David Glasser, the ousted chief operating officer of the Weinstein Co., announced this morning through his attorney that he will pursue an $85 million wrongful termination suit.
In a statement, his attorney Eve Wagner said the board fired Glasser in order to deflect attention from its own role in failing to stop Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment.
“The simple truth is that the board had no grounds to justify his firing,” Wagner said. “Through this lawsuit, we intend to bring to light facts and evidence to demonstrate that the board acted precipitously and with malice. We are confident that a complete airing of all of the evidence will show that our client was scapegoated by the TWC Board of Directors.”
Glasser was fired for cause on Friday night. The company has not given a fuller explanation. He was singled out in a discrimination lawsuit filed last week by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The attorney general has alleged that Glasser was aware of numerous harassment complaints against Weinstein and failed to stop it. Schneiderman also accused the board of failing to act to protect employees.
According to sources familiar with the board’s thinking, the board felt that Glasser put his own interests ahead of the company’s, and failed to keep the board fully apprised of the attorney general’s investigation.
Wagner rejected the allegations against Glasser.
“Throughout his tenure at TWC, Mr. Glasser worked tirelessly to protect the employees of the company from Harvey Weinstein’s frequent outbursts,” she said. “Numerous documents and emails clearly show that Mr. Glasser acted appropriately and responsibly whenever allegations of misconduct were brought to his attention.”
Before the attorney general intervened, Glasser was set to become CEO under a new ownership group, led by Maria Contreras-Sweet. The lawsuit put that deal on hold, and Glasser’s status with the ownership group remains uncertain. Contreras-Sweet and Burkle are scheduled to meet today with Schneiderman in an effort to revive the sale.