EXCLUSIVE, updated with NBCU response and clarification: More than a year after Ron Meyer was shown the door suddenly at NBCUniversal over an affair, a payout by him and alleged extortion attempt against him, the former vice chairman of the Comcast-owned company has received a payout of his own.
In a deal negotiated by Hollywood heavyweight attorney Patricia Glaser, Meyer has landed a settlement in the realm of $20 million, we hear. Months in the making, the confidential agreement came together in late September, with all the parties signing off on the specifics. In a larger sense, there were millions more paid to Meyer over the past year in the form of his final salary, pension and some stock.
Contacted by Deadline on Wednesday morning, the Glaser Weil litigator said, “We are prohibited from commenting because of a confidentiality clause.” NBCUniversal declined comment on the matter or the settlement.
Of course, as talks have been going on over his settlement, the risk-taking former superagent hasn’t exactly been tight for cash the past 14 months since losing the plum NBCU post on August 18, 2020.
In the wake of his departure from NBCUniversal, Meyer landed a lucrative consulting gig with Qatar. We hear from sources that he has made many trips to the country to provide guidance to its Doha Film Institute on motion picture investments.
Meyer left NBCU due to the corporate blast radius from a consensual affair with actress Charlotte Kirk, which the the media conglom vice chairman said was “many years ago.” It seems that part of the holdup in Meyer’s settlement stemmed from NBCU’s assertion that the studio executive hatched a deal with Kirk to quell the situation. Meyer’s settlement with NBCUni indicates that wasn’t the case.
Meyer said in a statement at the time of his exit last year:
“I recently disclosed to my family and the company that I made a settlement, under threat, with a woman outside the company who had made false accusations against me. Admittedly, this is a woman I had a very brief and consensual affair with many years ago. I made this disclosure because other parties learned of the settlement and have continuously attempted to extort me into paying them money or else they intended to falsely implicate NBCUniversal, which had nothing to do with this matter, and to publish false allegations about me. After I disclosed this matter to the company, we mutually decided that I should step down from my role as Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal.”
NBCUniversal’s Jeff Shell curtly said when Meyer left: “I am writing to share some unfortunate news. Late last week Ron Meyer informed NBCUniversal that he had acted in a manner which we believe is not consistent with our company policies or values. Based on Ron’s disclosure of these actions, we have mutually concluded that Ron should leave the company, effective immediately. We thank Ron for his 25 years of service, and for his significant contributions to NBCUniversal.”
Even in the sharp-elbowed corner-suite universe, Meyer is long considered “mensch” in the business, known to help out people with problems behind the scenes. To the perplexity of many of those close to Meyer, that loyalty continues to extend to ex-con and investigator Anthony Pellicano, with whom Meyer has had a long connection.
A former Marine, Meyer built CAA into a powerhouse with Mike Ovitz, Bill Haber, Rowland Perkins and Michael Rosenfeld during the last two decades of the 20th century.
He and Ovitz had a famous falling out when Ovitz flirted with a move to Universal, only to see Meyer take the top job as president and COO in 1995 following Sidney J. Sheinberg’s departure. In that new post, he provided strategic guidance and counsel to all aspects of the conglom, including its film and TV assets as well as its theme park business. He more recently had been working alongside Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Shell and Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley.
Together they led Universal to a then-record $6.9 billion worldwide gross in 2015 (a mark since broken by Disney). Meyer brought Spielberg and Amblin back to the Universal fold in 2015 after the director’s DreamWorks departed to Disney, where the Oscar-winning Spielberg made such movies as Lincoln, War Horse, Bridge of Spies and The BFG.
Meyer’s renewed contract in 2016 originally was meant to keep him at the studio through the end of 2021 … but not so much, you know?
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