Marvel Studios has launched an investigation into a leak that resulted in its major Comic-Con International announcement, the development of a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, being revealed two weeks before the convention began.
Latino Review, the movie website that broke the story on June 28, has posted an email from an unnamed "security consultant" requesting information about "the dissemination of confidential, non-public information concerning Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy." Although the website has since redacted his name, The Hollywood Reporter identifies the "consultant" as Robert Grosser, vice president of loss prevention for Marvel Enterprises.
"I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble nor do I want to see anyone’s career be tarnished because of this," the email states. "However, I am very confident that through your efforts and mine, we will be able to work through this together. I personally feel that you did not have any malicious intent when you posted your spoilers on the fanboy website. Like many fans out there, you just wanted to be the first one to post something on the internet. I get it, however the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy information was confidential and you did not have Marvel’s consent to post it. That was illegal!
"If you provide me with your source, I will make it worth your effort. I want to work with you," Grosser continued. "As I stated above, I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble. That would be a lose-lose for everyone. I would hope that you are now realizing that this is a very serious matter and the consequences will be quite severe if I do not find out how you obtained the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy information."
While the person who provided Latino Review with the information may have violated a confidentiality agreement with Marvel, thereby opening the door for civil action, there's nothing illegal about the website's writer reporting what he had been told. Of course, it's not unusual for movie studios to overreach, or overstate the gravity of the situation, when seeking to plug a leak.
The website's writer has thumbed his nose at Marvel's request-cum-threat, writing, "I’m not responding to this e-mail outside of this post, because I’ve done nothing wrong. A representative of my favorite comics house just stepped into my life with no legal authority to demand anything and threatened my career for doing my job well."