Last April, Fox News entertainment reporter, Roger Friedman, was fired, allegedly because he had acquired and viewed a bootleg copy of 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” At the time it appeared a rather harsh sentence considering that Fox has no problem with continuing to employ people who…
- …joke about assassinating Barack Obama (Liz Trotta).
- …read Republican Party press releases on the air as if they were actually news (Jon Scott).
- …express a desire to strangle competing reporters (Bill O’Reilly).
- …yearn to choke Michael Moore to death (Glenn Beck).
I also wondered whether Fox might have been itching for an excuse to cast Friedman overboard due to his blasphemous praise of Fox nemesis Michael Moore:
On Fahrenheit 9/11: “It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.” He continued, “…a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty – and at the same time an indictment of stupidity and avarice.”
On Sicko: “Filmmaker Michael Moore’s brilliant and uplifting new documentary, ‘Sicko,’ deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity.”
Now the New York Daily News is reporting that Friedman is suing Fox News for wrongful termination, and the reason is something I had not anticipated. He is claiming that Rupert Murdoch and News Corp bowed to pressure from Kelly Preston and Tom Cruise who wanted Friedman fired because he had written critically of Scientology. At first, that seems to be a frivolous assertion, but upon further examination it becomes more plausible.
The Scientology organization has a reputation for being fiercely aggressive when it believes that it has been disparaged. And Friedman did indeed write multiple columns that were less than complimentary to Scientology. For example: Television Star Exits Scientology and Will Scientology Celebs Sign ‘Spiritual’ Contract? and Isaac Hayes’ History With Scientology. And there were others that touched on big stars like Will Smith and Tom Cruise.
I can’t pretend to know the truth about Friedman’s claim. Fox may have already had it in for him due to the Wolverine episode or his acclaim for Moore’s movies. All I can say is that, if Scientology really has Fox cowering before it, I wish Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck would say something to piss them off. Now that’s entertainment.