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Nikki Finke’s Hollywood Dementia

from VULTURE

Nikki Finke Is Now Making Up Her Stories (Sort Of)

By

Photo: Jen Rosenstein

For Nikki Finke, fiction was always the enemy. “As a journalist, that was the worst thing you could say about something,” she says. “That’s fiction.”

In the years she spent covering the entertainment industry for the L.A. Times, L.A. Weekly, and her own Deadline website, Finke became famous — and famously feared — for telling the unvarnished (and highly entertaining) truth about everyone in Hollywood, even her own business partner, Jay Penske. “I am a very old-school journalist,” she says throatily over the phone from her home in Los Angeles. “I believe you make the comfortable uncomfortable, and that’s the whole point of doing it. A friend of mine who is in the business always used to say, Why do you always act surprised when people hate you for something you have written? And I said, But it’s the truth! My feeling was always the truth trumps everything. You know, the point is to try and get at that. As uncomfortable and difficult as it is.”

One thing the truth doesn’t trump: non-compete clauses.

Last year, a legal battle with Penske over Deadline resulted in Finke walking away with a reported multi-million-dollar settlement and a sworn promise not to report about the industry for anyone else. For a while, it seemed Penske had done something people in the industry had been trying to do for years: Put Finke out of commission. Under their agreement, Finke couldn’t even go online and expound about the Sony hack — the kind of cataclysmic event that would have had the old Finke, who goes on reporting benders the way studio executives used to go on coke binges, sleepless for days.

Finke clears her throat. (“In 2010, I completely had an operation to remove a parathyroid and they paralyzed one of my vocal cords. I couldn’t talk, I would croak. Of course all the agents would go, ‘That’s so sexy.’”) “The hack presented Hollywood the way it really is,” she says. “It demonstrated what Hollywood insiders have always known.” (She’s being careful, but you can hear it in her voice: TOLDJA!)

[ click to continue reading at VULTURE.com ]

Posted on August 3, 2015 by Editor

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