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Oscar Scandal: The Hollywood Reporter Demanded Preferential Treatment in Exchange for Coverage, Trade Pub Forced to Apologize

Oscar Scandal: Hollywood Reporter Demanded Preferential Treatment
Source: Mega; The Hollywood Reporter

Aug. 9 2023, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

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Penske Media Corporation was forced to apologize this week after it was revealed that an awards columnist for The Hollywood Reporter demanded to see upcoming films ahead of his competitors, RadarOnline.com can report.

The shocking scandal first started when it was revealed that THR awards columnist Scott Feinberg sent out a series of emails to studios and PR reps in which he demanded priority access to upcoming films.

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Oscar Scandal: Hollywood Reporter Demanded Preferential Treatment
Source: Mega

“As you plan the rollout of your film(s), I would like to respectfully ask that you not show films to any of my fellow awards pundits before you show them to me, even if that person represents himself or herself to you as (a) a potential reviewer of it, (b) needing to see the film in order to be part of decisions about covers, or (c) really anything else,” Feinberg wrote, according to an email obtained by Vanity Fair.

Even more shocking was the fact that Feinberg also wrote that, if his request was not granted, THR “may take that into consideration during the booking of roundtables, podcasts and other coverage.”

Oscar Scandal: Hollywood Reporter Demanded Preferential Treatment
Source: Mega

Penske Media Corporation – which purchased THR in 2020 and also owns other popular publications such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Variety – quickly issued a statement in which they apologized for Feinberg’s email and admitted the request was “inartfully worded.”

“[Feinberg] did not in any way mean to imply that he should see films before others, but just that all awards analysts should see them at the same time and not be given preferential treatment,” a spokesperson for PMC said on Tuesday.

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“It was [Feinberg’s] understanding that there have been instances where other awards analysts have gotten early access to a film by also claiming to be a reviewer and were able to see films before others,” the apology continued.

“Any suggestion of consequences for not providing early viewing access to Scott was not the intent.”

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Oscar Scandal: Hollywood Reporter Demanded Preferential Treatment
Source: Mega

Feinberg has since backtracked on his initial email and, in a follow-up email, argued that THR was at an “unfair” and “competitive disadvantage” when not provided priority access to upcoming films.

“We feel that doing so is plainly unfair to THR, as it puts us at a competitive disadvantage, especially at film fests, where every second counts,” he wrote in a second email.

“It is not unreasonable to ask you to insist that someone is either an awards pundit or a critic/cover editor, but not both, at least during awards season.”

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Oscar Scandal: Hollywood Reporter Demanded Preferential Treatment
Source: Mega

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, the scandal currently taking place at THR comes as Hollywood is at a standstill amid the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Actors cannot promote their already-completed projects due to the strikes, and sources within the industry suggested the strikes could continue until October.

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