The news broke last night that ICM Partners’ Motion Picture Co-Head Spencer Baumgarten had left the agency after just under three years. Now we know the former partner is also taking his ex-agency to court for wrongful termination and defamation.
“On or around August 15, 2019, defendant Ballard insinuated that Baumgarten had defecated on the bathroom floor of the New York office and interrogated Baumgarten about the defecation incident in the restroom,” the wide spread but unspecified damages seeking suit asserts of ICM Partners HR chief Cindy Ballard and a contentious meeting between the duo over a very weird situation this summer.
“Defendant Ballard insinuated Baumgarten was responsible for the defecation because the defecation was reported after Baumgarten used the restroom,” the vivid and jury trial desiring 28-page complaint details (read it here). “Later, word spread throughout the ICM offices that attributed Baumgarten to the defecation incident, and then subsequently, outside of ICM, including to other agencies and major studios.”
“Defendant Ballard wrongfully accused Baumgarten of these outrageous allegations knowing that once she leaked the mere subject matter that Baumgarten would be terminated and his reputation would be eviscerated,” the suit states of the now resigned Human Resources chief officer, who joined ICM in March of last year from Tribune Publishing.
Then the paperwork from Santa Monica-based Shegerian & Associates really kicks down the doors, if one could more on such a tale.
“Defendant ICM has a pattern and practice of defaming employees that they target and want to separate from the company, in order to ensure that the employee’s reputation in the industry is tarnished so that they will be unable to compete with Defendant ICM,” LA-based Baumgarten’s attorneys declare. “Defendant ICM defames such employees in front of other company employees, the press, competitors and others in the entertainment community.”
“We are confident that the allegations in our lawsuit will be litigated to the fullest extent to remedy the egregious acts and accusations made against our client,” said Baumgarten attorney Anthony Nguyen to Deadline of their case, which was filed late last week in Los Angeles Superior Court.
“We don’t comment on pending litigation,” an ICM Partners spokesperson tersely told Deadline in response to the multi-claim filing.
However, sources tell us that Baumgarten was not let go from the agency because of the alleged incident, which would have been for cause if that had been the case. In fact, heading into the last year of his four-year deal with the agency, the partner remained at ICM Partners for several weeks after the matter became known in some inner circles. The NYC bathroom incident was throughly investigated, we’re told and Baumgarten was cleared.
An internal correspondence went out at ICM Partners back on October 2 about Baumgarten’s exit. The Motion Picture Lit division will be now be led by a duo of Harley Copen and Doug MacLaren, with no plans to replace Baumgarten.