NewsActivision Blizzard sues Netflix for poaching CFO Spencer Neumann

Activision Blizzard sues Netflix for poaching CFO Spencer Neumann


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Netflix is in hot water again, this time for another executive poaching lawsuit. Gaming giant Activision Blizzard has sued Netflix over the company alleging poaching CFO Spencer Neumann. Activision Blizzard is 3rd major entertainment company following Fox and Viacom, to allege Netflix of illegal poaching.

Activision is suing Netflix for intentional interference with contract, unfair competition, and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty. The company further seeks compensatory and punitive damages and a permanent injunction by court barring Netflix from soliciting employees who are under contract with Activision Blizzard.

Activision Netflix Lawsuit

In the lawsuit, Activision claims that Netflix had persuaded Neumann to breach his contract with the company while negotiating his contract with Netflix. While Neumann was already put on an executive leave by Activision Blizzard in late 2018 with the intent to fire him after his contract expired in April 2020, Netflix had hired him as CFO in early 2019 breaching the employment agreement with Activision Blizzard.

Neumann had been with Activision Blizzard for just 18 months before Netflix had approached him while being fully aware of his contractual obligations with Activision and offered to pay the CFO’s legal fees if he got sued over his exit. Netflix is ruthless when it comes to replacing veteran executives with new ones and following that tradition, the company in early 2019 revealed that it had hired Neumann to replace its longtime CFO, David Wells.

Netflix’s unlawful behavior with regards to Neumann is no anomaly. On the contrary, Netflix has a demonstrated pattern of caring only about attracting and employing whoever Netflix wants, regardless of whether it violates the law along the way.

Daniel Petrocelli had previously represented Fox in its successful poaching suit against Netflix. He alleged that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was “personally involved” in Neumann’s recruitment and said that “Netflix’s tortious and unethical conduct is intentional and a directive ‘from the top’…”.

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