L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
Vanity Fair US|Hollywood 2023
With a classic flair for Hollywood intrigue, The Ankler has become an industry mustread. But can Richard Rushfield and Janice Min scale a scrappy newsletter into a media empire?
JOE POMPEO
L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, Richard Rushfield’s phone lit up with the type of jaw-dropper that can really get Twitter going on a weekend: Nikki Finke, legendary Hollywood journalist, dead at 68.

Finke had largely been off the radar since parting ways with her self-made entertainment news website, Deadline, at the end of 2013. But her death from an unspecified “prolonged illness” was no less monumental. Gone was the mythically fearsome woman who, some two decades earlier, saw an opening in the staid landscape of Hollywood’s trade press and drove an 18-wheeler straight through it, lobbing bombs at anyone in her path.

Rushfield had a history of crossing Finke, as the furious messages in his email archives can attest. “Nikki Finke One Step Closer to Dream of Becoming World’s Worst Boss,” declared the headline of a Gawker post-Rushfield wrote in 2009. As word of Finke’s demise spread across the internet, Rushfield’s “blood started rising.” Finke was a fearless trailblazer, the eulogies went, who disrupted entertainment journalism and redefined its relationship with the world it covers. Not untrue, but Rushfield saw it as revisionist history, glossing over Finke’s dark side: the toxicity, the bullying, the lies, the sheer meanness. He started belting out an article for his own Hollywood publication, a subscription newsletter called The Ankler.

This story is from the Hollywood 2023 edition of Vanity Fair US.

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This story is from the Hollywood 2023 edition of Vanity Fair US.

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