Fired Fuller House creator Jeff Franklin’s two-month old lawsuit against the man who succeed him as the showrunner on the Netflix sitcom might want to put on some headgear after running headlong into the goliath known as Warner Bros.
Because Franklin took a real hit in some recent court filings, a blow that could be legally fatal, actually.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, and based upon my review of the testimony of all of the witnesses who had been interviewed, I concluded that there was sufficient evidence to find that Jeff Franklin’s conduct had created a toxic work environment that impacted female writers and persons of color,” says WB Studios’ VP of Labor Relations Silisha Platon in a detailed declaration (read it here) filed last week around the multi-year probe into Franklin’s conduct and complaints against him.
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Pink slipped back in February 2018 from the Warner Horizon Scripted TV and Miller-Boyett Productions produced steaming service series sequel to the Reagan Era ABC show after allegations of abusive and inappropriate language to staffers, Franklin claims in his April 16 Intentional interference with prospective economic advantage suit that his ambitious ex-protégé Bryan Behar set him up to be tossed aside.
While WB nor Warner Horizon Scripted TV is named as a defendant in the action, exec Platon’s under oath remarks basically assert that the former Full and Fuller House boss is full of crap.
“On February 22, 2018, I reported the results of the workplace investigation and my findings of gender bias, inappropriate and offensive comments about women and persons of color, and sexualizing the workplace, all by Franklin, to executives at Horizon Scripted Television Inc,” the VP noted in her statement supporting Behar’s effort to axe the revenge fueled complaint. “I conveyed my opinion that, in substance, based on the results of the workplace investigations and my findings, Horizon Scripted Television Inc. should not renew Franklin’s contract to continue as showrunner for season 4 of Fuller House.”
Which is exactly what happened and the root of the seemingly simmering Franklin’s move a couple of months back in Los Angeles Superior Court.
For Behar’s part, the showrunner of fourth season of Fuller House and the upcoming fifth and final season was “was not a substantial factor in my concluding that Franklin had created a toxic and inappropriate work environment,” proclaims Platon in her declaration. “Rather, Mr. Behar’s statements only corroborated some of the less serious statements made by the other witnesses, including Jane Does 1 through 7, about Jeff Franklin’s workplace conduct,” she adds of the investigation that first started under a different WB executive in 2016.
As for Franklin’s broad claim that Behar was the mastermind of his downfall, as he seeks to knock the case down with Cali’s anti-SLAPP statute, the EP is very blunt about what he did and didn’t do.
“I was not involved in and was never consulted with regarding the decision to renew or not renew Jeff Franklin’s contract for Fuller House,” Behar says in his three-page declaration of June 6 (read it here). “I only found out about the decision not to renew Jeff Franklin’s contract after the fact.”
In fact, despite Franklin throwing out comments like “I wish I could make all the women on my staff get hysterectomies” over the years, Behar makes clear he would have preferred not to have been a part of any wave making or firing.
“I was reluctant to participate in the investigation and only did so based on my understanding that my participation was mandatory,” the Venable law firm represented TV producer admitted in the statement. “During my participation, I was very concerned about anyone losing their job as a result of what I said, including Jeff Franklin. In fact, I assumed that if Jeff Franklin lost his job, I would also lose my job.”
Jeff Franklin’s lawyer Larry Stein and attorneys at Russ, August & Kabat did not respond to request for comment on the latest pleadings.
However, all sides will have plenty of time to ponder what went down in recent days. A hearing on the motion put forward by Behar’s team isn’t scheduled until December 5 – by which time the now Lori Loughlin-less Fuller House might have made its final bow.
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