Activision Blizzard has sued streaming giant Netflix for poaching former CFO, Spencer Neumann, who was fired for violating the terms of his contract in January 2019.
Activision’s intent to fire Neumann after a brief stint as CFO was revealed in a regulatory filing. Shortly afterwards, Netflix announced that it had hired Neumann. The company apparently unlawfully poached the executive, encouraging him to violate his contract with Activision, according to the complaint shared by The Hollywood Reporter.
This isn’t the first time Netflix has been taken to court over nabbing executives from other companies. A previous legal feud with Fox over the poaching of production executive Tara Flynn and marketing executive Marcos Waltenberg was settled in December 2019.
“Netflix’s unlawful behavior with regards to Neumann is no anomaly,” reads the complaint filed by Daniel Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers. “To the contrary, Netflix has a demonstrated pattern of caring only about attracting and employing whoever Netflix wants, regardless of whether it violates the law along the way.” The filing also revealed that Netflix was busy “inducing” Neumann to violate his contract with Activision while the publisher – through Neumann – was in talks with Netflix for a partnership to distribute its media content.
The lawsuit further claims:
Activision employed Spencer Neumann as its Chief Financial Officer – one of the highest-ranking and most sensitive positions in a public company, requiring an extremely high level of trust, integrity, sensitivity, and commitment – pursuant to the terms of a negotiated fixed-term employment agreement. Netflix nevertheless knowingly induced Neumann to breach his employment contract with Activision.
Netflix has yet to respond.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]