Timothy Hutton has sued Leverage: Redemption producer Electric Entertainment, claiming it breached his deal by releasing him from the reboot after he was accused of sexual assault.
According to the complaint, Hutton’s agreement to star, executive produce and direct at least one episode of Leverage: Redemption included a “pay-or-play” provision that guaranteed the actor at least $3 million “regardless of whether Electric actually utilized his services in the production of the series.” Hutton says the deal that ensured his compensation closed in February 2020 — and Buzzfeed reported a month later that a woman had filed a complaint to the Vancouver police department alleging Hutton raped her in 1983 when she was 14.
Hutton, who was dropped from the show after the claims surfaced, has denied the allegations. Canadian prosecutors didn’t charge the actor, citing a lack of evidence.
“Doubtless Electric also would have found the accusations to be utterly without merit — if it had bothered to conduct an investigation,” reads the complaint filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. “But if it could not be bothered to do so, then Electric could have simply paid Hutton not to work, as studios have done since time immemorial. What it could not do was invoke the Buzzfeed article as a basis for evading its pay-or-play obligation.”
Electric said in a Monday statement that negotiations were ongoing when the claims were initially reported.
“We take allegations of sexual assault very seriously, especially when children are involved,” a representative for Electric said. “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. 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.”
According to the suit, Hutton and Electric on Feb. 14 entered into an oral agreement for his participation in the reboot.
“Hutton’s representatives insisted that he be locked upon close in return for granting Electric the successive options it needed to secure a commitment from Amazon,” the complaint reads. “Otherwise, Hutton would have been in the impossible position of being tied for four years to a project — and, therefore, unable to accept other roles at the beginning of pilot season — without Electric having the corresponding obligation to pay him for that exclusive four-year option.”
Dale Kinsella, who represents Hutton, tells The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Hutton notes that his deal for $175,000 per episode didn’t include a “morals clause,” which allows for termination of a contract if a party engages in any conduct that could reflect badly upon a the other party.
In March 2020, Buzzfeed reported that Sera Johnston was raped in 1983 by Hutton when the actor was in Vancouver to shoot Iceman. One of her friends, who was also invited to the hotel room where Johnston was allegedly assaulted, signed an affidavit backing up her account.
Hutton claims Johnston fabricated the accusations to extort him. He alleges Florida-based attorney Jeff Herman demanded $1.5 million to resolve Johnston’s claims. According to the suit, Herman has publicly admitted to bringing untrue and false allegations against four high-profile people in the entertainment industry, for which he was sanctioned. The Florida Supreme Court has also found him “guilty of professional misconduct” and suspended him from practicing in the state for 18 months for “dishonest and deceitful” activities.
Herman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A tentative settlement, which would’ve paid Johnston $135,000, fell apart when Hutton continued to deny that the assault occurred.
Noah Wyle replaced Hutton in Leverage: Redemption. It was renewed in December for a second season.
Electric added that it’s still reviewing the complaint and wasn’t served a copy prior to receiving requests for comment from press.
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