Nikke Finke is the legendary Hollywood business blogger and creator of Deadline.com who’s broke many a story about the doings of executives in Tinsel Town over the years. Over that time of scoops and battles with such people as then-Academy President Tom Sherak, Finke has gained a rabid following.
Her success caused Deadline to be bought by Jay Penske’s PMC and add several entertainment journalists, most notably the one who’s become her enemy, it would seem, Mike Fleming (who got after Finke in this blog post at Deadline.com, accusing her of not working enough, which squares with her claim that she’s working too much).
But, from reports, as I’ve not yet talked to Ms. Finke personally, it would seem that Penske was asking too much from her, and the blog’s content was, to her, lacking. Here’s the statement that she wrote and was posted over at Gawker:
I have no plans to take any staff with me at this point. I do have an offer that is a $5.5 million offer for nikkifinke.com, and I have several other offers as well. I haven’t negotiated any yet, as I’ve been waiting until things are finished [with PMC]. They all came in unsolicited and would like me to start after the new year. I’m excited for and entitled to my vacation through the first week of January. I’ve been forced to work seven days a week with no vacation and I’m excited to be own boss again.
I think Deadline is very bland and boring, and doesn’t tell the truth about Hollywood anymore. I’ve been inundated with administrative duties, and for the past two years I’ve been begging for more staff, more resources, help for myself in running the site, and he hasn’t done it. And in the meantime he’s bought a competitor and lavished resources on them.
You reach a point where you just have to say to yourself, “I made a good deal when I sold Deadline,” and he is entitled to run it any way he wants, but there’s a point where I don’t have to participate, and it’s time for him to let go. I’ve been begging and he won’t budge — which shows Sharon [Waxman, of TheWrap.com] is so wrong [in her report this summer that Finke was fired by Penske], and I wish him well, I just can’t participate anymore or work for him anymore. I need to do my own thing.
[I] reached that point where he’s been harassing me, and doesn’t want me to take a vacation, and is forcing me to work 7 days a week. I’m sorry but nobody can do that. I’ve made sure everyone at Deadline can take a vacation and never have to think about Deadline while on vacation, or work more than 5 days a week. Everyone gets that benefit except for me.
Not only had he fired two people but he’s going to fire a third, he told me, so we are smaller than we ever have been and were going into awards season. It’s ridiculous and I don’t want do do this anymore, and luckily I’m rich enough that I don’t have to.
I don’t have to work again and when I do, I want to do it for myself, and he [Penske] somehow thinks he owns me like I’m his slave. He’s breaking federal law and state law.
People think I’m litigious, but I didn’t start anything legal against him. He’s harassed me with letters, phone calls, e-mail. I haven’t started anything against him, let the record show. I thought we were mature adults who could end this amicably.
But, word to those who don’t think you can make money blogging, Nikke Finke just told us she’s rich. If that’s not an incentive to work, I don’t know what is.
That aside, and back to my main point, the warning here for any blogger who gets an offer to sell their blog, but remain on as a blogger, is to make sure the contract has a clause that prevents the owner from making undue requests on the founder.
But don’t feel too sorry for Nikke. After all, she’s got a $5.5 million offer start a new blog on the table.