the industry

Hollywood Exec’s Facebook Updates Fuel Firing Rumors

Facebook has recently come under fire for publicizing information people might prefer to keep confidential, but for Hollywood watchers, it has its benefits, too: Thanks to the site, you no longer need to wonder if a top studio executive is about to lose their job. One endangered suit is learning that the hard way: The town is abuzz over how this exec’s revealing status updates and page activity all seem to inadvertently spell out that the page’s owner is either about to fired or already has been. The writing on the wall is now on the Facebook wall.

Whenever anyone oversees two back-to-back bombs, as the exec in question did, the Hollywood community will hunt for any rumor about a sacking. But in this case, a blatant, easy-to-follow list of clues posted on Facebook makes it a very easy game. The evidence:

• A note thanking a popular vacation destination for helping the exec find equilibrium and get “ready.”

• A laundry list of strategic Facebook “friend”-ing: In the week since arriving home from vacation, the exec added 50 new “friends,” all top executives at rival media companies, heads of corporate communication at talent agencies, elite personal publicists, film directors, producers, and even the Hollywood beat reporters at the Associated Press and the New York Times, as well as national magazine writers. Essentially, a Rolodex of networking.

• And the most devastating evidence of imminent studio-job loss: The public admission of having ample room in one’s schedule. In a public Wall-to-Wall exchange, the exec arranged a lunch date with a friend and wrote the one thing no self-respecting, stretched-thin Hollywood player should ever admit: “Of course! Throw out a date. I’ve got time.”

Eagerness? Availability? Sacré bleu!

While, sure, it’s possible that the executive may be safe and is just going through a slow period at work, town gossips have been giddily e-mailing about this reading of the e-leaves. “I think this might be the first high-level exec movement [traceable] on Facebook,” remarked one wag, adding, “What’s so crazy is why don’t people understand that Facebook is public … If you have a conversation with someone, have it on the phone or at least private e-mail — not on your wall!”

Indeed, there are some things that just can’t be fixed by U.S. senators or by checking privacy boxes: Hollywood’s voracious need to network, spin, and grab a hold of a new vine before letting go of the one from which you’re currently dangling so precariously.

Hollywood Exec’s Facebook Updates Fuel Firing Rumors