Netflix Accused by Fox of Audacious Poaching as Trial Looms
A lawyer for a pair of Fox studios described Netflix’s hiring of 17 Fox executives as “very audacious” as the companies head toward a trial over talent poaching, according to Bloomberg.
The dispute has intensified after the defection of two Fox executives was followed by another 15, the attorney said at a hearing. A California state judge issued a tentative ruling that the suit brought in 2016 by the Fox studios, now owned by Walt Disney, must go to a jury trial.
The Fox studios alleged in the 2016 complaint that Netflix illegally induced the two executives, a vice president of promotions at the movie studio and a vice president of creative at the TV studio, to break their contracts. Netflix countersued, accusing Fox of using unlawfully restrictive employment agreements.
Netflix argues it can’t be barred from recruiting and hiring Fox’s fixed-term employees, because that would be tantamount to forcing them to remain at Fox even if they wanted to leave. Such contractual restrictions can be enforced only against certain artists and entertainers, not ordinary business employees, according to Netflix.
The hearing ended without the judge finalizing his tentative decision. He allowed Fox to provide more information about any economic harm it may have sustained, in support of its allegation that Netflix induced the executives to break their contracts.