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The Hollywood Reporter has reportedly had an ongoing clash with its parent company over its own reporting on players in the entertainment industry with business ties with the media conglomerate.
In a hard-hitting exposé pushed on Monday, LA Magazine shined a light on the apparent rifts in the once venerable entertainment trade journal, alleging two publishing newcomers have turned the former industry stalwart, known for breaking big stories into a toothless tiger more interested in currying favor with famous faces it purports to cover.
Valence Media oversees several companies including the Reporter, Billboard Magazine Dick Clark Productions, and Media Rights Capital (MRC), and its co-CEOs Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu, as well as its managing director Deanna Brown, has had a heavy say on what the Reporter runs and lashes out when running stories that didn’t seek their approval, noting that their leadership “was ignorant or disdainful of the most basic tenets of journalism,” according to the report.
LA Magazine noted several clashes between Valence and the Reporter under the tenure Matthew Belloni, who stepped down as editorial director last month after being with the entertainment magazine for 14 years.
Satchu reportedly made efforts to kill a 2019 feature about Louise Linton, actress and wife of film producer-turned-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after he “heard from sources” close to the top Trump official. The feature ultimately ran but did not present the finances of Linton and Mnuchin in a positive light.
Sources told the magazine that Brown was known as the “hatchet woman” after she was hired by Valence Media in April 2019. Brown apparently was “riled” by the Reporter’s best and worst films of the year lists, saying, “the glib sort of ongoing negativity here is exhausting and not part of our strategy.” That caused Belloni to squash the lists for best and worst television shows.
She reportedly took issue with an article from January about Jennifer Lopez becoming the face of Guess Jeans and how the story made reference to the sexual harassment allegations that were leveled against Guess co-founder Paul Marciano.
“Citing Valence’s various business dealings with Lopez, Brown emailed Belloni: ‘We had an agreement that you would alert me to anything controversial—and this registers…as in the multiple touch points to JLO in the company,’ the report said.
The report also cites a bizarre backlash from MRC after the Reporter ran a story about that the filmmakers behind “Knives Out” were already developing a sequel, revealing so to journalists at a pre-Golden Globes party. MRC, which produced “Knives Out” scolded the editors for running the story without waiting for an “official announcement.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 08: A view of magazines at MR PORTER Celebrates The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Watch Issue on November 8, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images For THR)
Valence Media did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment, but a spokesperson provided the following statement to LA Magazine, “We are committed to our publications and to journalistic integrity. We are, and have been for the past 18 months, in the process of working with the Poynter Institute to follow modern best practices and maintain optimal editorial independence. We have implemented many of Poynter’s recommended changes and recently opened up the discussion beyond our leadership teams to all editorial staff.”
Last month, Valence Media made the “difficult” decision to cut 30 percent of its staff amid the financial blow sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, according to an internal memo that was released to staff.
“As we have seen, even the biggest companies in the world are being forced to make very difficult decisions. Those companies that avoid making hard choices now risk having to make even worse choices later. Our company is no different. We are strong, but we are not immune to the crisis,” the CEOs wrote in the memo obtained by Deadline. “Today we enacted difficult, but necessary measures to remain strong for our employees and partners.”