So Leslie Unger, communications director for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is departing on December 2nd after 19 years. I predict that her pal in every sense of the word Ric Robertson won’t be far behind. He’s been looking hither and yon for another job ever since Dawn Hudson came in over him and he was passed over for Bruce Davis’ executive directorship. It was clear Unger was toast as well as soon as the Academy’s publicity and marketing team was put under Christina Kounelias in July. My lack of fondness for the arrogant and autocratic pairing of Unger and Robertson predates even their demonstrated poor judgment when they conspired to yank Deadline’s press credential to cover last February’s Academy Awards because I posted exclusive spoilers. Robertson threw a hissy fit and Unger was his henchwoman and then both successfully lobbied Academy President Tom Sherak to give him the OK to ban Deadline from the Oscars press room.
I know many AMPAS staff members were hoping Unger and Robertson would leave because of very legitimate reasons: like the very subjective promotions, selective pay increases, and unprofessional personal relationships between co-workers going on inside that organization and perpetuated by this pair. It also didn’t help that AMPAS staff members were so unhappy they were beginning to take the first steps to unionize by exploring how to join up with IATSE. (And how embarrassing would that have been to the Hollywood bigwigs?)