Warner Bros. Discovers 'Foxcatcher' Tweet Source, Fires Consultant Responsible
UPDATED: The account, which tweeted a negative message about Sony Pictures Classics' film, was created by an outside consultant doing promotional work for the studio
Warner Bros. has closed down a Twitter account, created by a consultant working for the company, that posted an inflammatory message about Sony's drama Foxcatcher.
An account using the name "WB Digital" tweeted Jan. 2 about Olympian Mark Schultz criticizing Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller for the film's portrayal of him. Channing Tatum plays Mark Schultz in the Oscar-contending film, which is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo also star.
On Saturday, the account was suspended after Warners, presuming it was an imposter account, asked Twitter to shut it down. "The account 'WB Digital' is not an official Warner Bros. Entertainment account and was an impostor account," the studio said initially.
However, after further researching the matter, the studio discovered it was created by an outside consultant doing promotional work for the studio. In a subsequent statement issued Saturday evening, the studio said that "posting anything that can be seen as a negative comment about one of our competitors is totally unacceptable and contrary to our operating policies." It said that it would not reactivate the suspended Twitter account and that the consultant, who a studio rep declined to indentify, was no longer working for the studio. The statement also said, "We apologize to our friends at Sony."
In clarifying and further explaining the situation, the studio reiterated a statement made earlier in the deal by Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing and international distribution, who said, "WB simply does not do business that way."
The incident comes in the middle of a still wide-open Oscar race in which Foxcatcher hopes to be a contender for both a best picture nomination and a best actor nom for Carell.
Jan. 3 at 7:34 p.m. Updated with new information from Warner Bros.