Why Fox Is Suing Netflix

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Things have gotten pretty tense between streaming giant Netflix and programming giant 21st Century Fox. Recently, the latter filed suit against the former, alleging that Netflix "poached" two of the major executives responsible for the direction of the Fox brand. The details are really intense, including big name lawyers for both sides and, of course, some brazen words from 21st Century Fox, which filed the lawsuit.

The two individuals that Netflix is accused of luring away from their jobs are Marcos Waltenberg and Tara Flynn, both former high-end executives at 21st Century Fox. Marcos Waltenberg formerly worked as the vice president of promotions and Tara Flynn's job was to work as a "creative executive" while at Fox. While Flynn's contract was expected to end in 2016, Fox had the option of continuing to keep her on board. Marcos Waltenberg, on the other hand, had a contract with 21st Century Fox through 2019. The lawsuit alleges that Netflix knew about the contracts when they approached both employees.

Fox is calling the executives leaving a "brazen campaign" by Netflix, also noting the company did what it could to:

Unlawfully target, recruit, and poach valuable Fox executives by illegally inducing them to break their employment contracts with Fox to work at Netflix.

For its part, Netflix is saying that 21st Century Fox's contracts are simply inflexible and that people should have the ability to move on to new opportunities should they want them, per THR.

We do not believe Fox's use of fixed term employment contracts in this manner are enforceable. We believe in employee mobility and will fight for the right to hire great colleagues no matter where they work.

Generally when high-end executives leave jobs---even contracted jobs---companies don't get into a tizzy over what happened, but lawsuits related to employee flight do sometimes occur. Now that Netflix is becoming one of the biggest players on the block, it's probably looking to Fox like the right call to try and send a message and see if it can get a good outcome out of this lawsuit.

For its part, Netflix has made headlines for its unique company policies, including offering unlimited pregnancy leave to employees. Vacation time is also worked out in house, with employees taking what they think is fair time. In a lot of ways, Netflix is doing things a little differently, and that might attract some new employees who want to try things out.

This is by no means the first time that Netflix has been sued, and it almost certainly won't be the last. We'll have to wait and see how this whole poaching situation works out, but we'll keep you posted every step of the way.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.