A Fox News columnist has reportedly been fired over a review of a pirated version of the new X-Men movie, "Wolverine," but the columnist himself suggests no official action has been taken.
Although it has since been deleted from the news outlet's Web site, Roger Friedman's online column, "Fox 411," last week featured a review of a leaked copy of 20th Century Fox's anticipated blockbuster "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." The movie isn't due to hit to theaters until next month and a leaked copy surfaced online last Wednesday.
News Corporation, the parent company of 20th Century Fox and Fox News, swiftly condemned Friedman's actions as promoting piracy.
"Roger Friedman's views in no way reflect the views of News Corporation. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy," the company said in a statement issued Sunday.
"When we advised Fox News of the facts they took immediate action, removed the post, and promptly terminated Mr. Friedman," it continued.
A Fox News spokesperson told ABCNews.com, "This is an internal matter that we're not prepared to discuss at this time."
When contacted by ABCNews.com, Friedman also said it was an internal matter and News Corp. and Fox News had not responded publicly.
"There was no action taken against me," he said.
Friedman apparently gave the unfinished movie, which is scheduled to open May 1, high marks, according to New York magazine.
"I doubt anyone else has seen this film. But everyone can relax. I am, in fact, amazed about how great 'Wolverine' turned out. It exceeds expectations at every turn ..." he said, according to the magazine's Web site.
But now that the film has been leaked online, analysts estimate that thousands of people may have already seen the movie and it could affect the movie's bottom line. Once a film hits peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, stamping out all clips and incarnations of it can be difficult.
"We immediately contacted the appropriate authorities and had it removed," 20th Century Fox Film, the film's distributor, said earlier in a statement.
Fox said it plans to determine the source of the leak through forensic means.
"The FBI and the MPAA [Motion Picture Association of America] also are actively investigating this crime. We are encouraged by the support of fan sites condemning this illegal posting," Fox said.
According to Fox, the leaked copy was missing many special effects and included temporary sound and music -- but Friedman wasn't the only one to watch the film and review it online.
The blog "In GOB We Trust" panned the movie, saying it didn't live up to its comic book origins.
"I just am so disappointed with this movie," blog co-founder Chris Lemke wrote. "They seemed to have all the tools to make this work and instead decided to dumb it down and essentially make a cartoon. … After this one, I don't have much hope for the rest of the franchise. If you are set on watching this, good luck."
The leak of "Wolverine" is the latest instance of what's become a problem for the movie industry. In 2005, eight people were charged with copyright-infringement offenses related to the leaking of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith."