UPDATED with more details: Anonymous Content CEO Dawn Olmstead and COO Heather McCauley have resigned from their roles. It’s a developing story, but sources said this is over a settlement that is being paid to Keith Redmon, who left the company under a cloud and took a job at Black Bear Pictures, and later sued for breach of contract.
The duo’s abrupt exit Thursday comes barely a month after former Netflix executive McCauley joined Anonymous, recruited by Olmstead.
Deadline has a statement from Olmstead: “I can confirm that, effective immediately, I am resigning as CEO of Anonymous Content. I am proud of all we accomplished during my two years at the company. I am especially grateful to my extraordinary team who worked alongside me to take Anonymous to exciting new levels. I wish them all the best.”
The board of Anonymous Content has also weighed in: “Thanks to Dawn’s contributions, the company is in a strong position, and we are confident that our team, values and talent will continue to thrive. Dawn has been a valued leader for the past two years and we wish her and Heather the best of luck in their future endeavors.”
Sources said interim leadership will be set shortly by the board, which is reacting to the surprise development.
There is also another vacancy on the Anonymous management roster as Robert Walak and Alisa Tager are leaving their posts as Presidents of Film & Television at AC Studios. As Deadline reported, UCP veteran Garrett Kemble, who joined Anonymous as EVP Development for AC Studios last summer, reuniting with former UCP president Olmstead, was poised for a bigger role in light of Walak and Tager’s pending exit. It is unclear whether Olmstead’s exit would impact that.
Redmon filed a lawsuit against his former employer that challenged his termination last year and claimed that the company engaged in a “smear campaign” to tar him with allegations of sexual misconduct.
In the lawsuit, Redmon sought unpaid compensation as well as 25% of Anonymous’ participation in the net profits of the TV series Schitt’s Creek.
In the filing (read it here), Redmon contended that Anonymous “concocted a fabricated basis” for firing him last June “for cause” and then refused to honor his employment agreement and other obligations owed to him. He claims the company “ultimately resorted to a public smear campaign designed to falsely brand Redmon in the press as a perpetrator of multiple acts of nonconsensual physical sexual misconduct, none of which is true. By its outrageous conduct, current leadership has proven unable even to execute an executive termination plan in a reasonably competent and professional manner.”
Redmon had been with the firm for nearly 20 years when he left. He was one of the producers on the Oscar-nominated The Revenant. In the lawsuit, he claims that he “became a target” of the company’s new leadership under CEO Olmstead because of open disagreements with them. In the lawsuit, his attorneys write that on June 11, a week after a Zoom call, he was abruptly suspended and “was told that he had done something inappropriate on the Zoom call. When Redmon protested and was able to produce a recording of the Zoom call (which Olmstead was unaware existed when she suspended Redmon), it was clear that he had done nothing wrong, and Anonymous never mentioned the Zoom call again.”
But the lawsuit states that a week later, Redmon was terminated “allegedly ‘for cause,’ because he supposedly yelled too much in the office.” Redmon’s attorneys say that none of the incidents described in her termination letter was documented in her personnel file. “The termination was coupled with a threat that Anonymous would publicly accuse Redmon of sexual misconduct — to be clear, no such misconduct had occurred — unless he accept a fraction of the compensation he was owed and forfeit his equity” in the company.
A spokesperson for Anonymous Content at the time stated, “This complaint is riddled with falsities and mistruths. We stand by the decision to dismiss Mr. Redmon for cause. We will vigorously defend against the false allegations made in this complaint.”
As Redmon challenged his termination for cause and the company honor his employment agreement, the lawsuit states, the company said that it was investigating sexual harassment complaints “that supposedly had been made approximately ten years ago, when he was not in a leadership position, and if he did not accept Anonymous’ offer, the information would ‘come out.’” Redmon said that he did have “consensual dalliances” a decade ago, but that they did not constitute harassment or any other form of misconduct. He said that his personnel file did not include any complaints “of sexual misconduct of any kind.”
In November, according to the lawsuit, Anonymous issued a statement declaring that the company had “recently completed a comprehensive investigation and uncovered multiple incidents of sexual misconduct by Redmon, some physical in nature.”
“Redmon never engaged in any sexual misconduct and, consequently, Anonymous is not championing the cause of any victims,” the lawsuit states. “Moreover, the women with whom Redmon had consensual interactions ten years ago are not served by being pawns in Anonymous’ malicious smear campaign.”
Yowza this is getting even uglier.
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