Lessons in foamy-mouthed craziness: The Nasson correspondence

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I’ve been hanging on to these e-mails for almost a year, wondering if there would ever be a good time (and a good reason) to post them. And now there is!

This takes us all the way back to my first contact with Tim Nasson last August. Enjoy!

* * * * *

On Aug. 7, 2006, I posted a blog entry detailing the appalling journalistic tactics of one Tim Nasson, of Wild About Movies. Essentially, he was writing articles full of celebrities’ “quotes,” except they weren’t actual direct quotes. They were paraphrases (often with erroneous details) around which he had slapped quotation marks. And you can’t DO that in professional journalism, not even entertainment journalism.

I had brought the situation to his attention privately, but he dismissed my claims and ignored me thereafter. So I posted the blog entry exposing him to the world (well, to the parts of the world that visit my website). This resulted in a lengthy, hilarious exchange of e-mails between us….

8/8/06
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

You obviously have no life. [Darn, it’s that obvious?] And the reason I didn’t respond to your pathetic email, twice, was because I have nothing to worry about. From you or Paraomunt. [When did I ever mention Paramount, or even Paraomunt?]

In addition to the ROUND TABLE interviews, in Seattle, I ALSO had ONE ON ONE interviews with EVERYONE, (Which is really none of your business.)

But since you have slandered my name on your website, https://www.ericdsnider.com/blog/2006/08/07/bad-bad-journalism-tim-nasson-wild-about-movies/ , I will be filing a lawsuit against you for defamation and anything else my lawyers can think of if you do not remove that link and post an apology in the next 12 hours.

Tim Nasson
Publisher
Wild About Movies/SHINE media

Unafraid of his threats of legal action for reasons that will soon become clear, I decided to goad him a little bit.

8/8/06
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

Don’t forget, it’s posted on EFilmCritic and HollywoodB****slap.com, too. [links provided]

8/8/06
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

They will be informed, as well. But since it comes from your site, and your quotes about me are from your mouth, you are the one who is to be held accountable.

8/8/06
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

Oh, I know. I accept full responsibility. I just wanted to make sure your lawyers had all their bases covered. [In my mind, the word “lawyers” had sarcastic finger quotes around it.]

8/8/06
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

I am sure it won’t be just MY lawyers but the lawyers of some movie stars who have a lot more money than me, and the lawyers from a certain movie studio.

That’s where it became clear that he was not entirely sane. His own legal case against me was pretty thin; what possible claim did he think Oliver Stone or Paramount Pictures would have?

He then sent an e-mail to HBS/EFC.

8/8/06
From: Tim Nasson
To: HBS/EFC

I am the publisher of Wild About Movies, (www.wildaboutmovies.com), and it has been brought to my attention that a link to Eric Snider’s false and defamatory article about me has been posted on your sites, Hollywood B**** Slap and E Film Critic.

Note that legal action against Eric Snider has begun, since everything in his article is 100% false. As was pointed out to him by the movie studio and by me, today, I sat with each of the stars and director of World Trade Center, separately, as well, in one-on-one interviews in Seattle, which is where 90%, if not all of my article, was created from.

Having this knowledge in your possession, now, would lead me to believe you would do the civilized thing and post a retraction, if not also an apology. Anything less will leave you and your company(ies) complicit in perpetrating the misleading, defamatory and slanderous comments made by Eric Snider about me on your site(s.)

“As was pointed out to him by the movie studio”? So now apparently Paramount TOLD me that Nasson had one-on-one interviews with everyone in Seattle? I wonder when they told me that, and why I don’t remember it.

[Then he sent me this.]

8/9/06
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

You obviously are not dealing with a full deck [Hello, Kettle? It’s Pot.] and it’s apparent to me, that you probably have no money, [true enough] and a monetary judgement against you would do nothing for me or the studios. [Nor would it ever happen in a thousand years anyway.]

So, here’s a deal that you have 6 hours to accept.

As it has been proven, without question, that your comments on your site about me are false, libelous, slanderous and defamatory, it would be in your best interest to take them down, AT ONCE, and facilitate the removal of their posts on any/all other sites.

And, post a retraction.

For doing so, I will personally see to it that you are added back to the screening lists for any/all studios you were removed from.

