Image via WikipediaFired Fox News entertainment columnist Roger Friedman is seeking more than $5 million in damages from his former employer in a lawsuit filed in the New York Supreme Court.
The case, Roger Friedman v. Fox News Network,LLC, NewsCorp America, Twentieth Century Fox and Rupert Murdoch (No. 09-602005), includes counts alleging wrongful termination, tortious interference, and defamation arising from Friedman's ouster on April 4, 2009. The complaint alleges that Friedman, who currently writes for The Hollywood Reporter, was being paid $250,000 annually by the defendants in a contract that ran from January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2009.
According to the complaint, Friedman submitted a review of the Hugh Jackman actioner "Wolverine," that he viewed on the Internet before the 20th Century Fox film's release to theaters, and was dismissed for purportedly endorsing movie piracy by his actions.
Although not alleged in the complaint, Friedman has previously told NY Daily News gossip columnists and other media outlets that his dismissal over the "Wolverine" incident was pretextual and that his job loss was the result of pressure applied to the defendants by Hollywood heavyweights, including actress Kelly Preston, who wanted Friedman fired because he has been critical of Scientology in his column.
Friedman is represented by acclaimed First Amendment litigator Martin Garbus. The "dueling Rogers over Bucks" (Roger Friedman and Fox News President Roger Ailes) has The Huffington Post and blogmeister Gawker breathless with excitement, but it's doubtful the public will find a sympathetic horse in this race.