolverine Piracy". Gawker. Retrieved October 17, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Suderman, Peter (April 7, 2009). "Wolverine: the Curse of the Pirate Critic". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 13, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Mark Graham (April 3, 2009). "Roger Friedman Loves Wolverine!". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Bruce Simmons (April 5, 2009). "Fox News Fires Journalist For Bootleg Wolverine Review [Updated]". Screen Rant.
- "How 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' got Roger Friedman fired". The Week. April 6, 2009.
- Itzkoff, Dave (July 2, 2009). "Fired Fox Columnist Files Libel Lawsuit". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Roger Friedman vs. Fox News Networks". Gawker. June 30, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Brown, Lane (June 30, 2009). "Roger Friedman's Fox Lawsuit Fails to Live Up to Prerelease Hype". Vulture.
- Cook, John (June 30, 2009). "Roger Friedman's Lawsuit Against Fox Is Weak". Gawker.
- Itzkoff, Dave (May 18, 2009). "Fired Columnist Is Hired". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Brown, Lane (May 18, 2009). "Hollywood Reporter Hires Pirate". Vulture.
- Lewis, Hilary (May 18, 2009). "Pirate-Loving Roger Friedman Lands At The Hollywood Reporter". Business Insider.
- Matt Goldberg (May 19, 2009). "Disgraced Journalist Roger Friedman Finds Work at The Hollywood Reporter". Collider.
- "Kirstie Alley blasts media 'bigotry'". The New York Post. March 19, 2010.