Relativity Media executives fabricated a memo outlining sexual harassment allegations against former executive and veteran producer Adam Fields, according to a finding in an arbitration case that found in favor of Fields.
The finding from the arbitrator contains explosive details of how Relativity Media sought to prove that it had fired Fields for cause. It was issued as supporting evidence in Fields’ bankruptcy filing seeking payment on the $8.4 million he was awarded.
Filed late last week, the filing contains a transcript from Carol Genis, former Relativity Media managing director, who refuted under oath that she had not written the memo outlining several allegations of sexual harassment by Fields, as Relativity Media executives, including former CEO Ryan Kavanaugh had said.
The filing comes several months after Fields was first accused of sexual harassment. Parts of the memo were quoted from in a Hollywood Reporter story and quoted a spokesperson as saying they immediately looked into the allegations of sexual harassment.
The bankruptcy filing also includes a declaration by Kavanaugh signed under oath that spelled out how he came to find the memo allegedly written by Genis after others had failed to locate it. In his declaration, Kavanaugh claimed that the memo existed and that he was “baffled” why a review of Fields’ personnel file had not turned up the document. He said he asked Relativity Media chief operating officer Ken Halsband for help in tracking in down. Halsband enlisted the help of the company’s information technology director who then allegedly found the document in a private folder Genis had supposedly created.
Fields and his attorneys immediately challenged the authenticity of the memo, which was found just days before the start of the arbitration hearing. During a one-day evidentiary hearing, Fields attorneys were able to show that the memo had been fabricated, possibly by Kavanaugh, after a forensic audit found that someone with the user name “kav kav” had altered the document.
Another HR manager, Terri McAlpine, said she was not aware of any sexual-harassment complaints against Field.
“Finding that a party falsified a document is disturbing and disappointing, and the arbitrator does so reluctantly,” according to the decision in the arbitration case. “However the evidence compels that result. Relativity’s counsel struggled to connect the dots in a way that could explain its client’s conduct, but their valiant effort could not overcome the metadata, the contrast in credibility and the absurdity of Relativity’s about-face and withdrawal of the memorandum.”
Shortly before the arbitration hearing began, Relativity had requested to withdraw the memo from the hearing after it had initially requested to introduce it as evidence that Fields was fired for cause.
Dale Kinsella, an attorney representing Fields, said in a statement to Variety that “a review of the complete record reveals that the judge’s opinion was spot on and reflected what could only reasonably be characterized as overwhelming proof of evidence tampering.”
A phone call and emails seeking comment from attorneys for Ryan Kavanaugh were not immediately returned Monday. A message left on the cell phone for Relativity Media’s Halsband was also not returned after Halsband initially answered a phone call from a Variety reporter.