Former Fox News entertainment writer Roger Friedman is suing his old bosses for more than $5 million after he was fired for reviewing a leaked copy of Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
Friedman is seeking damages for libel and legal fees in a suit that names Fox as well as News Corp. and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, as defendants.
He is accusing Fox of violating his contract with the firing, which came after his April 2 review of “Wolverine” appeared on Fox’s Web site. Friedman wrote the piece based on a version he found on the Internet before its official release.
Fox News said it has not been served with the suit. A spokeswoman declined to comment any further on the case.
In the filing, Friedman claims he contacted an in-house attorney at Fox to get the column cleared but that she never responded. He said none of his editors raised objections.
Friedman said he contacted his editor after the review was removed from the site April 3 and was told Murdoch had ordered the story taken down but that he shouldn’t worry about his job.
News Corp. nevertheless fired Friedman April 4. Friedman said John Moody, the executive vice president of Fox News, told him to “remain quiet over the weekend” until a meeting Monday to “repair the situation.”
But News Corp. released a public statement the same day saying the company has “zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy.”
Friedman argues Murdoch “invalidated” the policy by inadvertently allowing the film to end up online and fired him to cover up the misstep.
He said company’s public statements amounted to libel for “willfully, recklessly, intentionally and maliciously” defaming him.
Friedman, who had worked at Fox for 10 years and earned an annual salary of $250,000, is looking for $5 million in damages plus $180,000 in legal fees.