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Contrary to the hyper-emotional manchild he’s played in a lot of his movies, Adam Sandler is, by all accounts, a pretty mild-mannered and reasonable guy in real life. He rarely makes tabloid headlines for the wrong reasons, and he’s been married to the same woman for more than a decade. As such, you’ll probably be surprised to know he’s been dragged into a strange and unseemly scandal.
The utterly bizarre case began back in 2009 when Adam Sandler and his wife Jackie hired Deanne McDonald to work as a nanny for their children. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she didn’t last very long in the household, and when she left, she hired an attorney to argue her work environment, technically with HP Productions, and compensation amounted to slavery. It sounds absurd from the outside, but it’s actually a claim personal assistants and live-in nannies make about celebrities on a fairly regular basis. In fact, Lady Gaga got slapped with something similar by a woman who tried to collect overtime for her entire world tour.
Not long after McDonald hired the lawyer in 2010, Adam Sandler and his own attorneys decided to pay to make the matter go away. So, they forwarded on $48,000 to the former nanny and $32,000 to her attorneys. In exchange, she agreed the matter was resolved and signed a confidentiality agreement. Last year, however, she abruptly changed course and tried to file a lawsuit against Scott Sandler and HP Production. An arbitrator quickly ruled she was in violation of the confidentiality agreement, and earlier this week, an appeal’s court upheld that ruling and told her to pay back the $80,000 she was paid her to keep quiet.
Working as a personal assistant to a celebrity or a live-in nanny is really hard. You’re almost never off the clock, but in exchange for being on the clock and working so many weird hours, these people often get compensated far above market value. That’s the trade-off, and it’s not fair to accept that trade-off and then demand more money. That’s not how the world works.
A previous version of this article stated that Adam Sandler had been found not guilty of slavery. In fact, Ms McDonald made various claims against Scott Sandler and HP Production, and an appeals court ruled she had to pay back her confidentiality agreement money because of that lawsuit.