If you don’t take the article about me and Paramount down, [“The article about … Paramount” apparently refers to my “I Was a Junket Whore” column, which was then all the rage. Why he wanted me to take it down I can only guess, but I suppose it’s because it defames junket whores, and he’s a junket whore.] I can guarantee that you will also be removed from every other screening list and never attend a screening again, for the rest of your life, no matter what city you live in.

If you think I am kidding, then ignore me. [Kidding, no. Crazy, yes.]

In addition, if you fail to this agreement, I will be sure to a barrage of lawsuits launched against you and any/all who have posted any false statement about me, immediately, regardless of how much money I may or may not receive from any/all judgements against you. [Speaking of false statements, here’s a true one: Tim Nasson couldn’t put together a coherent sentence if you handed him a dictionary and William Safire. “If you fail to this agreement”? “I will be sure to a barrage”?]


Tim Nasson
Publisher
SHINE media

8/9/06
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

As it has been proven, without question, that your comments on your site about me are false

OK, here’s the thing: No, it has NOT been proven that what I said about your work was untrue. You’ve said you had a one-on-one interview with Stone and that that’s where all your quotes came from, but all you’ve done is SAY it. You certainly have not proven it. If you can produce proof that you had a one-on-one interview with him in Seattle, and produce a recording of the interview so I can hear for myself that your quotes are accurate, then I will with all due humility and speed remove the article and print a huge apology.

Failing that, my article stands. I don’t think you did have a one-on-one with Stone in Seattle. No one else got a one-on-one; why would you? And if you did, why would you also attend the roundtable?

Furthermore, the quotes I cited in my article came from very specific questions posed to Stone at the roundtable. For your story to be true, you’d have had to ask him the EXACT same questions in your one-on-one with him, and he’d have had to give the exact same answers (but in different words), and relate the same anecdotes (also in different words).

Like I said, produce a tape of the interview in which he says the things you’ve quoted him as saying, and I retract everything with an apology. Otherwise, forget it.

I won’t even address your delusional assertion that you have the power to have me reinstated on Paramount’s press list, and to have me banned from all other studios’ lists. Honestly, that kind of talk makes you look like a crazy person.

Eric D. Snider

8/9/06
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

I need not prove anything to you. You have to prove, which you can’t, that I made up the interview. Simply, I did not. AND I DID HAVE A ONE-ON-ONE with not only Oliver Stone, but also every other person associated with the movie, in Seattle, as did many others.

If you had ever attended a junket before, you would know, and this goes for junkets from ALL studios, you attend the roundtables AND the one-on-ones. You should have done your research.

Finally, if you think I am kidding about getting you reinstated with Paramount, then, so be it. You have NO idea the connections I have, with every single movie studio. And, furtheremore, if you think I can’t get you knocked off every other studio’s screening lists faster than a Hezbollah bomb falls in Israel, then you will soon find out – if you want to play this game.

I never lose a fight! Especially when I am right! [That may be true. Unfortunately, he has yet to be right about anything.]

8/9/06
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

OK, so what time on that junket day in Seattle (Thursday, July 20) did you have this one-on-one with Oliver Stone? How long did it last? And why did you ask him the exact same questions that he’d been asked in the roundtable? Wasn’t he annoyed to be hearing the exact same questions he’d been asked earlier?

But anyway, stick with the first question for now: What time did this interview take place?

I need not prove anything to you. You have to prove, which you can’t, that I made up the interview.

You misunderstand the law. The burden of proof is on YOU, the complainant, to show that I have gotten my facts wrong. For a defamation case, you would first have to prove that what I said was untrue — which means proving that your Stone quotes are accurate, with a tape of the interview or something. THEN, you’d have to prove that my untruths have defamed you (cost you work, loss of public standing, etc., etc.). The ball is entirely in your court, and the burden of proof rests on you, not on me.

As I said, I’ll be glad to remove the article and post an apology if you can prove that anything I’ve said is untrue.

Eric D. Snider

8/9/06
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

I have all of the evidence I need.
The burden of proof is on YOU.
You allege an untruth, with no proof.

I am not even speaking about court, at this moment, which I am sure one movie studio, in particular, would love to see you fry in – and would help me in any way possible.

