Fired Fox News freelance gossip columnist Roger Friedman’s lawyer, Martin Garbus, is making an explosive claim to journalists that Wolverine‘s Internet leak can be blamed on boss Rupert Murdoch. I’m shocked that Garbus, a respected NYC attorney who often defends media, is saying this. Is he merely repeating the rumor that has been making the rounds since April, or does he have facts to back up his contention?
Garbus told the New York Daily News‘ Rush & Molloy column that the piracy occurred because Murdoch asked the studio to make him a DVD copy of the unfinished movie. “Apparently, someone made another copy for themselves,” Garbus said. (This is different from the rumor as I heard it: that Murdoch was anxious to bring the film on board his yacht and asked 20th Century Fox to make a copy for him. But then Murdoch had outside people do it, and that’s how the film leaked onto the web.) Sources tell me Rupert saw a rough cut on the lot weeks before Wolverine was pirated.
Garbus told Rush & Molloy that he will be filing a “slam dunk” wrongful termination lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court this week over Fox News’ recent firing of Roger Friedman. News Corp stated publicly that Friedman’s promotion of Internet piracy was the cause of his firing. But Garbus contends that 4 of the gossip writer’s “editors and superiors” reviewed and okayed the column. As for Friedman, he’s claiming he was axed because of pressure from Hollywood Scientologists who didn’t like his coverage of their religion. It will be interesting to see how The Hollywood Reporter reacts to this lawsuit by its newly hired blogger.