Nikki Finke took a swing at her former colleague Lynne Segall on Tuesday, accusing the outgoing Mail.com publisher of trying to get Finke to soften critical coverage of NBC Universal and Jeff Zucker and of worsening her diabetes.
"…from Day One of her consultancy, I felt like I was battling the force of darkness at every turn," Finke wrote in a 1300-word screed usually reserved for fired Hollywood moguls or Motion Picture Association spokesmen.
"As soon as Lynne arrived, she began trying to break down the wall I'd carefully and deliberately erected between Deadline's editorial product and my parent company's advertising department," she wrote. "Almost immediately, she tried to stop me from criticizing Jeff Zucker and NBC Universal because he'd ordered his TV and movie operations not to advertise on Deadline," Finke (right) wrote.
The scathing post was published hours after Segall announced she was leaving Deadline to become the publisher of The Hollywood Reporter.
In her post, Finke implied that Segall's previous employers, the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter, kowtow to advertisers and that Segall caused Finke's diabetes to get worse.
Finke wrote that "I truly don't think she'd ever worked before with an editor-in-chief who'd said 'no' to her priority of placing the almighty ad dollar above editorial ethics."
And she claimed that Segall tried to assign stories.
"Each and every time, I told her to stick it where the sun don't shine — at first politely, then much less so."
Finke complained that Segall went behind her back on print publications.
As a result, Finke wrote, "I suffered exhaustion and worsened insulin-dependent diabetes. She didn't care."
Asked to respond to the searing allegations, Segall (left) confessed to confusion.
"Do you think I can tell Nikki Finke what to write? She’s not gonna listen to Lynne Segall," she said.
She said she only discussed Zucker with Finke before she joined Mail.com. And she said Finke was fully on board with publishing the Emmy print editions, but had trouble meeting deadlines.
"It's frustrating to me for her to put me at the heart of this," she said. "She’d agreed to do these print issues back in January and February. She was behind it, she was excited, she had meetings with Nellie (Andreeva) and everybody, Ray Richmond. She was completely on board."
Deadline only published two of three planned Emmy editions.
Segall had been publisher of Mail.com Media Corporation, which owns Deadline since August 2010. On Tuesday, she announced that she's returning to The Hollywood Reporter, where she'll be publisher.
Finke, who wrote that "I am contractually prevented from disclosing information about my parent company, so I have confined this posting to only my own relationship with Lynne," wrote that Segall had been selling awards publications without Finke's permission.
"I told her to come clean to advertisers because Deadline was not going to publish these issues," Finke wrote. "She claimed she had gone back and made that clear. But she didn't. At this point I had to stop her from ruining the integrity of Deadline. I told Lynne we were finished and that I wanted nothing more to do with her."
Segall said nothing could be further than the truth. She said she'd been talking to THR about the position since January, and that she'd made "millions" of dollars for Penske since coming on board.
As for Finke, "Deadlines are hard for her. It put a lot of pressure on her," she said.
But, she added, "I didn't give her diabetes."