What I am speaking about is you taking the nonsensical articles you wrote not only about me, but about junkets, which many daily, Pulitzer Prize winning newspapers attend – regularly – including The Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. [Of course, those newspapers do sometimes attend junkets — but always at the newspapers’ own expense. Something tells me Tim didn’t actually read my junket whore article very closely.]

Take down the foolish articles that probably 200 people have read on your site, [If no one’s reading it anyway, then why does he care so much?] and the links to the articles on EFilmCritic and the other sites you posted it to and I will make sure you are immediately put back on the Allied List [Allied Advertising being Paramount’s publicist] in Seattle and that you are not removed from Terry Hines [another publicist] and/or any other list that you are currently on.

It’s that simple.

There is not an ounce of truth in your article about me and the junket article is just nonsensical. You just don’t get it. You might be anti-establishment, but trust me, as someone who has [past-tense swear word] up in the past, you never know when you will need someone.

Call it a [swear word] day and just cut the crap for your own benefit.

You love movies, I am SURE, and you wouldn’t want to be banned from screenings for life because of a stupid article about a stupid person – me – (you must think I am stupid). Just move on and grow up.

If you want me to have Paramount call you, I will. To tell you that you are back on their list but you have to take down the story about the junkets and about me, first.

8/9/06
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

I’m not taking down anything unless I see evidence that what I’ve written is untrue. So far you have produced no such evidence. I ask you a simple question — What time was your interview? — and you won’t even answer it.

Show me proof that I’ve made a mistake, and I will take the article down. Otherwise, no. Period.

Eric D. Snider

* * * * *

That volley of e-mails took place over the course of two days. After my last response to him, I never heard from him again, not even after my six hours elapsed and he was supposed to have me banned from all press screenings by all studios in all cities forever in perpetuity, plus sue me for millions of dollars. Apparently — and this will be hard to believe, I know — apparently he was just blustering and bluffing the whole time. Whew!

I thought nothing more of Tim Nasson for several months. Then, in late May, someone e-mailed me pointing out that Nasson was posting transcripts of interviews he had not attended. I guess this person saw my previous article about Nasson and figured I was the go-to guy for all anti-Nasson matters.

Was Nasson waiting until other writers had posted their interviews online, then copying and pasting them onto his site? It seemed that way. I contacted some of the other writers in question, some of whom verified that Nasson had not been at the roundtable interviews with them. I wasn’t terribly eager to restart my correspondence with Nasson, but I didn’t like the idea of him stealing other people’s work, either. So I sent him an e-mail:

6/22/07
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

Hello Tim —

You may remember me from last year, when I called you out for repeatedly misquoting Oliver Stone in your “World Trade Center” junket interview. You refused to acknowledge or correct your errors; I went public with it; you made some hilarious claims about suing me and so forth; end of story.

I’m writing to you now because some further irregularities in your work have been brought to my attention. Specifically: You’ve been running transcripts of interviews that you didn’t actually attend.

http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/interviews/Anthony-Hopkins-InterviewFractureMovie.php
http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/interviews/Bruce-Willis-Interview.php
http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/interviews/WillFerrellJonHederInterviewsBladesofGloryMovie.php

Those are the three I’ve verified so far. I’ve talked to reporters who WERE at those roundtable interviews, and they have confirmed that they knew everyone else there, and you were not among them.

(I’m assuming “Chad Michaels” is a pseudonym for yourself. Either way, even if he is a real person, he wasn’t there.)

I can think of two possible explanations here:

1) Someone who was present gave you transcripts of the interviews, and you’re passing them off as if you’d actually been there. Of course, that would make your intros — “Recently WildAboutMovies sat down with Anthony Hopkins to talk about ‘Fracture,'” etc. — complete lies.

Or:

2) You simply waited until the other reporters posted their interviews online, and then you swiped them.

Given the regularity with which this is occurring, I suspect it’s #2. And that’s plagiarism. I know for a fact that you’re plagiarizing other material — for example, your Bruce Willis and Anthony Hopkins introductions are copied verbatim from Wikipedia; the first several sentences from your Wanda Sykes intro are directly from an IMDb news item — so it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re stealing the interviews, too.

Nonetheless, I’m contacting you privately to give you a chance to set it right. If there’s some third scenario I’m not thinking of that explains everything in a perfectly reasonable way, that’s fine. If you have indeed done some naughty things, this is your chance to correct your mistakes.

