Did Scientologists Pressure FOX News to Fire Roger Friedman?

June 15, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Roger Friedman, former Fox News entertainment columnist, was fired last month after his review of a pirated Internet copy of 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine and now he is fighting back, claiming the controversial Church of Scientology pressured Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to fire him.

Friedman hired colorful trial attorney, Martin Garbus, who last represented Don Imus, to file a wrongful termination suit against News Corp. and plans to detail the undue influence Hollywood Scientologists have over media outlets that dare to criticize them.

Friedman says firing him for video piracy was just a “cover” and that pressure from the Church of Scientology is the real reason for his ouster.

Friedman claims his troubles with Scientologists go back to a recent run in he had with Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, both Scientologists, at the funeral of musician Isaac Hayes who was a Scientologist as well. Preston supposedly shouted at Friedman, upset with his columns critical of Scientology, calling him a “religious bigot.”

A month later, according to a friend of Friedman’s, Preston took her complaints about Friedman directly to Fox News chief Roger Ailes and VP John Moody. She spoke to Moody on the phone demanding that Friedman be fired.

After that phone conversation, Ailes and Moody agreed to a meeting between Preston and Scientology spokesman, Tommy Davis. Soon after, Friedman began to notice the unseen hand of the Church of Scientology in editorial decisions. A source claims Friedman’s editors forbid him from writing about the death of Preston’s son, Jett.

Then Friedman claims, 20th Century Fox chairman Jim Gianopoulos had been pressuring him not to write about Cruise’s movie “Valkyrie. Another source claims Cruise may have conditioned his taking a starring role in the new movie “Wichita,” upon Friedman’s ouster from Fox News.

Whatever the truth to speculation from “sources,” Friedman’s attorney claims Friedman’s editors saw his “piracy” column before it was published and not only approved it, but praised it. Friedman and his attorney say News Corp.’s aim was to destroy Friedman’s reputation as a journalist.

Additionally, Friedman’s attorney claims the leak of “Wolverine” onto the Internet can be traced back to Murdoch asking the studio for a DVD copy of the unfinished movie.

Fox News declined to comment. Both Preston and Cruise through their attorneys, denied Friedman’s claims.

Garbus plans to file the wrongful termination suit in Manhattan Federal Court and calls it a “slam dunk.”



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