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Fox Sues Netflix for Poaching Two Executives

Variety Variety 17/09/2016 Gene Maddaus

Twentieth Century Fox filed a lawsuit Friday accusing Netflix of poaching two of its executives.

Netflix recently hired Marcos Waltenberg, Twentieth Century Fox’s vice president of promotions, and Tara Flynn, who was a creative executive at Fox 21. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Netflix has embarked on a strategy of stealing Fox’s executives.

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The suit accuses the streaming company of “a brazen campaign to unlawfully target, recruit, and poach valuable Fox executives by illegally inducing them to break their employment contracts with Fox to work at Netflix.”

Netflix hired Flynn in August, and Waltenberg in January. According to the suit, Flynn was under contract at Fox through November 2019. Waltenberg’s Fox contract was set to expire at the end of 2016, though Fox had an option to extend it for an additional two years.

As a result of the poaching, the suit contends, “Fox has suffered great and irreparable harm, including loss of Fox’s ability to contract for a stable workforce, for the disruption to Fox’s corporate planning, and for the injury to Fox’s business reputation and goodwill.”

“As our complaint explains, we filed this lawsuit because we believe Netflix is defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing employees to break their contracts,” a Fox spokesman said in a statement. “We intend to seek all available remedies to enforce our rights and hold Netflix accountable for its wrongful behavior.”

Netflix vowed to fight the lawsuit “vigorously.”

“We do not believe Fox’s use of fixed term employment contracts in this manner are enforceable,” a Netflix spokesman said. “We believe in employee mobility and will fight for the right to hire great colleagues no matter where they work.”

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