None of this is public yet. I’m giving you a chance to take care of things first. I hope you will take the opportunity to do so. Bad journalism makes all of us look bad, and I’m not going to let it go unmentioned when I see it.

Eric D. Snider

6/22/07
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

Mind your [swear word] business. I employ more than 10 writers who regularly attend junkets, as do I. [Truth: Nasson employs zero writers aside from himself.] In addition, the studios send me tapes of every junket, which I use, as well. Are you looking to drum up more business for your pathetic site. If you continue to email me I will make sure that you are knocked off EVERY movie studio’s press screening lists since you are nothing but a [swear word] menace to them and everyone associated with them. Also, if I were you, I would worry about myself a lot more. Finally, I will sick lawyers on you as will the studios if you don’t cease and desist immediately.

6/22/07
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

As I said, bad journalism practices give us all a bad name, so it *is* my business. I have no interest in drawing attention to myself.

The Will Ferrell/Jon Heder interview, for example. Was that a case where the studio sent you a tape? Or was Chad Michaels (or someone working under that name) actually there? It should be pretty easy for me to verify either way, so just tell me which it was, and if it turns out you’re telling the truth, then I will gladly apologize for the accusation and drop the matter entirely.

If studios do send you tapes of the junkets you were unable to attend, then what about your introductory paragraphs saying, “I sat down and had a lovely tea with Anthony Hopkins the other day,” etc., etc.? That’s not true, now, is it? Why lie to your readers?

And what about the other issue I mentioned: the flat-out plagiarisms from IMDb and Wikipedia?

6/22/07
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

You will never be a Bob Woodruff or Barbara Walters. [Indeed, when I think of legendary investigative journalists, the two names that spring immediately to mind are Bob Woodruff and … Barbara Walters.] Your investigations are about as important as my cat taking a [poop]. Drop dead. Mind your business. Call the movie studios if you have questions. Next, will be a letter from my lawyer and I would watch my back every time I leave my house, if I were you. You have lots of enemies.

6/22/07
From: Eric D. Snider
To: Tim Nasson

Ah, yes. The crazy threats. I remember those from last time. Weren’t you going to have me banned from all the studios’ press lists? And weren’t there going to be a bunch of lawyers and lawsuits involved? What ever happened with that?

You made the crazy threats last time (with the Oliver Stone thing) because you knew I was right, and you were trying to scare me into backing off. Seeing the same crazy threats — with the new addition of PHYSICAL threats, i.e., I should watch my back when I leave the house — just confirms that I’m right again.

If you hadn’t actually done anything wrong, and all my accusations were entirely incorrect, you would explain the facts with as many supporting details as possible in order to convince me. Why would you bother? Because you don’t want the negative publicity.

You have not done that. Instead, you’ve made outrageous threats, hoping to scare me off. Why? Because you got nothin’. You know you’ve been plagiarizing material, you know you’ve been lying to your readers on a regular basis, and so, like a cat that’s been cornered, all you can do is hiss and squall to try to make yourself look bigger and scarier.

I know I’m not a big deal. The sites I write for have a lot of readers, but it’s not in the hundreds of thousands. But we both know how fast things can spread on the Internet once bigger sites start linking to a story.

The way to prevent that is to simply come clean. Own up to the unethical things you’ve done — pretending to be at interviews you weren’t at, stealing content from other websites, and so forth — and make the changes on your site. I don’t even care if you tell me directly. You can just make the changes on your site, and that’ll be good enough.

If you do that, I won’t say anything publicly. If you don’t, I will. I don’t stand to gain anything from it. I just don’t like shady journalists giving everyone else a bad name.

So anyway, it’s your choice.

Take care,
Eric

6/22/07
From: Tim Nasson
To: Eric D. Snider

Your e-mail has been delivered to the recipient’s SPAM box, and deleted. This e-mail has not been read.

* * * * *

An automated reply! I wondered if it was actually automated, or if Nasson had manually opened my e-mail, hit “reply,” typed that message, and sent it back to me. So I sent another e-mail just to see what would happen, and it came back immediately with the exact same message. So apparently he had put me into his spam file. This is, you’ll agree, the best way to deal with people who know about your wrongdoings and are urging you to correct them.

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