Deadline EIC Responds to a Rival’s Tweeted Accusations

On Twitter yesterday and today, TheWrap senior film reporter Jeff Sneider questioned the integrity of an item posted by Deadline EIC Mike Fleming Jr.

Initially, he mocked Fleming for labeling as exclusive some project news involving Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company . Then, less forcefully, Sneider noted and wondered about the deletion of the Deadline item in question.

Since Sneider tagged us in his last tweet (above), we figured we would indeed ask Fleming Jr. why Deadline pulled the two-paragraph September 23 item. Sneider, after reading his rival’s response, may wish that he had never gotten us involved in this one.

“[The reason I took down the item is] Very simple,” Fleming Jr. tells FishbowlNY. “Unlike someone like Jeff Sneider, who makes everyone in Hollywood I know run for the hills, people like it when their news is written about on Deadline. I try my best to get to everyone in timely fashion, but my job title has changed here and there are other things to distract me, like co-running this publication.”

“Sometimes, story subjects get impatient or think I have forgotten, and they go to Variety or THR, which is fine,” he adds. “That happened here, and by the time I got to the story in question, thinking it was exclusive, it was not. When Dave McNary emailed me to tell me he had in fact broken the story [for Variety], I spiked it. What purpose is served rebroadcasting news broken elsewhere? Was I claiming a false exclusive and was this a big deal? Not really.”

“When Deadline breaks stories, people like Sneider immediately copy those reveals in hopes of stealing traffic. That happens in film and TV, all day, every day. If someone else, and I consider Variety and THR to be our competition, not really TheWrap, breaks a story, we often ignore it unless it is so big we have no choice. Borys [Kit] and the guys at THR and Dave, Justin [Kroll], Ramin [Setoodeh] and others at Variety are respected colleagues who win their share of these battles.”

“I believe we broke nearly every single film deal made in Toronto, for instance, and that did not stop the competition from rebroadcasting our scoops, including TheWrap. The one deal we missed, The Forger, we let it go, though we did a pretty fine interview with John Travolta. We all have differing ways of covering the waterfront.”

“I actually do not follow this windbag, but will say that rather than waste time with Twitter rants about driving cars into trees and things like that because nobody wants him to have important stories, Sneider ought to be thankful to Deadline for turning over so much hard ground and enabling him to simply copy off our test paper and make a living wage that way. I do not appreciate people accusing me of things that betray their ignorance.”

Update (8:40 p.m.):
Sneider has responded to the above remarks made about him by Fleming Jr. Read that separate, related FishbowlNY item here.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.