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Disney Animation Producers Say They Were Left Out of $100 Million Settlement

Variety logo Variety 4/25/2017 Gene Maddaus
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In January, Disneyagreed to pay $100 million to settle claims that it conspired with its competitors to suppress animators’ wages. The agreement appeared to put an end to the long-running class action case, which arose from a Justice Department investigation into non-poaching practices in Silicon Valley.

But on Monday, two animators launched a fresh lawsuit against Disney in U.S. District Court, alleging that as animation producers they were improperly excluded from the settlement.

The plaintiffs are Charles Williams and Alice Goldstone. According to LinkedIn, Goldstone was a producer on “Hercules” and “Home on the Range” before leaving Disney in 2004. Williams was an executive producer on “Brother Bear” and several animated shorts, and left the company in 2010.

The lawsuit contends that Williams and Goldstone should have been included in the settlement class because their salaries and employment data were included in surveys that were allegedly prepared for the purpose of suppressing wages.

The class action suit alleged that Pixar, Lucasfilm, DreamWorks Animation, and Disney, among others, agreed on salary ranges for certain job descriptions, and agreed not to top each others’ salary offers, in order to prevent salaries from escalating.

In addition to Disney’s $100 million, the class action plaintiffs also got settlements of $50 million from DreamWorks Animation, $13 million from Sony Imageworks, and $5.95 million from Blue Sky. The affected class included some 10,000 people.

Goldstone and Williams learned only last month that they were not among those who would receive a payment, the new lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit claims that their exclusion is “arbitrary,” given that producers were included in the payouts to DreamWorks and the other firms. It’s not clear how many Disney producers were excluded from the settlement.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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