Penske Trying To Shut Me Down

penskebestdressedOops, 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!

  159 comments on “Penske Trying To Shut Me Down

  1. How long did you work with Penske? One would think he would be smart enough to let his lawyers know that sending you a letter "demanding" that you do something, is not going to work. I think you should take out ads in NASCAR magazines (or even one on a car that just says "Penske Sucks") talking about this stuff. Hit him where it really hurts. If it weren’t for you, no one in Hollywood would know who this guy is. His family is all about those race cars, though.

  2. Glad you’re back… yet I always thought your special type of snarking was to destroy people… maybe it was just to deflate, but compelling dialogue and informing of the truth… I’m open to that being your actual intention. keep to your credo here.

  3. "The Son Of The Boss". They are either spoiled and competitive trying to out do Daddy — or they are spoiled slackers -living on Daddy’s name and bucks– so glad you are back Nikki…

  4. I would advise you to comply with his request. Remove all the posts in question around 11:59:57 and return them at 12:00:08. Give the prick 11 seconds of victory and then take it all away.

  5. Never even heard of you until yesterday, when I saw a headline on Drudge and have been following you ever since. All I can say is Wow! Now that’s a woman with some balls! You go girl – show ‘em what you’re made of.

  6. If Mr. Penske wants to look on the bright side of all this, it has been confirmed that he can garner more discussion and comments by himself than his reporters can rally for their weekend box office reporting.

  7. Deadline is flat lining. No longer interesting. Sort of like watching milk in a bowl of Cheerios. What does that mean? White washed.

  8. Nice to have you back, Nikki. I have no connection to Hollywood other than as a consumer of TV and movie entertainment, but I’ve surely missed your biting humor and excellent reporting.

  9. First of all Hurrah!!! You’re back! I just commented on DH (no second D anymore just lazy-assed press release reprints and astroturf in the comments) the other day and was hoping you’d at least write a book or something about DHD. This though is better, way better, maybe not exactly setting the clock back to 2007-2008 but hey that only happens in movies and TV. As for not getting paid under a non-compete clause, well for sure that’s breach of contract regardless of whether non-competes are illegal in California or not. My bar card’s from Texas and down that way they have a saying about a deal being a deal and all. Pity you’re in CA because I can’t advise you on the specifics but I would say to your current representation 2 sweet little buzzwords that covers this: unjust enrichment. That way if said Penske tries to weasel out of paying by saying either the contract in total or just the non-compete clause was void (which he might via his shyster(s)) in the first place) you know what to fall back to. You need to be ready to say this phrase in arbitration, in any other form of alternative dispute resolution and if you get there in one or more courts of law. In the meantime, glad to see you’re back, hope your health is good, and looking forward to seeing you exercise your First Amendment rights right here on NF.com

  10. "Repubs like me don’t visit many “entertainment sites” because of the blather, mindless adulation for pretentiousness and rampant Hollywood narcissism. " You know, being the independent thinking person that you undoubtedly are, strike the Hollywood from your sentence, take a deep breath and step back, and you’ll see that you already get plenty of that on Drudge, from Hannity, from Limbaugh, from Cain, from Alex Jones, etc. It’s just different flavors of blather, pretentiousness, and rampant narcissism .

  11. Penske… Penske… Penske…. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH! Bury, him, Nikki.

  12. What a load of shit your below statement is. Compel dialogue, not destroy people? Focus on giving us the best news. Nobody wants to hear you cry about how much money you can get or how you got screwed. I’m sure you’ve done plenty of the screwing and I’m sure you plenty of damn money. Shut up and write. "Commenting at NikkiFinke.com is a privilege, not a right. The goal is to stimulate a compelling dialogue, not destroy people. Stick to the professional and stay away from the personal and above all don’t bore me."

  13. well, facts and good reporting are scary to the "power manipulators" of every stripe so long as we have a voice via NF and others they should be scared!

  14. Nikki, thank god you are back in action. As for Jay, Deadline has gone through a deeper spiral….he knows that as well as anyone. Hoping to have your snarking back when it gets time for the Emmys and Oscars…..those are epic events for those who have never watched them with Nikki’s greatness! Stay strong, be well and welcome back!

  15. Hoo-ah for Nikki. Repubs like me don’t visit many "entertainment sites" because of the blather, mindless adulation for pretentiousness and rampant Hollywood narcissism. We all does love the truth though. I found this site from Drudge – kudos to him for seeing the talent and ballsiness that Nikki expresses.

  16. Welcome back Nikki! First found your blog when I was looking for online Oscars coverage. Love, love, LOVED it!! You sure know how to let the air out of the pompous windbags. Love your snark and am looking forward to enjoying more of it from you.

  17. Keep on keeping, Nikki! Don’t you dare take the money or negotiate with him anymore. Let him sue you. It will go nowhere. He’ll know from his own comments section that we think he is a hack.

  18. As a fellow entertainment blogger you are someone that is looked up to and admired in the business, keep fighting to ensure everyone can continue to listen to your voice through these pages, and learn from your wisdom. Darren – http://www.mygezza.com

  19. Hey Nikki, welcome the heck back. I hope that you will pull out all the stops to take Hollywood to task. They certainly deserve it! And this time, I really hope that you don’t hold back. I would love for you to do an article on the use of state incentives for the film industry. Why do the studios, who make billions of dollars each year on their tentpole movies need a tax break? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on emerging filmmakers and indie filmmakers who could really use that money to realize their vision? Maybe the moviegoers should get a tax break for the sophomoric drivel the studios are cranking out…. Just a thought.

    1. Jim, regarding State Tax Incentives, these Studios do not NEED Tax Incentives to be Successful. These Studios WANT Tax Incentives to be even MORE Successful. And, yes, these are the same Studios that will support President Obama by saying "TAX ME." Yet, these Studios will not put their "Money Where Their Mouth Is" by refusing their own Tax Incentives. Therefore, Studios don’t have to worry about "Busting Their Budget," as long as they’re able to "Stick the States with their Bills."

  20. Choosing litigation over improvement in one’s product is proof that the company doesn’t know how to improve. If DH wanted to shut down Nikki, put out better content on your website. Sadly for them, sounds like it’s not going to happen.

  21. Doesn’t work that way in America! ====================== Don’t worry, it will soon. Piss off someone "connected" and the IRS will be knocking at your door and your doctor will stop taking your appointments.

  22. “Free speech” does not apply in legal disputes between people or companies, only when the government is trying to restrict your speech.

  23. I want a "Long Live Nikki Finke" shirt and I want it now. I used to love Deadline, especially your box office reports, but it’s turned into absolute shit. So excited that you’re back! Kill it, Nikki!

Commenting at NikkiFinke.com is a privilege, not a right.

The goal is to stimulate a compelling dialogue, not destroy people. Stick to the professional and stay away from the personal and above all don’t bore me.


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>