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Megan Colligan Pursuing Legal Action Against Paramount, Alleges Gender Bias

Megan Colligan is pursuing legal action against Paramount Pictures, alleging that gender bias and discrimination are behind her exit as head of worldwide distribution and marketing.

“There’s been a systemic culture within Paramount,” said Bryan Freedman, an attorney for Colligan, in an interview with Variety.

September Rea, a partner at Freedman’s law firm, added, “Generally women were treated unequally and roles and responsibilities were taken away from them and provided to other people.”

Colligan notified Viacom, Paramount’s parent company, and the studio’s human resources department of her claims in a notice of resignation.

Freedman said that Colligan believes the discrimination against female employees began when Brad Grey was replaced last spring as studio chief by Jim Gianopulos. Freedman said that four female executives have departed in recent months.

“We are not aware of any lawsuit having been filed and do not discuss personnel matters, so we have to decline to comment,” said Chris Petrikin, a spokesman for Paramount.

Paramount has been struggling with a wave of box office flops over the past year and a half. “Transformers: The Last Knight” disappointed commercially, while the likes of “Baywatch,” “Suburbicon,” and “Mother!” all were rejected by audiences. Colligan isn’t the only executive to be forced out. In September, Gianopulos ousted Marc Evans, the motion picture group president, and replaced him with Wyck Godfrey, the producer of “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Twilight.”

Despite the exit of Colligan and other female executives, a source close to the situation points out that Paramount has tapped Mireille Soria to run animation, promoted Elizabeth Raposo to president of production, and upped Syrinthia Studer to head of acquisitions since Gianopulos has taken over the studio.

“I can tell you Megan isn’t the only person within Paramount’s senior executive women who I have spoken to about gender discrimination,” said Freedman. “It’s not one person claiming something. It exists systemically.”

“We intend to pursue this legal claim until this systemic problem is remedied,” he added.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Alicia Ramirez Wyld and Amy Mastriona, two Paramount executives, had joined the legal action. Neither is not part of any suit or action. We regret the error. 

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