BREAKING… This morning, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences pulled Deadline Film Editor/NY Editor Mike Fleming’s backstage press credential to cover the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday. The Academy’s PR specifically cited that the reason was Deadline’s coverage. Since Friday, Deadline has been reporting “spoilers” about Sunday night’s show after being leaked a detailed rundown of the telecast schedule. (Exclusive Spoilers From Detailed Schedule)
UPDATE: But a few (though by no means all) of the “spoilers” reported by Deadline — including Billy Crystal’s scheduled appearance — were done so with the permission and encouragement and even timing suggestions of Oscars bigwigs who were hoping to spike more viewership for Sunday’s show. Yet Deadline gets banned from covering the Academy Awards. Talk about hypocrisy!*
So, to sum up, Deadline was banned from covering the Oscars precisely for covering the Oscars. And our spoilers were picked up by the world press after the Drudge Report linked to them. Yet there’s a long history of entertainment journalists besides us puof blishing multiple scoops about the show during the week leading up to the Academy Awards broadcast. Including this year. But none of those news outlets were banned from coverage. True, until now, no media outlet has ever published so many scoops as Deadline did yesterday. The fact that we did our reporting job too well put the Academy on tilt.
So around 10 AM, AMPAS Director Of Communications Leslie Unger phoned Deadline’s Fleming to give him the news even though he flew in from New York to Los Angeles specially to cover the Academy Awards and planned to get credentialed before 5 PM today. “We’re not going to be able to issue you that credential,” she told him, “because of Deadline’s coverage of the Oscars.” I then confirmed the ban with Unger, who told me she had been “instructed” to revoke Fleming’s backstage press credential by the Academy’s executive administrator Ric Robertson with the “knowledge” of Academy President Tom Sherak. And yet yesterday I spoke to Sherak who didn’t appear angry, which leads me to believe so it was Robertson who threw the hissy fit.
Anyway, I lodged a formal protest (couched in strong language) with Unger. Let’s see if cooler heads prevail at the Academy and the ban gets lifted before Sunday. Meanwhile, I don’t see how the Academy can ban me from live-snarking the Oscars from the comfort of my home for the 5th straight year on Sunday. And Mike is now looking for an invite to a cool viewing party…