[Blind Gossip] A “journalist” recently made a passionate plea for the industry to embrace her “friend,” who is a controversial Hollywood figure. The article got a lot of attention within the entertainment industry.
However, the “journalist” somehow forgot to mention one very important fact: her “friend” is actually her boss! He secretly founded, funded, and owns the company for which the “journalist” works.
When you are being paid to run a puff piece on your boss, shouldn’t that be disclosed?
“Journalist”: Allison Hope Weiner
Friend: Mel Gibson
A couple of weeks ago, a woman named Allison Hope Weiner, who calls herself an “investigative journalist”, wrote an article about how Hollywood needed to forgive Mel Gibson for being an asshole.
Deadline, which is supposed to be an entertainment industry news site, published the article. However, they completely failed to disclose the 1.5 million real reasons behind that article!
A few years ago Weiner wrote critical articles about Mel Gibson. Then Mel Gibson secretly invested $1.5 million in TheLip.tv to give Allison Hope Weiner a job. Weiner doesn’t host her show out of her garage. Mel Gibson secretly pays for the studio, the fancy sets, the crew, the post-production and everything else to do with her show. Now she is writing favorable articles about Mel Gibson and Deadline is publishing them.
Allison Hope Weiner is not a journalist. She is a bought-and-paid for spokeswoman for Mel Gibson.
But… shhhh! You weren’t supposed to know that! You weren’t supposed to know about the secretly-funded company! You were supposed to read the article and praise Weiner for bravely coming forward and supporting her “friend.” You weren’t supposed to notice that the article you were reading was a huge stinking pile of bullshit!
But we did notice. And so did Sharon Waxman, editor of The Wrap, another entertainment industry news site. As a direct result of our blind item, The Wrap delved further into the real relationship between Allison Hope Weiner and Mel Gibson, confirmed that our story was correct, and blasted Deadline and Weiner for the conflict of interest. After The Wrap published their article, an exposed Deadline came forward and did an incredibly weak mea culpa. Finally, Deadline founder Nikki Finke weighed in a with a snarky comment.
From The Wrap:
Deadline’s Plea for Mel Gibson
Omits TV Show Tie Between Actor, Journalist
Many may be surprised to learn that an impassioned plea by freelance journalist Allison Hope Weiner for Hollywood to embrace Mel Gibson last week failed to disclose an additional relationship between the writer and actor-director.
In the 3,500 word post, Weiner confessed to being a “journalist who formerly vilified Gibson” and who had become his friend. And she pleaded:
“It is time for those Hollywood agencies and studios to end their quiet blacklisting of Mel Gibson.”
But while Weiner mentioned that Gibson had been to her family celebrations and her Passover seder, she did not mention that she hosts an online TV show for a company that is owned by Gibson.
Weiner hosts an online interview show on TheLip.tv called Media Mayhem, where she interviews media figures. TheWrap has learned that Mel Gibson is the financial backer for the online network, but keeps his ownership hidden.
Reached by TheWrap, Weiner said she is not paid for the show, but said that Gibson’s Icon Entertainment “are an investor in The Lip.tv.”
Another individual close to Gibson told TheWrap that Gibson had invested $1.5 million in the online network, but did not want to publicly disclose his ownership. That information was first sent to BlindGossip.com.
Gibson’s son Will is an associate producer at TheLip, and a close Gibson friend, Michael Lustig, is listed as the founder. Lustig submitted a declaration on Gibson’s behalf in the child custody hearing against Oksana Grigorieva in 2010.
TheWrap’s request to reach Lustig through TheLip did not receive a response. A spokesman for Gibson said he had “no knowledge of Mel Gibson’s private investments nor Icon’s.”
Deadline editor Mike Fleming said: ”I have no comment other than to say I admired the article she wrote for me.”
According to a third individual, Gibson urged friends to help Weiner and her show. ”Mel said he had financed an Internet company which included a talk show on which Weiner was doing interviews,” said one individual who had previously been close to Gibson who declined to be identified. “He said she had been an entertainment journalist but was no longer doing that, and he was helping her financially.”
Weiner emphatically denied to TheWrap that Gibson ever helped her financially.
Weiner’s post raised eyebrows in Hollywood and racked up no fewer than 845 commenters, some of whom praised the writer for bravely speaking out on Gibson’s behalf, but many others who found the whole article curious. Weiner is not employed at Deadline, and she took harsh criticism among the commenters for using her status as a journalist to advocate for Gibson.
Typical of those comments was one who wrote tongue in cheek: [Allison Weiner said] “‘I decided we were friends now and that I could no longer write objectively about him.’ And I decided to account for that fact and stopped reading.”
Deadline fumbled this situation really badly. After getting hammered by The Wrap, they ran a bizarre follow-up article to offer “transparency.” However, instead of saying “We f*cked up and we’re sorry,” the editor prattled on about how Passion of the Christ made him cry and returned him to Christianity… and then gave Weiner more column inches to excuse herself from culpability. WTH?! What an unprofessional and embarrassing response by Deadline.
Perhaps the best insight as to why Deadline would participate in this folly of non-journalism (and come out with a late and lame apology) comes from Deadline founder (and former employee) Nikki Finke:
Well said, Nikki.
Congratulations to everyone who got this one right, starting with HRHFedup!