×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Former Vice Dean Sues AFI for Wrongful Termination

A former vice dean at the AFI Conservatory has filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired for raising concerns about ex-dean Jan Schuette.

Phil Linson, who was head of the editing discipline, was fired in June 2016. Linson was one of 30 faculty members who wrote a letter complaining about Schuette’s leadership in October of 2015. The faculty members alleged that Schuette ran the school through “fear, intimidation, and bullying,” and made numerous offensive and insensitive remarks.

The conflict led the AFI faculty to form a union. Linson’s termination was one of the factors that prompted the union to call for Schuette to be fired last fall. Schuette’s contract was not renewed this spring, and Richard Gladstein will take the helm.

In the lawsuit, Linson alleges that AFI CEO Bob Gazzale hired Schuette from the German Film and Television Academy because he wanted an outsider who would be “beholden and loyal” to him.

“Schuette quickly demonstrated that he did not have the qualifications and skills to effectively lead and perform his job duties,” the suit alleges. “To overcome his performance shortcomings, Schuette took the approach of, ‘I am the Dean. I can do whatever I want.'”

The suit alleges that Schuette repeatedly made “homophobic” remarks, such as, “I don’t believe in awards and juries because I’ve seen gay juries just give the award to the gay film.” Schuette also scheduled department head meetings on Jewish holidays, and suggested a student would not need a scholarship because he was Jewish, the suit alleges.

The suit contends that Gazzale and Schuette sought to quell the complaints by making an example of Linson, who was seen as a leader of the faculty group. In December of 2015, Linson’s position as vice dean of production and post-production was eliminated, though he remained the head of the editing faculty.

That spring, the faculty voted to organize a union, and AFI sought to calm the situation by ordering an outside investigation. However, shortly after the commencement that summer, Linson was let go. The suit alleges that AFI sought to destroy Linson’s reputation and make him unemployable.

The suit accuses AFI of violating state and federal employment laws, of making a false promise, and of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

“AFI has not received any formal notice of litigation,” the conservatory said in response. “Should we receive such notice, we will respond appropriately.”

More Biz

  • FILE - In this Jan. 12,

    How to Watch the Patriots vs. Chiefs - AFC Championship

    The conference championships are set to take place Sunday, Jan. 20 ahead of Feb. 3’s Super Bowl LIII, with the top two teams in each the AFC and NFC conferences going head to head. The second game, the New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs, is set to begin at 6:40 p.m. ET at [...]

  • The line of scrimmage between the

    How to Watch Rams vs. Saints Online - NFC Championship

    The conference championships are set to take place Sunday, Jan. 20 ahead of Feb. 3’s Super Bowl LIII, with the top two teams in each the AFC and NFC conferences going head to head. The first game, the Los Angeles Rams against the New Orleans Saints, is set to begin at 3:05 p.m. ET at [...]

  • MAGA Teens Taunting Native American Elder

    MAGA Hat-Wearing Teens Harassing Native American Elder Spark Condemnation From Hollywood

    The Internet erupted in outrage Saturday after a video of young men wearing MAGA hats and attempting to intimidate a Native American man at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. went viral. The march is taking place amid the government shutdown, which is nearing the one-month mark and has interfered with many Native Americans’ [...]

  • Leonard Klady Dead: Film Journalist Was

    Leonard Klady, Veteran Film Journalist, Dies at 67

    Leonard “Len” Klady, a former Variety reporter and critic who most recently worked for Movie City News and Screen International, has died. His wife, Beverly Walker, said he had been diagnosed with cancer in November.  Klady was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and graduated from the University of Manitoba. He was a founding member of the [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Roc Nation Seeks $11 Million From Insurer in Jordan Feldstein's Death

    Roc Nation filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking $11 million from its insurance carrier following the death of Maroon 5 manager Jordan Feldstein. Roc Nation, a joint venture of Jay-Z and Live Nation Entertainment, partnered with Feldstein’s Career Artist Management in 2016. At the time, Roc Nation says it took out a “key man” life [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content