Dec 21, 2021 • 1HR 3M

Giving Hollywood the Business (w/Richard Rushfield)

Founder of the "The Ankler" dishes on Hollywood and his battle with Jay Penske

Eric Newcomer
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Hosts Tom Dotan and Eric Newcomer speak with longtime Hollywood reporter Richard Rushfield, who launched his newsletter The Ankler in 2017. Rushfield told readers he would be “giving Hollywood the business,” describing his unsparing newsletter as “the newsletter Hollywood loves to hate and hates to love.”

Now, Rushfield has broader ambitions. A splashy New York Times piece announced that he’d teamed up with Janice Min, the media executive responsible for reinventing both The Hollywood Reporter and Us Weekly. Substack is helping to fund their growth as The Ankler joins Y Combinator.

Almost immediately drama ensued. Variety, the Hollywood trade publication and Ankler rival, ran a headline on Dec. 16: Janice Min Loses First Hire at Ankler Newsletter to Rolling Stone (EXCLUSIVE).

It just so happened that Jay Penske, who was desperately trying to keep star reporter Tatiana Siegel in his media ecosystem, is the owner of Variety, Rolling Stone and Siegel’s employer The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, Min insisted on Twitter that Siegel intended to join The Ankler.

The blowup only seemed to firm up The Ankler’s insurgent posture and the threat it posed to Penske’s Hollywood media empire. We spoke to Rushfield about the contentious launch. We also talked about some of the biggest stories in Hollywood right now, including Netflix employees protesting Dave Chappelle and the backlash to the Golden Globes.