Players: Deadline Hollywood Editor Nikki Finke; Howard Gantman, Vice President of the Motion Picture Association of America. Finke's site featured an article over the weekend about former senator Chris Dodd's first D.C. speech as the new head of the MPAA, written by executive editor David Lieberman. The article points out that at an MPAA party that weekend "Dodd didn't address the group. Instead, the retired U.S [senator] ... juggled hors d'oeuvres from Top Chef All Stars runner-up Mike Isabella while listening to a pianist play lounge-bar renditions of The Lady Is A Tramp and Beauty And The Beast." The article added: "If he wants his next MPAA event to appear remotely relevant, don't include DVDs of such newsosaur films as All The President's Men, Broadcast News and State Of Play instead of The Social Network in the swag bag."
Opening Serve: MPAA Vice President Gantman wrote to Lieberman "midly complaining about Lieberman's coverage of an MPAA event. It's the sort of thing that editors and writers deal with on a daily basis, and Gantman's note was civil and not even remotely angry," according to Gawker's John Cook.
Return Volley: Finke responded to Gantman's email by admonishing him at length. Her long-winded email features snippets of her resume, mentioning notable former colleagues and her political science degree. "First, you do NOT talk to one of my reporters, let alone my Executive Editor like this, especially someone who has forgotten more about entertainment media in one day than you'll ever know in your lifetime," she wrote. "Especially when considering you work for one of the least effective and most mendacious lobbying organizations connected to Hollywood, with a multitude of flacks who don't do their job including yourself. So I expect an apology forthwith to David and to me." She clarified that the opinions expressed about Dodd in the article were her own.
"If you were so concerned about what Deadline writes about the MPAA, then why is this the first time I am even hearing your name? Why is this the first time you have even contacted Deadline or me (even though I am frequently described as allegedly the most powerful journalist in Hollywood)?" she asked.
What They Say the Fight's About: Gantman didn't appreciate Deadline's critical coverage of his organization's event. Finke didn't appreciate Gantman's input.
What the Fight's Really About: Gawker suggests Finke's reaction is one of many signs that she may be "losing it." It's obvious Finke wanted to make her opinion of Dodd's appointment at the head of MCAA loud and clear--she even went back to Leiberman's original post and added her own update, calling Dodd an "out-of-work Congressional blowhard" who is "ethically challenged" and "whose efficacy and integrity is now at such a low point that every sitting Congressional member would and should be justified in shunning him." Perhaps, too, Finke's response to Gantman is an attempt to prove that she can't be messed with?
Who's Winning Now: Finke comes off as horribly arrogant and downright mean in this email. But at the same time Gantman can hardly be considered the winner. He'd emailed Finke, presumably, in the hopes of seeing the MPAA event post rewritten or kinder words towards his organization in the future. Instead, "she punished Gantman's insolence by making the item more harsh," Cook writes.