Iron Cross Director Sues Variety Over Oscar Shakedown

Joshua Newton, the director who thought a $400,000 Oscar campaign in Variety would buy his movie a positive review, has made good on his threat to sue the Hollywood trade.

Newton told Gawker last week that he was contemplating a lawsuit, and he filed it in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday. We haven't seen a copy of the complaint yet, but according to the Wrap, Newton and his fellow producers claim Variety engaged in "breach of contract and fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud and unfair business practices" when it sold nearly a half a million in ads designed to get Iron Cross Oscar recognition only to turn around and publish a harsh review that "seriously undermined, if not completely destroyed," the prospect. They're seeking damages in excess of $25,000.

Newton initially prevailed upon Variety to pull down the review by freelance critic Robert Koehler from its web site in December, as we reported last month. But it has since been republished. Koehler told Gawker that his Iron Cross assignment was a "very routine" review, and that he had no idea it had been taken down until a month ago. When he inquired with his editors at Variety as to what happened to it, he said, "they were as much in the dark as I was." He eventually learned that the review had been taken down in response to Newton's complaint, but says his editors "sat down and saw the film, and they backed my review. That's why they reposted it."