UPDATED with Electric Entertainment, plaintiff responses: Timothy Hutton has sued Leverage producer Electric Entertainment for breach of contract, claiming he was unfairly omitted from participating in the reboot of the drama series after he was accused of a 1983 sexual assault in Canada, a claim that was eventually dismissed by prosecutors.
The lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court claims Hutton and Electric had closed a deal in February 2020 in which Hutton would star, executive produce and direct at least one episode of the reboot, Leverage: Redemption, on Amazon’s IMDb TV, after the original ran on TNT for five seasons from 2008-2012. The contract, the suit says, included a “pay-or-play” provision upon close of the deal, “guaranteeing Hutton’s compensation for the Reboot regardless of whether Electric actually utilized his services in the production of the series.”
In March of that year, BuzzFeed reported that a woman had filed a criminal complaint against Hutton in Vancouver, BC, alleging an assault that occurred 38 years ago when Hutton was in Canada shooting a film — a move Hutton has said was part of a long-standing extortion attempt that he had talked about with the FBI.
Hutton’s lawsuit (read it here) claims producers dropped him when the news of the criminal complain came out.
“…Electric did not wait for this investigation to play out, nor did Electric conduct its own investigation,” says the lawsuit. “In fact, although Hutton provided Electric with myriad declarations and other evidence, it did not even contact any of the individuals who were alleged to have knowledge of the false claim.
“Instead,” it continued, “…Electric used the BuzzFeed article to remove Hutton from the Reboot. Even worse — because a pay-or-play provision does not, by definition, require the studio to use the actor’s services — Electric refused to pay Hutton the $3+ million Electric owes him under the parties’ February 2020 agreement. It has not budged.”
Electric Entertainment said Monday it had not been served with the suit yet but called it “without merit.”
“We take allegations of sexual assault very seriously, especially when children are involved. Despite dealing with these allegations for years, Mr. Hutton failed to disclose them to us before or during negotiations for him to reprise his role in Leverage: Redemption,” the company said. “Consequently, once we learned of the allegations in the press, we ceased negotiations with him and chose to move on without him. His baseless allegations against us are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves.”
Countered Hutton’s lawyer, Dale Kinsella from Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley: “This was a flagrant and pretextual breach of an agreement that had been done for weeks before Electric Entertainment decided there was no deal. Worse, Electric made this decision without any investigation whatsoever. While nobody relishes the prospect of litigation, this course of action is a last resort to hold Electric Entertainment to its obligations. We look forward to presenting our claims to a jury and are confident it will reject Electric’s purported reliance on unsubstantiated and frivolous charges.”
Leverage: Redemption premiered on IMDb TV on July 9, 2021 and was renewed for Season 2 in December.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.