The long-lasting feud between Nikki Finke’s Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter has reached a boiling point, with legal cease and desist letters being sent, and sent back. As I mentioned, the feud between Deadline and THR has been long-occuring, but after multiple articles being published on Deadline.com over the years targeting its competitor, THR seems to have had enough. In a cease-and-desist letter sent by Debevoise and Plimpton, the attorneys for Prometheus Global Media (owner of The Hollywood Reporter), the letter says that Finke has engaged in behavior that “crosses the line from her usual bad behavior to a cencerted and unlawful attempt to disrupt THR’s business.”
The letter doesn’t specifically point to any articles posted on Deadline, but it does say that Finke has been spreading false rumors around Hollywood and THR’s advertisers that the publication has been “experiencing financial problems” and that it will “cause it to make massive layoffs, end its print edition, and/or go out of business, or be sold by [its owner] Prometheus. None of this is true.” The letter also claims that Finke has been harassing THR staff by calling them and making “baseless complaints,” such as an incident when she emailed an employee, with the threat of “humiliating” him. They also claim that Finke’s animosity towards THR “intensifies as Academy Awards season draws closer.” The letter went on to show their claims that The Hollywood Reporter has been doing the opposite of Finke’s allegations. According to the Internet measuring service comScore, THR has generated close to three times the amount of unique visitors than that of Deadline (4.39 million vs. 1.52 million), and that it’s website has been growing 100% faster than Deadline. They also report that advertising revenue in its print edition is up 40% year-over-year and that 50% of the magazine are ad pages.
The story (of course,) doesn’t end there. Almost as quick as Finke received it, she fired back, saying “You can stick this letter up your asses” and that she is “preparing an article about The Hollywood Reporter” that she plans to publish “very soon.” She then points out several more claims (many of which are reiterated from past articles posted on her site), including staff layoffs and firings (that according to her have occurred all Summer), claiming false exclusives and not crediting Deadline, and that THR is and has been experiencing all kinds of financial problems. She also claims that THR and Prometheus staff (including Prometheus’ CEO, who has recently resigned) have slandered Finke on the pages of THR and in other interviews and conversations. She took another jab at THR in the last paragraph of her response, saying that “Comparing Deadline To THR in terms of editorial quality or traffic numbers is like comparing The Economist to The National Enquirer.” (Ouch!) Finke ended her response in her ever-classy style: “Now get the fuck out of my face.”
Whether Finke will publish her article on THR is still unknown, but seems unlikely after this response. THR has yet to respond, and hasn’t filed any official legal action. This story is fast-developing and as always, I’ll give you the latest on any developments.