George Clooney’s petition and media rivalry
Barry King /Film Magic
Last week, Deadline reported exclusively that George Clooney tried to get a petition signed in support of Sony after the hacking and email scandal. Click here for a refresher. Clooney said that he and his agent, Bryan Lourd, tried to get major players in the entertainment industry to put their names on the statement but no one, not one person, would come forward.
The Hollywood Reporter posted a story yesterday challenging Clooney’s claim. THR says it reached out to representatives from several studios and talent agencies (Disney, Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, Lionsgate, WME, UTA) and that those they contacted insist they’d never heard of it. When THR reached out to Clooney to tell them of their findings, he stood by his initial position:
"I'm not going to be baited into naming names. If The Hollywood Reporter has a list of heads of studios that would sign on in support of the release of this film then they should in fact get them to start a petition."
Then Deadline followed with a longer explanation. Mike Fleming Jr, who interviewed Clooney exclusively last week to break the story, said that he’d heard about Clooney’s petition days before Clooney agreed to talk to him, confirming the existence of the petition. Clooney finally granted him an interview.
So did he circulate a petition or not?
Fleming insists that Clooney’s petition is legit. But in his mind, the reason it’s being questioned right now is because Janice Min and The Hollywood Reporter hate it when they get scooped by someone else. And since they weren’t the ones to break the exclusive, they’re now trying to undermine the authenticity of the petition and Deadline’s reporting. Fleming points out that while THR cites multiple “sources” in its story, no one was willing to go on record and actually say “I’ve never heard of a petition”. In other words, no one is calling George Clooney a liar and showing the receipts.
We have a war between North Korea (allegedly) and Hollywood. And now, concurrently, we’re watching a war between one entertainment media outlet and the other…and Rupert Murdoch doesn’t have anything to do with it. WTF?