August 3, 2010

STALLONE AND THE EXPENDABLES DEBT: THE GUARDIAN SHOWS HOW REPORTING IS DONE ON A STORY, SHAMES AMERICAN MAINSTREAM MEDIA IN DOING SO


While there is still nothing to be found on the Stallone Expendables debacle in the US mainstream media...

(and no, Perez Hilton does not count, neither do I. I am talking about news organisations, not people with opinions, of which there are many, and most opionions are like assholes, everybody has one)

... I will now show you how good, original reporting is done. The man's name is Tom Phillips, and he is apparently the British newspaper Guardian's Brazilian/South American correspondent. Taking the AFP report as a starting point, an editor at the Guardian gave the story to Phillips and probably said, as a good editor should, "look into it, tell me if there's any validity to these claims".

And this is what original reporting looks like. Mind you, not investigative reporting, there was definitely not enough time for investigative reporting within this news cycle, but Phillips did what a reporter does, oh hell, what every reporter should do, it's called "ground work".
According to the Brazilian magazine Veja, Stallone, 64 – who filmed scenes in and around Rio in April 2009 – is facing a lawsuit brought by his Brazilian partners, O2, the firm behind Blindness and City of God. "While the Americans were in Brazil, weekly payments were made into O2's account," the magazine claimed. "But as soon as Stallone and his team returned home, the funds dried up."

Veja claimed O2's accountants had been forced to hire armed guards after being harassed by unhappy and unpaid employees. Out-of-pocket Brazilian drivers who worked on the production had "threatened to invade O2's offices in Rio".
And expansion of the original source's claims, which had been somewhat thin in the AFP wire story. Here, we get the Veja story, with several quotes.
In a statement, O2, one of Brazil's most respected production companies, said: "In 2009 O2 performed production services for the film [The] Expendables, directed and acted in by Sylvester Stallone … until now, the company is awaiting reimbursement for its expenditure."

The total value owed was around £1.36m, the company claimed. O2 declined to comment on reports that unhappy ex-employees had laid siege to their offices.
A statement by the Brazilian company that claims to have been wronged. The final sentence here shows that Phillips did call for additional information.
A spokesperson for the film's US production company, LA-based Nu Image/Millennium Films, told the Guardian the accusations were "not accurate". The spokesperson refused to comment further on the allegations.
A simple call for comment to the US production company.  Whether they commented or declined to comment is not relevant here. It is relevant that at least it was tried to obtain further information.

And you're trying to tell me that this is something none of the US media organisations could have done? Or are they merely very "selective" on how they cover certain things, and Nikke Finke's site apparently is in the pockets of Stallone or his producers, running stories on how well the movie is tracking (something they don't do for all films. If they did, then it would be part of the editorial make-up and could not rightfully be criticised by anybody, but the selection and pushing of certain movies while other movies are deemed only snark-worthy are either signs of corruption or a serious bias based on some other rationale)

And the LA Times has been given Stallone's movie so many glorious PR blow jobs in the past couple of weeks, it is either that the newspaper's entertainment section has been invaded by fanboys (always a possibility) or they are being secretly paid/paid off as part of one of them not-so-new-fangled-watch-ma-callits, ah, yes, coordinated PR news campaigns that have been a staple  years ago in video game mags and in radio stations/networks when it came to the playing of music.

Is it any wonder, then, that they would not report on something like this?

Especially since with all that previously evidenced access, can you really make the claim that it was impossible for you to pick up the damn phone? And simply ask for comment?

Like I said, I am not surprised.

P.S.: Some of my friends (all two of them) have told me that it is dangerous for my own career to even debate something like this as openly as I do. What if somebody in LA reads this and goes, "well we ain't never going to work with that motherfucker"? 

Is that a possibility? Of course it is. And if somebody doesn't want to work with me, because I refuse to stay silent, then these people can go and fuck themselves. They have already failed my shibboleth, then, even before we have met

The TV show I invented is all about the truth, and how you cannot turn your back on it, even it if hurts yourself. What kind of a man would I be if I were to stand on that soap box and shout it loud and clear and then turn a blind eye to these things in real life, for the sole reason to benefit or potentially benefit myself?

A yes. A hypocrite.