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Twentieth Century Fox sues Netflix for poaching employees

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Credit: Justin Sullivan

Credit: Justin Sullivan

Film studio Twentieth Century Fox is suing Netflix for poaching two of its executives.

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The lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Netflix hired Marcos Waltenberg, who was Twentieth Century Fox's vice president of promotions, and Tara Flynn, who was a creative executive at Fox 21 Television Studios, even though the streaming company knew that the two had contracts with Twentieth Century Fox.

According to the suit, Flynn, who was hired by Netflix in August, was under contract with Fox through November 2019. Waltenberg, who was hired at Netflix in January, had a Fox contract that went through the end of 2016.

Twentieth Century Fox claims that Netflix is employing "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."

"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."

As vice president of creative affairs at Fox 21, Flynn worked on comedy and drama series. She'll have similar duties at Netflix, where she'll serve as a drama programming development executive,

ExploreVariety reported.

Waltenberg took a similar role at Netflix,

ExploreThe Wall Street Journal reported.

Twentieth Century Fox is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and a permanent injunction to prevent Netflix from interfering with its employment contracts.

"This action is necessary to enforce Fox's rights, to hold Netflix liable for its wrongful conduct and to prevent Netflix from continuing such illegal conduct," the suit says.
Netflix has said that the company will fight the lawsuit.

"We intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously. We do not believe Fox's use of fixed-term employment contracts in this manner are enforceable," a Netflix spokesperson said. "We believe in employee mobility and will fight for the right to hire great colleagues no matter where they work."