Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock continues to deal with fallout from his tweeted #MeToo admissions last December in which he described himself as “part of the problem,” and detailed a history of sexual misconduct that reached back to his college days.
Turner Entertainment Network quickly moved to distance itself from Spurlock and his production company, Warrior Poets, which had been working on a TNT documentary series Who Rules The World?, focused on women’s issues. It suspended production and determined within a matter of days that neither he nor the studio could work on the series in the wake of the admissions.
In a lawsuit filed in March, Turner sought a return of the production funds, asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent Warrior Poets from co-mingling project funds with any other accounts.
The Super-Size Me director filed a response Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, saying that Turner’s request for an injunction effectively looks to halt spending from the studio’s general account, a move that would “cripple Warrior Poets’ entire business operation.”
Spurlock argued that Turner isn’t entitled to an injunction because it failed to demonstrate it’s likely to prevail in court.
“TEN’s motion is premised on the false assumption that Spurlock’s tweet somehow breached the agreement. It did not,” Spurlock responds. “If TEN wants to walk away from the project, so be it. But that does not mean Warrior Poets breached the agreement.”
Spurlock argues, in legal documents, that while the prominent documentary filmmaker was designated to serve as the project’s executive producer, he was not a party to the agreement. He is merely obligated to perform certain services.
Nor, Spurlock argues, does the Turner agreement contain a “morals” clause.
“If TEN believes that Warrior Poets is ‘unable to continue’ on the project, the Standard Terms sets forth a very specific procedure for TEN to ‘take over’ the production,” Spurlock argues. “The only circumstances under which TEN is entitled to take control of the Warrior Poets production account is if TEN exercises its ‘takeover’ rights. To date, TEN has not exercised its takeover rights.”
The court filing reveals that Spurlock has returned to work for Warrior Poets, after temporarily stepping down from his leadership role to seek treatment.
A hearing is set for May 7.