In a decision that could set a new precedent in how Hollywood handles #MeToo allegations, former Universal Pictures marketing chief Josh Goldstine has been awarded approximately $20 million in an arbitration judgment against the studio for firing him in 2018.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, studio execs Jeff Shell and Donna Langley may have wildly overshot the mark when they sent out a memo about Goldstine in February 2018 that failed to state what exactly he was accused of, but announced that he was being investigated for “inappropriate conduct,” strongly suggesting a #MeToo scenario.
The memo by Shell—the chair of Universal Film Entertainment at the time, now CEO of NBCUniversal—and Universal film studio chief Langley, further stated, “We commend the people who have had the courage to come forward. We have no tolerance for harassment or other disrespectful behavior, and we will be taking any necessary steps to ensure that actions that violate our core values are dealt with swiftly and decisively.”
Goldstine was fired three weeks later.
His lawyer, Andy Baum, says Goldstine—who had to mortgage his house to cover $3 million in attorney’s fees—wasn’t looking for a fight with NBCU, and only took legal action when it proved impossible to find another job.
“I spoke to general counsels and executives from a number of companies interested in hiring Josh, but they all said Universal’s statements and the linking of Josh to #MeToo issues made him toxic,” Baum said.
“I could not have survived this nightmare had it not been for the unwavering support of my family and our tremendous network of friends,” Goldstine says. “I am eternally grateful to all of them and cannot wait to get back to doing what we have all been fighting for: getting a job and creating great work.”
NBCUniversal had no comment.
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