Friedman Blames Scientologists
A couple months back, there was much ado about a leaked workprint of FOX Studio’s Wolverine movie. It was one of the highest profile movie leaks in awhile and FOX was horrified because, one month before the movie opened, film geeks were saying the movie stank on ice.
Roger Friedman had a column at FOXnews.com in which he regulary reported on Scientology scandals. He came to the movie’s defense, saying he watched the leaked print and loved the movie. His column was derided by many, including my friend Drew McWeeney, for promoting film piracy. A few days later, Friedman was axed.
Now Friedman is allegedly considering suing FOX and laying the blame on his firing on Scientology.
Last August, Friedman went to Memphis for the funeral of his friend and R&B legend Isaac Hayes, who was a Scientologist. Preston was also in town for the funeral. Friedman, who now writes for The Hollywood Reporter, tells us that when Preston saw him at the Peabody Hotel, Mrs. John Travolta loudly blasted him for his columns criticizing Scientology.
“She called me a ‘religious bigot,’ ” Friedman recalls.
The following month, says an ally of Friedman, Preston voiced her complaints about Friedman to Fox News chief Roger Ailes and his then-EVP, John Moody.
“Moody talked to her on the phone,” says the source. “When she couldn’t get Moody to fire Friedman, she called him a [obscenity].”
Ailes and Moody later agreed to meet with Preston and Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis (the son of actress Anne Archer), according to the source, who says Friedman’s editors subsequently forbid him from writing about the death in January of Preston’s son, Jett.
Meanwhile, Friedman says, 20th Century Fox chairman Jim Gianopoulos had been encouraging him to lay off Cruise’s movie “Valkyrie,” which Fox was distributing internationally.
Last month, Variety reported that Cruise was in advanced talks to star with Cameron Diaz in a Fox action comedy, “Wichita.” A source suspects that Cruise may have made Friedman’s ouster a condition of the actor appearing in “Wichita. ”
Whatever the reason, I was sad to see Friedman fired. Not only was a fierce opponent of Scientology but he also came to my defense when YouTube yanked my channels last year. He’s bounced back fine, becoming a columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, but the firing was pointless. For all of FOX’s fears about the leaked movie hurting the box office, the movie opened huge and was a financial success.
Although it continues to suck.Explore posts in the same categories: News