Oops, someone spilled the party dip at my launch party. Last night my lawyers received a nasty legal letter from Jay Penske (aka Little Lord Fauntleroy) trying to shut down my new website. He also doesn’t want me exercising my right to free speech. For those not in the know, Penske owns Deadline Hollywood which I founded and ran until our Fall 2013 dust-up. As you know, I dutifully sat out months because of the non-compete. That ended on April 1st when Penske did not pay the 6-figure sum I was owed. So I was able to start work again on June 2nd.
Meanwhile, Penske was negotiating with me to come back to Deadline! He was throwing money at me – nearly $500,000 a year to not even write a word – plus other good stuff. But every time I accepted his settlement, he would change terms adverse to me, and then we’d have to negotiate all over again. So on the night of June 11th, we reached an impasse. And I started up NikkiFinke.com the next day. But now he’s spitting nails.
His letter from law firm Seyfarth Shaw to me is full of bluster.
"Nikki Finke has begun posting on NikkiFinke.com, including a post that is disparaging of both Deadline and its employees. Her posts violate the Finke Covenant Not To Compete, both in its original form and as amended as well as the non-disparagement clause in her contract.
"Demand is made that Ms. Finke remove the posts on NikkiFinke.com by midnight tonight and cease further posts until a ruling by the arbitrator on the enforceability of the non-compete. If not, the Company will seek extensive damages for her conduct and will seek all other appropriate relief including but not limited to injunctive relief.
"Make no mistake, this was the most brazen and reckless conduct your client could have taken. We trust that she will comply with our demand and heed our final warning. If she fails to do so, she proceeds at her peril."
Jay doesn’t scare me. He never went to arbitration on anything he was supposed to. Penske thinks he can terminate me and not pay me and still be my boss. Doesn’t work that way in America!